raven: (vorkosigan - will I lose my dignity?)
I spent my whole Bank Holiday Monday reading Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, and it was wonderful and I have no regrets.

long, spoilery review )

It's not as good as Memory, Komarr or A Civil Campaign. It doesn't break new ground in the way they did. But it's a warm, loving book in a way some of the space operas aren't. It has a heart to it and I enjoyed it very much.
raven: (stock - roses)
Thank you all again for the congratulations you left on my last post(s). I say this so often, but I never stop being surprised at the warmth and kindness of you all.

Wedding planning has begun, though it really does seem like a rehearsal for all the rest of my life in that everything about weddings is culturally dictated, and if you happen to hail from more than one then congratulations, it’s time to feel really bad about yourself. (This is exaggeration. Kinda.) There are some small delights about wedding planning though: reading through all the poetry you ever heard of to try and find a reading, and not finding one, but feeling washed clean and translucent with joy because hey, you just re-read all the poetry you ever knew; discovering that the General Register Office for Scotland has many obscure requirements for a marriage but operates in the warm shadow of Scottish marriage reform; learning that your mother-in-law can, without fuss and fanfare, cast precious metal.

(I am not really sorry that I don’t do family law, mostly because I hear from people who do that it involves cowering under meeting room tables as clients’ chairs are thrown, but that said I find the law concerning births, marriages and deaths an oddly poetic area. Like any area of law where the public intersects with the private, it has to tread softly, and has that fascinating side-effect where purely legal text is transformed into something rare and poetic. (Witness this sentence from the GRO website: where no name was recorded for the still-born child at the time of registration, a name can be added at the request of the parents. There’s a whole novel to be written based on that sad little registrars’ note.) On that topic, people have used Goodridge v Massachusetts as a wedding reading, and I think that’s lovely, but appropriative in my case. Back to the drawing board.)

Life continues, otherwise. I have about a month left in the current job, with no word on where they’re putting me in September, and there’s a chance I may be responsible for a first-year trainee which bothers me greatly (I am a year into my training, which doesn’t seem long enough for me to have any sort of responsibility for anyone else); Shim passed his driving test first time (hurrah! I no longer have to drive anywhere okay that might be a lie, also I love my little green car); and, very excitingly indeed, the South African Siren is coming to see me! I have missed her so – for new readers, she was my dearest friend for the time I lived abroad, and I haven’t seen her in more than a year – and she will be HERE and we will have COCKTAILS and yes.

Olympics - tl;dr, I am REALLY EXCITED )

When I am not watching the Olympics, I’m reading again, which is nice. I just finished Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein - a purportedly YA novel (purportedly! I was harrowed!) about two friends, a Scottish aristocrat and a mill girl from Stockport, in the Second World War. And I’m going to say now that this is a wonderful book and you should all read it but practically everything about it is a spoiler.

Firstly, minor character spoilers )

okay now the MASSIVE spoilers – do not click if you have any thought of reading this novel, and believe me you SHOULD, soupytwist I am particularly looking at you )

Next up: The Scottish Prisoner, the latest Lord John Grey book, out in paperback. I have it, but haven’t started yet because to be honest I am afraid this is going to be a Jamie Fraser book (I was suspicious after she dropped “Lord John and” from the title!). And what I love about the Lord John books is that they are not Jamie Fraser books. Urgh.

Tomorrow, to London. Right now I just ate my whole weight in barbecued tofu and things are okay.

end of year

Jan. 2nd, 2012 09:45 am
raven: (misc - thine own self)
end of year meme )

Other notes, on reading and writing:

A very good writing year, which has startled me somewhat. After a few years of doing badly on this front, I really do seem to be writing regularly again, for which I'm very grateful.

Anyway, in 2011, I wrote twenty-two stories in thirteen fandoms (including two for Yuletide). I was particularly pleased by New Beautiful Things Come, the 17,000 word X-Men bakery AU, Lilies of the Field, a Vorkosigan story about Cordelia and Alys, and these are the days of miracle and wonder, a M*A*S*H story written after ten years away.

Also! Excitingly, I have finally started to write original fiction for the first time in many many years. The novel is hard going a lot of the time, but at the time of writing I have nine chapters of Receiver of Wreck written, and a lot of planning and outlining for the second half of it. Many, many thanks to those of you who are reading it for me; I'm very grateful. Add the novel, and I've written a round 100,000 words this year, and that's good enough for anyone.

On that note, I do think that writing fanfic for a decade has made me a far, far better writer than I would be otherwise, and I suppose, now, aged twenty-five, I'm tired of being told that fanfiction is juvenile or lesser. (For one thing, I am always suspicious when a female-dominated creative enterprise is infantilised and made to seem less important. Call me a cynic.)

Book-wise, I mentioned above that Kalpa Imperial was for me the stand-out book of the year. I loved it so much that here, I am actually going to quote some of it at you. These are its opening lines:

the storyteller said )

What I love about this, about all of it, is that it's not so much political but ur-political: before you even get to politics and democracy and all of that, it tells you, you need free people, and ignorant, illiterate, uneducated people aren't meaningfully free. I love that; I love how it's unashamedly literary in one particular sense, that people need stories and histories to be people.

Anyway. It's lovely. Read it.

And, finally! I also read three Chetan Bhagat novels this week, which are happy 250 page slices of Indian life. Shim picked them up and read them after me, and also enjoyed them, but even so I am reluctant to recommend them exactly, because, well. Bhagat, for me, writes so well and so engagingly because he writes about India and Indians, for Indians, in Indian English. Which for me is charming and real and part of what makes Bhagat excellent, but, y'know. You don't want to recommend books that non-Indians are going to pick up and read and put down and feel pleasantly superior that, failing everything else, they're not Indian and don't say things like we are like this only.

But given that, I do recommend them: they made me laugh and they had something to say: 2 States is his best, I think, but I like them all. They have a delightful, almost Victorian conceit in that the events of all of them reportedly happened in some way to the author (he always begins them by explaining how someone emailed him, or he met someone on a train, and that person usually turns out to be the protagonist of the novel) and I especially like the way this plays out in One Night..., in which the reader would be excused for pointing out that the events of the denoument don't work if there were any witnesses other than the characters.

No problem, says Bhagat, there was a witness who witnesses everything. And it's nice to hear God evoked in a Hindu way - as a stranger on a train.

