rachelmanija: (Books: old)
2014-03-17 11:02 am

Genre romance recommendations: No assholes or ingenues allowed

Please recommend some M/F genre romance novels which break the conventional wisdom on the rules of the genre. I'm particularly interested in recent books, like published within the last 5-10 years.

(Genre romance = books published as romance novels. Books which contain a love story but were published as something else, such as science fiction, are not what I'm looking for as they have different rules.)

1. Books where the romantic lead is not an asshole. He doesn't domineer over, sneer at, have contempt for, dismiss, try to control, blackmail, kidnap, or try to rape the heroine, EVER. If he starts out doing so and then reforms, he's still an asshole and the book is disqualified.

2. Books where the hero is not an "alpha male." That is, he's not cocky, not wealthy, not domineering or controlling, doesn't have a traditionally manly occupation, isn't aggressive, has some traditionally feminine interests, etc. (For instance, the hero of Cotillion.)

3. Any "bad girl/good boy" romance.

4. Any books where the heroine has traits or an occupation which are traditionally masculine. Lots of contemporary romance novels have heroines who are professionals, businesswomen, etc - I don't mean that. A heroine who is a criminal, a military helicopter pilot (Suzanne Brockmann did that), or has "alpha male" traits herself would be unusual. Or a heroine who's had lots of sex previously, enjoyed it, and doesn't feel guilty about it.

5. Any books where the hero is sexually submissive and/or the heroine is sexually dominant, and that's not the entire point of the book. (ie, not Natural Law, where that's the entire premise. Suzanne Brockmann's Dark of Night would count, since there's lots going on other than Decker getting off on Tracy giving him orders.)

6. Any books which have an unusual level of questioning of gender roles, characters with serious previous relationships that didn't end in death or misery, books where the hero and heroine are completely equal and he never dominates her, books where the hero and heroine have actual cultures and religions (and that's not the entire point of the book), etc.

They don't have to hit all these points, just some. But if, for instance, the heroine is a thief but the hero is an asshole, or the hero is a sweet computer geek but the heroine is a naive virgin, please say so.
rachelmanija: (Book Fix)
2013-12-02 12:30 pm

Giant Kindle sale and Mary Renault question

Kindle is having a huge book sale, with many tempting items at $1.99 - $2.99. This includes multiple books by specific authors, like Barbara Hambly, Elizabeth Wein, Octavia Butler, Virginia Hamilton, Kate Elliott, Jonathan Carroll, and Mary Renault.

A few obscure books I wanted to mention are...

The Winter Prince, by Elizabeth Wein, one of my two favorite King Arthur novels. (The other is The Once and Future King.) Wein's is short and intense, narrated by Medraut (Mordred). In this version, there is no Lancelot and Arthur has two legitimate children, a son and a daughter; this makes it read very differently from other versions.

Dragonsbane, by Barbara Hambly. Beautiful fantasy novel about a middle-aged woman who once slew a dragon, who gets called out of retirement. Great concept, great characterization. This is a stand-alone novel with a terrific ending. Many years later, Hambly wrote some sequels. DO NOT READ THEM.

The Darwath Series: The Time of the Dark, The Walls of Air, and The Armies of Daylight, by Barbara Hambly. Portal fantasy! Very good portal fantasy, with vivid characters, excellent martial arts sequences, and a heroine whose research skills, learned while she was getting a degree in medieval history, come surprisingly in handy. This trilogy is complete in itself. There are sequels but I don't really recommend them.

A number of Hambly's books are on sale today, and I rec them all with the caveat to avoid belated sequels to stand-alones and trilogies. I especially adore The Ladies of Mandrigyn (the sequels are OK but not as good) and The Silent Tower/The Silicon Mage (ditto).

The Velvet Room, by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. A children's book in the "secret garden" mold, about a lonely girl who finds a secret room in a big house. Not fantasy, but definitely has a numinous feel. A number of her books are on sale today. I snapped up one I never even heard of before, Season of Ponies
, in which a girl gets a magical amulet which summons a herd of rainbow-colored ponies. All I can say is, my inner eleven-year-old is still alive and well and wants a herd of rainbow-colored ponies. Also a fire lizard.

