aryllian: (Default)
2017-01-17 04:19 pm

[sticky entry] Sticky: Index of Book Posts (indexing in progress)

NOTE: Some posts may have spoiler cuts that are lost with the direct link. To be warned about spoilers, click on the post and then click on the day of the post (which will be under the title) before reading the post. The version that shows up under the date link will have spoiler cuts intact.


Aaronovitch, Ben. The Hanging Tree. Read in 2017. (Link is all spoilers.)


Barnes, John. Orbital Resonance. Read in 2017.
Brust, Steven. Sethra Lavode. Read in 2004.


Cogman, Genevieve. The Invisible Library. Read in 2017.


Dean, Pamela. The Secret Country Trilogy. Read in 2004.
du Maurier, Daphne. The Scapegoat. Read in 2004.



Fforde, Jasper. The Eyre Affair. Read in 2004.


Gladstone, Max. Four Roads Cross. Read in 2017.




Jacobs, Jane. Cities and the Wealth of Nations. Read in 2004.
Jones, Diana Wynne. Drowned Ammet. Read in 2017.
Jones, Diana Wynne. The Crown of Dalemark. Read in 2017.


Kay, Guy Gavriel. The Last Light of the Sun. Read in 2004.


L'Engle, Madeleine. A Wrinkle in Time. Read in 2004.


McKinley, Robin. Sunshine. Read in 2004.
Modesitt, L. E. Jr. Adiamante. Read in 2017.



O'Brian, Patrick. The Letter of Marque. Read in 2004.





Salinger, J. D. The Catcher in the Rye. Read in 2004.
Smith, Dodie. I Capture the Castle. Read in 2003.


Takaya, Natsuki. Fruits Basket. Read in 2017.



Vinge, Vernor. The Children of the Sky. Read in 2017.


Walton, Jo. Tooth and Claw. Read in 2003.
Willis, Connie. Crosstalk. Read in 2017.



aryllian: (Default)
2017-07-11 11:07 pm

Adiamante, Orbital Resonance

Adiamante, by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
Orbital Resonance, by John Barnes

Two books written in the 90s about consensus societies.

The focus of the personal stories are very very different -- one is an elder dealing with the death of a loved one (Adiamante), and the other is coming of age (Orbital Resonance). The focus of the societies are somewhat different too -- one is about how to make a society that lasts, and the people in this society would consider it a failure if their society fell apart a hundred years after the story because of tensions that began during the story. The other is about how to make a society that produces something that needs to be produced right at that exact historical moment, and the story is about how, several years in, the thinking that produced the society wasn't good enough to keep the society going (though the society itself is expected to last...long enough to produce what they wanted to produce, I guess).

They both talk about how being a leader in a consensus society is a thankless task, and in both of them, leadership is taken on by the main character anyway because it needs to be done and because they are suited to the task (though in Orbital Resonance, the character was designated for leadership by certain aspects of the way she was raised, and in Adiamante, it was just an accident of circumstance).

And they are both, in some sense, about bullying. Orbital Resonance is about bullying within a society and Adiamante is about bullying from outside the society, or between societies.

I found Adiamante a lot more troubling and frustrating than I remembered. The cybs (the invaders of Earth, come to get revenge for being thrown out long long ago) are so unrelatable -- we don't see anything good about their society -- it's almost like it's cheating. Or at least, it's a pretty unambiguously villainous society -- they always live down to the expectations the main character has about their behavior. Every single time. It's not that anything they do is outside the spectrum of human behavior or the behavior of human groups, it's just the worst side of it.

But the people of Earth, while we do get to see them as people, and much more sympathetic people, act in really troubling ways too. Their main goal seems to be the very long term stability of their society, and they have a set of rules they believe they have to follow in order to keep their society intact, and these rules make them act in ways that are completely counter-intuitive and somewhat cruel.

Basically, they seem to think that telling the truth about their capabilities is a use of force, and that uses of force will tear their (or any) society apart.

So basically, the way they treat the cybs -- who they realize have come for revenge -- is to refuse to warn them that they are capable of defending themselves because that would be a threat, and threats will destroy their society. So the cybs go forward with trying to get revenge and are destroyed entirely, while the people of Earth destroy many of their own people too with the effort.

And it makes me uneasy, because I think it might be true that if they'd told the truth about what they could do, then instead of settling things by force in a way that allowed them to call themselves justified (and thus, by the assumptions of the book, preserve their society), they might have ended up in a Cold War and even more difficulties.

And yet.

They destroy the cybs without warning, and without any attempt at actual communication besides oblique stuff like showing them bits of history and letting them get attacked by mutant animals because they think the cybs should figure out that if the animals of Earth are dangerous, then so are the humans.

Maybe their society can survive in that way, but I don't think they get to claim the moral high ground. Is it really true that the only way to deal with bullies is to wait for them to attack and then defeat them utterly whatever the cost to yourself? And never try to talk truthfully with them?

(It's the solution Ender came to in Ender's Game too, though in a less reasoned way...)

Meanwhile, the ideas the book puts forward about making threats as something that will in the end destabilize the society that makes them -- that's interesting, but to me it feels like a situation where prediction is not possible. I try to compare this with history, but it's really useless, because things that this story would call "use of force" or "making threats" happen with such ubiquity in history, so there's really no precedent for such a situation. Yes, it might look like this...or it might not. Who knows?

And then there's the question of holding a society together by throwing out those who don't fit in the society, which is another thing the society is based on (and apparently works for them). The cybs are not the only ones that get thrown out of the society, they're just (so far as I can tell) the largest group, that were sent the furthest away. But if your society is built around the idea that you will throw out a certain number of people, then however stable your society is within itself, you're building instability into the world outside of your society. And maybe you can always be more powerful inside than outside, but how can you be sure of that?

So basically, this version of a consensus society seems to be sowing seeds of destruction outside of itself, no matter how good it is at holding itself together. And they seem to be incapable of seeing that, or it's just irrelevant to them, because they don't seem to care about anything outside of their own society.

Orbital Resonance shows a much younger consensus society, one just forming, and the characters are school aged children. But it also looks at a lot of the same issues, in my opinion, just from a very different perspective.

We see a lot more about the way the society works in Orbital Resonance: instead of being told about the ancient rules of the society, we see some of the workings of the society in action. This society appears to be more fluid, the consensus is not always stable, it can fluctuate wildly in ways that show how harmful consensus can be when it mean ganging up against an individual, and no one actually knows how it works or even how it's supposed to work. (And therein lies the story...)

But like Adiamante, the society is imposed from outside (not by rules created long ago, but by the parents of the main characters). The consensus is more fragile in some ways because it doesn't really have the force of tradition behind it -- it's all new to everyone -- but in some ways I think it's stronger because it's clearly emotion that makes it happen, not reason. This is also why the consensus seems more dangerous. It's not well understood, and the whole of society can turn against someone with scary speed.

But there are social forces at work that try to contain bullying to some degree, and protect the other values of the society. The most important value, the one that the characters hold on to the most, though, and have the strongest emotional connection to, though, is consensus itself, and not being alone. I feel like there are a lot of things going on to try to force (though I don't think the characters involved see it as force) consensus to happen and to protect it when it's attacked -- though again, there's a cost to this. It can be hard on the members of the society.

