[sticky entry] Sticky: My vids

26 Sep 2012 06:14 pm
frayadjacent: Pearl holding a sword and looking proud. (SU: pearl proud)
Welcome! Feel free to poke around and check out my vids and fannish posts. Subscribe and unsubscribe as you like. If you subscribe I'll automatically grant access. Then you'll see my RL posts as well as my fannish posts and vid posts. Feel free to let me know if you want to opt out of RL posts and I'll un-grant you access, no worries.

All my vids: Angel, BtVS, Elementary, Friday Night Lights, Orphan Black, The Black Stallion, Underground, Whale Rider, and Xena )

Blanket Permission

basically, use with credit )

Accessibility

warnings/content notes and subtitles )

frayadjacent: Buffy and Willow, who's the only part of the image in color and is wearing a silly outfit. Text says "adorkable". (!Adorkable)
I forgot to include audiobooks in my Wednesday reading meme, so I'm posting about them now, and for good measure throwing in what I've been watching and listening to.

The last audiobook I finished was Year of Yes, by Shonda Rhimes. I finished it a couple months ago so my memory is a little vague. When I started it I was in the midst a roughly two month spike in anxiety, which made it a struggle to leave the house every day, and I was often late for work. (There are generally no short-term consequences for me for that -- I have Stuff I Must Do and where/when I do them doesn't matter much. But coming in at 11 when I'm not willing or able to stay correspondingly late isn't good for my career.) Year of Yes helped with that both by making my walk to work more enjoyable and by giving me motivation to leave the house, because I wouldn't let myself listen to it otherwise. Rhimes is a funny and engaging writer and speaker. I felt inspired as I listened to it to say yes to more things, but of course it didn't magically change my patterns of behaviour. I'm working on it though.

Now I'm listening to Amy Poehler's Yes Please -- I somehow missed the amusing similarity of titles till just now. Because I enjoyed Year of Yes I thought I'd like to listen to another fun/easy audiobook by a famous lady. I was trying to decide between Poehler's book and one of Mindy Kaling's, and I chose Poehler's because it has a bunch of cool sounding guest appearances. So far, though, most of the guest appearances have been very, very brief. It's an entertaining book, it occupies my mind on my long walk to/from work, but it's not doing anything more than that for me. TBH I kinda wish I'd gotten one of Kaling's books instead -- I listened to an interview with her recently and really enjoyed hearing her talk about early experiences with comedy.

I'm also very, very slowly and intermittently listening to Naomi Klein's This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate. Her central thesis is that the changes required to (hopefully) prevent catastrophic global warming are fundamental (i.e., socialist) changes that can make life better in many ways, and that fighting global warming is a unique opportunity for building a powerful movement. I want to like it, I want to embrace the hope that it offers, but frankly right now I don't. It feels very 2014.

My next audiobook will be Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English by John McWhorter. Which takes me to my next topic: podcasts I've been listening to! Because sometime around October I finally caught up with everyone else and started doing that. I started with Lexicon Valley, a linguistics podcast for a lay audience hosted by McWhorter. Obviously I like it a lot since I decided to buy his book.

The other one was, of course, Buffering the Vampire Slayer. It's squeeful and queer and the two women who run it are my age which I think substantially adds to my enjoyment. For example, one of my pet peeves with people talking about Buffy is when they mock the outfits. I mean yes, there are some examples of appalling taste, but mostly it's just a fancier, leatheryer version of how people dressed then, and I find the joking tiresome. On Buffering the Vampire Slayer, they note the costumes with nostalgic glee, and even genuine appreciation during their Buffy Fashion Watch segment, which I love. Also they love Cordelia and made her a song, and they love Buffy too. It warms my heart.

Now I've started also listening to Fangirl Happy Hour, NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, and am in the process of sorting through some leftist stuff to see which ones I like. Oh, and Stuff You Missed in History Class, which is a lot of fun and has two women hosts.

Now, for what I've been watching. I started a Gilmore Girls rewatch and got to the point in Season 1 where Christopher returns. I was enjoying it but I haven't picked it back up again and probably won't. Getting sucked into a multi-season rewatch is not in the cards right now. I've watched the first two episodes of The Get Down, a Netflix show about hip hop and disco in the Bronx in the late '70's. I liked it but didn't get sucked in, so I'm taking my time. There are only two episodes and I love the music, so I'll likely finish it. Finally, Mr. Adjacent and I have been watching Parks and Recreation for the last month or so. I can't believe how much I've forgotten from the first three seasons! It's been very fun to rewatch. As for my current shows, Steven Universe and The Mindy Project are coming back next month.

