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I’m so sorry for the late letter! If you’ve already started something, and it doesn’t intersect with these prompts/ideas, don’t worry about it--just go with your idea!

In any case, thank you so much for writing a story for me! Any fic in these fandoms would make me happy, so please just write what seems fun and interesting to you! I saw this phrase in someone’s dear author letter once, and it perfectly expresses my feelings: If you come to a place where you think you can either write a good story or make me happy, write a good story.

If it’s helpful, here are some things about my general preferences:

general preferences )

Optional prompts in alphabetical order

City of Stairs )

Imperial Radch )

Raven Cycle )

Rivers of London )


Thank you!
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Oh wow...I see I haven't posted since the middle of March. I knew it had been a while, but I didn't realize it had been that long. Oops. It's been a busy spring, I guess.

In the meantime, the [community profile] rarelywritten archive went live yesterday, and I got the most lovely Imperial Radch fic from [personal profile] teaotter. It's a beautifully written piece that manages to be both a slice-of-life glimpse of the world aboard Mercy of Kalr and take on some of the bigger existential questions of the novels.

whatever a sun will always sing (1107 words) by Teaotter
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Imperial Radch Series - Ann Leckie
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Kalr Five & Mercy of Kalr
Characters: Kalr Five, Mercy of Kalr
Summary:

Old dreams, new opportunities: Kalr Five has a choice to make.




I wrote two fics for the challenge, my assignment and a pinch hit. My assignment was an Imperial Radch fic for [personal profile] teaotter, which means we wrote for each other--something that's never happened to me before.

Benefit (2308 words) by ariadnes_string
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Imperial Radch Series - Ann Leckie
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Seivarden Vendaai, Justice of Toren One Esk Nineteen | Breq
Additional Tags: Pining, Masks, Post-Book(s)
Summary:

“How can it be, that you, who’ve worn so many faces, should remain always the same, while I, who’ve had the same face for a thousand years, have changed so much that I am unrecognizable to myself?”




And then I picked up a Cabin Pressure pinch hit, because Cabin Pressure pinch hits are the best. I had a great time writing this one.

The Loophole (2210 words) by ariadnes_string
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Cabin Pressure
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Carolyn Knapp-Shappey, Douglas Richardson, Arthur Shappey, Snoopadoop
Additional Tags: Origin Story
Summary:

Every dog has an origin story.



Okay, hope everyone's doing well out there in DW/LJ-land. More soon, I hope!
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Then, I picked up these as a pinch hit. I wrote them very quickly, so they are of questionable quality, but I loved looking at the Tommy/Alfie pairings (and thinking about how Alfie might have been involved with 1920s Palestine), and of course, Tommy & Ada :)

In the Year of the British Mandate (871 words) by ariadnes_string
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Peaky Blinders (TV)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Tommy Shelby, Alfie Solomons
Additional Tags: Canon Jewish Character, Collection: Purimgifts Day 1, Alfie is a bit of a Zionist
Series: Part 1 of In the Year of the British Mandate
Summary:

Tommy wasn’t surprised when Alfie Solomons’ men jumped him a week after Epsom.



In the Year of the British Mandate (chapter 2) (873 words) by ariadnes_string
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Peaky Blinders (TV)
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Tommy Shelby/Alfie Solomons
Additional Tags: Collection: Purimgifts Day 2, Guns, Alfie is a bit of a Zionist, Canon Jewish Character, Purim
Series: Part 2 of In the Year of the British Mandate
Summary:

“It’s Purim,” said Alfie, throwing out his arms expansively. “And I want to make some noise.”



The Four-Day Snowball Fight (810 words) by ariadnes_string
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Peaky Blinders (TV)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Ada Shelby, Tommy Shelby
Additional Tags: Collection: Purimgifts Day 3, Childhood Memories, Snow
Summary:

Tommy asks Ada for a favor.

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I wrote my assignment plus a pinch hit for [community profile] purimgifts this year--that's six (short) fics--so I'm going to put them in two different posts.

My assigned recipient was [personal profile] darkrosaleen--possibly the first time I've ever gotten a flistie as part of an exchange. I particularly wanted to write something good for her, because she's awesome, and because she'd written me the most amazing Ronan/Gansey bloodplay fic a few years ago for Yuletide. Luckily for me, she had a really fascinating prompt about a Jewish Kavinsky--so the ficlets turned out to be, if not easy, then at least really interesting to write.

