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I keep referencing this list, but hadn't posted it anywhere, though I have posted pieces of it as I add them. Because of [profile] abenn's encouragement, I am posting it now and will keep it at the top of my LJ for future reference.

Suggestions always welcome, by the way.

Life To Do List )
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What I've Read

Haven't finished anything new just yet.

What I'm Reading

LISEY’S STORY by Stephen King: Yes, I am still reading this. I really like Lisey, and I love the way her history with her husband unfolds throughout the story, in pieces and present thoughts and scenes set back in what she remembers, but it is really slow paced and easy to put down, so it is taking forever.

TREASURES, DEMONS AND OTHER BLACK MAGIC by Meghan Ciana Doidge: I think I'm at least going to finish the first trilogy. I don't know if I'll continue it after. We'll see how much annoyance at the main character's "quirky" traits (and my dislike of first person narrators) balances against the stuff I do enjoy. So far, the stuff I enjoy is losing out, but maybe once I'm done with the cliffhanger ending, I'll like it more.

MR MERCEDES by Stephen King: In the middle of my traveling, I decided I needed entertainment that wasn't electronic-based, and so I grabbed a copy of a Stephen King I hadn't yet read. So far, I like it a lot; I'm about a quarter of the way through, and I like the main character, the retired detective, far more than I expected. I generally hate bad guy point of views in books like this, but it's not terrible here.

What I'll Read Next

DARK ALCHEMY by Laura Bickle (Dark Alchemy #1): I'm trying to avoid buying new books this year, except for a few favorite authors, but someone recommended the second book in the series to me recently, and I bought this book immediately. It sounds like western + magic + kick ass women, and I am here for that so hard. SO HARD.
seeksadventure: (Sons of Anarchy space not just air)
Jeopardy, Racism: Life in Jeopardy! I assumed that I was selected for the Teen Tournament because I’m black by Alexis Stephens over at Rookie Mag is a really interesting, emotional piece about how it felt being a teen contestant on Jeopardy.

At the open call, I was granted an audition in front of the show’s producers. Looking around the room, I felt different from the other kids who had made it this far. They were mostly white and suburban-looking, so I decided to use my half-Ecuadorian mixed-girl urbanness to my advantage by turning up my the Cosby-kid charm to the extreme. I remember the wide-eyed panel taking in my confidence as I told personal stories about my Philadelphia Eagles fandom, my thrift store shopping, and my nascent ambition to become a professional DJ. I had never done this before—play into what I thought people expected a nonwhite “smart girl” to act like—and I felt strange afterward, vain and false.

At the local geography bees I participated in as a kid, my opponents were mostly black. But when I advanced to the official state finals, as I did twice in middle school, I was surrounded by white kids and their parents, who looked at me as either undeserving or “exceptional” (not like other brown kids!). I lost those tournaments almost immediately, which made me feel like while I may have been considered smart in the fishbowl of my school, I couldn’t compete in the vast “real world.”


Blackness, Teens: How Our February Cover Star Amandla Stenberg Learned to Love Her Blackness by Solange Knowles at Teen Vogue is a joy and a delight to read. Amandla inspires the hell out of me.

ON GOING VIRAL

SOLANGE: I feel like my introduction to you was probably like that of a lot of people — or at least people who might not have seen The Hunger Games — via your video on cultural appropriation, “Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows,” which was so brilliant! I know that you made it for a class assignment, but in terms of sharing it with the world was there ever a moment of fear before hitting the “publish” button?

AMANDLA: I really didn’t think it was going to be so controversial. And then to have the label of “revolutionary” pinned on you afterward felt really daunting. I kind of had a moment with myself, like, “OK. Is this what you want to do? Do you actually want to talk about issues? Is it worth it?” There are still moments now where I’m like, “Whoa, this is a lot of pressure.” But it’s worth it because when people come to me and say, “I’m more comfortable in my identity because of you,” or “I feel like you’ve given me a voice,” that’s the most powerful thing ever.


Copyright, Politics: God v. Copyright: Mike Huckabee Invokes Religion In Copyright Suit by Timothy Geigner at TechDirt highlights just how ridiculous a weapon copyright can be when people try to use it.

Strap in, folks, because we've got quite a battle brewing. You may recall that Mike Huckabee recently found himself the subject of a copyright dispute with Frank Sullivan, a member of Survivor, over the use of the band's hit song Eye of the Tiger at a rally for the release of Kim Davis. Davis was the county clerk who asserted that her right to express her religion -- in the form of denying same sex couples the right to marry -- overrode the secular law of the land, which is about as bad a misunderstanding of how our secular government works as can be imagined. Sullivan's filing indicated that the rally was conducted by the Huckabee campaign and that the use of the song had been without permission, therefore it was an infringing use. Left out of the filing was any indication of whether the Huckabee campaign had acquired the normal performance licenses.

Based on Huckabee's response, it seems like no license was ever obtained, as Huckabee is instead claiming the use was fair use, and that the use was exempt from copyright law to begin with because the Kim Davis rally was a religious assembly.


Feminism, Periods, Inclusivity: 4 Ways to Make Your Period-Positivity More Inclusive by Sian Ferguson at Everyday Feminism has some really good points about how we talk about periods and bodies.

As a society, it’s absolutely imperative that we work towards destigmatizing menstruation. The period-positive movement aims to do that through discussion and education. It aims to encourage open discussion about periods and raise awareness around menstrual health issues and menstrual hygiene.

The movement includes the development of eco-friendly, reusable menstrual products as alternatives for disposable pads and tampons. It usually aims to get people to see menstruation as normal, and even beautiful.

The period-positive movement is incredibly important.

But unfortunately, a lot of the period-positive movement is – often unintentionally – exclusionary.

In order for the movement to be more impactful and less oppressive, we need to think deeply about the various ways in which we can make period-positivity more inclusive.


Monopoly, Gaming, Friendships: How to Win at Monopoly and Lose All Your Friends is hilarious and wonderful (and image heavy); I want to play a game of Monopoly immediately.

