Like this one: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin. It's partly a murder mystery and partly a slice-of-life glimpse of small-town Mississippi, moving back and forth between the early '80s and the present day.
Thirty years ago, a secret friendship develops between Larry, a white redneck farm kid, and Silas, the son of the black squatters who live on their land. Things blow up between them in ways that are probably predictable given that it's rural Mississippi. Three decades later, Silas got out, went to college and became a cop, while Larry got sucked into the downward spiral of small-town poverty and is now the town pariah, blamed for the rape and murder of a young woman who went missing after a date with him.
Now another girl has gone missing under similar circumstances, and Larry is the prime suspect. Silas has to figure out whodunnit while also confronting everything that happened between him and Larry all those years ago.
Content warning: the plot revolves around the rape/murder of two young women, and this is very much Silas and Larry's book, so there are only a handful of female characters anyway and all of them are in the background. I know that's an understandable dealbreaker for some. Also, due to the book's setting and theme, there is a ton of textual racism and racial slurs to be navigated, as well as the sharp edge of rural poverty.
However, this book hit my friendship/family/reconciliation buttons hard, while also managing to avoid (at least I felt so) most of the cliches that I would expect to run into in fiction about race relations in the South in a book written by a white author. The characters are flawed and unpredictable, the general depiction of life in small-town Mississippi (the good and the bad) felt believable for both the black and white characters (the '80s are not the '50s are not the 2000s, and the different flavor of life in different eras was well done, I thought). Nobody learns a ~valuable lesson about racism~, and Larry's unconscious racism and Silas's cutting defense mechanisms are both realistically portrayed. It's a painful book at times, an uncomfortable one at others, but overall there's a sense of warmth and optimism that flows through the book -- a feeling that things could either careen headlong into tragedy or come out okay, and at any point, individual characters' choices could give it the push that's going to turn it one way or the other: is this the time we do the right thing, the humane thing -- the time we manage to be better than our past selves, better than the people we grew up around ... or not?
On the basis of this book, I also checked out The Tilted World from the library, co-written by Franklin and his wife Beth Ann Fennelly, and set during Prohibition in rural Mississippi. Very good so far, with a female bootlegger, a pair of prohibition agents investigating a murder deep in moonshine country, and an Accidental Surprise Baby they acquire after a shooting.
(On a side note, I love how we've finally gotten a few shows with POC in leading roles and already there have been concern troll-y "But what about the white men?!" articles.)
Anyway, once the episodes stopped focusing on Piper, I started liking the show much more.
( Spoilers got time )
Also, the opening song is the best.
Gangsta vols. 2-3 (manga). I have also seen through 1.3 of the anime. ( Read more... )
Mercedes Lackey. Exile's Honor. One of the Valdemar novels. I made it to the top of page 128 (because powers of 2 are fun!) before quitting.
I used to love the Valdemar novels; my favorites were probably the Last Herald-Mage even if I hated Tylendel for ( spoiler ) and, despite the sheer ridiculousness of the unfireable nanny (yeah, Selenay, so impressive) Arrows of the Queen. I also enjoyed the Tarma and Kethry books, although I got into an argument with a friend in college about the unreasonable "niceness" of the mercenaries in By the Sword. (My feeling is that mercenaries would be more like Glen Cook's The Black Company, not...nice.)
All this to say, I have some basic familiarity with the setting, and Alberich is even a character I remember from another point on the timeline. But Exile's Honor, which is about how Alberich was Chosen from Karse and came to Valdemar, is so damn slow-paced I just gave up waiting for something interesting to happen. Which is a shame, because I still like Alberich, but I do not have the patience for over 100 pages of mostly maundering.
And so far - admittedly I’m only like 1/3 through - the book kind of assumes that internalized racism/ableism/etc-etc do not exist, and thus your “gut instincts” about whether a person is trustworthy will never be affected by the person’s ethnicity/wheelchair/etc-etc.
Does the guy ever back up on that? I am about to stop reading.
Because of being away for the Bank Holiday weekend.
There has been some bread-baking, however:
Last week there was a Standen loaf - 2:2:1 wholemeal/white spelt/buckwheat flour (white spelt because it turned out what I thought was a fresh bag of strong white was wholemeal).
Saturday breakfast rolls were Tassajarra method maple-ginger-cranberry.
Today on return I made a loaf of the Three Malts and Sunflower Seed flour.
Yes, it's Jonathan Jones again, this time dissing on Sir Terry Pratchett and people who write popular books (that is, people of this present day who write books that are loved by the public)*, in comparison to oh, ye Gr8 Canonykle Wryterz of Gr8 Litrachur -
Is this not, my dearios, a tiresome affectation that The Past Was Good, the Present Is Crap, that I noted in Mr Jones's moaning about modern artists and Kate Moss as icon?
