miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
You are a politician. You have been invited to be on television. You want to drop signals to your supporters about how cool and on message you are, so you hastily arrange a pile of books to be behind you on camera. Dominic Raaaaaaab picked such telling volumes as perjurer Jonathan Aitken's biography of Nixon for his 9 book display.

[personal profile] matgb and I think this would make a good meme. Pick nine books to showcase your political views to the world before you've even said a word.

Here's what I would put in my Raab Book Pile:
  • On Liberty by John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor. Obviously. I have a nice hardback edition with a foreword by Millicent Fawcett.

  • A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft. Got the Folio edition of this, which is very pretty in it's slipcase.

  • An Intelligent Person's Guide to Liberalism by Conrad Russell. Also obviously. I got this for a pound in a library sell off - and was astounded to find it was signed when I opened it.

  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin. Because... Look, I can't do this in one sentence. Read this.

  • Thud by Terry Pratchett. This is one of Pterry's anti-racist discworld books, but also has some of the best stuff about parenting feels I have ever read.

  • Kindred by Octavia Butler. One of those books that everybody should read. You have read it, right?

  • Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman. Just for the title, really.

  • Trans Britain: Our Journey From the Shadows by Christine Burns et al. Although I currently only have this on kindle, so might need to buy a nice papery edition.

  • Doctor Who and the Dalek Invasion of Earth by Terrance Dicks. The really ancient, battered copy I bought secondhand when I was ten. Because nothing will signal my on messageness to the sort of person I want to be on message with than a clearly much adored and oft read Target novelisation.

Which nine books would you pick for your Raab Book Pile and why?
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
Find the nearest book to you, turn to page 45, and read the first sentence: this describes your sex life in 2018.
"Make it for the shelves, then." (from We Have Always Lived in The Castle by Shirley Jackson.)

Given the amount of book and DVD/bluray consolidation and sorting we've been doing in this household over Christmas and New Year, this seems apt.
miss_s_b: Mindy St Clare from The Good Place, hiding her nakedness behind very large sunflowers and looking shocked (Default)
Your main fandom of the year?

As in the one I've spent most time in/on? Probably Dexter, given that I mainlined all 8 series, although I've never been so angry about ANYTHING as I was about the end of that show.

Your favorite film watched this year?

Wonder Woman. No, Moana. No, Wonder Woman. No, Moana. Argh.

Your favorite book read this year?

I've got a few I gave five stars to:

- The Distant Echo by Val McDermid
- Out Of Bounds by Val McDermid
- Windwitch by Susan Rennard
- several of the Doctor Who Mr Men books
- Alice by Christina Henry
- Dead Corpse by Nuzo Onoh

… out of those it's probably Alice? Alice is horrible and beautiful and amazing.

Your favorite album or song to listen to this year?

Here is my Spotify "most played tracks" playlist. I don't tend to listen to albums very much any more. As you can see, I went through a bit of a musicals phase after seeing Moana. Oh, and the Birdie Song is only on there because I've been trolling my daughter with it.

If I were to rec one song off there?
Thelma & Louise by The Horrorpops

Your favorite TV show of the year?

The Good Place. Or Santa Clarita Diet. One of those two.

Your favorite DW/LJ community of the year?

[community profile] weekly_food_challenge has become a pleasure not a chore. And food is a fandom, right?

Your best new fandom discovery of the year?

Fanny Cradock

Your biggest fandom disappointment of the year?

Straight from Lizbee's post: I knew it was coming, and I see why it was important to the narrative, but Spoilers for Star Trek Disco )

Your fandom boyfriend of the year?

Hatcher from Alice.

Your fandom girlfriend of the year?

Philippa Georgiou.

Your biggest squee moment of the year?

Jodie Whittaker's reveal (and Colin Baker's reaction to it ♡♡♡My Doctor♡♡♡)

The most missed of your old fandoms?

Probably HP. I made so many good friends through that fandom. But JKR being TERFy AND supportive of the casting of Johnny Depp? I just can't any more.

I might have said Top Gear here, but 1, I really liked series 2 of New Line-up TG on BBC2, and 2, the reasons it has soured for me are all on Amazon Prime now. Fucking homophobic misogynist twats Hammond and Clarkson. Trying really hard to not let May go down in my estimation with them… :/

The fandom you haven't tried yet, but want to?

I don't know, because if I want to try a thing I do it straight away.

