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November 2nd, 2020 (03:02 pm)

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Useful Posts:
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Glee Fic: My Recs & To-Read list
Wishlist
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Comfort Books; Favorite Storytelling Devices.

I maintain a booklog at Goodreads as 'ribbonknight.'

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Reading "Wednesday" - Catch-Up

I've been trying to read LeGuin's Hainish cycle, somewhat in order. I really liked Semley's Necklace, which was a lot like Rip Van Winkle. Why doesn't more SF deal with the effects of FTL travel?
I enjoyed Planet of Exile and Rocannon's World mostly for the prose, but liked Semley's Necklace better.
I've also read "April in Paris," which is unrelated to Hainish stuff but in the same collection of short stories as Hainish stuff.

Phantom Thief Jeanne, vols. 1-3 - I really enjoyed these. I love Maron's hair, which is always perfectly drawn. Viz's release is very pretty.
I think this is the first time I've seen virginity explicitly/textually linked with mahou shoujo power. The threat of rape is used repeatedly in the third volume, which I really didn't care for.
The primary love interest also makes comments that he might not be able to "help [himself]," and wants Jeanne to stop being a Phantom Thief, :[ Very controlling, sometimes disturbing images of him holding her wrists against the wall while towering over her to argue. Ugh.
What does attract me is Maron's loneliness, her desire for strength/fortitude but eventual acceptance that she can and should rely on her friends while she's not yet strong enough to do everything on her own.
Also loved Maron's facade of cheerful strength, which covers up her loneliness. I hope to read more of this rerelease.

After volumes 19 and 20, I've finally abandoned One Piece. I seem to never be able to make it past ~20 volumes with shounen, or at least that's been true of this, Naruto, and Bleach. Fullmetal Alchemist is a well-loved exception.

Pamela Dean's Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary is hard to describe, but I absolutely loved it, definitely going on my list of favorites. I think it might be my favorite by Dean.

Vampire Knight, volumes 1-5 - I've read the first few volumes before, but now that the final tome has been released, I thought I'd reread & go straight on through to the end. I'd forgotten how heinous this is.
Everyone's hair always looks wet. Sucking of blood is used an excuse for everyone to bit/like one another while having mid-orgasmic facial expressions. The omake pages are literally titled, "Vampires covered in blood are forbidden from entering this page!" AMAZE. Self-aware manga-ka are the best.

One Salt Sea - Fifth Toby Daye, which I enjoyed a lot, possibly even more than #3, which had been my favorite.

Please Save My Earth, vol. 1 - This was a reread from a lonnnnng time ago. Sadly, my library system doesn't carry the rest of the series, and I'd have to outer-library loan every single volume after this. Not sure if I'm interested enough to keep doing that, but I'd also really like to see where the story goes, after only knowing the beginning for about a decade.

Fangirl - I pretty much devoured this. Over-identified in a few places, as I had a hard time making friends in college, spent a lot of time in my dorm room, etc. There's a lot of mental illness running through the pages of this book, so cw for that.

Arrows of the Queen - Someone at Tor.com is reading a reread of these Mercedes Lackey books. Having never read any Lackey ever, I thought I'd join in to learn about "sparkle ponies" that have often been discussed at WisCon.
I think I referred to reading this book as like eating cotton candy. SPARKLE PONY SCHOOL?! WHERE YOU GO AFTER BEING CHOSEN BY A PONY TO HELP RULE THE KINGDOM?! Amazing.

Malice - another fantastic book by Higashino, although this one was NOT about Detective Galileo, as the last two published in the US were. I love the writing. I'm completely unable to guess how things fit together, and I just really love Higashino as an author and wish that more of his books were translated into English.

How to Save a Life - With this, I've now read all available Sara Zarr books, I think? I usually suck these books down in about a day, becoming completely enthralled, and this one was no different.

ATLA: The Rift, part 3 (final) - I really enjoyed this as an end to this third post-ATLA series trilogy. Is Gene Luan Yang doing more? I really hope so!


I know there have been a bunch of other comics I've read after borrowing them from people from comics club, but I'll have to do those after my vacation!

