sasha_feather: sirius black from harry potter films (sirius black)
My battery cord came in the mail today! After about a week offline, I'm not planning on catching up with the internet.

I read:
The Inexplicable Logic of my Life, by Benjamin Alire Saenz (disappointing)
The Halcyon Bird by Kat Beyer -- fun and fast read
Thor, goddess of Thunder -- super fun, irreverent, great art
(logging these on goodreads if you want to read more of my thoughts)
some fanfics

I watched some mediocre movies from the library, and watched the Oscars. I am, naturally, very proud on Moonlight.

The best thing I watched was "Legion" on Hulu, which I'm excited about. It's a beautifully shot, stylish superhero show. The first episode is like a short movie. There are some scary scenes (psychological horror), but not much gore. David has been in and out of mental institutions for most of his life, told that he is schizophrenic. Later he's told that all of his strange experiences are due to his powers as a mutant who has pschic powers. But he's not sure: just because you have powers doesn't mean you're sane.

It's a fascinating premise, very suspenseful, and I can't wait for the next episode!!

Media

Feb. 4th, 2017 12:06 am
sasha_feather: the back of furiosa's head (furiosa: back of head)
I finished reading the Ancillary books and just loved them. They are so thoughtful and interesting, and Breq is such an appealing character, partly because she is angry all the time. She is allowed to be angry. She is competent and effective. She's a wonder.

Yesterday I watched Crimson Peak, which I mostly liked, but the ending was quite violent. The cinematography was beautiful, with strange bright colors, like the heroine's yellow dress.

I've been catching up on Elementary Season 4. I loved the episode about a local superhero, "You've Got me, Who's Got You?" I love how Sherlock takes care of Clyde the turtle (tortoise? don't know). I catch myself thinking about Joan's outfits at odd times. Just when I think, oh, that dress is my favorite, she'll wear another one that is even better. She is my favorite in all ways: a badass brilliant mature woman who can handle anything and uses fashion like a weapon.
sasha_feather: Amelie, white woman with dark hair, smiling cheerfully (Amelie)
Fiction:
Mission Child by Maureen McHugh

Non-Fiction:
Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist by Jacqueline Jaeger Houtman, Walter Naegle, and Michael G. Long

Comics and Graphic Novels:

The Infinite Wait and other stories by Julia Wertz
Seconds, by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Ms. Marvel volumes 1 and 2 by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona
The Midas Flesh vol. 1 by Ryan North, Braden Lamb, Shelli Paroline, Steve Wands
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Saga, vol. 4 and 5 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

Good things

Aug. 2nd, 2015 12:49 am
sasha_feather: Cindi Mayweather (janelle monae) (Cindi Mayweather)
1. I've really enjoyed seeing my pals lately. I went to the cheap seats to see Mad Max (for the 3rd time); saw some friends and acquaintances at Comics Club today, and saw the film Mr. Holmes yesterday. Gabby is back in town which is great.

2. I got an awesome haircut which was a collaboration between Jesse and my neighbor Devyn, both of whom own clippers.

3. I read Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley and loved it. It features a talented, flawed woman as the main character. Katie is the main chef at a successful restaurant called Seconds, where she also lives. She wants to strike out on her own with a new restaurant, but is having trouble with that venture. Her ex-boyfriend is hanging around and things are awkward. When a young co-worker gets in an accident, party due to Katie's negligence, a house spirit appears and gives her the opportunity to fix it. Katie then gets addicted to fixing all the mistakes she can, and things start to go bad. This book is funny, charming, affecting. I loved it.
sasha_feather: Janelle Monae against a blue background (Janelle monae)
I read a few books and comics about black history lately. I recommend all of these. This are all fairly easy from a reading-level standpoint and are suitable for middle-grade readers and up.

Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist by Jacqueline Houtman, Walter Naegle, and Michael G. Long.

An openly gay black man in the 30s, 40s, and later, Rustin was a Quaker peace activist. He was the main organizer of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. He also worked to integrate buses in North Carolina 8 years before Rosa Parks, and for that he spent 3 weeks on a chain gang. He was a talented singer, speaker, and organizer, who also protested against nuclear testing. This book is a quick read and beautifully done.

March: books 1 and 2 by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell.

Beautiful and interesting comics about John Lewis' life as an activist. The first book is about his early life growing up on a farm in GA, and working as a college student to integrate lunch counters in Nashville. The second book is about the Freedom Riders, which was pretty intense, and the March on Washington. The third book is forthcoming.