Also, I'm watching Booktubers, especially Claire Rousseau and Elizabeth at Books and Pieces.
frayadjacent: Buffy looking to the side in black and white (BtVS: Buffy B&W)
Print/ebooks I read in 2016, in chronological order. I usually have one print/ebook and one audiobook going at a time, so I've separated the two categories. Since I stopped posting Wednesday reading updates sometime in February, I'm including some non-spoilery thoughts on each book.

Black Wolves by Kate Elliott: discussed here

Spirit Gate by Kate Elliott: discussed here and here

Shadow Gate by Kate Elliott: discussed here and here

Traitors Gate by Kate Elliott: discussed here

I won't say much about Black Wolves/Crossroads trilogy since I've posted on them previously, but I do want to note that I realised two things from these books: I really like stories from the POV of a deeply religious character (if it's well-written of course), because it is fascinating to get into a worldview that is so different from my own. I probably wouldn't enjoy it if it was a deeply religious man whose religion justified being a patriarch, and while those character types definitely exist in these books, they aren't POV characters. Also, the world-building in these books is incredible, and I've since read/listened to Elliott talk about world-building and think she is so thoughtful and a master of the craft. I loved a lot of the characters and quite a few storylines in these books, but my very favourite thing was the world of The Hundred itself.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin: I liked this book but not as much as everyone else seems to, which has me thinking I was reading it wrong. My head was still very much in the world of Black Wolves/Crossroads trilogy. I purchased Oblisk Gate when it came out but decided to wait until the third book was out and read the whole trilogy.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik: I was utterly charmed from the start, and really enjoyed Agnieszka as a protagonist and POV character. The plot was interesting and engaging, and I looooovvvved The Wood as a villain. It was also pretty funny at times! I was unpleasantly surprised by how violent and gruesome the story became. (I was also super stressed with work and utterly devastated by Brexit -- I became unhappy that Uprooted wasn't providing me the comforting escapism I wanted at the moment, but that's not a criticism of the book, just a note on my reaction.) I was ambivalent about the ending. On one hand, it was really lovely. On the other hand, it played into a woman-nature connection that I pretty much never enjoy in fiction. Except occasionally when Ursula K Le Guin does it. Though even then I often don't.

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho: This was the book I most enjoyed reading in 2016. In part because it did provide the comforting escapism I wanted. It was funny -- so funny! -- and I loved being in both Zacharias and Prunella's POV. They were delightful characters. It also had some deeply moving moments, e.g., when Zacharias recalls the circumstances of his adoption and reflects on his complicated feelings toward Sir Stephen. Also did I mention this was funny? And such a good romance -- I struggle a lot with romance in fiction, but I loved this one and it even made me want to seek out romance novels for the first time. I hope there will be sequels -- this book provided me with the thing I want most from fiction: characters I want to spend time with again and again.

All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry: I picked this up a few years ago because 1) [personal profile] coffeeandink recommended it, 2) It's set in Seattle, and 3) I knew McCarry in college. Every time I considered reading it, I knew I couldn't handle reading a book about Seattle. It would make me too homesick. But the last time I visited Seattle, about a year ago, I realised the homesickness had faded. So I put this back on the to-read list.

I had mixed feelings about it. It took a while to get used to the writing style, or rather the POV character's voice, which I found overwrought at first. The setting is deeply familiar, not just the Seattle-ness but also the vaguely turn-of-the-21st century Pacific Northwest punk rock scene, complete with shitty meals that always taste the same made from dumpstered vegetables. I kind of liked that, but it was also distracting. I kept getting put off by the book and setting it down, only to pick it back up again 30 minutes later (I read a lot of it on a long-haul flight).

In the end I got used to the POV character's voice, and the plot got interesting, and there were some really lovely and true moments. And I LOVED the ending. It felt absolutely perfect, and unsettled in a way that I often don't like but that worked so well for this story and character. Then I learned it was the first of a trilogy. But I loved the ending so much, and had such ambivalent feelings about the rest of the book, that I didn't consider reading the subsequent books.

Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie. My first ever romance! I enjoyed this book and the romance was fun -- I especially liked Minerva as a POV character and would like more books with characters like her. I thought the characterisation of the friends was really thin in a way that put me off at first, but eventually I could roll with it.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I picked this up after listening to a Fangirl Happy Hour episode on literary fiction. I switched between reading the ebook and listening to the audiobook on this one. It was so good -- my other favourite of 2016. Ifemelu and Obinze (especially Ifemelu) were wonderful characters. I felt Ifemelu's struggles so deeply: her fear that something was wrong with her to make her sabotage her relationships, her struggle with depression, and her experiences with immigration (even though my difficulties have been so, so minor compared to most people's, I still love and feel immigration stories even more profoundly than I used to). Also, I liked that Ifemelu was a pretty judgmental person -- it was an interesting POV to be inside and also made for good exposition. I really enjoyed that this book dealt with not just immigration but also returning. And there was a lot of great humor in this book as well. Oh, and the narrator, Adjoa Andoh, was so good. I kind of want to listen to Alexander McCall-Smiths "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" books just because she reads them.

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamana Ngozi Adichie. It took me a while to get into this book; I don't know if it was the book itself or my life circumstances, but it was a slow read at first. It's about the civil war in Nigeria in the late 1960's when (mainly) the Igbo people attempted to secede and form the Republic of Biafra. There are lots of heavy themes that come with that, especially the mass starvation that occurred when Nigeria completely blocked the Biafran borders. This book tells those stories through the compelling personal narratives of three characters, who were mainly non-combatants. One of the non-POV characters, Kainene, was one of my favourite characters in any novel I read this year.

I want to note that in the Fangirl Happy Hour episode mentioned above, it's implied that there is no rape in this book. That is not true -- feel free to message me if you want more information.

Planetfall by Emma Newman. Holy shit, I loooovvvvved most of this book. The POV character suffers from anxiety in a way that is, well, not that similar to mine in terms of specific behaviours, but still I identified with her and her anxiety deeply. I have never read a genre novel (or maybe any novel?) centred around a character who just wants to go home and be left alone because everything is too much. I don't just mean she gets overwhelmed sometimes, like many characters would. She always feels this way. It was incredible, a revelation, even, to encounter a character like that who still gets to be embroiled in space shenanigans.

But the ending of this book was really strange. I finished it and was very confused and went looking for reviews, sure I'd missed something. It seems like everyone agreed it was just kind of a bad ending. It's too bad, this book was so strong otherwise. I'd still highly recommend it, just be prepared to scratch your head a little when you put it down at the end.
frayadjacent: BtVS: Buffybot holding an ax (BtVS: buffybot)
My first one in ages!

What I just finished reading

The Terracotta Bride, by Zen Cho. A short story, purchased individually as an ebook so I didn't realise how short it was. That was the only disappointment. Set in the Chinese afterlife, the main character is a second wife in hell whose husband takes on a third wife. Who is made of clay, built like a warrior, and a perfect wife for a patriarch. A love story with a surprising twist ensues.

What I'm reading now

The Golem and the Djinni, by Helene Wecker. A novel, one of whose protagonists bears a remarkable (if superficial) resemblance to the terracotta bride. I have only read two stories featuring a woman made of clay, whose origins are warrior but is made specifically to be a wife. And yet I read them both in the same week.

I'm only two chapters in, but I like it a lot so far. The golem character in particular is working really well for me -- I'm fascinated by her point of view and want more of it. And it didn't hurt that the first chapter had one of my favourite plot twists spoiler ).

What I'll likely read next

Probably The Traitor Baru Cormorant, by Seth Dickinson. One of my resolutions for 2017 is to at least try every fiction/nonfiction book I own before buying any more in the respective category (books in a series I've already started don't count). I own this book and saw a booktuber  praise it in a way that got me excited to read it.