Because he is a modern avatar of a recurrent theme, which is This Awful Modern Generation of [Practitioners of some Art/new genre of Art, popular among The Masses], so unlike Ye Passte, and in the 1930s he would have been moaning about movies as a form, including specific individual examples that I am sure he will now in this year of grace consider Classix of the Arte Cinematique.**
C. 1820 he would have been whingeing on that the Romantic Poets were AWFUL, so very much not like Pope, and what is this thing that this thing is, this dreadful NOVEL by A WOMAN about the trivial matters of a wimpy poor relation in a gentry household, how is this worthy to stand by FIELDING or RICHARDSON.
A few decades later and it would be (we guess) DICKENS is not like SCOTT and is a mere journalist pandering in sensation.
(This is, I think, a different thing from people who diss on Modern Art, which is seen as Highbrow and pretentious, rather than panderingly populist: in fact maybe it is just the inversion of same.)
I do not think that Mr Jones can have been reading the current series in The Guardian in which people write about the Books That Changed Their Life, because this shows how very various are the books that do that for individuals and it is not necessarily works of Universally Acknowledged Gr8 Lit.
As a palate cleanser, have this piece snarking J Franzen for his attitude to women writers and the quote-unquote 'sub-literary', and defending 'comfort reads'. I don't agree with it all, and I think it's possibly still a bit buying into the value-system, but it makes the case for LOVE of particular books rather than patting oneself on the back for having read/appreciated them because they are culturally respected.
*No, really, not linking, I am sure my dearios can make it up for themselves, second verse, same as the first, etc etc.
**This post gets him bang to rights about the embedded cultural elitism in that theme.
I thought it might be useful to have a summary post with links to all my Publishing Journey posts, as I wound them up last Friday. Here they are!
Mission statement: Ten things I believe about writing
Breaking through writer’s block, or, how I started writing and publishing short stories
How I published a short story collection
Writing with a day job, part 1: Why I don’t write full-time
Writing with a day job, part 2: Work/work balance
Networking, part 1: Social media and connection
Networking, part 2: Thoughts on conventions
How I wrote three novels and binned two of them
Signing with a literary agent
My query letter for Sorcerer to the Crown
Revising the novel (again and again and again)
Going on submission
Selling the novel
Thanks to everyone who read, commented, tweeted, shared on Facebook, etc. I did these posts for
three two reasons:
1) Because people were asking me about publishing and I wanted to have something to link them to, instead of repeating the same answers to different people.
2) I really enjoy writing about writing, but in kind of an embarrassed way. Some people writhe in delicious guilt over having a chocolate. I eat chocolates by the dozens without shame, but feel luxuriously decadent about blogging about my ~writing process~.
3) Procrastinating on book 2 no what are you talking about I never procrastinate on writing fiction (she said as she procrastinated by doing a blog post)
Anyway, because of reason #2, I’ve really appreciated everyone who’s taken the trouble to tell me that they enjoyed these posts or found them useful or enlightening. Thank you!
I may take a break from doing these on a weekly basis as I really have to focus on book 2, but as I said in the last post, I do mean to keep doing them and am taking requests. So let me know if you have any writing or publishing-related questions or topics you’d like me to talk about, via email, Twitter, Facebook, or in the comments below.
P. S. Selamat Hari Merdeka! Hope you ols enjoyed the public holiday.
Mirrored from Zen Cho.
Title: Tell Me About This Lightning
Fandom: due South
Characters: Ray/Ray/Fraser, Ray/Fraser, Ray/Fraser, Ray/Ray, Frannie, Welsh, Dief.
Summary: Ray never wanted a soulmate. The universe might have other ideas, but then he's never particularly trusted the universe's judgment on the matter.
Notes: Great take on soulbonding fic, which manages to go with both fate nudges people together, AND FU fate! So much pining, so much banter. A most for those who ship both Rays.
I'm back at the hotel now avoiding the heat and even on the fifth or sixth floor above a six-lane road I can still hear the cicadas singing. The plan is to head out in a little while to find something to eat, but even that's going to be limited to the local area. Hopefully I'll be up to more tomorrow.
I find this bay on the ward very wearing. I can't avoid hearing everything going on at each of the other 4 beds, whether it's loud daytime TV or people's diagnoses, arguments with family, biological functions, etc. And I'm highly conscious that the same applies to anything I say or do aloud.
