mayakittenreads: (Default)
So yeah, LJ got too nope so I'm importing the posts from mayakitten then deleting. australian_imp has finally been deleted and I can't remember the passwords to the couple of old specific use journals I had.

I don't blog much in text form anymore (yearly reading stats!), but I do vlog about books at least once a week over on youtube as MayakittenReads. My Twitters has also recently changed to MayakittenReads. Hey, I'm rebranding! (Instagram is mayakittenoz, which, close enough!)

Will the move encourage me to blog more, even if I'm just posting links to vids?

Eh. We'll see.

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathoning this weekend. Should be fun.

My most recent vlog:


mayakittenreads: (GirlReading)
It's that time of year again - a statistical round up of my reading for the past year. I had a really good year in 2016, encouraged by that fact that around the middle of the year I started posting regular booktube videos on youtube. My channel's name is MaiarBellydance, just in case. *winks* I'm just starting to teach myself some basic editing, so hopefully my videos will improve a bit.

Completed

I completed 87 items of reading in 2016 (my target was 70), and DNF-ed 1. As much as Jodie Taylor's Just One Damned Thing After Another sounded up my alley, I just could not get into it and therefore returned it to the library.

Of that 87, the author/editor gender breakdown (to my knowledge) is as follows:
Male: 38
Female: 40
Multiple Genders: 9

Fairly even, leaning towards the feminine. I read more male authored books at the start of the year, as the English class I was taking had weekly texts mostly written by men and The Force Awakens sent me on a Star Wars re-reading binge in January.

I've added or subtracted categories as needed for the rest of the statistics, but they ar emostly the same as last year.

Magazines: 6
Comics: 6
Anthologies: 3
Single Author Collection: 1
Poetry: 1
Individual Short Stories/Novellas: 6
Audiobooks: 11
Non Fiction: 2
Fiction: 79
Both NF/F: 6 (basically, the issues of Uncanny Magazine)
Re-Reads: 35
Previously Unread: 52

I believe I re-read more this year than last year, but it is still significantly skewed towards new works. I've also picked up audio books, which cover a significant amount of my re-reading, as I think they work best for me as re-reads.

Finally, after perusing my very white 2015 reading list, I challenged myself at the start of the year to read more non-white authors. I did not set myself a specific target, because anything is better than 0. In total I completed 4 books by non-white authors, 3 of which were a trilogy by an Indigenous Australian author. I'm a little disappointed at the low number, but it's an improvement. I also acknowledge that there are 2 books by non-white authors on my currently reading pile and a number of short stories, particularly in Uncanny Magazine that don't count individually. I also certainly bought a few more that I have not yet read. Still it's a starting point.

So - looking forward to 2017. I've set my Goodreads target to 95. I hit my 2016 target in October so I need to challenge myself a bit more this time. I would like to increase the number of non-white authors from 2016. The other area where I lack is LGBTQ+. It's a bit harder to calculate via author - I'm not really comfortable digging too deeply into personal lives. So I might aim for books with LGBTQ+ protagonists.

I also need to read my own damn books. My TBR is far too large and outgrowing the space I've put aside for it. I'm not going to give myself a specific target for the TBR. However, I am going to try and limit myself each month to buying no more books than I actually read in that month. Given that I plan to buy books tomorrow - I should get a wriggle on. I'm also registering this particular goal as part of #readmyowndamnbooks hosted by Estella over at http://estellasrevenge.blogspot.com.au/2016/12/readmyowndamnbooks-2017-sign-ups.html

I'm starting off this week by trying to make as much progress as possible on my 'Currently Reading' shelf on Goodreads, which, as of this moment, has 13 books of various types and forms on it *gulps*. I have the first week of the year off work, so I should at least manage to finish a few. I am also aiming to get caught up on Uncanny Magazine, as I've been 3 or 4 issues behind for a good 12 months now. The only other not currently in progress stuff I might allow myself this week is some Jane Austen re-reading. I've been feeling the need for it recently, and it will make a good break if I get stuck.
mayakittenreads: (Tim Minchin So F Rock)
So. I saw Rogue One: A Star Wars Story after work yesterday.

I bloody loved it.

It was heartbreaking and beautiful and exciting and nostalgic and creepy and hopeful... I have so many feels and so many thoughts.