Anything else book related

Today I subscribed to a handful of Booktubers (previously I only subscribed to Claire Rousseau); hopefully it will help me find more cool books and authors who I will actually read instead of just providing another youtube time suck! I watched a bunch of "best books in 2016" videos and have already have substantially lengthened my to-read list.
frayadjacent: drawing from hyperbole and a half: cartoon girl at laptop at night, text says "vidding" (!vidding)
Previous years: 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012

I only made one vid in 2016. Doing a meme in 2015 with two vids was a stretch, but now it's downright silly. So I'm gonna make up some questions and answer them. Hopefully I can return to the usual meme in a year's time! I'm more inspired to vid now than I was for almost all of 2016, so it could happen.

What was your outlook on vidding a year ago?

To quote myself:
The Things I Learned This Year

My short period of vidding might be coming to a close, and I think I'm OK with that. I still have a few vids I really want to make, and I hope I do. But between my vidding exhaustion post-Never Look Away and the various injuries that have made sitting at a computer a minor health risk, I can't be the prolific vidder I once hoped to be. And I'm fine with that.

Planning for Next Year

I have a bunch of vids I've started: an epic Xena/Gabrielle vid, and Gabrielle comedy vid, and an Aeryn Sun vid. I also have very solid, well thought out ideas for a Willow character study and a Stephen Universe vid. Hopefully I'll make at least one or two of these.

I might go to VidUKon. I mean, I absolutely want to go. I had so much fun last time, but work might interfere.
Basically, this time last year I had no motivation to vid, and I kind of didn't care. I still enjoyed watching vids and still felt a part of my VidUKony corner of the community, but I didn't want to make stuff. And unlike previous, shorter-lived bouts of non-motivation, I didn't feel guilty about it.

How was vidding life in 2016?

I made Freedom, an Underground vid for[personal profile] isagel's vidshow The Great Escape (what an awesome vidshow, too, both in concept and execution) in VidUKon. I got the idea before I even watched Underground, about 30 seconds into watching the Lemonade film version of Freedom. I quickly downloaded the first few episodes, watched them, decided the idea would work, and pitched it to Isagel. I'm glad it worked out! But I made the vid really fast by my standards, in maybe 10 days. It's a little rough. It's a fun vid, but I don't rewatch it much because there's a few moments that I know I should have worked on more, and I just didn't.

PS: Freedom is a recruiter vid and Underground is a pretty great show.

I also went to VidUKon again! It was great fun, just like the last time.

What's your outlook on vidding now?

Now, I'd say the motivation is back, but I haven't yet re-developed the habit of vidding. I need to remind myself to do it when I have time, but once I get started, I have fun. I only came up with one solid new vid idea in 2016, but I'm still interested in a lot of my ideas from 2015 and earlier -- particularly my Steven Universe vid.

So my goal for 2017 is to make 3 vids -- as many as I made in 2015-16.

My back and wrist injuries are under control, so that's much less of a concern than it used to be. \o/ They can still flare up from time to time but in general they don't stop me from vidding anymore.

And I'm definitely going to VidUKon again this year. I might even propose a panel! And volunteer!
 
frayadjacent: Willow and Xander with their hair standing on end, literally (BtVS: everything wonky)
Does anyone understand the new Hugo nomination tallying? I read the description but frankly had trouble following it. Speaking as someone who knew nothing about the previous methods.

Obviously what I'm most interested in is how it might prevent Evil Puppies.

frayadjacent: Mindy Kaling smiling confidently in a green shirt, in front of a blue background (Mindy Kaling)
Past memes: 2016 | Um apparently I only did this once before?

1. Your main fandom of the year?

Steven Universe, as last year. But also a certain creative decision made during Season 4 of The Mindy Project knocked my socks off and massively increased my commitment to that show.

I also listened to Hamilton A LOT, and spent way too much money buying tickets to see the show this year. But I never really got into the fandom side, so I'm not sure it counts.

2. Your favorite film watched this year?

Arrival. It was so beautiful and hopeful and wonderfully told, and I looooovvvved all the process stuff in it.

3. Your favorite book read this year?

Sorcerer to the Crown, by Zen Cho, for being delightful and filling my soul just when I needed it. Also Black Wolves by Kate Elliott, which was a slow burn but so good, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (narrated by Adjoa Andoh -- I alternated between reading and listening on this one), and the audiobook of Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (narrated by Morven Christie and Lucy Gaskill).

4. Your favorite TV show of the year?

Steven Universe. This season of Orphan Black was also excellent, and left me happy that the show hadn't ended with three seasons as originally planned (and as I'd wished when S3 finished).

