I finished up The Castle of Otranto and it continued to be delightfully OTT and ridiculous right to the very last line. I laughed a lot. Especially at the last line. The charm of it is, I think (other than gloomy castles and giant suits of armour and what have you), that it's very hard to tell if the whole thing is some kind of joke, or just bits of it. This seems to have been the question for 250 years, and, indeed, the next book I read, The Old English Baron by Clara Reeve is quite openly The Castle of Otranto, the more rational (and therefore possibly not-truly-Gothic) remix.
As Clara Reeve says in the introduction, certain elements of Otranto, "destroy the work of imagination, and, instead of attention, excite laughter." (Walpole apparently responded that hers was, "So probable, that any trial for murder at the Old Bailey would make a more interesting story." Hmm, wait, a novel featuring a real life murder...? Shame he didn't try it, heh.)
It does indeed tail off into a long, plodding fixit of everything, though. It's rather like a tumblr-recommended fixit version of Otranto where everything is relentlessly put right and all the bad people are punished or grovel and apologise to the good people. I liked the beginning with the locked up haunted wing with the murdered body in it very much, though, mixed with a more recognisable setting. Also its hero Edmund has an amusing tendency to weep over people. (The best bit was at the end where he flung his arms round both his mentors legs at once and they had to stop him and then he still had to hug them and weep over them.)
But, given that it's still only about 130 odd pages and has a haunted East wing, it was readable and fascinating to compare to Otranto. I'm glad the collection had them both.
I also read another Daisy Dalrymple (Dead in the Water), which you could probably tell because fic happened. My friend is coming to see me again this week - I have hopes she might be able to lend me some more, because the only others I've found are quite a few books on from that. (Obviously, I'm looking forward to seeing her with or without books, but with books is always better.)
What I'm Reading Now
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho, which, as promised by aralias, is very light and enjoyable and just my sort of thing. I seem to be okay with it, too. \o/ (The only downside is the inevitable comparison to Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, which can do it no favours. It's a shame she didn't set it, say, 20 years later or earlier to mitigate that. Although, of course, I'm only 100 pages in; there are no doubt very good Plot Reasons.)
(I'm still note-taking from A Mad Bad and Dangerous People? and technically sort of reading Desolation Island, but have not progressed far with either since last time.)
What I'm Reading Next
Well, if my friend does bring me some more Daisy, there'll be that. And once I've finished Sorcerer to the Crown, I might try the next Gothic novel in the collection, which is Mistrust by Matthew Gregory Lewis (author of The Monk).
Choose five series fandoms (no peeking before you choose them), list them, and then answer the questions behind the cut.
1. Once Upon a Time
2. Blake's 7
3. Doctor Who
4. Dracula (1968)*
5. Sapphire & Steel
( Cut for questions and answers )
* Yes, I did fail to read the instructions when I made the list. *handwaves*
Goodnight Mommy has twin brothers, about 10 years old, living alone in a remote country house with a mother who's evidently had some sort of surgery to her face since her whole head is bandaged. Also, something is different about her since the surgery, at least that's what the boys tell each other. And who can you trust if not twins in a horror movie? They just want everything to go back to the way it was, after all.
Where is our real Mommy?
This is the sort of movie that spends a long time not letting you in on what's going on except that there's something very wrong. Against a mountain backdrop straight out of the Austrian Tourist Board the house has walls covered in blurry photos, skulls in the picturesque root cellar, and of course the cockroaches. It's a slow burn to a rather disturbing finale that's not necessarily for the weak-stomached, and there's one or two twists that are telegraphed way too early, but I like it. There's something dark at the heart of every pastoral scene of the gallant south.
Happily, Andrew's explanation of how the light works was spot on, and it doesn't bother me like a glowy phone or computer or TV screen. To give you some idea of how Lorca-ish my eyes are, though, I have it set to 2 when I'm in bed, and 5 in daylight. It goes up to about 30, by the looks of it (haven't actually counted).
I'm really REALLY happy with the cover I got for it, which is incredibly thin and light, but still feels sturdy. It also has the autowake function, which is handy. I would genuinely rec it to anyone who has a papperwit of the requisite size (that's pretty much all of them less than 5 years old).
I think I am also going to quickly get used to having Goodreads integration, which my old Kindle was too ancient to support.
All in all, I think I made the right decision. Thanks to those of you who helped by voting and commenting and things.
Now, there is a school of thought that this doesn't matter a jot because it'll never get past parliament, requiring as it does far too many turkeys to vote for Christmas. I, for one, think that would be a shame, if only for my little home patch.
The proposals for Calderdale are basically what I would have done, were I the boundary commission. A lot of my fellow Calderdale politicians will doubtless be pissing and moaning about various bits1, although having read the report, the Tories will probably be the least annoyed of us. Here are the things I am pleased about:
- The two constituencies make geographical sense, for the first time in my lifetime.
- The town I live in can no longer be almost completely ignored by three of the five active political parties in the area.
