Oct. 12th, 2012

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1. The Centre for Gender and Womens' Studies (of which I was not heretofore much aware) is having a visiting lecture next Wednesday. "Sons of Belial: contaminated/contaminating Victorian male bodies," by a certain Dr. Hall of the Wellcome Library. With a title like that, how can one not want to go?

2. I am still sick, tho' slightly less so than yesterday: I begin to hold out hopes for a reasonably complete recovery by Monday. (Although, seriously, this has been one hell of a vicious bug, so my hopes are leavened with fear.)

3. I am not impressed with the slowness with which Sony Europe is arranging for my new laptop to be delivered. It's been a fortnight, lads. I expected rather better.

4. The paper that I have to give for the postgrad seminar on Monday continues not to write itself, but I hold out hopes it will not be so bad I have to commit seppuku thereafter.

5. Being sick means falling even further behind where I'd like to be with my thesis. On the other hand, I've managed to catch up on some relatively undemanding nonfiction reading (albeit not for research), so I suppose it hasn't been a complete loss.
hawkwing_lb: (Bear CM beyond limit the of their bond a)
Books 2012: 189

189. Kameron Hurley, Rapture. Night Shade Books, 2012. ARC, ebook.

Third in Hurley's excellent trilogy, after God's War and Infidel. While these books are problematic, they're also one of the most interestingly fresh approaches to science fiction I've read since Bear's Carnivale or Dust. Recommended, if you don't mind brutality and a lot of death. I'll be giving this one a more detailed review for Tor.com (hopefully get that done before the end of the weekend), but in short, I'm very pleased with how the trilogy concludes.

And now it is time to figure out what to read next. I have a list. I solicit votes, since, alas, I cannot create a poll.

I'm still waiting on the arrival of two books I need to review as soon as they arrive, one by T. Aaron Peyton, and one by Jacqueline Carey. Sigh. Waiting.

KJ Parker, Sharps. (To be reviewed for Vector: I have been putting this off because I've heard it's unforgiving, and didn't have the emotional energy for it.)
R.M. Meluch, Jerusalem Fire. (Library book: I am meaning to read this for the Tor.com column.)
Christopher Bennett, Only Superhuman.
Sharon Lynn Fisher, Ghost Planet.
N.K. Jemisin, The Killing Moon.
Adrian Tchaikovsky, first book in his giant series.
Jon Courtenay Grimwood's latest.
Pierre Pevel, The Alchemist in the Shadows.
Mark Hodder, The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack.

Or somone else? If I have the book...

Pick a book for me, and I promise at least a 250-word review appearing in this space. (If you donate to the Strange Horizons fund drive, I will write a 500-word review here, unless the review has been promised elsewhere. Because I like Strange Horizons, but am fairly broke until I get paid. And even after that, since that money is all pretty much already promised.)
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Books 2012: 190

190. Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor. Abridged by Victor Neuburg. Penguin Classics, London, 1985.

Five hundred pages of extracts from Victorian writer Henry Mayhew's best-known work, his inquiry into the habits of the working and impoverished classes of London.

More writers should read this book when considering the social landscape of early modern cities - Victorian London is in many senses a modern city, but I think one can extrapolate much from the labouring life on view in this work. Mayhew allows his subjects to speak, often in their own words and frequently in their own dialect, and only occasionally moralises from his editorial position.

Except when it comes to the case of prostitution, which he classes with begging as not actually work.* The old, awful distinction between the deserving and the undeserving poor on grounds of moral judgement remains in play on this front, despite Mayhew's surprisingly sympathetic eye for the labouring classes in other cases.

A useful and interesting book, well worth reading.

*Let me affirm and avow my utter disagreement.
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[38] συρίσδεν δ᾽ ὡς οὔτις ἐπίσταμαι ὧδε Κυκλώπων,
τὶν τὸ φίλον γλυκύμαλον ἁμᾷ κἠμαυτὸν ἀείδων
πολλάκι νυκτὸς ἀωρί. τρέφω δέ τοι ἕνδεκα νεβρὼς
πάσας μηνοφόρως καὶ σκύμνως τέσσαρας ἄρκτων.
ἀλλ᾽ ἀφίκευσο ποθ᾽ ἁμέ, καὶ ἑξεῖς οὐδὲν ἔλασσον,
τὰν γλαυκὰν δὲ θάλασσαν ἔα ποτὶ χέρσον ὀρεχθεῖν.
ἅδιον ἐν τὤντρῳ παρ᾽ ἐμὶν τὰν νύκτα διαξεῖς.
[45] ἐντὶ δάφναι τηνεῖ, ἐντὶ ῥαδιναὶ κυπάρισσοι,
ἔστι μέλας κισσός, ἔστ᾽ ἄμπελος ἁ γλυκύκαρπος,
ἔστι ψυχρὸν ὕδωρ, τό μοι ἁ πολυδένδρεος Αἴτνα
λευκᾶς ἐκ χιόνος ποτὸν ἀμβρόσιον προΐητι.
τίς κα τῶνδε θάλασσαν ἔχειν καὶ κύμαθ᾽ ἕλοιτο;

And no one, so I believe, among the Cyclops pipes in this way,
singing to you sweet-apple love, at the same time as myself,
often at an untimely hour of night. For you I'd rear eleven fawns,
all life-bearing, and four cubs of bears.
But come to anywhere ours, and you will have nothing less,
than the gleaming sea [that] suffers to rattle at the side of dry land.
You'll spend the night more pleasantly in a cave with me.
It is there among sweet bay, it is among slender cypresses,
black ivy is there, grape-vine which bears sweet fruit,
cold water is there, which for me Etna the boundless-treed
sends forth white from snow, divine for drinking.
Who would take for themselves this sea to have, and the waves?
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
αἰ δέ τοι αὐτὸς ἐγὼ δοκέω λασιώτερος ἦμεν,
ἐντὶ δρυὸς ξύλα μοι καὶ ὑπὸ σποδῷ ἀκάματον πῦρ.
καιόμενος δ᾽ ὑπὸ τεῦς καὶ τὰν ψυχὰν ἀνεχοίμαν
καὶ τὸν ἕν᾽ ὀφθαλμόν, τῶ μοι γλυκερώτερον οὐδέν.

And if for you I myself seem shaggier as well,
here is tree-timber for me, and untiring fire yoked to embers.
And being kindled by you, I'd hold up my spirit,
and my single eye, where nothing is sweeter to me.


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