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Went and got some books signed by Ellen Kushner (and by Delia Sherman in Fall of the Kings' case). They're both very adorable person. There was this hilarious moments when Kushner's was reading the first chapter of Swordspoint (alternating between English and French) and Delia's phone rang, and they said it's Cassie Claire calling, that she was a 'very famous' person who had a book released soon XDDD

Then there was a kind of radio show taking place in the same bookstore where Ellen Kushner was interviewed, and she sang a Thomas the Rhymer ballad and it was AWESOME. I'll need to ge the mp3 of the show.

I got to talk a little bit with Delia while the show was taking place and she recced me books by Karen Joy Fowler, which do seem very nice, and her own books - well not that brazenly, she was just talking about them and they sounded nice ^^.

Three days to the Utopiales, woot!
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There's a whole discussion that happened last week on Ran's Board which my friends from there most probably know all about, but about which I'd be curious to have some other opinions. (BTW, I use the nickname "Stranger" in those forums).

It all started with a post about Kushner's novel Priviledge of the Sword started by Pat, who beyond his activity on that forum also manages a Fantasy blog, which I think has a pretty good reputation.

Anyway, one of the thing that caught my eye was that Pat, among other things, called Priviledge of the Sword "chick lit through and through". Other people gave good or bad opinions about that novel or Kushner's novels generally speaking. Ran, notably, denied that it was Chick Lit, whereas Calibandar called it "the girliest books I've laid my hands on in recent years".

Discussions about the "male-ness" or the "girly-ness" of specific books is something I have seen often, and which I may have sometimes made use of myself, even though I don't like it, to refer to some hard-to-define aesthetics. So I started a thread about that subject, using Pat's thread as an example, in which I asked a lot of questions to people : Chick Lit, What is it? Why isn't there any Boy's Lit?

I had two agendas with this thread : pointing out the sexism in calling some books Chick Lit in order to dismiss their quality, and questionning which specific images and idiosyncracies were associated with which gender and why. The thread saw much more discussions about the first point, both in agreement and disagreement, although some people did good effort to answer my second point as well. The discussion grew in some points somewhat heated and even wanky, but wasn't uninteresting.

A certain amount of people did agree that "Chick Lit" described a specific genre of book about female protagonists in urban, modern setting with an irreverant tone and some sexual situations, that such a genre had nothing to do with Kushner's writing. Some people also agreed that Chick Lit wasn't a good name for such a genre because it described what kind of market the genre is aimed at instead of the content of the books; and because it can cause confusion about other books, like Kushner's. Although lots of people still disagreed about that, so I'd hardly call it a consensus.

Last part of this little debate, Pat's eventually posted his final review of Priviledge of the Sword at his blog yesterday. Unsurprizingly, he was still mostly negative about it, but also persisted in calling it "Fantasy chick lit" and "one of the 'girliest' novels [he's] ever read", moreover he extrapolated this description by saying :

"There's a very "girly" approach to the narrative. It focuses on undying/forbidden love, corny romance, flowers, jewelry, gowns, fabrics, and an inordinate amount of emo moments. For crying out loud, the characters shed more tears in this book than bridesmaids at a wedding! There is only so much crying one can take, after all. In addition, the emo male characters are not authentic."

You'd think he was talking about about badfanfics ^^ I'm not entirely surprised by this reading because earlier at Ran's Board, I'd seen ErrantBard, who appeared quite sane otherwise, say about Swordspoint :

what I would say classify it as "chick-lit" in my mind is, from memory:
  • Flowers and effeminate looking men with open shirts on the cover, first
  • Prominence of homosexuality in the relationships
  • Pure love
  • Invincible yet sensible, fragile, honourable hero.
  • Insufferable whiny useless support characters you're supposed to pity rather than wish dead, for some reason
  • A plot revolving around the feelings some people have for each other.


  • A number of which terms had me raise my eyebrow in regard of Swordspoint. But hey! People read books are see different things in it. It happens.

