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A couple of fics.

The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie: I really liked it. spoilers ) And the red herrings were great.

Now I want to read it all over again for clues, but it’s gone back to the library.

I suspect allergies are part of the reason for the lack of brain ability for the past few days. No idea to what, except that it was at least slightly less of a problem in Toronto.
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Finished

A MCU fic with a decent but not very deep plot, low on rationale for character motivations. Pretty good period AU, though.

Unsettled by AxeMeAboutAxinomancy: As podfic, comfort listening during physical health issues this weekend.

(My cutoff for fics to count as "books" for record keeping purposes is somewhere under 25,000 words.)

Reserved for the Cat by Mercedes Lackey: Comfort reading. I think this is the low point for her copyediting and it's improved since here. (Having one section of my brain complaining about typos and punctuation and consistency errors actually makes it better for comfort reading in some ways, because there's more there to occupy me.) I don't like any of the villain pov here; come to think of it, she cut that out of some of the later books in this series entirely, which is probably a good idea.

Victorian Families in Fact and Fiction by Penny Kane: On the Victorian demographic transition as expressed in the literary evidence. Excellent, clearly differentiates between factual and literary sources and what can be determined from them. And as I said a couple weeks ago, the Victorian era was fucking terrible, people. (Primarily: child labour, (lack of) education, and patriarchy.) (The thing is, we know about the patriarchy (in fandom), and there was a lot of other Really Terrible stuff happening too that gets ignored.)

Lots of things that get left out of standard pop-historical imaginings. Some of them less terrible: for example, Victorians had very late marriages (mid to late twenties, later in the middle classes and for men) and numerous remarriages after deaths of spouses. ("Two out of every five men across Europe in the nineteenth century who survived to age 50 had married and produced families more than once.")

...Huh. Come to think of it, that makes Watson's hypothetical multiple marriages a bit less implausible.

The Comfortable Courtesan by Clorinda Cathcart: Man, I'm so glad this exists. And it's officially ended, and comforting and lovely and impressive and just go read it. It hasn't been on my weekly posts before because it's just been kind of background to my life: of course I'm reading Madame C-'s updates. And it's finished, and I am sad, but it's there to be reread whenever.

In Progress

The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie: I glanced at the introduction to this (never read the introduction) and apparently Christie's thrillers are deprecated; I like them, and while this is clearly early and implausible it's fun.

I also have a book about Miss Marple as a character that I am going to start on.
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No brain today.

Finished

The Sharing Knife: Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold

They Say Love Heals All Wounds by Deastar: Yay worldbuilding.

In Progress

Victorian Families in Fact and Fiction by Penny Kane

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Leopard in Exile by Andre Norton and Rosemary Edgehill

Reserved for the Cat by Mercedes Lackey

The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie

Other

The University's humanities library is closed until July. The science library is still open, so maybe I'll go there sometime, but.
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Finished

The Adventure of the Resurrected Lover by Azriona: Very good.

Cotillion by Georgette Heyer: Yay Freddy, yay people making their own choices about their lives.

In Progress

Victorian Families in Fact and Fiction by Penny Kane: It's things like this that remind you that no matter how nice things were for the upper middle class and how much you romanticize it you are basically writing fic about a horrific dystopia.

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho: Continues adventurous and amusing.

Leopard in Exile by Andre Norton and Rosemary Edgehill: Reread, very self-indulgent.

Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold: ditto. (I've had one of the Vorkosigan books sitting on my nightstand for six months, and of course I pick up this instead.)
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This is a transcript of the April 8th, 2017 episode of Footnoting History by Elizabeth Keohane-Burbridge and Lucy Barnhouse, done for [tumblr.com profile] teaforlupin. The original podcast can be found here.

Read more... )
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In Progress

Further poking at Cotillion, another Lackey, and a Regency romance, with limited focus on anything.

Other

Read On Being Ill and Street Haunting by Virginia Woolf, and then spent a few hours with her narrating my interior monologue. (And then at the library read Hermione Lee's introduction to the former, which was helpful, at least in terms of "No, I did not hallucinate the end while half-asleep." (That's certainly not a criticism of the essay.)) I don't know what to say about Woolf, except that I want to read more and kind of wish I had at University; her outlook and voice are so unique and also infinitely relatable, at least for me.