Strange Fruit vol 1: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History by Joel Christian Gill

Vignettes about black people (mostly men) from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Includes the man who was the inspiration for the Lone Ranger; the Black Cyclone (a competitive bicyclist); and a chess master. Some stories are sad, some are funny, some are inspiring. My favorite part is the sly, off-beat humor. For example, when a boy's parents send him off on a train trip, a sign declares the platform as 9 3/4.
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
For the #KTBookChallenge*, I decided to make a public Google drive spreadsheet listing disabled authors.

Disabled Authors Spreadsheet This spreadsheet can be edited by anyone; please feel free to do so.

Some people may want to focus on reading more disabled authors for this challenge, but not know who fits into the category. Many authors may not be "out" as disabled; this spreadsheet is for those who are: those who talk or write publicly about being disabled. The column for type of disability is not there because I want to focus on that or consider it especially important: it's more because some people with a certain disability may want to read books by people like themselves. Note that many of these authors are also women and/or queer.


*KT Bradford's article at XO Jane: I Challenge to you stop reading White, Straight, Cis male authors for one year

x-posted
sasha_feather: white woman in space suit (Astronaut)
[personal profile] boxofdelights asked: Is there a book you loved, as a kid, that you would still recommend to kids like you were?

Lots of them! I loved reading had access to lots of books. I'm focusing here on books I read in elementary school.

Some books are classic for a reason. Written in 1900, L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was a childhood favorite of mine. I also read the sequels. I enjoyed the fanciful characters and illustrations and the wildly imaginative world. There were quite a few girl characters besides Dorothy. Ozma, for instance, starts out life as a boy but a spell is broken (or something) and she is revealed as princess Ozma.

Marguerite Henry has many rather sentimental books about horses; I especially loved Born to Trot, which again had wonderful illustrations. King of the Wind, Brighty of the Grand Canyon, and San Domingo: the Medicine Hat Stallion were also favorites.

I read many of Roald Dahl's books, which are fun and clever, and sometimes have a bit of a dark side. Matilda was a favorite of mine, and there are many many more to choose from.

I was just discussing with Jesse how I loved reading Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, about a boy who survives alone in Alaska after the small plane he's in crashes into a lake. It's the details of living in the wilderness the were great to read about. I read some other Gary Paulsen books but they didn't stick in my mind the way this one did.

I have not gone back and re-read most of these; but I have very fond memories of them; some of them I read repeatedly. I use to enjoy taking all my books off the shelf and re-arranging them.
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Sherlock glass)
I really liked The Hospital Suite by John Porcellino, a graphic memoir focusing on the author's experiences with illnesses. He has mysterious and severe gut pain, which turns out to be a tumor (non cancerous) requiring surgery. He loses a lot of weight and has trouble gaining it back. Eventually, though natural and alternative medicine, he starts to feel better physically, but then his old problems with anxiety and OCD act up, causing problems with his marriage. There are some intense descriptions in here including self-harm, thoughts of suicide, OCD symptoms, and food issues, which some readers will no doubt want to avoid or approach with caution.

I loved the no-nonsense honesty of this book. Porcellino doesn't have a lot of regard for his doctors, who misdiagnose him and don't show him much compassion. He furthers his studies with Buddhism and finds comfort in koans. Especially stark for me were panels depicting experiences of pain and mental illness, successfully using simple line drawings to show tension and pain.

What I continually admire from graphic memoirists is their ability to be so forthright about their experiences. Body, mind, soul, relationships are laid out on the page for all to see. I wonder if the simple cartoon format works as a distancing mechanism for the author.

Highly recommended.
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
Some things I've been reading:

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. Really enjoyed this! Some of the comics were emotional, so I read it in short bits. The one about the toy parrot made me laugh so hard I gave myself a coughing fit. Some of these I had read before on the web; some are new material. The comics about depression are in here, and may be difficult for some readers.

Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh. I hated this a lot. The art and colors are gorgeous but the story was not for me at all. I don't need to read about dysfunctional lesbian relationships where the people seem like unhappy liars and then one of them dies. This is a love story?

