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ungratefulwench
17 December 2012 @ 08:46 pm

This journal is semi-friends only, meaning that most of my posts are locked. If, for some crazy reason, you've decided to friend me, please leave a comment to let me know :)

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ungratefulwench
28 August 2016 @ 03:01 pm

Originally published at InsanitySandwich.com. You can comment here or there.

I cleverly smashed the screen on my phone last week, which you’d think would have given me more time to read, or even to catch up on blog comments, but… nope!

 

To Hold The Bridge - Garth NixTo Hold The Bridge – Garth Nix.

As befits a short story collection, this had ups and downs.  The opening story, ‘To Hold The Bridge’, was set in the world of the Abhorsen books and was a brilliant look at a world we’re familiar with, but from a completely different perspective than usual.  I’d read a full book about Morghan, if Nix cared to write one.  I’d also love a full book based on ‘A Handful of Ashes’, a complex story about a college for witches.  A low point for me was the sci-fi section, which had an overly long John Carter of Mars companion story, and was a bit more steampunk overall than I like my sci-fi to be.  I also struggled with some of the more adult short stories, not because they were bad, but because it was too much of a jump for me to go from ‘To Hold The Bridge’ to a story where people are swearing.  I have nothing against swearing in books, but here it felt out of place.  Something else that surprised me were the stories involving characters created by other writers – there’s the aforementioned John Carter of Mars story, but there’s also a (sort of) Sherlock Holmes one, and a Hellboy one.  To balance that, there are stories based on Nix’s own other works – the aforementioned Abhorsen story, as well as a Shade’s Children one, and one set in the A Confusion of Princes universe.  So, some good stories, some not so good, but definitely worth picking up.

 

To the Bright Edge of the World - Eowyn IveyTo the Bright Edge of the World – Eowyn Ivey.

It’s hard to know what to say about this book.  It’s gorgeous.  Wonderfully, beautifully, gorgeous.  Through a series of diary entries, letters and photographs, we follow Colonel Allen Forrester’s journey through an Alaska unexplored by white Westerners.  We also follow his wife, Sophie, left behind in Vancouver.  Interspersed with this is the modern day communication between Colonel Forrester’s great-nephew and a museum curator.  This book questions what it takes to belong to a place, it looks at ideas of identity, and it is suffused with love.  Alaska, as it so often is in literature, is a character rather than a backdrop.  It is mysterious, challenging and awe-inspiringly beautiful.  Colonel Forrester is upright, determined and open to the strangeness he encounters.  Sophie is bold and inspiring, uncertain, but unafraid to forge her own path.  The love between the two of them colours the whole book, and manages to avoid even a hint of the saccharine.  The modern story takes in so much, in a relatively small amount of text – what does it mean to be a native Alaskan?, when are you too old to follow your dreams?, and how much information is too much information to share with a relative stranger when you’re gay?  There are so many massive ideas contained in this book, and they are all explored with a lightness that takes real skill.

 
 
ungratefulwench
21 August 2016 @ 06:25 pm

Originally published at InsanitySandwich.com. You can comment here or there.

For some reason, I felt like I hadn’t read a lot this week, but my Goodreads account assures me that I read 3 books and 4 graphic novels.  And I’m 412 pages into To Hold the Bridge by Garth Nix.  So it looks like I can’t be trusted to self-assess my reading achievements at all…

 

Darkmere - Helen MaslinDarkmere – Helen Maslin.

I came across this on Instagram and it sounded like a modern Gothic horror, which I was all for.  Unfortunately, it just didn’t work for me.  Kate is invited to an isolated house/castle by the most popular (and rich) boy at her school (is this really a British thing?  It seems so much more American to have a character who’s the most popular boy at school.  I went to an all-girls school though, so what do I know?).  In tandem with her story, we read the story of Elinor, the original mistress of Darkmere.  Kate’s story is… well, it wasn’t for me.  It’s boring, is my biggest problem with it, and cliched.  The rich kids at school love to party, and Kate is desperate to fit in.  You see pretty much every plot point coming from a mile away.  Elinor’s story is much more interesting, and is pretty much the only part of the book that manages to achieve anything approaching a Gothic horror feel.  I would have much preferred an expanded version of Elinor’s story, with the modern elements ditched altogether.