Library

Read the first half (late Victorian and Edwardian) of Sex, Gender and Social Change in Britain Since 1880 by Lesley A. Hall - what struck me was the sheer number of people with different goals involved in the various movements covered, and also that despite technical dates of publication major books on sexuality (eg Havelock Ellis) might have basically no circulation whatsoever for years afterwards. And also the focus on the difference the courts and other organizations had between "acceptable for a specialized audience" and "acceptable for the general public." Also there seems to have been a lot going on in the BMJ and the Lancet at the time.

Also flipped through Birth Control, Sex and Marriage in Britain, 1918-1960 by Kate Fisher, and even that much gave a wildly unexpected view of the matter - specifically that, in terms of actual practice among working class couples, the husband was expected to be in charge of birth control and family planning decisions. This seems to have been because of a combination of ideas of headship in marriage, valuing of sexual ignorance in women, and the fact that the easiest forms of contraception to access (withdrawal, abstinence, and condoms) required some degree of male participation anyway.
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Finished

Respect the Spindle by Abby Franquemont: More worldwide and modern view than I had previously, lots of help with practicals.

Before Homosexuality in the Arab-Islamic World, 1500-1800 by Khaled El-Rouayheb: Very good as a general overview of mindsets. Also I like that he kept specifying exactly what he and his sources were talking about. Other notes here

From a High Tower by Mercedes Lackey: It's a Mercedes Lackey book. Although I feel like I keep getting poked in the ethical sensibilities by my comfort-reading right now, which is annoying.

In Progress

Cotillion by Georgette Heyer and Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho: Have actually been reading these this week.

Library

As well as Before Homosexuality, read an article on determining prehistoric TFRs from skeletal remains and ethnography.
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Finished

Two novel length fanfics; one I've reread a few dozen times and enjoyed again; the other by an author whose short works I've liked but which was an utter failure as a novel: the romance plot wasn't fully developed and the action plot completely failed at suspense or ever feeling like anything was truly at stake.

In Progress

Cotillion by Georgette Heyer and Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho: You will note I am going much faster on fanfic than original fiction.

Respect the Spindle by Abby Franquemont: Still enjoying, still slow.

Other

Listened to several chapters of Persuasion by Jane Austen while spinning.

Mentors to the Romans: The Search for the Etruscans by Richard M. Bongiovanni: Got this out of the library because Etruscans, neat!; after reading the first couple chapters it looks a lot like a vanity project and I don't think I'd trust the author. (Also the bibliography wasn't alphabetized.) Oh well.

Library

Read half of Before Homosexuality in the Arab-Islamic World, 1500-1800 by Khaled El-Rouayheb and will read the rest next week. Looked through Female Masculinities by Judith Halberstam. Read four or so chapters of Room With a View by E. M. Forster and flipped through a few books on Virginia Woolf looking for information about the Hogarth Press.
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Finished

Winter in London by Waid: nth reread. I was depressed and this is comfort reading (though read the warnings before you try it).

The Cat Who Knew Shakespeare by Lilian Jackson Braun: more comfort reading; earlier in the series than the ones I read as a teenager; about as fluffy as serial arson can get.

In Process

After the Ice by Steven Mithen: aka The Brick. I've been working on this one for two or three months and am very nearly done.

Cotillion by Georgette Heyer: Anonymous rec for non-alpha-male hero. I've only read one Heyer before, when I was a teenager, and I forgot or didn't notice that she's funny. Seriously, this is hilarious.

Respect the Spindle by Abby Franquemont: Background reading.

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho: I don't have nearly as much time waiting alone with my purse here, so I've kind of left this, despite it being very good.

