(no subject)

Sunday, 25 June 2017 20:46
lea_hazel: Don't make me look up from my book (Basic: Reading)
I'm on my third book! *\o/*

I got the LGBT+ BookBundle.

Reading is hard...

Wednesday, 21 June 2017 11:56
lea_hazel: Pride flag (Politics: GLBTQ)
I've been book-blocked for months, now.

On Monday I broke that block by tearing through Seanan McGuire's Every Heart a Doorway like it was my damn job. I may have actually started reading it the evening before, I'm not sure. Regardless, I finished it on Monday night and felt that familiar hollow feeling of having finished reading a story before you were quite ready to let go.

I like her Toby Daye books a lot (I'm about five books in) but this one felt more personal. God knows I rarely feel myself connect with YA books, so it was quite unusual in that respect. I still have some thoughts to mull over but I will definitely review it eventually. Even though it's been nominated and won awards and probably everything's been said about it already.

Since my book-block has been magically cured, I'm figuring out what to read next to maintain momentum.

I had a technical difficulty with my phone app that required me to reset the account and set everything up again, but Kobo were actually quite helpful with the resulting mess.

(no subject)

Tuesday, 23 May 2017 10:30
lea_hazel: Don't make me look up from my book (Basic: Reading)
I'm making steady progress in Upside Down again. I set it down for a while, partly because of depression, partly from being very busy and stressed over other things. And partly because I read Alyssa Wong's story and it was absolutely-- beyond description.
lea_hazel: Don't make me look up from my book (Basic: Reading)
NaNoWriMo is over and I need to kickstart my reading habits. I tried to read Ancillary Justice but I'm having trouble getting deep enough in to be swept away, I might put it off until I have some extra mental energies. I have a number of books saved to my Kobo account that I have not yet bought, and I have a stack of TPBs. And, of course, my over-full book shelves full of smart books that I am perpetually too tired to read.

One of the last books I finished was Shira Glassman's The Second Mango but the new releases (from which she actually gets royalties) aren't on Kobo and I'd probably had to get them through Amazon or something. There are four novels in all and one short story collection, I think. But I have a lot of other options.

1. N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season is A Smart Book and also has geological tectonic magic, which is fascinating and extra appealing to me. On the con side, the excerpt I read gives me the impression of dense prose and a difficult narrator voice.

2. T. Kingfisher's (Ursula Vernon) Bryony and Roses is also an award-winner and yet it is also a fairy-tale and has that UV-brand deadpan humor that I find so comfortable.

3. Mary Robinette Kowal's Shades of Milk and Honey is a magicky regency romance, and my familiarity with the author's style means it promises to be a non-offensive f/m pairing, possibly in the vein of Sorcerer to the Crown (which was anj instant favorite). Also likely to be light and comfortable.

4. The Golem and the Jinni is that Jewish fantasy novel I have ostensibly always wanted, and also fairly well-reviewed (although it doesn't have the kind of gushing following some others on my list do). A bit of an unknown quantity.

5. The Lies of Locke Lamora. People having been raving about this book for as long as I can remember. Am I in a lovable rogue mood? Who knows.

6. Michelle Sagara's Cast in Shadow which was recommended to me by someone and indeterminate time period in the past. Yay, memory! I downloaded the preview for this on a whim and it gives me a comfortable feeling of a heroine with trust issues.

7. Or I could just get the next in one of the series I'm reading. I have a bunch of those I haven't finished, and that might help me get into a good reading routine.

8. I also have the TPB of Monstress (from Marjorie Liu) sitting on my shelf. And one of the Marceline Adventure Time books, and some Star Wars stuff. They are good for reading in bits and pieces, generally, but less convenient to carry in my purse (I have a purse. I'm a person who carries a purse now.).

Decisions are unusually hard for me lately. Or, like, more than usually hard.

(no subject)

Thursday, 25 August 2016 22:50
lea_hazel: Don't make me look up from my book (Basic: Reading)
At least I have my tablet back. It's much nicer to read that way than on my clunky old laptop.