Your biggest fan anticipations for the New Year?

Copying from Lizbee again, but I'm torn between the second half of Star Trek Discovery season 1 and Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor. It's SO GOOD that we have amazing Trek TV again, but a lady Doctor? A lady doctor with a Yorkshire accent? Oh hell yes, with bells on. pleaseChibbersdon'tfuckitup… pleaseChibbersdon'tfuckitup…
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
... However, as it is for publication in Liberator, you'll have to wait to read it :þ

Once Liberator has landed on doormats I'll put the review up on Goodreads and link to it here. But if you want a little spoiler, although I had some criticisms I genuinely quite enjoyed it, and will definitely buy his next (if he ever writes another).


Friday, October 13th, 2017 08:01 pm
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
My old Kindle keyboard died a couple of weeks ago. Having looked into repairs and replacing it with the same model on eBay and such, it's going to be less fuss to just buy a new one1.

Looking into the current models, I hit upon a dilemma. I really, REALLY do not want a backlight, and I have been told that on both the paperwhite and the voyage you can turn the light down low, but never off completely. For me, the main attraction of an e-ink display was the lack of invasive lightiness buggering up my delicate little eyeballs. So that instantly pushed me towards the basic... BUT the basic has a lower resolution, and no 3G option, and apparently is a bit cheap-feeling and breaks easily.

I get paid on Sunday. I'll be buying a new kindle on Sunday2. Help me to decide which one?

Poll #18929 Kindles
This poll is closed.
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 11

Which kindle should Jennie buy

The Basic
2 (18.2%)

The light's not THAT bad, the Paperwhite
6 (54.5%)

Hang the expense! The Voyage!
3 (27.3%)

In other news, isn't it amazing how much I blog on a twitterless day?

1srsly, Kindle keyboards go for STUPID money, who knew? It's almost like having buttons is a good thing for some people, and touch screens are not the be all and end all of everything...

2This is why the Oasis isn't even an option - apart from anything else I have a book I need to write a review for by the end of the month that's on kindle and the Oasis doesn't come out till the end of the month
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
Yet again the puppies have shat on everybody else's carpet. It'll be interesting to see if people take the Scalzi line and vote for people on the slate who are deserving anyway, or if they put the mighty Gneil (for example) below no award - which is what I'll be doing for rabid puppy nominees - for sad, they had open noms, so I have a more open mind. Happily the ones I nominated that made the ballot were not on any puppy slates so I can vote for them with a clear conscience. NK Jemisin FTW! But I think no award is going to be my most prominent view in most categories... :/

Let's hope the rule change passes, eh?
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
Minnsy complains, correctly in my view, about the recently released list of books that every child should read before they leave school. Dickens and Austen are great once you're already into reading, but that dense Victorian prose is not going to suck in a reluctant reader - and it's for that reason I'll be leaving all the Brontes, Conan Doyle, Mary Shelley and po' ol' Poe off my list, with the deepest regret. My picks are somewhat different from Minnsy's though:
  1. Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett - the first proper Pratchett, very accessible, hilariously funny, and will suck you in to the Discworld which, if you're like me, you'll never leave.

  2. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie - Christie's easy conversational style is a joy to read, and this book has one of her most famous twists.

  3. Matilda by Roald Dahl - I'm a firm believer in books about the magic of reading, and that's why this one.

  4. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke - for the same reason as Matilda.

  5. The Ghost Stories of MR James by MR James - I think it does a child good to have the crap scared out of them every so often, and James can even make bedsheets terrifying. Also, I genuinely think it's important for kids to learn that short stories can be excellent, and you do not need a 600-page tome to tell a good tale. And he's not technically Victorian.

  6. Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson - another book to prick at the emotions, with some genuine laugh out loud moments. Also important for the queer kids (you are not alone) and the het kids (queer kids are normal). And once you've read it you can buy this poster.

  7. The Magician's Nephew by CS Lewis. Yes, that's right, not The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. The prequel. Not quite so heavy handed with the Christian allegory, but just as full of imaginative detail. I always liked Polly better than any of the Pevensie children, too.

  8. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin - does what all the best scifi does: poses a "what if?" and runs away with it.

  9. Fated by Benedict Jacka - because fantasy can be modern and set in a world we recognise, and populated by people we run into every day.