Bullying happens within the society, but peer pressure is also especially strong and can lead to violence.

And in the end, the society pushes out the people who are unable to belong to the society. When I was reading this, I wondered why the solution for the society in the end was that the parents would leave, because the reasons that are given make no sense to me. They say that since neither the children nor the parents understand how the society works, there is no benefit to having the parents around.

It's true that some of the things that are done in the name of creating the society and giving children specific roles within the society seem a lot like abuses of power when done on such a scale (it might be considered institutional bullying), and yet, it's also shown that the parents provide useful things to the society. All the parents have jobs (except the main character's mother, who quit, and this was a very bad thing socially for the main character). The main character's father provides therapy for another child character, and it's presented as being not just helpful but something that it seems it would be hard for him to do without.

So they're losing a lot of skills when the parents leave. And that's not even considering that the people who designed the society probably have a better understanding of the society than anyone else, even if they don't know everything about how it's developing now that the children are older. Plus, would the parents want to leave? The ones who designed the society surely have an interest in seeing what happens with something they've spent so much time creating, and most of the parents don't seem to have any other home to go back to.

Which is to say that while the main character doesn't seem to think it's a big deal, just a natural thing, that the parents are leaving...but it can't possibly be that simple.

Do the parents feel threatened by the potential for violence within their children's society? Do the children feel threatened because they've been manipulated according to a plan from outside for so long? What's going on under the surface, that the main character might either not see or not want to see?

I think the knowledge that their society can be manipulated from the outside is actually what the children are afraid of, though, even though the main character doesn't say it or doesn't realize it. They don't want to be open to outside influences, or even have their society explained to them from the outside. They want to shape their society from the inside, among only people who have the same understanding of what a society should be like and what kind of interactions and relationships between people make sense to them.

Their society doesn't have any room for anyone who isn't within the consensus. A consensus society has no way of dealing with unresolvable disagreements or differences, or with people who are unable to adapt to the consensus. And being unable to adapt to consensus -- that's their parents exactly; this has been very clear in the relationships between children and parents all through the book.

It's a very YA type of ending, getting rid of the adults, and that's how I always read it before, just adolescent wish fulfillment, but I think it makes more sense as a way that the force of the consensus is flexing, not just to keep some people within the society, but to protect the society, once it has formed, against those who are not within the society and never can be.

(I do think they're going to end up with different society to society relationships with outsiders than the one in Adiamante, though. Unlike the Adiamante society, they're not the most powerful society around.)
aryllian: (Default)
2017-06-07 05:25 pm

American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

The next time someone tells me that a novel has to have a protagonist with a clear and understandable goal, I will point them at American Gods as a counter-example.
aryllian: (Default)
2017-04-17 07:55 pm

Fruits Basket, by Natsuki Takaya

This was not what I was expecting at all.

Some time a long time ago, I watched the anime version of Fruits Basket, which only covers the first few volumes of the manga and ends without much resolution.

So going into this, I knew that the manga was longer than the anime, but I had no idea how much longer, or how different it would seem in its longer form.

Basically, I thought this was a story about a curse. It's not, really. It's a story about a very large group of characters and their interactions, how their families affected them, how their circumstances affected them, how they affected each other and change each other and supported each other and found their way through life -- oh, and some of these characters are under a curse.

spoilers )

So basically, there's not a lot of meaty curse mechanics, but there's a lot of story, and a lot of sympathy and understanding for a lot of very different characters. The only real criticism I had was that I found it hard to keep track of all the characters.
aryllian: (Default)
2017-04-17 04:33 pm

The Crown of Dalemark, by Diana Wynne Jones

(This discussion skirts on spoilers. I don't think it quite goes over the line (though some parts may not make sense without familiarity with the book), but YMMV, so be warned.)

This book combines two things that I usually enjoy: time travel and pretending to be someone else. So I really should like it better than I do.

Which is not to say I don't like it; of the Dalemark books, Cart and Cwidder has always been my favorite, and it still is, but this one is very readable and rolls along quite quickly for being longer than any of the others, and it's quite fun, but it also seems to not have quite enough there there. The characters are great -- I think Navis is my favorite -- but the plot doesn't quite stand up to the scope of all the things Jones brings into the story, perhaps?

Also, while it's technically about pretending to be someone else who you are mysteriously identical to even though you're not a twin, it leaves out the things that are unique to pretending to be someone else. Maewen is sometimes a little put out by pretending to be Noreth, but she doesn't seem to learn anything about herself or about Noreth from the experience. It's really Maewen taking on a role, not Maewen taking on an identity as another person.

Truthfully, I think I find Mallard and Tanaqui most interesting -- especially in their roles as parents. As a children's book, it makes sense that the older character don't get all that big of a role, but even though they're not the foreground characters, they have an important role thematically, especially in terms of parent/child relationships (since this is something that the plot rests on).

Mallard and Tanaqui seem to represent two extremes -- Mallard will do anything for his kid, but doesn't know her very well, and Tanaqui seems to have had a good relationship with her daughter, but didn't get too involved in her daughter's specific trials and tribulations.

(Although speaking of Mallard, he gave up the part of his powers related to truth when he made the cwidder... and that seems to be where he went wrong. He seems a very sad character, but I like to think that truth is a comfort to him when he takes the cwidder back.)

Meanwhile, Maewen's parents seem more like Mallard and don't seem to be especially observant either... one wonders if Maewen will have children, and what kind of parent she might turn out to be, having observed all this.

But Tanaqui and Mallard (and the other undying) also have an important role in expanding the world and showing the vast span of history rolling along from the far past to Maewen's present.

I really love the scope of history and how this book really considers the undying and put that concept into history in a way that previous books didn't. Previous books, the undying seemed more like gods, but in this book, the undying seem more like people who live a long time, which is an interesting perspective change, especially when it's paired with a world (Maewen's time) that is more like the modern world, and has more technology and so on. The world has moved on from gods? Add in how there are also different concepts based on the culture of the north and south, and it really becomes interesting.

I would really like more more more of this sort of thing, but I'll take what I can get. (Though as a structural thing, I do wonder how well this works. I think there might be too many paths leading out from the story. I would love to follow them, but -- like many of the Dalemark stories, at least to me -- I think maybe the world and the interesting loose threads overwhelm the individual story that's being told to some degree.)

Outside Tanaqui and Mallard, there are a lot of parallels between the past and Maewen's present. Like a lot of Diana Wynne Jones (Fire and Hemlock!), I have a feeling that if only I paid more attention (to names especially), I would be getting more out of it. There are a lot of connections that seem to be lightly touched on, similarities and differences between characters in the two different times, because of heredity and nature and nurture and family history... but I'm not sure I'm making all the connections.

At the same time, though, there's a pretty essentialist view of people, especially the ones that we've seen young and then hear about how they grow up. They don't seem to change a lot. (Which might explain part of why the ending seems to be hopeful despite the vagaries of time travel. Maewen at the end reminded me a lot of Polly in Fire and Hemlock... though with less reason to think there's something there, unless you assume that people generally don't change much and stay essentially the same.)