 

Descender, Volume 2: Machine Moon - Jeff Lemire & Dustin Nguyen

 

Descender, Volume 2: Machine Moon – Jeff Lemire & Dustin Nguyen.

TIM-21 is taken to the secret base of the surviving robots, and gets to know TIM-22, and we get to meet Andy, TIM-21’s ‘brother’.  I am loving this title and strongly recommend it to pretty much everyone.  The sci-fi element is solid, the story is complex and touching, and the artwork is absolutely beautiful.  Read it, read it now!

 

 

Saga, Volume 6 - Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

 

Saga, Volume 6 – Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples.

Hazel attends school in her refugee/prison camp, and is generally awesome, and her parents take steps to get her back.  So much goodness in this volume.  There’s even another lying cat – yay!  Saga is such a clever look at families, friendships and the things that make us different, and the character list continues to expand in unexpected and wonderful ways.  I’m so pleased there are so many excellent sci-fi comics out at the moment!

 

 

Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening - Marjorie M. Liu & Sana TakedaMonstress, Volume 1: Awakening – Marjorie M. Liu & Sana Takeda.

I have mixed feelings about this, to be honest.  On the one hand, I love the matriarchal society, the artwork and Little Fox (so much love for Little Fox!).  On the other hand, I feel that we didn’t quite get enough information in the first few issues, which made things a bit hard to follow, and I take issue with the amount of boobs on show.  Look, I get that some women love to wear low-cut tops, and that that is their absolute right, but the sheer amount of characters wandering around this with massive parts of their boobs uncovered just didn’t feel right to me.  It felt like catering to the male gaze in a comic that has been marketed as a feminist read.  Exposed boobs don’t mean you can’t be feminist, but there was so much of it that it just made me feel… uncomfortable, I guess?  The boob issue aside, this is a comic that I feel will improve hugely in the next volume, now that it has more or less established the world it’s set in.

 

Fiendish - Brenna YovanoffFiendish – Brenna Yovanoff.

A girl is found in the basement of a burnt out house where she has been bound for ten years.  This unsettling opening sets the tone for the rest of the book which is a story of magic, uncertainties and hatred.  Clementine doesn’t know why she ended up in that basement, but she also doesn’t know if she ever should have been rescued.  This is not a book about a special girl, rescued by a special boy and falling in love with him.  It’s much more complicated than that.  Nothing is easy in Clementine’s world, or particularly nice, and triumphing over evil is far from straightforward because we can never be sure which side is the bad one.  Does any of that make sense?  An interesting read, definitely, with a beautifully sparse cover, and one worth giving a shot, but it’s not my favourite Brenna Yovanoff book.

 

Sweet Tooth: Deluxe Edition, Book One - Jeff Lemire & Jose VillarrubiaSweet Tooth: Deluxe Edition, Book One – Jeff Lemire & Jose Villarrubia.

Gus lives in an isolated cabin with his father, the only person he can ever remember talking to.  His father teaches him how to survive in the wild, and to never leave the woods, and that if he sees another person, he should run.  But then Gus’ father dies, leaving him all alone, and Gus breaks all the rules, thinking he’s doing the right thing.  I loved this.  It’s gentle, and slow-moving, and yet it packs a punch.  It’s set post-apocalypse, with children being born half human, half animal for no reason that anyone can discern, but it’s not about the strangeness of that, it’s about human nature and how far people will go to protect themselves.

 

The Death of Bees - Lisa O"DonnellThe Death of Bees – Lisa O’Donnell.