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Reading Wednesday on Thursday

I keep not having anything to say about what I've been reading, but since I use this blog to keep track of where I am in single-issue comics, I figured I'd list my progress if nothing else -_-

Saga #24 - Very excited to revisit some old friends in this issue. Sad as always for the hiatus. Still love reading the letters at the end, or moreso Brian K Vaughan's writing surrounding the letters.

A Solitary Blue - I'd forgotten almost everything that happens in this book, and I'm so glad I revisited it. Voigt's writing is such a comfort to me, and I'm glad to be reading the Tillerman Cycle again.

Marvel's 75th Anniversary Celebration - recommended by someone at comics club. Purchased because they specifically said that one of the stories is about Jessica Jones, AND IT WAS!!! I loved the fake covers, and also Kamala's appearance in the first few pages. I was shocked by how many characters I recognized from the various shout-outs? I guess I'm getting comfy in Marvel's universe.

Phonogram #1 - Purchased because issue #1 was on sale for $1. Didn't really grab me? idk.

Wayward #1-3 - Someone at comics club was looking to offload #1 and 2, and I bought #3 before reading any. A teenage girl who's half-Irish, half-Japanese relocates to live with her mom in Japan. I liked the art quite a bit, and some of the concepts are interesting. Appreciate the Japan in the background. Less enthusiastic about how none of the characters seem to interact how I'd expect them to interact, in uh, any situation? & when the kids decided to "team up" & discussed naming themselves, it really felt like it came out of nowhere to me.
In the letters at the end, the creators make it sound like they're trying to emulate Buffy but also going for their own thing entirely. Lots of splainy stuff for ~3 pages per issue about monster folklore or life in Japan.
Also a trigger warning for some very sudden & vivid self-harm, :(

Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man Volume 5 - This volume explains how Miles picks up his suit again. It was also fun to see him dating Kate Bishop!
This book got a little full, as it gave back stories to four other characters: Spider-Woman, Bombshell, and Cloak & Dagger. I still liked it quite a bit, and am actually interested in all four of these characters, Gwen Stacy, Ganke, and of course Miles. This is what comes next. Too bad the library doesn't have it.

Thor: The Might Avenger, vols 1 & 2 - Borrowed from comics club. Overall this series was a good jumping in point for someone with zero context for Thor aside from his appearance in the Avengers movie. This art style was refreshingly consistent for a Western comic. I was pretty bored to the point of feeling insulted by Jane Foster. The creators' feelings were confirmed when I got to the end and saw her cup size listed on her initial sketch page. Appalling.
Grateful that Thor's first appearance was included in the could one time - nice to see at least two origin stories.

Late Eclipses - 4th October Daye book. I still love these quite a bit. I think I liked #3 slightly more than this one?

Heaven Under Earth - I just read this online, but apparently it's now been published in an Electric Velocipede anthology and taken offline since then!
Actually read this a few weeks ago as part of my quest to read all of the 2013 Tiptree list, but then forgot since I don't log short stories on Goodreads & there was no physical reminder lying on my couch ^^;;
I loved this quite a bit, and found myself thinking, "Why isn't there more fantasy like this?" [This is a thought that I've had a number of times this year.] I really look forward to reading more by Aliette de Bodard.

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mystickeeper [userpic]

Reading Wednesday on Sunday

The Whim of the Dragon - I actually loved the ending, and how things worked together. Glad I read this trilogy, and glad I've already been able to find each installment used at various Half-Price Books.

Bioluminescence: Lisp - Borrowed from someone in comics club (who also drew it!). Short & sweet.
The Ink Dark Moon - Recommended to me by [profile] lavendarsleeves because I was complaining about Basho on twitter ^^;;;
And she was right in that I did like this a lot more! I preferred Shikibu's poems to Komachi's, but am glad to have read it regardless. I likely made it through in part because it's so short.

An Artificial Night - Third installment of the October Daye books. I understand why many people say this was the book to really pull them into the series. spoilersCollapse ) I continue to look forward to reading more. These seem particularly fitting to read during the month of October, ;)

One Piece, volumes 16-18 - Not much happened in these volumes except that the team obtained Chopper, the blue-nosed reindeer. I feel excited when Nami and/or Princess Vivi appear on-screen. I'm also finding this arc as they finally enter Alabasta to be interesting.

