Which sounds to me a statement about 'at first it looked cool and cutting edge to have an e-reader, now everybody has one, meh'.
I.e. it's all about the lifestyle statements, which certainly seems to me to emerge like a miasma from all the to-do about books as lovely artefacts and saying something about the person:
#bookstagram, a celebration of the aesthetics of books, where books are the supermodels and where readers and non-readers can see cats and dogs reading books, books photographed in landscapes, books posed with croissants, sprays of flowers, homeware, gravestones and cups of coffee, colour-matched and colour-clashed with outfits, shoes, biscuits and in what can only be described as book fashion shoots. You just can’t do a shelfie with an e-reader.
No, but you can sit down and bloody read the thing, rather than poncing about making design statements.
We are in the same territory, I fear, as those interior designers who consider books as quirky objects and do not see shelves as things which should contain as many books as possible, fie upon your sea-shells and plants and framed photos taking up space.
Why mainstream publishers may be feeling the pinch on ebooks might possibly be because they price them like hardbacks rather than paperbacks. Okay, there are some authors whose latest work I would buy at that price, because I would buy them in hardback when they came out, and I am trying to reduce the number of books that come into the house.
And somebody please pass a) a sickbag and then b) a large codfish:
Once upon a time, people bought books because they liked reading. Now they buy books because they like books. “All these people are really thinking about how the books are – not just what’s in them, but what they’re like as objects,” says Jennifer Cownie, who runs the beautiful Bookifer website and the Cownifer Instagram, which match books to decorative papers, and who bought a Kindle but hated it. Summerhayes thinks that “people have books in their house as pieces of art”. One of her authors’ forthcoming works features cover art by someone who designs album covers for Elbow.
One is reminded of those arrivistes who bought tastefully bound volumes by the yard to fill up the shelves in the library in the stately mansion they had bought (or had built). NQOSD.
So, I’ll start this out with a disclaimer: Adagio contacted me and offered to give me some tea for free if I would review it on Twitter. I am not one to turn down free tea, and I already buy tea from Adagio more or less regularly. And they’re the home of the Imperial Radch Tea Blends, so.
I had a gift certificate to work with, so I actually got three things–one that’s already a favorite, one that wasn’t the sort of thing I usually get but what the heck, and one that I threw in on impulse before I checked out.
I’m not much of a white tea fan. I mean, I don’t dislike it, but it’s usually been not my fave–usually it just tastes like faintly leafy hot water to me. But I got a sample of a white tea with my Manual Tea Maker No 1, and either that tea was particularly good and/or the gaiwan style brewing really brought some nice flavor out. So I’d been meaning to try another white tea in the Manual and see what I thought.
This is Adagio’s White Symphony. The flavor is very delicate–I found I got best results using a touch more than I would have for another kind of tea. I tried it just in an infuser for 3 minutes, and then I tried it in the Manual. It definitely stands up to multiple steeps, but it wasn’t noticeably more interesting in the Manual. This is also the first tea that I’ve found doesn’t do well with my tap water. I was unhappy with the first cup, which was the old “faintly leafy hot water” thing. Then I tried using filtered water and the results were much better. It tasted like a very delicate tea, instead of hot water pretending to be tea. Seems like my problem with white tea might be more about my tap water, and I’m looking forward to drinking more of this one.
This is the sort of thing you’d sip and think about how it tastes. It is not, IMO, a great choice for a hearty cuppa, or for waking up in the morning.
This is Adagio’s Fujian Baroque. It’s a reliable favorite of mine. It has a sort-of-maybe sweet, faintly almost-chocolatey flavor, with no astringency. If you find ordinary grocery store orange pekoe or black tea too bitter or astringent, you might want to give this a shot. This is one of a couple of black teas I try to keep around. (The other is PG tips, because sometimes you just want a strong milky hit of tea.) I personally wouldn’t put milk or sugar in this, but I do find that it’s a good first-thing-in-the-morning tea.
And the third tea!
This is Chestnut flavored tea. I was clicking around and saw some reviews for this. The idea struck me as somewhat improbable, and by and large I’m not that much into flavored teas, but the reviews were good, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong throwing a sample package into my order. It’s really nice! It has a sort of toasty, nutty flavor that complements the black tea really well. I will certainly add this into my regular rotation, because I like it a lot.
(Adagio has one or two improbably flavored teas–I ordered some Artichoke back when it was available and…it was odd. But I read the reviews–it had its fans. Also Cucumber White, which I used in one of my blends. That was interesting, and actually maybe I need to revisit it now that I’ve discovered that white tea is better with filtered water.)
Mirrored from Ann Leckie.
I've booked a room with two double beds for WisCon 41, and so far there are just two of us in it. I'd love to find more roommates!