    It makes sense that a certain lack of sensitivity about specific genres that one doesn't like mean that one blurs the distinction between those genres. Thus romance, mannerpunk, and Chich Lit elements are all confused and equally dismissed as if they were equivalent although to anyone looking into those seriously it's obvious they're very far from being the same. The fact that all these different elements are, for some reason, associated with female taste and female writing is of course what makes such confusion problematic and sexist.

    The thing that really makes me angry there is that several people as well as Pat have defended their use of the term by saying "what is so bad about works written by women that cater to what women want to read?" even though they're very obviously using the word "Chick Lit" or "girly" to dismiss and criticize a specific type of writing : "corny romance", "inordinate amount of emo moments", "the emo male characters are not authentic."
    That's not the description of a genre of writing that one doesn't like but that's still considered as legit. That's a description of bad writing, through and through. A bad writing that is typified as female.

    Now, while I'm still infuriated about the structural sexism of such use of terms, I'm also still curious about which elements are associated with specific genders and why.
    salinea: (Default)
    I haven't done a proper book-post in too long, I have a huge list to catch. I'll try to see how much I remember :

    Let's start with

    Shaman's Crossing, Robin Hobb
    Read more... )

    A secret atlas, Michael A. Stackpole
    Read more... )

    Kushiel's Scion, Jacqueline Carey
    Read more... )

    The Oracle Queen, Lynn Flewelling
    Read more... )

    Temeraire, Naomi Novik
    Read more... )

    Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner
    Read more... )

    River of Gods, Ian McDonald
    Read more... )

    Pfff, that's all I remember reading recently. Well, and Crown of Shadows but that was only the fourth time :) (Karril's still a darling, Damien's still awesome, Tarrant's still an ass, Narilka still kicks ass etc., etc.)
    salinea: (Default)
    Happy birthday [livejournal.com profile] jydan ! Hope you have a lovely day ^^ wow, 22 are you not ? you're almost an adult ;)


    I'm getting so damn sick of not sleeping until 5 am. I've been on a roll with that since I came back from vacation and it's exhausting. Granted, this is always partly because I spend hours on the internet / reading whatever. However I also do that because i'm in that kind of feverish mood where I know I won't be able to fall asleep. I've never been good at letting myself sleep, since I was a very little girl. I think it's partly because I've got a very nervous personnality. And partly because a part of me is afraid of it (why ? I have no idea... sleeping makes me anxious)

    Traditionnaly, I can spend hours in my bed thinking about anything, making speeches to myself, imagining conversations with real or imaginary people, disserting about the nature of life, the universe and everything, or planning out some scenarii/fanfics... It can be exhausting, sometimes, as if my mind would just never stop. And when I worry about something, especially, or am in a self-loathing mood, it's especially difficult.

    But I like night too... as if it was this one time where we can be free. No one else to bother you. Nothing expected of you anymore. I don't know. It's like the whole ambiance is different, it's an in-between space, and I love to linguer in it... I don't want it to be a new day yet. Maybe that's what I'm afraid of, the new day.
    Yesterday I was finishing re reading Swordspoint. What a delightful novel ! Still think it's better than Fall of Kings, or Thomas the Rhymer for that matter. All the characters are great, and Richard and Alec are such a wonderful couple ! They manage to be as cute as Touya/Yuki and as messed up as SeishirouxSubaru ^_^ Does anyone know fanfics written about Swordspoint ? That'd make my day.

    Cool meme ganked from [livejournal.com profile] crazylittleme

    1. Comment with any ship from a fandom that you know I like, or at least have some knowledge about.

    2. I will ramble for 100 words about aforementioned ship. This may be incoherent gushing or exclamations of disgust, depending on what it is. (Oh, psh, you're going to get a five-page ESSAY on some pairings. Screw 100 words.)

    3. Put this on your LJ, if you are so inclined.


    ETA : quizzy )
    salinea: (Default)
    Well, all my plans for this week end were eventually cancelled in bac synchronisation, but no big deal, i could just read all those nifty new books.
    Finished Thomas the Rhymer by Kushner, which, without surprise, was a gorgeous and wonderful book. Have to lend it to Aurel, I'm sure he'll find it inspiring for mastering more DA: Fae ;)
    Also begun The Wildling... and i like the beginning, but will tell more when I finish it.

