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Kushiel’s Dart

So far this has been my favorite choice from the Vaginal Fantasy bookclub. Albeit, there have only been six books, of which I’ve only read four, having missed the first and fifth book- but still, I loved this. The Iron Duke is a very close second though; need more Archimedes Fox in my life- obviously, I’m going to read the second one in the series!

Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kushiel’s Dart is set in an incredibly rich world that slightly resembles a France of days long past with an intriguing Apochryphal-esque mythology. Phedré, the heroine, is both pensive and brazen, without a clichéd spunkiness. Not that it’s always a bad thing! There’s strong characterization throughout the whole novel; even the antagonists are well fleshed out. Although, that should always be the case, right? Perhaps it’s because of all of these strong characters that it’s not surprising that political chaos ensues.

Suffice it to say, it’s a dense read. Not merely a lengthy one, but quite complex as well, with the political history and drama more convoluted than Phedré’s intricate tattoo marque. However, following in the vein of algolagnia, whatever pain is required for comprehension is immensely pleasurable.

(That’s not too bad a joke, is it? Anyhow…)

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books, crafting, miscellany, music

Admired, Inspired 06.20.12

Admired, Inspired is a roundup of a bunch of my favorite links. Enjoy!

  • Anyone who listens to music needs to read David Lowery’s Letter to Emily White at NPR All Songs Considered. It’s far more than just a response; Lowery has crafted an incredibly informative treatise on the music industry as it stands today. Emphasis is my own:

    The fundamental shift in principals and morality is about who gets to control and exploit the work of an artist. The accepted norm for hudreds of years of western civilization is the artist exclusively has the right to exploit and control his/her work for a period of time… By allowing the artist to treat his/her work as actual property, the artist can decide how to monetize his or her work. This system has worked very well for fans and artists. Now we are being asked to undo this not because we think this is a bad or unfair way to compensate artists but simply because it is technologically possible for corporations or individuals to exploit artists work without their permission on a massive scale and globally. We are being asked to continue to let these companies violate the law without being punished or prosecuted. We are being asked to change our morality and principals to match what I think are immoral and unethical business models.

  • From the always fantastic Seth Godin, who constantly helps navigate through changing tides of creation and consumerism: Amplify the positive outliers.
  • Not just for creatives, but for anyone who wants to just try something new, Leo Babauta answers the inevitable question: “Where in the world do I start?
  • I’m hesitant to add on another knitting project to my plate, but the items in the Knit Red: Stitching for Women’s Heart Health are not only beautiful, but also for an important cause.
  • Jillian Tamaki’s embroidered book covers are amazing. (via Design Love Fest)
  • New favorite blog discovery! I came across The House Vintage after Catherine linked to her interview with them. I’m so enamored! I love that their features and interviews dig into personal choices and philosophies beyond the visual aesthetics of fashion and style.
  • While I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t been keeping up with the show for quite some time, this interview with Maurice LaMarche, voice actor extraordinaire (Orson Welles! The Brain! Mr. Freeze! Kif!), makes me excited for tonight’s Futurama season premiere!

    Our writing gets richer. As our writers come into a more mature age, they’re exploring deeper themes, because that’s what happens to us when we get old. When we started, all our writers were in their 30s. Now, they’re in their late 40s. Some of them are in their early 50s. This show was a little more joke-driven, gag-driven. Now, we’re exploring things like father-son relationships, what it means to love, what is God. You know, comedy.

  • Over the weekend, I tried to make these Chocolate Swirl Buns from Smitten Kitchen… “tried” being the operative word. Long story short, I need to stop making major substitutions on my first attempt at a recipe. Note to self: baking is a science. Measurements exist for a reason. The end result was still quite delicious though!
books, challenge

25 in 2012 January/February

You may or may not have noticed, but I’ve halted Sunday Sounds for the past few weeks in an attempt to get a stronger focus on my own words and ideas (and images!).

But I’m also trying to get my 25 in 2012 reading resolution rolling, so a little bit a review and commentary is gonna trickle in. We’re still cool right? ;)

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Millennium, #3)The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a bittersweet end; not so much in content but because of the history of the series itself. When considering as a “trilogy,” this tied everything up well, but The Girl Who Played With Fire and this felt very much like a two-parter in a longer series, so it’s saddening to know that there can never be another book when that was the intent.

The ending itself felt a little hokey, but after everything the characters went through, I’m happy for them!

Silent in the GraveSilent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Thanks to the ladies of the Vaginal Fantasy Hangout group, I read my first ever Victorian Mystery Romance novel!

I enjoyed the storyline, but it’s the characters that kept me going. I love the crazy March family. And Fleur!

There were at times when I felt that there was too much world-building/explaining, but it goes by quick enough and returns to amusing character interactions that it’s not too much of a problem.

I’m excited to see Julia learn more about herself and grow, and that Brisbane tones down the arrogance (I know, I know, he’s ~tortured~!). Mostly I hope to see more Portia and Valerius. haha

What have been your recent reads?

books, challenge

Everything is Illuminated

This book is beautiful. There are sentiments that absolutely make me ache because of how truthful they feel. Yes, it can be jumbled, messy, and sometimes so blunt that those particular scenes could border on perversion- but all of that just creates such a brilliant honesty. While the number of characters that appear can become overwhelming, they are never dull; no pun intended, but they become blindingly bright and so alive.

I admit that I started this last year but despite having read it in such a drawn out span of time, every time I picked it up I fell right back into the fantastic quality of the language. Due to the time frame it took me to read this and the ~patchwork~ design of the overall narrative, this begs a reread soon! However, it’s less for the sake of comprehension and more for appreciation of all the interconnected details that I need to revisit this heartbreaking book.

I’m almost apologetic for all the italicizing but hey, it’s how I feel.

Anyhow, please note that on goodreads I rate a book according to how much I loved it, not necessarily for its “quality”- because those are two very different things. However, that is not to say that this book doesn’t merit the five stars I gave it. It’s more like I don’t feel… qualified to give “real” ratings. Although it is my opinion anyway so… you get what I mean, right?

(Cover image from the publisher’s website. I happen to have the pink version and will probably update this post at a later date with the appropriate version.)

books, challenge

Reading Resolutions

I wish I could call myself a voracious reader, but I know that some of you can just burn through book after book, week after week! Alas, my interests and attentions are all over the place (music! tv! knitting! hooping!) and while I wouldn’t have it any other way, I would like to incorporate more book reading to the mix.

Although twenty-five books in one year isn’t that many, this is one of those times where I’m setting the bar low enough so that I can definitely get it done! ;) In addition to updating here, I’ll be using goodreads to mark my progress– if you’re on there, I’m musekitsch!

Obviously this is quite a bit more than twenty-five (and it doesn’t include all the graphic novels I want to read!); I’m less stringent on what I’m reading during the year (not that I don’t care! I do!), more so how much I’m reading, so if I read a book that’s not on the list, I’m still going to count it. Whether it’s appalling or not, these are just some of the books I’ve amassed through the years and have yet to read.

Anyone else with a reading resolution? Although my little wallet might protest, I’d love some book recommendations! As you can probably tell from the collection above I’m pretty partial to fiction and sci-fi/fantasy, but there are also some non-fiction books on there. I’ve also got a soft spot for philosophy, theory, and productivity/self-help books, but am open to anything… well, as long as you can promise it’s interesting. ;)