- We have not created a complete dead zone for the Lib Dems in the constituency I live in, which is what would have happened had the commission accepted the Lib Dem proposals2.
- The constituency names, while not the ones I suggested, follow the same logic3
1I know a bunch of my fellow Lib Dems are annoyed we haven't got a winnable seat out of it, by putting all the wards with Lib Dem councillors into the same constituency. To which I would say: did you see our vote share at the last general election? And also combining wards where we have councillors is not the only way to get a winnable seat. Look at the demographics...
2Calderdale Lib Dem membership is divided pretty much half and half, which it would not have been under the proposals the party submitted. While it will annoy EVERYBODY who wanted to be in the mythical winnable seat, gives us two live constituencies to fight for, instead of one with pretty much every Calderdale activist except my household in it.
3I wanted Calderdale East and Calderdale West and they've gone for Upper Calder and Lower Calder. I can live with that. It's miles better than their initial suggestion of calling my seat Halifax, when it only had half of Halifax and two towns that are not Halifax in.
Rating: All ages
Word Count: 693
Characters/Pairings: Twelfth Doctor, Clara Oswald
Summary: Letting the strangers go had clearly been a mistake…
For persiflage_1 in the 500 Prompts Meme: 12. Why didn't we detain them? - Twelve & Clara Oswald (DW)
Here @ AO3 | Also @ the Teaspoon
The impressive number of you who said Glee was the best fringe event, and the smaller but still impressive number who said we were the best thing about conference full stop, and the hardy few who said the best way to improve conference would be to have more Glee, and the one dear sweet soul who said Glee was their main reason for coming to conference?
I am genuinely touched and I love you all. Thank you. It makes it absolutely worth trying to chair a debate with a hangover and a sore throat first thing in the morning after. You guys rule.
I'm the Harry Houdini of getting away with it. I know how tonight plays out. We get out clean. You just gotta do what I say, OK?
Again, bratty 12-year-old kid with hot babysitter, home invasion by armed creeps, but played a lot smarter, because every rich kid raised on video games knows that fighting off invaders is easy ... up until people start dying for real. This one has twists coming every few minutes, a good sense of humour that doesn't devolve into silliness, and a pretty creepy villain as well. That's about as much as I feel comfortable saying without spoiling anything. Oh, and it's one of very few Christmas-themed horror movies that actually work. Better watch.
That said: why, oh why, is it Monday?
This means that paperwork from the three meetings I have remaining to attend this year will need to go in a new file. This displeases me; I wanted to be all neat and do a file per year.
* grumpy face *
I may not be around much this week. A co-worker asked me to dog sit (which makes me feel so good, that he trusts me to do this for him, and felt like he could ask me!) So I'll be going by his place when I get up and after work, which will take a lot of time out of my day because Charlotte is too big. I swear, I did more in Knoxville in one 24 hour period than I do in a week here, because it's so nice and compact. Seriously, my hotel, the club, a friend's house, and where we went to dinner were all in a five minute radios. As was the big book store I always look forward to going to. And I had time to visit the ex twice! And drive all over UT campus, and downtown, and the Old City...and just....did I mention that I had a fantastic time?
I have a lot more to share, but of course, I got a story idea on the drive, so I want to get that down before I go to bed.
I love you all. Hope everyone had a great weekend, too!
Happy Birthday to carbonel , who celebrated on Oct. 11. She is a thoughtful and creative person who is always a pleasure to communicate with, even though I do so rarely. I've received helpful advice from her on many occasions, when she didn't need to take the effort, something I've always appreciated. She's a fan, someone who can create in words and in textiles (the latter fills me with a certain amount of awe), someone who understands the joys of fic reading and writing, and who is someone I'm glad I know. I hope you had an excellent birthday, and will have an excellent year!
And Happy Birthday today to brithistorian - I hope your day has been properly celebrated by loved ones and friends. You are someone whose posts I always enjoy reading, even if I say altogether too little in response to them. I hope the coming year is filled with academic success, family connections, work accomplishments, and fannish enjoyments. Go, you!
Firstly, this dark, atmospheric, wartime story with layers upon layers and stunningly good style:
J'attendrai (1479 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Original Work
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: 1940s Resistance Fighter/Glamorous Wartime Singer
Characters: 1940s Resistance Fighter, Glamorous Wartime Singer
Additional Tags: Love in a Dangerous Time
The sadness of having to wait, the sweetness of having someone to wait for...
And then this, which is just sheer fun:
The Pirate and the Mermaid (8628 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Original Work
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Original Female Character(s)
Additional Tags: Mermaids, Pirates, Supernatural Elements, Cultural Differences, Shipwrecks
"Of course," said Charlie pettishly. As if she was just a stupid kid, asking stupid questions. "How was I supposed to know? You're the first mermaid I've ever met."
"Well, you're the first woman-with-legs I've ever met!" snapped the mermaid.
