[identity profile] monissaw.livejournal.com


Now this is lovely. This is what Science Fiction should be. Taking a concept that is odd and so different to the real world, and making it believable, acceptable, exploring its limits, showing how it effects the every day of its residents and through that making it believable.

Not that is generally considered SF. It's part detective noir/police procedural, part contemporary fantasy, science fantasy, weird fantasy, weird fiction, whatever. But it's what SF should be.

Also, I like the cover.
[identity profile] monissaw.livejournal.com
14 Railway architecture
20 Domestic Bygones
21 Fields, hedges and ditches
23 Shepherding Tools and Customs
26 Farms and Farming
29 Dairying bygones
38 Needlework tools : a guide to collecting
47 Street Furniture
60 Board and Table Game Antiques
67 Victorian Tiles
75 Bricks and brickmaking
90 Cricketing Bygones
94 Old Buses
100 Agricultural Hand Tools
101 Patchwork
102 Toy Soldiers
111 Herbs and Herb Gardens
112 Veteran Motor Cars
121 Tennis, Squash and Badminton Bygones
128 Animal-powered Machines
131 The Victorian Sailor
136 Billiards and Snooker Bygones
142 Parian Ware
143 Traction Engines
146 Vintage Motor Cars
147 Old Toys
150 The London Taxi
151 Classic Motor Cars
153 Steam Cars
163 Portable Steam Engines
169 Magic Lanterns
177 Old Cooking Utensils
183 Austerity Motoring 1939-1950
192 Sports Cars
195 The Cutlery Industry
197 Motoring Costume
210 Scent Bottles
211 Spoons, 1650-1930
214 Dummy Boards and Chimney Boards
237 Motor Cars of the 1930s
252 The Flute
254 The French Horn
284 Royal Cars
Pub Beer Mugs & Glasses
[identity profile] monissaw.livejournal.com
Book fair purchases seem to fall into two categories:
1. books that are cheap and are pretty/might be useful one day/fit a topic I've allocated a shelf to
2. books that I'd probably buy at their usual price if I came across them
(You are welcome to work out which are which below :)

Mw1_0577


Mw1_0576

Mw1_0578

One of them is headed to  my mother's house. We keep playing games without actually being sure of the rules.

I was very happy to get the two Shire guides. I want to get a full set, but that's over 200 books. (I a #211, but there are more) but they rarely sell for leass than $10 in Australia, often $20 or more. I grab them whenever I see them cheap. I have 16 now. I should make a list so I don't get duplicates.


Mw1_0580

The big books. The right hand one will have to go on the "Maps and books too tall for their proper shelves" shelf. Fortunately, it is a map book so that's OK. Typical map book with full size colour reproduction of old maps. This one of countries.
[identity profile] monissaw.livejournal.com
Birthday & trip acquisitions.

Capturing Time cover

From my sister :) This is a lovely book, a big hardcover, published by the National Library, with lots of coloured pictures but the feature is a series of panoramas, 2-4 pages wide, reproducing old artworks or photographs.
Read more... )
[identity profile] monissaw.livejournal.com
The Conversation: Publishing should be more about culture than book sales

"Publishing is viewed as a business not as a cultural activity. This perception of publishing as a business, even a creative one, means that the question of book sales dominates our conversations about it, rather than questions around how readers use books and book culture to develop a sense of the society in which they live and/or a sense of themselves."
[identity profile] monissaw.livejournal.com

WP_20160203_15_42_14_Pro
These two books look useful. They have pictures (paintings & drawings) arranged by year/decade, that show what someone is wearing (as on the cover) and the accompanying descriptions are fairly detailed, and broken up in Head, Body & Accessories. So you can see what real people (as opposed to fashion models) where wearing at a particular time and find out the right names for things. Which is Really Useful.

The smaller book covers the 19th century and the larger ones is 1300 to 1984. Despite the different authors & format, they're related, Some of the entries for book 1 are book 2, but not as many because it doesn't cover each centruy is as much detail.
Read more... )

[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
Published in 1979, Octavia Butler's Kindred is one of her few stand-alone novels. Narrated in the first person, it tells the story of Dana Franklin, a black woman from 1976 who is repeatedly transported to the South of the USA in the nineteenth century, usually without, but once with, her white husband Kevin.

