wickedace: A small, purple, plush dragon (Default)
I'm having one of those kind of days. You know, the kind of day where it's been a perfectly good sort of day, and then suddenly the melancholy hits and you're just sitting on the train home feeling blank and miserable. I'm probably tired. Some of the melancholy was from thinking about my writing, namely how I haven't been doing any and can't think of any plot threads to get me going. So, I figured I'd pop over here and write up a post about what I've been reading, because that's at least a kind of writing, even if it isn't the fiction I'd like to be doing.

So, here goes.

Sense & Sensibility, Jane Austen (10%). I jumped into this off the back of Pride & Prejudice, but got quickly distracted. I think the fact I'm more familiar with the plot from P&P gives me a bit more staying power for the narrative. Maybe I need to read S&S& Sea Monsters first, to get into the swing of things.

The Immortals Quartet, Tamora Pierce (1 1/4 books). Again, I got distracted halfway through these. They're much better than the Lioness quartet in terms of plot pacing and so on, which was my big complaint with the Lioness books, so it's good to see Pierce growing into her writing. But I just can't bring myself to be as interested in Daine as I was Alanna. I suspect if I read these a decade ago, I'd have been all about it - I wrote my fair share of Girl Talking To Wolves stories back then - but I'm just not feeling it right now. Perhaps the long gap while I waited for the physical books to arrive didn't help, either.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle. I've read a few Holmes short stories before, but never any of the novels, and not all of the short stories, either, so when I saw a complete collection for just 99p on Kindle, I figured, why not. I've since devoured the lot (bar His Last Bow: An Epilogue of Sherlock Holmes, and about half of The Valley of Fear, in both cases because I have a limited capacity for dealing with the stuff with third-person narration about some random people rather than Watson writing first-person about Holmes). Now I'm sad to have run out, and having Opinions about crap adaptations of the character.

Reading the short stories, the Holmes I see is an intelligent, introverted man, with excellent knowledge of his specialist area, who is pleasantly polite in company, occasionally rude to his close friend Watson, of whom he is clearly fond but willing to leave to his own life. He is terse when he's concentrating on work, well-respected and -liked by the police officers he encounters, and excellent at inviting confidences from strangers, particularly women, by means of good conversation. He takes cases out of interest, usually in the problem as an intellectual challenge, but often also interest in the outcome, and he has a clear set of morals which he uses to guide his handling of cases where the 'good' and 'bad' are blurred. Compare this, then, to Robert Downey Jr's generic-Hollywood-genius, of the "too busy doing mad science on every topic to tidy up". Yes, canon Holmes is messy, especially when thinking, but he explicitly rejects knowledge not related to his problem domain (e.g. playing music to flies??). Compare also, to both Robert Downey Jr and Benedict Cumberbatch when it comes to social skills - both are frequently rude and rarely, if ever, display the general pleasant politeness of canon Holmes. In both cases, it feels a lot like we've jammed a lot of a modern "eccentric genius with no social skills" trope onto what was originally "eccentric genius who doesn't always care to follow social norms". And the clinginess! Canon Holmes is like "oh you're going to marry Mary? Fine, I guess. I'll miss you. But you can come out on my detective romps anyway when you want to.".

But, anyway, yeah. Like I said, Opinions. I think we've hit on a "look, you're wrong, you're wrong, give it to me I will adapt it properly for you" topic. (On a different note, holy racism, Batman. The Sign of Four is particularly horrendous, but there are a lot of places where the Victorian racism shines out, and that did sort of lessen the enjoyment factor. I think I'd only read some of the least-racist shorts before now. Eesh.)

I'm not sure what to go read now that I'm done with Holmes. I suppose I could go back to those ones I'm halfway into, but eeeh. Maybe I'll go find something to reread. Or blast through something on Netflix.
wickedace: A small, purple, plush dragon (Default)
 So, the initial honeymoon burst of enthusiasm for writing and writing stuff got knocked out at speed by an unexpected bout of very nasty cold which has had me horizontal for as much as possible of the last few days. But! I am on the mend, and while I've not done much writing, I have done a bit of reading, so I thought it might be nice to post about some of the things I've read lately.

Song of the Lioness quartet, Tamora Pierce. Having been recommended Tamora Pierce books on and off for, like, a decade, just before Christmas I finally downloaded one of them (because people were telling someone else to read it...), and promptly devoured all four Lioness books in under a week. Turns out, this is exactly the sort of thing I'd have enjoyed as a kid. I still enjoyed it as an adult, but as an adult I've got a bit more of a critical eye when it comes to things like narration style and because-of-some-plot hand-waving of events, which took me out of things a little. Not enough to stop me wanting MOAR, though - I'm about to start on the Immortals quartet (which I have only just got hold of, because apparently you can't get them on UK Kindle, so I had to buy physical copies).

The Courtesan Duchess, Joanna Shupe. Shameless, indulgent smut. Which I haven't ever really sought out, outside of fanfic. Plot: suitably ridiculous; characters: appropriately tortured and emotional; sex: weirdly concentrated at the start of the book - I guess I'm used to slow-burn fic, where the emotional agonising comes first.

Best of My Love, Susan Mallery. I was hoping for switch-your-brain-off romance, but AUGH all of the characters speak like textbooks. "I feel this so I am doing that which is making me feel the other." INCLUDING the men in the scene which is meant to be about how men don't talk about how they feel! (Read it all anyway. But, yeah.)

Running on Air, eleventy7 (Draco/Harry fic) (reread). (I have accidentally become a fan of Drarry fic, oh dear.) This, friends, is beautifully written. It feels like an artsy film student project, all lingering shots of overly-golden wheat fields and white lines flicking past on the tarmac. And it was lovely, even on a second reading while I was ill.

Stay: A Novel, Allie Larkin (reread). One part "ugh I'm ill what else is on my Kindle", one part "hey I'm halfway through rereading this", one part "wow, Best of My Love was bad, let's remember what an enjoyable romance looks like". I like this one. I recommend it.

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen. I'd actually never read this until this week! While ill and flicking through Netflix, I came across the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies film (I have read the P&P&Z book, which I guess is almost like reading P&P...) and decided to fill some time with it. I then got really annoyed at what they'd done to it, and had to go read actual P&P. (They'd tried to action it up and make the zombies the focus of the plot - but in the P&P&Z book I'm pretty sure the zombies are just wallpaper for, well, P&P. Much better.) I'm glad I didn't have to study P&P at school, because I probably wouldn't have enjoyed it then (I was too busy being aggressively anti-femme, which included anti-romance in any and all forms), but I very much enjoyed reading it now. I really want to rewatch the Keira Knightly film, which I sort of saw when it came out, but didn't pay proper attention because I was too sugared-up/determined to dislike it/busy going to the bathroom because of all the Coke I'd drunk. Sadly, Netflix only has the BBC miniseries, and I don't think I can face watching something with Colin Firth as the male romantic lead. (I suspect I am a generation too young to have appreciated Colin Firth as a romantic lead. Or maybe not. Maybe I just don't really like his face. It's probably because I hate Love Actually. Sorry, Colin.)

(This list is weirdly romance-heavy. Apparently it's been that kind of January. All the serious sci-fi books I haven't read are sat on my bookshelf looking very left out.)


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