delphipsmith: (damnsnow)
It's snowing again still. Argh.
delphipsmith: (ba headdesk)
Because news. Mostly this, but also everything that the Orange Hobgoblin says or does, because it highlights how incredibly incompetent and stupid he is. (Just look at all the tags I've applied to this post -- I couldn't stop, they are my frenzy made visible.)

So instead, I give you the peaceful February view out our back windows yesterday:

(click to embiggen)
delphipsmith: (BA beta)
So I've started roughing out various ideas for my [livejournal.com profile] sshg_giftfest recipient, thinking about the different prompts, how they might be fleshed out, where they might go, how I can work in various elements. And I'm in so much trouble. Because I want to write All The Things. In fact multiple versions of All The Things. Seriously, I have at least seven different stories that are all tugging at my sleeve and whining, "Write me!" "No, write me!!" "Shut up, she's going to write ME!!"

This is a good thing, right? Right??
delphipsmith: (George scream)
Mr Psmith's biggest tarantula, Shelob, molted last week. He asked if I would kindly allow him to pose it on my face. In a moment of insanity (or possibly due to the three glasses of wine I had had), I said yes.

WARNING - BIG SPIDER UNDER CUT! )
delphipsmith: (PIcard face-palm)
...or is there something fundamentally wrong about this bit of end-of-semester marketing?

delphipsmith: (BuffyVlad)
Rereading Gone With the Wind for about the thirteenth time and loving it, as always. However, for the first time I really noticed some of the ages mentioned, and was a bit taken aback. Gerald O'Hara is 43 when he marries Ellen Robillard, who is only 15. Suellen O'Hara's "beau" Frank Kennedy is 40 and she's 14. And Rhett Butler is mentioned as being 30 or 35 at the beginning of the novel and Scarlett is only 16.

For some reason this never struck me before, but even for the 1860s this seems rather a wide age disparity.
delphipsmith: (Cicero books)
Since I've been Old Unreliable lately as far as appearing online (because real life = new house + dog with pewmonia + hosting Thanksgiving + work craziness + friend worries), I'm taking the easy way out and posting reviews of three books I recently read. If anyone else has read these, I'd love to hear what you think. I also recently read JK Rowling's Cuckoo's Calling which I thoroughly enjoyed, but I haven't written a review of it yet. Maybe tomorrow?

The Night SisterThe Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon: This book gave me horrific nightmares twice (twice!) the first night I started reading it. That hasn't happened in ages. The ending was surprisingly melancholy, and though not quite what I expected (I really thought spoiler )) it was apt, and rather touching. The narrative conveniently skips over the question of why in god's name Rose's mother didn't follow up on Rose's stories about Sylvie, given that spoiler ). The answer, of course, is because plot. Nevertheless, this was a fast diverting read, and good enough that I'll try another by her.

DisclaimerDisclaimer by Renée Knight: Intense, gripping, bewildering, startling; this book is like playing with one of those wooden puzzle cubes where it seems like a solid block until you get all the pieces in play in just the right way, and then the whole things falls apart and you see how it all fits together. As with any good suspense novel, the author hides some things from the reader, but she does it so cleverly that you don't notice; she quietly omits a few crucial points or phrases (in one case simply using a pronoun rather than a name), and the reader effortlessly makes certain assumptions without even noticing it and goes merrily on down the completely wrong path. Really beautifully crafted, with unexpected pokes and jabs around every corner that slowly grow into an almighty sucker punch that leaves your mouth hanging open.

Gothic TalesGothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell: Typical gothic tales, with a lot of family mystery/drama. Some interesting plots, but many of the stories felt too drawn out -- "like butter that has been scraped over too much bread." Wordy isn't bad if the words enhance the story and/or the atmosphere, but overall these stories just felt labored. "Lois the Witch" was genuinely painful to read, since you know pretty much from the third paragraph where it's headed yet it takes something like fifty pages to get there.

Karma

8 October 2015 01:33 am
delphipsmith: (busy busy busy)
Having a new house is awesome beyond awesome.
Packing up the old house sucks nuclear weasel penises.
That is all...
delphipsmith: (hobbes_giggle)
Some bright young marketer apparently thought it would be a good idea to have E. L. James, author of the (in)famous Fifty Shades of Grey, do a live Twitter Q&A.

It did not go well.

Here are my favorites:

How does it feel to have actually written a worse love story than Twilight? That is real skill.

If E.L.James asks for these tweets to stop, does that mean she really wants them to continue?

Sweet mecy, there's so much I want to #AskELJames Most start with "why" and end with the implacable howling of the damned.

