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Scraps of one sort or another - So Many Books...

Jan. 23rd, 2009

02:46 pm - Scraps of one sort or another

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First one being, appropriately enough, Ravelry-related.  I love Ravelry so much, in part because it's wonderful to be in a place where so many people are goofy in such a compatible and generous way.  One thread on the forum I was just checking out was called "Inaugural Scarves", and sure enough, people who'd been glued to their televisions throughout the day, often in tears, had been noting the fantastic knit-wear being sported by attendees.  And sharing ideas for patterns similar to some of them, along with clips of special moments other people had missed.  I loved this one of the John Williams piece being played by a frozen-looking quartet.  Really lovely (and note the fingerless gloves on the hands of the Venezuelan pianist!).  I tried to find a picture of the teal blue knitted hat Natalie Morales was wearing on the day, for everyone's enjoyment, but failed.

Also very much enjoyed the clip of Jon Stewart's take on the inaguration which I saw on Robin Brande's blog.  The wheelchair comment cracked me up.

In terms of things which might actually have cracked me up on a more permanent basis, last night I happened to notice that Younger Daughter's bedside lamp (which is *still* acting as her only room light, so rubbish am I at getting things fixed around here) had somehow shed the cover to the plug.  It looked -- ominous -- plugged in and the lamp on and all the innards showing, so I decided to see if I could find the cover, which should just snap back on.  So, I leant over the bed (where the plug-strip was residing) to see if it had fallen down behind the bed -- it had indeed - and managed to put my hand directly on the plug.  Nasty shock ensued.  Nasty.  And boy, they don't use the word 'shock' for what happens when you get too much electricity going through you, lightly or ill-advisedly.  Anyway, I appear not to have managed to fry too much of my brain while zapping my hand... 

Nearly finished reading Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye, by Alison Goodman, which I picked up in Bristol airport, and it's kind of doing my head in.  I like it, and will certainly be eager to read the (inevitable) sequel, but I'm starting to realise it's a very odd mix.  Dragons and the special few who can commune with them, and essentially control them -bit standard fantasy.  A fantasy world 'inspired by' the history and culture of ancient China and Japan - not as standard, in YA, anyway.  Protagonist a girl pretending to be a boy because *only* boys can become Dragoneyes - or pretty much anything else, except wife/courtesan.  Not only standard fantasy fare, but part of an arc of the story that really is quite predictable.  And yet, within that, the consideration of gender and sex is anything BUT standard or predictable.  Will have more to say when I've finished, but part of what's throwing me is the mix of the common 'chosen one who will have to save the world' with a society so deeply classist and misogynistic that saving it seems barely worth the effort - except of course, that the peasants and servants would always suffer along with whichever ruling faction loses - and following three main characters who are, let's say, very 'gender-fluid' in a hideously gender-rigid society...  Well, it's sometimes an uncomfortable mix.

Comments:

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From:sartorias
Date:January 23rd, 2009 05:25 pm (UTC)
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I am glad you are okay!

I'm still trying to process the Eon story. I was sure carried along--what a talented writer! But the sex was all so distorted, I wondered if it was really a YA, yet the central 'mystery' was so obvious, I kept waiting impatiently for the protag to get a clue. Would I have been fooled as a young reader? I don't think so--the clues were so obvious--but maybe I'm wrong, and maybe all the sexual distortion would have gone over my head.

But I've been waiting for the teen circles I read to discover it, to see what they think. (So far only one set of readers, one of whom is in the early reading program, but all she said was 'eh')
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From:lady_schrapnell
Date:January 23rd, 2009 09:33 pm (UTC)
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Well, okay except for the near-criminal stupidity! But thanks...

Really interested in your take on Eon. I actually had a closer look at the link I gave to Alison Goodman's website, and apparently the UK version (with the title I gave) was published last year as an adult novel - with a different name! Publishers' decision rather than hers, but an odd one, I thought. I was looking on GoodReads, and quite a few people found the middle section with Eon(a) failing to cop on dragged a bit. But -- don't know. I'd love to hear if you feel like sharing when you've finished the processing.
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From:sartorias
Date:January 23rd, 2009 09:39 pm (UTC)
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Well, mostly it feels to me like an adult novel masquerading as YA . .. because of the protag being willfully stupid all the way through, and not copping to the obvious. But my take on what is YA and what is adult might be old fashioned. That's why I'm curious to see what kids think of it.

There are several writers I don't think are actually writing for teens, but for adults who read things aimed at teens. I've been sort of tracking them to see how teens respond, to check my perceptions. So far, I'm finding it difficult to uncover scads of teens who talk about the books, but plenty of adults who do, so am I right, or am I just finding those because I'm looking?
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From:lady_schrapnell
Date:January 24th, 2009 11:31 pm (UTC)
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Sorry - I'd a reply almost all finished and then the computer started making horrible noises and crashed.

The only thing that would have made me maybe think not YA was the level of brutality towards the end (enjoying baby-killing definitely crosses a line!), though I'm often way off on my tolerance of that kind of thing. Tombs of Atuan took care of any doubts on the eunuch score. But I was just thinking about it, and given the obvious setting-up of a romantic relationship for our Eona - presuming he did, in fact, escape - it's notable that there isn't one single acknowledged relationship depicted in the whole book. A couple of unacknowledged ones, and one of those with the potential to be abusive, but nothing else.

I'll keep an eye out in case I see any teen reviews anywhere you mightn't see them.
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From:sartorias
Date:January 24th, 2009 11:36 pm (UTC)
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Any relationship that wasn't violent, yes.

Thanks!
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