I picked this up because I thought Lisa O’Donnell was an Irish author.  Turns out she’s Scottish, and the book is set in the part of Glasgow I work in, which was unexpectedly cool.  This is a wonderful book.  It’s dark and gritty and messy and hopeful, and opens with the lines “Today is Christmas Eve. Today is my birthday. Today I am fifteen. Today I buried my parents in the backyard. Neither of them were beloved.”  To tell you more would be to spoil it, I think, but I really can’t recommend this highly enough.  Prepare yourself for quite a bit of Glasgow slang if you do pick it up though 😀

 

 
 
ungratefulwench
20 August 2016 @ 09:22 pm

Originally published at InsanitySandwich.com. You can comment here or there.

Bit of a bumper edition since I didn’t post last week.  That just means there’s more good stuff though, right?

Added to Wishlist

Added to Wishlist 01

  1. Light Boxes – Shane Jones.  This has really mixed reviews on Goodreads, but it sounds really unusual and has a fantastic cover, so I’m willing to give it a shot.
  2. Scorch Atlas – Blake Butler.  Snapshots of the apocalypse. Sounds good to me.
  3. Our Spoons Came From Woolworths – Barbara Comyns.  A Virago Modern Classic, which is always a good start.  I’m a fan of books written in a wry tone and this sounds like it fits the bill.
  4. And The Trees Crept In – Dawn Kurtagich.  I’ve been disappointed by several horrors lately, but I live in hope.  The title of this one is enough to draw me in.

 

Added to Wishlist 02

  1. The Wolf Road – Beth Lewis.  I’m not usually that into thrillers, but this one sounds like it has a lot of potential.
  2. The Terranauts – T.C. Boyle.  This sounds like a literary version of Biodome, which, yeah okay 😀
  3. The Lost Girl – Sangu Mandanna.  Clones!!  Clones that exist to replace their originals should their originals die!  CLONES!!!
  4. Black Beast – Nenia Campbell.  This looks like it might be not so good, but I’m always happy to read a new spin on werewolves, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for it.

 

Articles of Note

 

Bookmarked Recipes

I’ve been looking into making cakes in jars lately, for a camping trip my boyfriend and his family are going on, but here are a rake of totally unrelated recipes that I got distracted by.

 
 
ungratefulwench
15 August 2016 @ 11:58 pm

Originally published at InsanitySandwich.com. You can comment here or there.

I’ve been working some overtime lately, so my posting schedule has fallen a bit behind.  Ah well, we’ll get there in the end!

 

The Smell Of Other People"s Houses - Bonnie-Sue HitchcockThe Smell of Other People’s Houses – Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock.

I picked this up after seeing it recommended on a few blogs, and I’m glad I did because it’s a beautiful book.  We follow four teenagers in Alaska in the 1970s, as they go through events that change their lives in various ways.  But in some ways this is a novel about place rather than plot, and the version of Alaska that Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock evokes is messy, and real, and beautiful, and heart-breaking.  The writing style is wonderfully understated, the characters are unusually varied (native Alaskans FTW!), and I just really enjoyed it, you guys.

 

 

Anna and the Swallow Man - Gavriel Savit

Anna and the Swallow Man – Gavriel Savit.

As I said on my Instagram, I have mixed feelings about this one.  On the one hand, it’s a touching, slightly heart-breaking story about a girl whose father just doesn’t come home one day (it’s set in Poland during the purges of the intellectual and professional classes during World War II).  She meets a stranger who teaches her how to survive in the wilderness, and moves through the war as best she can.  On the other hand, it’s unresolved somehow.  There are a lot of implications in this book (Anna doesn’t know about the Nazi purges, and she also doesn’t know who the Swallow Man really is although we as adult readers are given enough information to make a guess), but very little that’s concrete.  I understand that the uncertainty reflects the war, but as a story-telling method I’m not sure it worked for me.  One thing I will say is that there are a few reviews on Goodreads that have a problem with the narrative voice being too advanced for a child as young as Anna – here’s the thing, the story is Anna’s, but it isn’t told by her, it’s told by an all-seeing narrator, so… no Goodreads, reviewers, I gotta disagree with you on that one.

 

The Thing Itself - Adam RobertsThe Thing Itself – Adam Roberts.

