labellementeuse: britta from Community with a paintgun (community britta with a paint gun)
I went to see Iron Man 3 with my Marvel posse at the midnight premiere. I'll see it again, but when I did this with Batman my thoughts changed really dramatically from the first viewing to the second viewing, so I wanted to get some of it down on electrons. For other aspects, I recommend you to this post on Tony, Pepper, and keeping tension in established relationships, which I really liked.

'ware spoilers )
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead, is a middle-grade novel that is yet another reminder of the fact that some of the most beautiful and precisely elegant writing being done today is being done for children and young adults. Children do not tolerate wasteful writing and, like Bloomability, Bridge To Terabithia, The World Around the Corner and The Giver before it, When You Reach Me is a perfect example of how this leads to writing that is not merely nice or thoughtful but refined and artful.

It is 1978. Miranda is 12 years old. She lives with her mom in New York. Her favourite book is A Wrinkle In Time and her best friend just stopped speaking to her. Then Miranda starts getting notes from the future. When You Reach Me is the letter Miranda writes back.

excerpt under the cut )

Read this book - another addition to my list of great middle-grade novels. I don't even want to be a writer, but if I could write like Stead, I think I would.

Wolf Hall

Aug. 5th, 2010 10:11 pm
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (and she's buying a)
So I finally finished reading Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel, which I have been working on on and off since the beginning of this year. I really struggled with it, and I think at some point I'm going to work up a post to articulate why, but here are the Cliffs Notes:

- I found this book incredibly absorbing but incredibly alienating.

- I think this is because the conceit of the book - a close third person, with a POV character who seems to think entirely in metaphors and memories - is so overly clever that I'm tempted to call it conceited. (Ha ha.)

- Like, sometimes it's beautiful, and I think from a characterisation perspective this book is incredible. Not, perhaps, easy, but challenging and rousing. It woke me up, that's for sure. The point of view made me feel like I knew the people around Cromwell as well as he did, no more and no less, and I think that's pretty cool.

- And then, other times, you get half-way through the book and minor spoilers ) My point here is that there's challenging, and then there's opaque, and I think this sometimes went to opaque. And to be honest I think that's a flaw. Or rather, I think that I think it's a flaw. There's a concept we talked about in a paper last year that I didn't understand until now, and I wish I could remember the specific words, but it was a famous dude literary theorist who had a word for writing that isn't comprehensible. At the time I didn't get to grips with this idea at all - I could only compare it to the unreliable narrator, and the prof said that that wasn't it (but couldn't give any specific examples.) However, maybe, if I'm remembering it right, this book fits the bill in some wise.

- and then on the other hand I sort of am anti the idea of reading - surface-level reading - being a process of decoding. I don't think writing should be laboured. Perhaps this is because when I studied literature I looked at it in the context of the period it was written in and its implied sociopolitical meanings, not really at the content of the books, so much. But I don't think that's it.

- Maybe I was just offended because I'm a pretty good reader and I found parts of this mass-market fiction trade paperback to be as difficult as any fiction I've read, and more difficult than not a few academic papers. (And saying that, I don't even have this dilemma about academic papers: I'm willing to concede that there are multiple purposes for fiction, but the purposes of non-fiction writing is to be understood, and if you can't do that, you shouldn't.) So, well, I don't know! I don't know how I feel about it. We'll let it percolate for awhile, shall we?

- To get over it, today I read the last two volumes of Scott Pilgrim (AWESOME, and now I'm fully prepped for the movie which also looks awesome) and started in on Homeland, which is short stories by Barbara Kingsolver. Kingsolver is one of my favourite novelists and earlier this year I read Prodigal Summer, the last novel of hers that I hadn't read, so I was planning on saving it for when I was really down. However, book group's theme this month is short stories, so there you go. I am enjoying them so far, but a lot of them, I must say, do feel like out-takes from her novels. But then, perhaps that's what I was looking for! They aren't like The Poisonwood Bible, so that's a relief.

- Also I saw my sister in her school musical and she was frigging rocking! She was the lead and unfortunately had strep throat but she did pretty well considering. (They did Brigadoon, a musical I had never heard of & tbqh I probably won't rush out and download it, but one of its strengths was that it was set in Scotland, so they all did dreadful Scottish accents (except for three people who did AMERICAN accents which were EVEN FUNNIER.) Worth the price of admission!
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (geek chic(k))
So everyone's seen those 20/30 days of vids/tv shows/fanfiction/whatever memes going around, and I really like them because I like to rec and I like to read other people's recs but I rarely do it without some kind of structure/being forced. So I like that. On the other hand, the chances of me being able to post 20 times in a month are slim to none. Plus, I figure I'd get boring. So I'm going to do my version three at a time, which is one week, and if it takes two weeks then so be it. Also, I'm doing the vidding one, because vids are cool. I figure three vids is about as many as I can expect my random flistie to watch in one day.