Dana's knowledge of the history of slavery in the USA, which includes her own family's history, enables her to adapt to being dragged through time to rescue her ancestors, Rufus Weylin and Alice Jackson, from injury, illness and death. Rufus is the son of a slaveowner, and Alice a free black woman who is later enslaved. One of Dana's rescues of Rufus is saving him from the wrath of Isaac, Alice's husband, who has caught the young white man attempting to rape Alice. Once Isaac is caught, mutilated, and sold away, Rufus is able to take Alice to his bed with impunity.

Kindred doesn't shy away from the ugliness of slavery, yet throughout it didn't feel as if Dana was nearly as frightened as she ought to be. It's as if something is lacking at the heart of the story. Butler does a much better job in Dawn of communicating the character's fears, helplessness and distress. Perhaps Dana's confidence is the result of detachment, an inability to believe that this world could kill her without a thought, yet that doesn't come across, either. So although this is a well-told and thoughtful story, it lacks the visceral responses of a modern, free woman with rights who suddenly becomes a possession, a piece of property, something to be punished, mutilated, even killed, at will.

What is handled well is the relationship between Dana and Rufus, particularly. She tries to counterbalance the influences of his society and family, to make him see that raping Alice is wrong, tht selling slaves away from their families is wrong. Yet she's never able to overcome his own sense of rightness, of his place in a society in which nothing he does to slaves can be wrong--unless it's teaching them to read and write, or tolerating their own choices of sexual partners. He doesn't see himself as cruel or unreasonable; this is just how things are. And eventually he comes to believe that his rights over black people extend even to Dana, despite her having frequently warned him that alienating her will lead to his death.

The ambivalence of many of the relationships in this book are reminiscent of those in Marlon James' The Book of Night Women, and reflect how adaptive human behaviour is, especially when that human is a woman trying to protect herself, and perhaps her children. Dana herself adopts the behaviours and mannerisms of a slave, and it takes Alice to call her on it, to remind her of who she used to be.

By the end of the book, both Alice and Dana have freed themselves in the only ways open to them, their methods perhaps reflecting the gap of over a hundred years between their attitudes and beliefs.

A strong book, well worth reading, and one that carries utter conviction in its characters and its events.
[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
Christmas bookstack 2015

2015 was a bumper year for books. I don't think I've ever been so inundated with them before. Amazing.

59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot by Richard Wiseman;
Harbinger of the Storm by Aliette de Bodard;
How Do You Build a Time Machine? by Erwin Brecher;
I Call Myself A Feminist: The View from Twenty-Five Women Under Thirty, Victoria Pepe et al (editors);
If This Is A Woman: Inside Ravensbruck: Hitler's Concentration Camp for Women by Sarah Helm;
The Jane Austen Pocket Bible by Holly Ivins;
The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen;
The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman;
A Merciless Place: The Lost Story of Britain's Convict Disaster in Africa by Emma Christopher;
The Science Fiction & Fantasy Quiz Book by Joseph McCullough;
Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia;
SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Professor Mary Beard;
Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story by Ursula K. Le Guin;
Suffragettes: The Fight for Votes for Women by Joyce Marlow;
The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu;
Touch by Claire North;
Women in the First World War by Neil R Storey & Molly Housego
and
Women Travelers: A Century of Trailblazing Adventures 1850-1950 by Christel Mouchard & Alexandra Lapierre.

Thank you Dad, OH, and [livejournal.com profile] monissaw :D.
[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
Poor, dear, neglected LJ. And there've been quite a few acquisitions that won't be listed here, because lazy. Here however is what I picked up at the Christmas market and charity shops on Sunday in Nearby Town.

Farmer in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein;
Assignment in Eternity by Robert A. Heinlein;
(they were cheap)
Call of the White: Taking the World to the South Pole by Felicity Aston;
The Dynostar Menace by Kit Pedler & Gerry Davis (irresistible title!);
The Diary of a Farmer's Wife, 1796-1797 by Anne Hughes;
Hyperion by Dan Simmons;
Memoirs of a Highland Lady by Elizabeth Grant of Rothiemurchus;
Roma Eterna by Robert Silverberg;
Time of the Fourth Horseman by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
and
To Rule Britannia: The Claudian Invasion of Britain AD 43 by John Waite.

