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specifically, yes I'm on instagram, and there's this whole...aesthetic that is not specific to that, but I see it most highly concentrated there, where the reigning design choice seems to be extremely textured, tons of "whitespace", an empty ~inspirational~ quote that is as connected to anything concrete as an escaped party balloon in the wild blue yonder.

Layers and layers of paper and worse, thicker materials, separated by those little styrofoam or rubber dots to give it "volume" and "pop" it even further out so every page is 3 inches thick - it's a book, it's not going to lay flat, even very sturdy 120lb paper will buckle unpleasantly eventually, even when stored upright. Ugly fringes, relying on someone else's produced scrapbooking paper to fill the page, using those premade stickers that are cute but they're so generic. Colour just flung on the page - how much pastel explosion is enough? And the only text on the page being stupid quotes. Oh my god having just vented all that I think I've realized what the core problem is - scrapbooking takes a long time and it's supposed to be a way to record moments you want to remember. So instead of using your own words and your own designs and your own colours and your own thoughts let's just slap on stuff bought from stores! I know I'm very text focused but that and your own photos probably are the strongest captures of memory and by just putting stupid things like ~live love laugh~ and its equivalent all over your expensive book all you've just done is stuff your personal moments into someone else's constructed little cage. With an average of 5 words per page, those photos better be pretty good at representation of that memory.

And FINALLY I'm starting to get frankly fed up with the ultra hyper feminine designs - everything, actually. I like polka dot, pastels, stripes, bows, lace, glitter, pretty much the whole nine yards, but trying to look at instagram and bloggers is like being slapped in the face with an extremely narrow - I don't know how to describe it, but idealized 1950's proscribed lifestyle/culture/everything. It's full of that pastel/flowery aesthetic and it's all lifestyle bloggers about their two perfect children and stay-at-home life and there's nothing inherently wrong with that but WHY IS IT EVERY SINGLE BLOG?

Crosspost: https://silverflight8.dreamwidth.org/181856.html.


Ancillary Justice: Anne Leckie

Help help these books omg.

It's space opera with the main character a space ship's AI, a cog in the machine for a massive, ever-expanding galactic empire, except this is now the last annexation. The AIs use humans that have been harvested for use as ancillaries, bodies to carry out tasks. It is probably the best SF novel I've read all year, and it plays with a lot of interesting concepts.

(NOTE: I read them all the way back in August, wrote most of this in September, and have posted it now. I think there are things I didn't get around to writing about, but this covers a lot of it. And I'm still catching up on book reviewing, eek.)

spoilers all the way up to Ancillary MercyCollapse )

I really, really liked these novels. I thought they were a finished trilogy too, but I hear rumours they aren't? Certainly they're not wrapped up.

Crosspost: https://silverflight8.dreamwidth.org/181542.html.

Thor: Ragnorak!

Last book read for bookclub wasn't that great either. I feel like all I do is froth at the mouth about bad books, but I HAVE read good ones this year - I still have this massive thing half-written-up for Ancillary Justice, and I'm currently reading SPQR which I really like! Though I have to say, I never have done much reading into Classics so what I really also need is a very broad, very basic chronology with years in BCE to help. And a index of names and what they are most known for.

I also saw Thor: Ragnorak today! I really enjoyed it - more than I expected. I like the MCU generally, and of all the strands of MCU I like Thor the best. I like all of them, except Spider-Man which I've never seen, but I like Thor the best.

Spoilers!Collapse )

More to come but basically if I'm not posting them a few days after I start writing, posts don't get posted. D:

Crosspost: https://silverflight8.dreamwidth.org/181437.html.

Walden/On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

I considered writing a review of Walden and On The Duty of Civil Disobedience by Thoreau, but I've decided I'm just going to link this: Pond Scum, by Katheryn Schulz, who says it far more eloquently than I do.

But I struggled (and snarled) through it, so I'll say it as succinctly as I can: what a hypocritical, narcissistic, uncharitable and self-righteous worm. How dare you preach from above what you don't even adhere to (hungry, so walk to your mother's place half mile down the road?) How could you even dredge up the self-importance to say humanity's life is meaningless and worthless when you refuse to even live among people, to learn anything about humanity and civilization? How self-absorbed can you be to think living without a doormat makes you more "pure"? Did you lose your empathy, to say "I have tried [Doing-good] fairly, and, strange as it may seem, am satisfied that it does not agree with my constitution", and feel proud of putting those words down?

You idolize subsistence farming because you never had to live it; you don't put manure down because you only expect to plant and harvest once. You look down on young people who have to go off to make their fortunes before they can "go up to the garret to write their poetry", because you're so myopic you can't understand not only poverty, but not even the whole class of people who have to make a living. You draw out sums that feed a single man in good health in good weather who owns his own property, but since everyone else is deaf and blind to all the truths you see, surely this is enough for all other lives and families. And there isn't even internal consistency! Is having an editor also impure, Thoreau?

P.S. a hundred Romantic poets, novelists, and essayists did nature writing better.

Crosspost: https://silverflight8.dreamwidth.org/181170.html.


So I am grumpy tonight, but man, Every Heart A Doorway. I should have a tag that simultaneously expresses my love for libraries and annoyance: #backtothelibrarybin #wouldhavethrownagainstwall #exceptlibrarybook #nextreaderbeware #wouldveburnt #exceptlibrarybook

(camelcase, what's camelcase? it doesn't look as good, ok)

Crosspost: https://silverflight8.dreamwidth.org/180977.html.

Every Heart a Doorway: Seanan McGuire

OH BOY this book.

I read it for book club and then I managed to miss book club (it was Monday! On Tuesday, I looked at my email again....) and I have feelings about it. And by feelings, I mean I pretty much hated it by the end.

