What have you read? I finished Anuja Chauhan's The Battle for Bittora a few days ago, and I even managed to write it up.
What are you reading? Kind of a cheat, since I actually started it two weeks ago, but I am a chapter or two into Alice Miller's The Drama of the Gifted Child. Despite having been forewarned of the general mother blaming in the book, I am still appalled by how much there is. Yes, let's guilt mothers more for post-partum depression and maybe showing a little bit of negative emotion due to nursing not going perfectly! Also, I seem to think more much has to happen to traumatize a kid than Alice Miller does. (I.e. Being laughed at for asking for your own ice cream cone and being offered bites from the parents' cones probably is not going to have that huge of a psychological impact unless there's already some really emotionally abusive stuff happening.) That said, still has some good bits on what happens when you are the child who must somehow suppress yourself to emotionally comfort your parents. You just have to rewrite a lot in your head so it only applies to emotional abuse and not "mothers making any sort of mistake ever."
What are you reading next? Who knows! Hopefully I will be reading, period.
Jinni (formally "Sarojini") Pande is mostly happily working as an animator, though she wishes she could animate something other than bacteria and bugs. And then her formidable grandmother Pushpa Pande sweeps in to announce her return to politics, and before she knows it, Jinni is running for MP in her home region. Complicating things is sexy childhood friend Zain, who is also running, but for the opposing party, as well as scandals, empty campaign promises, bribery, turncoats, electioneering, and all those other good things that come with politics.
I was completely unsurprised to read the author's note in the back and discover that her in-laws are a big family in politics, much as I was unsurprised to find that the author used to be in advertising for The Zoya Factor. They aren't fields I know very much about overall, especially how they work in India, but all the details felt so real, especially the ones that are almost too much to believe in and therefore probably are the bits taken right from real life. I am guessing these are the kinds of books that are even funnier if you actually know the topic, as opposed to the ones that make you roll your eyes because all the details are off? Yes? No?
Anyway, it reminded me most of Taiwan election season, albeit with less acrimony, and I love how Chauhan is totally making fun of the ridiculous things going on while also taking Jinni's idealism and desire to change things seriously, as well as the various issues that Jinni will have to tackle if she's elected.
As pretty much everyone else who has read this has said, the key relationship isn't the Jinni-Zain romance, but rather Jinni's relationship with her larger-than-life grandmother, who is bigoted, wily, unscrupulous, completely unmoveable, and absolutely awesome.
I also loved the overall look at growing up in a political family. At first, I didn't quite buy Jinni just taking off from work to help with a political campaign at the beginning of the book, but after reading about her memories of various campaigns, her grandfather's political legacy, all of her grandmother's work, and her own idealism, it made so much more sense. That said, I did want to see more of Jinni shifting from running just for her grandmother to running for her own sake and for the desire to have the power to make the changes she thought should be made. It's definitely there in the book, from her daring midnight rescue to her observation of how so many politicians made people promises and still the schools weren't fixed, the roads sucked, and the wells got co-opted, but I would have liked that more in the forefront. I also wanted more of Bauji, Jinni's freedom fighter politician grandfather, and her memories of him, as well as the complicated relationship he and her grandmother had, and I especially loved the bits we see of her mother.
I feel like there's an entire novel there as well, being the daughter who abandons the family legacy and takes off only to have your own daughter return to the fold. And it was really refreshing to have Jinni's mother be the NRI living happily in Canada and Jinni herself being the one to return to India, at least when compared to the prevalence of "conflicted identity hyphenated USian teens battling their immigrant parents' expectations" books I've read. (Don't get me wrong, I love it too, especially since that is a big part of my own experience, but it's always nice to have different narratives.)
If you can't already tell, I liked this a lot better than Chauhan's first book, which didn't deviate enough from chick lit tropes for me. Unsurprisingly, the Jinni-Zain romance is actually my least favorite part of the book; I like the childhood memories well enough, and the whole "can I trust him? Is he just messing with me?" back and forth makes a LOT more sense when it comes to your election rival, but Zain kind of loses my interest in comparison to the Pande family dynamics.