Read more... )
mayakittenreads: (GirlReading)
mayakittenreads: (Belly green)
I went to see the Sydney Dance Company production Countermove last night. There were two halves, both of them extremely different from the other.

First up was "Cacti" choreographed by Alexander Ekman. It was totally not what I was expecting. It was hilarious. Live musicians, funny voiceovers and, well, cacti. It was a gentle mocking of the concept of 'high art' and the critics that subscribe to it. I absolutely loved it.

The second half was back to what my expectations of SDC tend to be. "Lux Tenebris" by Rafael Bonachela was intense and abstract. Intricately choreographed and beauifully danced with supreme skill, it was frenetic and industrial and kind of eerie... and while enjoyable to watch I had no emotional connection to it. Abstract contemporary dance is something I've always struggled with. No clear story or meaning, just movement. Enjoyable to watch but it rarely sticks with me.
mayakittenreads: (GirlReading)
The follow up to Saturday's video. This is how I went.



I'm definitely doing this again in October. It was exhausting, even with sleep, but so much fun. I am now 10 books ahead of schedule in my goodreads challenge & have read more women and another writer of colour (Nnedi Okorafor). Yayness!
mayakittenreads: (GirlReading)
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Canberra, Australia.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Probably Half-Off Ragnarok, by Seanan McGuire.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
The peppermint choclate. ;)

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
I'm a 31 year old former bellydancer who now sings in a choir.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
This is my first read-a-thon and I'm most looking forward to dedicating a large chunk of time to reading. I don't get to do that much anymore. The price of adulthood.
mayakittenreads: (GirlReading)
So I've been experimenting with filming on my iPad using the youtube app this weekend. Booktube is inspiring, though frankly, it probably won't last with me. I'll get distracted. But, I've just posted my to read pile for the Dewey 24 hOur Read-a-thon, which starts in just under 5 hours. SO I thought I would post it here too.




The Books

Binti - Nnedi Okoarafor
Half-Off Ragnarok - Seanan McGuire
Without a Summer - Mary Robinette Kowal
Four Doctors - Paul Cornell
Asterix - Goscinny & Uderzo
Trickster's Choice - Tamora Pierce
The Red Queen - Isobelle Carmody
Gemma Alone - Noel Streatfeild
The Green Mill Murder - Kerry Greenwood
And Furthermore - Judi Dench
One Small Step - ed. Tehani Wessely

I won't get them all read, obviously, but I wanted options to switch between if I got stuck. And frankly, should the mood take me, I'll grab anything off the shelf.
mayakittenreads: (GirlReading)
I got inspired by a blog post by Erika from the Verity! podcast... so here are my memories of libraries.

Libraries were part of my life growing up, but perhaps not as much as some people. Mostly, I think, because there were always a lot of books in the house, between the large collection of picture books (it's still epic and now Mum has grandchildren to read them to), Dad's library of theology, science fiction & fantasy and Mum's classics and mysteries. I read and re-read Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, LM Montgomery, Tolkien and CS Lewis. Between my brothers and I as teens we ended up with a large collection of Star Wars novels and I always had stacks of Tamora Pierce and Baby-Sitters Club. We were also big re-readers, so we were often quite happy with what we had. But there are things I definitely remember about libraries (and there were a lot, as we moved regularly).

In primary school in Heywood, I remember regularly visiting the rows of BSC and Sweet Valley books in the public library. My friends and I were big BSC readers. But I also remember my brothers and I wearing out the library copies of The Muddle Headed Wombat & The Animals of Farthing Wood on cassette tape. Snugglepot & Cuddlepie as well, I think. We could listen happily for hours. I can also remember borrowing a Kylie Minogue cassette in one of my early forays into pop music.

We were in Oatlands, a very small country ton for my tweens and early teens. I remember the local library had a copy of the abridged novelisation from The Return of the Jedi illustrated with stills from the film. My brothers and I would borrow that and the Asterix & TinTin comics constantly. My most distinct memory of the school library was a book called Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman. I read it multiple times... goodness, I've not thought of that book in a while. I wonder if it's on Kindle?

Most of my other library memories are related to Glenorchy City Library through my late teens and early twenties. I didn't visit often, but it had much of the books I already liked as well as a great deal more. In particular was Monica Seles' early autobiography, which I have never found anywhere else.. and I'm always looking.