  10. Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks - because it is, and everybody should read this book. You can get the .pdf of it here
miss_s_b: Mindy St Clare from The Good Place, hiding her nakedness behind very large sunflowers and looking shocked (Default)
And having reeled off a few names (Ursula K, Octavia B, three or four current ones) I thought it might also be useful to share a couple of the Goodreads Groups I lurk.

Feminist Science Fiction Fans is the more serious of the two, and they do a book-of-the-month thing which I've got into the habit of just buying. They are great for exploration of feminist ideas.

Girls, Guns and Grimoires is, as their name suggests, more on the funloving side. They're not explicitly feminist, but by Cthulhu they rec some awesome feminist books. They also have a book of the month thing, and you can vote on which book it should be.

I would genuinely recommend both these groups to a lot of you on my f-list, cos I know a lot of you have similar reading proclivities to me. Obviously this isn't going to feed all your reading urges, but it's nice to get pointers sometimes, and I have discovered some great new (to me) authors via these two groups.
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
According to The Daily Mail: The audacious sabotage of tacky tabloid newspapers and trashy TVAccording to The Daily Mail: The audacious sabotage of tacky tabloid newspapers and trashy TV by Laurence Simpson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Although not without it's flaws, I really enjoyed this novel. It's a crime caper that has hints of Kyril Bonfiglioli, without resorting to his relentless salaciousness. "Will Our Hero get away with it?" is the main question the reader is asking throughout this book, and the answer is left right till the end.

The lead character, Jonathon, is clearly an outrageous Mary Sue - or rather Gary Stu - and yet he is immensely likeable none the less. The other characters are similarly Utopian, through the prism of Jonathon, yet none of them is annoying for it. Nobody is particularly interestingly flawed, but they all feel like plausibly real people. There's naughtiness but no nastiness, and some coy and very British sex scenes which hint at scandalous behaviors while never detailing them - which is how I prefer my sex scenes if I'm honest.

The research which gives this book it's backbone, so far as I can tell in the areas I know something about, was reasonably exacting. In fact, in that respect it reminded me of nothing so much as Ian Fleming, who was incredibly detailed about little things in order to ground his more unbelievable plots in some semblance of reality, and gave Bond his signature drink as a subtle signal of his lack of class.

Another way in which this book reminds me of Fleming is that it's very clearly written by a heterosexual man who has many of the blind spots of a typical heterosexual man - there's maybe a bare Bechdel pass, but the vast majority of the incidental characters are male for no particularly good reason other than that men are what pops into this writer's head - and yet the plot rattles along at such a pace that I found myself not really minding, where in a book that was less fun to read this would really bother me.

This book will annoy those who don't agree with it's politics, mischievous and tongue-in-cheek though they are, but frankly those people are the sort of people I don't mind annoying. The only genuine sour note for me is in one of the appendices, in which there is some unnecessary misgendering of Caitlyn Jenner in a footnote - however I suspect this springs from lack of knowledge rather than malice.

It's inventive and funny - cackle aloud funny in places - and while it's very obviously a fantasy of a certain type of man, sometimes that's all you need for an evening's entertainment. And given several of my previous jobs, I really appreciated the ending.

A solid 4/5, here.

Read this if:
- you want a fun read that will give you a few guffaws
- you share the author's views on the tabloids in general and the Daily Mail in particular
- You like the kind of crime caper where nobody is really a bad guy except the faceless corporations

Don't read this if:
- You need a gender balanced cast (or any sort of diversity at all that isn't inserted by the reader)
- You think the Daily Mail is a quality newspaper
- You value thought-provoking over entertaining

View all my reviews
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot, #1)The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A deserved classic.

It's interesting how many of Poirot and Hastings' notable characteristics are there from the off. Poirot's backhanded compliments, and Hastings' obliviousness to them, are a particular delight.

The plot is reasonably classic Christie, full of little misdirections and barely spottable clues. It has been long enough since I read this that I had forgotten whodunnit, so the puzzle aspect was there in full joy for me. I fell for trap #2, and thought for a long time it was actually (view spoiler). The only slight difference between this and most Christie is that there's only one murder (not an increasingly desperate murderer making it to 3 or 4), and that there don't appear to be any same sex couples (seriously, the number of "lady companions" & "old friends living together for company" in Christie is a joy).