Stand Fast in your Enchantments by [personal profile] devildoll. I loved this Teen Wolf story a lot! I just started reading TWoof even though I don't watch the show much-- I've really been enjoying fanfic and looking for new things to read, and this is what my friends are into. This Derek/Stiles story is largely about communication. At first Derek can't speak because he's trapped in wolf form, and then later because he's just bad at talking about his feelings, or bad at talking, and I can relate to that a lot (it seemed like/reminded me of selective mutism). Luckily, Stiles is a very good problem solver. This fic also keeps going after the point where a lot of stories would end, and I loved that-- it deals with the consequences of a traumatic event in their lives, the fallout, and they really have to live with the complexities of being in a relationship. It's not easy for Stiles and Derek, and the ending is earned. Totally excellent.
sasha_feather: Toph and Katara from avatar: the last airbender cartoon (Toph and Katara)
I recently finished 3 YA novels-- pretty darn good for me since I hardly ever read novels any more!

Inheritance by Malinda Lo. Not as good as the first book (Adaptation). This book couldn't quite decide if it wanted to be a relationship book or a thriller, and so the pacing felt off. It went slow, slow, slow, SUPER FAST, and then a whole bunch of fascinating stuff was packed into the afterward. I personally found the relationship stuff a bit boring, with the exception of Reese's friendship with Julian, which was an awesome queer friendship and very realistic. I liked the fast pace of the first book, and this time around I kept wondering where the story was going.

I appreciate this book for political reasons-- ie representation-- because the types of relationships portrayed here are just not seen very often in Sf/F or mainstream literature. Lo does really well with race, orientation and gender, and types of relationships. There was one use of "so OCD" language in this book which surprised me, and another instance where a person with a body difference (a deformed arm) was seen as being horrible. So, not the best on disability, which was disappointing since the first book had some cool embodiment things going on (Reese's body changing without her knowing what was going on, etc).

Overall, just kinda "meh" on this book. :/

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gibert Murdoch

Set in rural Wisconsin, this book is about DJ, who is running her family's dairy farm more or less by herself, because her dad is temporarily disabled. Her younger brother (who almost never talks) is her only help. This summer, quarterback Brian Nelson comes to the farm to help out and to "learn how to work".

The strength of this book is DJ's voice, the realism of the setting and people, and how DJ changes over time. She makes assumptions and mistakes, and she needs to learn to connect with people and talk about her problems. I really enjoyed this book, despite the football theme!

There is one scene of homophobia in the book. It didn't bother me much due to context-- ie, Reese is a dumb kid who has learned stupid messages, and that's what's being presented-- but it might bother other readers.

Half-World by Hiromi Goto

A beautiful, creepy tale about a 14-year-old girl, Melanie, who must venture into the Half-World, a place where the dead try to work out their traumas before they can join the spirit realm, in order to rescue her mother. She is tasked with trying to restore balance to the realms. I liked this story's focus on how one is only responsible for one's own choices, and how Melanie ultimately solves problems using courage and kindness. Melanie's guides are older women. Recommended.
sasha_feather: girl hugging a horse; the horse's neck is a rainbow (horse pride)
[personal profile] quarter_to_five asked: December 9th - what's your idea of a perfect rainy-day book?


I don't read many books any more, and I still don't know why, but I do read a fair amount of fanfic. So if I were to read for a good chunk of time I would probably want a long fic, or several medium-length ones, to settle in with. Fan fic just seems to scratch the itch for me lately, and perhaps it doesn't matter why. But I think it has to do with reading about queer characters.

I did recently read Malinda Lo's Adaptation, mostly all in one day. I particularly liked that one because of the queer characters having adventures! I have a warm memory of lying in my parent's bed, probably when my dad and brothers were away on a scouting trip, reading The Wizard of Oz-- I had an edition with beautiful illustrations. Oh Oz! <3
sasha_feather: Clint from the Avengers drawing his bow (Hawkeye)
Recently finished
Hey, I actually read a book! It was Malinda Lo's Adaptation, a science fiction young adult book that we read for book club.

I really enjoyed this and read most of it in one day. It is fast paced and has a mystery element that keeps the tension going. I identified with the protagonist, Reese, who is exploring romantic/sexual relationships. She is an independent person who is afraid of intimacy and afraid of her feelings for others. Because of some spoilery things that happen in the book, she experiences some changes in her body that lead to this delicious and creepy feeling of alienation from her own self. The relationship with Amber felt very realistic to me. One thing about Malinda Lo is that I trust her to have good queer representation, and I trust her on issues of race. That is true for this book. The book ends a bit abruptly, but I am told it picks up right where it leaves off in the next book, which I am going to request from the library.

