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Old 01-18-2011, 02:08 AM   #7902
ATDrake
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phenomshel View Post
I read Wicked Weaves. I haven't gotten to the rest of them yet. I will admit the main character seemed rather directionless, but I liked the overall book enough to continue the series.
Thanks for sharing. I liked it too, even though some of it was really very ridiculously contrived. Derailing a manhunt by dragging one of the assistant sleuths into an obligatory jousting match. On horseback. While blindfolded.

More library stuff: 1 kind of cozy, 1 kind of mystery.

Baking as Biography: A Life Story in Recipes, is folklorist Diane Tye's autoethnographical study/musing on her mother's life, as seen from the perspective of her recipe box, and the cultural and familial implications that can be drawn from their association.

This is published by McGill-Queen's University Press, and is something I'd class as academic-lite. Tye paints a picture of her mother's acquiescence and subversion to her role as a 50s minister's wife in rural Nova Scotia who had to do a lot of baking in order to fill expected cultural, familial, and societal/community roles, but once confessed to her daughter that she didn't actually like to bake.

There's a lot of stuff about food as a means of communication and mnemonic association, and control over food as a denominator of power in interpersonal relationships, and the interpersonal dynamics of church social functions and so forth. And in certain ways it was really very depressing to read all these accounts about women who just didn't particularly enjoy all this cooking and baking they were supposed to do, and yet had nothing else they could do with their lives and were furthermore expected to yield any preferences they might have had regarding the sort of foods they themselves would have liked to make and serve entirely to the other people in their lives.

Which is not a bad thing if you choose to do it for a living like a professional caterer, but it must produce incompletely repressed teeth-grinding anger to be expected to do it as a matter of course for anyone who comes along.

But aside from that, the book is actually rather interesting. Apparently, the yearly constituent components of Christmas cakes are subject to socioeconomic factors and that the rise of the use of white sugar replacing brown and molasses in Nova Scotia women's recipes are due to a devaluation of tradition (and also the processing methods made it cheaper) etc.

I was only mildly intrigued when I picked it up off the library New Books shelf, but now I wouldn't mind reading more of this sort of thing.

Ian Tregillis' Bitter Seeds, which is apparently the 1st part of a trilogy, which I'm pleased about, because I really liked this one a lot.

The book jacket describes it as "Alan Furst meets Alan Moore" and this is an AU sf/fantasy set during WWII in which supermen produced by Nazi scientific experiments are pitted against British sorcery. But not really directly in the action-adventure sense. More of a spy-thriller prevention and containment sort of thing.

The situation is complicated by one-or-more agents on either side seeming to go rogue, and the ensuing fallout of a lot of desperately bad decisions made by various individuals adding up to a nasty mess. Oh, and they're all thoroughly dysfunctional, too.

It's Tregillis' first novel, and I found it quite compelling, and the writing fairly polished, and the execution of certain ideas very creepy. I look forward to more.

Highly recommended if you're into WWII powers using planned occult atrocities as a means of achieving the endpoint of victory (I think I've discovered a hidden reading kink for this theme, between Stross' Laundry series, Hambly's Sun-Cross, and now this).

Also just went and read the free Tor.com short story which goes with this, What Doctor Gottlieb Saw, which kind of fills in a little background fleshing out the motivations of one of the main characters in the book.

I'm not sure whether it's a good thing to read first as an introduction to the setup for the potentially interested, or whether what happens there is too spoileriffic for one of the revelations in the novels, which might play out better if it comes as a surprise, but either way it was a good read and whetted my appetite for more.
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