(no subject)

Monday, 18 July 2016 18:31
lea_hazel: Don't make me look up from my book (Basic: Reading)
Just read (rather, skimmed the beginning of) a gushing review of The Secret Garden and Heidi, two books that I've grown to loathe since I read them as a child. Read more... )

I'd comment on the actual review, but I'm 100% sure that I'd lose my temper, express myself poorly, end up hating every word I say, and ultimately gravely regret the whole experience. I'm bad at having opinions.
lea_hazel: Don't make me look up from my book (Basic: Reading)
Last night I finished The Cloud Roads, which I had intended to read for I don't know how long. Capped it off by downloading the preview for the second book of the trilogy, The Serpent Sea. I was reminded of it recently -- I had thought it was from a Writing Excuses cast with Martha Wells, but apparently they never had her on and I was confusing an episode about writing inhuman characters with the one where they recced the book. Probably because Ellen Kushner is another fantasy author I probably should have read years ago.

I enjoyed the book tremendously. The protagonist is male, which is usually a thing that would tamp down my interest. Because of the xenofic aspect, though (his species has about five biological sexes), there are aspects of his arcs which are.... Put it this way: you know how some people use slash fic as a way of examining vulnerability in detachment from femininity, to make it less personal? That. I am definitely working on a full review, but I was hoping someone in my circle had read it. Book's been out long enough that someone must have written on the subject, but I think I must be using the wrong search terms.
lea_hazel: Don't make me look up from my book (Basic: Reading)
There is a feeling sometimes as if the things that I remember from my childhood had existed forever, or at least for a very long time. It was a long while before I grew self-aware enough to grasp things -- movies, songs -- coming into being around me. Enough to know what was recent and new, anyway. I suppose I have poor time perception.

Every now and then I encounter something that I remember very vaguely. Usually this means most anything earlier than '94-5. First it sparks a strange sense and then I realize that I recognize it. I go and I look it up and I discover that it was a song that was new on the radio when I was in the second grade, or something like that.

Prompted by looking up my favorite book and realizing that it was published (in translation) the year I was born.
lea_hazel: Don't make me look up from my book (Basic: Reading)
Yesterday while waiting for the dentist I finished God's War.

I'd been intending to review it immediately after finishing. I should have known better.

God's War is a dense, layered book that's not easily digested in one go. There's a lot going on, and even more going on under the surface. Add in the real-world subtext of choices made to characterization, relationships and most especially worldbuilding, and that's one hell of a chew-toy for the brain to gnaw on.

What's more is the book's been out for a good few years, now. The trilogy is complete and in fact I think Kameron Hurley has actually completed a second trilogy of novels since. My low reading habits during my years at uni leave me racing to keep up with current events in SFF. I'm severely behind the curve.

Meanwhile I also reinstalled the Kobo reader app on my phone, after installing an SD card and moving most of my apps to it borked the library access somehow and the app wouldn't start. In the course of my picking up and dropping innumerable books, I once started reading The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and got about halfwasy through before it depressed the fuck out of me (yes, I know, Anne Bronte, it's not like you didn't warn me). The book was mentioned recently in a discussion about male love interests and I decided it was maybe time to pick it back up.

This is not too unusual. I often read several books in parallel. Doing so on my phone just happens to be more convenient. My tablet is slim and light so long as I have a backpack, but if I'm carrying a handbag as I do now, I usually leave it at home. Except when I expect to spend an hour on the bus, or when I know I'll be waiting at the dentist's office. So I have a book I'm reading on my phone, and another one on my tablet.

On Blogging

Thursday, 3 September 2015 17:02
lea_hazel: Typewriter (Basic: Writing)
I am looking at the emptiness of my professional blog and sighing. I cross-posted some recent material but, as I go digging through my years of blogging, I seem to have made far fewer substantial posts than I imagined. Possibly I was always intending to make those posts but once the subject matter coalesced in my mind, I never got to actually putting the words down on paper. Now I'm debating whether an old review for a book that I read years ago (and no longer own) is fit for re-posting.

