vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Reread.

Fourth book in McKenna's Tales of Einarinn series. It takes place simultaneous to book #3, With Ryshad as primary viewpoint character (and two or maybe three other characters as secondary POV characters). As usual, the primary POV is written in first person and the other POVs are written in third person, which works really well for me, as a reader.

Anyway, a most pleasant read. I would hesitantly recommend starting at the beginning of the series, there's a fair chunk of background, but it may be enough to sort-of catch up in this volume?
oursin: Photograph of a statue of Hygeia, goddess of health (Hygeia)
[personal profile] oursin

Last week I had the pneumococcal vaccine, courtesy of what is still, mostly, a beneficient National Health Service.

Unlike the flu shot, it is a one-off and should, as they say, See Me Out.

However, while I tend not to have any repercussions from the flu shot, this one gave me a sore arm, like, really sore for 2-3 days and still quite tender after that, as well a day or two feeling Vaguely Crap, that well-known unspecific medical condition.

Thought this was All Over, but this morning, discovered I had a Sore Armpit. Don't know whether this is a final repercussion, a muscle I pulled and didn't realise, or, since partner had something yesterday that might have been a virus and involved various aches and pains, whether it is that, though on the whole I would say I feel a good deal less Vaguely Crap than a few days ago.

A general condition of Slob-Out was declared and has not yet quite terminated.

Pathetic fallacy in search of a story

Oct. 16th, 2017 03:55 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

There has been the most ominous-looking light over north London for several hours now - a sort of copper colour. The sky is covered by a greyish cloud with wisps of whiter cloud drifting across it.

No rain, a bit of a breeze wafting through the trees in the street, but so far, nothing stronger.

The effect is somewhat John Martin-esque, or possibly requiring figures to run through the pocket park behind the house crying 'Heathcliff!' 'Cathy!'. Or at least, the foreshadowingly brooding overture to such.

I assume this is something to do with Hurricane Ophelia, even if so far this part of England is not supposed to be affected. This morning when I went shopping it was sunny and unusually warm, but I put that down to the Little Summer of St Luke.

Culinary

Oct. 15th, 2017 08:18 pm
oursin: Frontispiece from C17th household manual (Accomplisht Lady)
[personal profile] oursin

This week's bread: the Blake/Collister My Favourite Loaf, white spelt/wholemeal/einkorn flour, made up with the remains of the buttermilk.

Saturday breakfast rolls: the adaptable soft roll recipe, 4:1 white spelt/buckwheat flour, maple sugar, dried blueberries.

Today's lunch: New Zealand venison loin medallions, panfried in butter, served with sweet potato oven fries, cauliflower florets roasted in pumpkin seed oil with cumin seeds (I think these could have done either with being cooked a bit longer, or broken up into smaller pieces), fennel cut into thinnish strips, healthy-grilled in olive oil, and splashed with elderflower vinegar.

Reading: Small Gods

Oct. 15th, 2017 05:31 pm
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
I find it impossible to pick a favourite Discworld novel, but Small Gods is definitely in my top five*. It's primarily a wonderfully sharp critique of organised religion, and the way that belief in the structures of a religion can take over from belief in the gods, until the church just becomes another way for unscrupulous people to gain power over others; along the way it also has time to parody Ancient Greece and the Greek philosophers and nail why arms races don't ensure peace. It's also genuinely very moving in places, and I love the way that both Brutha and his god grow and develop as a result of knowing each other; religion, to Pratchett, definitely isn't a one-way exchange.

* Despite the fact that I skipped it when I read the series through for the first time, because I thought it sounded rather like Pyramids, which I hadn't much enjoyed, and the next one was another book about the Witches (to be fair, that was Lords and Ladies which is probably also in my top five), and didn't come back to it until ten years later.
oursin: hedgehog carving from Amiens cathedral (Amiens hedgehog)
[personal profile] oursin

Oh, David Mitchell, I normally like and approve of your columns, but this one?

Our forebears’ unquestioning belief in a higher power gave them a confidence that it’s hard not to envy.

