practically perfect

Wednesday reading — scarabs, succession and Sunnybrook

What I've been reading

I finished Half-Off Ragnarok and it was okay fun, although I just realized that I have no idea how the title is related to the book at all. Hmm.

I read The Goblin Emperor and man, that was a really odd book. I feel like Sarah Monette has some lingering regrets about how closely Felix in the Mélusine books hewed to his origins within her teenaged id and set out to create a protagonist who was the exact opposite and almost relentless in his boringness and awkwardness. It has its own sort of satisfactions—it's made up of small victories as Maya learns how to use etiquette, diplomacy, and authentic social connections to achieve his goals—but it's unusually constrained. Also, notably, it has about the most regressive depiction of queerness I can think of short of simply not depicting it at all: there's the one sympathetic character who is horribly tainted and burdened by a scandal involving his same-sex lover, and there's the monsterous character who sexually assaults and then sets his dogs on a vulnerable (male) courier. That was really, really not what I was expecting at all, considering, well, The Doctrine of Labyrinths.

I reread Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, which I used to be as familiar with as Anne of Green Gables (which I think I once read that L. M. Montgomery never openly acknowledged as being influenced by Rebecca, even though it is known that she had read it and, well, obvious similarities are obvious) but hadn't reread since I discovered fandom, and thus hadn't realized how incredibly canon Rebecca/Emma Jane is. I mean, they do sort of fit into the Inseparables archetype, where the devotion is not quite equal on both sides and the seeds of separability have already been sown within the relationship even while the characters are still swearing that they won't be parted, but still, by the end of this book, Emma Jane's loyalty is still firmly with Rebecca and while Rebecca's is divided, Emma Jane's rival is a whole intellectual and literary life and not any one person, as she persistently fails to even acknowledge Adam Ladd could be thinking about her that way. I still totally believe that they could be so happy together okay. ♥

I then reread New Chronicles of Rebecca, which is sort of a non-sequel that backfills new incidents into Rebecca's childhood and, in the final chapter, desperately retcons some heterosexuality into the story. Now Emma Jane totes has a boyfriend who wrote her a lovely Latin love letter, and it is explicitly confirmred that Adam Ladd is basically waiting for Rebecca to grow up because he can't deal with any women that he hasn't been grooming since childhood like a creeper. (Kate Douglas Wiggin's grandson Eric rewrote the first two books "for today's reader" and tacked on a really terrible sequel where Rebecca and Adam get married. It squicked me deeply as a child before I figured out the publication history and I was so relieved to discover that it wasn't canon. Dirtybadwrong Adam/Rebecca could be interesting, but doesn't seem to exist anywhere.) Now, I don't know that this is something that Kate Douglas Wiggin was intentionally trying to rectify, but. Um. Yeah.

I read the first three trades-worth of the Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle, which is one of the most widely-recced DC comics runs in places I frequent. I can see why people love Jaime, but I have to admit, I find some of the wider DCU setting weirder than the Marvelverse, and often in ways that seem offputting. I think I really hate everything to do with colored Lanterns, for example. Issue #22 has a joke about what you find when you search for "slash" on the internet, though, so there's that.

I read Dramarama and liked it, probably better than We Were Liars, but then I was, albeit in a much more low-key, low-stakes way, a drama kid.

What I'm reading now

I'm about a third of the way through Ancillary Justice, which even though it's not my new favorite book yet I am rooting for to win the Hugo for Best Novel since most of the rest of the slate looks so dire.

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