I like board games, and I play them frequently. When the original Landlord's Game was developed, it was certainly fresh and innovative. However, 110+ years of advancement in the field of game design has produced games that are far superior, packing more strategy, nuance, and fun into a fraction of the play time. Monopoly is, by comparison, a long, boring, unpleasant slog. On the now-rare occasions that people insist I join a game of Monopoly, I play in a way that ensures not only that I'll win, but that they'll be more open to my suggestions for other games in the future.


Art, Jewelry, Geekery: Here’s How You Can Turn Your Blind Box Collectibles Into Super Cute Earrings: Because you NEED mini Catwoman earrings by Jessie Jem over at The Mary Sue is a fun art project if you wear earrings or have friends who wear earrings and love geeky things. (I do not wear earrings, which surprises people all the time. I can't tell you how many times dear friends have given me earrings as gifts, because 'everyone wears earrings' which, no, not really, and also, you mean all women wear earrings, which also, no.)

While I don’t give in and collect as much these days, I’ve built quite the collection. Much of it is from Heroclix, but since I don’t buy them for gameplay, they just sit around collecting dust. So these days, I’ve been donating them to make room for new items to love and repurposing the ones I can’t part with into jewelry.

To me, repurposing unloved treasures into jewelry is a super simple and inexpensive project that allows you to showcase your collection in a new way—not to mention it is so easy that you’ll knock it out in a few minutes!


Access, Disability: #Accessfail rant on Tuesday 1/12 by Jesse the K points out a common flaw with how businesses use ADA-compliant spaces.

Starbucks in OKC built to ADA standards but mgmt makes #accessfail with furniture placement & storage choices. The "extra room" on handle side of a door? Wheelchair users need that space to reach the handle. You create #accessfail you put news racks, signboards or flower pots there!

More #accessfail when you store chairs & boxes in the wide hall to toilet or cabinets inside. As those of us who use wheelchairs daily learn, our travel path is still invisible to non-W/C users & still blocked #accessfail. You may think at least W/C user needs are recognized but not reliably.

When I point this out owner usually offers workaround "if I just ask for help." But that's why ADA design is so specific & roomy): to permit W/C users to move through the world unmarked, as smoothly as "typicals."
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Yosemite, Trademarks: Yosemite Changing The Names Of Popular Park Landmarks Following The Most Ridiculous Trademark Dispute Ever by Mike Masnick at TechDirt is absolutely ridiculous. Basically, a concession provider ended up owning registered trademarks used throughout Yosemite, and when Yosemite started accepting bids from different concession providers, threatened and then sued Yosemite because of those trademarks. Which is completely stupid, and I don't know why the company actually thought threatening the national park people would get their contract renewed, and I am highly amused that the company is now acting like Yosemite is the one "using beloved names of places [...] as a bargaining chip in a legal dispute" and is absolutely shocked that Yosemite would rename the locations rather than play ball. I think it is stupid that the concession provider is the one who allegedly owns the trademarks in the first place. Oh, intellectual property law. You never cease to be weird.

(As usual, the pejorative use of "crazy" abounds, which is a TechDirt standard. Because of course, I can't be interested in technology, the law, and technology and the law, and read a great resource for both, without being metaphorically punch in the face every time I do.)

Wikipedia, WWE: Wikipedia Is 15, so Let’s Look at Their Top 15 Most-Edited Articles by Dan Van Winkle at The Mary Sue does exactly what it says on the tin. I can't believe Wiki is 15. Van Winkle's commentary is pretty funny, but what I liked best is the fact that "list of WWE personnel" is one of the most-edited pages cumulatively over the past 15 years, a fact that surprises Van Winkle, but the comments are all over that. (And I think if you're actually familiar with what WWE does, it's not much of a surprise. They put out so much content every single week, have a giant roster of wrestlers, much less people behind the scenes, often do ridiculous things, and have had heroes mired in their own racist bullshit recently, so lots of editing at all times.)

Wikipedia: Related, Why Wikipedia Is in Trouble by Chris Wilson at Time talks about the scarcity of dedicated editors. It also briefly touches on Sydney Poore's efforts to diversify the pool of active editors to make it less heavily male and Western.

The problem, most researchers and Wikipedia stewards seem to agree, is that the core community of Wikipedians are too hostile to newcomers, scaring them off with intractable guidelines and a general defensiveness. One detailed study from 2012 found that new editors often find that their first contributions to the site are quickly rejected by more experienced users, which directly correlates with a drop in the likelihood that they will continue to contribute to the site.


Lilo & Stitch, Walt Disney World: Stitch's Great Escape: Ten Years at Passport 2 Dreams points out that in 2014, the Lilo & Stitch ride at Disney World turned ten, which means it will be twelve this year, and for some reason this makes me feel old, not my nieces and nephews becoming teenagers. This.

I've only been to Disney World once (and never to Disneyland), back in 2005 with Sarah and Craig, and it was ridiculous and wonderful and fun, mostly because of the company, but also because I was on a Stitch hunt. I collect (collected, for the most part, because I haven't added any in a long time, and I am getting ready to go through my collection and see what I can cull) Lilo & Stitch toys, particularly stuffed Stitch toys, and I found a bunch of wonderful things to add to it while there.

I learned from this post that the Stitch ride is apparently considered the worst in the park. I thought it was adorable and fun, but okay, I know I am biased. This is a really interesting look at the history of the movie and of the Stitch invasion of the park and of the ride itself.

Take something like the Swiss Family Treehouse, which more people visit in a month than have seen the movie in the past ten years. And yet, it still works and is fully comprehensible to any viewer. This is because the only thing you need to know about the film to enjoy the attraction is right there on the sign - shipwrecked family builds a house. That's it. The attraction allows you to go into the house, and the attraction-tree never really resembled the film-tree in a serious way. The form of the attraction is harmonized with the tie-in film property in a way that has universal, not specific, appeal.

