athousandwinds: (I <3 books)
I was watching the second episode of Crooked House (the Christmas haunted house drama by Mark Gatiss, not a hitherto unknown adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel) and while it wasn't terribly scary (I only screamed once, and I'm incredibly squeamish about horror), it made me think.

Is it just me, or is there a trope with regard to upper-class men in costume dramas dealing with the first half of the twentieth-century? One of them's going to be gay. At least. (Particularly if we're talking Edwardians or the late 1920s.) It can't all be due to Sebastian Flyte and Merchant-Ivory, can it?

N.B. I am not complaining, merely commenting.

Speaking of unexpected gay characters in historical dramas! I was reading Pleasure for Pleasure by Eloisa James and that was probably the best part.

spoilers! )

All in all, it was a good read - better than Kiss Me, Annabel and The Taming of the Duke, which I should also talk about at some point, but I think Much Ado About You is the best of the bunch. But there are no stealth lesbians in Much Ado, which is a great pity.
athousandwinds: (Default)
In case there's anyone who hasn't heard, are stripping the sales figures and rankings from books deemed "adult". This applies to erotica and romance novels, but also to books dealing with GLBTQ issues even if they're not explicit.

Smart Bitches Trashy Books have set up a googlebomb for Amazon Rank.
athousandwinds: (Default)
So, how long are power cables supposed to last, on average? My first one lasted about a year before fraying and my second one managed three months before breaking...somehow. (Loose connection? Power surge? No idea.) I've got a new one, I'm just curious as to how long I can expect to have with it before shelling out for my fourth.

In other news, I've been reading Catherine Cookson novels. Pop culture has lied to me, the heroines aren't all innocent virgins. I've read three and of those one was in a bigamous marriage, one was engaged and one is pregnant out of wedlock (and not by the hero. I haven't finished it yet, so I don't know if she miscarries or what). They're about ten times more interesting than your average romance, too. I can see why the lady is popular.
athousandwinds: (ta-ra-ra boom-de-ay)
I just made two Sweeney Todd icons, so, you know, GIP.

I have a whole list of books I need to talk about and I still haven't started my [ profile] 31_days theme exchange fics yet. *bites nails* I'm mostly in that state of frozen panic I always get into the week before exams, when I can't quite bring myself to revise, but if I do anything else I feel horribly guilty.
athousandwinds: (Default)
Hey, [ profile] just_marzipan, you were right. I did like this one better than To the Lighthouse.

I have a problem with Woolf, in that I can see when her novels are being technically brilliant and while I admire it greatly, I have not the slightest interest in reading it. I tend to pick on one or two characters, eventually decide that I like them, and end up waiting more or less politely for the novel to get back to them.

In the case of Mrs Dalloway, I liked Septimus and Rezia Warren Smith, I liked Richard Dalloway (and more often than not Clarissa Dalloway herself) and every single other character left me cold. Peter Walsh I actively hated. Miss Kilman made me cringe. Do I get thrown off my English Lit course now?

(Actually, I really loved Septimus Warren Smith. His crumbling sanity was portrayed beautifully, while still letting him remain sympathetic - and his wife Rezia, tired but still protective and loving - and I think the most brilliantly effective scene is the hope spot at the end, when Septimus is fiercely trying to hold on to what's left of his mind so that he can reconnect with Rezia, and then he hears Dr Holmes coming up the stairs. Chilling and a masterpiece.)
athousandwinds: (icon by undeadgoat)
On the Seas to Troy by Caroline B. Cooney )

Also, it mentioned Medea (the love interest's mother, who's even worse than Helen) and actually made me like Aeneas. I know. But he's rather sweet here, and you end up with a mental image of him swordfighting his enemies while holding a baby Pleisthenes under his other arm. Marvellous.
athousandwinds: (Default)
[ profile] fannish5: List your 5 favorite unrequited love stories.

