Mar. 16th, 2015

raven: (vorkosigan - creepy planetary conquest)
So after some time of not, I am reading and watching TV again! Hurrah. I asked around for recs and [personal profile] shinyjenni told me to read Mars Evacuees, by Sophia McDougall, which I completely adored. (Charismatic teenager and her super-cool BFF are evacuated from an alien war, to Mars! Have adventures! Save the world from an alien threat, almost incidentally! It’s great. Actually, it reminds me of The True Meaning of Smekday, both because of the joie de vivre and because it has a thoughtful approach to race. Our protagonist, Alice, thinks she can hang around, join one or another of the factions, when the adults disappear and it’s just the child evacuees, in their base camp on Mars; her best friend, Josephine, wants to get out immediately. She’s black. She knows that whatever happens, when the white kids start re-enacting Lord of the Flies, it’ll be her they’ll come for first. I actually found this whole little section very upsetting.) I’m reading quite a bit of YA at the moment, mostly because of [personal profile] cosmic_llin, who loves it, and I used to know much more about it when I worked at the bookshop and it turns out there’s tons of amazing YA been published since 2008, who even knew.

Relatedly, I am also reading Frances Hardinge for the first time, because many of you love her and the teeny Cambs branch library down the road surprisingly had most of her books. So I’m working my way through, and, hmm. I liked but didn’t love Cuckoo Song - I thought it was very good, very well done, so interesting in the way it engages with tropes of psychological horror and women being branded as hysterics, as well as more traditional fairy-tales about women. I loved the way it grounds itself in the literature of the world immediately following the First World War (I am sort of doing this myself, in the novella that I occasionally refer to here as the Immensely Aggravating Fantasy Historical, so it was a bit urrrgh in the good way to see the same thing done so much better, so precisely and neatly!). But I think it’s too far out of my usual genres, just personally speaking – I’m not into horror as a general thing and I was too thoroughly creeped out to enjoy myself while reading it.

That was not true for Gullstruck Island, which I loved - it’s my favourite book of the year so far and maybe of the last few years. I think it was called The Lost Conspiracy in the US? Anyway, a proper review of it is forthcoming, I think, but in the meantime, aaaah, what a good book. It’s a secondary-world fantasy, set on an island of living volcanoes and magical creatures and people who can send their awareness aloft like birds, but also colonialism. Also people being complex and intricately political, like they are, but not for the sake of it. (I really hate books that are all about “intrigue”, whatever the hell that is.) It’s also joyously imaginative and funny and wonderful. My favourite thing about it is a spoiler )

The next Hardinge on my list is A Face Like Glass, I think. I’m looking forward to it.

Um, what else? I tried The Raven Boys, but sadly couldn’t really get into it, thus adding it to the list of Things Everyone Else Is Into But I Am Not. (A list that now includes Community – I tried it yet AGAIN, still no dice – Avatar: The Last Airbender, the entire Marvel films-and-TV universe, the Hunger Games, RPF of all stripes, and Frozen! And I wonder why I feel like my involvement with fandom drops year on year! I’ve no idea what to do about this, actually, except let it happen. I’m not going to suddenly discover a passion for superheroes, am I. Or figure out how to use Tumblr. Time to go gently into that good night.)

Urgh, that’s depressing. What else? Shim and I finished off Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, and it was great and I loved it and there’s no more for a while, so we picked up Parks and Recreation again and oh, oh, oh my show. We’re in the middle of season 6 right now, and the show has seen better days, I think – it’s pretty well mined its seam of small-town comedy - but there is so much I love about it even at this stage. April is my favourite. I love grown-up April SO MUCH: April who’s learned so much about how to live from Leslie and Andy and Ron (and Donna and Ben!), but has never lost her essential Aprilness. She and Leslie teaming up to do stuff is my favourite thing.

I am massively behind on Brooklyn Nine-Nine but I know rather a lot about one of the upcoming guest stars! Definitely the next thing to catch up on. And despite my thing about Marvel, I am reading Ms Marvel and enjoying it. Maybe more on that at some point - it's a super-sweet comic about a brown girl with adorably quotidian brown girl problems, and I like it.

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