From the isurrendered meme, john_amend_all gave me this prompt. If I had remembered that he threatened to do this several years ago, I would have tried to ward it off, but I didn't, so here we are:
One of those obscure centuries-old cults has a ritual: Once every hundred years, on the night of the winter solstice, the chosen one must stand at a particular place (where ley lines converge) and will become an inspired bard and prophet.
... Except that since the last ritual, an office block has been built on the site, and the mystic powers end up being bestowed on the coffee machine. Hilarity, as they say, ensues.
Which is coming to an LJ near you some time soon as:
( Coffee and Curses )
I've also authorised Mastodon Bridge on both Mastodon and twitter, and would encourage others to do the same, to help us all find each other. It's important to get the syntax of your mastodon name right, but don't worry if you cock it up (like I did) you can just hit back and try again ;)
ETA: having looked at this "which instance should you join?" Mastodon quiz I'm thinking I should maybe have plumped for this one instead... so if you're considering it, it might be worth doing the quiz. We'll see. If I get into it, and if enough other people turn up on there, I may move to a different instance.
Gotham 1x22 - 2x03
The Orville 1x05
The Brave 1x03
The Mindy Project 6x05
The Mick 2x03
Fresh Off the Boat 4x02
Brooklyn Nine-Nine 5x03
Lethal Weapon 2x03
This is Us 2x03
American Housewife 2x03
Kevin (probably) Saves the World 1x02
The Good Place 2x05
Legends of Tomorrow 3x01
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend 3x01
Once Upon a Time 7x02
Grey’s Anatomy 14x04
The Gifted 1x02
I’m just not feeling Ghosted. I probably won’t be continuing with that.
I also think I’m done with The Orville, The Brave, The Mick, This is Us, American Housewife, Once Upon a Time and Grey’s Anatomy. Time will tell though. I often try and give up shows and just can’t.
But I’ve been watching way too much TV and I want to get back to reading more again and that means some of these shows have to go.
I was happy with the most recent episode of Once Upon a Time, but happy in a way that makes me feel relieved and able to let the show go. I’m good with how things ended in season 6 and it completes the story that I was most interested in, so I think I’m good now.
I’m loving Kevin (probably) Saves the World. It’s weird that I’m loving it. I wasn’t even planning to give it a chance, so not my kind of show at all, but I’m loving it, so I’ll keep watching. I’m trying to cut down to shows that I really love, that make me feel good, or at least don’t leave me feeling worse. I think This is Us is a great show, but I don’t want to watch it anymore. It stresses me out way too much and leaves me feeling crappy and drained and I feel that way enough without TV, so it’s going.
I loved the season opener for Legends of Tomorrow. Pure crack, totally batshit crazy and they’re embracing it. ♥
This week’s horror/halloween movie was Beetlejuice (borrowed from the library). Another movie I have seen but the daughter has not. She enjoyed it.
Since watching It (2017) a few weeks ago, I've had this perhaps not entirely rational urge to rewatch It (1990) again. I remembered it as pretty goddamn awful, and even if I wasn't entirely blown away by the remake, surely it would look even worse now?
And you know, I'm not sure it does. ( Spoilers for both movies )
2. I have my Yuletide assignment, but obv. can't talk about it. I have mixed feelings about whether I can do it proper justice, but it is a fandom I love and wanted to get, and hopefully I'll manage something decent in the end.
3. In the department of inevitable irony or something, the GRO have resumed their test pilot of offering PDFs for (some) historical certificates online for £6 instead of £9.20. I had been saving birthday money for this moment since May in case it ever came. Guess who finally gave up on that ever being a thing and spent the last of the money on Sunday? Yes, me. (The wretches! The rotters!) Anyway, for those also into UK family history, it's running for three months or so this time, so don't miss out.
4. I wrote a frivolous thing for no reason at all for the first time in forever. It was, of course, still stupidly obscure. Whoever it was - at least two people, I think, or maybe three - recommended me the Daisy Dalrymple books for light mystery reading, I blame you. All/both of you. Ficlet of pure froth: Foiled (G, 490 words, Alec/Daisy.)
Looking into the current models, I hit upon a dilemma. I really, REALLY do not want a backlight, and I have been told that on both the paperwhite and the voyage you can turn the light down low, but never off completely. For me, the main attraction of an e-ink display was the lack of invasive lightiness buggering up my delicate little eyeballs. So that instantly pushed me towards the basic... BUT the basic has a lower resolution, and no 3G option, and apparently is a bit cheap-feeling and breaks easily.
I get paid on Sunday. I'll be buying a new kindle on Sunday2. Help me to decide which one?
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 11
Which kindle should Jennie buy
The light's not THAT bad, the Paperwhite
Hang the expense! The Voyage!
In other news, isn't it amazing how much I blog on a twitterless day?
1srsly, Kindle keyboards go for STUPID money, who knew? It's almost like having buttons is a good thing for some people, and touch screens are not the be all and end all of everything...
2This is why the Oasis isn't even an option - apart from anything else I have a book I need to write a review for by the end of the month that's on kindle and the Oasis doesn't come out till the end of the month