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Not so much a blog; just lots of books

Currently reading

Behold, Here's Poison
Georgette Heyer
Engineering Animals: How Life Works
Alan Mcfadzean, Mark Denny
Progress: 125/314pages
Debt Collector Season One
Susan Kaye Quinn
The Rise of Yeast: How the Sugar Fungus Shaped Civilization
Nicholas P. Money
Conservation of Shadows
Yoon Ha Lee
Progress: 22%
Le premier jour
Marc Levy
Progress: 180/496pages
Moby-Dick: or, The Whale (Penguin Classics)
Herman Melville
Manifold: Time
Stephen Baxter, Chris Schluep
Progress: 99/480pages
The Long War
Stephen Baxter, Terry Pratchett
Progress: 68/501pages

The Last Hero by Terry Pratchett

The Last Hero - Terry Pratchett, Paul Kidby

Series: Discworld #27


The prose felt a lot rougher than is usual for a Discworld book, and although I found it interesting, I wasn't sure how I'd rate it. It just felt so superficial. The way everything was wrapped up in the end was cute, though, so I'm giving it three stars.

The Gunslinger by Stephen King (audiobook)

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower I) - Stephen King, George Guidall

Series: The Dark Tower #1


I think this is a popular series but this first book really didn't work for me. It started to go downhill when the Gunslinger gets together with Alice. I'm not particularly intrigued by the mystery of the tower and the man in black seemed to just be spouting gobblygook when he was talking about the mysteries of the universe. I also definitely wasn't impressed that the last standoff consisted of sitting around the campfire and chatting. The writing and characterization felt sloppy and the fantasy setting didn't strike me as all that original, especially with the blatant misogyny slathered all over the place. I won't be continuing this series. I should note that the narration for the audiobook was pretty good, however.


Previous updates:

12 % (This is where things started going downhill)

Penric and the Shaman by Lois McMaster Bujold (audiobook)

Penric and the Shaman - Grover Gardner, Lois McMaster Bujold

Series: Penric and Desdemona #2


I fully admit that I probably wasn't paying enough attention to this audiobook but I just couldn't get into it and it felt like not much happened. This novella is set four years after Penric first gets his demon and he's already gone through all his training as a divine.

Reading progress update: I've listened 51 out of 440 minutes.

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower I) - Stephen King, George Guidall

So this was going pretty well until we stumbled into some serious slut-shaming. Why do you hate women, gunslinger?


This probably dropped a star because of that (the line about regaining her maidenhood if not her head).

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (audiobook)

Every Heart a Doorway - Seanan McGuire, Cynthia Hopkins

Series: Wayward Children #1


I probably should have know better than to try another book by Seanan McGuire, but this was available at my library so I figured I'd give it a shot.


This wasn't the book for me. It started out with an interesting concept (kids travel to weird worlds and then back to the boring old real world), but the whole thing just fell flat for me. Part of it may have been the delivery of the audiobook, which may represent Nancy's style well but did not make for riveting listening. Overall I just found the concerns to be just too YA for me (high school aged kids acting like high school aged kids) and the dénouement to be a little too telegraphed. Oh and all the talk about high logic vs nonsense directions was tedious.


Lots of people loved it; it just wasn't for me. Maybe I should have abandoned it.

Penric's Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold (audiobook)

Penric's Demon - Lois McMaster Bujold, Grover Gardner

Series: Penric & Desdemona #1


I stumbled across this while looking for more audiobooks at the library because none of my audio holds were available. It was short so I figured I'd give it a shot.


It turned out to be a cute novella about how a nineteen year old boy on his way to his betrothal lands himself a demon and thus becomes a sorcerer (which leads the girl in question to break things off). Now, Penric was a bit of nitwit at times but he managed to not be too annoying, so I enjoyed my introduction to his story, and I think I'll continue with it because my library has the others. Desdemona is the name he gives his demon, which is apparently an odd thing to do.


Penric is rather young but he knows awfully little about how his world functions because he's basically clueless about demons. I'm not sure whether that was just because he was young, lived in a bit of a backwater, or what. I guess I'll see if the other books elaborate at all.

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky (audiobook)

Children of Time - Adrian Tchaikovsky, Mel Hudson

This book is still unadulterated awesome the third time through (second time by audio).