I am a member of the local library here in Canberra, but my TBR shelf is so huge and my reading time so variable that I rarely use it, though it was a great comfort when I first moved up, having had to leave many books that technically belonged to my mother behind. I did get hold of the Tiptree bio there last year though. So it's always handy to know where the libary card is!
mayakittenreads: (Feminism)
I've just got back from seeing The Bell Shakespeare Company's current production of Romeo and Juliet.

Was it supposed to be that funny?

Well, it was mostly the first half... and anything involving the Nurse (played by Michelle Doake). I certainly wanted to thoroughly strangle Lord Capulet in the second half. Also Paris. Juliet is not a belonging goddamnit! *mutters darkly about forced marraige*

For a woman less than 3 years younger than me, Kelly Paterniti had me convinced she really was a 13 year old Juliet.

Also... shirtless Romeo. Enough said.

All in all, an enjoyable evening. I even got dressed up and painted my nails for the first time in forever.
mayakittenreads: (BodyLibrary)
As usual, my blogging has been non existent - well, it is me. The fact that I'm finally making a post at night after being drugged in bed with a dizzy migraine all day is just how I roll. Mostly, it's because I randomly ran across an awesome book vlogger on youtube today and I'm feeling inspred. Let's face it, it probably won't last. What gives me hope is that I've no been using to do lists to organise my life on an almost daily basis for over a month now and it's been working. Mostly. Migraines and 'meh' days still happen. I've already starting semi-scheduling minimum reading and TV time, so perhaps it will work for blogging too. Perhaps if I put it on the weekend list?

So, lets start with what I've been reading in the last month-ish.

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina
I read this back in late February. It's been on my to-read shelf since I saw Ambelin speak as the Guest of Honour at Continuum in Melbourne in 2014, but I hadn't got around to it (the story of my life). I finally picked it up as part of my determination to read more authors of colour. Ambelin is an Indigenous Australian author from Western Australia and this is the first novel in her YA series The Tribe. It's post the environmental apocalypse and shares the stories of a group of young people with illegal powers living in a forest on the outskirts of society. It literally covers the interrogation of the leader of these children, Ashala Wolf, over a few days. But more is going on than you think. It's about memory and friendship, power and dreams, and doing what's right. I really enjoyed it.

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
I read this in the lead up to attending Contact 2016 which was held in Brisbane over Easter, with Ben as a GOH. Again, this was a book that had been sitting on my kindle for a couple of years, so I took the opportunity to read it. It's a London police procedural with magic and gods. It's the firstiin the Peter Grant series and is very enjoyable. I particularly liked the characterisation of the Thames and it's subsiduries. Enjoyable, will probably read more eventually, but not as gripping and mind bending as my other experience in a similar sub genre, Paul Cornell's Shadow Police series.

Uncanny Magazine Issue 6
I'm a wee bit behind in my Uncanny Reading (I supported both Kickstarter campaigns) but have picked it up again as my bus ride reading. This issue had a fun middle grade Scifi story, "Find A Way Home" by Paul Cornell and the bizzarity of the glitter frogs in "And Never Mind the Watching Ones" by Keffy R.M. Kehrli. As always there was some excellent essays and I think I'm starting to connect to the poetry more (I blame my current uni studies - "Biting Tongues" by Amal El-Mohtar rang clanging bells).

I also ended up re-reading all three volumes of A Tapestry of Lives by Jean Sims, one of my favourite Pride & Prejudice variation and extensions. I am currently over 600 page sinto the final book of The Obernewtyn Chronicles, The Red Queen by Isobelle Carmody, which is awesome, but requires large chunks of time (it's 1108 pages!).

TV wise, I've not watch much of note, though in the last week or so I've been catching up on a lot of Julia Zemiro's Home Delivery (a half hour interview show where she takes guests to their childhood homes & schools). I also finally watched episode 1.04 of Daredevil on Sunday and OMG the violence was so graphic I had to turn away and block my ears. I will persist with season 1, as it's Marvel, but I don't know whether I'll go further.