I had such high hopes for this book.  Two scientists trapped at a remote research station is always a good start, and I was hoping for an atmospheric horror story.  Unfortunately, all the events of synopsis take place in the first chapter.  After that we jump forward in time, and embark on a detailed discourse on philosophy, religion and science.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not put off by the idea of that, but it just wasn’t what I expected from this particular book.  This is actually the second book I’ve read by Adam Roberts (I read The Snow in 2009), and the second one that disappointed me.

 

John Constantine, Hellblazer, Volume 13: Haunted - Warren Ellis et. al.

 

John Constantine, Hellblazer, Volume 13: Haunted – Warren Ellis, et. al.

This is one of the strongest Constantine collections that I’ve read.  It’s creepy, and ugly, and twisty, and very John Constantine.  All of that said, an awful lot of women die in this volume, mostly to propel John’s own story forward, so that’s… less good.

 

 

Hex - Thomas Olde HeuveltHex – Thomas Olde Heuvelt.

Another book that I had high hopes for, and another book that let me down.  The reviews I read of this all said it was an excellent horror story, and I don’t really understand why.  The basic idea is brilliant – the town of Black Spring is haunted by a woman who was killed in the 17th century for being a witch.  She pops up at random all over town and creeps people out with her sewn up eyes.  But they’ve gotten used to her, so they track her movements on an app, and they just throw a sheet over her if she shows up during dinner.  So far, so excellent.  But here’s the thing, the execution of the story is not nearly as strong as the basis of the story.  It loses something, I feel, in being moved to an American town in its translation (originally written in Dutch, it was set in the Netherlands). The change of location robs some of the inherent creepiness of a setting you’re mostly unfamiliar with.  There are also quite a few moments were characters are referred to as ‘proud’ Americans, usually in conjunction with them acting like dimwits, and that made me uncomfortable given that the writer himself is not American.  My biggest problem with this book though, is the misogyny that runs through every single bit of it.  Almost all of the main characters are men.  The only noteworthy female character apart from the witch herself, the town’s butcher, is described as hideously fat, and dull to boot.  She was the victim of domestic abuse and rape in the past, and is raped again during the book.  A rape which doesn’t even have the decency to pretend to advance the plot, might I add.  All the other women mentioned are good little wives who dance to the tune of their menfolk, or they are women who we are told could be sexually attractive if it wasn’t for the shocking flaws they have, like having gigantic foreheads (seriously).  Gigantic foreheads are the worst.  And, despite teenagers playing a major role, there are no teenage girls mentioned.  At all.  Then there’s the authors really weird obsession with ‘tits’.  The town’s politician threatens the butcher and while he does it, he grabs her breast and squeezes it painfully.  The witch, in a moment that is disgusting rather than scary, is stabbed in the breast by a teenager, with her breast being described in really unnecessary detail.  And, in the weirdest example, children are swaddled and placed together into a mound that looks like a giant breast with a nipple on top (the nipple being the butcher, because why wouldn’t she be a nipple?).  Yeah, okay then.  Oh, and let’s not forget that it’s not at all scary.

 

The Loneliness of Distant Beings - Kate LingThe Loneliness of Distant Beings – Kate Ling.

Seren lives on a Generation ship that is 80 years into a 700 year mission.  To maximise diversity, everyone on the ship is scientifically paired with a life partner when they finish school.  Life is regimented, and creativity is limited.  But this life has never sat well with Seren, and without realising what’s happening, she falls in love with someone who is definitely not her assigned life partner.  The sci-fi parts of this are pretty solid.  Generation ships have such potential for storytelling, and I liked the restrictions Ling included which are intended to stop the crew moving too far away from the society they’ve left behind.    This is a Young Adult novel though, and the sci-fi elements are outweighed by the love story which is, well, a bit much.  Seren falls in love almost immediately, and it is THE BEST THING IN THE WHOLE WORLD.  Her love is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED.  And that gets a bit tiresome, to be honest.  So, overall, The Loneliness of Distant Beings is a decent but not fantastic read (with a great title).