( Spoilers )
Anyway, definitely recommended, and in case I made it sound serious and unfun, it is hilarious and includes a scene with Jinni putting a condom on a large wooden penis. For politics, of course.
(And I want a book about Munni.)
I created a Flight Rising comm! Post to flight_rising! Anyone have a hankering for very teal dragons?
I also tried playing A Dark Room after seeing some dwircle people mention it on FB, and I am confused. I thought it was going to be a meta game about gaming, but I went to find the walkthrough, because I didn't really like what I was doing in the game, and I wanted to see what happened.
( Spoilers )
ETA: And it looks like these elements are iOS specific: "We recently released the iOS version of the game. It’s unique in that it has an in-depth story line around the builder." (source, check comments)
What I'm reading: As mentioned, rereading some of the stories in Steam-Powered 1 that I've already read, and then hopefully finishing the anthology.
Random book-shaped space: I am also passive aggressively hoping that my mom decides to leave the tablet here for me to use, because I am too wary to actually ask for it, even though my dad did offer it to me if I wanted. I have weird and conflicting feelings re: accepting stuff from my parents. On the plus side, very excited about the Yuki Kaori and Mizushiro Setona licensing news from NYCC! Amazingly, I may actually be more excited re: Mizushiro, because of the creepy vampires. Also, I am laughing a bit thinking of it in Shojo Beat and how it will possibly traumatize people who start reading it for sexy vampires.
I also finished Tenea B. Johnson's R/evolution, which I need to write up with Smoketown. I am really curious as to what she's working on next. I love her prose and her ideas; mostly it feels like the books need to be fleshed out a lot more, R/evolution in particular.
What I'm reading: I started on Rucka's run on Wonder Woman, thanks to chaila's posts, though I haven't gotten too far. It's interesting, because I actually don't know anything about Wonder Woman except for the Amazons background. It's also weird reading superhero comics again. I also read an issue or so of Saga, which seemed cool but was too visually dense to read well on the 7" tablet, as well as an issue or so of the new all-female X-Men title. No real impressions of it, except that I love Storm's hair. /is shallow
What I'm reading next: More Anuja Chauhan when I get the books? Maybe more comics if I grab the tablet again? (My dad wanted me to leave it for my mom so she could try to use it. Ha.)
I don't usually read chick lit all that often because of the frequent focus on things like brand names and shopping, and because while I can deal with annoying gender roles in historical romances, it's much more difficult to brush them aside in contemporary romances. This book does have some of the things that annoy me—Zoya's initial stint in the ad company is obviously very conscious of brands—but it wasn't too bad. Also, you can tell where my priorities lie: I was incredibly annoyed at Nikhil Koda, the love interest, until he and Zoya went to a street market and had food. As Nikhil was a fan of the food, I decided I liked him a lot more.
I thought I would actually be more bored by the cricket than I was, seeing as how I am not a big sports person, but all the snippets from the articles from India and the overall excitement reminded me a lot of being in Asia during South Korea's run in the 2002 World Cup. By the end, I was enjoying the cricket bits more than the romance bits.
Unfortunately, the book is at least 100 pages or so too long; in order to stretch the story out, Chauhan basically has a ton of Not-Too-Big Misunderstandings get in the way of Zoya and Nikhil's happy ending. Zoya had decides to ignore Nikhil based on suspicions from gossip rags, her brother's speculations, her own doubts, and various other things that might have made sense the first two or three times, but have gotten incredibly boring the ninth or so time around.
That said, I do actually like Zoya and Nikhil, and I particularly like Zoya's family and friends. And I laughed so hard at Zoya wondering how on earth monolingual white Australians got by with only one language (what do they do when they are in a different mood?), along with the weirdness of being in a place so full of white people. I so sympathize. And there's just something really fun about Chauhan's narrative voice, from the toinnnnngggg commercial to the two sports announcers and the assorted excerpts from gossip magazines.