The guy who sold me Roma Eterna got really close to me in order to explain it's got Romans in modern times and it's an alternate history book! I think he meant well. He also told me the best SF book he's read recently is The Martian.

The Yarbro book is...not in very good condition. But readable. Roma Eterna looks unread and the tiny tiny font might be why *peers*. The font size in Hyperion isn't much better. SF is for the youngsters, apparently. The Dynostar Menace looks like it's ex-library.

Frank gave Peg the farmer's wife's diary in 1994, in the hope that it would amuse her. Perhaps it did.

The polar book looks unread. Poor neglected little thing.

As for the Heinleins...apparently I had forgotten just how sexist the man was. Sigh.
[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
Just a quick note of the books I picked up today while out doing hospital things.

Penguins Stopped Play by Harry Thompson;
The Medieval Machine: The Industrial Revolution of the Middle Ages by Jean Gimpel;
Catch Me If You Can by Frank W. Abagnale and Stan Redding
and
Europe and the People Without History by Eric R. Wolf.

Basically, if you want me to pick up a book, just put penguins in the title or on the cover.
[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
A trip out to a nearby town that has a Waterstones today. Didn't find what I was looking for, although I thought I'd set the bar low enough--a science fiction book by a woman that I hadn't already read. Nope. Nada. Zilch.

Much promotion for To Kill a Mockingbird and its sequel/prequel/first draft/whatevs.

The Empire of Necessity: The Untold Story of a Slave Rebellion in the Age of Liberty by Greg Grandin (reduced to £8 from £25);
To Catch a Rabbit by Helen Cadbury (who signed the book for me);
Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez;
Confronting the Classics by Mary Beard
and
a present for my dad which shall remain nameless (his birthday's in September).

Then to the charity shop that has a large book section.

The Four-Gated City by Doris Lessing;
False Colours by Georgette Heyer
and
The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud.

Not a bad haul. Expensive day out though!
[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
Other half is going to the IAT at Fairford so he had today off. Which meant the local town for the flea market, independent bookshop and charity shops!

In the flea market, I persuaded him to buy (for a whole £1) a book on psychology first published in 1922. Something of a curiosity. Our copy of Psychology by Robert S. Woodworth (professor of psychology at Columbuia University) is the expanded and revised twelfth edition from 1940, and was purchased by Margaret J. Grimshaw in 1943. At some point in its life it may have cost eight shillings and sixpence.

Chapters include "The Individual in His Environment" and "Imagination."

Today's haul of books for ME:

Blood Pact by Tanya Huff;
Allegiant by Veronica Roth (at last!);
Prince of Dogs by Kate Elliott
and
Domesday Book: A Complete Translation, edited by Dr Ann Williams & Professor G.H. Martin (bargain of the day at £3.50!).

Apparently the Huff is book #4 and the Elliott is book #2. There's never any book #1s out there.
[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
This is going to cover a long period of time so there might be a few more books than usual. Don't worry, I'm not bankrupt. Just lazy.

The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen;
Archer's Goon by Diana Wynne Jones;
Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto;
Women on Men and other laughing matters, edited by Jasmine Birtles;
We are all Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler;
The Victorian City: Everyay Life in Dickens' London by Judith Flanders;
The Scapegoat by Daphne du Maurier;
Solutions for Writers: Practical Craft Techniques for Fiction and Non-Fiction by Sol Stein;
Ethnic Minorities in Britain: Diversity and Disadvantage by Tariq Modood, Richard Berthoud, Jane Lakey, James Nazroo, Patten Smith, Satnam Virdee and Sharon Beishon;
A History of the World in 100 Weapons by Chris McNab;
The Commonwealth of Thieves: The Sydney Experiment by Tom Keneally;
The Long Road Home: The Aftermath of the Second World War by Ben Shephard;
Battle Royale by Houshun Takami;
Forgotten Heroes: The Australian Waler Horse by Jill Mather;
An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Uniforms of the Roman World by Kevin F. Kiley
and
Protest: Sixty-five Years of Rebellion in Photographs, edited by Gemma Maclagan.