Similarly, Christie's writing style is pretty fully-formed here. For a first novel, that's actually astonishing. Oh and while I'm here, I have no truck with those who say that because Christie wrote lots of page-turners in easy-to-understand language that means she's not a great writer; to fit that many ideas and that much creativity and that much sly wit into simple texts is a lot harder than doing the literary equivalent of Yngwie Malmsteen-esque wankery, and more people should respect that.
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I'm off to see trains on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway today, so comms will be either very light, or flooded with pics of trains.
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
Veiled (Alex Verus, #6)Veiled by Benedict Jacka

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another solid volume in this extremely addictive series. If you like your fantasy modern and set in a believable world, the Alex Verus books are great; full of rounded characters and interesting ideas about what makes a person human - even if they are a fox or a giant spider.

Caldera remains the character I identify with. I loved Vari's tutor, the wizarding world's Captain Flashheart. I would have liked the new characters to have been a bit better gender balanced, although the continuing cast remains spot on in that regard. And I await the next volume with interest - I meant it when I said this series is addictive. I really do want to know what happens next.

The Silent City (Silent City #1)The Silent City by Elisabeth Vonarburg

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm giving this a three because while it has some nice ideas and interesting scenarios to explore, it's frustratingly full of really creative plot points that go nowhere, interesting moral dilemmas that are skated over, and then other, far less interesting, stuff that's gone into in ridiculous and pointless amounts of detail.

Add to that some of the incestuous sexual stuff is just disturbing. Also I find it incredibly unlikely that a society in which 50 girls are born for every 1 boy would have FEMALE slavery, so that engaged my cynicism quite early on.

If this was a fic I was betaing I'd expect at least another three or four drafts after this.

Nick Nightmare InvestigatesNick Nightmare Investigates by Adrian Cole

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lots of silly pulpy fun. Could have done with more non-male characters - there's nothing to stop a police officer or two being ladies, for example - to say nothing of authors, sea captains, shopkeepers, & retired superheroes - but this is a flaw in the source material as well, so I'm not going to complain too hard about that.

The writing is fast-paced, descriptions are creative, and the plots of the various short stories are engaging enough, if occasionally a little repetitive. And I always enjoy games of Spot The Reference.

So yeah, this gets a good solid 4/5

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents (Discworld, #28)The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I reread this for comfort reading. It's still just as fantastic as it was the first time around.

View all my reviews
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
The Three-Body Problem (Three-Body, #1)The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin

OK, as usual for a book that's going on my Abandoned shelf, I'm not rating this. I have tried so hard to read it, but I just cannot get into it at all. I don't care about any of the characters, and even were I to start to care, there's so many of them and they appear or disappear entirely at random (or so it feels to me). There's just nothing hooking me into the story.

I am reliably informed that the story is good, and I'm sure it is. But more than a quarter of the way through this book, I'm just getting the feeling life is too short to find out, especially as it ends on a cliffhanger and expects me to rush right out and get the next one.


View all my reviews
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6)The Annihilation Score by Charles Stross

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this. It was very refreshing seeing things from Mo's point of view rather than Bob's; her voice is different from his but no less compelling. She's less jaded, even though she's older and more senior. She's got a vibrancy, and her humour is similar to but not the same as Bob's. She's also authentically a woman; the stuff she worries about is stuff I worry about. The impostor syndrome, the becoming invisible, the dress codes (yes, those who know me, I know I don't look like I worry about those things, but I do. Societal programming is strong).

I loved Mhari seen through Mo's eyes, rather than Bob's. She's become quite an interesting character. And Ramona remains awesomesauce on legs; well wheels now.

The plot is, as usual for a Stross novel, creative, interesting, and had enough twists in to wrongfoot me a couple of times, which is always enjoyable. I'm not going to go into plot spoilers because I don't like it when other people do, but I was very happy with it.

I'm still waiting for that Chekov's Gun of a cat to pay off, mind, which might be sort of a negative spoiler - it hasn't happened yet.

And a final note: the people who are complaining in their reviews that Mo is a "bitch" because she's not totally subservient to Bob and sacrificing her life for him? Clearly didn't read or understand The Jennifer Morgue, which was four books ago in the series. The point Bob realises that Mo is more powerful, more scary, smarter and sassier than him is the point Bob asks Mo to marry him. He doesn't WANT someone who will sacrifice herself on the altar of his manly manness. The point where things start to go wrong in their marriage is the point where he comes into his powers, because it upsets the dynamic of their entire relationship. Seriously, people, stop it with the sexist assumption what woman must submit to man she's married to. Please?

