icarus_chained: lurid original bookcover for fantomas, cropped (Light)
( Jan. 10th, 2017 08:05 pm)
I'm rereading The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner, which I haven't done in quite a few years, and I'd completely forgotten the four-odd chapters two children and two dwarves spend climbing, falling, slithering, crawling, swimming and almost dying through perilous shafts and impossibly tiny, mud-filled, sand-filled, water-filled crevices a couple of hundred feet underground while escaping svarts in the old copper mines.

... I will take the Mines of Moria, balrogs and all, in a heartbeat before I go through that again. Holy shit. I honestly must have blocked those chapters out. I'm not even claustrophobic, at least not normally, but people who go caving/cave-diving are honestly nutters (apparently the real Alderley Edge Copper Mines, where Weirdstone is set, are open to cavers). I don't want to drown, in the dark, underground, because I got wedged in a hairpin bend in a tiny crevice too sharp and small for my long bones to fit through. Holy shit.

(No offense to real cavers, mind, you do you, but holy shit I would die of a heart attack less than two minutes in, and apparently that's all sorts of bad for everyone attached to me as well, so ... yeah. Probably for the best if I never go, yeah?)

Um. Right. I had completely forgotten this impromptu deadly earnest crash course on the perils of caving in the middle of my children's fantasy book. Wow. Okay. Moving on.
icarus_chained: lurid original bookcover for fantomas, cropped (Flight)
( Jun. 3rd, 2016 07:41 pm)
Okay, I liked that. I can't remember how I found it, I think I saw the name mentioned on a random stroll through TV Tropes, but I did like that.

I've just read through a book of short stories by Manly Wade Wellman (hell of a name) called "John the Balladeer", about a man named John, just John, who wanders around the Appalachian mountains post-Korean war with his silver-stringed guitar, encountering and fighting various spirits and magic men/women, usually with music. It's ... I liked it a lot. It hits a couple of my favourite motifs, the mystic minstrel, a-la the Pied Piper, and the wandering exorcist, a-la Kusuriuri/the Medicine Seller from Mononoke. John is interesting, a polite, soft-spoken, perpetually penniless musician who's too curious for his own good, always moves to help people if he can, and has a bit of a vindictive streak with people he doesn't like.

A lot of what I liked about the stories, though, are the descriptions, of the mountains and the people and the food (he talks about food a lot, hot damn, I was starving after reading this and I don't even like pork that much) and the music. There's a sense of place and rhythm and mystery in the stories. I really do like them a lot. Very folklorish, and a familiar kind of folklore to me too, like something not too far from what I'd read in a book of the Irish ghost stories I grew up with. There's moments when the stories really feel out of time, like they could have happened any time in the last three centuries, and it's only when John or somebody starts talking about the war or radar or the doppler effect that you can date them again.

I might look up more by this guy now. He's interesting.
Extremely suspect things you find yourself googling: "Short story taxidermist murder skins and wears victim".

For the record, I was looking for a short story I vaguely remembered reading in school, about a taxidermist who murders another, skins him and turns the skin into a person suit in a panic, masquerades as his victim for ages until the skin fuses with his and he can’t take it off, and then gets arrested for his own murder when they find his victim’s bones and think they’re his since the actual victim is still clearly alive and walking around. Since, you know, he’s wearing the man as a suit. So he ends up being done for his own murder, and finding an odd sort of satisfaction in it since it’s the man he killed that history will call the murderer.

As it turns out, I did not in fact dream this story up, as I’d half worried I had. It’s a story called either “Two In One” or “Two Into One”, it’s by Flann O'Brien, written in 1954, and it does in fact exist. And apparently we read it in school. Because why not.

You know, I’m really not surprised at this point that I turned out a little ghoulish in the end. Heh.
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icarus_chained: lurid original bookcover for fantomas, cropped (Fantomas)
( Feb. 18th, 2016 07:06 pm)
My sister and I tend to have interesting conversations. The book I bought today to reward myself for surviving an interview is "Ghost: 100 Stories to Read with the Lights On", editted by Louise Welsh. It's basically 100 ghost stories arranged in chronological order from Pliny's "The Haunted House" ca. 113 AD and runs up to recent publications. (I have read a surprising amount of the classics before, despite horror having never been my main go-to genre). On the back of this, we ended up talking about what types of horror scare us more. I tend to favour ghost stories, stories of madness, and cosmic horror stories, while she tends more towards serial killers, zombies and the evils that men do.