My favourite unrequited love stories tend to end up requited, because my heart can't take it otherwise. I hate love triangles with a passion. Still, let's see:

1. Dean ----> Emily, Emily of New Moon. So Dean is highly disturbing in just about every respect to a modern reader: he was best friends with her father, he first encounters Emily when she's prepubescent and expresses interest in her straight away, he's controlling and goes out of his way to destroy her career ambitions because he wants all of her attention for himself. Daddy-Long-Legs has nothing on Dean. But I do like Dean, and he has the advantage over Teddy in that he manages a strong presence in all three books. This seems to be a theme in L. M. Montgomery's books: the romantic interest is absent for a while - Montreal for choice - which gives the heroine time to realise she loves him. I think the only series where this works really well is Anne, because Gilbert is only out of Anne's sphere for half of Anne of the Island and gets mentioned in every chapter anyway.

Dean is so sad when Emily breaks the engagement. I think that's it.

2. Sebastian ----> Charles, Brideshead Revisited. This is the part of the novel which interests me most - I can't stand Julia and I don't know why. I don't think I'm alone on the former, since I can remember reading critics who say the novel goes downhill after Sebastian and Charles separate (in all fairness, I suspect that I'm thinking of Christopher Hitchens, who would say that). Sebastian excites all my maternal instincts, that's what.

3. Basil ----> Dorian, The Picture of Dorian Gray. Basil is another character who makes me feel protective. I over-empathise with him, because being in unrequited love is bad enough, but being in unrequited love with someone who won't hesitate to use you and throw you away when they're done is ten times worse.

4. Martha ----> Tenth Doctor, Doctor Who. I'm kind of batshit about this one. I wouldn't necessarily count it as my favourite unrequited love story; I have too many issues with it (some of them to do with race and Rose, some of them with the writing). But I ship it. I ship it platonically, too. (Technically, I do that with all of these, but I'm not above quarrelling about this one.)

5. Brienne ----> Jaime, A Song of Ice and Fire. Brienne! Who's so loyal and kind and stalwart, and Jaime, who's...well, he's loyal. Up to a point. (That point would be when his idol sleeps with Lancel, Ser Osmund and Moon Boy, too, for all he knows.) And Jaime's learning to be kind, sometimes, when he feels like it.

My Book-a-Day project has already fallen behind, so I'm reading two today to make up for it. First, The Romanovs by Oliver Thomson )

I also read The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling )

Today, I watched Dickens's Secret Lover )
athousandwinds: (icon by luna norvegese)
My New Year's Resolution: to read at least one book a day. I'd be fully capable of doing so, were it not for my Internet addiction. Alternatively, to read at least one hundred (new) books this year (as opposed to re-reads). It's for my own good (besides, my core modules require me to read at least one per week).

I made a start by finishing Born to Rule: Granddaughters of Victoria, Queens of Europe by Julia Gelardi. This is non-fiction, following the lives of five of Victoria's granddaughters from the birth of the oldest to the death of the youngest. And love is a thing that can never go wrong/And I am Marie of Roumania )

Happy New Year, everyone!

*uses Edwardian icon*
athousandwinds: (Default)
There's been lots of amusement value so far - like the sight of the Conservative booth at the societies' fayre, with a wide expanse of space around it, as if the other boothes were afraid of disease.

This morning, I did what any self-respecting bibliophile would do when faced with poverty and a delayed student loan: I went and bought £30 worth of books. But they are good books. Two Wodehouse, Soon I Will Be Invincible, and, more responsibly, Paris: The Secret History by Andrew Hussey (which I'll probably need next semester).

I'm in the middle of a music-off, which is where you play your most annoying music at full volume to try and drown out everyone else's annoying music. I'd apologise to the other people in our block, but they came over to use our toilets last night (claiming theirs were blocked), used the toilet paper and rolled it back up again. As I discovered this morning, when I was in a rush to get to a lecture.

Things what I have discovered about Prifysgol Aber apart from the fact that we are awesome:
  • We have more pubs per capita than any other city in Europe

  • We are the only university to ever have been banned from University Challenge. We started a fight with Manchester and got a five-year embargo. So did Manchester, to be fair, but they appealed successfully. I'd be more annoyed, but we won the fight.

  • We're located on the steepest hill since someone thought it would be nice to build a school on the slopes of Everest. ("They have to walk uphill both ways! In the snow!")
athousandwinds: (Default)
A good thing about On the Way to the Wedding: Gregory remains sweet as pie all the way through. He does not succumb to Quinn Jerk Syndrome.