Where Stitch's Great Escape, and all of these movie tie-in attractions in general go wrong, is that they are bound to weirdly specific moments in the narrative of the films to have their effect. Nearly every moment in the attraction is referencing some moment in the film. If you know nothing about Lilo & Stitch besides that it exists, then Stitch's Great Escape is the worst advertisement for it imaginable. It conveys nothing of the tone of the film or the love the character inspires in audiences. Actually, you'd probably correctly infer from the attraction that Stitch is a malicious bastard.

That's probably the real reason Stitch's Great Escape fails to interest audiences, it isn't because of those restraints or that it isn't a ride; that's just shorthand people use to skirt around the real issue, which is that there's no payoff for going to see it. It's a lot of sound and fury for no good reason at all. At least, one could reason if she wished, Alien Encounter was trying to be scary. Stitch's Great Escape has no reason to exist, no onus, besides itself.


Brave: A Medievalist’s Review of Brave by Amanda at Made of Wynn is really interesting, though I cannot speak to accuracy. I expected it to be more critical than it was, and the information she focuses on was really great.

Originally posted at carlamlee.com.
seeksadventure: (drowning deep)
Death, Grieving, SOLANIN: "Reading SOLANIN Helped Me with the Death of My Grandmother" at Panels is really touching and a little painful.

Solanin, at least for me in that moment, wasn’t about any of that. It was a single chapter, chapter five, that hit me the hardest. My grandmother passed away from stomach cancer and had been suffering from dementia; her husband passed long before I was born. In the chapter, there’s an old man who’s “got Alzheimer’s or something” and he mails a letter to his wife, who died in the air raids, every day for the past 40-odd years. There’s a certain poetry in that dedication to love and it made me wonder if my grandmother ever felt the same way. I never asked her, and I regret that.


WWE, Masculinity, Feminism: Scarlett Harris' "Queer New Day" is an interesting look at the current New Day gimmick, and how it can be read as subverting both the racist storytelling and toxic masculinity of pro wrestling in general and WWE specifically.

That New Day can still be over with performances so overtly challenging yet simultaneously so covertly queering the the dominant paradigm in wrestling is a testament not so much to the higher ups willing to push them but to an increasingly diverse legion of fans (the same fans that brought about the #GiveDivasaChance and #DivasRevolution campaigns, no matter what Paige or Stephanie McMahon tell us) willing to cheer them. And not only are they subverting the traditionally masculine archetype of a wrestler, they’re toppling the savage, out of control machismo of the archetype of black men and black wrestlers.


Trans, Language: 4 ‘Compliments’ Cis People Give Trans Folks That Are Actually Hella Cissexist by James St James at Everyday Feminism is a great look at the subtle (and not so subtle) ways we can be terrible allies even when we're trying to say something positive. (And some shitty responses that are not even trying to be positive, too.)

4. ‘You’re Trans? Wow! I Just Want You to Know That You’re a Gorgeous/Handsome Wo/man’

This is a tricky one, the Validation Response.

I know in my little heart that lots (lots) of cis people who utter this one have nothing more than good intentions in mind. They want to show their support for the trans person before them, and so they compliment us in the best (or, perhaps only?) way they know how: by telling us our physical looks achieve some of the highest marks possible in the gender we identify with.

But brace yourself, I’m about to get nasty.

A major reason the Validation Response is a problem is—well—because it assumes your opinion validates our identity. To be blunt, you’re still only seeing us through the cis lens.


Being True to Yourself: You're Braver Than You Think at FuzzyGalore.com hit me right in the feelings, with something I've been struggling with for the past year: being willing to try things that I will fail because I want to try them anyway.

Thankfully, there was a little spark inside of me that continued to whisper in my ear even though I’d worked at smothering it for years. Be quiet, wild thing. You’ll only get us in to trouble! At some point though, I realized that there is no trouble worse than self-deception; cutting yourself off at the knees by denying your passions, your potential, your thirst for living the life that you want. One of the unfortunate side effects of your self-deception and fear is that you leave a field of collateral damage in your wake.

After a long and torturous build up, I finally cracked under the pressure. I gave up the game, secret by secret and walked out of the prison I’d built for myself. I had to stop being afraid.


Trash, Recycling, Collectives: The Rise of the Trash-Picker Collective, in Latin America and Beyond by Vanessa Hua at Pacific Standard is an interesting look at recycling and the power of collectives.

As they organize, the workers likewise construct a new social identity by picking a name for their occupation that isn’t tied to trash and waste, according to Dias.

“The politics of naming matters,” Dias says. “It’s very important to help a given group get together and work toward their demands. How can you get people organized if they don’t see value in what they do?”

In Uruguay, they call themselves “classifacadores,” classifiers of materials, as opposed to hurgadores (“pokers”). In Argentina, they’re “cartoneros,” or cardboard collectors. In Colombia, scrap metal specialists are “chatarreros,” while those who seek out glass bottles are “frasqueros.” In Mexico, “buscabotes” collect aluminum cans.

Dulcey points to the lapel of his uniform, which is embroidered with the phrase “Gente Emprendedora” (Entrepreneur). “We want to touch the sky,” he says. “We are entrepreneurs.”


Rape culture, Politics, India: When Taking a Nap Is a Political Act by Chryselle D'Silva Dias at Broadly.

Hosted by the Blank Noise Project, an all-volunteer collective that campaigns against street harassment, this seemingly subtle protest event is called "Meet to Sleep," and it asks citizens to come together to reclaim public spaces and make cities safer. Started in 2003 by Jasmeen Patheja as part of her graduation project, Blank Noise mobilizes citizen "action heroes" through its projects, events, and campaigns, and it has played a major role in the snowballing discussion surrounding street harassment in India. The organization has been hosting Meet to Sleep events in cities across India since November 2014.
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New year, more writing. My word count goal this year is 500,000 words. (Yes, I am aware that is ridiculous.) Project goals include finishing The Talking Dead draft four, polishing, and submitting to agents, finishing Monsters in the Trees draft one and sending it to first readers, and finishing the first draft of at least one more novel.