Also I reread about half of Women's Work by Elizabeth Wayland Barber and read an article on Algonquin archaeology (mostly stone points, very dry) and bits of a book on Iroquois women (justifiably very angry) at the university library on Monday.
violsva: The words "Oh, Sandy!"; a reference to The Comfortable Courtesan (Oh Sandy)
Comments on most recent Comfortable Courtesan entries. (Jan 10th to 12th)
Read more... )
violsva: The words "Oh, Sandy!"; a reference to The Comfortable Courtesan (Oh Sandy)
Comments on The Comfortable Courtesan Jan 5th to Jan 9th in no particular order, because dammit, I’m sick and I’m going to talk about things that make me happy. (And also because I was for a while too sick to write anything, ugh.)
Read more... )
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This is the copyright page of my copy of Dorothy L. Sayers’ The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club:

Read more... )

The relevant information is “First published in Great Britain by Victor Gollancz Ltd. in 1921.”

The problem is, afaict this book was first published in 1928, by Ernest Benn Ltd. Cursory investigation indicates that Gollancz split off from Benn in 1927, so it may have had something to do with the publication; but it didn’t exist at all in 1921, and Sayers didn’t publish her first novel until 1923.

Does anyone know why this is in the New English Library edition?

(My copy was purchased in a used book store in Ontario in the 2010s, so that's not much help.)

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It's very weird reading someone earnestly arguing for a principle which is the basic foundation of nearly all modern ethics. Or at least my own ethics. It's very hard to look at it from the point of view of someone who isn't convinced.

Mill mentions the various popular meanings of the words utilitarian and utility in his time; an interesting point is that something which is in the modern sense "utilitarian" - something which does nothing except perform a function - is less utilitarian in the philosophical sense than something which performs that function and is also beautiful - because the latter produces happiness in someone looking at it. Usefullness comes in various forms.

He also mentions Epicurius, and Epicurius said that artistic enjoyment was one of the only pleasures which had no associated pain. (The argument Mill's making is that Epicurianism/utility/happiness is not just about physical pleasure and excess, and that intellectual pleasures are, in fact, more fun. Or at least promote more happiness in general, especially to others.)

However, I'm reminded of Virginia Woolf saying "A good dinner is of great importance to good talk. One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well," in A Room of One's Own. In order to be able to enjoy intellectual pleasures you need to have a relatively enjoyable physical baseline. Which ties in with Mill's point that (in utilitarianism) asceticism and sacrifice have no moral value unless they are for the sake of someone else's happiness.

I wrote that first paragraph when a bit more than halfway through; in the last chapter, however, talking about justice, he uses taxation as an example: "This doctrine [a poll tax], as applied to taxation, finds no advocates because it conflicts so strongly with man's feelings of humanity and social expediency." Tell that to Margaret Thatcher.

And of course it may or may not be considered an example of "modern ethics," but the recent election has indicated that there are lots of people who don't actually give a shit about the common good. Humans are complicated.

And that's a sort of general pessimism brought on by the circumstances, not actually my considered position. Mill points out that in fact we know that most people do mostly behave justly, because if they didn't we couldn't have a society at all: if people couldn't be trusted not to harm each other then we would all consider everyone potential enemies and guard against them (which I've just realized is how cats treat each other). I don't know if this is an argument that human nature is inherently good or that humans will usually live up to social expectations.
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today has not been great (for no particular external reason (except that it’s raining)) but on the other hand there is fiction and it is wonderful

i picked up Travelling with the Dead by Barbara Hambly because I liked the first in the series and Lydia the wonderful impractical impulsive scientific girl, I like her a lot (although the central library nearest mom’s house has a terrible new remodel) (also i took out another book which probably won’t have lesbians but the blurb has the perfect set up for lesbians and apparently i am incurably optimistic about these things)

i am rereading Winter in London by Waid because I wanted comforting Holmesfic and apparently i find explicit trauma recovery comforting, and I’m almost at the part! with kissing! the nice kissing, not that other time. And it’s so lovely and introspective and poor everyone, oh god. And Mycroft is excellent

(note to self - reread GREE and BRUC for the thing. and that bit of So4 for the other thing with the actual deadline)

I just reread Matches by janeturenne and rabidsamfan - i really should link, it just feels like work, but it’s at janeturenne.livejournal - and … yes. boys. sex. in a haystack. and still emotions <3

the Comfortable Courtesan continues wonderful and sweet and darlings! and also I am rereading earlier parts because it consistently makes me happy and !!Sandy!! !!Mr. F-!! <3Docket and Tibby!<3

Also the “oh god these wonderful characters” feeling is quite close to the “oh god i have a crush” feeling, though a bit distanced. Huh.
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So everyone should go read The Café Elsinore by hoc_voluerunt. And then come here and talk to me about it.