Which made me think of pretty much all societies, 'throughout history', where just because there was a belief in a higher power didn't mean that there wasn't massive conflict over: who was the real higher power and how best to worship that higher power. And even when there was a generally accepted overall belief system, there are differences within between schools of thought and practice (cf persecution of Christians or Muslims who are not of the predominant category within a particular nation). Heretics get persecuted at least as much as infidels.

And you may like to think

I know in my heart that had I been brought up in such a setting – say, in Anglican Victorian England – I wouldn’t have quibbled with those answers and would’ve been comforted by them.

That would Anglican Victorian England which a) pretty much invented the concept of honest doubt and b) within the C of E, massive conflicts between High and Low Church, no? Not so cosy.

Paging Mr Blake and the Ever-Lasting Gospel. Written at the same time that a large number of actual clergymen had gone into that line of work because they were the third son and it was a living, and why would anyone trouble themselves over the 39 Articles? and it gave them plenty of time off for hunting.

tictactoepony: (wool)
[personal profile] tictactoepony posting in [community profile] knitting
The purple pair were just finished - I kept getting distracted by other projects, but finally got there in the end :)

here be socks )

Oh, I think it goes back before that

Oct. 14th, 2017 03:32 pm
oursin: My photograph of Praire Buoy sculpture, Meadowbrook Park, Urbana, overwritten with Urgent, Phallic Look (urgent phallic)
[personal profile] oursin

Article in today's Guardian Weekend by a bloke whose wife earns a lot more than he does in a high-powered job, and he is stay at home dad. And it's not egregiously annoying, but I was taken aback by this line, which is a quote from something else:

The post-industrial economy is indifferent to men’s size and strength

The guy in question was a journalist and his friends do not sound as though they were pursuing careers as stevedores, miners, steelworkers, etc etc, before the economy took a downturn. They had office/creative-type jobs.

And surely it's been true for quite a long time that, just as the majority of men have not been called upon to defend their country in arms, the majority of men have not been working in fields where size and brute strength were necessarily particularly relevant.

This is a point I tend to think of when I see some man sounding off about women can't [X] or there has been no female [Y], and I think, you know what, mate, I don't suppose you're all that fit for doing [X], and on the basis of your Facebook post/tweet, I don't think you're the new [Y]. They take the credit to themselves for any achievement by a man that demonstrates, they suppose, the ultimate superiority of their gender, rather than having a component of chance and opportunity (cf V Woolf on J Shakespeare).

Which I don't think is so much the case with women? if we cite e.g. Ada Lovelace, or Serena Williams, it is more to say, well, actually, women can.

vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

Takes place about a year (I would say, give or take) after the previous book in the series. What happens if you kidnap the wife of the head of a government agency, and the first child born to any two members of said agency? In front of the mother's child?

I wish I could say "hilarity ensues", but I guess "calamity ensues" has about the same ring to it. I think I've said that I like this series? Hm? You probably want to read ALL of them. Right now.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

The third book in Spangler's Rachel Peng series. This time it looks relatively innocent, "just" a murder, and some suspected theft. Unfortunately, the crime scene is in the basement of the White House. Again, a most excellent read. I could try to say more, but, you know, I can't quite figure out how to say it while remaining both entertaining and non-spoilery.

Oh, yes, there's one thing. This is, I believe, a point where the bok series forks (in one fork, the next book is Greek Key and in the other, it is Brute Force, the latter will soon have an entry all of its own).

On the whole, I quite like this series.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

This is the second book in Spangler's Rachel Peng series. All in all, eminently readable. It takes place a few months after Digital Divide and starts with a series of explosions "somewhere in DC" (sorry, can't be more precise, there's a specific street mentioned, but, you know, I am sufficiently unfamiliar with DC that it pretty much has escaped my mind, now that I get around to do the write-up several books and days later). Not entirely surprising, this ends up being very investigated and we get a ring-side seat, as we see Agent Peng, members of the MPD and several other Agents from OACET follow up and try to solve the crime.
oursin: Frankie Howerd, probably in Up Pompeii, overwritten Don't Mock (Don't Mock)
[personal profile] oursin

Because, at first, larf, I far lay on the ground, about this: First Meeting of Society to Establish a Minister for Men passes off without incident

But two door supervisors were deemed necessary on Wednesday evening to stop anyone entering the Pulteney Room who was not sympathetic to the views of the fledgling Society to Establish a Minister for Men.
....
What was scheduled to be the first meeting up the M5 at a pub in Cheltenham earlier this week was cancelled after – according to O’Pie – the landlord was warned there would be repercussions.