A bad thing about On the Way to the Wedding: Lucy kind of does.

On the Way to the Wedding by Julia Quinn )
athousandwinds: (Default)
No, Amazon. I'm sorry. £50 for a paperback is just not acceptable. I might pay that for a hardback copy of a childhood favourite which is out of print and which I've been tracking for years (or at least I would if I had £50), but not for a romance novel.

(Especially when in-print novels by the same author are going for £3.50, which is still less than the lowest price asked on Marketplace for the book in question. Fuck you with a red-hot poker, Amazon Marketplace.)
athousandwinds: (icon by lady wormtongue)
Romancing Mr Bridgerton is awesome, everyone.

spoilers, I suppose? )

What Julia Quinn novel do you recommend for me to read next? Also, what do you think of Lisa Kleypas? I have Mine Till Midnight and I'm about to start it.
athousandwinds: (icon by prettypictures)
I'm reading Stephanie Laurens's novel On a Wicked Dawn, which promises to be hilariously bad (Smart Bitches review here), and they have thoughtfully printed a family tree of the Bar Cynsters (O HAI I SEE WAT U DID THAR). I have counted no less than three individuals (four if you count the oddly-named Scandal) with soubriquets related to Satan. Devil, Demon and Lucifer (all cousins, by the way, which surely indicates some genetic penchant for drama) will join the hallowed halls shared by Justin Alastair, the Duke of Avon (Satanas), Dominic Alastair, Lord Vidal (Devil's Cub) and Sebastian, Marquess of Dain (Beelzebub). One wonders if the denizens of Regency London ever got confused.

Points for originality go to their cousins Rupert and Bartholomew, however. Rupert is apparently called "Gabriel", which automatically renders his own novel (A Secret Love) ten times more interesting to me. Bartholomew, meanwhile, is just labelled as "Tolly", which gives me hope that he might be a hero in the style of Freddy Standen from Georgette Heyer's Cotillion.

(Freddy Standen? My favourite romance novel hero ever, omg. No one will ever take his place in my heart. Not for Freddy the outlandish gestures, the sneering pleasure at the defloration of a fresh young virgin. Freddy thinks those fellows are most uncouth and would rather pick out curtains or something equally peaceful.)

At some point I will write a post about all the Georgette Heyer novels I have read and how they compare to Cotillion. The answer is (spoiler!) badly. Not because any of them are in the slightest bit boring, I might add. Cotillion is just that good.

In the meantime, I'll talk about the Julia Quinn novels I've read recently.

The Duke and I )

The Viscount Who Loved Me )

When He Was Wicked )

The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever )
athousandwinds: (icon by lady wormtongue)
Three As, English Literature, Classics and History. Thrilled to bits with my coursework marks. :) 92/100 for bitching about Juvenal and 111/120 for hating the latter half of the Bourbon dynasty; I feel vindicated.

(I was going to do the Jennifer Crusie mega-post today, but I'm not in the mood.)

Instead, I'll repost the drabbles from yesterday.

A Treatise on the Protections Available to Kings [Tortall; George, Myles] )

Sunny Afternoons [Legal Drug; Kakei/Saiga] )

And Happily Ever After To You, Too [Thursday Next] )

In Name Only [Sweeney Todd; Mrs Lovett] )

Drabble, anyone? Pick a fandom, any fandom.
athousandwinds: (icon by prettypictures)
Have applied for dole. Am trying to find another job (in catering, damn it).

It occurs to me that I haven't reviewed many books here, though I said I would this summer. And I have been reading! I have!

Spoilers for Loretta Chase's Carsington quartet under the cut )

At some point I will do a Jennifer Crusie mega-post, because I love her to bits.

Drabble, anyone? Pick a fandom I write, any fandom, and I'll write one for you. Or something more specific, if you'd prefer, like a character or group, and I'll do that playlist drabble meme for you.
athousandwinds: (icon by lady wormtongue)
Dear Internet,

You have FAILED ME. It's been a whole WEEK and you have yet to cough up any Alex O'Connell/Mutt fic. What happened to Rule 34, may I ask? I will be speaking to your parental units about this. Am I going to have to write it myself? (NB: This would involve me watching the new film, which would only lead to pain for me all concerned.)