Anyway. Enough talk. More washing up.
raven: black and wite Kaylee, against the background of her parasol in colour (firefly - kaylee's parasol)
I've been asked by a couple of people what I think about the death of Diana Wynne Jones. The funny thing is, the last time I wrote about her, I was in a snit because I thought she was rubbish on race. I still do think she's rubbish on race. But, then, I say this a lot - I only get angry with people who are worth it. The reason I was personally offended by this was because in every other respect her books are lovely: so original and interesting and fluidly imaginative. I'm not in the same boat as those who are remembering her as a beloved childhood author - I read only a couple of her novels as a child, and actually read most of them for the first time at the end of last year - but the world is a sorrier and sadder place for not having her in it.

This lovely tribute to her by Neil Gaiman has the unexpected note that Nick Mallory, from Deep Secret and The Merlin Conspiracy, was based on the young Gaiman! How delightful. I adore Deep Secret, as you all know; that makes it even more real to me.

[personal profile] musesfool is doing a meme where you talk about five some fictional characters beginning with a given letter and offered me the letter K, so I am going to cheat slightly and point out that Nick's and Maree's real names are spoiler for Deep Secret ) so I can write about them.

-Nick and Maree Mallory (Diana Wynne Jones' Magids series). I love them both, but especially Maree, who is so brilliantly, teenagedly ridiculous - she's carelessly self-obsessed, she's mooning idiotically after her ex-boyfriend - but at the same time she's passionate, she cares about books, she adores her dad, and whether at a given moment she hates or loves Rupert, she does it with all the intensity possible. That's one thing I love about DWJ - her ability to write a whole, fleshed-out character as replete with contradictions as all the real people you meet.

-Keiko O'Brien (Deep Space Nine). I always liked the way DS9 handles Keiko, especially the way it portrays her unhappiness at having to give up her career because of living on Deep Space Nine. It feels real to me. I love her especially in "Accession" (thank you, [personal profile] gavagai, for stepping up with Memory Alpha didn't), when she's returned from Bajor and Miles is overcompensating by spending every waking hour with her - so she engineers him and Bashir into going off to the holodeck together and enjoys the peace and quiet. That's what DS9 does best, I think - its small domestic dramas are as carefully handled as its space battles.

-Kingsley Shacklebolt (HP) - I do love Kingsley Shacklebolt. I love that he calms everyone the fuck down when they need it, and that he's the bodyguard of the Muggle Prime Minister. I didn't really like the purple-robe thing, in the films, but then [personal profile] forthwritten and I fixed that.

-James T. Kirk - is actually not my favourite of the TOS characters by a long shot. But in the reboot, I do think Chris Pine does a fabulous job with him, strikes just the right balance between cocky and annoying, and I adore how fandom writes his relationship with just about everyone - with Spock, with McCoy, but specially with Uhura.

For music, she gave me the letter E:

Natalie Merchant - Everyday Is Like Sunday

One of the few instances of a cover I like much better than the original. This is a song about growing up in a northern English seaside town. Shockingly, I relate to it.

Placebo - Every You Every Me

I have immensely fond memories of this song. In the summer of 2005, [livejournal.com profile] hathy_col had just passed her driving test and was driving a white Skoda with holes in the floor. Nothing deterred, we drove around West Lancs with this song turned up to eleven, and grinned at each other on something borrowed something blue / every me every you. Yes, now everyone's vidding this song to clips from "The Big Bang", but we thought of it first.

Dar Williams - Empire

Gorgeous voice, beautiful imagery and scathing post-colonial critique. I love her so.

Regina Spektor - Eet

I have no earthly idea what this song is about, but I like it.

I should go to bed. Have made progress on Remix, if you define progress as reading everything your remixee has ever written, and failing to find a hook upon lots of agonising, and then having a strange 3am-in-the-bathtub thought that is a great idea and will totally work and has only the minor drawback of probably making the remixee totally livid. I mean, it would me, if I were the remixee. Bah.
raven: (stock - rock 'n' roll)
Here are some of my Thoughts On Books, you guys. I think books are great. I went years without reading fiction and then in 2009 I rediscovered the art of carrying a novel in my handbag, and now I think I must have been mad for not doing it for so long; so long without that fierce, entirely private joy that there is something special waiting just for me and all I need is a quite place to read. I love books. I think more people do than you think. I worked in a small independent bookshop for years and years and people used to come in and say, apologetically, I don't really read but have you got the latest Tom Clancy, or I don't really read but where's your true crime, and kids would say well I only really like Harry Potter. And I would say, we have those, this is a bookshop, welcome.

(One of my favourite customers was an elderly chap with a cane, always very well-dressed, who would come in and ask me to get volumes of Schiller in the original German. And I would call Penguin and HarperCollins and who knew who else and eventually I'd get them. And then he'd come in for them with his daughter and his daughter's daughter, who'd say things like, "Grandad, there's these books..." and his daughter would say, "Dad, don't you dare, you spoil her", and then she'd run outside to put money in the parking meter, and he and his granddaughter would share a significant look. And a little later he'd walk out of the shop proudly carrying his leather-bound volumes of German poetry and volumes one to four of Rainbow Magic Fairies.)

At school, for World Book Day I used to run the events. There was the book scavenger hunt, when I pinned the invitation to the ball at Netherfield Park to the noticeboard and hung the one ring off the bannister and put a bag of sherbet lemons on the head's door (and was hauled in by said head for unacceptable behaviour, but that is another story) and we ran votes on people's favourites. I used to read the library new accessions for sex and violence, and there are so many good books in the world.


The book I am reading: The Wind's Twelve Quarters, a short story collection by Ursula Le Guin. I am about halfway through and I am really enjoying it. She's so good, Le Guin. So good. Listen to this:

But there was plenty of time. The summer evening would stay light; he could count on it. Lenient and sweet in their length are the twilights of a latitude halfway between equator and pole: no tropic monotonies, no arctic absolutes, but a winter of long shadows and a summer of long dusks: gradations and accommodations of brightness, attentuations of clarity, subtleties and leisures of the light.

Isn't that so lovely, so true? I love her: she can carry me home so easily in so few lines.

The book I am writing: Aha, I am never writing a book. I write fanfic. It's ridiculous how I don't write my own fiction at all. But, okay, here's a book I am not writing. I have in my mind not a story, but a setting: a bar, with mostly red lighting, in a city by the sea, in some future place. It's not a utopia and it's not a dystopia, it's somewhere between. It's in an ordinary suburban district with shops and houses and schools, and they're having parish board elections in this city, and for the first time, non-humans are running, and they're new and they have no campaign offices, so they're in this bar. I never write down the novels that live in my head!