Look like there's no escaping the need to generate original content. Ahahahah *tear wipe*

Things have been up and down for me but I did not do much writing this week, although I accomplished several important chores. I am no closer to opening up a Patreon account to allow for the options of readers supporting my content. I am also no closer to having a complete work that's fit to be bound into an e-book. It is frustrating, but I know that I can work through it.

The new year is coming up on my calendar. Happy September.

Writing Life

Sunday, 7 June 2015 18:31
lea_hazel: Don't make me look up from my book (Basic: Reading)
I started drafting a meta post on the metaphysics of a story I have(n't) been working on for a while. Then I saved it to my essay folder and set it aside. I'm not sure how to draw it out towards a natural conclusion.

Meanwhile [community profile] jukebox_fest went live (archive here) which is the cue for me to see comment and kudos emails in my inbox and be torn between being deliriously happy like a puppy rolling around in mud, versus gnashing my teeth and mumbling, 'oh no they're reading it oh god why'. On a side-note I also became obsessed with listening to Skeleton Key over and over, via JBF I'm pretty sure, although it doesn't appear on the signup summary right now.

Later this week I'll make a post about my TBR list and specifically some recent spec fic offerings I've just added to the teetering top. I wish I could think of a book I'd recently read to review, but my problem is my attention span for reading has suffered immensely the last few years. Now I am scheduling long stretches of reading time as part of my writing agenda.

Blogging

Thursday, 4 June 2015 11:37
lea_hazel: Typewriter (Basic: Writing)
I had excellent intentions for this morning and then ended up spending several straight hours reading blogs.

I completed my [community profile] jukebox_fest story and I don't know if I'll ever be happy with it. I feel like it needs to be torn to shreds by an editor and pieced back together over a month. My impulsive writing habits are starting to get me down and I want to spend part of this month working specifically on that.

Monday morning I made a big spreadsheet with writing goals for June. The spreadsheet has a category for blogging, with two specific meta subjects that I want to get around to. One of them is about The 100, which I have been overdue to write about since I glommed the whole series in amok.

Even though my mind is constantly churning with ideas and reactions to things, I feel like I actually bring up almost none of that. I want to change that, but I'm not certain where to start. My own fanfic? Characters that I find myself writing over and over again? How long it's been since I've even remotely kept up with contemporary SFF?

One of the items on my agenda is making a list of recent books to read and (possibly) review.
lea_hazel: The Little Mermaid (Default)
All of my writing energy seems to be going towards my daily pages, and when I get it there never seems to be anything that I feel the need to share with the rest of the world. Obviously, if I were writing full-time this would have to change. Then again, I'd also have some structured subjects to talk about.

Reading: I was reading The Summer Prince but I took a short break and lost my momentum. The quality of prose is good and it's stocked with all sorts of good, shiny little ideas, but they can't obscure the fact that the premise of the book is human sacrifice. It's a hard sell, and I'm not sold. Then I started reading The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and I was pretty enthralled for a while, but Helen's diary is a hard read and I took a break and didn't pick it up again yet I promise nothing. Now I'm reading Late Eclipses (one of the Toby Daye books) and pretty well tearing through it. I read a lot on the weekend, which was nice.

I am also reading ungodly amounts of Skyrim fanfic (how the hell did video game fandom even happen to me?). And I tried digging into the [community profile] femslashex archives from this year but haven't even made a dent.

Writing: Yuletide was going well, and then it stalled. I'm nervous. My piece is coherent, but it's under a thousand words and I fear it's inevitably to be seen as incomplete. How to go about completing it to standard is something I need to stew on. Most of my other fanfic is stalled, but I did make a breakthrough last week with something I've been stuck on for a while. Relationship-type dialogue, and a more complex sort than what I have dealt with mostly up to now. My Collar of the Damned stuff is also stalled. I try not to dwell too hard on how many open WIPs I have. It is depressing.

