May 2nd, 2007



(oops, meant to post this on Sunday when I actually wrote it. Oh well, you get it now instead!)

14. King and Goddess (Judith Tarr)
Who can turn down a fictionalized biography of Hatshepsut, the Queen of Egypt who made herself King? This was a fun read. I've no doubt that Tarr is being honest when she says she took the story straight from history, but it really does read like something entirely invented -- it makes a great novel. This is hardly "great" writing, but it's clear and straightforward and unselfconscious and doesn't draw attention to itself. It's the kind of book that you barely notice you're reading, because the story carries everything through so strongly. ****

15, 16. Lucifer: Children and Monsters and A Dalliance with the Damned (Mike Carey et al)
Wow, this is a complex series. I'm only three books in, and I'm already having to go back to refresh my memory about the whys and wherefores. This is a good thing, for the most part, and I have faith (at least for now) that Carey knows what he's doing and where he's going with this. A lot of the characters make me vaguely uncomfortable, which is probably appropriate for a book about "the Devil". I'm particularly wary about the Lady Lys character -- she's just such an over-the-top caricature, and although I'm hoping there are interesting directions for her ahead, I'm a little wary. On the whole, though, it's a good read, and I'm glad to have it. (Also, having picked it up after the series has ended means I don't have the agonizing wait for the next instalment I get with most graphic fiction) ****

17. When Abortion was a Crime (Leslie J. Reagan)
This was a very interesting book, and only about half as depressing as you would expect. It's a political book, in that the author pretty clearly has a point of view, but it's not polemical. It's primarily an academic study, and it works on that level. It's a surprisingly easy read, with statistics broken up with narrative and interpretation in quite an enjoyable mixture. I feel kind of strange saying I enjoyed a book whose primary focus is illegal abortion, but I did. And I learned a lot, too -- my preconceptions about the practice of illegal abortion and people's attitudes to it were definitely challenged. ****

18. The Scar (China Mieville)
Why had I never read Mieville before this year? You may notice that I am hard at work correcting that oversight. The Scar is a very good book indeed -- I didn't find it quite as captivating as Perdido Street Station, but that's quite a hard act to follow. The story was intricate and absorbing, although it didn't give me the same shivers PSS did (see? this isn't fair. I'm just making comparisons.). The characters were appealing but not without their flaws, and the world continues to be complex and well-imagined. A great read. It only suffers by comparison with Mieville's own work -- it still outshines a great many books in my library. ****

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baby dragon

stupid stupid stupid

So, Canadian federal elections are about to have fixed dates.

This is a stupid idea.

It makes no sense in a parliamentary system of government. I don't understand why it's suddenly become so popular (The provinces have been trickling this way, too). Sure, Prime Ministers have always called elections when they thought they were most likely to win, but since they were always required to do so within five years, I didn't think it was a big problem for democracy. And this four-year thing still has a huge minority-government exception (which is convenient for Mr. Harper, who's desperately trying to decide when best to engineer the fall of his own minority).

This is dumb. I'm sure fixed election dates work in the 'States, but here.... they're just pointless.

I am so annoyed about this. I almost want to make a sign and camp out on the 'Hill. Kinda pointless now, though.