Forbear to taste Library Paste.

Wednesday reading — serial murders and one-offs

What I've been reading

I reread Swing, Brother, Swing. One of Ngaio Marsh's strengths is making me care more than I would ordinarily about the one-off heterosexual romances in the B-plots, and Carlisle/Ned are one of my favorite pairings—cousins and childhood friends (the socially-acceptable version of sibcest!) who play a longstanding game where they narrate bits of their lives in third person omniscient at each other. This book has another drugs subplot, though, so I'm on wikipedia once again, going, okay, unlike heroin I know you can actually smoke cocaine, and even Ngiao Marsh would know about cocaine injection because of Sherlock Holmes, but I'm pretty sure there is no such thing as a cocaine pill okay. Ngaio Marsh really needed a drugs beta.

I reread Night at the Vulcan, and I was really surprised that with standardized pagecounts in iBooks it's among the very shortest of the Alleyn books, definitely of the ones I've reread so far. The investigation phase of the book is actually quite short and Alleyn zeroes in on the murderer very quickly. I still love the theatre plot, although now that I am ten years older than her and do not cherish even secret and delusional ambitions of becoming a non-amateur actor I no longer identify quite as desperately with Martyn Tarne, although, again, adorable het relationship between distant cousins who look like they could be father and daughter, which is like the socially-acceptable version of parent/child incest, kinda kinky there, Ngaio. Also, there is Dr. Rutherford, the loud, abrasive homophobic playwright who rants frequently and at length about how he's not going to have any Queers (he speaks in Dramatic Capitals quite often) in any of his plays, which, like, good luck with that, dude. I had actually reread this book recently enough that I had figured out what he was on about, although he's a frequently hugely unsympathetic character and also the murderer, so I was kind of like eh, what a jerk.

I read Red Dragon, because it is contrary to everything I stand for to be in a fandom that is at least partly based on a book and not have read that book, and I read some Hannibal fic so I can hardly say I'm not in that fandom now. So yes, I officially see what you did there, with the handful of bits from the book that were used or changed to create the show, and I officially do like the show better. (How is Hannibal supposed to have maroon eyes? Is he albino?)

Then I read The Silence of the Lambs, which I enjoyed more because it has Clarice and also it has more Hannibal Lecter in it, and I was also seriously weirded out because this was the second book in a row that uses a bunch of incidental locations that are right in my neighborhood, even though as far as I can tell Thomas Harris has never lived in Missouri. This isn't actually a seething hotbed of serial killers, I promise. (I have to give the bookverse props for accuracy on that front though; Will Graham is correctly considered to have an impressive amount of experience with serial killers because he's caught two of them, whereas in the televisionverse serial killers appear to be only slightly less common than check fraud. But then, that's part of the fictional landscape that Hannibal Lecter helped create.)

I read Roman Warfare, because I placed holds on all the books my library has about the Roman army. Stupid research for my ridiculous Gladiator fic is eating my brain, I swear.

I read A Tale for the Time Being and I love this book so much. Like, I want everyone to drop what they're doing right now, but I also don't want to say anything about it because I don't want to spoil anything about the way it unfolds—seriously, if I've already decided that I'm interested in reading a book, I'll stop wherever I am in the blurb and not read any further, that is how spoilerphobic I can be. So I'll compromise and say it's a book about a teenage diarist in Tokyo, the middle-aged Japanese-Canadian novelist who finds the diary, bullying, writer's block, Zen Buddhism, translation, and time travel (which is another way of saying writing). And not that anyone on the Booker selection committee is reading this, but if you are and this book doesn't win I will totally cut you.

I read Last Rituals, which was kind of mediocre, but I did enjoy the Icelandic setting.

What I'm reading now

Marcus Aurelius: A Life. If you guessed that this is more ridiculous research, you are correct.

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Yes! Or at least, I am attempting to do so. It's meant to be a canon divergent AU where Maximus does swear himself to Commodus and he and Lucilla work together, letting Commodus vent his daddy issues all over them in the form of depraved kinky threesomes by night while working secretly to depose him by day.

The story idea has shown no signs of leaving me alone, so I'm hoping to actually get it written!