I love how it came down to the acceptance of the other through empathy and I love the alien spider mentality. Also, Holsten's mini-breakdowns were plausible and really fun to read.


Seriously, it's unadulterated awesome. Intelligent spiders in space battling the last humans for the control of the only habitable planet around. Guess who wins? You'll love the answer. I know I do. Plus it's a fun ride and at one point we have a decanted subculture running around on a sleeper ship. The spiders even have crazy biotech and literal ant computers (sort of like Hex).


I especially love how the spiders manage to out-humanity humanity.

(show spoiler)

Asking for it by Kate Harding

Asking for It: Slut-shaming, Victim-blaming, and How We Can Change America's Rape Culture - Kate Harding

I mentioned before that I didn't remember how I stumbled across this book, although it may have been in the context of Faking It by Lux Alptraum. Not sure.


Anyway, I'm glad I picked this up because although the subject matter is pretty weighty and the cases discussed can be rather depressing, the author's approach and humour made this a mostly interesting read that was also quotable. I did find the early portion of the book a bit more interesting that the later portions where more cases got discussed, but overall it was good. I'm always on the lookout for ways to express my frustration at situations where I'd otherwise just be left sputtering with rage...


Now here's the part where I list all my previous updates so I can find quotes later:

201 of 222 pages (Social Justice Warrior)

147 of 222 pages (Fox News has trolling Liberals in its mission statement)

146 of 222 pages (drunkenness doesn't give you licence to perform criminal acts)

38 of 222 pages (we shouldn't be telling women to do anything)

36 of 222 pages (the invisible hand of rape)

32 of 222 pages (kangaroo turds and a security expert on remembering bad information)

Diwali shelfies and packing

Due to popular request, I will be posting the packing and unpacking of my shelves for my move.


Because I'm going to posting lots of pictures, I figured I'd put this in a new post, with a link both to and from the original.


The pictures came out kind of blurry, sorry, but here we have the "before" pictures:

Living room books

(my mostly double-shelved living room books)


(top books from office/book room)


(lower books from office/book room)


So far I've managed to pack most of the books from the office (there's still about a shelf to go) but haven't touched the living room books yet.


(First set of boxes)


(And yet more boxes)


This post will be updated as my packing progresses...

Door 4 - Diwali (November 7th)

Total points: 3

Task 2:  Cleaning is a big part of this holiday; choose one of your shelves, real or virtual, and tidy / organise it.  Give us the before and after photos.  OR Tidy up 5 of the books on your BookLikes shelves by adding the CORRECT cover, and/or any other missing information. (If in doubt, see here: [insert link to MbD’s how-to post from earlier this year.]]

I've taken pictures of the "before" shelves and the boxes so far, although I think I still have a box's worth lying around. Oh, plus the living room books. I'm not sure whether I should do a slow reveal and start posting pictures now or wait till I can actually post pictures of the unpacked books...


Update: I've created a post to chronicle my packing and unpacking (of my books, naturally).


Task 4: During Diwali, people pray to the goddess Lakhshmi, who is typically depicted as a beautiful young woman holding a lotus flower. Find 5 books on your shelves (either physical or virtual) whose covers show a young woman holding a flower and share their cover images.


Considering what I normally read, this one was really hard for me. I stretch the definition of "holding a flower" to having a tattoo of a flower, wearing a crown of flowers, and possibly holding a flower in one's mouth? Not sure about that last one, but my only other option was a cover of The Color Purple that had flowers on it.



 Kushiel's Chosen - Jacqueline Carey    Uprooted - Naomi Novik  Mrs. Zant and the Ghost - Wilkie Collins,Gillian Anderson  Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein,Lucy Gaskell,Morven Christie Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood  






Reading progress update: I've read 201 out of 222 pages.

Asking for It: Slut-shaming, Victim-blaming, and How We Can Change America's Rape Culture - Kate Harding

"'Social Justice Warrior' is a term whose pejorative use perplexes me," writes Andrew Todd, "because aside from the source of its invention, it sounds like a really badass thing to be. I'd much rather label myself a Social Justice Warrior than a warrior for...whatever it is that these people are warriors for."


I'm with Andrew Todd on this one.

Reading progress update: I've listened 23 out of 990 minutes.