Several good and obscure Jane Yolen books are on sale for $1.99. Cards of Grief is a poetic science fantasy novel about a planet whose art and culture revolves around grieving, seen partly through the perspective of its inhabitants and partly through the eyes of a perplexed space explorer. It's strange in a good way. Also Dragonfield: and Other Stories, short stories, mostly excellent.

Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot (The Cecelia and Kate Novels) and sequels, charming epistolatory Regency romance with magic.

Wild Seed , by Octavia Butler. Stand-alone fantasy/sf set in Africa, my favorite (and least depressing) of her novels. Two immortal mutants match wits through the years, a woman shapeshifter and a man who jumps into a new body when his old one dies, killing his host whether he wants to or not.

A Passage of Stars (The Highroad Trilogy). Space opera by Kate Elliott, whose existence I somehow failed to know of before.

I have never read anything by Mary Renault, though I keep meaning to. If you could rec one or two of her books to me, which should it be and why?
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
2013-02-06 02:57 pm

Self-published Book Recs

With e-publishing getting so easy (unless you are trying to format poetry, sigh), there has been a boom in self-published books. I've found that if I apply the same selection methods I do to traditionally published books (premise, recommendations, reviews, read a sample), the quality is surprisingly similar.

For example, my single favorite romance novel of last year was Courtney Milan's Unraveled. (Click on author tag to see my review.) For a different type of example, click my "awesomely bad books" and "implausible plots" tag-- most of those books were traditionally published and edited by professional editors.

Since self-published authors don't get any publicity beyond what they can drum up themselves, I'm sure there are many self-pubbed books and authors which are completely off my radar. Please recommend self-published books or short stories to me. (I'm not including reprints of books which were originally traditionally published.)

I am already aware of Courtney Milan, Andrea Host, Sarah Diemer, Zetta Elliott, Neesha Meminger, and Judith Tarr's Living in Threes. If you want to rec them in comments for the benefit of other readers, go ahead, but please try to additionally rec something else which I may not know about.
rachelmanija: (Book Fix)
2012-09-15 07:40 pm
Entry tags:

Book Poll

[Poll #1866417]

Feel free to pre-emptively discuss these or other books in comments.
rachelmanija: (Book Fix)
2012-07-21 03:00 pm

You might as well face it, you're addicted to lit

Books obtained at library sale. Please comment if you've heard of or read any:

Dangerous Waters, by John Burnett. Arrr - no, this is actually nonfiction about modern pirates.

The Final Solution: A Story of Detection, by Michael Chabon. Mysteries, Holocaust survivors, codes, and a parrot.

Folk Tales from the North, by Winifred Finlay. North England, I believe; titles include "The Laidley Worm of Spindlestone Heugh" and "Mary-Ann and the Cauld Lad of Hylton." This is exactly the sort of thing that makes library sales so great.

The Rocking Horse Secret, by Rumer Godden. Children's book, never read it. Godden's work is very much love-it-or-hate-it for me. Probably my favorites are Thursday's Children (ye Gods, what a hideous cover), about brother and sister child ballet dancers, but really about families, ambition, talent, and the longing for talent, which isn't the same as the longing for fame, and In This House of Brede, a beautifully written, meditative book about life in a nunnery - no, really, it's great. (Warning for non-graphic but upsetting death of a child.)

The Game, by Diana Wynne Jones. One of her last books which I haven't yet read. Whatever this particular one is like, her work will forever be a treasure and a joy to me.

By the Light of the Moon, by Dean Koontz. What can I say? I sometimes get the craving to read his books on plane trips, and I have a plane trip coming up.

Le Morte D'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory: Two Volumes Complete (Unexpurgated Edition). I've never read the whole thing, I want to check it for PTSD references, and I wanted a hard copy.