Since story is change, I've often wondered if having this kind of essentialist view of characters is one reason that some authors like Diana Wynne Jones seem to write more stand-alones. If everyone has one true nature, then there's a story in finding and understanding it, but that's really only one story per character?

(In this view, the Pinhoe Egg is because Cat didn't find who he was in Charmed Life, at least not completely, he just got out of a certain situation and into one that allowed him to have the room to do so later on.)

(Whereas someone like Bujold really only writes about big changes in her characters' lives, but she finds a lot more points of change to write about for Miles Vorkosigan. And some stories -- some types of detective series, for example -- don't involve changes to the protagonists at all, or only small ones and very slow changes...)

I'm probably oversimplifying.

Anyway. Back to the Crown of Dalemark, Kankredin as an antagonist really doesn't show up much and comes across as rather boringly one dimensionally evil. I think the real point of the book is more about Maewen going to the past and finding ... something. I rather suspect she needed something to care about, and discovering history and a personal connection to it seems to have done that.
aryllian: (Default)
2017-03-20 09:47 pm
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Drowned Ammet, by Diana Wynne Jones

I never liked this book when I was a kid reading Diana Wynne Jones. I disliked Mitt, which pretty much made the book unpleasant reading for me. (I also didn't really appreciate The Homeward Bounders, which I felt had a similar hero who I disliked for similar reasons.)

It's hard to articulate why I disliked these characters, but I think it has to do with them being thoughtless.

Of course, that was a long time ago, and the last time I reread The Homeward Bounders, I liked it quite a bit. So I had hopes for Drowned Ammet...

And I did actually enjoy the pure simplicity of revolution for kids (that is, written for kids, though in a way it reminds me of Avatar: The Last Airbender in the way it approaches its audience: i.e. simplified in plot and presentation to some degree, but not holding back on the places where human nature is ugly...though perhaps kids would not have the imagination to fill out some of the more glancing references in the way that an adult might), and the part with Mitt and his father was nice character plotting...

But the action plot doesn't come to a conclusion, IMO.

The character plots (Mitt and Hildrida) both come to points of decision, which are lampshaded by them being asked questions by gods and then having to act in ways that are consistent with the decisions that they make.

I can't even quite figure out what the action plot is, though it surely has to do with Mitt the revolutionary. I mean, the book begins talking about Mitt and gunpowder... Does the story stop at the point where Mitt quits being a revolutionary, at the point where Mitt stops being an enemy?

And he saves the other characters from going back to that should be a resolution, I guess? But they never get to the north, and there's all this talk of coming back to the Holy Islands, which gives the book a very unfinished feel. I can't remember if this stuff gets resolved in the fourth book, but the third book plays more with the idea of gods (and also has a ... well, it's not an unfinished ending, but it doesn't really get resolved in a way that satisfies me either. It feels like a just so story about some fact I didn't know in the first place.)

I think what doesn't satisfy me is that most stories let you have some kind of glimpse of what happens after, and neither of these middle Dalemark books give me the glimpse that I was looking for in order to consider things settled.

I can't really say they don't give a glimpse at all, it's just not the one I want.

Or possibly, even though the individual books are mostly stand-alone, Dalemark really needs to be read as a series?
aryllian: (Default)
2017-02-02 10:46 pm
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The Hanging Tree, by Ben Aaronovitch

Well, that was unsatisfying.

spoilers )
aryllian: (Default)
2017-02-01 08:45 pm
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The Invisible Library, by Genevieve Cogman

The worldbuilding -- mostly the nomenclature -- didn't make sense to me in this one.

Usually when chaos is contrasted with something, it's contrasted with order, but in this book, chaos is equated with stories and chaos/stories are contrasted with nature/rule of natural law.

So chaos ends up being everything that is more dramatic or more ... well, not exactly mythological, but folk tale type stuff, such as vampires and the fae, most notably. And worlds (the story takes place in a multiverse) that are more chaotic tend to behave more like a dramas than like ... well, a scientific worldview, I suppose.

(I will admit that I can understand and agree with equating fae and chaos to some degree, and equating fae/vampires with folk tales and therefore with stories and drama, and I can also understand and agree with equating scientific worldview and natural order to some degree, so this worldbuilding/nomenclature isn't a deal-breaker for me, it's just that I think that it goes too far in both directions and ends up not making sense.)

The problem with this, for me, with my understanding of language and my understanding of stories, is that stories are the opposite of chaos. Stories are the way that we find order in a world that is extremely complex. And "natural order" is far more chaotic than stories...storytelling requires simplifying a lot of times, finding what's really absolutely relevant. You find this in the sorts of histories that try to tell stories too, vs. the kind of histories that try to be comprehensive. The first type are much more fun to read, but if you really need a specific detail, it will probably be more likely to be found in a comprehensive type of history.

Or look at the kind of book about science that tries to tell a story, vs. the kind of book about science that tries to tell you all about every detail of how the immune system works, ever molecule or protein or whatever that's involved.

The natural world might be orderly (though I'm reminded of Einstein saying that God does not play dice with the universe and subsequent scientists leaning more and more toward the view that actually, God does play dice with the universe), but the natural order looks a lot like chaos to the human mind, and we create stories and organizational systems and equations and theories and so on in order to deal with it. Order is a product of the human brain. The natural world just is, orderly or chaotic or whatever.

And stories are part of the order that the human brain produces out of the reality (chaotic reality, sometimes) that we're presented with.

At least, that's how I view the world. And every time this book talks about chaos, it causes a moment of cognitive dissonance because Genevieve Cogman's view of the world is clearly so different from mine.

I also wonder about the way the chaos/stories and the laws of stories seems to mean basically tropes, and whether Genevieve Cogman has thought about the role of culture in story tropes, but perhaps that will become clear in future books.

Re: existence of a "true" language that acts a bit like magic in that it must be obeyed: As a computer programmer, I would like to observe that natural language is not meant for creating commands that specify behavior exactly and can't be wiggled around by intelligent people (or other entities) intent on getting around it. I wonder if anyone has ever written a book that takes computer programming languages as the model for the language that must be obeyed, instead of natural language. Though that raises a number of philosophical questions that a "true" language based on natural language doesn't, somehow... it treats people much more like meat machines to have a magic that "programs" them. Not that commanding is any less icky, really, but commanding elevates things into people more than it demotes people into things.

(Having just read one of Max Gladstone's books, I will also note that legal language is meant for a similar purpose, binding entities to behave in certain ways, though this is because of contracts entered into more or less freely, not commands. But it also requires courts -- and the addition of a third party -- to adjudicate the meaning of the agreement, which is different from the simple command and obey model.)

And because my brain seems to want to pull up other books that are similar to this book:

The political situation reminds me a lot of Django Wexler's YA series (which also has libraries in it, and starts with the book The Forbidden Library).

The spectrum of magical and non-magical worlds in a multiverse reminds me of Diana Wynne Jones's Magid books.