The book I love most: I love so many books. Er, Three Men In A Boat, Jerome K. Jerome. But so many.

The last book I received as a gift: Shim sent me Cleaving, the second memoir by Julie Powell, because he knew I wanted to read it.

The last book I gave as a gift: I sent [personal profile] gavagai a copy of Red Plenty, which I haven't actually read myself (which is not like me - usually I make a point of only giving books that I liked!) but it is by Francis Spufford and she's a fan.

The nearest book on my desk coffee table: The First Amendment: Cases, Comments, Questions. Sad but true. But almost as near: Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, Aristotle's Nichomachaean Ethics, and, er, a deck of Rider-Waite tarot cards which have an ISBN which makes them a book for tax purposes. My bookcase is just at eye-level, so I can see about another fifty books. (I came to the US with six. Oh, dear.)

I am going to bed! I am so exciting.


Sep. 14th, 2010 05:13 pm
raven: (misc - marwood)
Flist, quick: recommend me books! Quick, do it now! I just finished the six Chrestomanci books - so much fun, yay - and am waiting for Mixed Magics to come from home; I have one more of the dreadful Swendson books to go. After that, no more. And seriously, seriously, books are keeping me sane right now, I can't emphasise this enough, I really can't.

So, what are your favourite books that I should read? Brownie points for: light and fluffy; SF/fantasy; preferably both at once; I also adore YA more than is quite normal, so also brownie points for that; really would prefer paperback (so I can carry them around). Nothing super-serious, please, I really am reading for escapism here.

(Also, if Ithaca has any good bookshops, I want to know about them, please. There are a couple of nice second-hand ones downtown; for new books, though, I feel like I'm doomed to a) the campus bookstore, about which less said the better; and b) Borders. Neither of which have Three Men In A Boat, a book I set out optimistically to buy today.)
raven: Alyson Hannigan as vampire Willow with her fangs out, face shadowed  (buffy - vamp willow)
I was in Manchester today to see [livejournal.com profile] amchau; it's been far too long, and we had a very nice day wandering the city and catching up. I ate pretty much my own weight in Chinese food. It was fab.

Of course this meant a couple of hours on trains, so I got through a book. Enchanted, Inc, by Shanna Swendsen - I got it in LibraryThing's Secret Santa last year, and it's sat on the shelf since Christmas. My quick blurb-and-first-page-skim assessment: generic chick-lit with fantasy elements. Small-town girl living in Manhattan discovers magic is real, etc., etc., paging Mr. Potter (who is now thirty years old, ye gods).

And that is what the book is about - but I confess myself utterly delighted, nevertheless. Oh, why, when it's written so badly - lots of telling you, showing you and then telling you again to be sure - and when the plot hangs together quite so loosely, and when it contains such atrocities as a fairy called Trixibelle and another one called Ariel and did I mention bad, bad writing I think I did.

But... the protagonist (whose name is Katie - I think these were called the Katie Chandler series in the US) is likeable enough to make you want to know what happens to her. Interestingly, she isn't special because she can do magic or whatever; it's because she can't, because she can see what's really there, a la Tiffany Aching. I liked it. The Bechdel test filters in and out, because of a lot of post-blind-date-dissection, but she and her flatmates talk about jobs and frogs and assorted other things. And the brooding hero - yes, there is one - is a sweet subversion of the usual trope. His name is Owen, and he is good-looking and powerful (magic as metaphor for sex, that's never been done) but also with intermittent social phobia, and scared of himself. It's surprisingly well done.

Also: poss. triggers for sexual abuse )

The ensemble cast are quite charming - Merlin is in it, as is de rigeur in these sorts of books; but rather than being the grand enchanter type, he's a somewhat confused elderly British chap, who does not approve of Camelot - and in the end the BEST THING IN THE WORLD HAPPENS.

This is a spoiler, but it is THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD )

If that doesn't make you want to read it, I don't know what well.

...okay, possibly only I think this is the best thing ever. But STILL. You should all read it so I can eventually get on with nominating it for [livejournal.com profile] yuletide. It's the first of a series - inevitably - but as the other three books are all £13 each in the UK (paperbacks!), I think I will wait till I get to the US to get them, and then probably devour them all at once for comfort reading.


Jul. 31st, 2010 06:11 pm
raven: black and white photograph of Asian woman smiling and clasping her hands (misc - me)
I'm in limbo, and always hungry. It's a time of transition. I'm at home right now - up north, where it has been raining solidly for about two weeks and we have a shortage of hot water and a hosepipe ban (North West Water are.... peculiar people at the best of times), and today there is a family friend visiting, and my grandparents are long-term visiting, so there is a feeding of the five thousand going on.

What else to even say? I feel like I ought to record something of this short space of passing days - days between seasons, rainstorms and taught courses - where I have nothing very much to do, save packing, and am reading novels very slowly and otherwise finding ways to fill time. I've seen friends, most of them very old friends: [livejournal.com profile] hathy_col and I go for cocktails and dinner, talk about Deep Space Nine and True Blood, fit in a groove of friendship now worn smooth and comfortable (I noted in passing that somehow or other we've got to ten years of being friends, mostly without noticing); the other day I saw Becca, my high school best friend, for the first time in seven years, and discovered that after all this time pink wine is still the drink of choice.

Writing, right now, is like pulling teeth and I'm not sure why. I'm starting to develop a theory that writing is difficult when it's the only thing you're doing with your day; if you have a day of speaking to people, running around, reading textbooks as well as novels, or at least other things to do, then you've got the raw material to write with. (Obviously this can't be the case for everyone - professional writers write all day every day, but then that is something I don't aspire to.)

So, novels. This week, I have read Her Fearful Symmetry, the second Audrey Niffenegger novel, and I thought it was readable, but excessively bizarre. It's a ghost story, but more macabre than creepy, and sometimes I felt very conscious that this is a novel about British people written by an American, and... in the end I didn't really know what to think of it. Possibly I'll re-read it at a later date.

I also read Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer (for some reason I thought this was a much older book than it is), which I liked, after taking a very long time to get into it. It's kind of sort of the story of a man who goes from the US to Ukraine to find the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis, only it's filtered through his translator, whose command of English is magnificently idiosyncratic, and somehow this approach brings more depth to it all than a conventional style would have done. It's good.