The Golden Nineties, by Lisa Mason. I enjoyed her time-travel sf novel, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (San Francisco Time Travels), but never saw anything else by her. Looks like she's putting her books up on Kindle.

Love My Rifle More than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army, by Kayla Williams. Memoir by female Iraq War veteran.

When Nietzsche Wept: A Novel of Obsession, by Irwin Yalom. In nineteenth-century Vienna, a drama of love, fate, and will is played out amid the intellectual ferment that defined the era. Josef Breuer, one of the founding fathers of psychoanalysis, is at the height of his career. Friedrich Nietzsche, Europe's greatest philosopher, is on the brink of suicidal despair, unable to find a cure for the headaches and other ailments that plague him. I have enjoyed Yalom's nonfiction. Dipping into his classic work on group therapy, Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy,, I was delighted to find a particularly annoying type of person/behavior pattern named and described as "the help-rejecting complainer."
rachelmanija: (Default)
2012-07-07 12:44 pm


1. Can someone link me to the very funny review of Dan Wells' I Am Not A Serial Killer? I remember them making the point that sociopaths are not typically deeply concerned about the fact that they lack empathy.

2. What Would MacGyver Do?: True Stories of Improvised Genius in Everyday Life. Note title.

Randomly chosen story of improvised genius # 1: People annoyed at inability to bathe and resultant stinkiness caused by water shortage during hot summer get the genius idea to... wear cologne.

Randomly chosen story of improvised genius # 2: Writer hired to write story for book realizes that she has no story, and gets the genius idea to... recount the plot of a MacGyver episode as if happened to her.

3. If you live in Los Angeles, I have found the best tempura bowl in the city. It's the newly opened Hannosuke (other location in Tokyo) at Mitsuwa Market on the west side.

I had a good feeling when I saw that it served exactly two things: the tempura bowl with whitefish, and the same tempura bowl with eel. I haven't tried the eel, but the whitefish bowl is amazing. There is a fried soft-boiled egg, which you break and mix into the rice. The sauce is at the bottom of the bowl, so you have to stir well. The bowl includes crispy nori, perfectly (lightly) cooked shrimp and teeny scallops, a pepper, a prawn, and a slice of sweet potato. It is perfection. Here's some photos.

4. Apparently Betsey Johnson is going out of business? I am sad. And also madly dashing to her two stores in LA today. I realize that I do not have any actual need for adorable and totally work-inappropriate girly dresses, but she is my favorite designer and there could be some great deals. Maybe I can wear them while visiting my mom in Asheville, North Carolina, where she is currently hanging out with the apparently sizable Baba community there.
rachelmanija: (Book Fix)
2012-06-10 01:44 pm

Gay YA that isn't sff

Malinda Lo (Ash and Huntress) is celebrating YA Pride: "Every Friday in June, I’ll be listing the YA novels first published in 2012 that include LGBT main characters."

Books published in the first quarter: January through March.

From that list, I'm especially interested in the dystopia anthology, Brave New Love, with LGBTQ stories by Steve Berman, Nisi Shawl, Elizabeth Bear, Amanda Downum, and William Sleator, and Street Dreams, by Tama Wise, a Maori writer. "Living life on the sidelines of the local [South Auckland] hip-hop scene, Tyson finds that to succeed in becoming a local graffiti artist or in getting the man of his dreams, he’s going to have to get a whole lot more involved."
rachelmanija: (Text: She runs lunatic)
2012-06-01 10:48 am

Things I Have Due On Tuesday or Wednesday, Which I Have Not Yet Started

1. Paper for Mindfulness-Based CBT class.

2. Paper for Life as Practice class.

3. Very complicated paper for Psychological Testing class, including analysis of multiple test forms and graph-drawing.

4. Presentation on Trauma-Based CBT.

Other Things I Have To Do Before All That Is Due:

1. All-Day CPR class.

2. Two tutoring sessions.

3. Four-hour block of on-call time with police - I am crossing my fingers they won't call, but I can't rely on having that time free.