View all my reviews
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
AmmoniteAmmonite by Nicola Griffith

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really loved this book. The lyrical, evocative language and the beautiful simple structure. It made me want to hug my loved ones and tell them how loved they are. So if you'll excuse me...

View all my reviews

((this "review" was written at 1.20 this morning when I finished the book, which I hadn't been able to put down all day. I wouldn't normally crosspost one so short and content-light, but I really think this is an excellent book and deserves my recommendation. I am going to try to find the three Bending the Landscape books next...))
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
Smoke Me A Kipper: Neil's FarragoSmoke Me A Kipper: Neil's Farrago by Col B. Limp

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OK, so full disclosure, this IS written by a friend of mine (under a cunning pseud, natch), so I'm hardly an unbiased witness. HOWEVER: it's fantastic. Laugh-out-loud funny in places, in others so close to the bone you wince. It WILL offend lots of people, but in my view, they are all people who need offending good and hard.

There are so many little nods to things I love in this too, but I think my favourite is the final little Red Dwarf reference which ties it all up with the title in a neat little bow.

If I was to pick the tiniest nit... it doesn't even come close to passing Bechdel. But given the main character this is hardly a surprise and completely consistent.

Oh yes, the "About the Author" thing is hilarious too. Thoroughly, THOROUGHLY recommended. And if you go to download it for kindle before Sunday it's free.

View all my reviews
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul (Dirk Gently, #2)The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul by Douglas Adams

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It was ok. This might be something of a heresy but I found it overly pretentious. The conceit of the story was quite good, but it was overly long for what it was, and a bit too much of it's time. I mean it's not like Adams could have KNOWN about the demise of British Rail or the restoration of St Pancras or handheld TVs never really catching on or all the other myriad little things about this book that anchor it so firmly to the 80s...

I suspect had I read this at the same time as I read the Hitchhiker books, when I was a teenager, then this would have been as refreshing and cool as them, and I could reread it now with a glow of nostalgia. But reading it 25 years too late, too old, and too cynical doesn't help it.

Sorry Douglas.

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miss_s_b: (Politics: Goth Lib Dems)
So, apparently, there are well over seven thousand of you guys now. Welcome! In order to help you acclimatise to the culture of the party there's a couple of things you ought to be reading.
  1. The back of your membership card* is the first and most important thing for you to read as a new Lib Dem. The front will have some sort of pretty picture on it, and your name, and your membership number. The back will say on it:
    The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.
    which is an extract from our Constitution and is something that is graven on most of our hearts. Regardless of the fact that I have recently called for a constitutional convention, and I genuinely think that we should rebuild from the ground up (hopefully with your help), the idea that the words "no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance, or conformity" won't be a part of that is unconscionable.

  2. On Liberty by John Stuart Mill. You can read this online, but my favourite version** is this 1912 edition which also contains two more of Mill's essays - on running the government and on feminism - and an Introduction by Millicent Garrett Fawcett. You might be a bit put off the idea of reading a dry work of Victorian philosophy, but I promise you, it's worth it.***

  3. The Liberator Songbook. You can buy a copy here and there are some extracts online here, for example, or here. You don't have to attend Glee Club at conference - and indeed, many Lib Dems look upon it with total embarrassment - but a read of the songbook will give you an idea of the culture of the party. We like to extract the urine. We extract the urine out of ourselves, each other, other political parties, the political system, and ourselves all over again.

  4. The Electoral Reform Society's Guide to Voting Systems. The one thing everybody knows about the Lib Dems is that we are in favour of "PR". Most people don't know what PR is. Most people think we had a referendum on PR in the last parliament. We didn't, we had a referendum on AV, which is not a proportional system. You, as a new Lib Dem, are going to get asked about "PR" a lot. Familiarising yourself with the various voting systems is probably a plan. The favoured system of the Electoral Reform Society, The Liberal Democrats, and myself is Single Transferrable Vote, which is known everywhere else in the world as The British Proportional System, because we invented it. We like it because it gives the most power to voters. We use STV for all internal elections, and it's in use in various parts of the UK, but not yet for general elections. If you are pushing for proportional representation, please specify that we want STV, not nebulous "PR".

There are lots and lots of other things you can read as a Lib Dem. An Intelligent Person's Guide to Liberalism by Conrad Russell is one I would fully recommend, I am very fond of The Journal of Liberal History, many people would recommend the free back issues of Liberator magazine, and I'm sure the people in the comments will have many many more recommendations; but I would say the four listed above are the absolute essentials.