I also recently finished Hawkeye #1 (comic), called "My Life as a Weapon". I liked the first parts better than the last parts, but overall thought it was beautiful and fun. I especially liked the dog parts.

Currently Reading

I started and bounced off several fanfics today while at the doctor's office. So, nothing.
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
Recently Finished

Cartographer's Craft by copperbadge. I loved this! It is a long alternate Harry Potter book 7.

I am told this is a classic of the HP fandom, but I was never really in the HP fandom. It is about the Marauder's Map, the Horcruxes, the war, werewolf rights, and many other things. The premise is that Sirius Black gets a second chance at life, when a 16-year-old version of him manifests out of the map. I love the insights into the characters and the warmth of this story.

Reading

I am very slowly reading We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. I am too tired to read at night lately and have been watching TV shows instead.
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
Recently Finished

Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb, the 4th and last Rain Wilds book. This read like an extended denouement to an otherwise excellent series; as such, it was too long and predictable. The climactic scenes are as-expected. Some scenes are over-written and repeat obvious information, which seems to be a writing tic of Hobb's and could be dealt with via better editing. The final battle scene, which is exciting, is truncated. I might have enjoyed this book more if I had read it immediately after the 3rd book, when I was still swept up in the suspense of the whole series, but it wasn't out yet. I still enjoyed spending time with these characters, both human and dragon, and getting the wrap up of the story. Perhaps my review is too negative because my mood is crabby right now. The characters are wonderful and it was great seeing them grow.

I'm not reading anything right now because I just finished this one.
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (neko case)
I'm on a lot of meds right now-- antibiotics have been added to the mix!-- and not really feeling suitable for human activity. I had a quiet day.

Recently Finished

Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik. I liked this a lot! A return to form after the Australia one (which was boring); this Temeraire novel is a page-turner. Temeraire, Laurence, Iskierka, Granby, and company venture to South America to attempt to treat with the Inca, and later with Portuguese colonials. I appreciate how Laurence's views get challenged, how different cultures have different systems of dragon-human relations, and I especially liked a spoilery thing concerning a character. It was nice to read a fast-paced, fun novel.

Reading

Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb. The last of the Rain Wilds books. I just started this one, and expect to enjoy it. It picks up right where the last one left off. Hobb is especially good at character-based conflict and emotional character growth, sometimes to an almost painful degree. I appreciate that there are gay characters in this series, although so far they are all men.
sasha_feather: Uncle Iroh from avatar: the last airbender (Iroh)
Upon reflection I think that Captain Vorpatril's Alliance was pretty sexist and I'm disappointed in LMB, who I have previously considered to be a (generally speaking) feminist author.

examples with spoilers )
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
Recently finished
Um, I think the last thing I finished reading was some hockey RPF fic by [personal profile] thefourthvine. I liked it even though I know nothing about the characters.

Currently Reading
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold. This is light and fun. There are a couple of annoying things about it, like the comments about the female protagonist's appearance, but mostly I am enjoying this as a bit of a candy book, a romantic space opera.

Still slogging through Far From the Tree on my Kobo, but annoyed with it. My annoyance stems from the fact that it is not a disability studies book. It is rather, about parenting. I mean, it's still interesting, but. It's also long! I could be reading something else! I might give up, or I might keep stubbornly slogging through. I am almost done with the disability chapters.
sasha_feather: ken watanbe with a horse and dog (ken wantanbe with pets)
First, a brief me-health update: I completely forgot to give myself my shots this week. I even forgot to pick up my Enbrel from the pharmacy. I only remembered just now because my knee started hurting. I really don't like forgetting things. I am also getting PT again, for my shoulder.

Second, Sorcha-health update. Twice on Sunday her back legs sort of gave out briefly and she staggered and caught herself. It looked like a drunken stumble. This was alarming and I took her to the vet the next day. The vet said she has a lack of reflexes in her hind legs. They offered me a referral to a doggie neurologist which I said I would think about. It doesn't seem that they did any blood work, which I may call back and request. It looks the medical term for this symptom is "ataxia". While she normally has tremors in her hind legs, they seem to be more pronounced lately, and happen while she is walking, not just while she is standing.

----

Third, Reading Wednesday!

I am Currently Reading

Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon.