About me: I'm a 36yo non-binary femme (they/them/theirs). This is my first WisCon, and I'm travelling solo. I'm allergic to smoke and critters with fur (so I come from a pet-free home); I do best in no/low-scent environments.
About the room: This is a Concourse-level quad room. It's costing me about $166 per night including taxes/fees, which I plan to split evenly among as many of us use it each night. I have the room Thursday evening through Tuesday morning (and so far there are two of us in it Thurs-Sun nights).
Quiet hours: Because of my chronic illness, I need to get a lot of sleep -- which means I'm looking at going to bed around 11:30pm or so each night and sleeping until 9 or 10 am. I wear earplugs and a mask, so lights on / people using phones/laptops / whispered conversations are fine, but loud conversations or having folks over for get-togethers are a no-go.
If you're interested in becoming a roommate or have questions, feel free to write me at this email address.
And it's Friday, finally. Yesterday was fucking E N D L E S S. Why are the workdays so long and the weekends so short?
You know, I can't even be mad about that winning Ottawa goal last night. It was such a fluky goal and it was Karlsson and you know sometimes you just have to sigh about Swedes and accept it. I can be angry about the terrible inability of the Rangers to get out of their own zone, leading to the play where that kind of weird goal happens though. If Lundqvist gets out of these playoffs without murdering a member of his own team for lousy defense, he will deserve a medal. It didn't help that Anderson stood on his head, either. Ah well, tomorrow's another game. #LGR
Here are my answers to yesterday's meme, if you're interested:
= Homicide: Life on the Street
= X-Men Movieverse
= Star Wars
= Harry Potter
= Captain America
= The Middleman
That was fun!
St. Deceiver in the Garden
by Jennifer Willoughby
As the women, we are sometimes
left to our own devices like sucking
up lint or writing haikus for famous
people until the bells call us back to
the circle of light. I don't know what
movie we're starring in today, the one
with fur-cloaked madman on campus
or the romantic comedy where the heroine
lives in a tree. The costumes are to die for—
chartreuse balloons with slits that split
to reveal an ancient version of our worst
hangover. We bang our erstwhile sexiness
like airport tambourines while craft services
ties two thousand starlings to the rafters:
they are playing the part of Nature and can
bathe in Perrier if they want. Periodically,
we take a break for raw carrots and chat
about past incarnations as Dancer at Xanadu
and Nurse on the Hospital Roof. The makeup
artist fixes our floribunda scars and says it
doesn't matter how much money you make,
the man you get is the man you hate.
So, there are a lot of books that strike me as interesting and I want to make time to read them, and also I get sent quite a few books by folks hoping I’ll read them in time to blurb them. Spoiler: I rarely am able to read things in time for the blurb deadline! But I still like to say something about books I’ve enjoyed reading. Here’s the latest batch!
This won the Clarke last year! So I figured it’d be good.
It is good! I enjoyed this a lot. The last remnants of humanity find a terraformed planet! It was supposed to be seeded with primates who would be infected with a virus that would uplift them. There was an accident, though, and the primates never arrived. But the spiders were already there, so…
I enjoyed the onworld stuff from the spider POVs more than I did the stuff with humans on the ship. A lot of that was, I think, due to the constraints of setting and worldbuilding. I think I’d have some difficulty balancing those two settings, while also definitely wanting the inherent contrast they presented (heck, I’d probably want to set it up that way so there was that inherent contrast, to be honest, but the spiders were so cool that the ship humans were going to have to work awfully hard to compete). I highly recommend this book, even if you’ve got a thing about spiders. (Yes, actually, I am not a fan of spiders. I mean, I’m glad in the abstract that they exist, they eat bugs yay, the webs are pretty, biodiversity is good &c &c but on the level of the concrete and the specific, they have too many legs and are buggy and I would like them to stay far away from me please, thank you.)
This isn’t out yet! You can read it starting June 27, and I recommend that you lay your hands on a copy. I managed to just miss the blurbing deadline on this, sadly, sorry!
This is a weird little book. Brilars’ Vanja Essre Two is assigned to visit the colony of Amatka to research what kinds of hygiene products they might want to buy. Nothing too weird about that, right? Except Vanja’s name, but it’s quickly clear that this is a setting in which it’s vitally important that everyone agree on what everything is and call it what it’s supposed to be called. Because otherwise…well, that’s where things start getting weird. I’d say more, but this is one of those books where the gradual unfolding of what’s going on is part of the effect and I don’t want to mess with that. It’s compelling and disturbing and totally worth reading.