5. Your favorite online fandom community of the year?

Dreamwidth, but I haven't been engaged much with online fandom at all this year.

6. Your best new fandom discovery of the year?

Underground -- but I think that might be the only new show I watched in full this year? I have not been watching much and when I do I generally rewatch old stuff for comfort, or watch my few ongoing shows: Steven Universe, The Mindy Project, and Orphan Black.

Underground got some flack for being more of an action-drama than its premise suggests, but I kinda loved it. I mean, why shouldn't runaway slaves get to be action heros? And the ending left me So Excited for Season 2.

7. Your biggest fandom disappointment of the year?

I finally read Uprooted, and while in some ways it was better than I expected, it was also a lot more violent than I expected and I just wasn't feeling it. Though calling that a disappointment is a major stretch. I mostly really liked the book.

8. Your TV boyfriend of the year?

Rahul Kohli from iZombie is outrageously attractive to me, so I'll choose him even though I only watched one episode of the show. Certainly not any of Mindy Lahiri's boyfriends.

9. Your TV girlfriend of the year?

Mindy Kaling. I have heart-eyes for her.

10. Your biggest squee moment of the year?

Every. Single. Moment. of the Steven Universe episode Last One Out of Beach City
frayadjacent: Buffy hugging Dawn, text says "weird love is better than no love" (BtVS: Weird love)
I'm rewatching Gilmore Girls Season 1 for the first time since 2007, AKA Before I Was Fannish. It's amusing to see how my reactions have changed.

Emily and Lorelai's relationship still has my heart. Actually, pretty much everything Emily Gilmore does owns me. For those of you listening to the podcast Buffering the Vampire Slayer, you know their Cordelia song? I need one like that for Emily.

When I first watched the series (and then rewatched in order once it went off the air) I was in an intense grad school program. I identified a lot with Rory even though I was 5-10 years older than her character. I find that is much less the case now.

Oh my god, how did I not ship Lorelai/Luke before? Their Season 1 chemistry is perfect! I know I was (and will forever remain) burnt out on the multi-season will they/won't they arc, but still. Such good chemistry.

The ascerbic characters are so much more fun to me now. Paris, Michel, Mrs. Kim. And of course, Emily. Love em.

I don't think I'll actually make it through seven seasons. Right now I'm aiming to at least finish S1.
frayadjacent: Joyce comforting Buffy at the end of "Innocence" (BtVS: Buffy and Joyce)
Overall, it made me really, really happy. I haven't watched Gilmore Girls since Mr. Adjacent and I binge-watched Seasons 1-6 back in 2008. (I still have never watched S7 since it aired.) That was before I'd ever watched Buffy! We had to rent the DVDs from a video store that we walked to! A lot has changed since then. The miniseries hit a lot of the same notes that really worked for me in the original show -- especially with Lorelai and Emily.

NPR's pop culture happy hour episode on the revival was pretty spot on, if a little more critical -- particularly of Rory's storyline -- than I was.

Not really spoilery reactions (though don't read if you don't want to know anything) )
Big plot spoilers here )

Also, I watched the first episode of the TV series today, and my god, Rory was a brat! I will usually go to bat for sullen teenage (well girls anyway) characters but all I could think was that if she continued to act like that there's no way I could rewatch the show. I know she doesn't, though. Which I guess is part of why I was so surprised.
frayadjacent: Buffy's face before jump in The Gift (BtVS: Buffy The Gift)
"Well, at least 2016 produced Lemonade and this film."

sidekicks

14 Jun 2016 03:03 pm
frayadjacent: Black and white image of Buffy and Willow talking circa S4 (BtVS: Buffy and Willow Friendship)
At this year's vidukon -- which, by the way, was lovely! -- I finally got a solid idea for a vidshow: sidekicks. I can't believe it took me this long to come up with the idea, because sidekicks are my jam. It's even reflected in my name! So, this is me, declaring that at next year's vidukon I'm gonna do a sidekicks vidshow.

And I confessed my multifandom sidekicks vid idea before multiple witnesses, oops. Now I must make it for my vidshow.