Current active projects:

UK Horror Project
(cowritten with Sarah)

1. Talking Dead
Young adult supernatural adventure. Ghosts, monsters, and killers, oh my. Status: Fourth draft in progress. Fourth draft combines Talking Dead and Monsters & Magic into one book.

(Monsters & Magic used to be #2. Young adult supernatural adventure. Flirtatious werewolves and incorporeal monsters.)

2. Supernatural Slumber Party
Young adult supernatural adventure. It's a slumber party of supernaturals, see? Status: First draft complete. Second draft on hold until Talking Dead draft four complete.

3. Wicked Witches
Young adult supernatural adventure. Witches, dude, always with the witches. And the world goes BOOM. Status: First draft complete. Second draft on hold until Talking Dead draft four complete. Second draft combines Wicked Witches and Monster Mash into one book.

(The Monster Mash used to be #5. Young adult supernatural adventure. The world goes BOOM.)

Stand Alone Books

1. Monsters in the Trees
Young adult horror. Young adult horror. Friends, makeouts, and monsters in an isolated cabin. Status: Draft one in progress.
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First Wednesday Reading of the year for me. My reading goals this year are pretty similar to last year: read at least 100 books, 50 of which come from my To Read list. My other goal is to sort out a library card here, which I still haven't done.

What I've Read

WILL OF THE EMPRESS by Tamora Pierce: Started the year off with a reread. I love the chosen family aspect of this series so much, as well as the way their magic works. Daja is the absolute best, forever and always. So much love for her.

CUPCAKES, TRINKETS AND OTHER DEADLY MAGIC by Meghan Ciana Doidge (Dowswer #1): (Amazon link because the ebook is free as of the date of this post.) Picked this up because someone mentioned it in one of their Wednesday Reading posts, and I liked it enough to pick up the next book once I finished this one. Basically, a witch whose powers are purportedly pretty weak owns a cupcake shop in Toronto, and her world is turned upside down when werewolves start to turn up dead and she's dragged into the supernatural investigation. The world building is interesting, but the main character is often incredibly (sometimes willfully) obtuse, flat out ignoring things around her. This is addressed a little bit in the second book, but I still found it annoying. There's a bunch of casual ableism and body image stuff, too.

TRINKETS, TREASURES AND OTHER BLOODY MAGIC by Meghan Ciana Doidge (Dowser #2): The main character continues to deal with the fallout of book one. The story opens with a really terrible scene about the white characters trespassing on Native land and a bunch of stuff about wiping out the indigenous people (with their secret magic) who respond, and even though the main character points out some of the issues with this, it really came across as badly handled. I really liked the rest of the story's adventures (even though, again the main character being willfully obtuse), until the ending, which wasn't an ending at all. I later learned that though this is a longer series, the author considers the first three a trilogy that completes a part of the story, and then the next three will be another trilogy within the series. I might have found this ending less frustrating had I known that going in, but I'm not sure. I may just be too harsh on cliff hanger endings.

INDEXING by Seanan McGuire (Indexing #1): Another reread for me. The second book in the series is just finishing this month, so I reread the first one in preparation for it. I actually found myself enjoying the first one a lot more on the second read; the first time, I found the main character incredibly annoying, even though her brand of sharpness and anger is generally right up my alley, but loved the side characters and the world enough to finish it. This time, I really liked Henry, and absolutely adored the side characters and the world.

What I'm Reading

LISEY’S STORY by Stephen King: Yes, I am still reading this. I really like Lisey, and I love the way her history with her husband unfolds throughout the story, in pieces and present thoughts and scenes set back in what she remembers, but it is really slow paced and easy to put down, so it is taking forever.

TREASURES, DEMONS AND OTHER BLACK MAGIC by Meghan Ciana Doidge: I think I'm at least going to finish the first trilogy. I don't know if I'll continue it after. We'll see how much annoyance at the main character's "quirky" traits (and my dislike of first person narrators) balances against the stuff I do enjoy. So far, the stuff I enjoy is losing out, but maybe once I'm done with the cliffhanger ending, I'll like it more.

What I'll Read Next

DARK ALCHEMY by Laura Bickle (Dark Alchemy #1): I'm trying to avoid buying new books this year, except for a few favorite authors, but someone recommended the second book in the series to me recently, and I bought this book immediately. It sounds like western + magic + kick ass women, and I am here for that so hard. SO HARD.

Originally posted at carlamlee.com.
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Awhile back, in a Wednesday Reading post, I talked a little bit about Gretchen Rubin's THE HAPPINESS PROJECT (and this applies to the other books in the "series" which include HAPPIER AT HOME and BETTER THAN BEFORE, at least in my opinion, though I'm not entirely sure BTB is actually a sequel). At the time, I said: I generally like Rubin’s writing, but there are so many times I end up rolling my eyes because her perspective is — well, she’s a rich straight white woman, so. There are many things she says in her writing which she doesn’t mean as harm, but they come across as harmful.

I'm actually rereading THE HAPPINESS PROJECT again in 2016 (yes, I realize I just finished it a month ago, but that was so last year), and I found the perfect example of this. When she talks about how hard it was for her to start a blog, and how she was very frustrated with the process (both completely understandable reactions), she tells the reader that in order to make it work, she "put [herself] in jail":

"I'm locked up with nowhere to go and nothing to do except the task in front of me. It doesn't matter how long it takes, I have all the time I want."


Because that's exactly what jail is like. I wish I could say "I can't believe anyone would think that comparison is a good idea" but, unfortunately, I can. Of course it's easy for Rubin to "put herself in jail" in order to trick herself into taking the time she needed to learn to post a blog. She's a cis rich straight white woman. Odds are good that she's never had to worry about ending up in jail in her life, and even if she did, the treatment she would receive would be better than poor people, people of color, queer people, and trans people, particularly where those identities intersect. It's such a casual, throw away thought, and that's part of what bothers me the most. "Oh, I put myself in jail."

No. You did not put yourself in jail, and it's unlikely anyone will ever try to put you in jail, and it's a bullshit, thoughtless metaphor.

