lizcommotion: Pile of books (book)
I can unhesitatingly endorse Ceredwyn Alexander's Night Draws In and the associated IndieGoGo project to fund professional editing and publishing of it. (I may be also slightly self-serving, as I beta-read all but the final chapters and I really want to read the end.)

From the IndieGoGo:

Its difficult to find stories with queer or disabled characters that don't make disability or queerness the story. Or else they become a stereotype: the disabled BFF, the gay confidante. Worst of all, they may merely be a part of the hero's tragic backstory-the chronically ill or queer significant other who died and left the protagonist with a hunger for justice/vengeance or whatever.

The cast represents a more realistic view of disability and difference than is often portrayed in young adult novels. While each of the characters has some kind of disability, these disabilities are only part of them, not their defining feature.
Night Draws In is a contemporary fantasy that features characters who are more than one attribute.

Supporting this book is supporting diversity in fantasy/science fiction.


I can second this, as the changeling character's mental cognition changes that resulted from her transition from Fae to the mortal realms (plus her tendency to drift back into Faery Realm English) give her memory and aphasia-type qualities that are super duper familiar to me. I have never seen these depicted so accurately or compassionately in fiction before, and it was...really good. For me, as an adult.

Please consider donating or signal-boosting!
lizcommotion: bookshelves stuffed with books (books - lots)
Was discussing genres with partner yesterday. Specifically how with so many cross-genre wonderful stories being told, it is really hard to actually buy books from the physical bookstores I want to continue to exist.

Case in point: many of the SF/F books I enjoy are classified as "paranormal romance" because...there are people who romance each other in them? Maybe decent sex scenes? You cannot tell the story without the SF/F elements, but the main point of the story is the relationship. So at Barnes and Noble, those books get shelved in the Romance section. Indiscriminately amongst all the other Romances, like with Western themes and Bodice Rippers and idek what all the sections are. And the highly problematic ones. And also the historical Romance ones, which if you give me a period Romance done well yes I will read the shit out of that, particularly if you also throw in steampunk or magic in some way.

But also often the books are not even shelved or alphabetized. They're on those turny carosel things, and shoved on every which way, so you really have to hunt to find the other books by the same author or even in the same damn series.

I kind of feel like Bookstore Designers are going, "Well the books with fucking are obviously for the wimmenz, right? So we'll shove them in a corner, and we won't put any of the mushy books in with SF/F because it might make the menz feel awkward." Even though WHAT THE HELL IS WITH THAT GENDERED NONSENSE.

Also on a similar note, what the hell is the "literature" section anymore? Because mostly when I see it my brain goes, "Those are going to be books where the characters are horrible to each other or suffer terrible fates, I am emotionally exhausted from reading them, and make me feel the world is terrible. And Jonathan Franzen male tears books also."

Is there a better way to organize them? I mean, I kind of feel like we should just shove ALL the genre books together alphabetically and let people sort through them.

I do think that the way books are currently organized is prioritizing one kind of writing over another (and the male gaze omg), and maaaaybe that's part of why online book retailers are doing better. See also: where the frell is this middle-reader/YA book shelved even? there are like six sections to choose from and TOO MANY SPOONS. Even though I fucking hate Amazon's business practices, at least I can find the kinds of stories I want there, and it takes less energy.

(And one of my favorite indie bookstores has very little space, so they only have 2 shelves of sf/fantasy and most of it is things I already own, like Pratchett or Tolkien and other dudes. They do have an excellent YA section though.)
lizcommotion: Pile of books (book)
Just for the record, I thought Raising Steam (Terry Pratchett's latest) was amazing, finished it basically in one sitting. There was a break for some Haley-petting in the middle, as she was definitely in need of attention judging from the fact that she was rolling around on her back in the middle of the floor and snorting. Like you do.