* when it arrives, which will probably take a while because there are a lot to produce and the new ones are actually quite fancy
** I like this edition so much that I keep giving it to people as a present ;)
*** The bit most often cited by Lib Dems is The Harm Principle: "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant." - we often discuss the implications and applications of it, but few of us don't think it is a guiding principle.

On #PaydayBook

Monday, December 15th, 2014 02:34 pm
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
So those of you who follow me on twitter may have noticed that one a month I post what I've bought for my #paydaybook and might be wondering what the point of it is. Obviously books are awesome, and that's part of it, but it also has two other functions: firstly it makes me try new things, and secondly it makes me support actual real life bookshops.

The rules I follow are:
  1. The book must be one I have not read before - so no sneakily buying posh editions of old favourites
  2. It must be obtained by browsing or being recced something in an actual, physical bookshop - so no amazon
  3. the book must be bought on payday
  4. Once the book has been bought, take a photo and post it to twitter with the hashtag #paydaybook
Simple, eh?

It rarely costs me more than a tenner, even if Waterstones* have a buy-one-get-one-half-price offer on, and it gives me that feeling of smug satisfaction of helping to keep the high street nice and booky, and it gives me new books to read.

OfC, like all good ideas I nicked it from somebody else. So I suppose I really should credit my lovely PPC for Calder Valley, who introduced me to the concept.

* I realise that Waterstones are hardly a small independent bookseller, but my local one is the prettiest in the country, and so I go there often. I patronise small independent bookstores AS WELL, but Bradford Waterstones Cathedral of Books is on my way to work so it's nice and easy to nip in most paydays. LAST month, by contrast, my payday book came from the South Kensington Bookstore, which proclaimed itself to be proudly, fiercely independent - because I happened to be in That London.
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Lee)
"What have you been up to then?"
"Oh I've been reading Dennis Wheatley"
"What?! What the fuck do you want to read Dennis Wheatley for? It's racist, classist, homophobic, misogynist, xenophobic, politically illiterate... worse than all that it's BADLY WRITTEN!"
"I know! That's what makes it SO HILARIOUS!"

One day my politically incorrect sense of humour is going to get me into big trouble. But honestly, if you want to piss yourself laughing, Wheatley is the way to go. The man in my icon would doubtless disagree, but he (like Wheatley) is a product of another time.

PSA: Bad Brain Day

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014 10:45 am
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
I am having one. Work was horrific yesterday, and there were various dramas outside of work as well, and work today looks as though it's not going to be any better. So I'm not tweeting, I'm not reading blogs, I'm only checking emails from people on my important list, and my phone is on block mode*. Cut down and shut down.

It's Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Holiday, Nina Simone and various other bluesy jazzy type people on the playlist today.

Still, I did manage to nip into Waterstones and pick up a payday book** on my way into work today, so it's not all bad. I got this. Because how could I resist that when it was displayed so prominently?

*this means that if you try to phone or text me you will only get through if you are one of nine people. Four of whom are work-related, and one of whom doesn't have a working phone at the moment.
**yes, THANK YOU McGREGOR for that idea. Bloody candidates, costing me money.
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Cthulhu the Six!Fan)
So they've released the name of the first author of the Whoniversary Ebooks and it's Eoin Colfer. I have no problem with this, I like his work. I am now going to engage in rampant speculation about who else might be on the list. Apparently they are all children's authors. What the definition of children's author they are using is, I do not know. [personal profile] magister says he'd like to see Salman Rushdie on the list, and Mr R has written children's books... The ones I am willing to suggest might be on the list are as follows:
  • GNeil, obviously, because he's been tweeting about research for a Who project and his cybermen story for the Welsh series is all done and written because they've been filming it.

  • JKR is strongly rumoured too.

  • PTerry and/or Rihanna Pratchett would be on my wishlist.

  • Julia Donaldson, Michael Morpurgo, Anthony Horowitz, Cressida Cowell, Jaqueline Wilson, Charlie Higson and Babette Cole are also names I would put in the frame. And Allan Ahlberg. Possibly some of those are dead... Roald Dahl would be amazing if he were still going.
Who do you guys think might be put forward?
miss_s_b: (Pratchett: Nanny Ogg)
I had my first view of An Unexpected Journey tonight. I'm going to see it again tomorrow with Holly (who is mega excited for it) and my mum; will hopefully do a proper review tomorrow, but suffice to say it's bloody fabulous, EXTREMELY faithful to the book(s)*, and Gollum is the cutest most loveliest thing ever.

