Monthly Archives: June 2015

Three books (written by women authors) I will always revisit

Because I haven’t finished a book yet this week (I believed I referred to it on Twitter as flitting from book to book like an attention-deficit butterfly), that’s why.

His Majesty’s Dragon (Naomi Novik)

I think this book (first in the author’s entirely-too-drawn-out Temeraire series) works best if you picture it as a stand-alone novel. The premise is fresh (think Master and Commander, but with dragons), the characters really do come alive, and the relationship between William Laurence and his dragon Temeraire is absolutely a joy to see unfold. I even picture Temeraire speaking in a friend’s cultured, pseudo-English accent. Sorry, friend who shall remain nameless.

Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë)

What little girl doesn’t fall in love with Mr. Rochester? And what budding proto-feminist isn’t outraged at the barbaric treatment of Bertha? So many appeals you guys. But seriously, this is hands down my favourite Brontë book. I’m pretty sure I’ve gone through at least 3 mass-market paperback editions of this one. If nothing else, it’s a tribute to the assertion of a fundamental right to happiness. Plus, it’s got a crazy chick locked away in the attic, so you know shit’s gonna go down.

Castle Waiting (Linda Medley)

An as-yet-unfinished graphic-novel series (although collected in two smart-looking hardcover editions), Castle Waiting riffs on classic fairy tales, giving them a sassy modern twist. Ostensibly aimed at the YA crowd, it’s easily enjoyed by older readers. I’m totally hooked on learning more about Jain’s backstory and the identity of Pindar’s father. There’s also a knight character, which happens to be an anthropomorphic horse, and his name is Sir Chess. This makes me so very, very happy.

The sausage edition is coming next weekend.

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Butterbeer and zombies: My top 5 literary restaurants

A quickie this week, I think. And yes, I totally want to eat and drink myself silly at all of these places.

  1. The Leaky Cauldron (Harry Potter) Butterbeer. ‘nuff said.
  2. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) I totally endorse travelling untold distances for a good meal.
  3. Gil’s All Night Diner (Gil’s All Fright Diner) Who wouldn’t want their greasy spoon-style hamburger to come with a side of zombies?
  4. The Inn at the Crossroads (A Song of Ice and Fire) Because sometimes you just want every fucking chicken in the room, amirite?
  5. Merlotte’s Bar and Grill (Southern Vampire Mysteries) The sheer supernatural potential would be worth the standard bar fare.

FYI, I’ve had the Butterbeer they serve at the Harry Potter studio tour in England. SO GOOD YOU GUYS. I even got to keep the little souvenir plastic stein it came in.

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A pleasant surprise: Sarah Hoyt’s Ill Met by Moonlight

In taking a break from my A Song of Ice and Fire reread (they’re great and all but are just so dang long; also, to be honest, the sexual violence is starting to get to me), I decided to revisit Sarah Hoyt’s Shakespeare-faery mashup Ill Met by Moonlight.

It completely didn’t cross my mind when I first read it, but Ill Met by Moonlight is a really wonderful treatment of LGBT issues as pertaining to fluidity in gender and sexuality.

The novel tells the story of how a young, pre-theatre William Shakespeare falls in love with the beautiful faery Quicksilver. However, it turns out that this faery is of a royal house and can change from male aspect to female aspect at will.

As it happens, Quicksilver too falls in love with Shakespeare, but in both of his aspects. He also expresses affection for the female faery Ariel. It should be noted that he is not entirely comfortable with any of this. A tangled web, indeed.

As shape changing is viewed by faery society to be distasteful and lowbrow, Quicksilver is regarded as something of an outcast merely for exhibiting a trait that comes naturally to him. And although the faery is clearly struggling with his dual nature for the greater part of the book, he eventually reconciles both parts of his personality.

Overall, the treatment of Quicksilver’s dual personality (and its obvious transgender/bisexual implications) is even handed, dignified, and above all, sympathetic.

All things considered, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Ill Met by Moonlight, both in terms as an entertaining novel in its own right and as an example of how to treat LGBT issues with sensitivity and grace.

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