In The Dream Thieves, Kavinsky, as the villain, is coded as, if not Jewish, then certainly not Anglo-Celtic-Christian the way the heroes are. His family is supposed to have come from Bulgaria, and they are neither poor, like some of Stiefvater's characters, nor rich, like others: instead, they are the kind of cartoon nouveau riche who live in McMansions in New Jersey, have mob money and wear sunglasses with white plastic frames. The Dream Thieves gets a disturbing amount of mileage from cultural markers like that. Lines like this one, describing Blue's distaste for Kavinsky, have always bothered me: "There was something erratic and vulgar about the full line of his lips, like he'd swallow her if he got close enough. She hated the smell of him." All the good guys in the novel have thin lips.

Anyway, I didn't want to rehabilitate Kavinsky as a misunderstood hero, or take the book to task for its fear of the ethnic, but I did want to give that immigrant, non-WASPy, background a bit more texture. And I really wanted to see what another magic system would look like mapped over/against the books' Celtic one. Jewish magic, at least of the Ashkenazi sort, is all about Hebrew letters and mystical names. It took a while to figure out how to integrate that with the dream forest magic that's canon in the books, but I liked the solution I came up with.

three Jewish!Kavinsky fics )
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Y'all, I got the most wonderful ficlets from [community profile] purimgifts!

The rules for this exchange are: three ficlets, 300-1000 words, about Jewish characters, female characters (in honor of the Purim story), or evil viziers. My gifts were all Erik-centric, which I adore. Two are Erik/Raven, which is a pairing I've never thought too much about, but really enjoyed in the hands of this author. They are all lovely, but my favorite might be Yarzeit, for the complex way it works through mourning, ritual and different valences on family, all in less than 1,000 wds. Two of them them are sad stories, but their artistry really brightened my day!

3 Erik stories )

And I got icons too!
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First of all, thank you so much for writing a story for me! Any fic with these characters will make me happy, so please just write what seems fun and interesting to you! I saw this phrase in someone’s dear author letter once, and it perfectly expresses my feelings: If you come to a place where you think you can either write a good story or make me happy, write a good story.

If it’s helpful, here are some things about my general preferences:

general preferences )

Requests, in alphabetical order


Agent Carter )

The Honourable Woman )

Imperial Radch )

Peaky Blinders )

Rivers of London )
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Over a month ago, I expressed a desire to write some shameless h/c, and [personal profile] d_generate_girl suggested I write some for Peaky Blinders. Many weeks later, I ended up this, which is h/c of a kind, but also one of the grimmest things I've ever written. Sorry?

Many thanks to [personal profile] d_generate_girl, though, for beta'ing, and helping me out with it enormously!

Five Fevers (3723 words) by ariadnes_string
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Peaky Blinders (TV)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: May Carleton/Thomas Shelby, Grace Burgess/Tommy Shelby
Characters: Tommy Shelby, Polly Gray, John Shelby, Arthur Shelby, Ada Shelby, Freddie Thorne, May Carleton
Additional Tags: Fever, Hurt/Comfort, War
Summary:

Penicillin wasn't discovered until 1928.

ariadnes_string: (sepia H/W)
I got tagged yesterday morning for [livejournal.com profile] come_at_once, the 24-hour porn challenge. Here is what I came up with (more fluff than porn, I'm afraid).

Displacement: Or, A Watery Problem Solved (955 words) by ariadnes_string
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Sherlock Holmes (Downey films)
Rating: Mature
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson
Additional Tags: Established Relationship, Bathtubs
Summary:

Watson put the whiskey glass on floor beside him, and leant his head back against the tub, enjoying the silence. No rapid-fire questions, no dizzying leaps of logic: peace.


It did not last.

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Way back in December, [personal profile] d_generate_girl asked me to talk about Peaky Blinders. Now, in February, I’m finally able to do that (though this got a little long and academic, sorry!).

This is primarily about S2, which I thought was probably better than the first season, less uneven, with less emphasis on a ridiculous star-crossed-lovers plotline, and more interesting stuff.

Here are some of the things that make the love this show.