Bee and Puppycat, #1-3 - Borrowed from a member of comics club. I liked the whimsical art style, as well as the basis premise (Bee and her puppycat get odd jobs from a "Temp Bot"). I particularly liked #2's use of QR codes to associate music with a number of music boxes opened by the characters. Other than that, though, there wasn't much to grasp on to.

The Pulse, vol. 1: Thin Air - The follow-up to Jessica Jones's story in Alias. I really didn't care for the art style in this volume? But the story was good enough that I didn't mind.

The Pulse, vol. 2: Secret War - I really liked this one. Done by a different artist, which helped, but the "secret" war/SHIELD + Hydra thing is an interesting through-line to me? Also, coming to Marvel comics from the MCU means I'm always surprised when Nick Fury shows up & is white.
Neither my city nor university libraries carry The Pulse, vol. 3, and the city can't obtain it via outerlibrary loan, either. Where do people go to *ahem* US comics?

Spider-Man SP//dr - Seems to be the last installment of a five-part mini-series that's building up to a new event/crossover/series/SOMETHING. I picked it up because it was written by Gerard Way & the premise sounded interesting. If the direct influences of Neon Genesis Evangelion on this weren't clear, Asuka, Rei, Kaworu, and Shinji literally appear as the protag's classmates on one page. Way does cite other influences (Akira, Chrono Trigger[??]) in interviews I've seen, but I find it weird that Evangelion isn't mentioned at all. Maybe it was only an influence for an artist, & not the writer. I'd like to see more of Peni but am not sure what this series is jumping to now.



Reading Now:
A Solitary Blue by Cynthia Voigt, because I was feeling a little melancholy last night and am craving her writing.

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Lazy blogging on this season's anime

October 17th, 2014 (07:13 pm)

I LOVED the first two episodes of Akatsuki no Yona, lovelovelove.

I'm surprised by how much I'm enjoying Shirobako. This review does a good job explaining why.

I remain incredibly disappointed by Sailor Moon Crystal. This review of the latest episode explains why. It's making me nostalgic for the original anime, which is something I never thought I'd say.

In addition to these currently airing series, I've been watching the Cardcaptor Sakura anime for the first time, now that it's streaming on Crunchyroll. I like this anime more than Sailor Moon. It's making me want to reread xxxHOLiC and Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle in their entirety, though. I never actually finished either series, although I own complete sets of both.



Unrelated, & this is from a while ago, but I keep meaning to link to [personal profile] general_jinjur's post on capitalism and trigger warnings.
anyway. a woman in the audience asked a relatively thoughtful question that displaced fannish ethics onto a commercial capitalist setting - and that's the problem. you can't do that. i mean, that's part of why monetizing fandom doesn't work, even though people keep right on trying to package and sell us. but this was in the opposite direction. "would you consider putting trigger warnings on your work?" the answer was no. of course it was no.


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mystickeeper [userpic]

Anatsuki no Yona

October 15th, 2014 (08:21 pm)

W O W it has been a long time since I've enjoyed a currently-airing anime so much. Just. Wow.

I watched the first two episodes today, and it was just fan-fucking-tastic.

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mystickeeper [userpic]

Reading Wednesday-on-Thursday

A Local Habitation - I keep marveling over the fact that I find the world-building in these books interesting, as attempts at "faerie" urban fantasy novels have failed utterly in the past.

In this one, October Daye is sent to investigate the sudden silence of her liege-lord's niece, who lives in a different city. Upon arrival, she learns that members of a faerie start-up tech company are being murdered one-by-one, and it becomes increasingly clear that the murderer has to be one of their fellow employees.

As always, I'm suckered by metaphors. "Long dresses weren't designed for walking in the woods. My mother could've made the walk without stumbling; she fits into the world that well, even insane. That's what it meant to be a pureblood. I stumble and fall, and I always get up and keep going. That's what it means to be a changeling."