Originally posted at carlamlee.com.
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One of the things I'm working on in 2016 is clearing digital clutter. It surprises me just how difficult it can be to unsubscribe or delete a bookmark or remove a blog from my reading list. My life has changed in gigantic (sometimes terrible, sometimes wonderful) ways over the past few years, and some things just aren't pertinent to my interests or how I'm living, but it can still be difficult to let go. (I am struggling with some of the changes, and what they say about me, and what they don't say, and from where I draw my confidence and self worth. 2015 was a difficult year. 2016 doesn't look to be much better, but I am trying to be more positive day by day, even when I cycle lowest.)

As a part of that digital clutter clearing, I'm going to post links here instead of letting them linger in my bookmarks until -- well, since I use Chrome and the bookmarks go with the account, they no longer disappear with a computer dying, so I guess it now means until Google dies a fiery death with the end of the world as we know it.

Racism, classism, networking: Josette Souza's Dear Middle-Class People: It’s Time to Cut the Entitled ‘Networking’ Crap at Everyday Feminism is an excellent read. This part in particular struck home with me, hard:

When you’re a working-class, first-generation student of color who’s grown up in poverty, nobody gives you a map to navigate that confusing cluster of educational years we call college.

When you’re a working-class, first-generation student of color attending an Ivy League university 1,300 miles from where you grew up, nobody prepares you for the shocking amount of confusion, self-doubt, and anxiety you’ll experience as you try to keep from drowning under all the money, power, and privilege most of your classmates throw around like it was confetti.


fat shaming: "Drive-By Fat Shaming" at Dances with Fat hits on some great points about the easy, casual way fat shaming jokes turn up everywhere, even in things touted to be feminist and wonderful (yes, I'm looking at you, Jessica Jones).

This is drive-by fat shaming. Just a quick reminder to everyone watching/listening that it’s hilarious and cool to make fun of fat people – even on a show that is supposed to be feminist. I’m told that it never happens again in the show, and that many people have enjoyed the show, and I get that. Maybe I’ll keep watching, but enjoyment is going to be marred by the fact that I know that the character I’m supposed to be rooting for isn’t rooting for me, and doesn’t see us as equals.


fat shaming: Kiva Bay's "Fatphobia and Jessica Jones: Or How I Realized This Show Wasn't for Me at Medium delves a little deeper into that terrible early scene on Jessica Jones, and how something that is talked about everywhere as this great thing (and in some ways, it is great) can also be so easily, casually, horrible. So many of the great women I know who love this show and talk about it all the time don't address that at all.


Why did the show’s writer’s choose to include this? This scene makes no narrative contribution. The only possible narrative contribution of this line is to show Jessica’s mean snarky snarkiness, however, this is something virtually every other scene already does. There’s no reason for existing other than to do one thing: Let fat women know that they are lazy, that they are not Jessica Jones, that they are not welcome in the circle of safety the show creates for abuse survivors.

They are to be verbally abused.

Writing to the exclusion of fat women is one thing and it’s something that MCU has done pretty consistently but it’s nothing new or unique to Marvel. However, when a dozen women I greatly respect tell me I have to watch this show and I’m going to get so much out of it, then the show goes out of its way to insult and exclude me, I’m not really sure how I feel about any of it other than upset.


I've watched all of Jessica Jones, and I did love it. It really struck home with me in a lot of ways, particularly how it allowed women to express anger. However, this part, that came so early, was a gut punch of terrible, and I don't blame anyone for stopping there because it was so bad.

WWE, Jem & the Holograms: Scarlett Harris's guest post "Why Jem & the Holograms Flopped & What WWE Can Learn From It" at The Spectacle of Excess makes some really interesting points about the problems with the product WWE is putting out and particular owner Vince McMahon's views of the younger wrestlers and audience members alike.

This is followed by the obligatory makeover scene, a far less sophisticated and genuine version of what can sometimes be seen on Breaking Ground in the promo and character workshops. When Jem and her band emerge in wigs with their faces painted, it’s not unlike the Demon Kane or Sting, antiquities from a bygone era.

Similarly, Jem’s whole facade is a throwback to the ’80s and I understand that’s the origin of the character, but perhaps the reason the modern remake flopped is a wider allegory for for WWE’s low ratings. WWE’s characterisations also echo a time when patriots defended the honor of their country against foreigners and super villains bested larger than life heroes. That’s not gonna fly when audiences have such diversity to choose from when it comes to telling these stories: Jessica Jones, Breaking Bad, House of Cards and, indeed, shows like NXT and Lucha Underground. The ’80s may have been a simpler time, whatever that means, but there’s a lot to be said for telling simple, good vs. evil stories with integrity and flair, an asset which WWE—and Jem—has lost.


I only started watching wrestling a few years ago, and practically from day one, my mantra was: Vince McMahon needs to fucking retire and take his racist, sexist bullshit with him. I stand by this statement.

(Love pro wrestling, cannot stand a lot of the choices they make. Also, haven't seen the new Jem yet, but it's on my To Watch list.)

LGBTQ, racism: Michael Arceneaux's "The state of the gay black man on TV" at Fusion takes a look at how gay black men are represented on tv and pushes back at a pretty shitty statement made by Tina Fey regarding the Titus Andromedon character on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Yes, if a person exists, theoretically “it’s fair game.” But the game would be much fairer if the person you know truly exists gets to be as multi-dimensional as the white woman who created him on paper. Fey and Burgess have done well, but I’m not at a point where I can trust scripted television to correctly portray an effeminate gay male character—and to a degree, any gay black character—particularly if the person penning the character is writing an experience they don’t know anything about.


Family, Christmas, Australia: Mikaella Clements' "A Guide to Missing Australian Christmas" at the Toast is funny, and delightful, and just a little heart-wrenching, in a really wonderful way.

