2020 reading notes, week 2

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I notice that so far this year I’ve only read one book by a man (the Judge Dee one). I’m not aiming to read only or mostly books by women, but it happens. Mostly white women, though, like myself (and still not for that). Obviously I don’t know about the fanfic but it’s statistically probable that the women are in the majority there as well.

January 11: Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley. A lot more baroque than Beauty. –Eek, I’d forgotten it has Meaningful Names, like the draper being called Mrs Bestcloth and the head groom Mr Horsewise. Ah well, I can cope. (The baroqueness grows on one and actually becomes part of the attraction. The Meaningful Names grate more and more.) Most people who give it only 1 star on Goodreads do that because either they think it’s too slow, or they hate the ending; I love both the pace and the ending. Could, and perhaps will, write a whole blog post about it or about all four of the Beauty and the Beast adaptations I just binge-read. Perhaps I’ll need to reread In the Vanishers’ Palace too before I do that.

January 10: Beauty by Robin McKinley. Plain and direct, and I think it’s the one I prefer now (but won’t know that until I’ve finished the other one.) Eyes teared up at the end. I tried to find some crit that mentioned Stockholm syndrome or similar and wasn’t about the Disney movies, but that’s amazingly hard. Best I found was this, which is about the Disney movies but also mentions the 18th century French original designed to help girls come to terms with being married off to older men. (Yes, also ick. But kind of appropriate for its time and surroundings.)

January 8: Ars Historica by Marie Brennan. A short story collection I didn’t know I had. On the dark side and difficult to read (those things are related but not identical). Of the 7 stories I like the penultimate one (False Colours) best; it put me pleasantly on the wrong foot, and I think it’s quintessential Marie Brennan. There’s a very short and somewhat nasty story after it, which rereading False Colours won’t flush so I’m going to need more Shira Glassman or something equally sweet and fresh.

January 6: Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman. A nice bit of sweet fluff to get the taste of Bedlam Boyz out of my brain.

January 6: Bedlam Boyz by Ellen Guon. A bit of a curate’s egg, in the modern sense rather than the original one: parts of it are excellent or I wouldn’t want to reread it. Parts of it are meh, parts of it are cringeworthy, and the ending is very abrupt and only faintly satisfying. I do like the way she handles magic, and I love Elizabet Winters.

January 5:  A slew of fanfic stories which I’m now consolidating into a proper list (run out of fanfic for now, looking for something longer to read next).

  • The Importance of Choosing the Right Pediatrician. DNF, I’m sorry to say. The premise seems so good (people trying to do the best for their unusual baby) but I didn’t have enough background because I didn’t watch that particular series of Star Trek and I keep being less than interested in the medical stuff. I’m counting the whole series as one thing; did finish parts 1 and 2.
  • The Butterflies!Verse, Young Wizards fanfic. The first story is also the beginning of another series but I read it for Sadie and Barty, not for Harry. Wonderful insight in kids and cats. May read the other series later.
  • Yet another widower!Harry story (a joyful one) and a cute but weepy story about Dairine’s electronic associates.
  • The Wizard’s Oath (tiny series of 2 short stories), okayish but very situation-specific (Israel, political).
  • My Oath and Morning, Young Wizards with a nonspeaking autistic main character. I want more Amanda! Faintly remember something else with an Amanda in it but that might be a different story, at least it’s not one in the author’s list. [ETA: Nope. Angela.]
  • The Day Before Forever, Young Wizards with a real historical figure. Weird little thing about Vienna.
  • Also The Day Before Forever, but this one is Bible fanfic that gets me RIGHT IN THE SOLAR PLEXUS.

Week 1 reading notes are here.