Liv Tyler

Wednesday reading meme

What I've been reading

I read Tolkien's unfinished alliterative Arthur poem, The Fall of Arthur, which is good and quite good in bits, although man, Tolkien does not have much sympathy for poor Guinever. Lancelot gets some of my favorite parts, though:
There Lancelot     over leagues of sea
in heaving welter     from a high window
looked and wondered     alone musing.
Dark slowly fell.     Deep his anguish
He his lord betrayed     to love yielding,
and love forsaking     lord regained not;
faith was refused him     who had faith broken,
by leagues of sea     from love sundered.

Christopher Tolkien's notes are exhaustive and dull. Tolkien's own words on Anglo-Saxon poetry, adapted from a 1938 BBC broadcast, are briefer but livelier.

I read the two books in Diana Wynne Jones's Magids duology, Deep Secret and The Merlin Conspiracy. (Actually, I started reading The Merlin Conspiracy first, and then realized it had to be a sequel to something and ordered Deep Secret from the library.) They sit pretty oddly next to each other, since I would say Deep Secret is pretty clearly adult fiction and The Merlin Conspiracy is just as clearly juvenile fiction (as indeed they are placed in my library system). I totally adored Deep Secret, which is very clever and funny and typically Diana Wynne Jones, in spite of the fact that I pretty much anti-ship Rupert/Maree — what is the deal with his totally creepy perving all over her after she's been stripped, anyway? Honestly, although I like them realizing that they don't actually hate each other after all, I would prefer them as platonic co-workers.

And not just because I totally ship Maree/Nick, the most adorable codependent cousin-siblings in this or any world. I was quite excited, from a shippy perspective, when it was revealed that they were actually siblings, because cousins aren't even properly incestuous. Possible Yuletide request?

Quite a lot of people seem to dislike The Merlin Conspiracy, whereas allowing for audience/genre shift I liked it, especially since Nick is my absolute favorite character from Deep Secret and I like what it does with him as a POV character very much. It feels much more like a Chrestomanci book. I can actually get behind Roddy/Nick because neither of them is creepy at the other, and I'm sad that Maree isn't in the book at all but on the other hand it spares me from any creepy Rupert/Maree, so that is some consolation.

I read the The Art Forger, a book I picked up off the new books shelf at the library, because who doesn't like art forgers? It is a fun, twisty story based around the Isabella Gardner Museum heist.

I read the second, third and fourth books in Maurice Druon's Accursed Kings series, the ones that George R. R. Martin is promoting in their new printings as "the original Game of Thrones", and deservedly so as there are marked similarities to his own work — a plot revolving around a royal succession clusterfuck, a broad scope of action and a range of variously likable POV characters and even magic (well, magic that the characters believe in, anyway). Of course, spoilers are a lot easier to come by, since you can just google the French kings of the 14th century, but you read for the page-turniness and the actual historical facts are a bonus.

Although I got the first book, The Iron King, from the library in the new printing, I just have really badly OCR'd copies of the next five, and the seventh hasn't been published in English yet at all, so I'm planning to take a run at in French and maybe really improve my vocabulary regarding pieces of armor and other late medieval type things.

What I'm reading now

The fifth Accursed Kings book, The She-Wolf of France. (It sounds better in the original where wolf is more naturally genderable: La Louve de France.)

What I'm reading next

As above, the sixth and hopefully also the seventh book.

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