I suppose it’s fair to say that the show is really held up by the gorgeous scaffolding of Cillian Murphy’s cheekbones. He’s extraordinary in the second season, more beat-up, more dead-eyed, more commanding. He also trots out his special seduction technique several times. This consists of telling a lady he know they’re going to fuck (his word), so just leave the door unlocked for him later. No flirting, no banter, no eyelash fluttering. It works every time.

but there's more to the show than that! )

my favorite thing about the S2 finale (spoilers) )

I’m looking forward to another season, though I’m worried it’s going to involve more Grace, and smaltzy love shenanigans. Maybe it’ll be more like Godfather II, though.

And a rec, if you like the kind of musical juxtaposition Peaky Blinders provides: this extraordinary Lawrence of Arabia vid from festivids
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Oh, I can’t resist!

I thought I had very few of these, but then I actually looked at the relevant folders. Oops! Mostly from long-abandoned fandoms, though. These are among the resuscitate-able, perhaps.


1.

A bear lay in a clearing. It was quite a large bear, but ragged, even flea-bitten. It lay there for a long while, too exhausted to flick away the fly that landed on its nose.

Time passed. From the pines surrounding the clearing, a wolf emerged.

The bear held its breath. It reflected that if anyone could tell the difference between a real bear and a false bear, it would be a wolf. The bear felt woefully ill-equipped: no sword, no pistols, even its hands were sadly bound up in bear skin. It decided it would go out gallantly regardless, though it hated to think of Stephen finding its mangled corpse.


2.

Abdul often reflected that Thomas Nightingale was exactly what one would expect from someone who had come of age at an English public school in the previous century; an expert and athletic lover, but emotionally restrained to the point of constipation the rest of the time. Abdul didn’t mind; he wasn’t much for overt displays of affection himself. On rare occasions, however, Thomas would give way to what Abdul’s father, with perfect proletarian contempt, would have called the sticky sentimentality of the upper classes. Abdul was probably the only person who ever saw these episodes, and, of course, he could never muster his father’s disapproval; they always went straight to his heart. Thomas appeared to be experiencing one of them now.


3.

“Let’s go dancing,” Freddie said one evening as they sat dissecting the day in the BBC canteen.

“You dance?” Bel raised her eyebrows.

“Course I do.”

And he did. The local girls had seen to that before he'd even smoked his first cigarette, laughing and crashing around crowded front rooms, radio blasting. He’d been half a head shorter than the smallest of them, so he’d always been facing cleavage when he grasped them 'round the waist. Not that he minded.



What I’m Reading

The Angel of Losses, by Stephanie Feldman. Jewish-themed magical realism, I think. I’ve only read a bit of it so far, but it’s something I’m in the mood for.

What I’ve Just Finished

Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism and Michael Rockefeller’s Tragic Quest for Primitive Art, by Carl Hoffman. [from my Goodreads review] Extremely interesting and enjoyable. Kind of like what Serial would be if it were about cannibal tribes in New Guinea--which is to say, very interested in how hard it is to recover the truth about the past, especially across intercultural taboos against sharing secrets. It's the story of the investigator as much as the investigation, which usually drives me crazy, but I bought into it here and was very engaged by Hoffman's own story. Hoffman also raises some interesting questions about the export of primitive art as a form of extraction of resources.

The Paying Guests, by Sarah Waters (audiobook). I got to the end of my binge-listening of Hardcore History’s WW1 podcasts, “Blueprint for Armageddon,” and so had no choice but to finish listening to this. [from my Goodreads review]: I wanted to like this so much more than I did. It's beautifully written (and gorgeously read by Juliet Stevenson in the audiobook), but I often felt more irked than entranced by it. I loved the historical details of the setting, and the way the characters were dealing with the aftermath of the war (and especially how those issues came back at the very end), but I think narratives about obsessive love just aren't my cup of tea. I loved The Little Stranger, and so was anxious to read this one; I should have remembered that The Little Stranger is the only Waters book I've ever managed more than a few pages of. I think part of Waters’ talent is for revising genre pieces. The Little Stranger is kind of a revision of The Turn of the Screw; The Paying Guests seems (in part) a revision of something like Dorothy Sayer’s Unnatural Death, but where the lesbians aren’t homicidal ice queens. A good idea, but still, the former worked better for me than the latter.