Anyway, it's definitely uneven, especially when it comes to the romance, but it felt a lot more familiar than almost all chick lit and/or contemporary romances I read, which is usually split between glamorous big city or small-town (very white) America. So, looking forward to reading her next two books, especially since it sounds like they have plot elements and/or settings that differ even more from standard chick lit/contemporary romance.
- reviews from the Anuja Chauhan reading club (also, thanks to deepad for setting it up in the first place!)
... anyway, mostly trying to keep expectations low.
( Spoilers have creepier imagery than I would like )
( Spoilers were in Tahiti )
In other news, I did not see a single commercial for other ABC shows, Thor 2, or IM3 DVDs during the Hulu stream. Amazing!
I know! This would have shocked younger me—not in the mood to read?! Blasphemy! Alas, older me has had to deal with an increasingly small attention span, in addition to diminished enjoyment in nearly everything. Things are getting better in terms of both attention span and enjoyment, and this makes me hope the reading will come back as well.
What I've read: I finally finished my nostalgic reread of Terry Brooks' Talismans of Shannara. Ahahaha, oh Par, so boring. On the other hand, Matty Roh is even more awesome than I remembered, and I had completely forgotten about the Matty Roh-Damson Rhee adventures! There should be fic, IJS.
( Spoilers )
What I'm reading: I am progressing through Anuja Chauhan's The Zoya Factor, which got a little boring a few chapters in as it introduced the love interest and he and the heroine were antagonistic and etc. However, he is now being much nicer, and there has been a street market, so I am liking it much better again. Also continuing to read Tenea Johnson's Smoketown, which is still gorgeous. I think I opened up Yuki Kaori's Iiki no Ki to show off the Kobo Aura HD's screen to troisroyaumes, but I haven't read much past the first few pages. The art, though, is gorgeous! And already I am afraid it is going to be a version of the Riff/Cain + Merriweather triangle, with another demonic guy, some aristocratic guy, and a cute spunky girl.
Random book-shaped space: I am still trying to figure out what to get with the Kobo 50% off coupon before it expires! Candidates so far: Kate Elliott's Jaran books, some Charlotte Stein novellas the library doesn't have, ???. Maybe the dinosaur book I have been looking at?
In less pleasant news, I deleted Ben A's books from my computer.
As I am sure everyone knows by now, this is the story of Ichabod Crane, who is transported into our time, along with the Headless Horseman. Lieutenant Abbie Mills has her plans upset when her mentor is killed by the Horseman, and though she isn't too sure about him, she partners up with Ichabod to figure out what's going on.
OMG people. I know everyone has said this, but this show is ridiculous! I am greatly enjoying the sheer over-the-top-ness, and so far, I appreciate that Abbie has been given just as much angst as Ichabod. They are not quite Mulder and Scully, though the show obviously has that in mind as a template, but there's room to grow. Also, I would appreciate it if they are not Mulder and Scully wrt the overwhelming nature of Mulder's angst and alien pregnancies and whatnot.
( Spoilers have a head in a jar! )
Shoujo Kakumei Utena | Revolutionary Girl Utena
- Arisugawa Juri
- Kiryuu Nanami
- Kagee Shoujo | Shadow Play Girls
- Shinohara Wakaba
- Tendou Matsuri
- Koruri (7 Seeds)
- Ayu (7 Seeds)
- Amacha Fujiko
Bái Fà Mó Nǚ Zhuàn | Bride with White Hair (1993)
- Lian Nichang
- Zhuo Yihang
- He Luhua
- Kurai (Angel Sanctuary)
- Mad Hatter | Belial (Angel Sanctuary)
Am debating if I should leave a comment re: Utena's eligibility in the mod post. I think if they do an AO3 filtered search, it should be eligible....