Children of Time - Adrian Tchaikovsky, Mel Hudson

Avrana Kearn is so self-centred and arrogant it's awesome...

Reading progress update: I've read 147 out of 222 pages.

Asking for It: Slut-shaming, Victim-blaming, and How We Can Change America's Rape Culture - Kate Harding

And again, because of the "trolling liberals" comment...


But rape myths, combined with a feigned objectivity New York University media scholar Jay Rosen calls "the View from Nowhere," create a media atmosphere in which every remark about rape must be "balanced" by its most extreme possible counterpart. Fox News may have "trolling liberals" in its mission statement, but mainstream and even expressly left-wing outlets sometimes seem afraid that if they take any obvious position on rape—including "it's bad"—without airing a counterargument, they'll be accused of an ethical lapse.

Reading progress update: I've read 146 out of 222 pages.

Asking for It: Slut-shaming, Victim-blaming, and How We Can Change America's Rape Culture - Kate Harding

It's been a while since I've posted a quote.


The reason feminists "go berserk" when people like Frezza, Tantaros, and Powers talk about young women's "personal responsibility" vis-à-vis frat parties and rape is simple: rape is a crime. No one, of any gender, is legally allowed to rape someone else while drunk—just as no one's allowed to drive a car, beat someone up, steal money, destroy property, or commit fraud while drunk. It is everyone's responsibility to remain on the side of not committing crimes while drinking. Women and men are held to exactly the same standard in that respect.


But no, victims are not typically held to the same standard as criminals. Our legal system does not (technically) require victims to make only impeccable life decisions or else forfeit their right to protection under the law. If a frat boy gets plastered, wanders into the street, and gets hit by a drunk driver, the driver is the criminal. If a businessman overindulges at happy hour and insults an equally loaded person who decides to punch said businessman in the face, the punch thrower is the criminal. If two people drink the exact same amount of alcohol and do the exact same amount of the exact same drug, and then one murders the other the killer is the criminal, and the dead person is the victim. See how this works?


Likewise, if two people get equally fucked up, and then one rapes the other, the rapist is the criminal. Even if the person who got raped was flirting, even if she went into a bedroom with the rapist, even if her friends told her she should probably go to bed an hour before it happened, and she told them to piss off and ordered shots. The person who got raped is the victim. Period.


And what the hell, I'll add the quote that led up to this passage from previous page.


Let's hear what the panelists on Fox News's Outnumbered, a show that pits one hapless man against four women, had to say.


"Where's the personal responsibility for both sides?" asks Andrea Tantaros. "Really! If we say personal responsibility for women, the feminists go berserk!" Adopting a mocking tone, she continues, "They're like, 'No, we should be able to wear whatever we want, and drink as much as we want, and pass out in the streets."


Well, yes, actually we should be able to do all that. Passing out in the street is never the ideal outcome of a night on the town, and I hope anyone doing that will get a stern but loving talking-to from people who care about their well-being. But there is no Bad Personal Choices threshold past which someone deserves to be raped, let alone one past which rape is not a criminal act.

Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley (audiobook)

Speaking from Among the Bones - Alan Bradley, Jayne Entwistle

Series: Flavia de Luce #5


Another Flavia novel wherein Flavia does things that interfere with the investigation that would be very annoying in someone who wasn't eleven. Maybe more mystery authors with amateur sleuths should make them children.


Anyway, they're planning to open a saint's tomb but when they do they discover a dead body....and so Flavia investigates.



Reading progress update: I've read 38 out of 222 pages.

Asking for It: Slut-shaming, Victim-blaming, and How We Can Change America's Rape Culture - Kate Harding

In March 2013, the writer, political analyst, and rape survivor Zerlina Maxwell appeared on Fox's The Sean Hannity Show to argue against encouraging women to arm themselves in anticipation of encountering a rapist. ... Asked what we should be telling women about rape prevention, if not "Carry a gun," Maxwell replied, "I don't think we should be telling women anything. I think we should be telling men not to rape women and start the conversation there for prevention.... You're talking about it as if there's some faceless, nameless criminal, when a lot of time it's someone that you know and trust."

Well. From the reaction those remarks got, you'd think she'd said, "We should castrate every male baby, and start there for prevention."


That's the problem, really. Sensible statements get rephrased as man-hating in other peoples' heads.