“We thought we had better be safe rather than sorry,” he told the Guardian. “We don’t want people to be frightened by feminist people shouting with banners.* I’ve had that before, it’s ridiculous.” But he added: “I’m being totally paranoid because nobody has turned up.”

The Pulteney Room and its environs were not packed. Around a dozen people, including one 18-year-old woman, attended the meeting. And there was just one protester outside.

As the Bath Choral Society rehearsed in a nearby room, O’Pie set out the society’s objectives. The Guardian was not allowed in, but was provided with a handout in an envelope labelled: “Please read BEFORE you condemn.”

The handout argues that “male-specific problems and issues” rarely appear in the media, are deliberately neglected in schools and universities and are not addressed anywhere in the political system.**

It states that male MPs do not represent men but female politicians do represent women, because they “think, bond and therefore act as a political gender group across party lines”.











*Aw, diddums.

**In the splendid tradition of 'Why is there No International Men's Day'***/White History Month/Straight Pride'.

***19th November, for your information.

This, we may add somewhat wearily, in a week during which Men Are Terribly Poor Stuff And They Get Away With It was turned up to 11 or more.

O’Pie, a father of three, said he was not disappointed at the turnout and vowed to press on.

O’Pie is a veteran of the Fathers4Justice movement, which involved activists taking part in stunts and demonstrations dressed as superheroes. He has written a book called Why Britain Hates Men: Exposing Feminism, and earlier this year, he and Holbrook unsuccessfully took on the Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips by delivering leaflets asking constituents if they really want a “feminist as your MP”.

One is inclined to think 'lone crank', and that anybody who turned up was either coming in out of the rain, waiting for their spouse to emerge from the Choral Society rehearsal and their phone charge had died, or were merely there for the lols.

On the other paw, when I think of all the good causes that began with a very few people regarded as crazy or evil, historian is not entirely sure that this paradigm does not also work for really bad causes.

oursin: photograph of E M Delafield IM IN UR PROVINCEZ SEKKRITLY SNARKIN (Delafield)
[personal profile] oursin

Horseshoe bus seats introduced to encourage passengers to talk to each other.

(And I really don't think it's going to discourage people putting their bags on the seats: in fact I envisage them building a defensive redoubt of the things.)

People don't want to talk to one another on public transport, or at least, not to random strangers. I am moderately amused that this is being put into practice in one of those parts of the country which one vaguely assumes is not like the Anomic Metroples, full of atomised sad lonely individuals who can only be brought to exchange words in the face of disaster, when Blitz Spirit kicks in and we all start singing London Pride.

Though, honestly, Wiltshire and Dorset? are we not then in Hardy Country? would you want to get into conversation with a Hardy character on a bus? We think not. Who knows what it would lead to? (even if they were not clutching a boar's pizzle.) Also, they would be on the wrong bus going in the wrong direction.

(no subject)

Oct. 12th, 2017 09:30 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] kalmn!

Reading: Cetaganda

Oct. 11th, 2017 08:54 pm
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
The next in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan saga after The Vor Game, Cetaganda sees Miles and his slightly dim but affable cousin Ivan sent to Cetaganda, Barrayar's fairly recent enemy, to represent their world at the funeral ceremonies for the Dowager Empress of Cetaganda. Miles being Miles, things don't go as smoothly as the people who sent him would have hoped, and he finds himself investigating a murder and possible treason while getting to know the women of Cetaganda's aristocratic haut class, who are normally hidden from the eyes of strangers behind opaque force shields.

Miles is entertaining as always, though absolutely deserving of his superiors' evident disapproval, and it's hard not to like Ivan. I also enjoyed the depiction of Cetagandan society, and particularly liked the way Bujold confounds readers' expectations of what their gender politics will be like, based on initial descriptions. I didn't love this quite as much as I loved Barrayar or The Warrior's Apprentice, but I'm still enjoying the series a great deal.

May 2011

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