4. Five and a half hours of classes.

Send cheer, encouragement, macaroons, book recs for when I'm done, a file baked in a cake, etc.
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
2012-05-30 03:39 pm

PTSD from Shakespeare's time and before

I'm writing a paper on PTSD and combat-related berserk states as depicted in pre-1650 sources and comparing it to the current understanding of both. Ideally, I will be able to reference substance/alcohol use and abuse in relation to this.

Can you recommend me some sources to check out? I am definitely going to be using Shakespeare's Henry V, Part I. I have already thought of Macbeth (possible PTSD), and The Iliad and The Mahabharata (berserk states). Nonfiction is also fine.

NOTE: No Civil War memoirs! I'm trying to find sources from before PTSD was really conceptualized as such, and it had been conceptualized as "soldier's heart" by then.
rachelmanija: (Book Fix)
2012-05-28 12:25 pm

YA fantasy with ordinary protagonists

Can you all name me some comparatively recent (ie, less than 20 years old) YA urban fantasy (ie, not set in a fantasy world or post-apocalyptic world) in which the protagonist does NOT have any magical powers or attributes or devices (ie, no magic rings), does not develop any later, and is not a professional demon-hunter or anything like that?

I'm thinking of books like A Wrinkle in Time (but more modern) or Neverwhere (but for teenagers.) Also, ideally, more along the lines of Charles de Lint than "my vampire boyfriend."

The only ones I can think of offhand are Holly Black's Valiant, Flora Segunda, Fire and Hemlock (borderline - Polly does have a power, of sorts), and some of Charles de Lint's novels.

It's a little hard to write stories like that and not have the action be entirely driven by the magical characters, leaving the protagonist drifting passively in their wake. The characters with abilities are inherently going to be far more powerful. Tolkien used this type of plot very well, but even so, Frodo and Bilbo had the One Ring. I'm thinking of books in which someone like Sam is the protagonist.
rachelmanija: (Book Fix)
2012-05-20 12:52 pm

Want vs. Need

What would I like to do today? Curl up with any one of the delicious-looking books which have just arrived in my home!

Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein. WWII girl pilots and spies, female friendship, and did I mention that they're WWII girl pilots and spies? This is by one of my favorite authors, and people are saying it's amazing. Please do not spoil. I am sure it has many twists.

Everybody Sees the Ants, by A. S. King. I have no idea what this is other than Sherwood highly recommends it, it was nominated for the Andre Norton Award, and she said that it is very psychological and the less you know before reading, the better. Please do not spoil!

Shadow Ops: Control Point, by Myke Cole. Contemporary military fantasy by an author who did three tours in Iraq. I expect the military details are all very accurate. This looks very enjoyable. Bonus: black protagonist is actually on the cover.

Hiding the Elephant: How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learned to Disappear. Fun-looking nonfiction.

Unstrange Minds: Remapping the World of Autism. Written by a man with an autistic daughter, it promises to pull in personal accounts, science, history, and culture to explore the increase in or increased awareness of autism.

What do I actually need to do?

Complete an online course in Trauma-Focused CBT. By the way, the course seems very comprehensive, as far as comparatively brief online courses go, and it is free if you register. If you complete it, you get a certificate. It's intended for children who have gone through a traumatic event, but could be adjusted to work with adults. I have to complete the course, produce the certificate, and demo a section in front of the class.

ETA: Also, the therapist and the child can play a game where different names of emotions are written on individual pieces of paper. The therapist and the client take turns picking out one of the pieces of paper out of a box (without showing the other) acting out the emotion and having the other person try to guess the feeling.

My emotions upon imagining myself doing this exercise: horror, embarrassment, anxiety, panic, hysteria, inappropriate laughter, denial, disbelief, doom. Well... I know which section I WON'T be demonstrating to the class!

Please taunt me by discussing the books I have mentioned. No spoilers, please. I will select one to reward myself with when I'm done.
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
2012-05-16 10:32 am

Mental illness in fiction

Asakiyume had a post about romanticism and mental illness with some good discussion in comments.