There is an older woman who can't see well and is a bit confused, and she never remembers the nurse call bell, just calls out again and again. I want to be compassionate and understanding but at times I quite hate her :-(
* a commentary-free LP of whatever game you think I should watch while completely fucking zoned out and unable to concentrate like I always am recently
* if someone tricks me into clicking on a link to an LP of Magical Starsign or Wadanohara And The Moe Aesthetic or Witch’s House or Ib then I will die and rise again and shamble over and eat your whole head I swear to god
I could (and will not) sign up to spend 30 or 60 minutes in adoration (silent prayer). The volunteering FAQ says you don't have to be a Catholic to volunteer (also, the Church will pay for your background check). They have training via online webinar, smartphone app, and a YouTube guide video.
I spent several minutes clicking around and reading their official prayer, their (sparse) info on accessibility, the suggestion that Philadelphians think of the Papal visit as like a snow weekend in terms of limitations on mobility.
Oh now I am reading the lesson plans for kids. Includes the note to the teacher: "Students may or may not be able to answer with depth. Try to lead them." I feel you.
I finally heard from the publisher, with an email saying that they were sorry I hadn't heard back and that they were awaiting a "final decision" from "the reader." Which has me more nervous than I had been, but I'm supposed to hear from them "shortly."
In better news, my Hot Toys Hawkeye has shipped and should be here on Weds.! Hopefully it will arrive before I have to leave for work (hopefully with all regular tires).
I am feeling less stressed than I was on Friday night, but that's not saying much. Have to be at work early tomorrow, although at least I'll need to leave around 9:30 instead of earlier. But I'll have to take surface streets, and I haven't figured out exactly how I'm going to do it/what my best options are yet. If only I didn't have to get past the back-ups I know will happen at William Cannon, no matter which route I take.
I have made some progress on Warp and Weft this weekend (the second story in the ABO 'verse). Probably about 1500-2000 words? Not exactly the speed I had last weekend on Shining Through, but I did get through a couple of places I was stuck (only to get to new places to get stuck). Whole thing is just under 17K so far. Hopefully will make some more progress before bed tonight.
Blech. What does not kill us makes us stronger, onward, blah blah blah.
* Triloka "Aphrodisia" incense
* Any Shoyeido "Daily" incense except Haku-un, but particularly Kinkakuji and Nokiba
* small vials of synthetic animalic- and woody-type perfume compounds, correctly labelled with trade name
Cat: *grief-stricken nyehhh*
*Cat climbs into shower, gets wet, runs away.*
Cat, from down the hall: *betrayed nyehhh*
*Cat sniffs my shoes, looks startled, looks up at me.*
Cat: *betrayed nyehhh*
Me: Dude. Rude.
Dad: Here, boy! Here, Buoyancy! Awww, what a good boy! Look, honey, he came right to me!
*Dad pets him harder than he likes, as always. Cat jumps onto my lap.*
Cat: *betrayed nyehhh*
Me: You made your own decision.
In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a sucker for a reading challenge. The very first one I participated in here at Earl Grey Editing was A More Diverse Universe. The challenge is run by Aarti of BookLust, and it introduced me to the brilliant Ambelin Kwaymullina’s The Tribe series. So I was very excited to see that sign ups are now open for this year.
For those unaware, A More Diverse Universe is a very simple reading challenge. It asks participants to:
- Read and review one book
- Written by a person of color
- During the first two weeks of October (October 4th-17th)
The October scheduling for this year’s challenge is a little later than previous years and unfortunately overlaps slightly with Conflux. However, that didn’t prevent me from immediately signing up. I’ve already got a review lined up of Nalini Singh’s Angels’ Blood. I also plan to read the sequel, Archangel’s Kiss, and Thorn by Intisar Khanani during the challenge period. I’m pretty sure Mt TBR has a few more titles on its slopes if I blast through those ones… and who knows what I might pick up at Conflux? After all, as Aarti says:
Reading diversely may require you to change your book-finding habits. It ABSOLUTELY does not require you to change your book reading habits.Authors of diverse backgrounds write books in every genre, from science to romance, from urban fantasy to graphic memoirs. It may take you a little longer to find these books as they don’t always get the same amount of hype and press, but you absolutely can find them.
Aarti also has some excellent resources, including a list of every book reviewed for the challenge since it started. Check out her sign-up page for more.
Will you join us? If it sounds like your cup of tea, head on over and sign up!
Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.
Reluctant to link to this as it is in the midst of some rather annoying letters in yesterday's Guardian Weekend:
Rather than an increased inability to endure discomfort, there is a simpler explanation as to why waiting 30 seconds for a microwave can seem more tedious than waiting an hour for an oven. It’s that an hour is plenty of time to go and do something else.
Oh yes, that. Those little bits of time that are like pieces of string too short for any purpose.