And something about the style of this book reminds me of V. E. Schwab's Darker Shade of Magic, though I can't quite put my finger on it. That one is a bit darker in terms of content, this one comes across as a bit more gonzo and Darker Shade of Magic is more horror, but the two also share a multiverse concept and also the idea that some worlds in the multiverse don't make it in some way.
aryllian: (butterfly)
2017-02-01 08:14 pm
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Crosstalk, by Connie Willis

Ways in which this is very typical of a Connie Willis book:

1. Frenetic pace (although my favorite part was when the two main characters temporarily slow down and have some time together).

2. Quirky characters. (I also feel like it's typical of Connie Willis that the female lead was surrounded by quirky characters but was mostly quirky herself in trying to deal with them than in adding to the quirk factor herself. Also, the female lead was more socially connected than the male lead...though I may just be thinking about Bellwether as a comparison here.)

3. Mental constructs were treated as another form of reality, or as a setting with which the characters could interact. (See also Passage.)

4. No villains, just lots of people going at sometimes contradictory goals.

5. History has an important place in the worldbuilding. (It's not only in her time travel books that Willis looks at history, her books about other topics generally talk about a made up or not so made up history -- I'm never really sure exactly where the line is drawn, because I'm generally not an expert on the subjects.)

6. The characters argue a lot. (And it's not really serious arguing, it's exploring the world and trying to find patterns through argument, basically, not trying to hurt someone through arguing, not the kind of arguing that has negative personal repercussions, or that hurt relationships. The characters, even when feel overwhelmed by their relationships and the frenetic demands of everything going on in their lives, are careful about how they deal with other people.)

7. But history and worldbuilding are all very personal. No one talks about history because of an abstract interest in history (though they might have an abstract interest), it's because history is relevant to something that's going on in their life, or because they want to convince someone else of something using examples from history. (I'm also thinking about To Say Nothing of the Dog, and the way the problems of history and the timeline become personal because of the way the time travel and history work in Willis's universe, but really all the time travel books make history personal by setting historians down in history, and her other books generally use history in the same style as this book.)
aryllian: (Default)
2017-01-31 05:12 am
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Four Roads Cross, by Max Gladstone

Wow. That is how to do plot. And theme. And have each supporting the other.
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2017-01-11 09:20 pm
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The Children of the Sky, by Vernor Vinge

Several years ago, I wrote something about every book I read that year. I decided to do something similar this year, but because I often ended up without enough that was interesting to say the year I wrote about every book, this year my goal is to write about one in every five books that I read.

The only other guideline I've come up with for myself is not to get into whether the book is good. I'm not trying to write book reviews, just book reactions and book thoughts. Sometimes my thoughts may have more to do with me than with the book.

On the not a review front, I'm also not going to try to explain what the books are about, or what type of book they are, unless that seems important to me.

The Children of the Sky was a reread this year, but instead of that meaning that I knew what to expect, it turned out that I had a very vivid memory of a scene that never took place in the book. I think I was so convinced that a certain plotline would be resolved in a certain way the last time I read the book that I kept repeating this made-up scene in my head as I was reading, waiting for it to happen, and that ended up being a more vivid memory than my memory of the actual book.

Because in fact, this plotline was not resolved at all.

Even aside from than that semi-disappointment, I don't think this book quite stood up to a reread. I still like the ideas, I can see why Vinge might have wanted to revisit this world to add in the new ideas he'd had about the Tines...but on reread, I already know all that, so the story has to stand on something other than my delight in the ideas, and as a story, it just wasn't very satisfying to me.

I put this down to two things. First, the only character I was really interested in and really believed in was Ravna (and that's not just because I believe in her arc but because I absolutely empathize with the way she was led to her downfall and the weaknesses that allowed this to happen). Second, the villain was just too evil, and the people dealing with the villain didn't have some tools that I thought they should have.

Which is to say, if you come from an uber-civilization, then I would think you'd have some conceptual tools for putting together societies that go a little further than "well, maybe we should have some elections some day, oh sure, we can do that now if you want". I also looked in vain for any glimmer that anyone had thought about rule of law, or about trying to hold the villain (or anyone else among any of the characters) accountable for the actual crimes that were committed. Or thought that it would be a good thing to develop these kinds of rules or the capabilities to enforce them.

I guess part of the point of the book is that Tine world is not at a stage where the political system has any resilience or depth; it's all individual people without much of a system to sustain them. Tine world is whatever you make it; the Tycoon seemed to prove that point as well.

But back to Ravna, I think one very small point that I liked about the way things were treated is that a difference in fundamental beliefs was treated as important. No matter how much she bonded, a difference in fundamental beliefs was not something to just ignore.

I will note that there wasn't actually a lot of real debate shown on the really important point in this book: i.e. did things in the past happen the way Ravna claimed. I suppose this is because you can't really have a satisfying and interesting debate when first of all, the reader is firmly on Ravna's side because of the previous book and second of all, apparently there's no hard evidence (I guess it all dissolved along with other non-working technologies), just Ravna's word on things.

So any debate hinges on not believing Ravna's word, and no matter how hard Vinge tries to make the deniers have a point, this is never going to fly with me. I was there, I saw it happen is not just Ravna's position, it's the position of anyone who read A Fire Upon the Deep.

And while I'm somewhat willing to entertain the hypothesis that it didn't happen that way, like if Vinge were to write another book and prove that Ravna (and everyone else) had been deceived and how and why, I might read it, but the deniers don't seem to have any actual points that refute "I was there, I saw it happen", just a strong wish for it to be untrue, and this is not a good starting point for a reasonable debate.

So while I'm happy that a difference in beliefs is treated seriously, I find the whole denier position -- not exactly ridiculous, know, actually, if it wasn't framed as "denier", if it was "how should we use our resources" then that's where I see the actual debate lying.

And that's where Ravna has made an almost magical advancement via Tycoon, i.e. she's hit a point where resources are suddenly going to be less scarce, where the technologies she wants to develop will happen faster...

And that's where things get interesting. The worldbuilding. The Choir. The Tines, as individuals and as not always individuals, the development, the politics -- not just the personal politics, but the glimpses of a world dealing with and developing technology past its level of political order, the people trying to make the world be what they want it to be...

But poor Ravna is trying to be Bren Cameron handing out (and therefore controlling) technology (not just to aliens, but also to the humans) and trying to deal with the social and political change it causes (on both sides, though for humans impatience with not having tech is the change) without any support at all. She needs Jago and Banichi and all the others to protect her and make her environment supportive and let her do her job, because this thing she's trying to do is not settled, it's just starting. And the kinds of trouble she got into in this book are not over. There's so much more technology and technological capability to go.

So are there going to be more books in this universe, following these characters? Because the more I look at it, the more this book seems like a middle book, like setup for something more... It just doesn't feel like an ending for this universe or these characters.

ETA: The problem with Ravna as a leader is that she is generous to her enemies, which is absolutely a personal virtue, but as someone who is (by default, admittedly, and reluctantly, and this is not easy) trying to lead a society, what is a personal virtue becomes a leadership flaw. She is not looking out for the interests of the society when she decides to ignore the part where the villain committed actual crimes. (And also the part where they really need some way of having elections besides "okay sure, now is good, why not?")