    Did I mention Aurel gave me the Tokyo Babylon Photographs Art Book ? 'cause he did ! Isn't it grand ? All those nice, shiny, gorgeous pictures are all mine, mine, mine *danses* and they're even prettier in real than on scans.
    From what he told me Aurel was into Clamp things when he was 15 and was still looking for his sexuality *lol* cue jokes about who would actually find their sexuality in Clamp works, cuz God knows Clamp characters have a very weird notion of love and relationships ;) Apparently now, he flees them Clamp works because he's scared of the pointy chins. Well, whatever, thanks to it, I'm now the owner of the Art Book in exchange for paying a restaurant meal, i'm rather happy of the deal.

    On other news, my dad is trying to install a wifi conneciton between my computer and our modem so we won't have a cable hanging around the hall anymore. Sadly, my father is doing a messy job of it, and it's not working very well. And many blue screens have visited us. And I'm worried my computer is getting into a sulky mood. Where's Satsuki when you need her ?! So, my presence on the web is getting random, am afraid.
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    Plenty of people from my good ol' ATPoBtVS on Live Journal, coolness. Spent some time adding friends, I might spend more time here.

    Tried to get my parrents to watch Once Upon a Time in China yesterday. Didn't work so well. My mother wasn't enthusiasmed, and even my father didn't look like he wanted to watch the end of the movie later. Bah, they don't know what's good :p

    Pierre has bought Fool's Fate. He'd better read it fast and give it too me ^_^ Well, it's not like I didn't have enought books to read, but I want to get this one. Wish I could lend him books in return, but he'd rather buy his own. Crazy collectionner.
    Still currently reading Bring me the head of Prince Charming by Zelazny and Sheckley. Not a great book, but I had read the two other books of the cycle, so I took the occasion to get this one when I saw it on used book purchase. Also bought a Mary Doria Russel book and one by Cherryh. I heard the Russel one is very good, on the subject of religion, and I want to know more about Cherryh.

    Two days ago, I was in a discussion on the subject of music with Fabian aka Ser Ilyn Payne and LindaElaine from the aSoIaF board. They got me to listen to an absolutly wonderful interpretation of Famous Blue Raincoat by Tori Amos. Bouroughted my father's CD of Songs of Love and Hate, and tried to make him listen to the Tori Amos version... he didn't even recognized the song : / Parrents are depressing. Anyway, now I'm in a fury to download every live or cover songs by Tori Amos; I didn't realised there were so many ! Very excited about it. If my Kazaa would stop five minutes getting my computer to reboot, that is. Plus the Placebo songs I'm still downloading and the ones from Rocky Horror Picture Show, the Kazaa works double time, but heh...

    My parrents also told me they could only be away on the week end of the Toussaint (Halloween for you damn anglo-saxons) it's gonna be a bit short for organising my birthday, but I'd really like to do it. Last time I had a birthday party I was twelve, so the twenty-second one seems like a good occasion to begin again, no ? Besides, good excuse for getting invitees to dress up funky. Or to chase them away even more...

    Still haven't finished reading the Sidereal book, or writing my Dragon Blooded Character for Vincent's game. We're supposed to have Vincent's game this week end, and it's Tuesday already, arghhhhhh !!! But I'm starting getting ideas for the Sid game... ^_^. Gamemastering is fun, but it takes so much time *sighs* Dunno either how i would do in a online game, but we'll see. Can't be worse than Jydan's ;) (don't hit me Jy ! I'm kidding !)

    I should have been looking for jobs today, but I slept wayyyy too long for that. Oh well. Must work on said charsheet instead... and starts reading that book on Linguistic. The teacher is still as bad as she was last year.

    And the recommanded books of the day are Swordspoint and The Fall of Kings by Ellen Kushner. Gorgeous writing, awesome characters, and one of the most poignant love story I'v read about for Swordspoint, and three people agreed with me on the aSoIaF board.

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