Now, I should stop here and try & sleep, so as to avoid missing another day of work.
mayakittenreads: (11 Quote Stormageddon)
So, The Force Awakens is awesome... but that is not what this post is about. However, it inspired a bit of a Star Wars renaissance for me. I rewatched the original films, I rewatched the prequels and I started re-reading some of the original Expanded Universe novels (mostly because Poe Dameron is labelled Not-Wedge in my head, so I went a read Real-Wedge). And then there is the fanfiction. Oh dear gods, the fanfiction. Both new Force Awakens stuff and older stuff.

And that's where I've been thinking really hard about the prequels. Because one of my rarely indulged guilty pleasures is reading Prequel AUs, usually involving some sort of timey wimey plot device (Obi-Wan dying, then waking up a padawan and going oh shit is one of my favourites).

I like the prequels. But when people challenge me about it, I've never been able to articulate why, beyond "I was a early teenage fan obsessed with the universe and therefore the target audience". The prequels have flaws, but I do enjoy them. So I've mulling that over for the first month and a half of the year. This is what I've come up with.

Padme Amidala: I love her in episodes 1 & 2. She kicks arse both politically (manipulation by a Sith Lord excepted) and on the field of battle. She stands up for what she believes in (democracy and peace), but has no problems in defending herself if she needs to. In Episode 2, when facing execution, it is Padme who gets herself out of trouble first by picking th elock on her handcuffs and climbing the pillar to relative safety before the Jedi have figured out what to do next.

Unfortunately, this awesome is completely destroyed when she is fridged in episode 3. And not only is she fridged, but it is INTERNALLY INCONSISTENT WITH RETURN OF THE JEDI WTF?!?!?!?! In ROTJ, Leis has memories of her mother, which she describes in her conversation with Luke before he tells her they're twins. Yet in ROTS, she dies in childbirth? Argh!!!

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi: Totes the best thing about all the prequels.I think he brings an honesty and authenticity to the younger version of a much beloved character. The "You were my brother, I loved you!" speech hits me in the feels every single time. His storylines tend to be my favourites. Plus, totally awesome fight scene with Jango Fett IN THE RAIN. What?

Qui-Gon Jinn: Serene Jedi Master who has no problem blithely ignoring the Council when he feels like it. So much win.

Epic Romance: Yes much of the Padme/Anakin interaction in Episode 2 is horribly awkward and it ends terribly. But as a hopeless romantic, I can't help but adore the Epic Love Story.

Jar Jar Binks doesn't actually irritate me much, though yes, I can see that he's a bit problematic.

Baby Owen and Beru *flails*

The music is, as usual, completely awesome.

What irritates me? The over used CGI (much of Ep i looks like a cartoon) and the far too sleek Nubian star ships. Star Wars Ships need to be dirty and quirky. Just saying. Also, Padme's completely impractical outfits. Her idea of 'at home' clothing is bizarre.
mayakittenreads: (GirlReading)
My Goodreads challenge for 2015 was to read 70 'books'. I made it, but only by putting in a concerted effort in the last week of the year (I read about 8 books and comics in a 5 day period). I started the year very slowly and spent most of the year trying to play catch up.

As usual, I've done a gender breakdown based on writers or editors.

Written/Edited by women: 41
Written/Edited by men: 24
Edited by multiple genders: 5

A few more men this year, but still overwhelmingly female. Now for the other stats.

4 Magazines
24 Comics (a combination of trades and single volumes)
1 Audio Dramatisation of a Novel (it was on goodreads, it totally counts)
3 Anthologies (fiction)
1 Individual Author Collection
6 works of Non Fiction (2 were collections)
60 works of Fiction
4 work of both Fiction & Non Fiction
4 Re-reads
66 Previously Unread

This year I have left out the category of short fiction, although there are a couple of works which are considered so, but given I almost entirely avoided the Hugo Short Fiction categories this year, I didn't think it was worth a stat. They're included in the fiction count.

So, a lot more comics in 2015 and a lot less re-reading..

Since I barely made it in 2015, I've kept my target the same at 70 for 2016, though I've already had a much better start. The true challenge this year will be to try and read some work by writers of colour. I have the gender thing down pat, but I'm pretty sure the only work from people of colour I've read is as part of Uncanny Magazine. Ms Marvel is a character of colour written by a Muslim woman, but I'm not sure if G. Willow Wilson identifies as a person of colour. I don't want to assume. I have at least 1 book by an Indigenous Australian buried in my to read shelf, so I had best start there.