Preliminary Notes:
- I really like multifandom vids. Like, really. Half of the vids I plan on reccing are multifandom, so if you don't like those, steer clear.
- The recs are going to be, obviously, skewed towards fandoms I'm in at the moment. I tried for a bit of range, but you're going to see a lot of Jossverse vids, partly because I'm watching Buffy really heavily at the moment, and partly because I have probably read three or four BTVS fics that I enjoyed, but the good vids seem to come one after the other. There are a couple of fandoms that I think have fabulous vids that are notably missing: Battlestar Galactica, Stargate: Atlantis, and Doctor Who. Yeah, IDEK what's going on there, but I'm in a Jossverse place so I'm just going with it. Supernatural gets a little work-out, too.
- I really like political and meta vids, so there's going to be some of that.

Day 1: A vid that made you start watching a brand-new show

Channel Hopping, by [ profile] ash48, and Channel Surfing, by [ profile] ash48 and [ profile] maichan808.
Supernatural; humour; gen; spoilers throughout but not specially significant post-season 4; violence, gore, horror, 90s television.
read on )

Day Two: A male character study vid you love

Jesus Walks, by [personal profile] mimesere, sadly presently only available on youtube.
Angel: The Series; Charles Gunn; spoilers throughout; violence, language.
and so on )

Day Three - A female character study vid you love
I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker, by [personal profile] kuwdora.
Stargate: SG-1; Doctor/Captain/Major/Lt. Colonel/Colonel Samantha Carter, in multiple universes; spoilers throughout; explosions.
Saaaaam )
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (let me define seven wishes)
Karen Healey's brand new shiny novel Guardian of the Dead is the 29th book that I have read this year, and the first I have felt compelled to post about. This may be because I read a very early draft of this novel and because I think [personal profile] karenhealey is aces... but I don't think that's it. I think it's because this is a wonderful book that caters pitch-perfectly to all of my favourite things - but will also be loved by people whose reasons for loving this novel aren't quite so narrow.

Guardian of the Dead (Allen & Unwin, 2010; Little, Brown have it in the States) is a YA novel. It is urban fantasy. And it is set emphatically in New Zealand - in parts of New Zealand, as it happens, which I know very well, as well as in some parts I don't. And it draws on New Zealand and Māori mythology. These things all make it a bullet-proof book for me - in fact, when I was asked recently what my dream book would be to publish, I said 'Oh, Allen & Unwin are already doing it. It's my friend Karen's book.'

This is not a book that apologetically borrows from Western fairies and fantasy traditions (although it does draw from Western myth). It is not set in Europe, or an alternative Europe. It is not set in an alternative New Zealand that just so happens not to have any Māori in it. This is a book that slots right into a small box in my head hitherto containing only Gaelyn Gordon's Stonelight and Mindfire, and the collected works of Margaret Mahy - fantasy that is steeped in New Zealandness, fantasy that could not have been written anywhere else, with a modern sensibility and terrifically drawn women and girls.

Under the cut is my second-favourite passage in the book. It comes relatively late in the piece, right at the beginning of part two, and therefore might be considered to be spoilerific. (My favourite passage is DEFINITELY spoilery and really you need to have read the whole book to get it.) At any rate. Read more... )

So yeah, I think that's pretty fabulous. I urge you to read this book. Wellingtonians, I know it's at Whitcoulls Lambton Quay and the Children's Bookshop, not sure about Unity &c.
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
Bic Runga: Birds

This is just a preliminary reviewish thinky thing, so don’t take it too seriously, okey dokey? And a quick recommendation: like so much of Bic’s opus, this albums is best listened to in silence and turned up quite loud, so you can hear everything, at least for the first hearing or so. Um, this will contain spoilers for Birds, if you, you know, believe in spoilers for music. I know I prefer to listen to an album firsthand before reading reviews and things so… Anyway, first I’ll blether for a bit about the album as a whole, and then I’ll go through it track by track and say something about each of them. Okay? Okay.

Disclaimer: All the lyrics quoted here from Birds come directly from my own hearing, as there’s no lyric resource around; if you’re hearing it differently do mention it. Lyrics quoted from Beautiful Collision and Drive come from All the lyrics quoted herein are the property of Bic Runga: go out and buy the CD, it’s really worth it. I LOVE it.

here goes! )


labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
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