10. Miss Christmas on a beach. Miss Christmas in some rented or borrowed beach house, and the troop down to the sea first thing in the morning, dragging along presents if you’re still attached, hoping the sand doesn’t get too engritted in the pages of a new book or the wheels of a new remote-control car. Miss waking up on Christmas Day and launching yourself into the sea, shrieking with your sisters and brother, the sun hot on your shoulders, the water a cool slap in your face. Miss taking your body board down with you and skimming along the foamy surface of the waves, delivered tumbling and laughing to where your parents sit on the sand, their legs outstretched and their faces grinning.


Pottery: Jasika Nicole talks about pottery and making holiday gifts over at her Try Curiousity blog. I have been the tiniest little bit besotted with her ever since the very first moment I saw her on Fringe, and this post did absolutely nothing to change that. (Spoiler: So much more besotted now.)

But what's really important to me about this piece is the way she talks about pottery. I started taking pottery classes at the end of 2015, and will continue working in the studio throughout 2016, and I have struggled. Not with the skill part, so much (I mean, yes, I am learning new skills and that can be difficult), but with my perception of failure. I rarely take any piece off the wheel, most attempted projects get squashed partway through, because they always seem broken and not what I want to make, and I often come away feeling like a failure. I actually started taking pottery classes specifically to be bad at something, because I was trying to teach myself how to be okay with (be happy at) being bad at something, but that was a failure in itself. I'm not bad at pottery, but I am too much of a perfectionist; I am terrible at not being perfect at something immediately.

I'll blog more about that throughout the year, but that is the brief background I brought to Nicole's blog post, and it struck my so hard right in the heart. I look at the pictures of her pieces, and I can see so many flaws but I can also see the absolute beauty of them. I need to be more willing to take a piece off the wheel; I need to be more willing to keep pushing through. Her words absolutely touched me, and inspired me, and I am all verklempt

With some artforms, like painting, I seem to have a very rigid idea of what constitutes as “good”, and I am very hard on myself when what I create doesn’t seem to match up to those ideals. But with pottery, I have had such a different experience. Maybe because I started out with low expectations of what I was capable of- I had never worked at a wheel before, and for all I knew I would be terrible at it. And if I was terrible at it, I wanted to be okay with that and still enjoy the process. So I just followed Torros’ simple instructions and figured a lot out on my own. When I made something that fell apart, I scraped it off my wheel and started over. And when I worked on a piece that didn’t seem to be turning out the way I had hoped it would, I wouldn’t give up on it. I would keep my hands on the clay until it morphed into something unexpected and cool or until it had been worked so much that it had no more life left in it. Working this way was SO much fun and it made the end results so exciting because I rarely started making any pieces with a prediction of how they would turn out.


That is an excellent place to end this list.

Originally posted at carlamlee.com.
seeksadventure: (Sons of Anarchy space not just air)
Haven't set specific goals, yet, but I have decided to give [livejournal.com profile] getyourwordsout a try again. I used it really successfully for a few years, back during law school, but ended up dropping it once I was working so many hours at the firm.

Of course, I decided to pledge the ridiculous 500k pledge, because if you're going to fail, fail like a giant fireball? Or something like that.

500k words in 2016. Let's see how close I can get.
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I'm a Book Depository affiliate, and will receive a small credit if you order from BD using the following links. There is no additional cost to you.


I can't believe how few Wednesdays we have left in 2015. It's been a pretty terrible year for me and mine, but at least it is almost over. (Not that there's any guarantee 2016 will be better. We all had hope 2015 would be better than 2014, and that was very much not the case. And 2014 better than 2013, 2013 than 2012 -- 2012 really started the spiral of terrible things.)

But 2015 has been filled with excellent reading, so there's that.

What I've Read

DAUGHTERS UNTO DEVILS by Amy Lukavics: Oh, this was wonderful. I ended up reading it in one sitting, late into the night, and the creepiness of it was a joy. It's rare that any horror stories make me tense, make my skin crawl, but this definitely had its moments. Funny enough, I didn't read about the comparison most people make until after I'd finished the book. If I'd known that sooner, I would have read it the second it came out. People often describe it as Little House on the Prairie meets horror, and that's a pretty good combination for me. I definitely got Little House vibes off of it while reading (though it lacks the charming attention to detail and descriptions of food that are part of the foundation of my love of Little House, despite some of the terrible things it has to say about Native Americans), and the horror was a nice addition. My biggest complaint is that I want more; the story is rushed by the ending, and I thought Lukavics could have delved deeper into the horror and the resolution. Can't wait to read her next book, though.

THUNDERHEAD by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child: This was a reread for me. I love the Agent Pendergast series that starts with RELIC (which is, amazingly, both a book and a movie that I love, even though the stories are very different). While THUNDERHEAD doesn't include Pendergast himself, it does fall into the timeline of the series and has at least one character who appeared in earlier books. I'm always leery about reading a book by white guys that focuses a lot on Native Americans, especially as the villains, but this is fairly nuanced for its time, and has some great creepy moments that have little to do with any human threat and everything to do with being a small group of people alone in an inhospitable wilderness. Nora Kelly is a joy and a delight forever, too, as she leads a tiny archaeological crew deep into the USA southwest in search of a long lost Anasazi city.

THE HAPPINESS PROJECT by Gretchen Rubin: Finished this book for the second time just in 2015. As I said before, I generally like Rubin's writing, but there are so many times I end up rolling my eyes because her perspective is -- well, she's a rich straight white woman, so. There are many things she says in her writing which she doesn't mean as harm, but they come across as harmful. I find the rest of her writing soothing (as well as her podcast with her sister, which makes me want to do more creative projects with my sisters), and I hope to make myself happier in 2016, even if everything goes wrong like it has the past few years.

What I'm Reading

LISEY’S STORY by Stephen King: Still working my way through this one, though this past week didn't involve a lot of reading time. (The holidays are coming, plus I have a couple short writing projects I'm trying to get done before the end of the year.)

HAPPIER AT HOME by Gretchen Rubin: As a part of my Rubin reread this year, I'm about halfway through HAPPIER AT HOME now. I still prefer THE HAPPINESS PROJECT, but it is interesting to see what has changed (and what hasn't) between the two.