I mean, yes, practically, at that point maybe she couldn't have done anything, but... There's just no indication that anyone is even thinking about creating a society where certain crimes are not the norm, or about preventing the same thing from happening all over again the next time some issue comes up. It's just assumed that it won't happen again, and the only reason it happened in the first place is because the villain is evil, and that there's only one important issue and it's been settled. Which is just frustrating.

ETA2: This actually reminds me a little of Regenesis, the sequel to Cyteen, by C. J. Cherryh. Just because they're both sequels to books that are pretty complete in themselves, and in both cases the author obvious had more they had to say and refinements they wanted to make to the world, but the story of the sequel book isn't quite up to the story of the original.
aryllian: (Default)
2017-01-01 05:17 pm

(no subject)

(01/17)The Nightmare Before Christmas
(01/17)Cowboy BebopComplete series
(01/17)Mr. Holmes
(01/17)Constellations (live)
(02/17)The Man From U.N.C.L.E.Season 4
(02/17)X-Men: Days of Future Past
(02/17)X-Men: Apocalypse
(03/17)Doctor Strange
(03/17)LeverageSeason 3 + commentary
(0?/17)Nero WolfeSeason 1, Disk 1
(04/17)The LibrariansSeason 1
(04/17)Growing Up SafariAll episodes
(04/17)The LibrariansSeason 2
(04/17)The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
(04/17)The AmericansSeason 4, Episodes 1-8
(05/17)La La Land
(05/17)To Walk Invisible
(05/17)Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
(0?/17)LeverageSeason 4, Episodes 1-11 + commentary
(06/17)The Little Prince
(06/17)Sapphire & SteelThe Complete Series
(06/17)The Good PlaceSeason 1
(07/17)True DetectiveSeason 1
(07/17)Prince of Foxes
(07/17)The AmericansSeason 4, Episodes 9-13
(08/17)Rurouni KenshinOrigins
(08/17)Doctor Who: The Robots of Death
(08/17)This Beautiful Fantastic
(08/17)Peaky BlindersSeries 1
(09/17)Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
(09/17)The SandbaggersThe Complete Series
(09/17)Black Swan
(09/17)The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (live)
aryllian: (Default)
2017-01-01 05:15 pm
Entry tags:

Books, 2017

To be updated throughout the year. Italics indicate a reread. Entries without numbers indicate that I didn't finish for some reason but read enough (and liked enough) to consider it worth recording.

1.(01/02/17)Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
2.(01/06/17)The Children of the Sky, by Vernor Vinge
3.(01/08/17)The Martian Chronicles (1997 version), by Ray Bradbury
4.(01/10/17)Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management, by Johanna Rothman and Esther Derby
5.(01/10/17)The Like Switch, by Jack Schafer with Marvin Karlins
6.(01/12/17)Crosstalk, by Connie Willis
7.(01/13/17)Cold-Forged Flame, by Marie Brennan
8.(01/14/17)My Sister Rosa, by Justine Larbalestier
9.(01/18/17)Fruits Basket Volume 13, by Natsuki Takaya
10.(01/26/17)The Invisible Library, by Genevieve Cogman
11.(01/30/17)Four Roads Cross, by Max Gladstone
12.(01/30/17)Political Order and Political Decay, by Francis Fukuyama
13.(02/02/17)The Hanging Tree, by Ben Aaronovitch
14.(02/06/17)Once Upon a Time in Russia, by Ben Mezrich
15.(02/08/17)Making Money, by Terry Pratchett
16.(02/08/17)Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, by J. K. Rowling
17.(02/1?/17)The Book of Speculation, by Erika Swyler
18.(02/14/17)Fruits Basket Volume 14, by Natsuki Takaya
19.(02/14/17)Night Witch, by Ben Aaronovitch et. al.
20.(02/24/17)Double Entry: How the Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance, by Jane Gleeson-White
21.(02/26/17)Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee
22.(02/27/17)The Dictator's Handbook, by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith
23.(02/28/17)Fruits Basket Volume 15, by Natsuki Takaya
24.(03/01/17)Magonia, by Maria Dahvana Headley
25.(03/01/17)Stone in the Sky, by Cecil Castellucci
26.(03/12/17)Time and Again, by Jack Finney
27.(03/15/17)The Spellcoats, by Diana Wynne Jones
28.(03/19/17)Drowned Ammet, by Diana Wynne Jones
29.(03/21/17)Cart and Cwidder, by Diana Wynne Jones
30.(03/22/17)The Crown of Dalemark, by Diana Wynne Jones
31.(03/23/17)Aerie, by Maria Dahvana Headley
32.(03/27/17)Bellwether, by Connie Willis
33.(03/28/17)The Origins of Totalitarianism, by Hannah Arendt
34.(03/30/17)Fruits Basket Volume 16, by Natsuki Takaya
35.(03/31/17)A Gathering of Shadows, by V. E. Schwab
36.(04/04/17)The Likeness, by Tana French
37.(04/05/17)Fruits Basket Collector's Edition Volume 9, by Natsuki Takaya
38.(04/06/17)Fruits Basket Collector's Edition Volume 10, by Natsuki Takaya
39.(04/06/17)Fruits Basket Collector's Edition Volume 11, by Natsuki Takaya
40.(04/10/17)Uprooted, by Naomi Novik
41.(04/12/17)The Natural Origins of Economics, by Margaret Schabas
42.(04/17/17)Convergence, by C. J. Cherryh
43.(04/22/17)The Whispering Skull, by Jonathan Stroud
44.(05/02/17)Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman
45.(05/08/17)The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
46.(05/09/17)Seven Surrenders, by Ada Palmer
47.(05/11/17)GDP: A Brief But Affectionate History, by Diane Coyle
48.(05/16/17)Raising Steam, by Terry Pratchett
49.(05/18/17)Within the Sanctuary of Wings, by Marie Brennan
50.(05/23/17)The Hollow Boy, by Jonathan Stroud
51.(05/23/17)The Creeping Shadow, by Jonathan Stroud
52.(05/27/17)Adiamante, by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
53.(05/28/17)Orbital Resonance, by John Barnes
54.(06/02/17)The Fourth Turning, by William Strauss and Neil Howe
55.(06/05/17)Friday's Child, by Georgette Heyer
56.(06/08/17)American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
57.(06/09/17)Wolf-Speaker, by Tamora Pierce
58.(06/12/17)Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
59.(06/14/17)Growing Up Weightless, by John M. Ford
60.(06/15/17)Down Among the Sticks and Bones, by Seanan McGuire
61.(06/21/17)Wired for Story, by Lisa Cron
62.(06/23/17)All Systems Red, by Martha Wells
63.(06/25/17)Emperor Mage, by Tamora Pierce
64.(06/26/17)The Realms of the Gods, by Tamora Pierce
65.(07/01/17)The Enchanted Castle, by E. Nesbit
66.(07/01/17)Body Work, by Ben Aaronovitch et. al.
67.(07/07/17)No Friends but the Mountains, by Judith Matloff
68.(07/09/17)Old Man's War, by John Scalzi
69.(07/10/17)Raven Stratagem, by Yoon Ha Lee
70.(07/17/17)The Edge of Worlds, by Martha Wells
71.(07/18/17)The Essex Serpent, by Sarah Perry
72.(07/22/17)The Confidence Game, by Maria Konnikova
73.(07/24/17)The Harbors of the Sun, by Martha Wells
74.(07/26/17)Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Book 1, by Ta-Nehisi Coates et. al.
75.(08/01/17)Grave, by Michelle Sagara
76.(08/14/17)The Invisible Library, by Genevieve Cogman
77.(08/19/17)The Masked City, by Genevieve Cogman
78.(08/20/17)Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness, by Peter Godfrey-Smith
79.(08/29/17)The Stone Sky, by N. K. Jemisin
80.(08/29/17)Lightning in the Blood, by Marie Brennen
81.(09/05/17)Flora, by Gail Godwin

First read: 63
Reread: 18
Adult fiction: 41
YA fiction: 25
Nonfiction: 15
aryllian: (Default)
2016-11-02 06:11 pm
Entry tags:

The Evil Wizard Smallbone, by Delia Sherman

I read this book because it's by Delia Sherman. If it had been by anyone else, I think the title would have signaled me away, saying "Not your thing".

