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I didn't read any Diana Wynne Jones this month, but she's been one of my favourite authors longer and more consistently than anybody else I count under that header. Her books helped shape my passion for the fantastic when I was a kid and have continued to hold up as I got older; given how prolific she is, it's remarkable just how many of her books are not only good, but uniquely good. (If you asked me today, I'd count the following as actually great: Archer's Goon, Drowned Ammet, Eight Days of Luke, Fire and Hemlock, The Homeward Bounders, Howl's Moving Castle, Witch Week.) She writes magic that's both wondrous and honest better than anybody else. Anyway, word is she has cancer and has stopped taking chemotherapy, and I, in my distant fannish way, am preparing to grieve.
Kate Griffin, A Madness of Angels
Octavia E. Butler, Adulthood Rites
Samuel R. Delany, Dark Reflections
Connie Willis, Blackout
Hiromi Goto, Half World
Ellen Kushner, Swordspoint (reread)
Ellen Kushner, The Privilege of the Sword (reread)
Junot Díaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
There was something in The Madness of Angels -- the magic, the characterization, the hectic and episodic action -- that reminded me very much tonally of the older Bad Pennies. Brendan, if you're reading, I don't know whether this counts as a recommendation, but I'd be interested to know what you thought of it.

There's more I might say about a lot of these books (which were excellent and diverse) but this is late enough already. Those curious about the Kushners might look to what I wrote about them last time around.
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The solstice has passed and so the days are waning, though they're still long enough that if it's dark out it's probably like 2 AM. (By which point... Oh, never mind.) The solstices and eqinoxen have no religious or ritual significance for me, but I always feel buoyed and energized when I notice that it's one of those days; there is something about that particular sort of astronomy, the recognizable influence on my life of things happening on a scale where I am completely insignificant, that I've always found very cheering.

I got my copy of Brendan's book! I ordered the 'author's edition', which comes with an exclusive original anacrusis, so he wrote me an entire story in the style of my placing 2004 Lyttle Lytton entry. I would take this for karmic justice if I were more confused about how karma is supposed to work. The collection is generally excellent, containing several of my favourites (I was particularly pleased to see Asuka, which I recently rediscovered), and several more that I'd forgotten about (or never read?) but admit to be their equal, or near it. There are some webcomics-star-studded illustrations, which I mostly take to be superfluous, in keeping with my opinion of illustrated books more generally; a couple are good enough to enhance my experience, though Bridget is more effective just as text, I think. It's built around Cosette (not least, I suspect, because she's unusual in that her stories can be presented simultaneously in order of composition and that of internal chronology), but several other bad pennies make appearances: there's a Rita story and two separate Holly stories, though we have none of the information that links the latter except her name.

(Everything that Brendan has written about Holly since I made my timeline has been set in the biggest gap I identified there. This is both gratifying and a little bit taunting, since I also want to know what happens next.)

My women's studies pal Joanne told me that there's an English professor whose literature class is all fantasy -- Tolkien and Sandman and, particularly exciting to me, Dean's Tam Lin. The other day at Matt's book launch, Selena told me about a "Women In Film" class she'd taken with a thoughtful and fascinating professor who focussed on works by local women of colour. The knowledge of these, and all the other fascinating classes I haven't taken yet, is rather bittersweet as I register for what will (should all go according to plan) be my final year as an undergraduate, in which there's room for nothing but Japanese and Philosophy, and not nearly all the philosophy I'd still like to learn here, even; I feel nostalgic for my early Langara days, when, having no plan, I just dove into anything I spotted that I thought might excite me. It's not that I have no excitement for the things I'm still taking -- happily, college on the whole has never yet been drudgery for me. There's just so much more offered than I'm able to accept!

I might try to work Tam Lin or Juniper, Gentian and Rosemary into my Women and Literature research paper, though; I can see how that might work, and it would be lovely to get to write about Dean.
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Attention popular culture and occasional human beings: actually, I understand women just fine, at least in numerous individual cases. I am not bragging here, because it is really not that hard. Their personhood is of the usual variety. Please stop exoticizing, 'kay thanks.
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This is my attempt to put the Anacrusis stories about Holly in chronological order, mostly to help myself understand them better. A lot of it is obviously just my speculation.

TIMELINE )
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I find the French language much less irritating now than I used to. A lot of this is for weirdly patriotic reasons.

I believe my reaction to the Rita and the Cold Man timeline is best described as 'fanboying'.

Also, Rachel is awesome.

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Andy H.

February 2013

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