Um, also several Star Trek novels, because I'm predictable, and I'm kind of leafing through a book [personal profile] gavagai gave me - it's called How To Cook Without Recipes. This is something I'm always on about, if you have the misfortune to be occasionally cooked for by me; I disapprove strongly of people thinking that "learning to cook" = "memorising recipes". Somewhat infamously, I can cook but can't follow recipes; my approach to cooking is to throw ingredients into a pan and taste periodically until whatever it is tastes right. Obviously recipes help - it's helpful, upon deciding that you want to make apricot chicken, to google for it and find that lime juice and cinnamon are helpful subsidiary ingredients, but that didn't stop me altering it to suit myself. You get the idea.

(The natural conclusion to draw from this - yes, you're right, I can't bake. My attempts at baked goods are usually biscuitlike or expeditions into excessive bicarb.)

I like the general thesis of the book, then - that specific recipes, giving you exact amounts, are a relatively recent invention, and knowing what flavours go together is more important than knowing these exact amounts - but the author is somewhat tedious. No more so than in his chapter on chilli, in which he sagely explains that chilli is an overpowering flavour, used only by poor brown people, and it has no place in a self-respecting cook's cupboard, use black pepper instead. While he might be making a valid point by saying that in cultures where chilli is a commonplace ingredient, people's palates respond to it differently from those in cultures where it isn't so common, he does makes it entirely clear who's the "normal" person, from his perspective. And so, and so. I'm still reading it, but am much less inclined towards taking anything he says seriously.

What else? Well, next week I am going to Oxford for a while, to see [personal profile] andrew, and then I am going to London for a couple of days, to see [personal profile] gavagai and to go to a Vienna Teng gig, and then I am coming home for twenty-four hours, and then I am on a one-way flight to Ithaca, and thus passes the glory of the old world.

(See, that's a pun. Look, I made a pun.)
raven: image of India on a globe (politics - india)
I am sleeping very badly and suffering unexpectedly from jet-lag. I hate my brain. Hence my sleeping until three today, and doing nothing of any productivity. Graargh.

But, actually, I want to talk about something else. A while ago, [livejournal.com profile] yiskah recommended A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth's 1400-page novel about post-independence India, and reminded me I'd always meant to read it, and never got around to it. (Well, I got it out of the library once. 1400 pages, a one-week loan. You understand.) Then Shim found it in Oxfam for a couple of pounds (in terms of sheer verbiage, the best-value book purchase he's ever made) and I had a couple of translatlantic flights this week. The time had come.

I just finished it. I am a teeny bit disappointed with it for a stupid reason I am going to put under a cut. spoilers )

That aside, I am incredibly impressed with the novel, its depth, and scope, and a little drawn out of my skin by it - which is understandable, I've been reading it for a week, occasionally for several hours at a time - but it's also because it creates an entire world and then pulls you into it so, so well. The writing style is so deceptively simple, sometimes even archaic - when was the last time you read a contemporary novel with an omniscient third-person narrator? - that you don't realise you care for the characters until you've been doing so fervently for 700 pages. It's wonderfully done.

The book jacket says that the novel is: "at its core, a love story; the tale of Lata's - and her mother's attempts to find a suitable boy, through love or exacting maternal appraisal. At the same time, it is the story of India, newly independent and struggling through a time of crisis as a sixth of the world's population faces its first general election and the chance to map its own destiny."

That sounds pompous. But oh, it's right, too - it really is that. It really is an attempt to show us that world, that post-1947 world where everything was new and just the same, how India started out, by means of showing us some Indians - of different families, castes, and religions, all tied together by Mrs. Rupa Mehra's quest to find a suitable boy for her daughter - and how they come to be what they are.

And I know us brown people are always making such a fuss about people who aren't us writing about us, but here, right here, is the reason why: Seth writes about Indians with a mixture of knowing acerbity and warm, warm affection, because he is those people. His characters are sweet, funny, unspeakably corrupt, occasionally horrible, warm and loving, hideous, and they are Indian. In 1400 pages there are about sixty named characters, and they all know each other and they are connected and interconnected and everyone knows everyone else's business except when to do so would make life more efficient, and that rings marvellously true to me. They're wonderful characters. Lata, who is the closest of any of them to being a main protagonist, is marvellous: she's a university student, intelligent - more so than her mother - and trying very hard to navigate a world in which everyone suddenly wants to get her married. Her mother's endless emotional manipulation is just right. So is her brother Arun, a wonderfully done brown-sahib of just the most irritating type. And the languages they speak - the casual mix of Hindi, Urdu and English, the religious and post-colonial battles that are fought on linguistic territory, I just wanted to climb into the book and roll around in the rightness of it. (When the outraged citizenry start protesting their Home Minister, Lakshmi Agarwal, and chant: saanp ki zafar, insaan ki khaal / yeh hai L. N. Agarwal!, I kind of had to clutch at my heart and gasp.)

And then there are surprises. The couple who have an arranged marriage in the very first pages, Savita and Pran, are supposed to be orthodox and boring - and turn out to have a wonderful love story of their own. Another family, the Chatterjis of Calcutta, have a brilliantly sparkling habit of talking in rhyming couplets. Their eldest member, Amit, is a published poet, and Seth takes great pleasure in writing poetry to put in his mouth. The Congress politicians fight it out in the background and foreground, and their stories ought to be boring, too, but aren't. Surprisingly, the wife of the Revenue Minister, Mrs Mahesh Kapoor, and her garden, are the epicentre around which the political stories revolve, and it's a strange narrative choice that works beautifully. There are subplots within subplots, there is intelligent treatment of such varied things as mental illness, shoemaking, tree surgery and sectarian conflict.

Sectarian conflict - yes. The thing that I find most amazing, about many things that I do find amazing about this book, is that the Hindu and Muslim battles are fought in the background of one particular love story between Maan, the Hindu son of the Revenue Minister, and Firoz, the Muslim son of the local Nawab. Their relationship is, well, interestingly handled - I want to say ambiguously, but for all that we never see them sleep together, or even kiss, it's not ambigous, and the part of me that just thirsts for literary queer Indians of any kind wishes there were more about this aspect in the novel. But at the same time, it doesn't flinch from depicting that they love each other dearly, and that it drives them to do extraordinary - and extraordinarily awful - things. Given what they then begin to symbolise to their respective religious communities, I think I have to acknowledge that it is satisfying, thematically. I just wish there were more.