See 'em all ===>

Just to be clear, I have no quarrel with her writing BDSM romances. I do however take issue with the fact that her books contain sentences like, "His eyebrows widened in surprise." Srsly? Strunk & White need a safe word with this woman.
delphipsmith: (George scream)
"Little" being a relative term. Eeeeeeeeek!


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delphipsmith: (books)
Her Fearful SymmetryI liked Her Fearful Symmetry quite a bit. It was unexpected in a lot of ways, constantly surprising me by going in directions I did not anticipate, and presenting me with complicated situations and emotions that challenged me to think about things differently. The turn towards darkness was so gradual that I didn't even notice it until all of a sudden I found myself in the midst of the horrifying stuff -- like when the sun starts to go down and it's late afternoon for what seems like hours, and then suddenly it's night.

The Favor of KingsWritten in 1912, The Favor of Kings is possibly the earliest novelization of the life of Anne Boleyn, ill-fated second wife of Henry VIII. Bradley's Anne is passionate and lively but also young and headstrong and proud. She initially enters into her relationship with Henry partly out of awe for THE KING! and partly out of a hot desire to revenge herself on those who have insulted and hurt her, seeing him as her path to power at court. She does so with a certain innocence about his character, without fully understanding the consequences, and once in she has no idea how to extricate herself. Once she has begun, she has no choice but to see it through. In this she is probably closer to the real Anne than many later incarnations, which attempt to turn her into either a scheming witch or a religious reformer. (As a side note, the author is the mother of noted science fiction author James Tiptree / Alice Sheldon.)

Tours of the Black ClockI think I liked Tours of the Black Clock, but I'm not at all sure that I understood it. The writing is compelling, almost hypnotic -- I found it difficult to put down -- but I always felt as if the actual meaning was hidden just around the next corner. Or as if the true meaning had trickled out of the sentences just before I got there, leaving only enough shape to hint (or misdirect?) as to what was going on. Mulholland Drive meets Jorge Luis Borges meets The Guns of the South?

This is a story about...well, I'm not just sure. It's about Geli Raubal (but not the real one). It's about Dania, a woman who isn't Geli Raubal (except sort of, in someone else's head). It's about Banning Jainlight, who is in love with Dania (or maybe he just invents her). It's about Jainlight's pornographic stories about Dania (or maybe they're true stories of his love affair with her). It's about "the most evil man in the world," i.e. Hitler, who is obsessed with Jainlight's porn about Dania because in his head it's about Geli Raubal, (and who ends up a sad, pathetic, senile old man). It's about Marc, the son of Hitler and Dania, or maybe Jainlight and Dania, or maybe just Dania herself (or maybe he's fictional too).

All these people cross back and forth between realities, or maybe between reality and unreality, in a weird braiding of time and space. Some of them seem to have doppelgangers, or alternate versions of themselves, like Jainlight/Blaine, or Dania/Geli; sometimes their worlds intersect or bleed into one another; sometimes one is the other's dream. It's never clear what's real and what isn't. The most extreme example may be the silver buffalo, which you'd think pretty much have to be a metaphor since they come perpetually pouring out of a black cave and some people can't even see them, but yet they're substantial enough to trample Dania's mother to death in Africa and rampage through the streets of Davenhall Island off the coast of Washington state. Are they the hours and minutes of one reality pouring out into another?

But the book is also about love and hate and cruelty and pity and obsession and fear and loneliness and forgiveness and good and evil. The main character, Jainlight, refers to Hitler as the most evil man in the world, and about himself and occasionally the entire twentieth century as irredeemably evil, but I ended up thinking that this book is much more about the redemptive power of love/forgiveness, although it's sort of tucked into the corners of the story as it were. I don't know what Erickson's intent was, but I ended up feeling desperately sad for every single person in this story, even crazy senile pathetic old man Hitler.

If all of this makes it sound like the book is strange and puzzling and perhaps unsettling, that's good because it is. Don't let that stop you from reading it. But don't expect a straightforward narrative: it's more like a spiral or a double helix or one of those complicated Spirograph patterns.

(NB: I have to admit the metaphor of the "black clock" was entirely lost on me -- no idea what that was meant to be about. Why black? Why a clock? What is this about numbers falling? Why is Marc listening for ticking icebergs at the end??)
delphipsmith: (Sirius/dementor)
...and not one but TWO of my prompts got claimed already -- squeee! You are looking at one happy little fangirl :) It's almost enough to compensate for the truly horrendous amounts of snow and frigid temperatures we've had for what seem like YEARS, and which are rapidly driving me into terminal cabin fever :P Where is the sun?? ::mopes::

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