 
 
 
ungratefulwench
07 August 2016 @ 10:00 am

Originally published at InsanitySandwich.com. You can comment here or there.

Read Last Week 01

  1. Wayward, Volume 1: String Theory – Jim Zub, Steven Cummings, John Rauch & Tamra Bonvillain.  A nice mix of Japanese mythology and comics, this.  Rori, a half-Japanese, half-Irish teenager, moves to Japan from Ireland and soon finds that her new life is even stranger than she thought it would be.  I have to say, as an Irish person, that the half-Irish part didn’t come across well at all.  Rori seems very much like an American teenager, and uses several American phrases or words that don’t get used commonly in Ireland.  Giving her red hair and green eyes is not enough to signify Ireland, I’m afraid.  But that’s a fairly minor quibble, because she’s interesting, and the build up to the reveal of her supernatural powers is interesting.  And, the artwork is beautiful, complementing the mythical side of the story perfectly.  Worth a read if you’re into comics or Japanese mythology.
  2. Wayward, Volume 2: Ties That Bind – Jim Zub, Steven Cummings & Tamra Bonvillain.  An excellent continuation from the first volume, introducing some new characters and giving us a better idea of what exactly is going on.  And yet, there are still so many questions to be answered.  Strong writing and the artwork is still gorgeous.
  3. Constantine, Volume 3: The Voice in the Fire – Ray Fawkes, Jay Leisten, Edgar Salazar & Aco.  I’m just going to put my cards on the table here and say that I am not a fan of this version of Constantine.  Someone mentioned in a review of this volume that it’s best to think of this as entirely separate from Hellblazer, which I think is actually really good advice.  This version of Constantine is neutered somehow.  He’s less abrasive, less dangerous, less dark and twisted, less self-centred, less English and less interesting.  I really need to stop picking this up when I come across it at the library!
  4. The Sunlight Pilgrims – Jenni Fagan.  This is not about the supernatural in any way, but there is magic in this book.  Across the world temperatures are falling, and people worry that a new ice age is beginning.  In a small Scottish community, people struggle to stay alive.  What I loved about this book is that even though the background events are apocalyptic, this is a book about people and about relationships.  Things don’t degenerate into chaos immediately, people continue to go to work, and to live in relative harmony.  Things start to break down later in the book, but the remote location of our characters isolates them from the worst of it.  All of which made a nice change from your usual apocalyptic read.  Another refreshing side to the book is one of the main characters, Stella, who was born a boy but lives as a girl.  The book explores what this is like in a small community, and gives us an intimate look at the fear Stella feels towards her oncoming puberty.    So yeah, an excellent read, told beautifully.  Recommended!

 

Read Last Week 02

  1. Catwoman, Volume 5: Backward Unmasking – Will Pfeifer, David Lopez & Pete Woods.  I gave this three stars on Goodreads, but it’s more of a 2.5.  Overall, I just didn’t really enjoy it.  The basic storyline is that Selina Kyle has stopped being Catwoman as she now has a baby (what??), but she keeps getting drawn back to the costumed life, despite her best efforts to stay away from it.  There’s an ongoing subplot involving Zatanna, who I just have never particularly cared about, and there is terrible dialogue in almost every issue.  The covers by Adam Hughes are beautiful but quite a few of them are unnecessarily sexualised, which is a problem for me.  The cover to the TPB is an example.  Why would Catwoman be showing so much cleavage in a mugshot?  And, actually, would she be able to stand up if her breasts were as big as they look in that image?  Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I realise that I just didn’t like this volume of Catwoman at all.
  2. Harley Quinn, Volume 2: Power Outage – Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Chad Hardin, John Timms & Alex Sinclair.  The Harley Quinn/Power Girl mini-series that I read recently takes place in the middle of this volume. While it’s nice to have the beginning of Harley and Kara’s partnership, nothing that happens in Power Outage makes Harley Quinn/Power Girl any better.  This is not a good comic. The writing tries to be zany and hilarious, but it’s just poor. The characterisation of pretty much everyone is dreadful, and there are far too many tit jokes. The weakest issue by far was the last one which was some sort of meta Comic Con tribute. Do yourself a favour and give the whole thing a miss.
  3. Velvet, Volume 2: The Secret Lives of Dead Men – Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting & Elizabeth Breitweiser.  You guys, I love everything about this series.  It’s funny – I don’t really enjoy spy thriller novels, but I can’t seem to get enough of spy thriller graphic novels.  Have you read Queen & Country by Greg Rucka?  Read Queen & Country by Greg Rucka.  So, Velvet, it’s awesome.  Velvet is trying to unravel a plot against her that seems to date back decades, and she is bad-ass when she does it.  This is a terrible review, but Velvet is amazing so give it a go.  You won’t regret it.
 
