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Wednesday Reading, February 2015 - Sauntering Vaguely Downward [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Wednesday Reading, February 2015 [20150211|08:27]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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[the weather today is |refreshed]

Does anyone else remember those closed-membership LJ communities where you had to post lists of your favourite things (books, films, etc) and then be judged by the members in order to be admitted? You know, those glorified “intellectual” popularity contests that those who've been judged similarly on, say, their looks or their taste in clothing or their preference in romantic partners should probably loathe on principle?

I remember starting to painstakingly assemble a list to apply for admission to a book community that I watched in order to pick up recommendations. And then I thought to myself, “Wait. I’m a scientist. I don’t read or review literary fiction or non-fiction for a living. I read books and watch films for pleasure, and I enjoy the authors I’ve either discovered for myself or found through friends or internet reviews. Do I really need to be judged inadequate and unworthy by a bunch of people who are getting their kicks out of telling others that their tastes are pedestrian and vulgar because they happen to actually like the required reading from their high school English classes? Or because they’ve never heard of that other Bronte sister? Or because they’d rather pick up a romance novel than, say, a famously impenetrable work, probably by a dead white guy? No. No, I don’t think I do.”

Just Finished
Ben Aaronovitch’s Foxglove Summer. PC (and magician) Peter Grant gets sent out of London to go tromping through the wilds of Herefordshire in a smelly 4x4 borrowed from a gay copper’s farmer boyfriend, looking for some missing children. Highly enjoyable, although I’ve already forgotten most of the details. Full of funny little nods to pop culture, including my absolute favourite, in which famous lines from Aliens are transported back to 1939: ”’Nightingale was against it from the start, said we should send in the RAF and bomb the camp from altitude. He said it was the only way to be sure.’ He gave me a puzzled look. ‘Did I say something funny?’”. A+ would read again with pleasure.

In Progress
Miriam Darlington’s Otter Country. This was a Christmas present from 2013, embarrassingly (see: 2014: the lost year). The title is not deceptive and there are indeed many otters involved. I find myself internally rolling my eyes a lot as I’m reading it, though. I’m enjoying the factual tidbits about otter habits and otter population fluctuation in the UK and otter conservation, but the florid, breathless style of the narrator when she goes on about her otter-finding quest exasperates me.

Up next
I’m not sure. Michael Ondaatje’s The Cat’s Table was going to be next but I may have temporarily had my fill of flowery poetical styles once I reach the end of Otter Country. I might go back to sci-fi for a bit.

This entry was originally posted at http://nanila.dreamwidth.org/963070.html. The titration count is at comment count unavailable.0 pKa.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: cmcmck
2015-02-11 08:48 (UTC)
This may be why although I do write nonfic for a living, review history publications and occasionally get poetry published, I don't belong to groups of that sort although I have a fair number of fic and other writers on my flist and will discuss stuff with them on their blogs happily enough.

I like to invite people in to what I do and I like to see what they think.

And I'll continue to read what I read whatever others may think and I'm glad to know you do the same. :o)
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2015-02-11 22:06 (UTC)
\o/ Hurrah for reading what we like!
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[User Picture]From: imyril
2015-02-11 17:58 (UTC)
I may be spluttering with laughter at the quote :)

For equally entertaining non-poetic fun, I recommend The Rook, in which a woman wakes up in a park with no memory - and surrounded by dead bodies. Then finds a note from herself in her pocket, telling her she's a member of Magic MI5, and that someone is trying to kill her. So she'd better figure it out, before they try again.

There are half a dozen reasons why I liked it a lot, but I think mostly it was just so refreshing for this sort of novel to have a female protagonist (and several great female sidekicks) and not to be mostly about vampire/werewolf sechsytimes.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2015-02-11 21:57 (UTC)
Okay, I think that just went to the top of the post-otter reading list. Must acquire dead tree edition post-haste.
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[User Picture]From: mysterysquid
2015-02-13 09:09 (UTC)
Ew, those sort of groups always bugged me.

Must read the rest of the Aaronovich books.

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[User Picture]From: nanila
2015-02-13 13:00 (UTC)
I used to get super-uncomfortable when I saw people I liked promoting them. :/

Yes! I'm looking forward to catching up on Broken Homes.
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