It's made me think about modern adaptations and changing portrayals of mental health and the cliched argument over the transfer of power between generations in comedies vs tragedies and how parental relationships in Shakespeare compare to parental relationships in fairy tales. And I haven't had all these thoughts in my head at one time since university or mayybe when I was reading Aurora Leigh the year after, and oh, my brain is back.

(My brain is actually having serious difficulties at the moment, but the return of my critical reading skills can only be a good sign)

Reading

Jun. 4th, 2013 07:42 pm
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Someone else wrote me a Yuletide story (New Year's Resolution) and it's lovely, a whole bunch of little snippets of Greek women and goddesses. Human Hands Alone by Cirque. Go look!

I've been reading The Amateur Cracksman by E. W. Hornung, and OMG why did no one give me this when I was ten?* I would have loved it. I love it now. It's like Holmes but with more emotion and housebreaking and interesting conflicts of standards and morality. There's good reason for it to be like Holmes - it was written by Doyle's brother-in-law and dedicated to him. And the slash is very nearly on the page.

"In the dark!" said Raffles, as I dragged him in. "Why, Bunny, what's wrong?"

"Nothing - now you've come," said I, shutting the door behind him in a fever of relief and anxiety. ... "I've been thinking of you and nothing else for the last hour."


I'm also reading The Mysteries of Montreal by Charlotte Fuhrer. I was hoping for interesting medical details, of which there are none; instead it's a chatty generally moralizing bunch of short 'I swear its true' stories about the kind of weird stuff people get up to that causes them to need a midwife. Once I realized that I was expecting lots of "and then it turned out she was his father's illegitimate child and they couldn't get married and everyone was miserable," and there was some of that. But there's also stories like the woman who disobeyed her father to marry a man who shortly deserted her, and then moved to Boston and became the mistress of a couple men there and had two children out of wedlock ... and lived happily ever after. The children grew up to be brilliant and accomplished and popular in society, and there were no terrible consequences for the mother except a little social embarrassment. So that was kind of neat. She's funny, too:

Alice was glad to get a husband, and to be independent of her aunt. Mr. Taylor, her husband, was delighted to get such a beautiful and accomplished bride, and the old lady, Alice's aunt, was heartily glad to get rid of them both, so that never was rejoicing more universal.

And I am unstuck on something that was stuck for months, so things are progressing well enough writing wise given the amount of free time I have, which is not much. Apartment hunting is also progressing well, though.

*I know someone who is turning ten this year...
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Stop Apologizing for What You Like to Read.

But on the other hand, I'm still not sure I should be on a steady diet of fanfic and late 19/early 20th C memoirs.

From Slacktivist.

Book Meme

Sep. 19th, 2012 08:06 pm
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It's international book week. The rules: Grab the closest book to you, turn to page 52, post the 5th sentence. Don't mention the title. Copy the rules as part of your post.

Je suggère que tu prennes une chambre ici, au Chaudron baveur et...

I need a better shelving system than "stacks on the floor." But there are Reasons for this one.
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...like reading an introduction to a famous literary work. Even a very good introduction.

"The idea of that payment to Dupin echoing a real-life bribe to Poe seems on its face far-fetched (though less so than one writer's later suggestion that Poe himself was the "swarthy" gentleman who murdered Mary Rogers)." --Matthew Pearl

...That sounds surprisingly biographical for academic literary criticism. But it's not more absurd than a lot of critical theory.

(It spoiled the plots, like all introductions [the authors of introductions appear to believe either that they are actually writing afterwords or that everyone, or everyone important, already knows this anyway], but I read it after the stories, so that was okay.)

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