The thing I want to blog about tonight, though, is VINDICATION. There was argument about whether or not LotR dwarves are like Discworld dwarves (i.e. indeterminate gender identity). I am firmly on the side of HELL YES THEY ARE, and furthermore Gimli is clearly a bisexual lady who has an elf fetish. There are others who are... less convinced of this than I am. HOWEVER, in The Hobbit, when Gandalf is describing Radagast to the company he uses THE EXACT WORDS used to describe Ridcully the Brown when he is first introduced in the Discworld books. Obviously the desciption give of Ridcully is meant to conjure up images of Radagast, so it's a nice nod. But it also means that the writers have explicitly considered Discworld, THEREFORE it is quite legitimate to play guess the gender identity with the company dwarves.

Amirite? I ARE RITE!

Of those in the film, I don't want to make definitive pronouncements about any but two. Oin is definitely a boy; that type of campness is something I have never seen in anyone who wasn't cis male. And Thorin is definiely a girl. That lustrous hair, that silky beard, that way with using improvised weapons; she's the only one who organises things, she's the most sensible, and she's by far the huggiest of the dwarves**.

I lean towards saying that Bombur, Biffur, Balin and Fili and Kili are ladies too***, but I wouldn't say for definite. Dwalin I would say is probably a bloke. The others are, in my head at least, genderqueer.

Anyhew, I am a happy bunny, I enjoyed the film very much, and I thought Thorin was an excellent heroine :)

* as in, the bits that are in there which aren't in The Hobbit are almost all from Tolkein's expansions.
** You might say that I am being somewhat stereotypical about gender roles here; possibly I am. But it beats saying that the only girls in the film were Galadriel (who admittedly has a far bigger part to play than she was given by JRR), a few hobbit extras, and an unnamed elf playing the flute...
*** Which makes the regular fatshaming of Bombur extra depressing...
miss_s_b: (Mood: Gorgeous)
When I was a youngun my dad had the Reader's Digest Complete DIY Manual, and it was bloody fabulous. Clear, concise, well illustrated, and comprehensive, The DIY Book (as it was referred to in our house) rarely ever got put back on the shelf, because it was so constantly in use. It had step by step instructions for how to do EVERYTHING a DIY enthusiast might possibly want to, and a few things that even my dad baulked at trying. So when I decided to take up machine sewing recently, and a couple of websites (yes I'm looking at you, patternreview.com) recommended the equivalent book for sewing, I figgered I'd give it a go.

Now, you CAN get this book in a brand new edition for upwards of twenty quid, but me being me I got it secondhand in an old edition for the princely sum of two pounds and eighty-six pence. Most of the discussion I had seen around this book seemed to agree that in terms of balance of illustrations to text, and topics covered, the 1976 edition was the one to go for, so that's what arrived in the post this morning. For a 35 year old huge great hardback book it's in pretty good condition, especially to say I paid less than three quid for it. The spine isn't damaged, it's got its dust cover, and none of the pages are falling out or damaged. I think the reasons it was so cheap is that it smells faintly of someone else's tobacco smoke. This is something I can happily live with.

But you don't want to hear about the physical book, do you? It's the contents that matter. Well, I've only had a flick through, but from first glance it appears to be everything The DIY Book was, but for sewing. With comprehensive and well-illustrated instructions on setting up a sewing area, looking after a machine, and all types of actual sewing and garment construction, I can see this book being very useful, and I'm very glad I spent that 2.86. Given that you can pick it up for so little (or even SEW little, ha, I kill myself) secondhand, it's certainly worth a look for anyone who is thinking about taking up sewing to see what's involved, too. It's certainly cheaper than taking a punt on a sewing course at the local adult education centre, which is what I have done. If you haven't got a good secondhand bookshop nearby, there's always ABEbooks.
miss_s_b: Mindy St Clare from The Good Place, hiding her nakedness behind very large sunflowers and looking shocked (Default)
miss_s_b: Mindy St Clare from The Good Place, hiding her nakedness behind very large sunflowers and looking shocked (Default)

About This Blog

A picture of me with my mum's dog Pippin

Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.


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Miss SB by Jennie Rigg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
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