Also loved the last few sentences, after reflecting on the mutability of her world (for plot-related reasons I won't spoil). "Something endures, no matter what happens. Something last."

Many friends have been delighted by some sort of world-changing plot spoiler that happened in the most recent installment in this series [The Winter Long], so I'm glad to know that this series doesn't get stale.


I'm a little surprised to see so many others rated this so low on Goodreads! Usually I'm somewhat on-par with my fellow readers, lol.


Alias, vol. 4: The Secret Origins of Jessica Jones - Loved this, sad it was a finale. I really like this series, and I think this volume was hands-down the best installment. I'm glad to see the story continues in "The Pulse," and I've already got all the volumes of that on hold, bahaha. I'd like to own these some day, and highly recommend them. I remain excited for the upcoming Netflix series based on Jessica Jones's story.


This One Summer - I didn't like this as much as Skim, which was done by the same pair of cousins? But still worth reading.


Rhapsody: Child of Blood - Recced to me by a coworker. Some of the worst prose I've read in a while, sadly. Only made it to page 92.


Letters to Olga - This one might be "abandoned for now" rather than forever, due to library due dates.

I'm half Czech, but know next to nothing about the country from which my mother's family came. Letters to Olga is a collection of letters Havel wrote to his wife while imprisoned for his human rights activities. Havel later became president of Czechoslovakia. Abandoned on page 35 (for now?).


A Sand County Almanac - I field weird giving this a 3, but I really only cared for the beginning third, "A Sand County Almanac." Feel like it should be required reading for those who live in Wisconsin.

I was less enthralled with "Sketches Here and There" and "The Upshot," save for the essay on Land Ethic.


Gotham Academy, #1 - COMIC OF MY ID!!!! This was everything I'd hoped it would be. I want to roll around in it. So glad this series exists.

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[video game] Long Live the Queen

Purchased as part of a weekly Humble Bundle deal consisting of video games with female protagonists (still good for 16 hours! anti-rec to The Cat Lady, massive suicide/gore warnings!), this was my first time playing a visual novel RPG. The player controls Elodie, a pink-haired 14-year-old princess whose mother just died. She will inherit the crown and become queen on her fifteenth birthday - if you can keep her alive until then.

As the player, you can regularly control two aspects of her life: what she studies in her classes during the week, and how she spends her weekend. Classes range from court demeanor to animal husbandry to military logistics. Elodie's lessons affect her "skills" stats, which can also receive a boost if you choose to have Elodie wear the associated outfit (e.g., military uniform for strategy, cat suit for political intrigue, etc.). These skill sets affect Elodie's performance in the game's events, such as her abilities to fend off assassins, adequately deal with criminimals, and sense the plots - both political and magical - of those who want to steal her throne. While Elodie can choose how to respond to would-be suitors or political attacks, her options are shaped by her skillset (in this case, flattery/composure for the former, intrigue and her kingdom's history for the latter).

Of course, Elodie's ability to retain knowledge to boost her skill set is controlled by her mood, and her mood is controlled by the choices you make as the player about how she spends her weekend, or sometimes by forces beyond her control (aren't we all). For example, playing sports on the weekend increases her anger, and being angry helps her retain military-related lessons at a faster rate. Touring the castle's barracks on the weekend, though, can make her feel more pressured.

ALSO THERE IS AN OPTION TO BECOME A MAGICAL GIRL?!

While there's more than one way to win, and winning is fun, so is dying - sometimes attacked by bandits, or from poisoned chocolate. There are at least two achievements in Steam that you can win for finding a certain number of ways to die!
Tonight I gave a human sacrifice to satisfy a kraken, & also saved my kingdom from invasion by singing.

Basically, this game is great fun, and I didn't know games like this existed. (I mean, I was aware of visual novel RPGs, as they sometimes inspire anime series, but not the details.) I'll be messing around with this one for a while, but am very interested in finding and playing more.

Oh yeah. I'm ribbonknight on Steam - just signed up Monday night.

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Reading Wednesday

September 25th, 2014 (06:59 pm)

Anne of Avonlea - A decent follow-up to the first book, although I gave it one less star because it felt a little floundery in the middle.