I'll report back in 12 months. ;)
mayakittenreads: (GirlReading)
Good grief, I have so many feels about this book. This is the best damn biography that I have read in a long time.

August is Tiptree month at my favourite podcast, (Hugo Award Winning!) Galactic Suburbia, as yesterday would have been the 100th birthday of Alice Bradley Sheldon aka James Tiptree Jnr aka Racoona Sheldon. I had never read this author, though I knew about her due to hearing many discussions of the James Tiptree Jnr Award and I knew Tiptree being revealed as a woman was a big shock and controversy at the time. I knew that she was known for science fiction that explored gender and sexuality. So when GS said they were going to do a spoilerific podcast (now 2) in celebration of her birthday I picked up an ebook containing the appropriate short stories (only partially read at this point) and sought the biography from my local library.

It's enthralling.

I read this oddly slowly for me, with 9, 10 or 11 page chapters taking much longer than usual, yet it didn't feel like it was dragging at all. I am utterly fascinated by this woman who is so very different from me, but yet I sympathise with her. I am a fairly calm and sensible person with a tendency towards laziness & procrastination and very little drive or ambition, and yet I felt that to have Alice's ambition and life experience would be something special. She lived so much, for all that she was rarely satifsied and not always happy. I wonder if I'm missing out on something, yet could I really cope with the agonizing confusion and self-hate that Sheldon went through?

She had such complex and difficult relationships with people, she was isolated, yet had warm friendships. She did extrodinary things at the same time as trying be a 'good daughter' and struggling with the role of wife.

Julie Phillips has written a sympathetic, honest, personal biography that made me fall completely in love with a woman I will never meet and never experience as anything other than part of history.

I'm looking forward to delving into her fiction and the commentary surrounding it.

And of course I can now liste to the Galactic Suburbia discussion. ;)
mayakittenreads: (GirlReading)
I wish to acknowledge the Ngunnawal people as the traditional owners and custodians of land on which I am writing today

There is some dispute, but for the most part, Canberra and the ACT is recognised as being Ngunnawal country. The people were once hunter-gatherers and resources specific to the area were Bogong moths in the summer and Yam Daisies in the lowlands.

The community has been here for at least 20,000 years and is still living here. The earliest direct evidence is a rock shelter near Tharwa that is 20,000 years old.

...That's a rather pitiful amount of knowledge really. Hopefully I will learn more this week.

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ngunnawal
http://www.nationalcapital.gov.au/downloads/education_and_understanding/factsheets/1%20NgunnawalCountry.pdf
mayakittenreads: (Strawberries)
Today is the start of NAIDOC Week 2015 and I decided to head down to the National Museum of Australia for the NAIDOC festival that they were holding. Exercise and culture for the win!



My adventure for the day #nationalmuseumofaustralia

A photo posted by @mayakittenoz on







I arrived in time for the Welcome to Country and a wander around the main hall.

#nationalmuseumofaustralia

A photo posted by @mayakittenoz on




Most of the activities were geared towards children, but there was music. So I caught the performance by a hiphop duo named MajikHoney, who apparently appear on X Factor last year. Anyway, they were fun, and did some covers that I recognised, so that was good.

MajikHoney #nationalmuseumofaustralia #naidocweek2015

A photo posted by @mayakittenoz on




I then joined a tour of the First Australians gallery given but one of the Aboriginal staffmembers. It was fun and she had some interesting things to say, particularly about the way the design of displays can send ideological messages.

After that I grabbed lunch before going back in to explore the galleries myself. I spent some time  cotemplating the Tasmanian display, which was mostly about the reclaimation of Tasmanian Aboriginal identiy and culture. I have the names of a few poets to look up, as one poem in particular nearly made me cry.

I did a little bounce at seeing Evonne Goolagong's Wimbledone trophies, and cracked up when I discovered that a 1960s Miss Australia was sharing a display case with Germaine Greer.

All in all, a fun, but tiring day. :D

EDIT: Let me know if the embedded Instagram pics work please? My internet is a bit spotty today and I've never done it before.
mayakittenreads: (Fandom)
Okay, this blog post is a month late, but apparently I'm in the mood today. I don't have a detailed memory so I'll be relying on the con book & twitter to jog my memory. So here we go.

