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Everything posted by Venneh

  1. Just finished Chrono Trigger yesterday. FUCK YEAH. I was slightly excessively overlevelled by the time I got to the final fight (didn't go through the Black Omen the additional two times and was still pushing level 54/55). I've unlocked the first ending, and am aware of all the other endings I can get - don't know if I'll go back into it right away to get them, but it's real good to know it's there. I understand why everyone loves this game so much. (We may do Chrono Cross next - Jim thinks he has it somewhere in the apartment.) Jim still plays Dest1ny for unwinding times with occasional doses of Dest2ny, I still play Overwatch and love the Lunar New Year event. Gonna grind tonight while getting ready for ECCC. There are still a bunch of games I should really get to. Will try to work on that once I'm back from ECCC.
  2. 18. Autobiography of Red, Anne Carson: Fuck. A friend recommended this to me, thinking I would like it, and she was absolutely right. It’s gorgeous and heartbreaking and hurts so very good. This is my first Anne Carson, and I have three more of hers on the pile, and after this, I can’t wait to see what they’re like. If you liked Song of Achilles, you’ll love this. (Trigger warning for incest/sexual abuse.)
  3. 17. Love in a Fallen City, Eileen Chang (translated by Karen S. Kingbury): A collection of novellas and short stories that, with the exception of “The Golden Cangue” (which uses Chang’s translation), have never seen translation Stateside. It’s interesting to see her views on marriage and tradition through all these stories, the transitions that were happening in society around her at the time, and the complexity of her female characters (even when they’re out and out unlikeable, like in the Golden Cangue).
  4. Watch a drunk history of it basically, even as someone who’s been following the series I can’t tell what the hells happening anymore lol
  5. 16. Recitation, Bae Suah (translated by Deborah Smith): This is an interesting little book. It seems at first to be a collection of anecdotes (recitations, even) by a recitation actress, vaguely Borgesian in nature (it even directly references Borges at one point). But only in the last thirty pages does it remind you of who the actual narrators are, and starts to question whether or not our narrator to that point actually exists, whether the “real” narrators may be part of a larger recitation, or whether this book is in fact a recitation or a bookend to another existing recitation, and introduces another POV entirely in the last 15 or so pages. It’s incredibly meta, a wonderful meandering read, and a book I’ve really liked tackling over the last weeks while unwinding at the end of the day. Would be interested in seeing if any of her other work exists in translation.
  6. 15. Animal Money, Michael Cisco: I’ve been chewing on this book since roughly the end of last year, and only just finished this a few minutes ago. I’m sick, slightly feverish, and I think that actually might be helping my understanding of the book. Your mileage may vary on this. This is an almost 800 page brick that doesn’t hesitate to let the narrative spin off for a few hundred pages, constantly change the rules of POV, and go hard into theory, yet still manages to keep a (relatively) coherent narrative that still leaves you wondering what in the actual fuck is going on at any given time. There’s no real summary on the back or online, and honestly, just approach it and see what it does for you. It’s dense as fuck, take it at your own pace, but it’s definitely going to be one of the more interesting things I read this year. Sidenote: this is apparently one of Cisco’s most accessible books. Jim has Celebrant around the apartment, having attempted to start it. I have a feeling he’s going to be working through it for a while, but will be interested to read it when he’s finished. Also: this cover is fucking gorgeous.
  7. 13. A Pound of Steam, Dessa: A 25 page chapbook, some unbelievably gorgeous poems within. I feel like I’m cheating by including a chapbook, but it’s real good. 14. Empress Orchid, Anchee Min: Back in the early ‘00s, there was a trend in literature aimed at women that mainly consisted of “woman with a Chinese sounding name writes about empresses trying to survive in the Forbidden City, mostly it’s an excuse for vaguely described sexings and female intrigue and a country girl who Becomes the Empress through intrigue”. This falls pretty firmly in that category, focusing on the final empress of the Qing dynasty, and her ascent to power (but cuts off before she actually gets to exercise her power as ruling Empress, thus leading to a bit of a feeling of literary blue balls). I picked this up in a used bookstore this afternoon and just finished this while I was in the bath. It’s basically literary junk food, and you need that every once in a while.
  8. Bingo Love: Super sweet story about two bi women who are childhood sweethearts, get separated by their parents, end up marrying men and having families, and then reunite when they're older. It takes an honest look at their lives and the effect it has on their families when they get back together. Ending is a bit eyerolly, but for an 80 page book, pretty sweet. Backed this on Kickstarter, got the Carla Speed McNeil cover. I Hate Fairyland 16: Skottie goes straight up horror while still keeping everything in line with the aesthetics he's established so far. Interested to see what he's about to do with this arc. Twisted Romance 1-2: The general pattern with these so far seems to be that I enjoy the A-story the most, skip the prose piece to come back to on a second or third read through, and aren't that interested in the B-story. Kate Skelly's story in 1 and Alejandra Guiterrez's story in 2 are the type of romance stuff I would LOVE to see; supernatural/vague horror and queer poc, respectively. I really need to read the prose stories. Gideon Falls 1: Lemire and Sorrentino are back together for an urban and rural religious horror that are clearly going to collide at some point, though we don't quite know when. First issue is intriguing and has my attention. Infidel 1: Jim is pretty on the nose in calling this mid 00s Vertigo horror, and I'm interested to see where this goes. Firebug: Collection of the Johnny Christmas/Tamra Bonvillain story from Island. Gorgeous art, great story, definitely something I'm happy to have collected in a single volume. Moonshine 7: Fuck if I remember what was going on in this comic when it last came out. At least it came back? Prism Stalker 1: McKelvie recently said he'd read this and called it the best comic you haven't read yet this year. I agree. Gorgeous, trippy as fuck sci-fi, with a vague tinge of horror, and I can't wait to see how this develops. I'm in. Black Monday Murders 8: I continue to not know what the fuck is going on here, and I don't even fucking care, it's completely Hickman bonkers and dense in the best way. Sleepless 3: Vague hints of backstory against the drama of a tournament. Aw yeah. Rumble 3: Still not entirely sure what's happening here, but fuck yeah David Rubin. WicDiv 1923: Feels like an illustrated novel that you'd find similar back in the 20s. Aud Koch does gorgeous work for the comics sections, the prose is dense is fuck, and man, I am especially interested to see how this plays into the new arc. Single Issues: 12 Trades/Tankobon/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 4 Omnibuses: 1 Not sure if I missed something, I'm sure Jim will nudge me if that's the case.