(By the way, this is completely at odds with my new self-declared vidding mode, which is that I'll vid when I feel like it, deadlines be damned.)

frayadjacent: Mindy Kaling smiling confidently in a green shirt, in front of a blue background (Mindy Kaling)
My Underground vid is now streaming! Just hopefully not anywhere Tidal will find it.
frayadjacent: Harriett Tubman (as played in the tv series Underground) holding a rifle and reaching out her hand (Underground: Tubman)
Title: Freedom
Fandom: Underground (2016 television series)
Song: Freedom by Beyoncé feat. Kendrick Lamar (Lemonade film version)
Summary: Won't let my freedom rot in hell
Premiered at VidUKon 2016

Content Notes: This attempts to be a recruiter vid but spoilers are inevitable. Fast cuts and flashing lights, speed changes. US network television-type violence. Some violence against African-American slaves is shown but that is not the primary topic. Animal harm. Feel free to ask specific questions about content.

Download: 101 MB mp4 with subtitles

Subtitles are included in the download .zip files. You can delete the .srt file if you don't want subtitles.




frayadjacent: Rachel Duncan dressed as Sarah Manning, blue and pink background (Orphan Black: Rachel)
Not long now and I'll have a whole season of Elementary and a whole season of Orphan Black to catch up on. I especially mean to watch the latter. But not yet, not for a few more weeks at the earliest. I haven't even managed The Mindy Project or Steven Universe the last couple of weeks.

No spoilers during vidukon please!
frayadjacent: Hermoine Granger walking away from her parents house, alone in a big world (HP: Hermoine walking away)
I finished the Harry Potter audiobook series, read by Stephen Fry, about 30 minutes ago. I promptly watched the few HP vids I have on my HDD, including [livejournal.com profile] milly's Landslide, [personal profile] trelkez's The Adventure, and [livejournal.com profile] dualbunny's Snakes on a Plane. I still can't find a Hermione vid that satisfies my needs and I'm starting to wonder if I'll have to make one. Any recs are most welcome.

I haven't posted about the series since I was on book 5, because, well, I got busy. But I loved the last two books, more than I remembered. I don't think any of my opinions have changed drastically. I love Hermione and Luna even more than before, and Neville just as much. I find Draco Malfoy and Ron easier to forgive. But not enough that I'm chasing down the Draco and Draco/Harry vids and fic that fill many of the places I search.

Stephen Fry's reading was outstanding. Many characters I'd hardly noticed came to life with his performance. Even fairly minor charactersf, like Rufus Scrimgeour, that I'd previously had trouble keeping track of held more weight in my mind. I'm suprised by that, since I don't think of myself as a particularly auditory person. I hadn't listened to audiobooks before this because I thought I'd be unable to concentrate, and there were times when I found myself spacing out or distracted, but mostly not. I'd like to try more.


frayadjacent: Mindy Kaling smiling confidently in a green shirt, in front of a blue background (Mindy Kaling)
Instead of working!

Mindy Lahiri making a goofy smily face, wearing a colourful shirt Mindy Kaling smiling confidently, wearing a bright green shirt with a bright blue background.
Mindy Kaling, text says "it's so weird being my own role model". Mindy Kaling sitting on a floor in a pink dress, grinning, surrounded by clutter

Take with credit, if you like.

frayadjacent: Close up of Minerva McGonnigal looking intently over her spectacles (HP: McGonnigal)
 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is so good. I have so many feels: Hermione feels, McGonnigal feels, Harry feels, Harry-and-Molly Weasley feels, even Sirius Black feels. 

But I have a specific question for my fellow fen. There's a scene in Dumbledore's office, after Harry's vision of Nagini attacking Arthur Weasley. Dumbledore is warned that Umbridge is on her way to his office, so he asks McGonnigal to go out and distract her. "Tell her anything you can think of!"

I would really like to see this interaction between McGonnigal and Umbridge. And I bet someone has written it. Any of you encountered this before? Self recs are most welcome!
frayadjacent: Hermoine (circa movie 3) looking pointedly thoughtful (HP: Hermoine thinking)
Following [personal profile] coffeeandink's format

What I recently finished

I finally finished the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire audiobook, read by Stephen Fry. Looking through my previous posts, it looks like I started it 1.5-2 months ago. I kept getting stuck, what with Ron and the Triwizard Tournament and S.P.E.W. and the dread of Cedric Diggory's impending death. That one is still the hardest for me, even though he isn't my favorite character to die. I think it's because a lot of the deaths in book 7 are glossed over. And even though Dumbledore's death is awful, he still got to live a long life and die more or less on his terms. The death of a kind young man with his whole life ahead of him, and which is given a lot of build-up and narrative attention, is much harder.

