magpie tree

Wednesday reading — arms, wings and other appendages

What I've been reading

I read The Arm: Inide the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports, which is about pitchers and Tommy John surgery and how helpless we still are when it comes to which of the former are going to need the latter, as well as how difficult the process of recovery still is even as the surgery has become routine. It was really interesting, although I do wish Danny Duffy, whom he initially approached about following his recovery for the book, had been interested, because I adore Danny, but I totally understand why anyone would prefer not to.

I read My Family and Other Animals, because I love families of glorious eccentrics. There's a new ITV miniseries that looks visually perfect but I only made it through the first couple of minutes before deciding that they had missed the boat entirely on the adaptation. I did place interlibrary loans on the second and third books in the Corfu trilogy, though.

I read The Raven King, after weeks of dodging spoilers from people who got the book early. Cut for spoilers, obviously.Collapse )

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I Constantly Thank God for Escobar

There's just nothing fair about this incredible 6-3 double play from last night. Carlos Gomez had just broken up Ian Kennedy's no-hitter with a leadoff single in the bottom of the sixth. Marwin Gonzalez followed it up with a bloop that by rights should have fallen for a hit in an awkward spot in shallow center. Instead, Alcides Escobar raced out, made a sliding over-the-shoulder catch, popped back up to his feet and doubled Gomez off with a long throw to first. There's a reason they call him El Mago.

Once more, with Statcast.

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Mai Yamani

Wednesday reading — rhymes

What I've been reading

Not that much, because it was a busy week.

I did read this anthology of villanelles, because I enjoy villanelles. Especially the whole section of villanelles about villanelles, like this one by John Hollander:
This form with two refrains in parallel?
(Just watch the opening and the third line.)
The repetitions build the villanelle.

The subject thus established, it can swell
Across the poet-architect's design:
This form with two refrains in parallel

Must never make them jingle like a bell,
Tuneful but empty, boring and benign;
The repetitions build the villanelle

By moving out beyond the tercet's cell
(Though having two lone rhyme-sounds can confine
This form.) With two refrains in parallel

A poem can find its way into a hell
Of ingenuity to redesign
The repetitions. Build the villanelle

Till it has told the tale it has to tell;
Then two refrains will finally intertwine.
This form with two refrains in parallel
The repetitions build: The Villanelle.

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Wednesday reading — cricket and larks

What I've been reading

I read Tales of Wrykyn and Elsewhere, a collection of P. G. Wodehouse's early school stories, including appearances previously unknown to me of Wrykyn's most famous former student, one Mike Jackson. Delightful as always.

What I'm reading now

I started this biography of Thomas Becket and it's really interesting so far.

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brown ring of quality

Wednesday reading — published badfic

What I've been reading

I read Lusty Little Women for the lulz because it was on the actual shelf at my library. I was fully expecting it to be terrible, so I can't say that it didn't meet my expectations. I mean, it's not like I wouldn't have liked it to be good! I'm all about porning up Louisa May Alcott books! It's just the execution was…lacking.

Like, okay, first of all, this book contains nearly the complete text of regular flavor Little Women, with a very occasional small snips for length, and the interpolated material is minimal. Say what you like about the gimmick of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, but at least the zombies present throughout the book. I mean, I don't think the interpolated material is generally very good, so arguably limiting its presence makes it better, but it also makes it kind of redundant. Let your porny fanfic stand on its own! It's better for the environment!

Not that there is actually anything in this book that you could actually describe as porn. It's all very tame, euphemistic and fade to black, as well as not being particularly well-written. (Apparently, in the throes of passion, Professor Bhaer forgets how to conjugate the archaic second person singular in English. Steamy!)

I don't really even recommend reading it for the lulz, because there isn't enough lulzy material to go around.

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Mai Yamani

Wednesday reading — odd beliefs

What I've been reading

I read Gods of Manhattan, the first in a trilogy of children's books involving a spirit world in which famous New Yorkers have a second life as gods of whatever it is that they were known for in life, including Babe Ruth, Dorothy Parker, Zelda Fitzgerald, and also Alexander Hamilton, God of Finance and Mayor to the Gods, which is what made it come up in my catalog search. I thought it would be fun, but it was not particularly fun and also the author apparently hates Hamilton and made him a boring, unrecognizeable straw antagonist. I hate read it to the end but do not have it in me to read the second and third books.

I read Proxy, which is basically a dystopian YA retelling of The Whipping Boy, something so relevant to my interests that once I learned that it existed I picked it up immediately. It wasn't mentioned in the blurb, so I was pleasantly surprised that spoilerCollapse ). However, spoiler for the endingCollapse )

I read Tales from the Kansas City Royals Dugout, a collection of stories told by Denny Matthews, voice of the Royals since their inception. Although it was issued after the Royals went to the World Series in 2014, the bit they put on the cover saying it covers it is kind of false advertising, since it includes, like, two paragraphs on the subject. But that subject is covered extensively elsewhere, and all Denny's old stories are fun.

I read Writers, a weird collection of loosely-linked stories. I only really enjoyed the one story, "Acknowledgements," which was the silly/meta one, but they weren't uninteresting.

I read How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Piracy. I really liked some bits of it—the way he really digs into the life of the plant worker in rural North Carolina who helped leak approximately one zillion albums and gives him the full biography treatment is pretty great, and there are decent insights into the mp3 codec inventors and record execs too—but a lot of other things about the tech coverage seemed overly breezy if not outright inaccurate to me, and he just doesn't engage with things like perpetual copyright extensions or blank media taxes or whatever, which feels like an oversight.

I read The Spider's War, the final book in the Dagger and the Coin series, which I have been enjoying very much. spoilery reactionCollapse )

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whatever the hell

Wednesday reading — killer robots and other fighters

What I've been reading

I read Washington's Crossing. I'd read and been utterly fascinated by Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America, and although in many ways the two books are quite different —this one is organized more traditionally, as a narrative—it does share the same approach of digging into sources to create a very individualized and complete picture.

I read Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, which is kind of like what would happen if Bryan Lee O'Malley and Gordon Korman collaborated on a graphic novel, down to the ostensibly-straight protagonist having a suspiciously entangled relationship with his instigator friend. Good times.

I read The Duel: The Parallel Lives of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, which properly belonged with the batch of children's books about Hamilton that I posted about last week, but which straggled in at the library later. If Jean Fritz's book is Chernow for middle grade readers, this one would be the equivalent of The War of Two for the same audience, with Burr and Hamilton's lives interwoven. Definitely a book I think any interested kid of an appropriate age would enjoy, and detailed and accurate for its length.

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