The book's premise is that it's set at a boarding school for the children who have gone through the portals of Fantasyland and then been spat back out. The way the Pensevie children grow up, become kings and queens, and then tumble back out of the wardrobe as children again - that's always been a bit of a weird cognitive dissonance for me, because while on one hand, it's great for the story for them to achieve those prophecies and rule a great kingdom and all. On the other hand, I can't imagine going an adult right back to a child and not having major issues. If right now I went back to being eight, keeping those memories, I'd be so messed up! And I don't even rule a kingdom.

The story's told through the perspective of a newly-returned girl, who went to a kingdom of the dead. Silent, unmoving, black. Six months pass in the real world, but much longer in the other world, and she's unsurprisingly pretty different when she comes back. Her parents, concerned, send her to Miss Eleanor West's boarding school.

Reader, I did not enjoy this. Also, I'm spoiling the end of the book. It was bad. How did this win a Hugo?!Collapse )

3/10 because I also read Walden this year. Walden deserves 0/10, possibly lower than that. But yeah. I did not like this, do not recommend. You want portal fantasy? Don't even bother.

ETA: I just made myself mad by reading reviews. You know what a resilient heroine looks like for kids who were weird and didn't fit in? Growing up, trying, sometimes failing, making a space for themselves. NOT AN ENDING WHERE BAM, PERFECT WORLD DROPPED IN THEIR LAP! What an utterly stupid statement. What's emotional payoff, what's character arc, what's "creating a gothic world" (haha except no because we see none of it)? Argh!

Crosspost: https://silverflight8.dreamwidth.org/180606.html.

omg yuletide!

oh wow, assignments are already out! But signups only just closed!


Crosspost: https://silverflight8.dreamwidth.org/180433.html.


dear yuletide writer!

Hi writer!

Apologies for the lateness of this!

Thanks for offering these fandoms. I'm super excited to see what you come up with! I love them all and want so much fic, you don't even know!

More general things:

I like action/adventure stories, casefic, continued adventures of so and so, missing scenes, stories that expand the worldbuilding. I love alternate history and history in general, fantasy and magical systems. Love longfic, will not freak out at big word counts. I'm not a fan of grimdark and depressing stories - not to say that you can't have serious issues, but I don't enjoy stores that conflate constant violence and despair with verisimilitude. I'm also not a fan of lectures. I absolutely love worldbuilding, so in terms of AU I like the kind where the plot takes a different direction, rather than mundane world AUs!

HOWEVER. I read stuff that I don't expect to like and oops, actually I did. So if my prompts don't work for you, and you have that burning story, go for it!

Fandom specific things:
Down the Long Wind - Gillian Bradshaw, Shades of Grey - Jasper Fforde, The Seventh Tower - Garth Nix, Georgina Kincaid - Richelle MeadCollapse )


Invisible Library: Genevieve Cogman

I really wanted to like this book. It's about the Library, which is an organization set apart in time and space, which agents that go out into various alternate universes to retrieve books. Sometimes undercover, sometimes timetravelling. Irene is suddenly sent out to retrieve a dangerous item, accompanied by a rookie agent she's never met.

One thing any Librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction...

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it's already been stolen.

London's underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do, a problem compounded by the fact that this world is chaos-infested—the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic to run rampant. To make matters worse, Kai is hiding something—secrets that could be just as volatile as the chaos-filled world itself.

Now Irene is caught in a puzzling web of deadly danger, conflicting clues, and sinister secret societies. And failure is not an option—because it isn’t just Irene’s reputation at stake, it’s the nature of reality itself...

(from Amazon's blurb)

But oh my god, I think my doneness with steampunk is getting to me.Collapse )

Crosspost: http://silverflight8.dreamwidth.org/180068.html.

in which she rates random things

9/10: I joined a book club (women read fantasy!) and so far I've really enjoyed it. I don't know why I didn't try finding one earlier! I used meetup.com. We read fantasy with the stipulation that the main character is a woman (female authors preferred but not necessary), and the book club members tend to prefer high fantasy, I think. Though I've disliked 2/3 of the books we've read so far - the last was Michelle Sagara's Cast in Shadow. That one was not a good book. Though I have to say, it's not completely terrible that the books are bad - it's fun to rip into them anyway. And there's good discussion when half the readers like the book and half don't.

Cast in ShadowCollapse )

8/10 Wonder Woman. There was bits where I was like "WWI DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY" but it's a superhero movie and a power fantasy, and anyway, all the superheros are a fantasy that one person can cut through intractable massive problems. I didn't realize I wanted this movie so bad until I saw it. Oh my god. It wasn't perfect but I loved it.

this got a bit longCollapse )

5/10 mango mousse cake. Batter not beat properly, lil lumps in the mousse. The mango bit was only a thin layer on top. Needs more mango. Still, better than nothing.

8/10 on Sound of Music (half way through). Uh, I discovered that Windows 10 cannot natively play DVD. WTF. I mean, I should have downloaded VLC from the start but really?

It's like consuming a capsule of pop culture references. If for nothing else I'd have liked the movie. I didn't know sixteen going on seventeen is a song! Kind of cute near the end seventeen-going-on-eighteen but not a huge fan. More to come.

3/10 ingress life at present. Six - count them, six - enemy agents came up in probably a car and smashed the whole of my farm while I was out at dinner, and now I'm sad. I'll go out and repair it in a bit. It was so nicely built up, dammit! I am slightly proud it takes so many to take out my stuff though. Sadly, it means I have to be careful for a bit about gear, because I won't have a base to farm stuff from, but it'll build up OK. We will rebuild!

Crosspost: http://silverflight8.dreamwidth.org/179748.html.



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