renay: artist rendition of the center of a nebula (Default)
[personal profile] renay posting in [community profile] ladybusiness
Reading the last few weeks has been slow and plodding. I've been ill and tired so it takes me forever to read everything. Also, my focus is really shot. I read an entire volume of Hawkeye the other day and then realized I remembered the first issue in the collection and absolutely nothing else. I had to a) take a nap and then b) re-read, with lots of breaks, before I could retain what happened. Everything takes so much energy. This post took me three days to write, as well. Chronic illnesses, my friends: do not recommend.

The last few weeks:

Trailer Park Fae was a weird book; I reviewed it for B&N and said, "Trailer Park Fae is what you’d get if you mixed a Bourne film, a political thriller, and a weepy Lifetime movie about abusive, drunken trailer park fathers together, and shook vigorously." It was vaguely entertaining and pretty quick, but it was also in a weird pseudo-Shakespearean language that sounded like my attempts at writing in that meter back when professors thought it would be cool to make us write poetry to ~experience the magic of Shakespeare~. I'm not a poet. In fact, poets see me coming and they scream and run the other way. It straddled that place between "I like these specific things but only these." and "what the fuck is happening?" for me the entire time I read it.

I liked Robin a lot, but the book wanted it to be a shared story between her and Jeremiah. He was an entertaining as mud most of the time with all his sad man pain and ability to challenge any badass evil sidhe around with no consequence. Except, apparently, the Queen of Summer, because he has a dick? Maybe this is why I often dislike faerie stories. I'm confused why the Queen of Faeries can twist "men" to her will. This seems so weird and trapped in a rigid understanding of gender that it throws me out of the stories that employ the trope of leading men around by the libido while women roll their eyes at the dudes ~seduced~ by the faerie queen and stand immune. Faerie Land is way less gender diverse than I imagined (or maybe I am reading the wrong books?). I wanted this whole book to be about Robin and her backstory instead of Jeremiah and how he was so sad about his fridged wife, because she could have been developed more evenly across the book if he had been given less screen time to mope on the edges of tall buildings and ponder throwing himself to a possible death. A woman who can't sing for pleasure because it kills people in place of that? That's some angst I can get behind.

Lumberjanes #15 was so cute and I'm really digging the focus on Jen and the backstory involving the interpersonal relationships between adult women with complicated pasts! I'm smelling a romance. I assume there's two more issues of this arc to go, as Stevenson is leaving after #17. The comic is continuing, though, which is good for me. I never expected to love this comic so much. EIGHT VOLUMES PLZ.

Ms. Marvel#16 features Kamala struggling to save the people she cares about as the world ends and finally we get to see the meet up I know I've been wanting for 15 issues. It's pretty great, too. This comic is excellent because so many of the moments in it that are iconic for Kamala carry long term emotional resonance, even the ones that are awkward/weird. Perfect teenager.

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud was a book I read last year to get a better grip on the medium and decided to read again as I started cycling through a bunch of different nonfiction books on the topic of creating comics. It really does feel absolutely 101 to me at this point, and it's so obvious it's written in the 90s. The field is so drastically different now. Even Reinventing Comics, written in 2000, which I also finished recently feels similarly dated. There's a whole History of the Internet section that feels like McCloud indulging his inner nerd rather than communicating anything useful about comics. McCloud also has a lot of trouble with gender essentialism (and heterosexism to a lesser extent) in both of these books which makes them really feel like being punched in the face out of nowhere. I'm still reading Making Comics, so I'm not sure how it will compare to the other two. They're definitely valuable books, but the older they get the less useful some of the discussions are (especially about the future of comics) because comics as a medium are going to age out of his perspective.

We Should All Be Feminists was a speech Adichie gave that was later adapted into a book. It was a very cute book. Tiny! It was almost hidden by the books around it on the shelf at the library. I had listened to the speech, but reading the book was nice, too. It holds up pretty well, although there's some unnecessary binary framing around gender with "the loss of virginity usually involves two people of opposite genders" which a) erases queer people and, b) frames gender as a binary A and B rather than a spectrum. But otherwise it was good!

Trade Me by Courtney Milan was me giving her modern work a try after liking her historical romance series, Brothers Sinister. You have a girl in poverty looking for a break from the stress of living hand to mouth, a very successful rich boy with a problem, and an agreement to trade lives. The company in the book is Apple-Lite, the father was hilarious, and for some reason I never expect Milan's endings which meant I ended up liking this a lot. There's a trans character as the best friend, too, which surprised the heck out of me. She gets her own book soon! Into it.

I read Linesman as an ARC which was edited terribly (just because it's a digital file does not excuse handing out ARCs with this amount of weird errors, publishers). It was the second book (maybe third if I include Uprooted where the magic almost feels like a version of singing) where singing is a power characters have. Did not really result in Dude/Spaceship OTP as I predicted, which is a little sad, because it's less that the spaceships have feelings and more a ~metaphysical energy lines~ connected to the people and objects like ships that have feelings. We don't get to meet them, not really, it's left on a cliffhanger until the next book. In the end it's more like Dude/PURE ENERGY.

This makes me want Cale/The Drej Titan A.E. fanfic and I refuse to be ashamed.

The people who can work with the energy are basically space magicians. This is a book about control of space magic and space magicians and the main space magician is woobied out the wazoo, although for what it was they did an okay job of examining the gaslighting/abuse the main character goes through. It had way too many politics not given enough context; I was constantly playing catch up and not in a good way. There's in medias res and then there's...this book, which was a haphazard, stumbling mess for at least the first 200 pages. It finally evened out only to jettison itself into more confusing politics and space magician shenanigans, which were all communicated awkwardly. Perhaps someone better at politics, mutinies, and corporate takeovers would get more out of this, but I needed like, sixteen maps (or the book needed to be edited again for better clarity). Plus, there's not really much tension if your main character can solve every single dramatic moment by singing sweetly to the nearest spaceship.