I also meant to see if there were any new cracktastic Jay Chou music vids I wanted to nominate, but I forgot to do it in time for nominations =(.
What I'm reading: Of course, I have not progressed in anything I was reading last week! Instead, I have started Tenea D. Johnson's Smoketown, and how have I not heard of her? (Okay, possibly because I have been out of the loop for years.) This is one of those books that feels like it was written JUST FOR ME: a city with layers and layers of history still mourning the plague that struck it decades ago, a city that has outlawed birds and now has callers in the dawn to add an approximation of birdsong back into the city soundscape, a man locked away in a tower living through the full-immersion experiences of others via virtu reals, an artist who can bring things to life via drawing and chemistry. It feels so much like Kari Sparring's Living with Ghosts, only much, much kinder to its women. And! Not only does it have all the gorgeous cityscapes that I love, it is populated with brown people! I am only about a third of the way in, and it's a relatively short book, but I fell for the prose from paragraph one and the book has only gotten better since.
What I'm reading next: Hopefully finishing the books I was in the middle of last week, along with this book, and then maybe continuing on to Johnson's R/evolution.
(I have been greatly enjoying everyone's resolve to post every day for a month, and then I feel like I should as well to hopefully clear up book backlog, but the daily happiness posts (opt in here) are already kind of hard and I feel so spammy despite knowing people actually signed up for the filter and knowing that I enjoy seeing other people's posts!)
What I've read: I did more reading for the awards jury I am on, yay.
Aside from that, I went on a completely unexpected detour into the land of reading nostalgia: Terry Brooks. His Shannara books (back then only the original trilogy and Heritage of Shannara) were my introduction to fantasy as a genre; I had read a lot of middle grade stuff of course, but I wanted something just like Tolkien after my headlong fall into Middle Earth, and Shannara was right there. Anyway, I reread The Elfstones of Shannara and The Elf Queen of Shannara, and then did a mostly-skipping-Par's-POV reread of The Scions of Shannara.
They held up better than expected? But I also wasn't expecting much. There's the argh of the Rovers, which fit all the Roma stereotypes, way too many bland young men wandering about, and the world building is pretty sparse in terms of cultures and extremely high fantasy derivative. On the other hand, I remember so much more of them than I had expected, even specific chapters and lines I had liked. I am amused that even back in sixth or seventh grade, I was completely bored by the typical young white male savior figure (Par, Shea, Wil, Jair) and very much into the women or the older, more cynical men who weren't such blank slates. Alas for the lack of older, cynical women. And that the Frodo-and-Sam journey parts of the narrative never interested me nearly as much as the epic battle and war strategy bits. The women aren't the best—too many love interests inexplicably interested in the boring main characters, too many "too good for this world" women—but I remember liking things like Eretria helping out Amberle and especially Wren's relationship with her grandmother in Elf Queen. (Also, Eowen Cerise/Ellenroh, slashy like whoa.)
Anyway, definitely not something I'd rec, but it was an enjoyable dalliance! (Also, I totally wanted to be a Druid.)
What I'm reading: I tried starting a novel for awards reading (mostly I have been doing short stories, since they are so fast); hopefully I will stick with it. I also started Anuja Chauhan's The Zoya Factor per deepad's impromptu Anuja Chauhan book club. Not very far into it yet, but the voice is very breezy and enjoyable. Also, Shah Rukh Khan's abs have already made an appearance, which is never a bad thing imo.
What I'm reading next: More of The Zoya Factor and more awards reading, hopefully! Though I will probably end up doing the no-Par-POV reread of Heritage of Shannara....
What I've read: I thought I had already made a post about reading Meljean Brook's Guardian Demon, but apparently not! Anyway, I'm hoping to write this one up in more detail. Like many of the other books in the Guardian series, I don't completely buy the romance and the plot doesn't always make sense, but somehow the books are greater than the sum of their parts. Possibly it's Brook's clear affection for worldbuilding along with romance. And of course, after I finished, I went on to reread bits and pieces of various other Guardian books.