 
ungratefulwench
05 August 2016 @ 10:00 am

Originally published at InsanitySandwich.com. You can comment here or there.

Added to Wishlist

Added to Wishlist 01

  1. The Enchanted – Rene Denfield.  This seems to be a mix of magical realism and horror, and sounds like it might be beautiful.
  2. Join – Steve Toutonghi.  A sci-fi novel about shared consciousness and everything that that concept means.  I like my sci-fi with a side of philosophy.
  3. Bird Box – Josh Malerman.  This was recommended to me on my Instagram account, and it sounds like a fantastic mash-up of the horror and post-apocalyptic genres.  The UK cover isn’t as strong as some of the international editions, sadly.

 

Added to Wishlist 012

  1. The Rook – Daniel O’Malley.  Urban fantasy meets Memento, by the looks of it, which sounds awesome!
  2. London Falling – Paul Cornell.  Technically, this isn’t on my wishlist as I found it in a library sale a few days after adding it to my Goodreads ‘to be read’ list.  I still haven’t read it though, so it still sort of counts…
  3. Drown – Esther Dalseno.  A twisted take on The Little Mermaid.  Yes, please.

Articles of Note

 

Bookmarked Recipes

 

Watching: Private Practice

Private PracticeI recently rewatched the most recent season of Grey’s Anatomy, and I remembered reading somewhere that the character of Amelia Shepherd had first been introduced in Private Practice.  Now, I gave up on Private Practice after its first season aired, but I like having mindless TV on in the background while I cook, so I thought I’d revisit it.  I’m currently at the start of season four and I have to ask – how did this programme last for six seasons?  Seriously, how??  It seems like a version of adult life that teenage girls would come up with.  Grey’s Anatomy is unashamed in its obvious manipulation of your feelings, but Private Practice is ridiculous.  It’s just full-on drama, all the time.  Addison’s in love!  With this guy!  No!  With that guy!  Wait, she’s a cheater!  And she wants a baby!  She hasn’t had sex for, like, six weeks!  Her life is over!  It’s okay, here’s another guy!  Plus, it seems that, with the exception of Dell who doesn’t really count, bad things only ever happen to the women, which makes me a bit judgemental about where the writers are coming from.  And let’s not forget that we got this instead of a show with Jeffrey Dean Morgan…  I’m not gonna lie to you, I’m almost certain that I’m going to watch until the last episode but I’ll be thinking ‘what the hell??’ the whole time.  (I love Charlotte though.  She is easily my favourite, and I want her to be in pretty much every TV programme ever.)

 
 
ungratefulwench
03 August 2016 @ 07:20 pm

Originally published at InsanitySandwich.com. You can comment here or there.

I have a soft spot for classic Girl’s Own fiction, especially boarding school stories written (roughly) between 1920 and 1960.  There’s something about a boarding school story that appealed to me as a child and continues to appeal to me today.  They’re a version of England, and the idea of the ‘stiff upper lip’, that never quite existed.  There’s an innocence to them, and in the best ones, a message about being the best you that you can be.