No love,

In other news, I've spent the last few days tidying my bedroom and reshelving my books (yes, it took a few days and it's still not finished. It was...quite untidy to begin with). Apparently, once I've thrown out a lot of books I've never re-read, I have just enough room for all the rest of them. I have two bookcases of three and five shelves each, all double-banked. And this is not taking into consideration the books I'm still prising from the fingers of current and former friends. Bastards, all of them.

What am I going to do when I get to uni? Thank God for e-texts. That's a thing I never thought I'd say.
athousandwinds: (icon by prettypictures)

i. I'm going to uni to get out of the kitchen, aren't I? How did I end up in catering?

ii. Hamlet was awesome, not least because I saw it with [ profile] just_marzipan. *waves* Just to show you how much of a dork I am, I posted about it on the anonmeme the moment I got home.

iii. [ profile] fannish5: What are your five favourite book cover designs or book cover illustrations? Book covers are weirdly important to me, though they're not the be-all and end-all. I was put off reading romance (still am, a bit) because of the horrible, horrible clinch covers. I can't tell you how many fantasy novels I've prevaricated over buying because the covers were so boring and generic.

1. Paul Kidby's anything, but especially Night Watch and Thud! I truly hope Paul Kidby carries out his threat of redesigning the covers of all the Discworld books, because I'd love to see what he makes of them. Terry Pratchett's not had much luck with covers (Josh Kirby's bizarre, weird-looking people, the boring American ones, the even more boring UK black covers) but he's struck gold in Paul Kidby.

2. The Worlds of Chrestomanci covers. They always have a centrepiece, usually Chrestomanci, and around him the world swirls. I don't care for the art so much as the idea behind it, though. And they've been redesigned, too, so now they look horrible and brightly-coloured and boring.

3. I really like the new Georgette Heyer covers. They all have a single unified theme - a painting of Regency women, with cursive handwriting spelling out the title. I suppose they could look a bit alike, and I see how it could get confusing...but they're so classy and neat and clean and it's clear that what you see is what you get.

4. Wicked! I think everyone knows this one - I like it because it takes the run-of-the-mill picture-of-protagonist fantasy novel cover and turns it into something not new, but different. I love the contrast of colours and how it suggests the contrast between Glinda and Elphaba.

5. The Handmaid's Tale. This is creepily effective (I thought I'd have nightmares after seeing it the first time, and I was so glad it wasn't the cover of my copy), and symbolic of the book's major preoccupation (a woman with her mouth sewn shut). That said, look at the latest cover. Yes, they did make The Handmaid's Tale look like your average supermarket quirky romance novel. I know.

athousandwinds: (icon by luna norvegese)
I hate catering. HATE IT.

The worst part is the fact that everyone shoves stuff off on the temp. No, I tell a lie, the worst part is actually that after six hours of washing pots, the supervisor comes up to you and says, "Oh, by the way, I lost your timesheet" and somehow thinks it's funny.

I DID NOT: rip his face off in a fit of rage, screaming, "WILL IT BE SO FUNNY WHEN I KILL YOU, YOU FUCKING BASTARD?"

I DID: say relatively calmly, "Oh. Should I go back to the agency for another copy?"

I hate catering.

But I did read The Painted Veil today! I kept sneaking into the cupboard to read a quick chapter every so often. Now I know how smokers feel. And when I got locked out of the house (I forgot my keys, no one was home), I sat down on the doorstep and read most of the rest of it.

massive spoilers, but they are spoilers of magic )

Now for The Remains of the Day. I really do plan to finish that one sometime.
athousandwinds: (icon by gabbysun)

I'm proposing a group re-read of Diana Wynne Jones's books over at [ profile] dianawynnejones (where else?). Anyone interested? We're currently deciding which book to start with. Any thoughts? Come and join in!

athousandwinds: (icon by gabbysun)
I've decided that for every book/film/telly programme I read/watch this summer, I will write about. Not only will this make me feel better about how much I read (more than I think, apparently), but it will also make sure I update regularly and talk about interesting matters when I do so, which will be an improvement.

That said:

Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett )

Last but not least, The Turtle Moves.


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September 2012



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