Of course, the reason for all of this is my current fixation with Skyrim fanfic, of which I have been producing a fairly respectable amount. Anatomy of a fandom infatuation. I actually think about that subject a lot, now.

Adulting Is Hard

Thursday, 2 October 2014 12:21
lea_hazel: The outlook is somewhat dismal (Feel: Crash and Burn)
My grocery shopping today was both more expensive and heavier than usual. Heavier is because of the various beverages. Expensive might be for the same reason. I'll have to go over the receipt. On the other hand, I just deposited a rent check and set up a transfer from my savings, so I know I can cover it. The only question that remains is whether I'll have a salary to pull at the end of October.

I have a job prospect lined up. The person in charge already told me twice that he wants me for the position. There seem to be an inordinate number of logistical difficulties. I want to be hopeful but I also want to be wary, but most of all I wish for certainty. It has come to light that the uncertainty of the human element is probably the source of most (if not all) of my anxiety.

Also, I love that it gets dark earlier and chilly late at night, but still warm and close-aired and sweaty in midday. And by love I might urgh.

In other news, Skyrim. In compliance with the mandate to be several years behind everyone when it comes to things like this, I started playing it about two weeks ago, when it came on sale for 4.99$. "Price of a cup of coffee" has become my metric for a leisure expense so small that there's no need to sweat it. And so far I've been enjoying it! Smart purchase yay.

I have the draft of a book post saved. Really should have posted it yesterday for Reading Wednesday or whatever.
lea_hazel: Arthritis: It does the body bad (Health: Arthritis)
It's amazing how I can leave work feeling pretty energetic and positive about the workday, and thinking about all the stuff I can do at home in the evening. And then ten minutes later as I'm walking to the bus, suddenly my mind's not distracted and all the sensations it was ignoring become deeply obvious. My back's liek a rock, I'm wiped-out tired, I can't wait to get out of my bra and I can feel my shoelaces digging into the skin on top of my feet.

I'm getting into the rhythm of the work, but today I had a couple of disappointments. Sunday marked me working there for a full month, and so far there's no hint that they're less than pleased with me, or considering ending my employment at the end of the trial period. Heaven knows they took a big risk on me, and I on them, given the weight of the work. For the moment, we seem to be working out well together.

Despite being too worn and forgetful to update my Goodreads or post about it here, I've been taking excellent advantage of my tablet as an e-reader. Between the commute and reading myself to sleep, I've made a dent in my reading plans for the year (36 books a year or 3 books a month). It helps that I've accepted leaving aside some books I'd planned to finish, and am succumbing gleefully to my brain's whims. And I started the year by getting into several different book series, so the serial continuity pushes me forward.

Miraculously, my creativity hasn't skittered to a halt. I still think about stories and am actively working on several WIPs. Just earlier today, I suddenly had a flash of inspiration for a scene to climb out of a stalled plot. Yay me.

2013 in Books

Wednesday, 1 January 2014 10:12
lea_hazel: Don't make me look up from my book (Basic: Reading)
Instead of a tedious summation of my misadventures in academia and unemployment, I'm doing a Very Special 2013 Wrapup Reading Wednesday. Yay!

Last night (slightly after the new civil year ringed in) I finished Megan Turner's The Thief, the first book in the Attolia series, of which I heard many good things. I'm fairly certain I first heard of these books through oyceter and/or meganbmoore, but the name Attolia crops up pretty often in my circles. My friend Hez apparently hated it, though. Shrug.

That makes the books I've read since summer almost all lead-ins to another book. I want to continue all of them! It's hard to put them in order, but if I were: Hobb's Blood of Dragons (which I expect to be disappointed by, but I have a problem), Carey's Naamah's Curse (...I have several problems), Turner's The Queen of Attolia and Carriger's Changeless.

Other books I read in 2013 include: Gavin de Becker's The Gift of Fear, strongly recommended by the inimitable Captain Awkward, and a rereading of A Room of One's Own.