And the thing I got out of it all - other than all these scattershot ramblings - is, well, a sense of self and history. The India in my head is a curious place. Having never lived there as an adult, I have a strange mixture of my childhood memories, my adult observations, my own hang-ups about it all and the post-independence India of my parents, that they told me about when I was small, that they still look for vainly when they go back. I have heard so much about this time: Nehru's India, the one my parents were born into, a mixed-economy world dominated by government bureaucracy and people's first stumblings towards becoming themselves. It's in the details: the Chatterji family, in the novel, discuss how they changed their name to the anglicised Chatterji from the original Chattopadhyay. In the same way, my surname is not the same as my grandfather's. A character reads for his IAS exams - my grandfather did the same. In 1951, the year the novel is set, my grandfather was working for the IAS in the department of natural resources. (And, as he often told people in the decades to follow, as part of his job, he worked on the first computer in India.) Another character has been sent to boarding school in Shimla, a fate my parents assure me would have been mine, too, had things been slightly different. Even the fictional setting, a university town called Bramhpur, bears a distinct similarity to Roorki, the university town near Delhi where my father grew up. It's rather wonderful to have this whole, solid book full of people and places and things, that I can read, reach out and touch.

Seth claims to be writing a sequel, called A Suitable Girl (what else?) to be published in 2013 and set at the time of writing. I really, really hope this does get written. I want to see what he does with India, now. Come to think of it, I rather want to see what we do with it.
raven: Kira wearing a green tunic against a blue background (ds9 - kira in green)
This is going to be a long post. Have some music first. Karine Polwart, whom I discovered recently via [livejournal.com profile] icepixie, has a very lovely voice, and occasionally quite unsettling lyrics: Resolution Road, What Are You Waiting For?.

The good:

-Life continues apace. I am coming up on a strange time; during March, I have no classes Monday to Friday, but exams every Saturday, and a few in the middle - skills-based whatnot, advocacy and other things - which is not at all what I'm used to but perversely I'm sort of looking forward to it. I'm having trouble getting up in the morning these days, so study leave when I can work at 2am if I want to will go down well, and, well, I got my mocks back, most of them, and I'm pleased. They are a scraped commendation (59.5 - civil lit), a proper commendation (business law) and, surprise of all surprises, the exam I didn't prepare for at all - snow and going-to-India conspiring between them - the property exam, I got a highly unexpected high distinction. I feel good about it - like I might do well, not only in my exams, but in practice.

-Property law, yes. I have sudden fears, these days, that I might be a land lawyer when I grow up. I haven't met anyone else who likes it as much as I do, but people must, surely, because there are land lawyers in the world? It's so... I don't know, I don't think any law is tangible but English land law is as close as you can get to it; there's so much history in it, so much tradition, so many things you say, as though reciting chants to hold back your gods - say, "bona fide purchaser for value"[1] twice fast before breakfast; say "freehold interest subject to compulsory first registration", and something happens by magic. But nevertheless it's elegant, internally consistent, intellectually satisfying, and I was worried my liking for land law wouldn't translate to a liking for property practice, but so far so decidedly hoopy.

Anyway. Land law, a good thing in my life. Everyone should have hobbies.

-Deep Space Nine s5 and s6 )

-Something different. There's a man in my class at school, whose initial is not F. Yesterday morning I had a great deal of trouble getting out of bed, and I was cranky when I turned up for criminal litigation, and while I was crankily working through my stack of witness statements, F. was at the next table and he was talking about gay and lesbian people. F. is a devout Christian, which is one thing, and a literalist when it comes to Leviticus, which is quite another; after about ten minutes of listening to him talking about homosexuality being evil, wrong, and a sickness (and, to their credit, the people around him not arguing, but basically trying to shush him), I spoke up and, you know how you have an image of yourself in your head? Someone who is a proud liberal and a proud activist, who says what she thinks and gets her points across with elegant, economical sang-froid?

Yeah, it wasn't like that. I tried not to get upset and told him that I came to my class for purposes of criminal litigation, and there, then, should not have to listen to those things, quite apart from any discussion we might have outside of class. He said he'd got a right to state his opinion, I said not if it upset me in my crim lit class, the tutor returned at that point, case closed for the moment.

Today, I was checking my email during the break when F. came and asked for a word. Okay, I said, warily, what is it.

He said he was sorry. That he'd had no right to speak like that, and he was sorry if what he had said had upset me, and that his views were one thing but he didn't have any right to impose them on me, especially as it was something I found upsetting. He hoped I would forgive him but if not at least I'd know he was sorry.

Bless the man, really.

The bad:

-I am finding it very hard to get up in the mornings, lately. I note this merely for the record at the moment, with the additional note that it's February, I have had two bursts of culture shock in the recent past, and I have exams and academic stress at a greater than normal degree for the time of year. I am going to buy myself a wake-up lamp, and sleep in a little more than I strictly ought.

The ugly indifferent different:

-One of Shim's stranger talents is being able to declaim Kipling to suit all occasions. I have read him, not to the same degree, and while I like his writing, a lot, my thoughts are partly complicated and partly tread the usual aesthetic path of whether I ought to find value in his work, when I know what his views were. The Jungle Book and the Just So Stories aren't, shall we say, entirely representative.

I've started reading him again recently, because I was in India, and it seemed appropriate, and on the whole, I think I would rather read him than not, even if his flashes of racism and his glorification of empire are occasional bad tastes among the good. This is nowhere more evident than in O Beloved Kids, a collection of his letters to his young children, which are full of joys and wordplay and little pen-and-ink drawings and the word "nigger". But I keep reading it, and finding joy in it. I don't know. It was an old moral problem a long time ago, and one of the things I find joy in is how much he loved India, how much that love suffuses every line he wrote about the place, and should you take joy in that, or worry that the India he loved rightfully ceased to exist sixty years ago? I don't know, I don't know. I wish there was at least a starting place with these things - if, for example, the introduction to the letters had not been half-heartedly apologist, but had said outright, Kipling was a racist of his time and a little in his own special way, and this was bad, this was wrong and hurtful, and he was also a Nobel laureate for literature and his writing is full of joy and beauty, and this is good, and the mixture is uneasy but here it is.

I stun myself with my lack of profundity. I shall go and tackle leasehold interests.