I think it comes down to, I am more afraid of unknowns and things that affect the mind, while she's more afraid of physical dangers and things that affect life and limb. I've never been overly disturbed by vampires or serial killers, anything you can potentially stab with a stake or brain with a rock to take care of the problem (however successfully the attempt might go), and zombie stories tend more to either bore, disgust or depress me. But ghosts, intangible things that inspire dread and that are much more difficult to disperse, and absolutely anything at all regarding madness, mental deterioration, gaslighting, psychological abuse, external control and extrusions of unknown factors that simply cannot be dealt with rationally, those scare the pants off me. I don't mind adrenal, action-based fear, but seeping, paralysing dread and a loss of control or comprehension do it for (or rather to) me every time.

I suppose it really is what you're most basely afraid of that defines what sort of horror works best for you. Heh.
icarus_chained: lurid original bookcover for fantomas, cropped (Conflict)
( Oct. 3rd, 2015 06:24 pm)
Now that I've read it. Some very random and unscientific thoughts on Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. The book, I mean. Because I saw the show first, a lot of this will be compare-contrast, probably. Also, liable to feature a lot of Stephen Black. I have thoughts about Stephen Black.

icarus_chained: lurid original bookcover for fantomas, cropped (Auryn)
( Jul. 30th, 2015 09:42 pm)
Bold what you've read; italicise what you've started but not finished.

1 - Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 - The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 - Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 - Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 - To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 - The Bible (I've read very large chunks, particularly of the New Testament for church and chunks of the Old for research, but it's not something I've ever really sat down with)
7 - Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 - Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 - His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 - Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 - Little Women - Louisa M Alcott (ages and ages ago, when I was in a tomboyish phase and loved Jo)
12 - Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 - Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 - Complete Works of Shakespeare (My Mam has a huge orange copy, I've read random snippets of lots of things and a few whole plays)
15 - Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 - The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 - Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 - Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 - The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 - Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 - Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 - The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 - Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 - War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 - The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 - Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 - Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 - Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck (I tried a couple of his, but I don't really like his style much)
29 - Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll (And 'Beyond the Looking Glass')
30 - The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 - Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 - David Copperfield - Charles Dickens (I'm not fond of Dickens, this one was the second one I tried, after the weird cartoon version as a kid, the one with the cheese people?)
33 - Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 - Emma - Jane Austen
35 - Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 - The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis (slightly redundant, given the above?)
37 - The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 - Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 - Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 - Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 - Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 - The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown ('Angels and Demons' was better)
43 - One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 - A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 - The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins (Working on this one)
46 - Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 - Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 - The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 - Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 - Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 - Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 - Dune - Frank Herbert
53 - Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 - Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen (I think this is the one of Austen's I've read, but it was quite a while ago)
55 - A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth.
56 - The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 - A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens (First Dickens I read. Finished it, but wasn't fond of it)
58 - Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 - Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 - Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 - Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 - The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 - The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 - Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas (I love Dumas)
66 - On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 - Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 - Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 - Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 - Moby Dick - Herman Melville (Parts of, my dad was obsessed with it for a while)
71 - Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 - Dracula - Bram Stoker (reread it recently - it's actually a lot better than I remembered from the first time)
73 - The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett (This and 'A Little Princess' were childhood favourites)
74 - Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 - Ulysses - James Joyce
76 - The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 - Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 - Germinal - Emile Zola
79 - Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 - Possession - AS Byatt.
81 - A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 - Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 - The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 - The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 - Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 - A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 - Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 - The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 - Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Favourite)
90 - The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 - Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 - The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 - The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 - Watership Down - Richard Adams (And 'Plague Dogs', which scared the absolute shit out of me, worse than Watership ever did)
95 - A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 - A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 - The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas (I really love Dumas)
98 - Hamlet - William Shakespeare (again, somewhat redundant?)
99 - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl (Also 'The Glass Elevator', and quite a lot of Dahl, really)
100 - Les Miserables - Victor Hugo (Why I like Hugo when I hate Dickens is a question for the ages, but I do)
icarus_chained: lurid original bookcover for fantomas, cropped (Aurin)
( Jul. 5th, 2014 06:36 pm)
For a prompt on [livejournal.com profile] comment_fic: Speaking Latin over old texts is never a good idea. Little bit of random urban fantasy.

