rachelmanija: (Default)
( Aug. 9th, 2004 10:08 am)
I finally figured out how to get the YAMI NO MATSUEI CDs to play on my computer. (CDs courtesy of the bodacious boniblithe-- thank you, thank you, I owe you.) I've only had time to watch the first episode so far. Given all I'd heard about how the series was full of Death! And Tragedy! And Angst! I was surprised to see that one of the characters is a talking, levitating spirit chicken wearing a bonnet and tennis shoes.

These are all books I started recently but didn't finish. If anyone wants any of them, you're welcome to them. (I also mysteriously have two copies of Jennifer Crusie's hilarious romantic comedy, GETTING RID OF BRADLEY. If anyone wants one of those, let me know.)

Sharyn McCrumb, GHOST RIDERS. An Appalachian novel with parallel stories, one in the past about Civil War guerillas, one about Civil War re-enactors.

I used to love McCrumb, but now she drives me crazy. It's me, not her; if anything, her prose style has improved. It's her snarky, contemptuous attitude toward anyone who's interested in a culture that's not their own, or is a fan of anything and does any sort of fan-like activities that bothers me. She's written two books now about re-enactors, and in both of them they're portrayed as shallow morons who know nothing about the past they romanticize. GHOST RIDERS hit the wall when a Cherokee mountain man muses that the stupid re-enacters would be shocked to learn that real Civil War soldiers had maggots in their food. Someone should tell McCrumb that her portrayal of Indians and true-bred poor Appalachians as more authentic and worthy of serious attention than the middle-class white folk she mocks is exactly the same pick-and-choose the good parts, romantic attitude that she despises in her "inauthetntic" characters.

Also, there should be a moratorium on moments in historical novels where people make strikingly wrong predictions about the future so that the readers can feel proud that they're educated enough to laugh at them. GHOST RIDERS really did not need anyone to remark that in a year, no one will remember Tom Dooley.

William Sanders, JOURNEY TO FUSANG. An alternate history in which the Chinese and Moors colonized the New World. I keep hoping to find one of those that I like enough to finish, and so far it hasn't happened. Sanders' sense of humor has all the appeal of an overripe mackerel as far as I'm concerned:

"And, had the Bard not been forced by hardship to take temporary employment as cook to the exiled Pretender to the Danish throne, would he ever have been inspired to write the hilarious comedy _Omelet, Prince of Denmark_?"

Carol Plum-Ucci, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO LANI GARVER? A teenage girl recovering from cancer has her life turned upside-down by the androgynous Lani, who her classmates hate and fear and eventually gay-bash to death but who is so perfect and wonderful and sensitive and brave and kind that he just might be an angel. I don't think I need to elaborate on the problem I had with this novel.
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