Midweek reading 25 August 2016

What I just finished reading

Sleeping with her Enemy by Jenny Holiday – It started off really well, with a heroine who decided to go to work when she was left at the altar – what a great characterisation note that is, for that to be a character’s place of comfort. After a while the pace slowed a little and it got a little cheesy, especially the Taylor Swift karaoke scene. Cute, though.

Dirty by Kylie Scott – (library book) As I said on goodreads, fun narrative voice and it was easy to read very quickly, but the ending seemed both too quick and too slow (in different ways) and a couple of plot threads got dropped. Also, rushing so quickly into one serious relationship, after one of her problems with the previous was she rushed in too fast without thinking, was kind of a downer element (though I know this is the nature of romance novels; they tend not to be about ‘and then the couple slowly got to know each other’s values and interests over several months and then progressed rationally’). I wanted more time for the relationship to make it believable, given that.

Still, one of the cuter romance stories I’ve read recently that starts with the hero and the heroine connecting while she’s in her wedding dress on the day she was meant to get married. Kind of wish I could learn more about the nearly-groom and his love affair with the best man because that was an amusing twist.

Music Business: a musician’s guide to the Australian music industry by Shane Simpson and Jules Munro – (library book) Read for research. Obviously much more useful in an Australian context but helped reinforce a lot of what I read in Passman’s All You Need to Know About the Music Business and also interesting to see the differences between business for musicians and business for writers.

The Journalist’s Guide to Media Law by Mark Pearson – One of my old textbooks. Read to brush up on my knowledge of IP law but this, the fourth edition, was published in 2011 so bits will inevitably be out of date.

How to Write Your Blockbuster by Fiona McIntosh – Writing guide, unabashedly about writing commercial fiction. General but useful overview including her tips on the discipline needed to develop a professional writing regimen.

Strong Signal by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell – Cute, initially long distance relationship between a professional gamer (Kai) and a military mechanic counting down to the end of his deployment (Garrett), and the troubles that arise when they meet. The way Kai’s social anxiety and Garrett’s search for a job in an economically depressed area interact is well done. I admit I skim-read or skipped some of the sex scenes, though. It’s sweet and the romance is convincing but I admit I didn’t really connect with it.

What I’m reading now

Women by Charles Bukowski – Misogynist but hilarious.

What I’m reading next

Some books on film analysis (my great love) and probably a textbook or two.

Apologies

No review post tonight. Between feeling unwell, packing for a trip, and madly trying to finish In Tune 2 & 3 I’m just too tired for it.

Reading Wednesday 3 August 2016

What I just finished reading

War for the Oaks by Emma Bull (library book) – I’d been meaning to get onto this one for years because people kept mentioning that it was one of the books that kicked off the urban fantasy genre, and I do often like my fantasy urban. There was a lot to enjoy about this and some of the faerie stuff still feels really fresh. In here are none of the fantasy creature archetypes and clichés that have overcrowded the genre. I liked the way Bull melded the fantasy elements with the everyday elements of making rent and buying food, as well as the particular kinds of problems and joys musicians face. There’s lovely description of the magic in music.

The romantic entanglement that develops between the main character and one of her new faerie acquaintances is delightful. It is not merely based on physical passion, though the physical awareness is masterfully built up between the characters throughout the book, but also on respect for and delight in each other’s personalities.

However, it is a bit dated. Some of the 80s clothes described I imagine to be delightful but even describing all the clothes in such a way felt very 80s. I liked some of the 80s elements so much (synth!) but the particular kind of casual racism of the times, such as when Eddi looks in a mirror and drags her eyes out to imagine what she’d look like Chinese? Yeah, no. This in spite of a racially diverse cast of characters, granted, and I didn’t notice any unfortunate stereotypes. So some of my reaction to this is a bit mixed but I did enjoy it.

Music Business for Dummies by Loren Wiseman (library book) – I imagine much more useful if you are actually a musician. Some of this was useful; some of this was utterly garbage marketing/promotion advice. Contains almost no actual specifics of the music business though I imagine someone really needed that advice on politeness, posture and healthy touring. Still better than that one for Dummies book I read about Wicca that claimed that Wiccans believe in Karma (…no, we don’t. That’s a Buddhist concept).

What I’m reading now

Only research materials right now, in an attempt to reach the home stretch on the book, sadly. Oh, and half a dozen home decor magazines at work.

What I’m reading next

Every book I’ve put aside while trying to finish In Tune #2 (and I’ll leave my whining about that to another day).

July 2016 recap and links

In July I reviewed:

Roller Girl and This Tender Melody on the 3rd;
Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll: the science of hedonism and the hedonism of science and Liberator (Flights of Love book one) on the 14th;
A Separate Peace on the 19th;
Neuromancer on the 20th, as well as Modern Romance and The Cybernetic Tea Shop;
Dying for a Living on the 25; and
Queer Wars on the 27th.

Some interesting links:

Smart Bitches Trashy Books podcast interview with Emily Nagoski about Cross Stitching, Neuroscience, ethical porn, rape culture and fantasy. Fascinating. And another of their podcasts: Ashleigh Gardner on Muslim Romances at Wattpad.

Closing the Gap: The Blurring of Fan and Professional by Mark Oshiro at Uncanny Magazine, which talks about professional fandom and internet fame, among other things.

The Delicate Art of Character Folding by Rebecca Makka at The Masters Review talks about the some time necessity of folding multiple characters into one in the redrafting and rewriting processes.

Hilary Clinton (yes really) posted a note on The Toast about its closing which omg is amazing.

I love this post from The Rejectionist about, among other things, “Watching a woman repeatedly subsume her entire emotional and artistic life to a totally worthless man for years”, how these stories are not really that much about women as they are about dudes, and the closing out of queer possibilities in these kinds of books.

How to Finish Your Book in Three Drafts by Stuart Horwitz at Jane Friedman’s blog.

S.L. Huang: On The Subject Of Manpain.

5 Pieces of Writing Advice You Should Ignore by James Scott Bell at Jane Friedman’s blog. I might disagree a bit about the importance of reading writing guides (because how can I guarantee that the person who wrote that guide is any more qualified to tell people how to write than I am?) but it’s fun to talk about advice to ignore.

At Tor.com Rachel Cordasco talks about Translating the Alien: Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem which discusses the difficulty in translating works from one language to another and what a delicate art it is.

At Go Fug Yourself: Your Afternoon Chat: Your Favorite Romance Novels.

Alexis Hall about LGBTQ+ RITA wins and correcting their own assumptions, bisexual erasure, etc.

Victoria (V.E.) Schwab on the slow pursuit of overnight success.