What I’m Reading Next

Oh goodness knows! I’m going to stop even including this question!


There are so many good movies around, but all I’ve managed to see is Paddington, which at least was totally adorable. Ben Whishaw’s vocal performance as the bear himself is ridiculously sweet, and the movie’s vision of London is a treat.

How ‘bout y’all?
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The overflow of my Yuletide writing roll, I guess.

I didn't sign up for [community profile] fandom_stocking, but I signed up for the call for volunteers to help fill them. I only managed to write one ficlet, though:

On Folly Bridge (1555 words) by ariadnes_string
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Rivers of London - Ben Aaronovitch, X-Men (Movies)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Charles Xavier, Thomas Nightingale, Isis
Additional Tags: Crossover
Summary:

Oxford 1962: Late one night, Charles sees something new.



And this I really wanted to write as a Yuletide treat, but I ran out of time:

Open hand or closed fist (would be fine). (1060 words) by ariadnes_string
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Honourable Woman
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Atika Halabi/Nessa Stein
Additional Tags: Captivity
Summary:

For a moment, Atika gives Nessa her body back.



That's probably it for the season. I have an urge to write some shameless, old-fashioned h/c, though, so if you want to enable me give me an excuse, suggests some characters/tropes in comments!
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Dear Purimgifts Author:

First of all, thank you so much for writing a story for me! Any fic in these fandoms would make me happy, so please just write what seems fun and interesting to you!

If it’s helpful, here are some things I like:

optional prompts )

Most importantly, though, have fun, and know that I really appreciate the time and energy you’re taking to do this!
ariadnes_string: (Default)
I ended up traveling almost all of the week between Christmas and New Year’s, just getting back last night, and so am only now getting around to Yuletide comments and reveals—there are still plenty of stories I want to read!

This year I wrote three fics for Yuletide: my assignment and two pinch hits.

City of Refuge (2267 words) by ariadnes_string
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: True Detective
Rating: Mature
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Rustin "Rust" Cohle/Martin "Marty" Hart
Characters: Rustin "Rust" Cohle, Martin "Marty" Hart, Maggie Hart
Additional Tags: Synesthesia, Post-Series
Summary:

Rust tells himself they’re memories, though they come with the force of hallucinations. What it feels like is being unstuck in time.




navel gazing )

The News From Home (1993 words) by ariadnes_string
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Imperial Radch Series - Ann Leckie
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Skaaiat Awer/Awn Elming
Characters: Awn Elming, Justice of Toren One Esk Nineteen | Breq, Skaaiat Awer
Summary:

Awn always enjoyed reading her sister's poetry.



more navel gazing )

With a Girl Like You (2723 words) by ariadnes_string
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Endeavour (TV)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Monica Hicks/Endeavour Morse
Characters: Monica Hicks, Endeavour Morse, Peter Jakes
Additional Tags: Misses Clause Challenge, Chromatic Yuletide
Summary:

After the events of "Neverland," Monica has three significant encounters with DS Jakes.



and a bit more )

Anyway, it was a great Yuletide—I loved my gifts, and my recipients seemed to like theirs, and the few stories I’ve read so far have been excellent. Happy New Year, all!
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So, I left on my post-Christmas trip before I had a chance to squee about the two gifts I received in the Yuletide Madness collection. But I'm back now (briefly--I'm leaving again Tuesday morning), and I wanted to make sure everyone knew about them!

Euston Corridor (100 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Rivers of London - Ben Aaronovitch
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Peter Grant
Additional Tags: Yuletide Treat, Drabble, London
Summary:

A little corner of Peter's patch.



An absolutely charming drabble about a corner of London--doing what the RoL books and fic do best.

Sonnet for George Finch (111 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Himalayan Mountain Climbers RPF
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: George Finch (Himalayan Mountain Climbers RPF), George Mallory (Himalayan Mountain Climbers RPF)
Additional Tags: Poetry, Sonnets, Canonical Character Death, Historical References, Yuletide
Summary:

What price glory?



Such a treat! Definitely the most unusual Yuletide gift I've ever gotten--a poem about George Finch, a fascinating figure, who pioneered the use of oxygen tanks in mountain climbing (a much contested innovation), and accompanied Mallory on the 1922 Everest expedition, but was excluded from the 1924 expedition. And it's a sonnet!

