curiouser and curiouser

Wednesday reading — body-swapping and other thefts

What I've been reading

I read The City of Akhenaten and Nefertiti: Amarna and its People, which is a pretty thorough but still accessible read with lovely illustrations by an archaeologist who's worked at the Amarna site for 30 years. I was sort of offput by his brief but completely WTF aside about how great it is that slum-dwellers are able to build their dwellings without unnecessary government regulations. Like, wow, dude, if you love slums so much why don't you go live in one? But the Amarna stuff is really fascinating, since aside from the valuables that were removed everything was left in situ and you get a fuller picture of everyday life, albeit under some very anomalous circumstances.

I read Pharoah's Workers: The Villagers of Deir El Medina, which is a collection of essays more focused on my particular area of research interest. Also really interesting.

I read Vengeance, the six-issue Marvel miniseries that introduced Miss America Chavez, who later turned up in Kieron Gillen's Young Avengers. I remember I started trying to read this around when Young Avengers was coming out and getting lost around the beginning of issue two. The really unnecessary amount of plot convolution was retroactively explained in an editor's note at the end where they said that the whole idea for the mini was to use these six pieces of art depicting classic Marvel villians, which were admittedly lovely, but resulted in some potentially interesting if overwrought ideas getting pretty lost in the execution. I'm not totally sure why I continued reading it this time except I was sort of determined not to let myself be confused by comic books.

I read Shoplifter, a short graphic novel about a twentysomething woman with an unsatisfying and often grindingly-sexist job in advertising who rediscovers her original intent to become a writer and quits her job so she can write. It's a little like the sort of semi-fictionalized memoir that a lot of graphic novelists produce that sits a little awkwardly with the fact that the author is a man, but not to the point where it's horribly unconvincing.

I reread Freaky Friday, not really for any particular reason, except maybe that it was fairly close to the Zilpha Keatley Snyder books on my shelf and I felt like it. I also reread the two sequels (that I knew about), A Billion for Boris/ESP TV and Summer Switch. Unlike the original book, which I read as a kid, I found the second two books at thrift stores when I was in college, so definitely when an adult but also quite a while ago. I like A Billion for Boris better, even though the premise is sort of random—there's no particular reason why the ability of mothers to switch bodies with their daughters to teach them a lesson exactly makes it more plausible that old televisions should suddenly gain the ability to show tomorrow's broadcasts. Summer Switch, on the other hand, does the classic Freaky Friday premise but less successfully, I think. The movie studio executive and summer camp plots for Ape Face and his father respectively seem a little overdone compared with the (relatively! only relatively!) normal days their female counterparts had when they switched. Also it's set fairly far in the future from the first two and Annabel and Boris are broken up for no good reason and it turns out that I totally shipped them okay. Still, I mean, there are plenty of funny bits.

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