Continuum is the Melbourne  speculative fiction convention and was held this year betwen 5-8 June. I attended Continuum X last year, as it was hosting the NatCon, and decided to return this year as the Australian Guest of Honour was Tansy Rayner Roberts who I've had the privilege of getting to know over the last year or two. The International Guest of Honour was Canadian YA author R.J. Anderson (who I'd never heard of but definitely know of now *winks*).

I was coming to this convention already quite relaxed after visiting family. I was prepared to thoroughly enjoy myself. I did. :D

I spent most of Friday afternoon loitering around the foyer and the dealers room, saying hello to friends and pondering what I wanted to attend for the weekend. The first scheduled event I went to was the Opening Ceremony, followed by the Great Debate. The topic was "Time Travel is Terrible and No One Should Do It". After much confusion as to who was negative (pro time travel) and who was affirmative (anti time travel), they got on with it. Some people had clearly prepared very well. Others simply ranted amusingly. Poor R.J. hadn't realised it was a formal debate. The negatives (unprepared but entertaining) were declared the victors. I'm not so convinced. :P After that, I wandered off into the wilds of Melbourne for burgers with a large group. A nice, entertaining but relaxed start to the con.

I started Saturday morning reasonably early, determined to consume some of the excellent programming.

I started off listening to Margo Lanagan and Tansy Rayner Roberts discuss messy emotions in science fiction, whether that be domesticity or romance. Having two people only on the panel, who obviously know each other well made for a lovely chat to listen to. They talked gender, male/female friendship where they don't end up together and the mating habits of anglerfish. Blame Margo.

I made sure to get a good seat of R.J. Anderson's guest of honour speech. She had me riveted from the moment she mentioned her father reading Tolkien and Narnia to her. I can relate! It was one of my first attempts to properly tweet an event. I think I did okay. The speech has been posted at http://www.rj-anderson.com/continuum-11-goh-speech-the-whole-story/ . It was a very moving, personal and hopeful speech. Combining both the bible and The Princess Bride to make a single point made my day and I was almost in tears as she quoted Puddleglum. I really enjoyed  the chance to meet R.J. and I plan to try her books soon.

A quick break for lunch and it was the much anticipated (by me) live recording of Galactic Suburbia!. Obviously you can listen to the discussion at http://galactisuburbia.podbean.com/e/episode-121-6-june-2015-live-fro-melbourne/ . I must say though, being able to see Alisa's WTF? face? HILARIOUS!

I seem to have been well scheduled (well, not purposely) as I tended to get an hour break inbetween panels that I wanted to see, which allowed me to wander off and have a little quiet time in my room, recharging my phone and such. But still, soon enough I was off to the Phryne Fisher panel, having fallen in love with the show only about a month before the con. Most of the panel had also read the books, which lead to some interesting dicussion about the differences in characterisation. I was very pleased that there was at least one panellist who had only watched the show like me, though.

Saturday ended with Mexican for dinner and then a retreat to a hotel room with Alex, Alisa, Tehani, Katherine, and later Tansy & R.J. In fact Sunday night was spent the same way. Highlights included an hilarious renactment of the 2014 Hugo Award ceremony and the revelation that Alisa's Hogwarts House was possibly not what she thought it was. ;)

My Sunday started a little later with a panel on the many adaptations of Sherlock Holmes. I found out about a lot of books and TV shows that I'd never heard of. I did feel a little uncomfortable at one point when discussion verged on Steven Moffat bashing (I'm a wee bit sensitive on that topic) but it was quickly hauled back on the topic of perhaps the original fandom.

Next up was Tansy's Guest of Honour Speech, the text of which can be found at http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2015/06/guest-post-tansy-rayner-roberts-fantasy-female-writers-politics-influence/ It was very Tansy. Thoughtful, intelligent and in the end very positive. Female Fantasy writers have always been here, so lets talk about them!

After lunch I popped by The Writer & The Critic podcast recording for more Tansy & RJ, with added Krstyn & Mondy hilarity. Also, bonus hecklers up the back. ;) I've not read either of the books, but I seem to enjoy books discussion just for themselves, even if I'm not interested in the book.