I am very grateful to have received such bounty this year!

Happy New Year's, everyone--I'll be back in town on the 2nd.

Yuletide!

Dec. 25th, 2014 09:29 am
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Woo-hoo! The super-early Yuletide reveal miraculously coincided with the only 15 hours I have free from family obligations the whole holiday season!

Thus I was able to read my lovely gifts in peace. They were:

Ar Haner Nos yn Glir y Daeth (Upon the Midnight Clear) (1920 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Y Gwyll | Hinterland
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Tom Mathias & Mared Rhys
Characters: Tom Mathias, Mared Rhys, Siân Owens
Additional Tags: Yuletide, Ghosts, References to Welsh Mythology
Summary:

A seemingly open and shut case results in Mathias and Mared hanging about the castle ruins late one night - and they find they're not alone...



First of all, I can't believe someone wrote me Hinterland fic--that seemed like such a long shot to ask for. But they did, and it's fabulous--very atmospheric, a hint of the supernatural, and just the right prickly, protective relationship between Tom and Mared.

Ancillary Ghost (2229 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Imperial Radch Series - Ann Leckie
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Seivarden Vendaai
Summary:

Seivarden as honored guest, and the importance of tea.

Takes place after Ancillary Sword (spoilers).

Thank you very much to my betas, who will be credited after reveals.



I can't say too much about this without spoiling Ancillary Sword for those of you who haven't read it, BUT, if you were intrigued by the ending of the novel, and love Seivarden, as I was and do, this is an amazing fic! The author gets the tone of the books just right, and seamlessly builds onto the world-building, as it were. I loved the sense of the ancientness of the Radch (and its fragility).

I haven't read much else, but if, by some chance, you love the radio program Bleak Expectations as much as we do in my house, you should know that there's a brilliant fic in the archive this year.

Hope you are all having a wonderful Christmassy or non-Christmassy day!

(my December meme is morphing into a January meme, but I'll get to it all, I promise!)
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[personal profile] thirdbird asked me “what was the most difficult fanfic you've written? Which one are you most proud of and why?”

And since I’ve been trying to wrangle my Yuletide assignments this week, it seems a good time to answer it.

The short answer is: whatever fic I’m writing at the moment seems the most difficult fic I’ve ever written! And then, if they are really too difficult, I don’t write them at all, because I am a writing wuss.

The only-slightly-longer answer is: any fic over about 3,500 words is the most difficult fic I’ve ever written. Maybe 5,000. Almost without exception, the fics I’ve written that are longer than that, I’ve stalled out after about 5-6k, and taken months or years to come up with a second half. I suck at plot. Even the last fic I wrote over 5k, which literally took it’s whole plot from A Study in Pink, so I didn’t have to come up with anything, was really hard to write. I don’t know why I ever embark on such ventures, except that sometimes it seems like the only way to fulfill an assignment or prompt. Or maybe I think I’ll learn something as I go along—but I think my brain just doesn’t work that way. Sometimes they come out okay, despite the difficulties, but I hardly ever re-read them. I’ve been wanting to write a sequel to “Swim Until You Can’t See Land,” and failing because: plot.

So I guess it makes sense that the fics I’m proudest of are short! I like the fics I’ve managed to write that allow my own intense feelings about characters, and the characters’ intense feelings about each other, to shine through. Often, I feel like I get distracted by descriptive or figurative language, and that mutes the emotion in a story—or, the emotion is muted by my aforementioned difficulties with plot—so when I can get those things to combine, I’m happy. Often, these fics are the first stories I write in a fandom, since I guess the emotions are new and bright then—this is true of two stories I’m proud of: The Khyber Knife (John/Sherlock, R) (which just happened, so I’m amazed, more than proud); and A wind that passeth Away and cometh not again (Homeland), which I worked a lot harder on, and thus correspondingly prouder.