All right, this is kind of cheating. This book was published in 1963, and I got it as a gift when I was 9 or 10 and I loved it. Read it multiple times. I mostly read SFF at that age, and was largely uninterested in non-SFF books, but this one was just super gripping. Basically, small plane pilot Steve Ferris gets caught in a storm and is forced to put down on a little uncharted island. Wrecks his plane and spends the rest of the book surviving, trying to get the occasional passing ship to notice him, and ultimately attempting to get back to the mainland under his own power. In retrospect, I think it shares a number of features with the SFnal books I was already reading–much if not all of the plot is problem-solving and/or bits of exploration and exposition.
A friend of mine is a Montessori teacher and a while ago we were talking about how she’s always looking for cool things to read to her Lower Elementary kids and I remembered PDPD and suggested that it might be just the sort of thing she was looking for. SPOILER turns out the kids are loving it.
I picked up a used copy–my original copy is long gone–and gave it a read. Took me maybe two hours. Its written very simply, but the descriptions are vivid enough that some of the images have stayed with me for forty years. If you know a ten year old (or thereabouts) who’s looking for a good, engaging read, this book is a good bet.
Mirrored from Ann Leckie.
Join the Mod Squad: Enhance Your Moderation Skills
Christopher Davis [Moderator], Victoria Janssen
Ever go to a panel and spend your time thinking, "With a good moderator, this would be a much better panel"? We will review several ways to be that good moderator, offer tips and tricks, and generally work on improving WisCon's already high standards for panel moderation. We strongly encourage you to attend this panel if you are moderating at WisCon, especially if it's your first time. It's also a great experience if you ever have been, or think you ever will be, a panel moderator anywhere.
Saturday, 1:00 – 2:15 pm, Conference 2
In Anticipation of Black PantherInda Lauryn [Moderator], Candra K. Gill, Victoria Janssen, JP Fairfield, Krys
#BlackPantherSoLit! Two years before the film is scheduled for release, Black Twitter trended the hashtag in anticipation. While we're waiting for 2018 to get here, let's talk about why we are so eagerly looking forward to Black Panther. Let's discuss what we are hoping for from Black Panther and Wakanda, especially after the success of Luke Cage. Let's also discuss what we are afraid could go wrong and whether we have faith in Ryan Coogler and company to give us the MCU film we all deserve.
Saturday, 2:30 – 3:145 pm, Wisconsin
This Canon is Fired: Redefining the “Must Reads” of SF/F and Comics Canon
Jake Casella [Moderator], Victoria Janssen, coffeeandink
Lists of genre greats often include lots of straight cis white men and not much else. What works and creators are being left off of these lists? What's on the lists that shouldn't be? What do the new SF, fantasy, and comics canons look like?
Saturday, 9:00 – 10:15 pm, University B
Fanfic, Retcon, and Zombies, Oh My!
Carrie Pruett [Moderator], Gwynne Garfinkle, KJ, Victoria Janssen
Let's talk about what happens in the murky territories where fanfic meets original works. Do writings that use original works in the public domain—modern-day Sherlock Holmes characters, zombies in Jane Austen's worlds—count as fanfic? When a series gets unwieldy or unpopular, it can be rebooted or rewritten with different parameters: maybe a character comes back to life, changes gender, or gets a new backstory. Are there differences between retcon and fix-it fic, other than who owns the copyright?
Okay, so I was as surprised as anybody when Archie Comics reinvented themselves as well-written, groundbreaking, genuinely quality comics for the twenty-first century, and the whole thing still feels vaguely surreal and as though at any moment the comics will vanish back into some kind of reality warp, but this? Is a goddamn delight, if you like horror comics at all. I grew up watching the Melissa Joan Hart TV series of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, which adds another layer of frisson and piss-take to this book as a reading experience, but I don't think you need that to enjoy this, and I don't think you need to have read any Sabrina comics either. Basically, this just takes the premise of Sabrina the Teenage Witch-- witches live among us, desperately trying to keep their magic secret, bound by their own laws and customs, caught between two worlds-- and, instead of playing it for comedy, smashes it into the mass of genuinely creepy witch-based folklore out there and goes for the gusto.
Not to say that there aren't funny moments. Zelda and Hilda, Sabrina's aunts, have changed from the kind of dotty aunt who appears in sitcoms to a more Arsenic and Old Lace kind of vibe, now that they're supplementing the family larder by scavenging the town's cemeteries. Sabrina does, at one point, wonder whether she should attend her own dark baptism and consecration to Satan in the autumnal forest, or whether she should go to the pep rally and the game with Harvey Kinkle. Sabrina's talking cat remains a source of endless entertainment (when asked how he got turned into a cat, he mutters "This is what happens when you try to enact the Book of Revelations," and does a quick fade).