Phew.
[identity profile] monissaw.livejournal.com
Dscn4248

Actually I went to the Book Fair twice. At 10 am (it opened at 9 am) to see if there was anything interesting or appealing, then after noon (to closed at 1 pm) to get some half-price fiction and vampire books.

Dscn4244

The first visit was a bit disappointing but I did find these two non-fiction books which look useful: The Victorian Tailor: techniques and patterns (and now I have 3 books on clothes, one more and they'll be entitled to their own part of a shelf) & the Oxford Dictionary of Word Histories (because you can't have too many books about word histories); and a novel. Then I saw the DVD table and grabbed a big handful of DVDs to put on the "well known movies" shelf. (My DVD collection is both specific and vague, but I know what belongs in it when I see it.)

Dscn4247

When I came back I was mostly looking at fiction, that is small paperback crime books mostly written by women without any elements that I'll obviously dislike, it seems

Dscn4246

But I also found these two books. I saw Children Remembered: responses to untimely death in the past the first time through, it was sitting on top of the Victorian tailor book but it looked a bit sad. But it is an interesting topic and for $1.50...

The White Chrysanthemum: changing images of Australian motherhood was on the Collectables tables, amongst the overpriced books about Tasmania & the old obscure books that no one wants. I didn't really expect to find anything there ten minutes before closing, but I picked up a pile of skinny magazine-format books and there it was. It's a collection of stories, journal extracts, pictures, poems and other sources about, well, what the title says. Looks rather interesting.
[identity profile] monissaw.livejournal.com
The Body Farm by Patricia Cornwell.

Another random selection from the shelves. This reads like a TV show. It would probably make a good TV show, but as a book it was rather shallow and dull. Lots of characters who are little more than names. Jumping between two apparently unrelated storylines in such a way that is seemed like the supposed main story was forgotten. And I didn't care about either. Also, a serious shortage of speech tags.

Possibly if I'd read earlier books in the series it'd be like "Oh good here are these famiiar characters again having more adventures. Yay." Instead of "Don't care & why should I?"
[identity profile] monissaw.livejournal.com
The Chatham School Affair by Thomas Cook

This was a random pick from the pile of books in front of the shelves. I was after something light and easy to read on the bus. This is not that.

I have no idea where it came from. Possibly the library book fair, although it has no price sticker on it. Possibly the year when I went there in the last hour when they were selling books by the bag and I grabbed some things to fill the bag.

However it came, it's been hanging around the house waiting to be read so I read it, and it's very slow. Very slow and looking like it's trying to be literary or lyrical, and falling flat. So I looked on Goodreads and found people either loved it or hated it. GR people don't seem to like non-linear plots. So I kept going.

The narrator, now an old man, is recounting events that happened when he was a teenager but, especially at the beginning, the story is set in his present with flashbacks to the past. By flashbacks I mean just that. Bit and pieces, scenes, a few lines, from the past, until near the need most of it is in the past. So you put these bits and pieces together to try and work out what happened, and eventually the whole story is revealed. Not whodunnit but the actual story. The who isn't really important. It's a suspense novel really.

I am fond of the story, whether book or TV, where you're led think one thing is going on but it's actually another. When it's done well. When it is obvious after the fact that this is what was being shown. (Not so good when it's obvious this is going on or when there's a supposed twist that is predictable or a POV withholding information that they should be thinking about or...) So I liked the way this played out (although a little disappointed that the narrator's role wasn't as I thought) (except oh I was right. Ha!) It is slow, but it has to be, I think, because it's about characters and how they changed, and bits of the story need time to be revealed.

Mostly though, I liked that I didn't have to worry about shutting up the inner editor, because after the first chapters, it was sitting there stunned, trying to work out how to do this :)
[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
Ian Sales makes a strong case for the inclusion of these ten books in the Gollancz Masterworks series.

I especially think Joan Slonczewski's The Wall Around Eden deserves to be much better known.

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