Liv Tyler

Wednesday reading — museums and other displays

What I've been reading

I read Ashes to Ashes, the third book in Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian's trilogy. The middle book ended with the reveal that Mary, one of the three main characters, had been dead all along and only Kat and Lillia, the other two main characters, had ever actually interacted with her. I thought this was actually done really well: it legitimately completely surprised me, and yet in retrospect it absolutely made sense. All of Jenny Han's previous books, and as far as I can tell, all of Siobhan Vivian's previous books as well, are all realistic fiction, so it was doubly unexpected. I think that let them down a bit in the third book, though, or at least it didn't have the kind of worldbuilding around the magic that I expect as a regular genre reader. It just seems a bit flat. Also, speaking of flatness, there's a short epilogue that rushes through everything that happens to the characters for a few years after the conclusion that I probably would have left out because it doesn't match the way the rest of the books are written, and also it has caused so much shipper rage. I mean, maybe Jenny and Siobhan are happily sipping on shipper tears, but I probably would have opted to leave it open-ended and let people make of it what they will.

I read the first volume of What Did You Eat Yesterday?, which I thought was really adorable. I enjoyed it more than Antique Bakery, which I read two or three volumes of, I think. My library only has the first volume though so I'll have to look for scanlations.

I read Tutankhamen: The Search for an Egyptian King, because I went to the exhibit of replica artifacts from Tut's tomb when it was in my area and it reawakened my interest in all things Egyptological. It is a solid and readable popular account of both the discovery and excavation of the tomb and what subsequent conclusions can be drawn about Tutankhamen's life.

I reread The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, which is a mix of fiction and nonfiction by Roald Dahl, pitched at his juvenile audience rather than his adult one. I particularly like his account of how he came to be a writer and what his writing process was like. Also, incidentally, Dahl writes some of the best, squirmiest, most scathing accounts of being caned in British boarding schools.

I read The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince, which is the "true" version of a story that's referenced in the Farseer books as having happened in the past. I pretty much hate the scenario where two women engage romantic friendship and/or situational lesbianism until one woman ditches the other for a man and the rejected woman pines and is never involved with anyone else. Why do these poor women never get to move on to someone new who can actually make them happy? It makes me sadface.

I read Glacial Period, which is part of a series of comics commissioned by the Louvre, who set various comics creators loose in the museum for inspiration. Nicolas de Crécy set his story in the far future, when Europe is covered in glaciers and archaeologists accompanied by genetically enhanced talking pig-dogs discover the ruins of the Louvre. There's a very funny bit where the archaeologists describe what they think our lives were like based on the paintings they're looking at, and then it switches gears (and genres) rather abruptly as thousands of years worth of sculptures come to life through some unspecified mechanism and give their side of the story to Hulk, one of the pig-dogs (he is, of course, like the other pig-dogs on the expedition, named for one of the ancient gods). In spite of its inability to decide whether it's going to be science fiction or fantasy, it is pretty fun if you enjoy art history.

What I'm reading now

The Literature of Ancient Egypt: An Anthology of Stories, Instructions, Stelae, Autobiographies and Poetry

What I'm reading next

A lot of ancient Egypt stuff. Clearly having learned nothing from last year, I think I'm going to attempt another historical setting for NaNoWriMo…

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