 

First Term at Malory Towers - Enid BlytonMy introduction to this niche genre probably came from Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers and St. Clare’s books, where good characters get their rewards, and bad ones their comeuppance.  Darrell Rivers influenced me hugely as a child with a temper that I couldn’t always control, and she remains one of my favourite fictional characters.  Not long afterwards, a friend bought me a book simply because it was on sale and she knew I loved to read.  That book was A Problem for the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer, and it sent me on a still-not-quite-completed quest to own the entire series.

 

A Problem for the Chalet School - Elinor M. Brent-DyerThe quest has not been without its complications.  The book series, as I encountered it, consisted of 62 books, and it turned out that many of these had been edited for paperback publication.  I then learned that there were actually only 58 books, but some titles had been split in two for paperback publication.  As I scoured second-hand bookshops and the internet (a trickier proposition at the time!), I discovered that although the Chalet School series had been in more or less continuous print since 1925, not every title had been republished in every print cycle.  In other words, there were titles that were almost impossible to find, especially if you were looking for the original, unedited texts.  And then there were the connecting titles, many of which had never be republished at all.

 

Gerry Goes to School - Elinor M. Brent-DyerIn 2000, a group of Brent-Dyer fans decided to republish the La Rochelle series which had direct links to the Chalet School books, and had been out of print for decades.  On the back of their success with this, they established Girls Gone By Publishing (GGBP), an independent publishing house which aimed to reprint Brent-Dyer’s works, and the works of other forgotten Girls’ Own authors.  Thanks to their efforts, I’ve read some truly wonderful books that I would otherwise never have come across.  But, and this is where the Things I Want title comes into play, it’s 2016 and they still haven’t published the entirety of the Chalet School series.

 

Now I get that it’s their company, and I’m grateful to them for being so passionate about something I love, but 16 years later, I just really want the whole series in this one format, unedited and with original illustrations included.  It’s selfish, but I want it!  Part of what frustrates me is that GGBP have republished several of the rarer Chalet School titles more than once.  That’s clearly due to demand, but it means that the titles that are commonly available keep dropping to the bottom of the publication schedule, making me wonder if I’ll ever own the entire, unedited series.

 

So there you have it.  The (Selfish) Things I Want.

 
 
ungratefulwench
31 July 2016 @ 10:00 am

Originally published at InsanitySandwich.com. You can comment here or there.

Read Last Week 01

  1. Rumble, Volume 1: What Color of Darkness – John Arcudi, James Harren & Dave Stewart.  An ordinary guy stumbles upon the ancient gods and monsters that still live amongst us, and it’s actually quite decent.  I found the humorous side of this better that the mythological side, but they come together into a fairly satisfying whole.  At first, I wasn’t sure about the artwork, but once I got into it, it really brought the oddball nature of the comic to life.
  2. Rumble, Volume 2: A Woe That Is Madness – John Arcudi, James Harren & Dave Stewart.  The background of the gods is fleshed out a lot in this volume, and humour continues to make itself know on almost every page.  I liked this volume more than the first and, overall, was pleasantly surprised by them both.
  3. Nailbiter, Volume 4: Blood Lust – Joshua Williamson & Mike Henderson.  Moving away a bit from the conspiracy theory discovered in the last volume, Blood Lust brings us back to horror and confusion.  Does Buckaroo have a new serial killer, is Agent Barker okay, and just what has Warren been up to in the big city?  This continues to be a twisty-turny, enjoyable read.
  4. Miracleman, Book 1: The Golden Age – Neil Gaiman & Mark Buckingham.  Possibly not the best entry point to the Miraclemen universe, but still a good read.  It’s very Gaiman-y, with each issue telling the story of a more-or-less ordinary person in the new world order created by Miracleman.  The stories differ wildly, but the sense that something isn’t quite right builds with each one.  There are some cracking covers in there too.