I did not read for another week or so after that, but then I got the Kobo Aura HD, and I have now resumed reading 7 Seeds (currently in the middle of volume 14? 13?). It continues to be awesome, and I am especially glad to see certain characters reappearing.
I also caught up on the latest Skip Beat chapters! I think I am withholding judgement until I see what happens next. Also, the translation for some of them is terrible.
And I skimmed The Mammoth Book of Hot Romance, most of which I cannot remember, save the Victoria Janssen short story that I liked a lot. POC hero AND heroine! And a relatively unused romance time period (for the genre, not for the author) with a lot of period detail.
What I'm reading now: Finally found my places again in Spillover and Feed after uploading them to the new ereader, but I haven't made much progress in either. Also in the middle of a 7 Seeds volume. Also I am a few pages into Samit Basu's Gameworld trilogy book 1, but I don't count that as officially reading it yet.
Random book-shaped space: I miss reading manga! Being able to do it on the ereader is awesome, and the new one's larger screen makes them so much more legible. Anyway, I got Silver Spoon and Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou to read, but I feel like I'm completely behind on stuff, especially shoujo manga. Any good new shoujo series around?
... also, I should grab whatever Yuki Kaori is working on now.
Extrovert or introvert (E or I)?
Sensing (S) or intuition (N)?
Thinking (T) or feeling (F)?
Judging (J) or perception (P)?
What is your MBTI type?
( My guesses )
I did forget to note that I read Sampson Davis' Living and Dying in Brick City: An E.R. Doctor Returns Home. I really wanted to read about the medical cases intermixed with personal knowledge of the intersections of health and race and poverty. In the end, the book was too didactic for me. Each chapter is about a specific thing (HIV, obesity, drugs, history of medical experiments on black people, etc.), and each ends with a list of resources. I'm sure it is helpful for people, but I wanted something much more complicated than an introduction to the myriad problems of the US healthcare system and/or personal health issues and what to do about them. I was especially put off by the PSA on obesity, where he focuses on a woman he portrays as grotesquely obese (examples of how she can't be strapped to the gurney, fungus growing in folds of flesh, etc.). This is too bad, because the bits on his own life and history in Newark and how they intersect with his doctoring were really interesting, especially since he was one of the few doctors there who had grown up in and still lived in Newark, as opposed to commuting there from another, more affluent town.
I also forgot to mention Carolyn Jewel's novella Moonlight last week. It unfortunately is not particularly notable. There is some emotional stuff going on there re: a younger man in love with the slightly older women he grew up with and trying to not be seen as a goofy younger brother, but most of it focuses on the sex without tying it in to the conflict.
And I forgot Courtney Milan's A Kiss for Midwinter. Wow, I read a lot the week before. Anyway, I don't dislike it to the same extent coffeeandink does, but the noted discrepancy between what people say about Lydia's cheerful disposition and what we actually read on the page is very disconcerting. I also thought Jonas never quite gelled as a character to me; he read more as a collection of traits—blunt and socially awkward doctor who shows compassion to underserved populations—than an actual person. Definitely not one of Milan's better works.
What I'm reading: I still haven't finished Spillover. So of course I started Mira Grant's Feed, which is one of those "everyone was talking about it when it came out and I am only now getting around to reading it" books. So far, it is entertaining and easy to read—too easy, given how I lost track of time at bedtime! I'm not terribly caught up in the characters yet; they are very snarky and capable, but there's no real emotional hook for me to grab on to. Also, it is interesting reading this in 2013 when the presumed zombie apocalypse is in 2014 (the book was published in 2010). I'm not sure I would have fully bought into Grant's projection of how blogging grows increasingly important even back then, but now it's even odder to compare to what has actually been happening.
What I'm reading next: Er, hopefully Hiromi Goto's Half World, because I keep meaning to read it and then forgetting that I do when it comes time to select a book.