Don't want to give spoilers, but here are some minor hints about things that theoretically could be spoilery )

JUST GO READ IT AND THEN WE CAN SQUEE.
lizcommotion: Pile of books (book)
Just finished reading The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million, a book by Daniel Mendelsohn about trying to find out what happened to six family members (his grandfather's brother, the brother's wife, and their four daughters) who were killed by the Nazis in then-Poland during World War II. It's a really good book, both for the history, the historiography, the way it's written (the closest analogy I can come up with is Toni Morrison-like, bits of it are almost like poetry), the way it deals with family, and just...yes. But, you know, be warned, Holocaust book, there are definitely some not-happy moments. I did like that he spent a fair bit of time trying to find out what his deceased family members were like when they were alive, as opposed to just what their deaths were like.

So I looked up Mendelsohn's website, and read some of the articles linked there, and found one I thought might be of interest to folks on my circle. It made me giggle.

"Republicanism Can Be Cured"
Published July 26, 1993
in the New York Times


The startling discovery that affiliation with the Republican Party is genetically determined, announced by scientists in the current issue of the journal Nurture, threatens to overshadow the announcement by Government scientists that there might be a gene for homosexuality in men.

Reports of the gene that codes for political conservatism, discovered after a long study of quintuplets in Orange County, Calif., has sent shock waves through the medical, political and golfing communities.

Psychologists and psychoanalysts have long believed that Republicans' unnatural and frequently unconstitutional tendencies result from unhealthy family life -- a remarkably high percentage of Republicans had authoritarian, domineering fathers and emotionally distant mothers who didn't teach them how to be kind and gentle. But biologists have long suspected that conservatism is inherited. "After all," said one author of the Nurture article, "It's quite common for a Republican to have a brother or sister who is a Republican."

[more on the link above]

lizcommotion: bookshelves stuffed with books (books - lots)
Rejoice! For whatever reason, my brain has decided to be nice and allow me to read books again without the annoying stumbling over a sentence five times thing until I just give up. This is very exciting, because I haven't been able to read read for oh, three years.

Yes.

I am mostly diving into "teen" fantasy, because that is my pleasure reading and when you've been deprived of reading for quite awhile it's important to nourish that core of you.

What I read recently
I read the entire Frontier Magic  series by Patricia C. Wrede (even though I'd already read the first two, I wanted to reread them to refamiliarize myself with the characters before finishing it). Overall, I liked it, though not as much as some of her other works. I do disagree with some of how she created the frontier (i.e. leaving out Native Americans entirely), but as my partner pointed out...the Lewis and Clark expedition minus Sacagawea didn't make it back, did they? And she did a lot of reshuffling of history, and the premise of the book wouldn't have worked if there were people there. Which. Is problematic too. I did really like what she did with trauma especially in the first book, and with meditation techniques, and with women's rights and also the Underground Railroad. So. The ending was also highly satisfying.

Have also been rereading some Pratchett, notably the Tiffany Aching books, which I've already read. Tried to reread the Chronicles of the Necromancer, which is a series I love at least the beginning of, but the book is too damn heavy.

What I'm reading now
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore, which is the third in her Graceling Realm series. I am enjoying it, though not as much as Graceling but more than Fire. It reminds me a lot of what I've read about say, the effects of opening the Stazi archive to the public, versus not doing so with other secret police files in certain other former Soviet Bloc countries. In other words, how does a country deal with a history of atrocities when the main perpetrator is gone, but others must have been complicit or at least accomplices for the power system to work? How far does "following orders" go as an excuse (in the book, there's magic involved, but still)? How does a country heal from violence? And this is how you tell that I'm a history major as well as a reader of fantasy novels...

What I'm going to read soon

Moar Pratchett! I picked up Dodger, which somehow I haven't read yet (probably as it's not Discworld, or maybe it's just never at the library, so I caved and bought a copy for the Pratchett shelf). Also his new book Raising Steam is coming out in March, but that's a long way off. I might make my way through some of the Discworld books I haven't read in awhile, or maybe I'll try something new...

book meme

Sep. 20th, 2012 08:56 am
lizcommotion: Pile of books (book)
stolen from [personal profile] brigid . It's international book week. The rules: Grab the closest book to you, turn to page 52, post the 5th sentence. Don't mention the title. Copy the rules as part of your post.

"Take anything you find in any instruction book, including this one, with a large grain of salt."

~Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmerman

(also reminds me rather a bit of Buddhism, actually)

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