dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
Oh, really, the fictional perfect reader of this blog (or blargh, as I prefer to call it) must surely say by now; that whole writing blargh thing is long abandoned, isn't it?
To which I, smugly, reply: Nyeer~

Because really, the reason there are so few writings about books read here, lately, is that there have been terribly few books read lately. Mostly school reading and that does not always count.

But! Christmas (and birthdays) means square packages, and this year I got a bunch of good manga. Here's the rapid-review

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, vol 1-2 (new edition). OH SO PRETTY. I have only skimmed them, checked a few key phrases, but mostly it looks good. Love the new covers too, even if the paper is slightly less fancy than in the Japanese edition.

Codename: Sailor V, vol 1-2 (first English edition evah) ALSO VERY PRETTY. AND ABOUT BLOODY TIME. Read more carefully, and whoa, it makes a loooot more sense than the old German (from French) translation did. Which does not keep the plot from being utter crack, but at least the lines are understandable.
Also, Danburite, you're like the epitome of "Nice Guy Syndrome", at least (anime) Jadeite had the decency to openly be a chauvinistic ass.

Chi's Sweet Home, vol 7. Aw, kitty. Which I'm not allergic too. Yay. (if I'd ever organize a bookshop like I'd organize a fanfic archive, Chi would be the very first title on the Fluff shelf)

The Drops of God vol 1. SOMMELIER MANGA!
After having gotten my theoretical grounding in ballet, Go, american football, bûche de noël-preparation, no holds barred martial art bread baking, French history and more japanese mythology than you can shake a stick at, it's about time that I learn a bit about the exclusive world of fine wines. Through a comic. An intense comic.
Manga, let me count the ways I love thee...

Valhall - Den samlade sagan 1. Collection of the first three Valhalla comic books, a very good Danish comic with the Old Norse gods as main characters.
The first story is truly fugly compared to the later comics, but by the third story it's already looking much better.
Here we get The Wolf is Loose (the re-chaining of Fenrir), Thor's Bridal Journey (Thor & Loki crossdress to marry the former off, in a bid to get his hammer back) and Odin's Bet (connects a bunch of shorter hero tales). I think I'll buy part two tomorrow on my big Christmas shopping trip ^_^ Valhall may just be my favorite non-manga comic

The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson. Not a gift, a review book, but I thought I'd list it her for completeness sake. Got me interested in the main Mistborn series, disappointed me with the portrayal of female characters.

Rans magiska värld by Aki Irie, vol 1 (Ran's Magical World). A new manga in Swedish! Which has not previously been translated to a language I know! And which is really, really good and looks VERY nice. Whoa, that was much better than I had expected. Irie has a quirky drawing style that I find absolutely lovely; kind of hybrid-retro which nevertheless manages to feel fresh and modern.
It's a mahou shojo story of the oldest vintage - little girl has magical items that make her older and gives her power - but with a more modern look at what a sudden age-boost and a hot bod' would actually do to you. The family also appears more involved than the usual cardboard cutout kind parents, with a witchy mother and a shapeshifting father and brother. Funny, interesting and did I mention the drawings are gorgeous?

To be read:
The Cold Remains by Richard Morgan. Alas, I might not have time to read it before I'm going back to Berlin and I ain't bringing any hardcovers to Germany. But it looks interesting

Phew. Now I just have to finish Amerika before 2/1 and I'm done with the Christmas reading :)
dancing_moon: Wao Youka as Dracula (Creepy)
So I was going to do a nice, well-structured post on the German university system (because some of my former classmates from Sweden were curious) but that will have to wait a bit, since I'm feeling a bit too tired for that right now. My annoying almost-cold is beginning to become a real chest cold, which I am valiantly fighting with the help of fresh ginger tea, eucalyptus honey, hot steamy baths and a bit more actual shut-eye in the sleep/internet equation.

In the beginning of November, we'll go see the Norwegian all-female band Katzenjammer. According to our Katzenjammer-expert, they do "chaos pop with some folk-punk". It's fast, engaging and entertaining at least, and I think the concert might turn out to be really great - they seem like one of those bands that do extra well live.


One of my favorite songs, A bar in Amsterdam.

We bought the tickets today and, since we were at the ticket office already also got tickets for the musical Tanz der Vampire - one pair of plastic fangs included with the tickets!
Alas, it's based on the movie by Roman Polanski, him of serious skeevyness, and as such, I'm sure he'll get royalties. Otoh, I hope it's not too much, because Tanz der Vampire nicely filled some ticky-boxes on my mental "Stuffs I Must Do in Berlin This Exchange Year": Seeing some big-budget stage extravaganza, seeing a original German-language musical and vampires/gothy stuff. They'll show the Rocky Horror Picture Show here in Berlin too, in November, which works for ticky-box one and three, but since it will either be translated or in "denglish" (German talk, English songs) it moves to the second position.
Also, the stage images they have on the website look wonderful (eeeeeven though one of the posters has a bit of a Twilight-y vibe going on) so, uhm, I'll just be evil and go. Sorry.