[1] Who is also known, in quite formal settings, as "equity's darling", a phrase which delights me unduly.
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
I am sitting in bed with a pile of books and a cup of coffee, and it is an absolutely freezing Sunday afternoon and I have no desire to get out of it again. Clearly, the time has come to talk about the eighty-three novels I read in 2009. Like I said before, this was my New Year's resolution - to read, and in doing so, maybe re-establish the habit so the next year I wouldn't have to resolve it. I think it worked. I now feel a little sad that I didn't read for four years, but mostly happy, because I now have those four years' books to read.

So, eighty-three books. Five of them were non-fiction (two autobiographical books, one biography of someone else, one strictly "non-fiction"). Twenty-two of those were by just two authors (Patrick O'Brian and Lois McMaster Bujold), and another twelve were by two more (Terry Pratchett and Naomi Novik). Five were Star Trek tie-ins. I suspect only about fifteen in total had any literary quality, and I had read perhaps (an overlapping) fifteen of them before.

[Note: any links that follow go to my initial reviews of the books, when I first read them.]

So. Let's start with Patrick O'Brian and his epic, epic series of Aubrey-Maturin Age of Sail books. For the uninitiated: they start with Master and Commander, and feature the many and varied adventures of Captain Jack Aubrey, an officer in the Royal Navy, a bluff, cheerful, man with twin aptitudes for warfare and terrible puns, and his dearest friend, Stephen Maturin, a physician, naturalist, and spy. The books are the most unmitigated fun. Read more... )

Next, Bujold and her Vorkosigan series. These are... hard to describe, but in something of the space opera mould, much as I hate that descriptor. Basically, they're about the sometime-future, in which galactic travel is possible through wormholes in space between planets that happen to have them close by. Earth is one of these, but it's not the focus of the books. Instead, we have the planet Barrayar, an imperial, highly militaristic society with a great deal of technology and very little in the way of social change, and into this we bring Miles Vorkosigan, who is the protagonist of most of them. He's an aristocrat, the scion of an incredibly important family, intelligent and dedicated and energetic and, because of an attack on his mother before he was born, physically disabled in a number of ways. He's a very interesting character, and there are space battles, disruptor guns, mercenary fleets and antics galore for him to be interesting at and around. But I'm not really in it for the spaceships and whatnot; I'm in it for the Memory )

Next, Temeraire, by Naomi Novik. I read the whole series this year, and I loved it. The premise is just fabulous: the Napoleonic Wars, with dragons! Sentient, thoughtful, very talkative dragons with complex relationships with humans. Temeraire, the eponymous dragon, has for a captain a former naval officer called Lawrence, and the first book is all about the two of them getting to know each other and the author and the reader getting to know the world, this alternative universe with so much that's familar (in fact, familiar from Aubrey and Maturin!) and strange (the Royal Aerial Corps!). Read more... )

And there are other books I wanted to mention, too! Also in the sphere of historical fiction, there was the Lord John Grey series by Diana Gabaldon, which are, weirdly, romance-novel spin-offs. Gabaldon's romance novel series is called Outlander and is fun, but too replete with the worse tropes of the genre to stick with - too much perfect specimens of perfect manhood, etc - especially as her books are proper doorstops. But Lord John, who exists in the same universe, is much, much more fun. He is an eighteenth-century aristocrat, soldier and sort-of-detective, he's very funny, very likeable, his family is enormous and slightly unhinged, and he's gay. He really is, in uncomplicated fashion; the mystery of the moment is always entwined with whatever nice young man Grey has his eye on. It's pure delight to read, and so far I think Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade is the best one.

Other books I read this year: oh, The Monsters of Templeton was a silly but unexpectedly fun family story, Julie & Julia is a much better book than it sounds, a cooking-blog-turned-memoir that is light, razor-sharp and very engaging, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay made my heart hurt. Mason & Dixon was baby's first Pynchon and a seven-hundred page delight in eighteenth-century prose, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was very flawed and very charming.

But the best single book I read this year was, undoubtedly, Doomsday Book. I've talked about it at length before, and it's not like I'm not hideously late to the party as it is - it was published in 1992 - but this is really special, that sci-fi kind of enjoyable and textured with humour, but deep, sad and rich beneath all of it. It's set in a future Oxford, where time travel has been discovered and is being administered by the university's history faculty and by Balliol and Brasenose. Oxford in 2057 is, well, shockingly like our Oxford in certain ways, and very much unlike it in others, but I get the likeable sense that the changes are cosmetic and technological (admittedly, a Tube station under Cornmarket is quite a change) and that it really is my Oxford underneath.

And in this lovely backdrop, we have this extraordinary novel. The protagonist, Kivrin, is a history undergrad who's making the first trip to the Middle Ages, and Dunworthy, her tutor, doesn't want her to go but can't stop her, and sits at home and worries. spoilers get a little more specific from here, but not much more )

I actually wrote my [livejournal.com profile] yuletide story for it this year, and although that's a story about Verity and Ned from To Say Nothing of a Dog, it's really more for Doomsday Book in theme and, I don't know, all-pervasive gloom. But I really do recommend it - my initial review of it is here - and it won the Hugo and Nebula awards for the requisite year, so. You don't have to take my word for it.

So, that was my absolute favourite. The close second, which I actually read in the very last week of the year, was Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex. It's sort of the story of three generations of a Greek-American family, written in such a fluid, universal way that I can see the underlying immigrant narrative as at once familiar and entirely new, and it's also sort of the story of Cal, who was born twice - as a girl, and as a teenage boy, and how he finds gender identity, and how it finds him. I really, really liked it, for being a novel with something to say, about who you are and why you are, and also for being full of delights, silly names, unexpected witticisms and rolling comedy. (What I thought at the time.)

In 2010, I have read two books: The Birthday of the World and Other Stories, a collection of science-fiction shorts by Ursula Le Guin (some good, some very good, a very few unremarkable) and Silent Snow, Secret Snow, by Adele Geras, an atmospheric little young-adult thing which I picked up for £2 in the Last Bookshop, and is entirely worth it. I'm now reading yet more Connie Willis, and just finished The Winds of Marble Arch, a longish short story which is full of despair and longing and also silly jokes, because she's Connie Willis and I love her.