My evening started with Cranky Ladies of History panel. I toddled off, eager to hear more about some of the ladies who wrote the stories and the ladies who inspired the stories in an anthology that I crowdfunded and fell in love with again when I read it. The world needs more Chinese lady pirates. My evening's entertainment rounded off with SFQI - which was chaotic, but perhaps not as disasterous as I may have expected, though I'm not sure I knew the answers to any questions. The rest of the audience did, though, and in fact often tried to answer before the contestants!

Monday was my Doctor Who day with two panels. One on who the show has changed people's lives and another on the Companions. I can listen to people talk about Doctor Who all day. Alas, very soon I was off to the airport with Tehani (we were on the same flight, bizarrely) and back home to the utter freezing cold that is Canberra right now.

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole weekend. The programming was utterly excellent and the con committee should be very proud of the job they did.

Ponderings

Jul. 4th, 2015 05:13 pm
mayakittenreads: (Tim Minchin brain)
I was thinking today about how much blogging has changed for me. Not just the fact that do it much less frequently, either!

When I began on livejournal in 2004, it was as much a personal journal of my doings as it was for posting fanfic and discussing awesome stuff. But so much of that is done on Twitter now. I only blog what I have something significant to talk about that will take more that 140 characters. I have to think a bit more. Which might explain why I do it so rarely!

I'm a creature of comfort, and I often find deep thought quite uncomfortable and difficult.

Even when I do have thoughts, my form of employment prevents me from posting what could be some truly epic rants. I'm not allowed to publicly say anything that could be considered criticsim of my employer. I won't go into detail for exactly that reason, but any Australian's can probably understand what I mean.

I don't watch much sport any more (I would watch F1 but my requires me to be asleep when it's on). And I've never been particularly good a critically reviewing media, though I think I'm getting better. But I so rarely work up the energy for it. Much of my time is still eaten by reading fic, even if I don't write much anymore. I'm also studying on top of working full time. I keep meaning to write up things like conventions, but here I am almost a month after the last one and I still haven't done anything. I should get on that.

I'm hoping to make some posts over the next week, which is NAIDOC week in Australia. In fact I have the first one cued up. Hopefully this will encourage me to keep going.

NAIDOC week is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander culture, history and achievements. I have some ideas, but we'll see.

Books!

May. 31st, 2015 05:00 pm
mayakittenreads: (GirlReading)
I have been horrible at this blogging thing the last 3 months. I would blame being back to studying, but I've been a bit horrible at that too. The very early winter seems to have affected me badly. However, I am determined to post something before flying off to visit my new twin nephews tomorrow (OMG, I have NEPHEWS!), so I figure short reviews of all the books I've read since February will work. I hope you're all ready... here we go!

Indistiguishable from Magic - Catherynne M Valente
This is collection of various blog posts, speeches and academic articles that Valente has written over the years. She writes about life, politics, writing, geekery and so many subjects. Not every essay was relevant to my interests, but she writes in such an engaging style that I couldn't help but enjoy this book. There are 60 odd essays, so it takes a while to get through, but it is well worth it.

Who Was Queen Victoria? - Jim Gigliotti
This is a basic history book aimed at kids that I grabbed on Kindle when I realised it was Women's History month and I wanted to read something about one of my favourite English Queens. Very simplistic, but a reasonable overview of Victoria's life. Definitely meant for kids though.

Cranky Ladies of History - ed. Tehani Wessley & Tansy Raynor Roberts
One of my most anticipated books of the year, particualrly as I was involved in crowd funding it! It definitely lived up to my expectations. Stories about so many intriguing women that I have never heard of before. I want to know more about the Irish priate Queen and the Australia Doctor and motoring enthusiast. Bookended by half sisters Mary and Elizabeth Tudor, this book is full of women who did awesome thing, women who did terrible things but most of all, women who would not be silenced and instead got angry. Read it!

Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories - ed. Kelly Link & Gavin J. Grant
This book took me a year and a half to finish, which perhaps tells you my opinion. There were enough interesting concepts among the stories for me to keep at it, but nothing really jumped out and grabbed me.