I'm not entirely sure why the title says that to me, but basically, I think "evil wizard" is a bit too much of a stereotype to appeal to me, even if it's probably going to be deconstructed. And "Smallbone" just sounds odd to me.

In fact, although I enjoyed reading it quite a bit (it had a lot of forward momentum and was a fun read), it wasn't exactly my thing, but not because of anything that the title signaled. The "Smallbone" part was actually quite cool, I enjoyed the little New England town filled with people with the family name Smallbone.

I suspect it might be better on reread, knowing what it's really all about, though, because there was one thing that came out of the blue (I think I must have missed a few clues though) and disappointed me:

aryllian: (Default)
2016-01-07 04:15 am

(no subject)

(01/16)Inside Out
(01/16)Pride and Prejudice (1982)All episodes
(01/16)E. O. Wilson: Of Ants and Men
(01/16)The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
(01/16)Enchanted April (live)
(01/16)The Lion in Winter (live)
(02/16)The MusketeersSeries 1, Episodes 4-10
(02/16)Despicable Me
(03/16)Elephant's Graveyard (live)
(03/16)Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The MovieBeginnings, Eternal, Rebellion
(03/16)The AmericansSeason 3
(03/16)Czech Dream
(03/16)The Man from U.N.C.L.E.Season 1
(04/16)Star Wars: The Forces Awakens
(04/16)Whisper of the Heart
(04/16)Death Comes to PemberleyAll episodes
(04/16)Cities of the World: Prague
(05/16)Mockingjay - Part 2
(06/16)BroadchurchSeries 1
(06/16)Rick Steves EuropeEastern Europe, Episodes 1-4
(06/16)Watership Down (1978)
(07/16)The Man from U.N.C.L.E.Season 2
(08/16)Emma (2009)All episodes
(09/16)Follies (live)
(09/16)It Started with Eve
(09/16)Night Watch (BBC Radio)All episodes
(10/16)Nature: Natural Born HustlersAll episodes
(11/16)Captain America: Civil War
(12/16)The Man from U.N.C.L.E.Season 3
aryllian: (Default)
2016-01-07 04:14 am
Entry tags:

Books, 2016

To be updated throughout the year. Italics indicate a reread. Entries without numbers indicate that I didn't finish for some reason but read enough (and liked enough) to consider it worth recording.

1.(01/12/16)Regenesis, by C. J. Cherryh
2.(01/1?/16)Castle Hangnail, by Ursula Vernon
3.(01/20/16)Time's Magpie: A Walk in Prague, by Myla Goldberg
4.(01/??/16)The Emotional Life of Your Brain, by Richard J. Davidson and Sharon Begley
5.(02/03/16)The Rest of Us Just Live Here, by Patrick Ness
6.(02/05/16)Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, by Lois McMaster Bujold
7.(02/06/16)Immunity to Change, by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey
8.(02/07/16)The Power of a Positive No, by William Ury
9.(02/11/16)Fundamental Processes in Ecology, by David M. Wilkinson
10.(02/11/16)Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
11.(02/14/16)Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
12.(02/??/16)Memory, by Lois McMaster Bujold
13.(02/2?/16)Cryoburn, by Lois McMaster Bujold
14.(03/01/16)The Scorpion Rules, by Erin Bow
15.(03/07/16)Cetaganda, by Lois McMaster Bujold
16.(03/17/16)The Wiles of War, compiled and translated by Sun Haichen
17.(03/23/16)Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer
18.(03/26/16)Falling Free, by Lois McMaster Bujold
19.(03/28/16)April Lady, by Georgette Heyer
20.(03/30/16)Maybe This Time, by Jennifer Crusie
21.(04/0?/16)Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate, by Roger Fisher and Daniel Shapiro
22.(04/08/16)Enchanted Glass, by Diana Wynne Jones
23.(04/17/16)The Hero and the Crown, by Robin McKinley
24.(04/24/16)Dearest, by Alethea Kontis
25.(04/26/16)Kingfisher, by Patricia A. McKillip
26.(05/0?/16)Merchanter's Luck, by C. J. Cherryh
27.(05/07/16)Diplomatic Immunity, by Lois McMaster Bujold
28.(05/16/16)In the Labyrinth of Drakes, by Marie Brennan
29.(05/17/16)40,000 in Gehenna, by C. J. Cherryh
30.(05/23/16)Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire
31.(05/24/16)Gifts, by Ursula K. Le Guin
32.(05/31/16)The Trigger: Hunting the Assassin Who Brought the World to War, by Tim Butcher
33.(06/01/16)Prague: A Cultural History, by Richard Burton
34.(06/??/16)Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads, by Rosalind Wiseman with Elizabeth Rapoport
35.(06/17/16)Visitor, by C. J. Cherryh
36.(06/20/16)Roses and Rot, by Kat Howard
37.(06/23/16)Once Upon a Revolution: An Egyptian Story, by Thanassis Cambanis
38.(06/2?/16)League of Dragons, by Naomi Novik
39.(06/30/16)How to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable, by Suzette Haden Elgin
40.(07/17/16)The Palace of Glass, by Django Wexler
41.(07/??/16)The Serpent Sea, by Martha Wells
42.(07/29/16)Too Like the Lightning, by Ada Palmer
43.(08/03/16)The Lie Tree, by Frances Hardinge
44.(08/06/16)Unseen Academicals, by Terry Pratchett
45.(08/12/16)The Murder of Mary Russell, by Laurie R. King
46.(08/14/16)The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution, by Francis Fukuyama
47.(08/1?/16)The Philosopher Kings, by Jo Walton
48.(08/17/16)Binny in Secret, by Hilary McKay
49.(08/19/16)The Siren Depths, by Martha Wells
50.(08/21/16)Caddy's World, by Hilary McKay
51.(08/22/16)Necessity, by Jo Walton
52.(08/23/16)Saffy's Angel, by Hilary McKay
53.(08/24/16)Indigo's Star, by Hilary McKay
54.(08/25/16)Permanent Rose, by Hilary McKay
55.(08/26/16)Caddy Ever After, by Hilary McKay
56.(08/27/16)Forever Rose, by Hilary McKay
57.(08/27/16)Hogfather, by Terry Pratchett
58.(08/3?/16)Child of Saturn, by Teresa Edgerton
59.(09/02/16)The Moon in Hiding, by Teresa Edgerton
60.(09/02/16)The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations, by Jacob Soll
61.(09/03/16)The Work of the Sun, by Teresa Edgerton
62.(09/04/16)Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, by J. K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne
63.(09/06/16)Getting to Yes, by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton
64.(09/07/16)Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson
65.(09/12/16)The Long Earth, by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
66.(09/13/16)Fruits Basket Collector's Edition Volume 1, by Natsuki Takaya
67.(09/15/16)Fruits Basket Collector's Edition Volume 2, by Natsuki Takaya
68.(09/17/16)The Jewel and Her Lapidary, by Fran Wilde
69.(09/20/16)The Forbidden Library, by Django Wexler
70.(09/20/16)Fruits Basket Collector's Edition Volume 3, by Natsuki Takaya
71.(09/20/16)Fruits Basket Collector's Edition Volume 4, by Natsuki Takaya
72.(09/22/16)Poisoned Blade, by Kate Elliott
73.(09/25/16)The Thief, by Megan Whalen Turner
74.(09/30/16)Stories of the Raksura Volume Two, by Martha Wells
75.(10/03/16)Mind Over Mood, by Dennis Greenberger and Christine A. Padesky
76.(10/08/16)A Darker Shade of Magic, by V. E. Schwab
77.(10/??/16)Broken Homes, by Ben Aaronovitch
78.(10/??/16)Fire and Hemlock, by Diana Wynne Jones
79.(10/??/16)The Game, by Diana Wynne Jones
80.(10/??/16)Dogsbody, by Diana Wynne Jones
81.(10/??/16)Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren
82.(10/26/16)Ghost Talkers, by Mary Robinette Kowal
83.(10/28/16)Two Cheers for Anarchism, by James C. Scott
84.(11/01/16)Fruits Basket Volume 9, by Natsuki Takaya
85.(11/02/16)The Evil Wizard Smallbone, by Delia Sherman
86.(11/06/16)Understanding Cultures through Their Key Words, by Anna Wierzbicka
87.(11/06/16)Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Homura's Revenge, Volume 1
88.(11/06/16)Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Homura's Revenge, Volume 2
89.(11/07/16)Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Different Story, Volume 1
90.(11/07/16)Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Different Story, Volume 2
91.(11/07/16)Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Different Story, Volume 3
92.(11/10/16)The Obelisk Gate, by N. K. Jemisin
93.(11/11/16)Fruits Basket Volume 10, by Natsuki Takaya
94.(11/11/16)The Pushcart War, by Jean Merrill
95.(11/14/16)Neuromancer, by William Gibson
96.(11/16/16)Arabella, by Georgette Heyer
97.(11/22/16)Fruits Basket Volume 11, by Natsuki Takaya
98.(11/25/16)Foxglove Summer, by Ben Aaronovitch
99.(11/26/16)The Wolf Wilder, by Katherine Rundell
100.(12/05/16)Five For Sorrow, Ten For Joy, by Rumer Godden
Secondhand Time, by Svetlana Alexievich (p. 142)
101.(12/11/16)Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell
102.(12/13/16)Fruits Basket Volume 12, by Natsuki Takaya
103.(12/22/16)The Secret Place, by Tana French
104.(12/27/16)The Corinthian, by Georgette Heyer
105.(12/31/16)Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J. K. Rowling