My positive feelings about the book are over at B&N. Distance made me grumpy because I wanted to like it more than I did. Like a sucker, I'm totally going to read the sequel.

And I've finally read the three collected volumes of Hawkeye, after months of culture shoving it at me. Honestly, what got me into it finally was Kate Bishop. I can't believe everyone trying to hand sell me this series way back when the first trade came out didn't start with Kate Bishop immediately. Clint was okay. I honestly found the second volume a little uncomfortable due to Clint's behavior toward the women in his life. I like fandom's MCU Clint much better.

That said, KATE BISHOP IS THE BEST. The third volume: wow. I've also found a new favorite artist and need to hunt down everything Annie Wu has done, ever. And now I go on to read all about Kate Bishop. Did I say I was going to read all the Captain America comics? Okay, well, he may have to wait for me and Kate Bishop to become besties.

This is the week I read The End of All Things by John Scalzi. I have my ARC. I have my feelings. I'M READY. (It's a lie. I'm not ready. I'm so not ready I haven't even read The Human Division which is also happening this week. Does anyone else go through this anxiety over series they love having new books but being utterly terrified you won't love them and it'll ruin everything and you'll sink into a deep sadness and your love for the series will never recover? And so, the books come out and you get them but never read this? I'm such a weirdo. Why am I this way?)

Date: 2015-07-13 10:29 am (UTC)
goodbyebird: Hawkeye: Kate has you in her aim. (C ∞ Wrongs Righted. Bad Guys Beaten.)
From: [personal profile] goodbyebird
KATE BISHOP IS THE BESSSST. You have retained just fine ;D

Sorry to hear you're still not feeling at all well <3

Date: 2015-07-13 02:48 pm (UTC)
lemon_badgeress: basket of lemons, with one cut lemon being decorative (Default)
From: [personal profile] lemon_badgeress
I STILL haven't read the final volume of Lindskold's Breaking the Wall series for this exact reason.

Date: 2015-07-14 01:48 pm (UTC)
lemon_badgeress: basket of lemons, with one cut lemon being decorative (Default)
From: [personal profile] lemon_badgeress
I. . . can't actually answer that question. I have no idea if it's /good/ because it got in my head so hard that...okay. One of the characters is a former child actress, and a /year/ after I read the books I was working a puzzle in an issue of GAMES magazine and my brain supplied her name as a solution and I spent over an hour trying to make it work and getting very angry at the puzzle because it didn't before I realized what I was doing.

It might be horrible. It might be appropriative and all sorts of things you think of warily when you look at the premise? I literally can't tell. *wry*

Date: 2015-07-13 05:35 pm (UTC)
lynnoconnacht: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lynnoconnacht
You read Trade Me too! :O I should really add her historical books to my wishlist/TBR pile because I suspect I will enjoy them a lot.

Do I want to read Linesman? I like singing magic, but it sounds like it might be hit-or-miss.

Sorry to hear you're not feeling well. Chronic issues are THE WORST. *sends good thoughts*

Does anyone else go through this anxiety over series they love having new books but being utterly terrified you won't love them and it'll ruin everything and you'll sink into a deep sadness and your love for the series will never recover?

Sometimes. Usually for authors' work in general and friends' books specifically. I am betareader/first reader for my friends a lot of the time, so that helps with the fears because I know there may still be big changes.

Or Terry Pratchett. I have made it my summer reading mission to read at least two more of my Pratchett books. Though there it is also partially "But if I read the book I will have NO MORE NEW BOOKS", which is also holding me back from reading my new M.C.A. Hogarth books because there will be NO MORE NEW BOOKS. (Well, not until they're written anyway.)

I suppose that's a different kind of weirdness, though. Does it still count? (I feel weird anyway.)

Date: 2015-07-14 08:36 am (UTC)
lynnoconnacht: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lynnoconnacht
ME TOO! I'm also really glad I didn't try reading it at the dayjob because, um, there may have been points where I was laughing so hard I fell off the couch? And that would not have gone over particularly well.

I think Trade Me is the first contemporary (not-sff) book I've read in, uh, several years. I will never be a big non-sff reader I don't think, but if someone hands me a book like that? BRING IT ON. (I'm also not much of a romance reader because I don't like sex scenes and the whole "Lust at first sight" thing just confuses me. But if there is a story around it and people are getting to know each other as people then I am ALL OVER IT.)

It's very helpful, actually! I'm fine with confusion (all the better to play "Make weird, outrageous guesses about the plot!" with), but have fairly low tolerance for technical issues. Oooooh, a sample. *pokes it* Looks like a "Must be in the mood" book. ^_^ *adds it to TBR pile* Thank you! ^_^

<3 I am so, so grateful that Hogarth's latest trilogy was release all in bulk. NO WAITING FOR THE NEXT BOOK. <3

I haven't yet gotten attached to an another who is no longer publishing or dead, so I haven't faced this yet. ALTHOUGH I'M SURE IT'S COMING.

I HOPE IT NEVER DOES. It is AWFUL, Renay! T_T Every time you pick up one of their new-to-you books it is a new sadness. It's different when you're liking the work of an author who's already dead because you know you're going to run out. I am not sad about running out of, say, Georgette Heyer books, but when a contemporary author dies... So different.

Date: 2015-07-19 02:23 pm (UTC)
litomnivore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] litomnivore
Word on Hawkeye and ladies. Like, I do love Fraction's Clint, but that issue that involves three female characters all characterized as romantically involved in Clint? Even Natasha gets characterized as his "work wife"? Not the best.


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