A few weeks ago [personal profile] umadoshi posted a link to an essay called The Harry Potter series is actually one long story about PTSD. Now, I haven't read it, mostly because I'm finding there's a lot I don't remember about the series and I want to rediscover those things as I listen, rather than through analysis, fanworks, etc. (I am such a spoiler phobe. Sometimes I even do this if I'm rewatching Buffy, despite having watched and vidded and discussed the show over and over. Just in case! You never know when you'll be delighted to rediscover something you'd forgotten. Or something.) Anyway, despite having not yet read the argument I imagine that I'd largely agree with it. And that is related to why I adore -- or at least previously adored -- book 5, because of the way it deals with Cedric's death and all the other trauma Harry has undergone. More on that in the next section.

Shadow Gate, by Kate Elliott. This series continues to hold my interest, and Shadow Gate was a lot more compelling than Spirit Gate. It introduced a lot more POV characters, including several women. One of my least favorite characters underwent a transformation that was hard to read at times but incredibly well-written, and thus was propelled to a favorite (along with all of the POV women).

(CN: discussion of fictional sexual violence in this paragraph) There is a lot of sexual violence in these stories. I am not used to it. I think I can handle it better than I would have thought because it is a) generally not explicit, though there have been moments where small details were enough to be a little sickening. b) the surviovor's POV is prominent, and there has not been any sexual violence directly from the POV of the perpetrator, which is something I seriously can't handle. c) It presents sexual violence as a product of power relations, not sexual desire. d) It presents sexual violence as survivable. I keep recalling that, in Spirit Gate, one of the characters says to another that a woman can survive rape and go on to great power and accomplishments. And one of the characters who was indirectly referenced in that moment has done just that. Not in a "rape drove me to a vengeful rampage" -- which I actually thought it was going to do, briefly, but simply that this was one (significant) element of the character's life. It didn't define her, and it didn't ruin her.

What I'm reading now

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, audiobook read by Stephen Fry. As I mentioned, this used to be my favorite HP. I've learned in the last few years that it is many people's least favorite, and I think I read somewhere that even J.K. Rowling says she rushed it and it could have used another round of editing. I recall liking this book because it feels like the first book to take Harry's trauma seriously. I am not one to revel in the anger of a teenage boy, but at the same time I hate when people dismiss Harry's anger as just that. It is the anger of someone who's been through some serious trauma. Like Buffy Season 6, I like that, when Rowling decided to make the story more exciting by having worse things happen, she also followed though on the emotional consequences for the characters. (Or at least for Harry.)

That's not the only reason I loved this book though. It also finally gave some time and attention to Neville. I loved the way it subverted the idea of Harry as a Chosen One, through Neville's story. It introduces Luna! We get Dumbledore's Army! Etc.

Also, all sorts of things are happening that I thought were in later books: Harry discovering that Mrs. Figg is a member of the magical community, the introduction of Tonks (one of my faves!), and Harry's occlumency lessons with Snape (and what he learns about his father from that).

Traitors' Gate, by Kate Elliott. OMG, I've realised now that the Crossroads series and Black Wolves are much more closely linked than I'd previously thought. Knowing, in broad strokes, how things will end, has got me *dying* to see how they get there. I'm reading this as fast as I can, given that I don't have a ton of free time right now.

Free book-shaped space


I will probably read N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season next. I want to read as many likely Hugo nominees as possible because I finally signed up this year. That means I also plan to read Uprooted, even though a few of the things I heard about it turned me off it.

Speaking of Hugos, I got an email saying that I needed to enter my PIN in order to nominate, and that if I had signed up for electronic communication I'd have an email with my PIN. Well, apparently I didn't sign up for electronic communication, because I have no such email, and there is no other information about how to get the PIN. Assuming this PIN thing also applies to voting, I need to figure this out before...whenever it is that voting happens. Maybe they sent me a letter? I've been so disorganized lately, I could have missed it or forgotten it.

frayadjacent: Dawn looking excited, text says "Squee!" (!Squee!)
I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT [personal profile] ghost_lingering  MADE MY SAGA FESTIVID.