What I'll Read Next

No idea. I hit my reading target for 2015 (100 books finished), and I've been reorganizing my books, which always makes me want to reread things I love. I may let myself stick with rereading for the rest of the year, and then start my 2016 target. (Which will be 100 books, with a goal that at least 50 of them will be books from my To Be Read bookcases. Yes, plural bookcases. According to LibraryThing, where I track it, I have almost 700 books marked To Read. That's a terrible number.) (My other goal is to get a library card and make better use of it. The local library here is small, but that doesn't mean I can't have a lot of fun with it.)
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I'm a Book Depository affiliate, and will receive a small credit if you order from BD using the following links. There is no additional cost to you.


What I've Read

THE FIXER by Jennifer Lynn Barnes: Oh, god, it was so good you guys, so much fun, and super entertaining. I find something incredibly soothing and pleasing about JLB's books, and I can't wait to read the sequel to this one. (It was a two book year for her, and I hope that continues, because YES PLEASE.)

What I'm Currently Reading

LISEY’S STORY by Stephen King: Still working my way through this one, though this past week didn't involve a lot of reading time. (The holidays are coming, plus I have a couple short writing projects I'm trying to get done before the end of the year.)

THE HAPPINESS PROJECT by Gretchen Rubin: This is the second time I've read this book just this year. I generally like Rubin's writing, but there are so many times I end up rolling my eyes because her perspective is -- well, she's a rich straight white woman, so. There are many things she says in her writing which she doesn't mean as harm, but. I still think there are really useful things to take away from her writing.

What I'll Read Next

DAUGHTERS UNTO DEVILS by Amy Lukavics: I'm hearing great things about this book, and that cover is amazingly creepy.
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I'm a Book Depository affiliate, and will receive a small credit if you order from BD using the following links. There is no additional cost to you.


What I've Read

CHIMERA by Mira Grant (Parasitology #3): The final book in the Parasitology trilogy. I continued to have a hard time staying connected with the main character, and the think the very end was too rushed, but I enjoyed this book, and this trilogy, quite a bit, despite my previous issue with the GIANT CONTINUITY ERROR that starts book two. Still inordinately frustrated by that.

TINY PRETTY THINGS by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton: I love ballet stories, especially ones that are so wonderfully diverse, and this was overall great. I loved all the characters, even at their worst, and really enjoyed all the obsession and drama and love and hate that fills the ballet school. Unfortunately, the ending fell flat for me. The book basically just ends in a way that felt like it had been cut off because the particular dance season had ended, not being the story itself had satisfactory rising and falling action. It's still a great book, and I'll read it again, I enjoyed it that much, but I was left feeling dissatisfied.

What I'm Currently Reading

LISEY’S STORY by Stephen King: I’m pretty sure I read this when I first bought it, but can’t remember the ending at all, so I’ve decided to do a reread. Possibly a first read, if I’m confused on whether I’ve read it before. However, I've put this on hold because...

THE FIXER by Jennifer Lynn Barnes: While I was updating my wishlist to send to my family, I realized there was a JLB book out that I hadn't read. Which is unusual, because ever since her Raised by Wolves series, she's one of the few authors on my auto-buy list, even in hardcover. My copy just arrived, and I'm reading it immediately. So excited.

What I'll Read Next

Possibly SPELLED by Betsy Schow or MONSTERLAND by Michael Phillip Cash, which I recently grabbed as ebooks. And I just received a copy of BEDLAM LOST by Jack Castle from the publisher, and I am super excited about it. Look at this description:

Deputy Hank McCarthy has just moved his family into the remote Alaskan town to replace the local Sheriff. He doesn’t think a small sleepy town like HavenPort will offer much in the way of excitement but, considering what he’s running from, he’s more than happy about that.

New York City ballet dancer Emma Hudson is running from something too. Unlike Hank, she’s not sure what she’ll find in HavenPort, especially when supernatural terrors begin to haunt her dreams, and sometimes her waking hours. The people of HavenPort claim it’s no cause for concern. No need to act crazy. She knows what crazy is like.

When Hank and Emma share a daytime terror they begin to see there’s more to this town than they know. Unfortunately for them it’s already too late. Their paths are chosen. There’s no way out of HavenPort.

A supernatural sci-fi thriller, Bedlam Lost delivers for fans of Dean Koontz and J. J. Abrams’ LOST. Step into this story and you might not be able to leave.


Ballet! Remote Alaskan town! SUPERNATURAL TERRORS! I am so, so excited.
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What I've Read

A TRIFLE DEAD, BLACKMAIL BLEND, and DROWNED VANILLA by Livia Day (Cafe La Femme #1, 1.5, and 2): Adorable culinary crime novel set in Australia. It's sweet, and funny, and the characters are absolutely delightful. I'm not a huge fan of the love triangle, but the flirting and teasing and sleuthing is wonderful, and the world is a place I hope to visit again and again.

FOLLOWERS by Anna Davies: One of the new Point Horrors. It had a decent premise, and the characters were interesting, but the pacing was off, particularly the ending, which was terribly rushed.

What I'm Currently Reading

CHIMERA by Mira Grant (Parasitology #3): The final book in the Parasitology trilogy, I'm really intrigued to see how Grant finishes this story, but I'm having a hard time staying connecting with the main character. I hope that once I have some time to just sit and read, I'll get back into it.

LISEY'S STORY by Stephen King: I'm pretty sure I read this when I first bought it, but can't remember the ending at all, so I've decided to do a reread. Possibly a first read, if I'm confused on whether I've read it before.

What I'll Read Next

No idea. I need to sort through more boxes of books, get rid of books I won't reread, and make space on shelves for books that are still in boxes. We'll see what I uncover. I've been craving a reread of the Protector of the Small series by Tamora Pierce (Kel is my favorite of her heroes), but I think most of them are still packed.

Any recommendations?
seeksadventure: (Default)
I keep seeing this Wednesday Reading meme everywhere, and I really enjoy other people's posts, so I thought I would give it a try myself.