  10. 11. Robots vs Fairies, edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe: Not quite as thick as the Starlit Wood, but still a solid evening read. On the one hand, it’s neat to see how everyone interpreted the anthology theme and how they side; on the other hand, there are only so many variations you can do on fucking Pinocchio. There are a lot more misses this time around too. I’ve got a few more authors to look into beyond the ones that got me into the anthology in the first place, though, which is always good. 12. Spiral Bound, Dessa: So, it turns out Dessa had collections of poetry and prose out that I wasn’t even aware of, and given what a good lyricist she is, it’s unsurprising that she’s also really good at poetry and short stories. Quick read (finished this in under a half hour in the bath tonight), and more than a few things that are going to stick with me for a while.
  11. We're actually going to make an attempt to work on our video game backlog this year. Hopefully starting that tomorrow with a Pyre playthrough (we've been able to make it through Supergiant's other games in an afternoon or so, so hopefully that trend will continue). Jim still plays Dest1ny for unwinding times, I still play Overwatch at home because goddamn making 50 murders and doing 9k healing as Moira over the Lijiang Tower stage feels real good after a frustrating day at work. Meanwhile, though, I've finally started Chrono Trigger (this is the PS3 port of the PS1 port of the SNES game). I have managed to remain unspoiled for it thus far somehow, and we've just hit the part in 12k BC where shit appears to be going DOWN with Lavos (after the Mountain of Woe). I was a bit iffy until we hit roughly 65k BC and the story started to just start fucking sprinting. Looking forward to playing more tomorrow night.
  12. 9. Pain, Parties, and Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953, Elizabeth Winder: This feels like a college paper, maybe a thesis, that got a book deal. Partially a reconstruction from interviews with fellow girls on the Mademoiselle college guest editor program, magazines from the day, and minimally Plath’s own diary (this month is barely mentioned, but the months leading up to it and the aftermath are). Gorgeous imagery, short chapters, and a light read, again, worth the $5 I paid for it. 10. The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin: A group I’m in is reading books we read when we were kids. I vaguely remembered this from reading it for lit class in middle school, but forgot most of it in the fifteen plus since years since I read it. Really well plotted for a kid’s book, and dives into topics that feel ahead of its time for being written in the late fifties/early sixties. A lovely unfolding mystery, and a fun quick read.
  13. 8. The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher: Carrie Fisher writing about her time filming the first Star Wars, along with her relationship to Leia and all it’s bought her, and about her affair with Harrison Ford (along with diary excerpts that she’s found from that time). There’s a lot of stuff she says as a mentally ill person that I relate to intensely in this.
  14. 7. All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation, Rebecca Traister: Besides the slightly eye rolly title, this is a really well researched book into how being single for women has changed the landscape. It’s mostly organized into topics, but includes a mix of history and personal subject experiences in each chapter, which keeps it from getting too dry, and the write doesn’t hesitate to inject a good dose of humor in the telling. Though it does focus on America, the book does include the experience of immigrants and minorities (both racial and sexual), and is careful to be intersectional in its history as well. There’s only a few moments when it feels like she’s trying to go “oh hey, I am hip with the young things, look at who I am quoting”, not anything that’s going to rock your world, but definitely a fun read, especially for $5.
  15. 6. Lady Be Good, Lauren Hilger: Solid poetry, very deliberately evokes Golden Age Hollywood and luxury, does some neat stuff with formatting, but I won’t remember most of these poems in two weeks’ time.
  16. So, one of the major interesting differences between the source material for Atomic Blonde is that the main was originally a) way more LeCarre than James Bond and b) a dude. They kept the sex of the French informant the same while changing the protagonist’s sex, which resulted in the unfortunate Bury Your Gays.
  17. 5. Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution, Sara Marcus: A really good deep dive into the Riot Grrrl subculture, both through the bands and the fandom of the subculture, and a look at the larger politics that framed them. A good evening/bath read, and a good, honest look at a subculture I’ve been interested in.
  18. The movie's main critique of toxic masculinity is in Kylo Ren, though I think to a lesser degree Poe, because the movie goes out of its way to show that his actions almost got the Resistance wiped out entirely, and is responsible for a good deal of deaths in that last third of the movie.
  19. 4. Lust, Caution; Eileen Chang: The short story that inspired the film of the same name, and goddamn I need to see if my bookstore has any more of her collections remaindered. Absolutely tense for the duration of the short story, and has some really memorable passages. If you've seen the movie, I highly recommend getting this. Also has introductions and essays from individuals involved with the movie.
  20. 3. Hold Your Own, Kate Tempest: Fair to middling poetry, relies too much on rhyme for my taste, only had a few standout lines.
  21. 2. Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing, Anya von Bremzen: A well written memoir that combines the food culture of the USSR, and the author and her mother’s lives growing up, and eventually immigrating from, the same. Also includes recipes for each chapter at the end of the book.