Books I am still in the middle of: Jorge Luis Borges' Ficciones on my brother's recommendation, Dorothy L. Sayers' Who's Body because the ebook was free, and a book on Babylonian mythology that I bought at the university bookshop on a whim. Naturally I have been picking them up and putting them back down as the mood strikes me. And, nominally, I've been in the middle of China Mieville's Perdido Street Station since sometime in 2012.

In 2014 I want to read more books cover to cover, and keep better track of them, possibly even blog about them more. I want to finish Mieville before I start on my other Kobo purchases, or on the other, free, ebooks I have. I want to be caught up on Saga and Animal Man, even if I can't maintain an interest in any other comics. And I want to read lots of fanfic, but that's a separate post that I think I'll make tomorrow.

Happy Wednesday.
lea_hazel: Neuron cell (Science: Brains)
Keeping track of time is always so much harder during holidays. There's the half-day before, the evening of, the day of, and then I have to figure out how to tell the difference between the holiday and the Saturday that comes before it. The mornings melt away even more quickly than usual.

Today, for example, I almost mixed up an appointment I have next Sunday, and figured it to be this coming Monday. Why? I have no idea. Who knows how my brain stores this information. Well, I double-checked my google calendar to make certain that I know when my (vitally important) interview is, and what sort of schedule-related pitfalls are on the way from here to there (now to then?).


Now I just have to sort through all the reading and writing things I've committed to. Maybe make a list?
lea_hazel: Pride flag (Politics: GLBTQ)
Browsing free romance e-book summaries is endlessly more satisfying when Jailbreak the Matriarchy is installed.

Inspired by Book Depository's big sale on books that no one wants.

ETA: Case in point, some choice extracts:

"[W]illing to risk his life <...> even if it means giving himself over to a woman he's never met."

"Two sisters want to possess him."

"He’s a fiery-tempered fighter pilot..." (that's more than enough, really)

"A lifetime of sheltering makes him reckless."

Dystonia

Thursday, 6 June 2013 15:45
lea_hazel: Don't make me look up from my book (Basic: Reading)
A bad kmeme fill and a trip down memory lane have reminded me of how disappointed I am with contemporary dystopian fiction. I remember reading incisive satirical novels based on deep political insights and exhaustive historical research. Now almost everything I see seems based on the premise of "heteronormative generically pretty teens valiantly struggle against the evils of a society in which LAHV is FAHBIDAHN by slobbering all over each other."

Children are insolent and everyone is writing a (shitty) book. I need help.
lea_hazel: Don't make me look up from my book (Basic: Reading)
My grandmother over the last few years of her life collected a list of a hundred books she wanted me to read. The list itself seems to be missing, and the bundles of books tied with brown rubber bands, which were stored in the closet of her spare room, added up to fewer than a round hundred. Some are missing, and some I chose to leave behind. A lot of them are immensely important classics, or recent winners of major awards like the Booker prize. My grandmother had highbrow taste... some of the time.

My brother and I went over the books and boxed the ones I intended to keep for sure. Of course I felt guilty over every book that curled my mouth, like refusing to read about the first synagogue in some distant town that I'd never heard of was an implicit rejection of who she was, what she valued, and her love and effort on my behalf. Then again, the harsh truth of the matter is I don't want to, and wouldn't, read those books. Whereas I might well enjoy Mrs. Dalloway or The Bell Jar.

Yesterday I picked up a new book from the post office and became almost immediately engrossed. It's a book about dragons, not exactly my grandmother's fondest ambition for me. She had pretty interesting ideas about how clever I was, too bad their scale was way off. Because part of me still wants to be that pretentious highbrow person, who can use all the award-winning books he's read as armor against the older, the higher-ranked, the more objectively important people of the world.

Instead all the armor I have is my own thoughts and ideas. And the dragons, there's them too.

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lea_hazel: The Little Mermaid (Default)
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