Matthew is not discussed much in this book, but in the first part of the novel characters are pretty preoccupied about what heaven is, what it means.

I loved the resolution to Lavender's storyline, and also take a lot of joy in seeing romance bud between Anne and Gilbert. I'm excited to read the next one, where they're at college.


Anne of the Island - So, I love the relationship between Anne and Gilbert in this book. I also really identify with Anne's heartbreak about growing up, and the realization that even your closest friends change over time, and that nothing can be as it once was, even if you still have old writings from you/your friends that transport you right back to old times. Also loved her friends cackling over gossipy situations.

That said, the book feels like it's bumbling from one scene to the next, season to season, year to year, with no transitions, just filler to try & resolve the main plot (Anne and Gilbert). I know that a long period of time was covered in the first book, but it didn't feel like this, I don't think.


Jim Henson's Storytellers: Witches, #1 - I don't remember where I saw a link about this months ago, but I pinned it and saved the date. It's gorgeous, and wonderful. I'm so glad I read it, and I'm really looking forward to the next one. These are stand-alone, and there are going to be a total of four.


Liminality's first issue came out. While I'm not usually much for poetry, I did enjoy my friend Gabby's The devil riding your back.

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Reading Wednesday on a Thursday

Otherbound - read for [community profile] beer_marmalade (whose DW is terribly neglected, lol self). This got a three from me because it really stuck the landing.

This is a fantasy book where the idea is more interesting than the execution. Nolan is a high school teenager who has a problem - every time he closes his eyes, even to blink, he lives the life a girl named Amara, a servant to a princess who lives in a different world - one with magic. In his own world, Nolan's inability to control when and where he slips into the other world causes his family and doctors to try and treat him for epilepsy, to no avail.

Coming to this while in the middle of Pamela Dean's Secret Country trilogy, it makes me think a lot about the characters and their responsibility to another story's narrative. They're participating in worlds they're not sure are real, and it's difficult to discern how much duty they owe to people who live in a different world, especially when their activities in their fantasy world are costing them in their "real" life. It's an interesting concept, and I think it's now a trope that I enjoy.

So, yes - interesting concept & ideas, but overall I really didn't care for the writing until the last few chapters. I believe Corinne Duyvis is a relatively new author (younger than me!). I'd be willing to try other books by her, given the concepts in this one, to see if the writing improves.

Content warning for violence/abuse and self-harm.


The Narrow Road to the Deep North - [not the one by Basho] Put this on hold at the library because it was on the Booker list. So, this book is about an Australian doctor who becomes a POW during World War II. He's forced by his Japanese captors to do slave labor with his comrades, working on their railroad.

The story of his experiences in World War II is interspersed with his celebrity in the present as a war hero.

The author lifted this story from his own father's, but I pretty much hated the protagonist, who likes driving drunk & having affairs.

I'm sure there are some interesting truths in the rest of the novel - toward the beginning, for example, Major Nakamura is arguing with the protagonist about "freedom" & colonization, essentially, after the protag asks for a day's rest for the other POWs to work more effectively. Nakamura says they're redeeming their honour by dying for the emperor. "Your British Empire...You think it did not need non-freedom, Colonel? It was built sleeper by sleeper of non-freedom, bridge by bridge of non-freedom."

Anyway, I'm sure there's more to uncover, but based on this prose & what I've read so far, I'm not sticking around to find out.


Once Was Lost - I'm not sure I can say anything about Zarr that I haven't already said, but I loved this one too. I'll read any book she publishes.


History of the Rain - Put this on hold at the library because it was on the Booker list. This was both heartfelt and amusing - a love letter to people who love both books & poetry (well, very white books & poetry, I should add).

The protagonist is bedbound, & she views the people in her village in Ireland through the lenses of books - characters, locations, how people say things, etc.
There's a lot of tragedy, too, as I guess happens with any book about the Irish.
I read this during the one-year anniversary of a friend's death, and found it helped me with my grief.
I'm not doing it justice, but this one touched me down deep. Here's a much better review from someone on Goodreads that gets what I liked.

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