But sometimes I get a bit more into a fandom before I write something I like. For example, Four Kisses, which is a Southland fic, (Cooper/Sherman, R), and which was the third and last story I wrote in that fandom. I’m proud of it for a bunch of reasons: I think it’s in character, though the characters were hard for me to write—I certainly never thought I’d plausibly get them into a pairing; it has a 4X structure, but it still manages to have something of a plot; moreover, it has a “first time” plot, which is something I’m not very good at imagining; it’s not a particularly dark or gritty fic, but it has enough of an edge to it to make me happy—a lot of its emotional intensity is not connected to the romance; it has some nice images, but the story doesn’t get bogged down in them. And when I read it, it reminds of how much I loved the first few seasons of the show. It’s not one of my most read or best-liked stories, but it makes me happy.
ariadnes_string: (lewis hathaway reading)
[livejournal.com profile] destina asked me for my seven favorite non-fiction books, which was a great question, though it turned out to be hard narrowing it down! I’m sure not sure these are my seven absolute favorites—I’ll probably remember something the minute I post this—but these are the seven(non-work) books I remember loving right now (many of them pretty recent).

For a long time the only kind of non-fiction book I really liked was biography and autobiography. I remember reading those “biographies for little kids” of people like Marie Curie and Louis Pasteur when I was really young. I still primarily enjoy books that have the story of a person or people at the center. That means I’m drawn to memoir, personal essays and biography, although with the caveat that I like those genres when they look outward and say something about history, culture or science. Conversely, I usually dislike books that purport to be about something else—history, culture or science—and end up telling us more about the writer than they do about the subject (though not always: I did like Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks).

So, in rough order of publication.

1. The Autobiography of Malcom X, by Malcolm X and Alex Haley (1965).

Read more... )

2. My Own Country, by Abraham Verghese (1994).

Read more... )

3. Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science, by Atul Gawande.

Read more... )

4. The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey, by Candice Millard (2006).

Read more... )

5. The Good Soldiers, by David Finkel. (2009).

Read more... )

6. Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest>, by Wade Davis (2011).

Read more... )

7. Men We Reaped: A Memoir, by Jessmyn Ward (2013).

Read more... )

Books that almost made the list: Testament of Youth, by Vera Brittain; Retribution: The Battle for Japan 1944-1945, by Max Hastings (2007); The Suicide Index: Putting My Father’s Death in Order, by Joan Wickersham (2008); and Defiance: The Bielski Partisans by Nechama Tec (1994)


So there you go: war, race and medicine. My obsessions, let me show them to you.

I'd love to hear what your favorites are, too!
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Finally getting this baby started!

[livejournal.com profile] twasadark asked me to talk about podcasts, and I am delighted to do so!

If, like me, you like to listen to things—and/or have more time to listen to things than you do to sit down and read—podcasts are awesome. Also, the seemingly DIY, anyone-can-make-one, aspect is very appealing. I’ve linked to the podcasts’ own websites below, but I mostly access them through itunes on my phone, and I kind of love the way you can search the itunes app for a writer you’re interested in, and it will throw up podcast episodes of said writer reading or being interviewed.

Here are some that I listen to regularly, with apologies in advance because they are mostly about books.

But to get the obvious out of the way first: like the rest of the podcast-listening world, I’m addicted to Serial. I eat it up like cake—I find the presentation ridiculously compelling. I also find myself surprisingly interested in all the furor/speculation around it, focusing on Sarah Koenig as a character herself and her construction of the narrative. I don’t read Reddit or any of the blogs about the case, but I do listen to the Slate Serial Spoilers podcast, which often brings in some interesting guests.

I also listen to Welcome to Night Vale, though I have to say my enjoyment of it varies. My kids like it, though, so following it gives us something fun to talk about. I’m not sure I’d carry on with it on my own.

Podcasts about books:

My favorite podcast for readings is the one put out by The Free Library of Philadelphia. The episodes are pretty much unadorned broadcasts of their great, varied, series of readers—from Ann Rice, to Walter Isaacson, to David Mitchell. I like getting a taste of a book I might want to read, or hearing an author answer questions about one I have read.

I also like the podcast from the New York Times Book Review. It is mostly interviews with authors whose books are reviewed in the weekly supplement, but it also has “publishing news” and “bestseller news” features. Like the similar podcast from The New YorkerThe New Yorker Out Loud, which interviews the authors of their long essays, it’s clearly designed to lure you behind the paywall to read more, but there’s no obligation. I already get The New Yorker, and often the interviews on the podcast do get me to read the essays in question.