Chapter One was definitely the slowest and densest. Still, I don't think I will finish this book before it's due at the library. It is also heavy and hard to carry around. I may purchase the e-book. This is not an activist book. It's chiefly about parenting and families. It's still quite good and wrestles with a lot of identity issues that I find fascinating. In general it includes a lot of first-hand accounts of parents and children.

Chapter 2: Deaf. A nice overview of D/deaf history and cultures, and the difficulties therein. The politics of this world are really complicated and fraught, and while they make some people's lives profoundly better, the politics can also stand in the way for others. A dense chapter with a lot of information.

Chapter 3: Dwarf. I definitely learned things in this chapter. One of the issues brought up is that this identity is considered humorous to the wider culture.

Chapter 4: Down's Syndrome. Briefly talks about institutionalization, independence, and mainstream vs. special education.

Onto the next chapter, Autism!

I am also reading:

Tangles by Sarah Leavitt. Graphic memoir. I love this so far. It's a funny and heartbreaking account of her mother's Alzheimer's disease.

I recently finished

I love Led Zeppelin by Ellen Forney. I think she is my favorite graphic writer/artist! This book is oversized and NSFW. Includes a handy how-to section, collaborations, and misc. comics. Interesting and fun.
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
A couple notes I wanted to make while reading Far From the Tree.

p. 17: "Much of the debate around sexual-orientation laws has turned on the idea of that if you choose homosexuality, it should not be protected, but you are born with it, perhaps it should. Members of minority religions are protected not because they are born that way and can't do anything about it, but because we affirm their right to discover, declare, and inhabit the faith with which they identify. [...] This cripple-like model of homosexuality is depressing, but as soon as ayone posits that homosexuality is chosen or mutable, lawmakers and religious leaders try to cure and disenfranchise the gay people in their purview..."

I have blogged about this before here, so it was nice to see him cover it. It's particularly nice to see the way he frames it: the defensive position is held only because of attacks by lawmakers and the religious right.

p. 5: "We often use illness to disparage a way of being, and identity to validate that same way of being. This is a false dichotomy." [Here he talks about the wave-particle dual nature of light.] "A similar duality obtains in this matter of self. Many conditions are both illness and identity, but we can see one only when we obscure the other. Identity politics refutes the idea of illness, while medicine shortchanges identity. Both are diminished by this narrowness."

It is important to remember that models are incomplete ways of describing the world. Models are developed because we are unable to fully understand the world; it is simply too complex.

Models are sometimes in opposition with each other but not always: Most disabled people use medicines and support certain charities but also rely on the social model of disability to help us understand our place in the world and world for a better standard of life.
sasha_feather: white woman in space suit (Astronaut)
Today I woke up feeling off. I completely forgot what day it was, missed an appointment, and was late for another appointment. (My face and shoulder are hurting a lot and it's hard to think.)

This is not totally unheard of for me; even though I'm normally a very reliable person, when I get especially stressed or sick I tend to forget dates and times and miss appointments. It's one of my indicators for how well/badly I'm doing. I feel bad about it, though.

Anyways, Reading meme:

Recently finished

The Nao of Brown, graphic novel, by Glyn Dillon.

I loved this and think nearly everyone should read it! The watercolors are amazing, with lot of reds, white and gray, and realistic faces and bodies. Nao is a half-Japanese, half-white woman living in England and working at an upscale designer toy shop. She has a form of OCD that manifests as intrusive, violent thoughts. This book is about her friendships, her Buddhist practice, and her relationship with a washing machine repairman. I loved it!!! Content warning for suicide ideation, some violent imagery, mentions of past rape.

ATLA: The Promise by Gene Luen Yang et al.

I enjoyed these as a continuation of the TV show. Light and fun, but with real political weight concerning colonies and mixed-nationality families.

Air by G. Willow Wilson (comic)

I didn't get much out of this. Meh.

Currently Reading

Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon.

This book is about children who have different identities than their parents. "Vertical" identities are those such as race that are passed down. "Horizontal" identities are those such as queerness and, often, disability that are not passed down but are different from one generation to the next. He has chapters on various disabilities, a chapter on transgender children, one on children conceived through rape, one of children who are criminals, one on children who are prodigies. This book is 700 pages long; I am on page 34 and am reading slowly to try and absorb a lot of complex musings on identity. The author is gay and writes some about that; he also is dyslexic and Jewish; he interviewed more than 300 hundred families for this book. It's a lot of food for thought.

What do you think you'll read next?

I still have huge pile of comics out of from the library.

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