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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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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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Not actually much to say - did not finish anything, did not go to the academic library, did make significant progress on Cotillion and Persuasion, and also went to the public library and picked up some Mercedes Lackey because clearly this downswing is not going anywhere soon.

Also a lot of Randall Munroe's What If. Speaking of which, I find the end of this article kind of weird - for me, contributing to an archaeology research paper is basically the best possible thing that could happen to my corpse.
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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.

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