I wrote, "I have mixed feelings about that one. Yes, it's obnoxious to write stories in which mental illness is actually nothing but magical specialness, whether the magic part is literal or metaphorical.

On the other hand, the flip side of the "mentally ill people are better and more special than the rest of us tools of the system" myth is the "mentally ill people are doomed to a miserable, squalid existence filled with nothing ever but loneliness and pain" myth.

I think there's room for realistic depictions of mental illness in which the intent is to de-glamorize, focus on the pain, and have the hope be in the slow, difficult work of healing. But maybe there's also room for non-realistic in which people live with mental illnesses and have those be part of the fabric of their lives as they have romanticised adventures and pursue villains and do magic and get the girl. Why should the non-mentally ill get all the escapist literature?

The key, I think, is not to take some painful and unpleasant mental illness and pretend that the illness itself is not painful and not unpleasant, and just looks that way because the mundane world doesn't understand how magical and awesome it really is. That's not cool. But I'd love to see, say, a paranormal romance with a heroine in therapy for social anxiety torn between a bipolar vampire and a werewolf with Asperger's.

Why not? Very few of us are out on the streets murdering people because the voices in our head told us to. Most of us are living our lives - with struggle and pain, but who doesn't have that?"

I am interested, too, in stories in which mental illnesses and non-neurotypical states are dealt with not unrealistically by accident, but with extrapolation and deliberate fantasy applied: Walter Jon Williams' breathtaking space opera Aristoi ($4.99 on Kindle; also has excellent martial arts), in which people deliberately induce multiple personalities in order access the full richness of their psyches; the later books of Scott Westerfeld's Uglies, in which the characters take on various cognitive/neurological templates, raising the question of whether identity is something separate from brain chemistry. Very similar questions come up in Westerfeld's novel Peeps, in which vampirism-causing parasites create OCD-like irresistible compulsions and aversions. And, of course, the many, many, many magical or science fictional versions of brainwashing and de-programming, from Cyteen to The Avengers to Mockingjay.

There is sometimes a tendency to see any non-realistic treatment of serious issues as inherently trivializing or even insulting. But I think it depends on the individual work, as well as the judgment of the individual reader. I would like to see more extrapolative works dealing with the subject, as well as more stories in which mental illness or non-neurotypicality is part of a character's character, not the subject of the story.

I would like to see fewer soft-focus, romanticized depictions of beautiful fragile mad girls.

What do you think? Good examples? Bad examples? Things you'd like to see more of? Things you'd like to see less of?
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
2012-04-18 01:05 pm

Recs: Women Creating Their Story

This is for a possible Sirens presentation. The theme this year is "retold tales."

Can you recommend to me fantasy media or myth in which female characters, in some sense, alter reality by telling stories about it?

This "altering reality" doesn't have to be magic in itself; the ultimate example is Scheherazade, who changes the world by telling stories. There's also Martha's world-changing storytelling in Doctor Who.

The other examples I thought of were magical: Paperhouse (girl creates spooky new reality by drawing it), Fudoki (a dying princess of the Heian court writes a story about a cat who becomes a woman; she may or may not create a reality in which the story is true), The Secret Country (kids create a fantasy world, then travel to it and find that it is and isn't as they imagined), The Tricksters (characters from a girl's lush fantasy narrative show up, again not exactly as she pictured them), Voices (Annals of the Western Shore) (spoilery but sort of fits), Witch Week (the entire climax depends on a girl telling a story which alters reality.)

Can you think of others? Especially, examples from myth and folklore, and examples which aren't about white girls?

ETA: If you rec something, please explain how it fits.
rachelmanija: (Book Fix)
2012-04-14 04:23 pm

Library book sale!

Please share opinions on any of these, should you be familiar with them:

Elegy for Iris, by John Bayley. Memoir by Iris Murdoch's husband, of their life together and her slow decline due to Alzheimer's. I'm sure it will be incredibly depressing, but a peek inside convinced me to buy it: it's really, really well-written.

Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You: A Novel, by Peter Cameron. Mainstream YA novel, though it looks like it's borderline adult. I love the title, and the first page is in a similar style.

Night Gate: The Gateway Trilogy Book One and Winter Door: The Gateway Trilogy Book Two, by Isobelle Carmody. YA fantasy; the third book does not seem to exist, or at least not yet. Love the premise: a teenage girl whose best friends are her four dogs goes through a magical gateway into fantasyland, where her dogs are transformed into humans with similar personalities to their doggy selves. Links to inexpensive Kindle editions.

The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece (P.S.), by Edward Dolnick. Nonfiction about the brazen theft of "The Scream;" looks really fun. Discounted on Amazon.

Deathworld (Wildside Edition), by Harry Harrison. I am a sucker for "everything on this planet can kill you!" Only 99 cents on Kindle.

The Icarus Girl, by Helen Oyeyemi. Mainstream magic realism about a Nigerian/English girl with a creepy best friend. I'm guessing the best friend is ambiguously a spirit/folklore being/imaginary. I've heard good things about this.

Dreaming in Hindi: Coming Awake in Another Language, by Katherine Russell Rich. (Currently discounted to $6.00.) Memoir by American woman who moves to Udaipur (a city in Rajasthan) to study Hindi. It looks like it pays a lot of attention to the process of learning a second language as an adult.

A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America, by Ronald Takaki. A history of America in terms of its non-dominant groups: Asian-Americans, Irish-Americans, Jews, Indians, etc. I've read portions of this before, but not the whole thing. What I've read was well-written and detailed, and did a good job of pulling together many different perspectives to give a broad yet personal view of America.

Gentlemen's Alliance +, Vol. 1, by Arina Tanemura. Fluffy-looking shoujo manga. In return for a business loan of 50 million yen, the prestigious Kamiya family gave their daughter Haine away to the Otomiya family. Haine, now an Otomiya, is appointed to the student council of the exclusive Imperial Academy, a private school for the aristocracy. Even though Haine is of proper lineage to be on the council, she finds herself struggling to find her place among the many secrets of its elite members, especially those of the president who holds her heart--Shizumasa Togu, aka "the Emperor.
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
2012-02-22 01:06 pm

Children's book recs sought! Queer Narrative Fictional Client Revealed!

I need recommendations for books which are likely to appeal to an 11-year-old who likes sf, fantasy, and the Alex Rider series, AND to a 10-year-old who likes mysteries and Lemony Snicket. To clarify: a single book must appeal to BOTH kids.

On a completely different topic, I double-checked with my Queer Narrative professor, and got an okay to do a fictional therapy session with a queer character from a historical work. He said to just insert myself-as-therapist into their historical context. I am leaning toward one of the heroines in Sarah Waters' Fingersmith. Lots of issues regarding social narratives, personal "stories," "problem-saturated narratives," queerness, and "madness" there! (I could also counsel them as a couple, but we haven't yet gotten into couple's counseling so I don't feel on firm ground with that.)
rachelmanija: (Fishes: I do not see why the sex)
2011-11-30 12:32 pm

Sex! Sex! Sex!

[Poll #1799574]

Final paper is looming terrifyingly on the horizon. I have limited time this week, and it is due Monday. I have widely varying knowledge on the topics I listed on the poll, but I would have to do substantial research for any of them. So if anyone has tips like, "This one slim volume is the single best resource on the soul-figure/asexuality/fisting which can be read in a short period of time," please go for it! (These are not all the possible topics. They're drawn from a much longer list, whittled down considerably by factors like lack of interest and the phrase "object relations," which in my very short experience so far tends to point to excessively eye-glazing articles.)

I got so frazzled last week that I misread the due date for the final paper for another class, and madly wrote and turned it in yesterday... a week early. I guess that turned out to be a good thing, all things considered.

Also, I have to register for classes tomorrow and am worried that I won't be able to get into the classes I am most dying to take, now that I know who the best professors are.