A few days ago, I finished reading Walter Moer's Ensel and Krete: ein Märchen aus Zamonien. Bookblather goes here )

Basically, it's a take-it-or-leave-it book, though anyone who has a strong liking for Moer's style ought to have fun with it. It's also the first book where Hildegunst von Mythenmerz is introduced, which alone makes it worth a read.

When buying this one, I also noticed that the sequel to his Die Stadt der Träumenden Bücher had arrived: Das Labyrinth der Träumenden Bücher! Only out in hardcover so far, but I'm very much looking forward to reading it later :) And there's apparantly a third part coming out in about a year, swell!
dancing_moon: Farin Urlaub is shot by Lara Croft. No, really (Farin U)
I am a little bit amazed that the Wikipedia entry on the German town Idar-Oberstein does not mention what I find to be the most interesting thing of this little place anywhere. Say, under Entertainment, that would be quite fitting.

Idar-Oberstein, you see, is a town that specializes in gemstones - selling, buying and cutting them. And I for one count walking through an adorable little German town that has semi-precious stones laid down in the pavement on the more scenic routes as pretty big entertainment. I also recall a small plaza, where the vehicle stopping poles that are generally made of decorated iron (if you want to be pictoresque) or concrete (if you want to be cheap but effective) where topped with large chunks of raw agathe, amethyst and similar...

Anyway. If you are the kind of geek who find it interesting to visit an otherwise sleepy village to look at more precious stones than you can shake a stick at; because, yes, they are sold almost everywhere, in both little one-man stores and the diamond traders high-rise building, Idar-Oberstein is absolutely worth a stop.

I have also found something I most definitely intend to read: This 1977 biography of a chemical compound salesmen, with the alluring title "Excuse me sir, would you like to buy a kilo of isopropyl bromide?"
dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
My univeristy library has a lovely system which sends out mails approx 2 days before you need to return a book (and then you get increasingly stern mails that you should Really Return That Book, NOW PLEASE, once the date has passed). For some reason it's called millenium, so I have a bunch of mails from "millenium". It feels a bit like being in contact with a Dan Brown novel

Anyway! I borrowed a whole bunch of books for my paper and have re-loaned all the ones I'm still working with. However, since there is absolutely no room for anything more in the paper as it is and I have no time at all to read them, I am returning Maria Nikolajeva's books about the structure of childrens literature. I managed to read her first one - Barnbokens byggklossar (The Building Blocks of Children's Books) before the essay writing began, since it was included in the reading suggestion list for the essay course. It was really good! I've also got "Power, Voice and Subjectivity in Literature for Young Readers" here, but I'm gonna return it unread and hope to pick it up later some day.

She uses narrativism to pick apart and analyze the structure in children's literature. It interested me, because it's a much better approach to studing manga than many other lit science entrances I've seen - not as good as actual, y'know, mangastudies but there is still a lack of a good "comic analysiz + story tropes + solid step-by-step analysis - Orientalist exoticism = GOOD FRAME FOR MANGA ANALYSES" book. What I like about using a structure such as Nikolajeva's children's focused narrativism, is that you can get to grips with the text as such, and (I hope) not get tangled up in Western perceptions of Japanese culture. I am, anyway, more interested in How Manga Reads Here than But What Does it Mean There? At least when it comes to trying to do any work of my own, I loved Kinsella's study of the Japanese publishing industry in Adult Manga. But hey, I'm in lit science, not sociology plus I don't speak Japanese - it's not like attempting to update her study will ever be anything that I can or should do :)

Anyway! Nikolajeva: Easy to follow, very structured, I haven't actually tried to apply any of her stuff, but it seemed nice and comprehensible.

This, and the intimatopia idea put forward by Elizabeth Woledge are both tools/theories that really ring true to certain experiences I've had as a fandom-focused reader, writer and all-around participant.
dancing_moon: Synonyms are word's you can't spell (can't spell)
So I have read things and watched things and not quite slept enough this week, whoops. I'll get better at the last part, I promise.

Manga read: Bunny Drop #3 )

Book read: Dr W & Mr H )

Last but not least: I have bought John Ajvide Lindqvists "Lilla Stjärna". Will I dare to read it...? Of course. Will it creep the hell out of me? Ohohoho, yes, most likely!
dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
So there's a preview of the latest Dresden Files book - Ghost Story - up at the publisher's site.

I click my way over there, feeling all happy and expectant and, yay, free sneak peek awesome! And then, ugh, it's formatted in Flash. Stupid flash at that, where I can't move the mouse without the entire page scrolling away, the pages don't respond to arrow keys or other keyboard short-cuts as I would like them too.