Title: Lessons in Invocation
Rating: PG-13
Fandom: Urban Fantasy Original
Characters/Pairings: Karl Glockner, Professor Tessaraeus
Summary: In the library of a magical college, a student makes a small mistake and is invited to remember why the rules of libraries, especially magical ones, exist
Wordcount: 858
Warnings/Notes: Magical mishaps, death and dismemberment, necromancy, demonology, incantations, the rules of the library
Disclaimer: Not mine

I've been reading both the Honor Harrington series by David Weber and the Girl Genius webcomic by the Foglios of late, and it's become increasingly apparent that there are certain character types that inherantly appeal to me.

To whit: )


I've mostly caught up with Girl Genius (and read an awesome canon-divergent AU where Barry works with Klaus instead of against him back in the early days of the Empire), but I'm missing large chunks of the middle of the HH series. I've read most of the early books, several of the latest ones, and most of the Torch and Talbott subseries, but the middle books of the main series I've still got a catch up on. I've found most of them online, though, Baen free books, so it shouldn't be too much trouble :)

Apparently, summer is for reading, if not necessarily what you thought you would be.
icarus_chained: lurid original bookcover for fantomas, cropped (Aurin)
( Jan. 10th, 2014 12:17 am)
List ten books that have stayed with you in some way. Don't take but a few minutes, and don't think too hard --- they don't have to be the "right" or "great" works, just the ones that have touched you.

My Ten Books:

These are the first ten books that came to mind. They're mostly books from my childhood, and most of them were determined by the selection at my local library. I joined when I was seven, and I've been a more-or-less continuous member ever since. There are a couple of adult or later picks in there too, though. Some of those came from my parents' or relatives' personal libraries, from the public library in my college town (first thing I do when moving somewhere for any length of time is join the nearest library - I've cards for my hometown, my mother's hometown, and my college town so far), or from second-hand bookshops. Because apparently the books that stick with me tend to be random finds got on the cheap or for free -_-; Though I suppose that makes sense when you're a kid. How else are you going to get a hold of stuff? No way either me or my parents would have had the budget for the sheer volume of stuff I read. The house has thousands of books as it stands, from five separate people collecting shit as they go, and we only get to buy a fraction of what we read. Though I suppose e-books and kindles are going to be making that a mite easier now ...

icarus_chained: lurid original bookcover for fantomas, cropped (Swordswoman)
( Oct. 14th, 2013 05:35 pm)
My copy of Thoroughly Modern Monsters arrived this morning. As in, the first book in which I have successfully had a story published. *smiles crookedly* My, ah, my parents were pretty proud. It's a nice thing to be able to show them, a concrete, physical thing you can hand someone and say "I was part of that". Heh. Um. It made Dad cry, because Granddad and reading and ... and he just missed it, but ... *waves hand* It's a thing I wrote, in a real book that was really published. *grins a little* It's kind of awesome.

I've been browsing the other stories on and off in between stuff today, and there are some fabulous things in there. Actually, my whole family has been browsing it one and off. My sister already has a favourite, and it's not the one I wrote. *grins* Traitor that she is. Heh.

It's worth picking up, if you like horror/fantasy/urban fantasy/mythology or any of those things. And I'm not just saying that because I helped write it. Honest. *smiles*
And finally. My sister helped me to buy the ebooks of Blood Maidens and Magistrates of Hell by Barbara Hambly, so I've just finished the James Asher series thus far. And by 'just' I mean I got the books yesterday and finished MoH about an hour ago. *grins faintly*

Right. I've just finished the second James Asher book by Barbara Hambly, Travelling With The Dead. And ... I really, really enjoyed it? As much as I enjoyed Those Who Hunt The Night, and possibly even a little bit more -_-;

Re-reading parts of Those Who Hunt The Night for distraction purposes. I still think one of the things that really gets to me is that Asher told his wife she was in danger. In Chapter Four, basically immediately after he knew himself. Literally the first chance he got where there wasn't a vampire looming over him, he went and told her.