But mostly this is straight-up horror, aiming both at the occasional gross-out and at impressive psychological creepiness, and it's extremely well-written, with three-dimensional characters, cohesive (and unnerving) worldbuilding, and carefully researched folk magic. The art is gorgeous and expressive, and things like the (correctly icky) redesign of the 1940s Archie villain Madame Satan are labors of love (and footnoted for you at the back of the book). Literally the only complaint I have about this series is that it comes out so slowly, because I want more right away. This is both some of the best comics and some of the best horror of any genre I've read in quite a while, and yes, it will never stop being weird to find myself saying that.
Winter Tide, Ruthanna Emrys.
I shouldn't say too much about this because I beta-read it and am therefore pretty darn biased, but it's neo-Lovecraftiana for people who aren't racist sexist homophobic Other-haters, and it's out now, and it's great, and you should totally read it, especially if you find the Deep Ones and/or the Yith at all interesting. I am also told it works if you haven't read Lovecraft.
Within the Sanctuary of Wings, Marie Brennan.
So this is the fifth of the Memoirs of Lady Trent, who is an alt-Victorian naturalist who studies dragons, and it's the last one. You shouldn't start here-- you should start with the first, or possibly the second, as IMO they get better as they go-- but I thought I should mention that this is a five-volume series which comes to a tidy, pre-planned, and well-foreshadowed end without dragging on forever in endless not-written-yet limbo, and I am... trying to remember the last time I saw that happen ever, actually. M. L. N. Hanover's Black Sun's Daughter, I guess, a few years back, though that's urban fantasy, where I think finished series are somewhat more likely. Anyhow, it's a rare and precious thing. Also, there are many species of dragons in these novels, and they are interestingly differentiated and beautifully illustrated (literally, these illos are very cool).
I could wish the plot were a little less predictable, on both a volume-by-volume and an overall level, but by the time we get to book five the predictability has settled down into the kind of thing where you know pretty much what has to happen, but not how, and not necessarily why, and the details turn out to be fascinating. These are not spectacular books, but they are pleasant and down-to-earth and charming and comforting and should be read by persons who also like the Amelia Peabody series.
P.S. We also did not realize it was an Urobutcher show when we completely randomly picked it to watch. HA HA HA HA HA the more fool us.
I don't have a list of changes for you yet, but most will fall into the following categories: things users have complained about to support volunteers, things support volunteers have complained about to developers, things denise has complained about not working the way she expects them to (and as we all know, The Boss is Always Right), and things that were printing warnings over and over in the production server logs, making it hard to spot when less frequent, more urgent errors were being printed. Oh, and also all the unused code I ripped out at the roots, which if you notice that, I did it wrong.
To sum up: we are rolling out a bunch of requested changes, so thank you all for your feedback!
If you're new to Dreamwidth and interested in tracking our development process, our commit logs are published to changelog and changelog_digest, and every month or so, one of our volunteers will translate those often-cryptic entries into witty, informative code tours! The most recent one was published on April 1, so we're about due for a new one. Hint, hint.
We'll update here again to let you know when the code push is imminent!
From a book on kimono and poses with people in and partly out of it:
Making a manga artist Pose collection Delusional pose collection SPROUTThe pictures are nice, but I have so little call to draw people (or ducks) in and out of kimono that I can't justify ¥2500 for it.
Suzuya called the strongest bang of this century. The second popular series that Mr. appointed Mr. as a model.
For this time, we will
raise your new delusions on the theme of kimono, such as Yukata and Hakama! Of course, the figure of bare duck is exposed as well!
1. Our final concert of the season went well, and so did the reception afterwards. The audience seemed inclined to hang out and eat for as long as possible. I carried many empty wineglasses into the church kitchen, and a friend gave me a very, very welcome ride home. I don't live far, but I'd been on my feet for about three hours. (We had to run everything with trumpets and timpani during the warm-up, since we didn't have those guys for the dress rehearsal on Tuesday.)
2. A close friend of mine will be in town this weekend, and I will see her Saturday night. Since she's staying near Chinatown, I am sure we shall manage an excellent dinner; I've already sent her a list of possibilities.
3. Elderly Cat spit out his stomach pill last night, but took it this morning and appeared in good spirits.
4. There are movies out and coming out soon that I want to see.
5. I have my WisCon schedule!
Comment with one of my fandoms, and I'll tell you:
- the character I least understand
- interactions I enjoyed the most
- the character who scares me the most
- the character who is mostly like me
- hottest looks character
- one thing I dislike about my fave character
- one thing I like about my hated character
- a quote or scene that haunts me
- a death that left me indifferent
- a character I wish died but didn’t
- my ship that never sailed
And a poem:
Personal Letter No. 3
nothing will keep
us young you know
not young men or
women who spin
their youth on
cool playing sounds.
we are what we
are what we never
think we are.
no more wild geo
graphies of the
flesh. echoes. that
we move in tune
to slower smells.
it is a hard thing
to admit that
sometimes after midnight
i am tired
of it all.
by Sonia Sanchez