Prudence - Gail Carriger
This was another highly ancipated book for me and I loved every word. I ended up banning myself from reading it in my lunch break at work because I kept burting into giggles. I've enjoyed all of the books in this universe, but something about the character interaction in Prudence tickled my funny bone and I spent most of the book in complete hysterics. A delightful romp involving fashion, tea, were monkeys, India, a truly ridiculous dirigible and a giant mechanical elephant.

The Severed Streets - Paul Cornell
I was looking forward this book so much last year after loving the first in the series and then did not get around to it. Holy hell was I sucked in once I started though. I was glued to it while stuck in Perth airport and then on a plane home. Screw sleep, I could not put it down. I had to try very hard not to shriek and flail and wake up my seatmates when I reached THAT MOMENT! Anyone who has read the book will know exactly what I mean by THAT MOMENT! How Cornell got away with it, I have no idea, but it was absolutely brilliant. Crime, London and the supernatural all in one deliciously gripping package.

Phantazein - ed. Tehani Wessley
This is the anthology that happened by accident, but I'm so glad it exists. The stories inside are full of fantasy and myth and magic. They are new fairytales, some dark and some light but all with that whymsical, mythic quality.

Kat, Incorrigible - Stephanie Burgis
This book has elements of some of my favourite things. Magic, Regency England, a sassy female protagonist, romance, adventure... yet I just could not connect with it. It's YA, which I also usually like but there was no emotional connection with the characters. There was crisis after crisis with no answers to the numerous questions until the very end and I don't even understand the magic system properly after finishing it. Not sure I'll read further in this series. Disappointing, really.

I've not included any comics here, but I continue to read Ms Marvel, and have tried Princess Leia and Hawkeye. ;)
mayakittenreads: (Feminism)
I went to bed incredibly angry last night, which is when I jotted down notes for this post so that I could sleep. I have calmed down somewhat, but the anger is still there. Just so you know, this post is going to be hugely spoilery.

What the hell, season 6 Criminal Minds writers? How could you do that to JJ?

So, the second episode of season 6 starts with a tense, closed door/blinds meeting going on between Agent Jennifer Jareau (JJ), Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner (Hotch) and their direct superior, Erin Strauss. They are discussing the fact that the mysterious 'higher ups' of the FBI want JJ to transfer to the Pentagon. It's a promotion.

A promotion that JJ has already turned down flat. Twice.

By the end of the episode, 'they' have forced her to take it.

What the actual fuck?

Talk about taking away agency. I will give the writers some credit, JJ did not take it lying down and Hotch backed her all the way. She very fiercely stated that she loved her job and didn't want another one, thank you very much.

What pisses me off? The storyline would make just as much sense, perhaps even more so, for Spencer Reid, who is perhaps less of a traditional field agent and could be used in so many other positions. Now I love Spencer too, but the fact that they defaulted to taking the agency from the female character pisses me off, because that's what is typically done in all forms of media. The male characters get choices, the female characters don't.

What pissed me off just as much is the way Strauss* tried to guilt her into it, saying it would mean less travel and more time with JJ's son, Henry. Thankfully, JJ rightly told her to fuck off (although she was more polite and articulate) and that she had absolutely no regrets about her job.

It was frustrating partly because I usually like the way that the show deals with female characters. Yes, the majority of victims are female, but I can understand that, as it is often pointed out that most serial killers are male**. Even trawling through my own memory of infamous RL serial killers, that holds. And hell, the first 2 episodes of season 6, including the one I've been discussing, have female 'victims' who were clever and strong and survived. An abducted little girl verbally stood up to her captor and tricked him long enough to send another potential victim to rouse the neighbourhood for help. A teenager who was raped and dumped in the shark infested ocean spent 3 days clinging to a bouy in order to survive. There have been multiple female sheriffs and detectives, though not as many as the men.

Something about what they did to JJ just pissed me the fuck off. It did not have to be her. They did not have to try and guilt the mother.

It won't put me off the show, but I definitely needed to rant.

*Strauss is a character that I'm conflicted about at the moment. She's another recurring female character, so yay. However, the fact that she is being portrayed as a bureaucrat that is hopeless in the field and obstructionist just to be difficult is frustrating. I can't help but wonder would it be the same if the superior was male?

**Also, quite often said serial killers tend to have some sort of sexual motive, or at least sexual release related to the crime, usually involving women in their past. Another reason that the female victims don't bother me much. And they have explored female unsubs on occasion.

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