If I ever forget how to read again, remind me.
raven: black and white; Tenth Doctor on a bed, looking up at Martha (doctor who - in bed together)
Having got me successfully through everything it had to get me through, my body has given up on walking around and now I just want to lie down and flop. Forever. With two bags of sweets within reach, and maybe also the complete works of Lois McMaster Bujold. Some assorted notes and queries:

1. Firstly, and most importantly, Professor Jerry Cohen is dead. My reaction to this has mostly been "but but but he was IMMORTAL but". While I wasn't lucky enough to be taught by him, I have read most of what he's written - and I recommend his writing to everyone, actually, not just students of political philosophy. The title of one of his best-known works is If You're An Egalitarian, How Come You're So Rich?, which says it all in just its title, doesn't it? He writes - well, he wrote - about difficult things, about orthodox Marxism, about his particular brand of egalitarianism, and makes a significant critique of Rawls' theory of justice (one which, it is worth noting, is easily used as the base for an explicitly feminist critique), but he does it incredibly well - clearly, engagingly, the sort of way I wish everyone who writes about difficult things would write.

And even though I was never taught by him, I did... er... encounter him on occasion. Wherever he is now, I'm sure he's raising orthodox Marxist hell.

2. In other news entirely, I wish to make a point about Rachel McAdams. [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong showed me the trailer for Sherlock Holmes - which, is, oh god, looks terrible, crash-bang-wallop homoeroticism I cannot wait - but, I could not help noticing, has Rachel McAdams in it playing Irene Adler. She - McAdams, I mean - is also in The Time Traveler's Wife, which, like the other, is a film that people will have heard of. (I have no idea what it will be like, probably bad, but I suspect I will have to see it anyway.)

Anyway. Yes. Rachel McAdams is in films that are released all over the world that people have heard of, and stuff. Isn't she supposed to be a minor character in that Canadian indie thing only my friends and I watch...? Yeah. I just wanted this down for the record.

3. Yes, these points aren't supposed to be related in any way. Flist, speak to me of Diana Gabaldon. I know some of you have read/are reading her - [livejournal.com profile] nos4a2no9, [livejournal.com profile] thistlerose? - and I'm interested to know what you think. After spending a week in London without a lot to do in the evenings, I have read two and a half of her Lord John books, which are, sort of, historical detective-thriller-adventure things set in the 1750s. Which do, yes, sound like the sort of thing I'd hate (they exist in the same universe as the author's "real" series, a series of historical romances with time-travel and Jacobite rebellions and whatnot, none of which I have been able to get into). But they are witty, engaging, and just likeable, and also the protagonist, Lord John Grey, is that rarest of beasts, a fictional character who is gay, perfectly happy about being gay, and who pursues adventures with gentlemen in and around solving the mystery of the moment. I'm not explaining these very well, but they're good. Very, very good, in this delightfully light and loopy way. The books are: Lord John and the Private Matter, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, and Lord John and the Hand of Devils (short story collection; don't start with this one). Consider this a rec.

(If they were fanfiction, though, I'd warn for: this )

4. Meme! Nabbed from [livejournal.com profile] emerald_embers most recently, but from all of you.

Ask me my fannish Top Five [Whatevers]. Any top fives. Doesn't matter what, really! And I will answer them all in a new post. Possibly with pictures. Ask multiple questions. I'll do it.

That's it. [livejournal.com profile] shimgray is plotting a Wikipedia article that he has been threatening to write for some time ("Elephants in Scotland"), and I am curled in a chair and attempting not to fall asleep. It's quiet, and it's nice, and it's very good to be together again.
raven: red tulips in a vase on a balcony, against a background of a city (stock - tulips)
I don't know why I have this tendency to make LJ updates at stupid places and times. I haven't written anything in a week because I keep trying to write about Hong Kong and failing; it defies glib description, and profound is beyond me. I have been back a few days now, and I am still getting up at astonishing hours of my own accord - so that's what seven am looks like, etc. - and I keep thinking I ought to write about it, but it isn't easily evoked: it's not like anywhere else, it's a distant place. My first morning there, I woke up the same way - suddenly, luminously awake at an unearthly hour, really, unearthly, with the sunrise breaking over the surface of the harbour and the moon breaking over the surface of the sun.

I admit, I didn't know. I had some vague notion of a total solar eclipse, somewhere, sometime: it turned out that there was totality most notably in Varanasi (now, that would have been worth seeing) and in the area around Shanghai; while there was a lot of excitement on television, in Hong Kong, it was the quiet edge of the penumbra. In the absence of anything more sophisticated, I poured water into a salver and watched the reflection when it stilled, and while it was partial, it was eerie to watch. People on television in India were doing what Indians do, viz., make a lot of noise and invoke our gods, but the city below the window briefly stopped, looked up, and started again. I suppose that ought to be very profound, you ought to learn something from that, but I'm still not sure I know what sort of place Hong Kong is. It's not a city for tourists. It's not a place to see, it's a place to be - to get up and wander around and eat street food and sear gently in the sun. It's an odd mixture of history, future and seascape, occasional colonial grace notes on a background of sunshine and chrome, things that are familiar from India, like bizarre juxtapositions of place names - places called Central and Causeway Bay next to places called Tsim Sha Tsui and Sheung Wan - and people who sell books in five languages on the street. And that, too, coupled with the weird feeling that I could pay some nominal amount and be on a train to Guangzhou, which I would have done in a moment had the train timetanle not been very stern about where you need to get off if your visa entitlements are not up to scratch.

I suppose, in the end, it came down to a certain sense of wistfulness. Hong Kong is a modern city, and if I can tell anything from a place, I can tell that - it has polished surfaces, smooth, silent mass transit and clean air, clean water - but it's not a Western one. The guide book - which was actually very helpful in most regards - was straight-facedly effusive about fusion and where East meets West and other such tourist-board platitudes - but I disagreed. There's a distinction between being Western and having achieved a state of modernity - and it's a distinction I've never been quite sure exists, and having found it finally, I'm going to remember it. Hong Kong is full of things to remind you that you're not in Western Europe or North America - it is emphatically not a Western city. It was like a glimpse of the world I hope to be living in when I'm old - the one where I come from is just where I come from, it has no connotations of developing and backward. I hope that one day, Delhi is like Hong Kong - full of the things it has today, the constant shouting, the noisy organised street religion, the people who can't mind their own business for a moment, the street markets, the people on the hustle - but with that clean air, clean water, without the piss and spit and betel-juice. It may happen, and it may not; but it was a treat, regardless.