First read: 68
Reread: 37
Adult fiction: 42
YA fiction: 43
Nonfiction: 20
aryllian: (Default)
2015-01-13 03:12 pm
Entry tags:

Books, 2015

To be updated throughout the year. Italics indicate a reread. Entries without numbers indicate that I didn't finish for some reason but read enough (and liked enough) to consider it worth recording.

1.(01/??/15)The Safe-Keeper's Secret, by Sharon Shinn
2.(01/14/15)Foxglove Summer, by Ben Aaronovitch
3.(01/??/15)The Truth-Teller's Tale, by Sharon Shinn
4.(01/24/15)The Changeling Sea, by Patricia A. McKillip
5.(01/25/15)The Just City, by Jo Walton
6.(01/26/15)The Turning Season, by Sharon Shinn
7.(02/03/15)To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis
8.(02/07/15)Power of Three, by Diana Wynne Jones
9.(02/13/15)War, by Sebastian Junger
10.(02/13/15)Hawkeye: L.A. Woman, by Matt Fraction et. al.
11.(02/18/15) Why Not Kill Them All?: The Logic and Prevention of Mass Political Murder, by Daniel Chirot and Clark McCauley
12.(02/23/15)As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust, by Alan Bradley
13.(02/25/15)The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place, by Julie Berry
14.(02/26/15)Stranger, by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith
15.(03/07/15)Bitterblue, by Kristin Cashore
16.(03/10/15)Alphabet of Thorn, by Patricia A. McKillip
17.(03/11/15)The Other Wes Moore, by Wes Moore
18.(03/13/15)Pacific Fire, by Greg van Eekhout
19.(03/16/15)Witches Abroad, by Terry Pratchett
20.(03/24/15)Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey
21.(03/28/15)Unexpected Magic, by Diana Wynne Jones
22.(04/??/15)The Winner's Curse, by Marie Rutkoski
23.(04/21/15)Tracker, by C. J. Cherryh
24.(04/29/15)The Mad Apprentice, by Django Wexler
25.(05/04/15)A Natural History of Dragons, by Marie Brennan
26.(05/11/15)Karen Memory, by Elizabeth Bear
27.(??/??/15)The Asperkid's (Secret) Book of Social Rules, by Jennifer Cook O'Toole
28.(??/??/15)Engineering the Financial Crisis: Systemic Risk and the Failure of Regulation, by Jeffrey Friedman and Wladimir Kraus
29.(05/20/15)Castle Hangnail, by Ursula Vernon
20.(05/24/15)Uprooted, by Naomi Novik
31.(05/30/15)The Phoenix Guards, by Steven Brust
32.(05/30/15)Ballet Shoes, by Noel Streatfeild
33.(06/01/15)The Silkworm, by Robert Galbraith
34.(06/05/15)Of Noble Family, by Mary Robinette Kowal
35.(06/09/15)Razorhurst, by Justine Larbalestier
36.(06/10/15)Tin Star, by Cecil Castellucci
37.(06/??/15)Queen Bees and Wannabes, by Rosalind Wiseman
38.(06/??/15)Economics in One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt
39.(06/??/15)Lifelode, by Jo Walton
40.(06/25/15)Shadow Scale, by Rachel Hartman
41.(06/30/15)The Battle of the Villa Fiorita, by Rumer Godden
42.(07/07/15)I Am Princess X, by Cherie Priest
43.(07/13/15)The Philosopher Kings, by Jo Walton
44.(07/17/15)The Just City, by Jo Walton
45.(07/20/15)Jane Austen, Game Theorist, by Michael Suk-Young Chwe
46.(07/2?/15)Watership Down, by Richard Adams
47.(07/2?/15)Black Dove, White Raven, by Elizabeth Wein
48.(0?/??/15)Last First Snow, by Max Gladstone
49.(08/04/15)The Annihilation Score, by Charles Stross
Capital in the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas Piketty (p. 199)
50.(08/0?/15)Skating Shoes, by Noel Streatfeild
51.(08/0?/15)Rational Ritual: Culture, Coordination, and Common Knowledge, by Michael Suk-Young Chwe
52.(08/08/15)Floating City: A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New York's Underground Economy, by Sudhir Venkatesh
53.(08/11/15)Stories of the Raksura Volume Two, by Martha Wells
54.(08/12/15)To Love and Be Wise, by Josephine Tey
55.(08/1?/15)The Tropic of Serpents, by Marie Brennan
56.(08/18/15)The Time Roads, by Beth Bernobich
57.(08/25/15)Seeing Like a State, by James C. Scott
58.(08/26/15)Thursday's Child, by Noel Streatfeild
59.(08/31/15)The Fifth Season, by N. K. Jemisin
60.(09/02/15)The Voyage of the Basilisk, by Marie Brennan
61.(09/05/15)The Cloud Roads, by Martha Wells
62.(09/07/15)Hawkeye: Rio Bravo, by Matt Fraction et. al.
63.(09/10/15)The Summer Prince, by Alaya Dawn Johnson
64.(09/21/15)The Sharing Knife: Beguilement, by Lois McMaster Bujold
65.(09/23/15)The Sharing Knife: Legacy, by Lois McMaster Bujold
66.(09/23/15)Far to Go, by Noel Streatfeild
67.(09/24/15)City of Bones, by Martha Wells
68.(09/27/15)The Shepherd's Crown, by Terry Pratchett
69.(09/30/15)The Court of Fives, by Kate Elliott
70.(10/06/15)The Neverending Story, by Michael Ende
71.(10/07/15)Sorcerer to the Crown, by Zen Cho
72.(10/09/15)The Peacock Spring, by Rumer Godden
73.(10/??/15)Dragon Coast, by Greg van Eekhout
74.(10/13/15)Wild Magic, by Tamora Pierce
75.(10/20/15)The Traitor Baru Cormorant, by Seth Dickinson
76.(10/23/15)Dreamwalker, by C. S. Friedman
77.(10/24/15)Stealth of Nations: The Global Rise of the Informal Economy, by Robert Neuwirth
78.(10/29/15)The House of Shattered Wings, by Aliette de Bodard
79.(10/31/15)Ancillary Mercy, by Ann Leckie
80.(11/??/15)Uprooted, by Naomi Novik
81.(11/??/15)An Apprentice to Elves, by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear
82.(11/18/15)Stories of the Raksura Volume One, by Martha Wells
83.(11/??/15)Ring of Swords, by Eleanor Arnason
84.(12/02/15)Three Parts Dead, by Max Gladstone
85.(12/08/15)Well Witched, by Frances Hardinge
86.(12/10/15)Dear Committee Members, by Julie Schumacher
87.(12/1?/15)Tracker, by C. J. Cherryh
88.(12/1?/15)The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, by Peter Senge
89.(12/31/15)Pegasus, by Robin McKinley