Others I’ve listened to once or twice, and would again if they featured an author I was interested in: Slate’s Audio Book Club, All Write Already, Book Fight.

Other stuff.

Over the summer, I was listening to Kumail Nanjiani’s The X-Files Files. I loved The X-Files while it was on, but was completely unaware of fandom at that point in my life, so I was enjoying his simultaneous history of the show, its fandom and the television industry. He never has exactly my take on the show, but he’s infectiously enthusiastic about it, and he has good guests. I only stopped listening because I couldn’t keep up with re-watching two episodes a week so as to listen to him discuss them. I’d like to go back to it, though—he’s had some great guests on recently: Darrin Morgan, etc.

The BBC has a bunch of podcasts, always, and I’ve just been listening to their broadcast of Atul Gawande’s Reith Lectures on the Future of Medicine. He’s a fascinating speaker, of course, and the lectures seem to have drawn a lot of other prominent doctors, so the questions he gets asked are interesting, too.

What do you guys listen to? What am I missing?

(and I have room for some more questions, if you want to drop one in the comments)
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Happy Halloween! It’s been a busy couple of weeks since I last posted.

On the 19th, I ran my second half-marathon. I trained much harder this year and…finished a whopping 5 minutes faster. A fast runner, I am not. But I felt good about it, and had fun—it was a beautiful day in my hometown, I saw friends cheering along the way, and, heck, anytime I run any distance at all, I’m surprised. (Me: Well, no matter what happens, I enjoyed the training; R: Enjoyed? You loved the training!; Me: Yeah, I did.)

Then last weekend, we went to Colorado to see Son #1. CO was as gorgeous as ever, and son #1 seems to be doing well, better than last year, which is excellent, but a bit bittersweet, since I miss him a lot. (The boys and I had the most fun going to this old-fashioned pinball arcade , “Where it’s always 1978.” Along with the pinball, they had ping pong, pool, and, best of all, a giant Connect Four set and a giant Jenga set. Still, the traveling, and seeing friends and family so intensely is…intense.

And thinking about Yuletide. Assignments went out yesterday, and while mine isn’t all that exciting, it doesn’t look that difficult, either. I also snagged one of the initial pinch hits, from a fandom I’d been eyeing anyway. I need to spend some time reviewing the sources for both, though.

What I’m Reading

Nothing in print right now, but I’m listening to The Fever, by Megan Abbott, because I read this great review article about it, and the library had an audiobook copy. It’s compelling, but a little…garish? hyperbolic? The subject can’t help but hover on the edge of the ridiculous, and this book sometimes teeters over. Plus, high school has clearly gotten worse since I was a teenager. The level of sexual shame is WAY higher than it was in the 80s—but maybe that’s just the book? The social media frenzy is well done, though.

I’m also listening to, but have gotten distracted from, the fourth Twelve Houses book, Reader and Raelynx

What I Just Finished

Ancillary Sword, by Ann Leckie. Read more... )

Euphoria, by Lily King (audiobook). Read more... )

Dark Moon Defender, Sharon Shinn (audiobook). As enjoyable as the first two!

What I’m Reading Next

I’m trying to find time to start Sarah Waters’ The Paying Guests, and I’m curious about Marlon James’s A Brief History of Seven Killings, which I have out from the library. But my parents are visiting this weekend, so who knows.

TV:

So, is anyone else watching Kingdom, the Direct TV show about MMA fighters, starring Frank Grillo as Alvey Kulina? Read more... )

And then there’s Tom Hardy as Alfie Solomons on Peaky Blinders S2, doing one of his cardiganed thug turns as a Jewish breadmaking gangster (do the baggy clothes, slump and facial hair muffle his charisma, or do they just amplify it?). I’m a week behind, but so far I’ve been really enjoying watching the show get its Godfather on, even introducing a Michael Corleone character—Polly’s long lost son, who’s entering the criminal life with a kind of steely watchfulness that would make Al Pacino proud.

I’m a week behind with Homeland, too. I’m enjoying it okay, though Carrie is the worst, most unbelievable Station Chief, ever. She’s a great agent—but leadership skills? People management? Not so much.

Happy Halloween, folks! Have a great time if you’re participating!

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