Since returning I have applied for four training contracts, bringing the total up to some ludicrous number, and had my bimonthly I-am-going-to-be-unemployed-FOREVER freakout (this time, brought on by the fact that for the first time ever, I am legally unemployed); I have spent a pleasant afternoon relearning how one does not get oneself Thrown Into Tree By Angry Horse; I have resolved to take part in [livejournal.com profile] dogdaysofsummer; I have re-read Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog, and decided that everyone else ought to. I'm surprised I didn't read the former earlier, actually - both books are set at Balliol in the 2050s, in a universe where time travel has been invented, yes, but is strictly controlled by the Oxford history faculty, i.e., dizzy academics and bureaucracy. Doomsday Book is epic and kind of gorgeous and deeply, deeply disturbing - the basic plot is so simple it ought to be trite, viz., the first mediaeval historian visits Oxford during the Black Death, and instead the author (er, Connie Willis) manages to wring real drama and tragedy out of it. I've read it twice in a month - no mean feat, considering it's 500 pages - and loved it without reservation.

And then there's To Say Nothing of the Dog, which is a sequel only in the sense that it happens after, and has two of the same characters. It's also wonderful - from the blurb, it's a romantic comedy with time travel, but it's more than that - it's deeper and denser, meticulously plotted and paced, but it is also a delicate pastiche of Three Men In a Boat, and a delicate little love story, besides. (I wrote fic for it for [livejournal.com profile] yuletide last year, in fact: Yes, Virginia.) Another one that rewards a re-read, I think.

Anyway, I was talking about making LJ entries at odd times and places. I'm on a train between Liverpool and London Euston, which is tilting kind of dizzily across the landscape. (I love this journey, usually; I love how you can just sit on a train for two hours watching patchwork fields and sleepy sheep drift by, and then arrive, but it all looks very vivid-light gloomy today, lots of clouds boiling indecisively above the horizon.) This week I have a job of sorts - a one-week placement with a tiny law firm somewhere in London, doing a lot of criminal defence work, so should be fun, and also should get it straight in my head whether I really want to spend my whole life doing this - and next week I am in Edinburgh with [livejournal.com profile] shimgray.

The first prompt for [livejournal.com profile] dogdaysofsummer is The enigma of August / Season of dust and teenage arson. I may not write it, but, how lovely, how aptly mysterious for this Sunday-afternoon journey into a month of something new. They are about to bring me coffee. In a lot of regards, life is good.
raven: image of white Macbook computer with raven perching on it (misc - raven writes)
My exams are over. Which is a good thing on many levels, because I was going insane. Truly, howlingly insane. And oh, not sleeping isn't good at all. I'd reached the point where I was sitting up at three in the morning belligerently mentally drafting a letter to all the people in the world who don't have chronic sleep disorders, which is never a good sign.

(That said, the best advice re: terrible sleeping I have ever got from anyone was from my father, who suffers the same thing with the same severity, and it was this. Are you sleepy? Right now? And are you actually going to fail your degree/lose your job? Then go to bed, now, and sleep. People whom I do not like very much as a consequence tell me that I should push through, "so you'll sleep at night". Er... no. What happens, in the life of the chronic insomniac, is you go to bed, having pushed your exhausted body and brain through the whole of the working day, and then you don't sleep. You lie awake for eight hours, and then as you're dropping blissfully off, your alarm goes again. This way, at least you get some sleep sometimes.)

Anyway! So I had slept maybe three or four hours the night before my EU exam, and maybe another two hours the night before my contract one. And the first one went, well, not that brilliantly - I had things to say, but not particularly specific things, and in no sensible order - but the second one went slightly better. I much prefer problem questions to essays, I think; you can at least work through the thing in order and feel some muted satisfaction when finished. And I have, thank god, finished. And that, bizarrely, is a quarter of the course done, dealt with and examined. I'm pleased, I think; regardless of how well I've done, that was me getting to grips with new university, new course, new skill set, new knowledge and new material, up to exam standard in twelve weeks. Hurrah.

And new friends, also! Afterwards, we went for pizza. It seemed sensible - the initial plan had been to go drinking, until someone pointed out that this would involve drinking at half-past eleven in the morning - to decamp to the city, order lots of food and enough wine for tipsiness, which is not very much when everyone is grossly sleep-deprived and thus the cheapest of cheap dates, and it was good. And we ended up scrutinishing the two-for-one vouchers the internet had provided for exclusion clauses, and writing our order down and putting it on a napkin to give to the waitress, which is what happens when six baby lawyers go to lunch. And I meant to read all afternoon, but instead got home and fell soundly asleep. It was good.

[livejournal.com profile] shimgray took me for dinner, and, note for Oxford-types, Shangai 30s, on St. Aldate's? Really, really good. The food is wonderful, and the dingy aesthetic is pretty cool, although, as Shim noted, the large painting of a naked woman on the back wall does lend the place a certain raffish air. (That said, he was wearing a tie and I was wearing a dress. It was all eminently respectable, even though we were the youngest people in the place by several decades.) And, brownies and cream, and an evening lying around doing nothing but talk and read.

(Speaking of, I am reading Mason & Dixon, an epic Thomas Pynchon novel that I really would recommend, even though I'm only about a hundred and fifty pages in (of seven hundred!); it's on the surface, a historical pastiche about Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon (yes, them) scurrying around the globe drinking and having sex with everything in sight. It's full of jokes and allusions, and at the heart of, the friendship between the two, which is strained and silly and full of endless sniping, and gloriously well-drawn. And if that were not enough, it can rollick along for twenty pages of bodice-ripping and then take an abrupt left turn into more sheer prose, a kind of sparse lambency in the way it builds time and place with so few strokes, and gosh, it's beautifully written. A brief aside, there.)

Tomorrow, I return to school, hurrah. Today, I had a day off, what fresh wonder is this, and meant to run errands, but somehow ended up spending nearly four hours in a café with [livejournal.com profile] magic_doors, talking about politics and Kosovo and academia and disestablishmentarianism and the Age! of! Enlightenment! pronounced just like that, and I remembered the enormous plethora of things and issues we seem to agree absolutely on. It was nice, and so was walking home in the cold, which still has the snap and freshness but doesn't actually make icicles of your extremities, which I entirely approve.

Onwards and upwards. Equity and trusts, criminal law, land law, and public law still to go. Tonight I might sleep!

[One further note. People talking to me on Google Talk, I entirely appreciate it, but please tell me who you are: for some unknown reason it's stripping the names off of people, and so it's kind of like talking to God.]

October 2017

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