First read: 63
Reread: 26
Adult fiction: 49
YA fiction: 27
Nonfiction: 13
aryllian: (Default)
2015-01-13 03:11 pm

(no subject)

(01/15)LeverageSeason 3
(01/15)LeverageSeason 4
(02/15)LeverageSeason 5
(02/15)LeverageSeason 1
(02/15)The AmericansSeason 1
(02/15)The AmericansSeason 2
(03/15)Life on Mars (UK)Series 1
(03/15)Back to the Future
(03/15)An Ideal Husband
(03/15)LeverageSeason 2 + commentary
(03/15)On Her Majesty's Secret Service
(04/15)Song of the Sea
(04/15)Orphan BlackSeason 1
(04/15)Orphan BlackSeason 2, Episodes 1-5
(04/15)Miss Fisher's Murder MysteriesSeries 1, Episodes 1-7
(04/15)Mockingjay - Part 1
(05/15)Miss Fisher's Murder MysteriesSeries 1, Episodes 8-10
(05/15)How to Train Your Dragon 2
(06/15)Ballet Shoes
(06/15)Pride and Prejudice (2005)
(06/15)Orange is the New BlackSeason 1, Episodes 1-4
(06/15)Finding Vivian Maier
(06/15)Miss Fisher's Murder MysteriesSeries 1, Episodes 11-13
(06/15)Masters of MoneyKeynes, Hayek, Marx
(07/15)Princess TutuAll episodes
(07/15)Wolf Children
(07/15)Into the Woods (2014)
(08/15)Orphan BlackSeason 2, Episodes 6-10
(08/15)Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me
(08/15)Howl's Moving Castle
(0?/15)Miss Fisher's Murder MysteriesSeries 2
(09/15)As Time Goes BySeries 4
(09/15)Orphan BlackSeason 3, Episodes 1-5
(09/15)The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
(10/15)Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
(10/15)EurekaSeason 1
(11/15)Orphan BlackSeason 3, Episodes 6-10
(11/15)The Man From UNCLESeason 1, Episodes 1-7
(11/15)Mad Max: Fury Road
(11/15)Puella Magi Madoka MagicaAll episodes
(12/15)When Marnie Was There
(12/15)Miss Fisher's Murder MysteriesSeries 3
(12/15)The MusketeersSeries 1, Episodes 1-4
(??/15)Moon Over Buffalo (live)
(??/15)All the Way (live)
(??/15)Company (live)
(??/15)Angel Street (Gaslight) (live)
(??/15)Rumors (live)
aryllian: (Default)
2014-10-16 09:22 pm
Entry tags:

Hawk, by Steven Brust

I read this chortling with delight the whole way through. It's all just so very Vlad. I'm not sure how to take the ending, but I'm sure future books will explicate the meaning of the thing Vlad does and how exactly he means to handle it.

Now I sort of want to read it again to see how it's put together.

Spoilers? Maybe? )
aryllian: (Default)
2014-01-25 05:46 am

Movies / TV Shows on DVD / etc., 2014

(01/14)The Shop Around the Corner
(01/14)The Wall
(02/14)Before Midnight
(02/14)Immortal Beloved
(0?/14)Ocean's Eleven (2001)
(03/14)Thor: The Dark World
(03/14)LeverageSeason 1
(03/14)Buffy the Vampire SlayerSeason 7
(03/14)LeverageSeason 2
(03/14)The Proposal
(04/14)Ender's Game
(05/14)Project RunwaySeason 11
(06/14)The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
(06/14)Veronica Mars (2014)
(07/14)The Short Game
(08/14)Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
(09/14)Avatar: The Last AirbenderBook 1: Water
(09/14)The Grand Budapest Hotel
(10/14)Avatar: The Last AirbenderBook 2: Earth
Book 3: Fire
(10/14)The Human Scale
(10/14)As Time Goes BySeries 1 & 2
(11/14)As Time Goes BySeries 3
(1?/14)Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
(1?/14)The Wind Rises
(12/14)The Lord Peter Wimsey MysteriesClouds of Witnesses
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club
The Nine Tailors
(12/14)Guardians of the Galaxy