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review 2020-05-01 22:53
Hives, colonization, and what makes one rebel
Ancillary Justice - Ann Leckie

This was a ride and a half and I did not expect it to be this good or turn out this serious.


You know everything HAD to have gone to pot for the ship to end in one body, sure. I was ready for an action/adventure sci-fi romp, and in a way, it is that. What surprised me was how hard it goes into the social issues inherent in colonization, how it explores the notion of identity and how it can be more than one thing, going double for entities that work more like a hive. "I'm at war with myself" is a very psychological statement that seems to be a theme for many characters, and ultimately gets very literal in this sci-fi set up.


There is also the constant coming back to the duality system of belief, the idea that fate is as it's tossed, and so you might as well choose your step, one after the other (sounds a lot like Taoist beliefs to me, plus the idea of hitzusen). What I found interesting is how it delves into thoughts and intentions vs actions, and obliquely (or at least, what I took from the whole sample of characters) how in the moment of truth you don't know who will be that will make the selfless choice (because when it comes right down to it, sometimes people don't even realize it was the moment of truth till it passed), but also, that past choices define next ones, but not in the way one would suspect (because sometimes, the feel that you chose wrong might make you very, very set and vigilant to choose differently afterwards)...


Aaaand, yeah, I got right down philosophical. I think it was all that loooong interrupted chat between Toren and Anaander Mianaai. It made me go "oh, shit" in so may directions. Very interesting.

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review 2020-04-23 21:44
The GRAND Sophy
The Grand Sophy - Georgette Heyer

(seriously, I don't have a pithy summary for a review better that it's own title)


I had a total blast.


I love Heyer's harebrained MC's, and Sophy is an order of magnitude on any of hers I've read. I had so much fun with the way she's completely on top of all the chaos she sows around while working to set things as they should go, and I knew the ride I was setting myself to as soon as she appears, but even more when her friends start popping up and you realize they like her, respect her, will help her, but pray not to be the focus of her arrangements.


I also love all her side characters in all their glorious follies. I even enjoyed Eugenia, because she was such a perfect foil.


It's not that the end is in any way unexpected, but the getting there was hilarious and entertaining. I totally get why it's a favourite Heyer now. It's certainly elbowing up there in the podium.

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review 2020-04-18 20:47
This was unexpected
True Grit - Donna Tartt,Charles Portis

The essay by Donna Tartt at the end is worth a read. 


I would never have picked up this book on my own, so thank you, Lillelara, for suggesting it. I love Mattie Ross, and found the ending of this book quite touching, indeed.


People love to talk. They love to slander you if you have any substance. They say I love nothing but money and the Presbyterian Church and that is why I never married. They think everybody is dying to get married. It is true that I love my church and my bank. What is wrong with that? I will tell you a secret. Those same people talk mighty nice when they come in to get a crop loan or beg a mortgage extension! I never had the time to get married but it is nobody’s business if I am married or not married. I care nothing for what they say. I would marry an ugly baboon if I wanted to and make him cashier. I never had the time to fool with it. A woman with brains and a frank tongue and one sleeve pinned up and an invalid mother to care for is at some disadvantage, although I will say I could have had two or three old untidy men around here who had their eyes fastened on my bank. No, thank you! It might surprise you to know their names


I'm not sure if it is worth tracking down the newest adaptation, because I don't want to watch a movie that focuses on Rooster - he's the supporting character here. It's Mattie Ross who is the star. She is an epic character in the way that Jane Eyre or Scout Finch are epic - a unique voice that can carry a story as effortlessly as if it were a feather. She jumps off the page.

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text 2020-04-18 19:54
Reading progress update: I've read 75%.
True Grit - Donna Tartt,Charles Portis

I'm thoroughly enjoying Mattie Ross - she is a unique, engaging and forthright character. This book is just full of life:


"I will go further and say all cats are wicked, though often useful. Who has not seen Satan in their sly faces? Some preachers will say, well, that is superstitious “claptrap.” My answer is this: Preacher, go to your Bible and read Luke 8: 26-33"


"He said, “The killer has flown to the Territory and is now on the scout there.” “This is what I heard.” “He will find plenty of his own stamp there,” said he. “Birds of a feather. It is a sink of crime. Not a day goes by but there comes some new report of a farmer bludgeoned, a wife outraged, or a blameless traveler set upon and cut down in a sanguinary ambuscade. The civilizing arts of commerce do not flourish there.”
Sanguinary ambuscade? I wish people still talked like that...
29% - This exchange between Mattie & LeBoeuf (LaBeef) made me laugh out loud. Mattie is a pistol.
“I suppose that is you.
Well, if in four months I could not find Tom Chaney with a mark on his face like banished Cain I would not undertake to advise others how to do it.”
“A saucy manner does not go down with me.”
“I will not be bullied.”
He stood up and said, “Earlier tonight I gave some thought to stealing a kiss from you, though you are very young, and sick and unattractive to boot, but now I am of a mind to give you five or six good licks with my belt.”
“One would be as unpleasant as the other,” I replied. “Put a hand on me and you will answer for it. You are from Texas and ignorant of our ways but the good people of Arkansas do not go easy on men who abuse women and children.”
Saucy is an understatement. She's a pistol.
“You do not think much of me, do you, Cogburn?” (LaBoeuf)
“I don’t think about you at all when your mouth is closed.” (Cogburn)
There's also a section of direct and cross-examination of Rooster Cogburn towards the beginning of the book that is delightful, and could potentially be used as part of a law school class on trial practice it's so well done.
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text 2020-04-18 17:02
Reading progress update: I've read 10%.
True Grit - Donna Tartt,Charles Portis

I decided to take a bit of a head start yesterday to check the lay of the land, so to speak, since this is definitely not my usual genre. I didn't get very far, but it's not a very long book, and it pretty much hooked me from the beginning.


Like Mike, I already like Mattie so much. Her narration is both tough and naive and her voice is extremely distinctive. I find her believable, when I put her in her proper context. I haven't met Rooster Cogburn yet.


True Grit, and John Wayne Westerns in general, had a lot of air play in my childhood home, so I know I have seen it and probably more than once. I'm not sure if I remember it or not - it's possible that scenes will trigger my memories depending on the faithfulness of the adaptation.


Anyway, I'm going to settle in and read for a while. It's rainy here today, and is a perfect day to spend puttering.

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