The hero's loved one is threatened to ensure his obedience, and he doesn't hide this from her, he doesn't distance himself from her, he doesn't lie and cause relationship strife on top of the already fairly stressful situation, he doesn't spend half the book trying to keep the secret, he doesn't try to keep her ignorant of the danger she's in. Instead, he goes home and he sits down and he tells her. Not even in a 'leave me, it's too dangerous' or 'I'm sacrificing myself for you, make it worth it' sort of way, but sitting down and laying out the situation and discussing between them what to do about it. Not just what he's going to do about it, but what she's going to do and what they're going to do about it. Risks and probable death and all.

When was the last time I saw that in a story? Have I seen that in fictionland any time recently? I don't know why it's catching me so strongly, but it is.
Okay. This book was recommended to me by about three different people on the vampire recs post, and when I looked up the blurb it sounded fascinating. So. Ah. I scrounged up an online version of it, and devoured it over the past couple of days -_-;

icarus_chained: lurid original bookcover for fantomas, cropped (Icarus)
( Jan. 3rd, 2013 12:00 am)
Well. Ish. Sort of. Arrived back today after a week with the extended family for New Years. Which was ... exhausting, but okay? The thing with family, there's so many, and they're all so noisy, and I'm not exactly a people-person to start out with. But I think it went okay?

I had a nice get-out-of-the-house-free card in the form of a dog that needed walking, anyway. Me and him got in some nice walks on a windswept North Atlantic beach during a three-day gale, which was exhilerating. Yes, I am a mad person. *smiles crookedly*

Also, among the things I got for Christmas was my first Kindle, with a supply of books to go along with it from my sister, so I've spent the past six internet-less days plowing through the first five books of JD Robb's In Death series (reread, not first read). Which was fun, actually, but I'd forgotten how much the main pair's early relationship skeeved me out (I don't care how romantic it supposedly is, or how much she ends up happily married later on, or how much she apparently really needed it, any man who uses the fact he owns her building to break into her apartment to forcefully apologise to her, despite her telling him to fuck off, is a CREEP. Roarke, you're an awesome character, and yes, Eve is a dick and you help each other mightily, but if I'd been her I would have shot you with my police-issue stunner at that point, and good riddance). But, you know. That and a few other things aside, I quite like the books, and it was nice to get the early ones again. Heh.

Now I get to switch to the first few books of the Aubrey-Maturin series for dessert. *grins* And those will be a first-time-read, so that should be fun. Heh.

Um. Right. In summary? I'm back, I survived the extended family, and Happy New Year to everyone!
icarus_chained: lurid original bookcover for fantomas, cropped (Nebula)
( Dec. 8th, 2012 02:52 am)
Okay. So I just blitzed through Warrior's Apprentice, which seems appropriate since I don't think anyone took so much as a spare breath that entire novel. Overall impression? *grins giddily* Miles is a lunatic. I love him. *grabby hands* Yes, I'll have the rest of this now. Yes, oh yes.

Seriously, there is improvisation, and then there's this. Lunatic. So much. And I haven't even really met anyone else yet.

Yes. So. I approve, and will search out the rest of this series forthwith! *grins*
icarus_chained: lurid original bookcover for fantomas, cropped (Aurin)
( Dec. 6th, 2012 12:29 am)
*rubs eyes* I think I'll leave the rest of the character meme until tomorrow, if no-one minds? I suspect I'm tiring rapidly. *grins sheepishly*

Before I go, a completely unrelated question. I know I've asked before, and people have answered before, but allowing that I'm absentminded and prone to losing things ...

