shinyjenni: Alicia from The Good Wife, seen from behind, wearing a red coat, in front of a wall of bookshelves (alicia books)
incorrigibly frivolous ([personal profile] shinyjenni) wrote2015-12-02 02:33 pm

Books and comics read in November 2015

Cranky Ladies of History ed Tansy Rayner Roberts and Tehani Wessely
Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan - Shrabani Basu
Founding Friendships: Friendships Between Men and Women in the Early American Republic - Cassandra Good*
Flunkeys and Scullions: Life Below Stairs in Georgian England - Pamela Horn*
Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade
Star Trek: A Stitch in Time - Andrew J. Robinson
Spirit, or the Princess of Bois Dormant - Gwyneth Jones
X-Men: The Burning World
Clariel - Garth Nix*
Catwoman: Keeper of the Castle*

Didn't finish: Darkspell - Katherine Kerr. I sort of liked the first book in this series, and I was sort of enjoying this one (although, so slow), until a queer character finally showed up, but he was a villain, and his queerness was a little too closely associated with his being a victim of rape as a child for me to be entirely comfortable with. So I googled and discovered that there's a later, substantially different version of this book, which was somewhat offputting as it would mean rereading the 200 pages I'd already read. And then I found a post by the author talking about how this gives the character in question a positive ending instead of a negative one (hurray!)... and about how she'd made it clearer that he's DEFINITELY not gay, why would ANYONE think that, he was just warped (the exact word she used D:) by being raped as a child, and at that point I was very conclusively done.

Founding Friendships: Friendships Between Men and Women in the Early American Republic
Given my current Hamilton feelings and my ongoing feelings about representation of friendships, this book should have been a (rainbow pancake) slamdunk. And it mostly was! It's a thorough and readable exploration of male-female friendships in the period, what we know about them and how they were constructed, formed, perceived and enacted, with a particularly good chapter on how women were able to exercise political power through these friendships. Its one flaw was the way it would ALMOST explicitly critique heteronormativity and then (except for the afterword) veer frustratingly off at the last minute. D: But that aside, an excellent book.

Flunkeys and Scullions: Life Below Stairs in Georgian England
This was a bit dry, but definitely full of information: I'd probably recommend it to anyone looking for a place to start researching the topic. (NB however, the section on sexual relationships should in fact have been entitled "Heterosexual relationships" because what even are queer people, does anyone know.)

There were a lot of things I loved about this book, chiefly spending more time in the world of the Abhorsen trilogy, and the heroine, with whom I identified pretty strongly (she's an aromantic asexual with a strong independent streak who doesn't really understand how people work, it was inevitable). HOWEVER. I absolutely HATED the ending. It was just so unnecessarily cruel, and I found it especially horrible that (skip) Clariel is condemned to eventually become a minor villain in someone else's story because of a mistake (admittedly a pretty huge mistake) she made when she was about seventeen, and that she might not have made if any of the adults around her had treated her as anything more than a tool or an inconvenience, and that the narrative straight up tells us that there's something inherently wrong about her - she is, apparently a puzzle piece that could never have fitted. D: UGH. The more I think about it, the more upset I am. I've been thinking about rereading the Abhorsen trilogy for ages, but now? I'm not sure I want to any more.

Catwoman: Keeper of the Castle
This is a good comic that sadly wasn't for me - I am just not really interested in antiheroes. Sorry, comic! (Also, again not the comic's fault, but once I started thinking about how sad it is that Helena Bertinelli isn't around to have opinions on all this it was hard to stop. /o\)
st_aurafina: Rainbow DNA (Default)

[personal profile] st_aurafina 2015-12-02 11:49 pm (UTC)(link)
I just finished a re-read of the Abhorsen trilogy and I'm in the middle of Clariel right now, and omg thank you for the warning because I hate bad endings. Ugh. Why. (The Abhorsen books were still delightful, by the way, if that helps at all to take away the sting. The Disreputable Dog!)

[identity profile] 2015-12-03 12:37 am (UTC)(link)
Ooh, how were Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade and Spy Princess?

I really wanted to like Genevieve Valentine's Catwoman run, but the mob politics really weren't my thing and I had a hard time following the shifting loyalties and whatnot. I liked the second arc better, though--it has Stephanie Brown, art that's a bit more polished but still gritty, and a less confusing plot, at least imo.
ext_23287: (she was my friend)

[identity profile] 2015-12-04 11:36 am (UTC)(link)
I liked Cosmic Adventures a lot - it's definitely towards the "for kids" end of all ages, but it was really fun and the art was SO cute. I liked Spy Princess too - it didn't blow me away, but it was solid, and Noor Inayat Khan's story was fascinating.

Yeah, me too! I might try the second arc, then, assuming the library gets it - I'm not sure how I'll feel about new Steph, but it's worth a try!