Dear Penguin. This is, what, six pages of a coming book? Would you kindly just throw them up as html pages and be done with it, I promise the evul e-pirates won't make off with all the loot even if you do. Thank you

On the content, though, it hooks me but good, hehe, I look forward to this book!
dancing_moon: Gilbert goes "Wat??" (wat)
During about 1/3 of the viewing of Black Swan, which I saw with my mother last weekend, my face looked very much like the icon.

I had avoided fannish reviews, since most were spoiler-warned and I figured I might eventuellay possibly see that movie one day. I had only read the teensy-tiny review in the paper which went, basically, "Pretty movie, great acting, see this!"

Nowhere had I caught that this was also a seriously disturbing movie. I mean, jeepers creepers, when I think "ballet movie" I think a movie that might make you interested in watching ballet and, if you're a) young b) impressionable c) both, to perhaps even try dancing it on your own.*

HAHA no chance of that with Black Swan! Yes, it often looks good (though I hate the shaky-cam they do when she's walking in the beginning. Motion sickness, hi there!), the emotions are very raw and gripping and I walked out of the cinema convinced that pro-level ballet will fuck your shit up. Badly.
Though Natalie Portman looked Good with the net veil in that last part, I have to tell you.

*This is not the fault of any reviewer or anything. Wikipedia calls it "psychological thriller" in the first line. I am just dense, ok?




Further viewings: Sherlock! Only a couple of months after everyone else and, as usual, it was [personal profile] lanjelin who dealt me the crack.

It was good, especially episode one. And three, but it introduced Moriarty and if you fail that well, then you just fail at life Sherlock Holmes.

I still prefer the Granada version, because as cute as young modern Sherlock is, nobody outclasses Jeremy Brett. (He's v. v. cute tho)

There were a lot of interesting camera angles and other tricks going on in this version - the little hovering text links, the all-encompassing usage of cell phones and computers, and probably plenty of other things I didn't catch. Some day, when I have time (lolz) I want to take a class in "Movies and What They Use to Reel Us In 101".

I've done a quick read-through of fics, but I find that I'm not all that captured yet, not in the fannish way. Perhaps it will change when we get more story, I'm still feeling my way around the characters a bit too much to buy into any fannish characterization to be honest. Especially since I know that we will get more - which I will absolutely watch a bit faster

Lastly, I spent a bit more than a week being quite ill and so retreated to my favorite reading: Discworld ♥ And because the upcoming Discworld book, Snuff (working title) is about Vimes, I decided to re-read the watch novels. Yes, all of them - when I don't have anything to do except lounge around at home because even the 20 minute walk to school leaves me sweaty and shivering with exhaustion, I read fast.

Tiny bit of the blurb for Snuff )

Oh, this'll be good!
dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
The annual book sale started recently in Sweden and I bought some stuff at work. Not as much as last year, because my heap of unread books has grown exponentially since I started this course, but I still made some nice finds!

I bought The Moon and the Sandals, Fumi Yoshinaga's debut work, which I assume is going out of print now that we're putting it on sale *pout* Haven't read it yet, but it'll be interesting to see where she started!

I also got two classic SF books, Alfred Besters The stars my destination and the ultra-classic Do Androids dream of electric sheep? by Philip K Dick. Will be interesting to read... some day... when I have time ^^;;;
dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
The Land of Painted CavesDude, get real!! Jean M Auel is releasing another part of the Earth's Children series: The Land of Painted Caves.

Yep, that's the Clane of the Cavebear books. Exactly. The huge stone age stories, complete with mammoth smut and flowery vaginas and pre-historic root recepies. Wonder of Ayla will invent the bicycle this time? Or maybe she'll go straight to the rocket ships

...what?

Yes, of course I have to read the bloody book. I've read every one of those things (including Shelters of Stone where Nothing Whatsoever Happens during the 895-pages it consists of). Though I'll wait until it is library-able.

Still... a new Auel. Could've sworn she was dead, or at least seriously retired by now
dancing_moon: [APH] Austria getting his hair teased (Stress)
Aargh. I have the latest Pratchett in a bag on my floor (Tiffany Aching #4 - I shall wear midnight) and I haven't even started reading because I have to read for school (the Bible + Homeros).

When did I turn halfway responsible concerning studies? x_X
dancing_moon: Kermit goes "YAY Ohmygod" (Yay)
Finally! My book has been sent from the states. I've been waiting for Boys' Love Manga: Essays on the Sexual Ambiguity and Cross-Cultural Fandom of the Genre for quite a while now, but it seems as if there were delivery problems or somesuch. Hope it arrives today or on Tuseday ^_^
dancing_moon: Jadeite / DM / Me (Default)
Yesterday we rebuilt the shelves for the annual booksale. It was pretty exhausting work, but also fun and all flowed well.