If one was looking to start reading the Vorkosigan Saga, Lois McMaster Bujold, where would one start? In terms of what order to read them in, I mean. I may have to scrounge for them, so knowing which ones to look for first would be ... very helpful, yes? *grins sheepishly*

So. Any suggestions?
icarus_chained: lurid original bookcover for fantomas, cropped (Aurin)
( Sep. 12th, 2012 07:48 pm)
My sister and I had to go down to the county town today to get some papers and stuff handed around. Which meant I had to wear the flat black interview shoes instead of my sandals, for the first time in weeks, so my feet are kind of in bits. Heh. Plus, it's a fair walk in from the hospital bus stop into the town proper. Owie.

So, because we were in town, with business finished, and to distract from our aching feet, we went book shopping. *grins* I can't go clothes shopping to save my life, and shoe shopping is a matter of necessity at best, but show me a selection of bookshops, and I'm your girl. Heh.

The secondhand shop had gotten in a large collection of Wordsworth Editions Tales of Mystery & Supernatural, which was awesome, and netted me copies of Chambers' The King in Yellow, Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White, and a collection of gothic romances including The Castle of Otranto, Vathek, and Nightmare Abbey. *grins* Which will do nicely for some light reading, I think. Heh.

Browsing through the town's three firsthand bookshops didn't gather that much of a haul. The main bookshop might have, because their history section is awesome, but unfortunately it's also on the expensive side. There are about fifteen different titles that I'd have sat down with in that section (medieval asia is a thing for me, at the minute), but alas, budget. *sighs*

On the fiction side of it, though, I did get the third Rivers of London book, and the first Dexter book by Jeff Lindsay (I've been curious for a while, thought I'd try it). Heh. Which brought the haul up to five books for me, and adding in three for my sister.

The bags were a lot heavier on the way home -_-; But I've at least a week's worth of reading in there, so it's all good. *grins faintly*
icarus_chained: lurid original bookcover for fantomas, cropped (Default)
( Aug. 4th, 2012 12:06 am)
Queen's Thief finally arrived today! Well, no. Actually only half of it arrived. Fortunately, it was the right half, the last two books, so I can at least find out what happened. (Though I really want to reread the first two, now, Queen of Attolia especially - I've forgotten a lot, I think).

I just blitzed through King of Attolia. *grins helplessly* Gen, GenGenGenGenGen. Oh, I love him. The perfect Trickster hero. And Costis, you poor sorry bastard. Like everyone else who had to deal with him for the first time, you had no idea. And Gen and Irene remain painful and lovely beyond belief. *beams happily*

I shall save Conspiracy of Kings for tomorrow, I think. Something to savour. And then I'll probably reread both. *bounces*

Also, I accidentally watched the last half of S1 and the first half of S2 of a show called Warehouse 13 (don't ask how one 'accidentally' watches some 12-odd episodes of something, you'd be surprised how often shit like that happens to me). I adore Artie. Also Claudia. And all of them, the whole team. But. Artie. Also James, and Artie & James, and what it seems to have done to him. (I'm trying not to read too much into an old partnership of spies who dealt with weird shit for the government, when they're named Artie and James. How likely is it that W13 was deliberately riffing Wild Wild West?)

I've no idea what the rest of the series is like (and I should watch the first few episodes too, I think), but ... yes. I rather loved it. Age Before Beauty was lovely, in particular. Heh. And Helena seems like she's going to be interesting ...

*smiles tiredly* Things to enjoy, yes? Heh.
icarus_chained: lurid original bookcover for fantomas, cropped (Default)
( Jul. 21st, 2012 05:18 pm)
I have hiking sandals again! (Also, the name and location of a shoe shop that seems to reliably carry them). I can do proper mileage again without shredding my feet and/or my mother's dress sandals. Aces. *grins*

And secondly, I have ordered all four books of Queen's Thief, and should have them within a week or two. *bounces happily* That leaves me with only the second book of Temeraire and the second book of Rivers of London left on my immediate to-read-sometime-soon list. (The longer one, the to-read-at-some-point-in-my-life list, will never, ever be finished, but that's sort of the point, really).

Today was a good day. *nods nods*
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