 

Read Last Week 02

  1. Nod – Adrian Barnes.  Without warning, the vast majority of the population finds themselves unable to sleep.  What happens next?  I was ready to love this book.  The concept is simple, but brilliant, and the cover is gorgeous.  Sadly, it was a bit of a ‘meh’ read for me.  I never warmed to the narrative voice (or, I suppose, the narrator), and that made it difficult to connect with what was going on.  Some people have complained that we never learn the cause of the sleeplessness, but I would argue that that’s really not the point of the book.  The book explores what it means to be human, what connects us and pushes us apart, and what we can be capable of when driven past our usual limits.  I half recommend it, and half don’t, if you get what I mean…
  2. Sleeping Giants – Sylvain Neuvel.   I was a bit wary of this when I realised it’s told through a series of interviews (I’ve not had great luck with books like that in the past), but I needn’t have been because the format works really well for the story.  A little girl accidentally discovers what looks like the hand of a giant robot.  She grows up to lead a research project into finding the rest of the parts of what seems to be an alien device.  The beauty of the interview format here is that you never get the full picture.  You get an idea, a version, of what’s going on, but you’re always left with a feeling that you’re missing something.  Which is why you’ll never see the ending coming ;D
  3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling.  This is a book that is unnecessarily long.  It also doesn’t make a great deal of sense.  Why does Quidditch have to be cancelled?  And why is it okay for the Champions to skip their exams?  Surely the older students need their exams to secure jobs and whatnot?  All of that said, it’s a lot of fun, but my god, so loooooong.

 

Read Last Week 03

  1. Dark Orbit – Carolyn Ives Gilman.  I picked this up from the library because it had a nice cover, and was pleased to discover that it was actually quite good.  A crew is sent to a distant uninhabited planet to carry out tests, but the situation begins to unravel very quickly.  Dark Orbit is a very philosophical read, looking at our perceptions of reality and how they may limit us.  It’s not, I feel, for everyone, but once I’d started it, I couldn’t put it down.
  2. The Lover’s Dictionary – David Levithan.  A love story told in an experimental form.  A book blogger recommended this to me really recently and I can’t remember who it was – identify yourself mystery book blogger!  This was a great little read, jumping back and forth, highlighting the little moments that both make and have the potential to destroy the relationship between two people.
  3. Imperium, Volume 1: Collecting Monsters – Joshua Dysart & Doug Braithwaite.  A man with super-powers wants to remake the world in the image he thinks is best.  Pretty cliched, but this was a good read.  Neither side seems to be wholly in the right, and as things progress, they get just that bit more unsettling.  I’m interested to see where this title goes.
 
 
ungratefulwench
29 July 2016 @ 10:00 am

Originally published at InsanitySandwich.com. You can comment here or there.

I really need to stop browsing the ‘currentlyreading’ tag on Instagram because I keep stumbling across excellent-looking books that I really want to read, and my TBR list is already ridiculous…

 

Added to Wishlist

Added to Wishlist 01

  1. Vigil – Angela Slatter.  This has been described as a dark fantasy crime thriller, which sounds a-okay to me.  Plus, it’s set in Australia which should make a nice change.
  2. The Casquette Girls – Alys Arden.  A YA paranormal thriller set in New Orleans.  Although it sounds good, it was mainly the cover that made me add this to the list.  So pretty!
  3. Vinyl – Sophia Elaine Hanson.  Another beautiful cover, though in a very different way.  I’m not usually a fan of a cover that’s basically just a girl’s face, but this one is arresting.  It also sounds like an interesting spin on the YA dystopia genre.
  4. Darkmere – Helen Maslin.  I don’t read enough ghost stories, and I really don’t know why.

 

Added to Wishlist 02

  1. Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things – Martina McAtee.  Such a good cover!  And some supernatural shenanigans too, so that sounds good.
  2. Afterimage – J. Kowallis.  This sounds like a dark, dark dystopia, which is saying something given how dark dystopia’s usually are anyway.
  3. Be With You – Takuji Ichikawa.  A Japanese take on a loved one coming back from the dead, but in a non-zombie type of way from what I can gather.
  4. Fairytales for Wilde Girls – Allyse Near.  Dark fairytales?  Yes, please.

 

Articles of Note

 

Bookmarked Recipes