My loot so far:
Shout Out Loud 1-5 (yaoi manga)
Baby and Me 1-7 (Akachan to boku manga, I have the beginning in a German anthology mag so this will be an efficient shelf-saver. And they were dirt cheap)
Jasper Fforde - One of the Thursday Next books, have been wanting to give him a try
Inger Edelfeldt - For my grandmother
Oscar Waos korta förunderliga liv - My sister saw the movie and said it was good, so why not

Have also finished Wodehouse Full Moon. Funny and I feel I'm really getting to know the Blanding's estate now...

And now, back to work!
dancing_moon: Jadeite / DM / Me (Default)
(With unfailing precision, the internet died when I just hit "post" for this entry yesterday... so you get it now instead. Recycling = win, y/n?)

I don't have time to write proper reviews and whatnot right now, but I have the feeling that if I start putting my "book logg" off, it'll wither and die before February has passed. And at least two months I should manage, darn it.

So, on to the preview copies!

First off is Jim Butcher's latest Dresden Files, Changes. Oh, this one was a very intense page turner. I felt that the last book was too much plodding around and too little happening, until the very end when there was a huge mess of shit happening which could influence the overall outcome of the series - but by then, the book was mostly done so very little reflexion on those events could take place.

It's somewhat similar here, although the action is better paced and the foreshadowing works. The threads from older books, from the very beginning of the series up to much more recent events, are nicely (if somewhat predictably) picked up again. Oh, and this book does definitely change things around in Harry's world, on a both personal and more general level.

Good stuff. Less good is that Butcher now intends to carry the series into the "lower twenties" apparantly, because I want to get to the end some time :/ preferably before I'm tired of reading about Harry Dresden, thanks.

Then I read something-Sniegoski's Where Angels Fear to Thread, the next part in the Remy Chandler series. It's urban fantasy/mystery with an angel living on Earth as the main character. And that's probably where it fails the worst, because the fact that he's an angel doesn't matter one fucking bit for the plot. Remy/Remiel's Seraphim self is violent, threatens to "burn his humanity away" if he lets go of it and... is violent. That's it, basically. Oh, and Remy mopes about this a bit.

I tried to imagine what would have changed if Remy was a demon who'd somehow left hell and decided to be good, with a violent, destructive demonic side he supressed... Not a thing would be different as far as the in-book action. How people react to him, sure, somewhat but when he might as well have come from another planet or be his complete opposite without it messing up the plot. Nah, not good.

Otherwise the books are bland; a step up from most urban fantasy, which is horrible. That's why I keep reading them, so I can feel that I have some insight into the genre without having to suffer through the worst drivel...

Anyway, the books are bland, but not too shabbily written. There's a lot of old Bible characters running around, although, once again they don't feel very Biblical. I don't mean the story has to be preachy - for instance, in Angel Sanctuary, the characterization and plot are both very much driven by what the characters are, without it in any way being a respectful treatment of Christianity. I like that - I like Marianne Fredriksson's books, also, "Paradisets Barn" and whatnot, where there is also a feeling that, yes, these people don't just share names with someone from the Bible they are that person. They have met God, angels, demons etc, great otherwordly forces and that has in one way or another affected them.

I have also read Black Butler which is awesome. Yayness.

Of the books on my current reading list are:
- Uncle Dynamite by P.G. Wodehouse, something I borrowed from grandma
- Dwarves, a German fantasy book (though I read it in English, free copy from work) about... well, guess. Am almost finished, decent so far
- At the Mountains of Madness collection by Lovecraft. Have read the title story and The Case of Charles Dexter Ward so far, and yes, the old man knew how to craft his horror...
- Some African fantasy, a preview book I picked up because African fantasy is rare.
- Some shitty vampire romance book by J.R. Ward which I'm reading because it's part of a topic on the symposium. It is AWFUL!.
dancing_moon: Jadeite / DM / Me (Default)
The list is here, and there are a few titles I definitely will read before they publish the next one.

* Under the Dome, Stephen King - As soon as it appears in pocket. All my other King is in pocket, and they have to stay together =)
* Gardens of the Sun, Paul McAuley - The first part in this series was a marvel. Lots of nano-biochem, I like that
* The Adamantine Palace, Stephen Deas - Well, I have it in the book shelf at home...
* Transition, Iain M. Banks - Though I may have to start with something else by him.
* The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi - Unless I'm getting two books mixed up, this is the one with the lovely cover.

Wot I have already read from this list:
* The City & the City, China Miéville - Spectacular
* Unseen Academicals, Terry Pratchett - Great!
* Leviathan, Scott Westerfeld - Really nice YA, historical AU with mechas just before WWI
* The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, John Joseph Adams, ed. - So-so collection, but a few of the stories were really good. Most are in other anthologies too

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