vintagewitch: (Rory Reading)
I read a lot more in 2015 than I have in other years. Part of this was the long stretches on un- or under-employment. And I was thinking about it, and realized that it was actually kind of difficult to remember all that I've read. So I stared at my bookshelves a good long while, went back through my defunct book club's facebook group, and pulled together a list. Some of these will get a couple of short words in the post, behind cuts in case you just want a snapshot. 

Books I've Finished:
Kindred b. Octavia Butler
The Last Unicorn b. Peter Beagle
A Short History of Nearly Everything b. Bill Bryson
Neverwhere b. Neil Gaiman
The Haunting of Hill House b. Shirley Jackson
Love Medicine b. Louise Erdrich
The King in Yellow b. Robert W. Chambers
The Spiral Dance b. Starhawk
Wild Seed b. Octavia Butler
Sandman original arc vols 1-3 b. Neil Gaiman
Spiritual Cleansing b. Draja Mickaharic
Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories curated b. Roald Dahl
Brave New World b. Aldous Huxley
Bird By Bird b. Anne Lamott

Books I've Read Part Of:
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate b. Naomi Klein. NOTE: I really enjoyed this, but I started it right as grad school was beginning, so I had to drop it. Highly recommend, though.
The Hero Within: 6 Archetypes We Live By b. Carol Pearson
Rogues - collection of short stories by multiple authors all centered around a rogue character. DEFINITELY recommend - I only read some of the stories, but they were all fab.

The Goldfinch b. Donna Tartt 
Read more... )

Maddaddam b. Margaret Atwood
Read more... )
vintagewitch: (tea)
 So this is a cool thing! A reading challenge.

Diversiverse is a pretty simple challenge, based on this premise:

  • Read and review one book
  • Written by a person of color
  • During the first two weeks of October (October 4th-17th)
Aartichapati, the host of the challenge, says: "That's all!  SO EASY, right?  It's what you'd probably do, anyway, right?  It's basically the lowest bar for participation of any reading challenge you've ever participated in, right?  In which case, there's really no excuse to not sign up, right?"

This year especially, I have tried to make sure that I'm reading books by diverse authors, particularly books by people of color. And I found out about this reading challenge right around the time I was to get started on some books by women of color, so this is just perfect! I plan on reading "Wild Seed" by Octavia Butler (I have a compilation of the four books in that series, so I may just finish them), and then read "Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements." 

Join the conversation! Sign up here.
vintagewitch: (Default)
 The last couple of days have been sort of productive. I've been wrapping up things at my job - my last day on the payroll is tomorrow. I am both relieved and sad about that. I also have an interview at 9 am tomorrow morning for a temp gig, so here's hoping I can nab that one.

I have ideas for the next novel bubbling up inside of me. I've even been looking into the research. It will be set sometime in the 1910s or 1920s - and it will have to do with spiritualism, mysticism, and the early revival of ceremonial magick in America. I'm not sure exactly the plot, but I know where I want to do research, so that's a good thing! Of course, I need to finish the manuscript I'm working on at the moment before I can even begin to plot another novel out. I don't want to get ahead of myself.

I've been trying to make time for writing. I haven't been terribly successful. I feel like my work in progress right now has potential to be very good, but the structure has changed so much over the course of the writing of it that it's hard to see that potential. I know the Brain Demons don't really help much on that front. Camp Nano will be good for me this year - force me to write a bit every day, force me to finish this manuscript. 

I wish I'd known that particular, localized folklore would be such an important part of this novel I'm writing now. I could have done the research ahead of time. I feel like I just ... jumped in. I know that each project is a learning experience, and this one is a rather big one. 

I have also noticed it's difficult for me to be really open and creative when I'm doing the kind of work I've been doing. Calling people I don't know to try to get them to do things for hours on end? REALLY EXHAUSTING. And I'm not even as introverted as they come - I'm pretty smack dab in the middle. I am eager to get to a point where I'm doing more management, more long-term policy planning, rather than the constant, high-energy work that is organizing.

Social media? Another huge drain. Facebook more than Twitter - I feel like there's more on the line with Facebook. Like, the social consequences of facebook weirdness are worse. Actually, there's a whole post here waiting to be written, but I just haven't gotten to it yet. 

Add that to my list.

I've been getting to know a neighbor in the building. She's ... probably in her sixties? She's had a really interesting life.  But she's super secure in who she is, she's got a great perspective, and she helps me see things differently. She's also incredibly intellectual, which I've been missing lately.

Note to self: spend more time reading, analyzing, seeing things. It's way easier to turn on shitty tv at the end of organizing, but that doesn't feed my soul the way books and writing does.

I think I hang out with 20-somethings too much. When your friends are your job competition, that shit can get weird.

(folks reading this are excluded from the "I hang out with 20-somethings" thing. Even if we do hang out in person)
vintagewitch: (Default)
Please be gentle with me on this book review - my brain is still definitely in recovery mode from this weekend.

Basically since starting this journal, I've been meaning to write about the books I'm reading and the movies I'm watching, but just haven't really got around to it because work has been off the rails. But now there's a friending meme on, and I've been wanting to get to know more folks online, so it seems like the perfect time to write about more than just what's going on in my life (though of course, I will keep doing that. Journaling is important.)

So ... here's a (very casual) review of "Neverwhere!"

I picked this up again because my book club was reading it, but I unfortunately didn't finish it when that meeting rolled around, but I kept reading it. This was somewhat difficult for me to get through, first off because when I read it I the first time I was in an abusive relationship, so I definitely kept being reminded of things that happened at that time. The other reason I had trouble getting into it was this: I forgot how funny it is! I generally don't go in much for humor, and this is a very specific kind of humor. Of course, it starts to get more serious in tone as the book goes on and the plot unfolds, but that is definitely not something I remembered from the first time I read it.

"Neverwhere" is one of Neil Gaiman's earlier works, so it is a bit clunky in some areas. It is good to note that this is also an adaptation from the miniseries, which I remember liking quite a bit more. Gaiman's writing is always very visual, but this one is particularly visual. I want to curl up in the world of Neverwhere and, very carefully, drink my tea and people-watch. It's so very tangible.

The universe beneath London, beneath the major cities of the world, fascinates me still. There's also this interesting social justice aspect of it - though there doesn't seem to be a political point. It's more a challenge - Gaiman makes very real the fact that people who have fallen through the cracks of society become invisible. The horror of the book is the suggestion that maybe there is something greater at work. Richard's pain at being invisible, being taken for insane, being forgotten by his loved ones - it's something that many people think about, but swallow their feelings and shake it off. London Below is a beautiful place that many people enjoy, and spoiler )

What I appreciated most about this was the way the world was constructed. It is at once so dangerous, but so beautiful, and downright fun. The alternative that "Neverwhere" puts forward is very attractive - and Gaiman writes it as if it is so much closer to human experience than our society of safety, security, and office jobs.

All in all, I'm very glad I reread this book. Even though humor is not typically my cup of tea, it's worth it for the worldbuilding. 

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