(This is probably not news to many of you, but I just returned from a weekend away from the internet so I am delighted.)

(Also I didn't actually know. But I wondered, what with the source and the audio and the excellence.)

frayadjacent: Connie Maheswaran on a beach reading excitedly (!reading)
What I just finished reading

Spirit Gate, by Kate Elliot. It was pretty good but I might have given up on it had I not liked Black Wolves (the first in a trilogy set in the same world) and had I not re-read [personal profile] coffeeandink's review (which is what first put the books on my radar, but I didn't get around to it until much later). It has a lot more violence, including sexual violence, than Black Wolves, although the sexual violence isn't graphically described and the survivors' points-of-view are generally prominent.

What I'm reading now

Shadow Gate, by Kate Elliot. It's going much better than Spirit Gate (which I didn't dislike, but I also didn't love) thanks to having a much-expanded set of points-of-view and relationships. It's also introducing some exciting storylines that are sucking me in nicely. There is still a lot of violence and possibly more sexual violence than the last book. I have a few specific qualms but on the whole I'm fascinated by the story and can't wait to see how things get to where they end up at the beginning of Black Wolves.

I'm also still listening to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. In fact I've made very little progress since my last reading meme post. I'm about 3/4 of the way through. I just need to get through, but the torment Harry undergoes at the end of this book is one of the most upsetting sections in the series for me. Add that to my general meh feeling about The Goblet of Fire, plus the fact that I haven't been running which is one of the main times I listen, and, well. I'll finish eventually.

What I'll read next

Traitor's Gate, by Kate Elliot. But I also purchased these books recently and I think the NK Jemisin will be the first one I read.

photo of four books
[photo of four books: Spin State by Chris Moriarty; The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin; The Thinking Person's Guide to Climate Change by Robert Henson; and The Very Best of Kate Elliot]

frayadjacent: Steven Universe: Pearl sadly clutching Rose's sword and scabbard (SU: pearl with roses sword)
I've really enjoyed all the Festivids I've watched so far. I've mostly watched vids for sources I'm familiar with, which is more this year than previous years thanks to things like Bunheads and Bedknobs and Broomsticks and (once I catch up with canon) Supergirl.

But of course I want to give a special shout out to the vid made for me, because it is awesome. I received Your Mother, a Saga vid focusing on Alana and Hazel, and it is gorgeous. I am pretty unfamiliar with comics vidding, and what the vidder did with visual effects was stunning. They also made fantastic use of the rhythms of the source, spoken word. And the vid has so much heart and determination just like Alana. I love it dearly.

Alas, I dropped out of Festivids due to a back injury. So I didn't make a vid.

I watched Frozen for the first time a few weeks ago, on an airplane. It was great fun and I regretted not having seen it in the cinema. I have hangups about the way Pixar et al draw people -- I like a lot of other things about their animation, but I think the people look weird and it bothers me and when I see previews all I can think about is how I wish their faces were hand-drawn. But Frozen made me think I ought to try and get over that, because I enjoyed it a lot and wished I hadn't watched it for the first time 2 years late on an itty-bitty screen.

On that same flight I also watched the first episode of iZombie. I dunno, maybe it was the delirium of being 13 hours into a 14 hour flight, but I liked it a lot. I read the comic for quite a while and enjoyed it at first, when it was "zombie uses brain-eating telepathy to solve murders". But the comic quickly became an apocalypse story that I found over-the-top and excessively plotty and incredibly boring. I'm thinking the tv series is unlikely to go down that route. The characters played off each other well and I found Liv and Ravi to be very compelling. Also Ravi is a rare example of a television character who is physically My Type. And he's a kind person which I find very attractive. So I enjoyed that as well. I haven't managed to watch any more but I hope to.

I'm slowly catching up on Supergirl. It's reminding me of early Buffy and most of Xena, in that I love the character interactions and yawn at the plots. But the characters are great. not so much spoilers as vague references to spoilers for the first ~9 episodes )

The latest Stevenbomb, from a few weeks ago, was possibly my favorite yet. This show just keeps knocking it out of the ballpark.

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