Given my current state of stress-driven absent-mindedness, I should probably mention now, since it randomly popped into my mind, that there is a new Sarah Tolerance book out! I have my own copy of The Sleeping Partner: A Sarah Tolerance Mystery, and am saving it for the winter break, when I will have more relaxed time to read. Also, Sherwood Smith's Blood Spirits (Coronets and Steel), sequel to Coronets and Steel, is out! I read it in manuscript, and it is excellent. Both series will satisfy all your "women who fight with swords amidst a background of history and intrigue" needs.

ETA: Okay, I'm doing fisting. I found the Pat Califia essay I had recalled. It's called "Gay Men, Lesbians, and Sex," and it's worth reading. On Google Books. If anyone has further good fisting resources, online or offline, keep them coming!
rachelmanija: (Book Fix)
2011-10-25 12:59 pm

Sex Therapy and Male Sexuality Recommendations

Can you please recommend me books on sex/couples therapy and/or male sexuality which are a) not too densely academic - literate and thoughtful pop psychology is fine - and are neither sexist nor heterocentric? Trans-friendly/non-cis-centric would be great too, but I realize that may be even harder to find in pop psych.

I already have Hanne Blank's Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of Hetrosexuality on my radar, but I think it's not quite what I'm looking for, for this purpose. (I have not yet read it, but look forward to it immensely.) Ditto The Guide to Getting It On.
rachelmanija: (Book Fix)
2011-10-17 08:50 am

Book Spoils

Like I have time to read MORE BOOKS. However, when I dropped by the library to return something, I saw that they were having a book sale…

Please comment if you’ve read or heard of any of these and want to prioritize my reading, snark, recommend, say, “Oh hell no,” etc.

Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America, by Margot Adler. Nonfiction on Wicca and neo-paganism in the US. I’ve read it before, I enjoyed it, I wanted to own it.

The Ghost Road (William Abrahams), by Pat Barker. Book 3 of the WWI trilogy; I will read Book 2 first.

The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales (Vintage), by Bruno Bettelheim. I read this ages ago and figured it was time to read it again.

Surviving Madness: A Therapist's Own Story (Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiographies), by Betty Berzon. Memoir by a “psychiatric patient, groundbreaking therapist, and gay pioneer.”

Ghost in the Water, by Edward Chitham. Puffin mystery; I often like obscure Puffin British kids’ books.

The Princess and the Hound, by Mette Harrison. I have been meaning to read this for ages.

A Taste of China: The Definitive Guide to Regional Cooking (Pavilion Classic Cookery), by Ken Hom. Memoir/cookbook/history of regional Chinese cooking.

Kingdom of the Winds Volume 1 (v. 1), by Kimjin. Manhwa set in a fantasy ancient Korea.

Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage, by Alfred Lansing. Classic survival nonfiction which I have not yet read.

Tales from The Red Rose Inn and Other Plays, by Don Nigro. This guy’s plays were always being advertised on Samuel French editions of other plays I was reading, and I always felt vaguely curious about him.

ETA: Oh, drat, I realized that I actually do know who he is. Due to vague curiosity, years ago I read his Seascape with Sharks and Dancer, which featured the original Manic Pixie Dream Girl, subtype Her Mental Illness Makes Her Beautiful. If I recall correctly, the hero fishes her out of the ocean after a suicide attempt and feeds her hot chocolate with marshmallows, which she obnoxiously adorably insists on calling "mushroons." (sic.) It turns out that her cathartically related Dark Trauma was that she used to live on an intersection where fluffy kittens constantly got squashed by cement trucks. And then, for bonus topical relevance and preachiness points, there was an abortion. Because she was Too Damaged to Bring New Life Into the World.

Empress of the World, by Sarah Ryan. Teen lesbians at summer camp for gifted kids. This premise could only be improved if they had psychic powers.

Elsewhere, by Gabrielle Zevin. Narrated by a dead girl. I usually dislike posthumous fantasy – it tends toward the soggily spiritual – but I liked the excerpt on the back cover.