What I've Read

ALL IN by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Naturals series #3): I've loved JLB's work ever since her Raised by Wolves series. While this series didn't start out as my favorite (clearly it needs more werewolves), the characters have really grown on me, and were absolutely heartbreaking and wonderful in this book. Plus in a lot of ways, it's teen!Criminal Minds, and delightful.

FOXGLOVE KILLINGS by Tara Kelly: It was a fun mystery with a lot of potential, but the ending was very disappointing for reasons that are spoilery, and the pacing seemed a little off. I liked it a lot, though, and look forward to her next book.

PARASITE and SYMBIONT by Mira Grant (Parasitology #1 and #2): I reread PARASITE in order to read SYMBIONT because the third book, CHIMERA, will be out shortly. I think I would have liked SYMBIONT a lot more if I hadn't read PARASITE immediately before, because there is a continuity error at the very beginning which annoyed the hell out of me. It's basically used as an excuse to get the characters from one place to another, and without that excuse, a lot of the beginning of the book would be much different, and it was such a weak excuse for plotting that I spent a good half of the book grumbling about it instead of enjoying the story. And there's a lot to enjoy; I loved the characters even more than in the first book, and the plot is really interesting. It definitely feels like the second book of a trilogy, with all the weaknesses that can imply (including not really having a resolution).

JUSTICE CALLING, MURDER OF CROWS, PACK OF LIES, HUNTING SEASON, HEARTACHE, and THICKER THAN BLOOD by Annie Bellet (Twenty-Sided Sorceress #1-6): Someone recommended JUSTICE CALLING to me the other day, and it was either free or only $.99 on Kindle, so I gave it a try, and then ended up marathoning through book five. Book six came out the other day, and I grabbed it immediately. These are novellas, not novels, but the first four are really strong stories with interesting world building, compelling plots, and great characters. They are really appealing and entertaining. And then books five and six happened. Book five ends on a cliff-hanger, but in a way that worked as a shocking ending to a plot that was resolving. Book six is not actually a complete story at all. It should not have been published as is, it feels rushed and pointless, and should have been combined with whatever's coming in book seven.

STRAY, LAB RAT ONE, CASZANDRA, and GRATUITOUS EPILOGUE by Andrea K. Host (Touchstone Trilogy): This is the second time I've reread these books this year. After reading the Twenty-Sided Sorceress series (while waiting for book six), I went back to these because they are super satisfying reads. Very pleasing to the id, much like the TSS series, and I wanted the joy of them again. I have another of Host's books to read, but since it's a very different setting, I haven't yet given it a try.

What I'm Currently Reading:

I just started reading A TRIFLE DEAD by Livia Day (Cafe La Femme #1), which is a super cute "culinary crime novel" set in Hobart, Australia. I'm really enjoying the characters and the mystery, and unless something goes terribly wrong by the end, I'll be picking up the next book.

What I'm Reading Next:

No idea. Maybe THE GHOST DRAGON'S DAUGHTER by Beth Bernobich. Maybe AFTERWORLDS by Scott Westerfeld, which has been sitting around and waiting to be read for a couple months. Maybe I'll unpack another box of books and reread some of those.
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Bad mental health = bad writing month. Year. This is an ongoing thing I fight.

Current active projects include:

The UK Horror Series isn’t off this list because it’s complete, unfortunately, but because my cowriter needed to take a break.

Stand Alones
Werewolves in Love
New adult romance. Werewolves, murders, and the constant sea. Status: Outline complete, first draft in progress.

Monsters & Music
Young adult supernatural mystery. Werewolves, murders, and teen witches. Status: Outline in progress, first draft in progress.

Love in the Time of Percussion
New adult romance. Marching bands, rock bands, and snarky flirtations. Status: Outline in progress.

Sex, Love & Drums
Young adult contemporary romance. Status: Outline in progress.

Chase the Sun
Young adult contemporary. Sisters on a road trip. Status: Outline in progress.

Monsters in the Trees
Young adult horror. Friends, makeouts, and monsters in an isolated cabin. Status: Brainstorming.

Race the Drums
Young adult contemporary. Marching band can save a life, if he lets it.

Essays
Nothing currently in draft form, but I’m starting to make notes about a series of essays about my experiences with bipolar.

(Originally posted at www.carlamlee.com.)
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Some links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you click the link, I receive a small benefit without any additional cost to you.


BOOKS

Still reading WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND by Robin Talley and just started TOUCHED by Michelle Sagara, which is the sequel to SILENCE, which I loved. (Review here.)

MOVIES

Had a mini-reunion with some of my law school bffs over the Fourth, and we went to see Magic Mike XXL. I haven't watched the first one, but XXL is ridiculous amounts of fun. Watching it brought more joy than any other movie I've watched this year, despite my love of the Marvel cinematic universe and Jurassic Park series. Surprised the hell out of me that it was one of the most body positive movies I've seen lately, too.

TELEVISION

Pretty Little Liars: I'm racing through season five. Each time I sit down, I plan to watch one episode during lunch, and then I end up watching two or three in a row. I don't even care where this story is going (well, more or less), I love the ride. The second half of the season has me filled with chosen family feelings. I love how those girls love each other and the people important to them. (Except for Ezra. Ezra can disappear any time.)

MUSIC

The road trip home from Chicago was basically All Covers All the Time because I found out J had never heard any of the "Radioactive" covers, so I played them, and then of course my second favorite song to be covered, "Bad Moon Rising." (My favorite is "Carol of the Bells" but I didn't have any on my device.)

Radioactive: Imagine Dragons, Pentatonix and Lindsey Stirling cover, and the Dirty Tees mix.

Bad Moon Rising: Mourning Ritual and Thea Gilmore.

GAMES

No time to play because of Chicago road trip + reunion, but we finally got the band back together for some Rock Band, so that was pretty epic.

(Originally posted at www.carlamlee.com.)
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Some links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you click the link, I receive a small benefit without any additional cost to you.


silence cover


Book: SILENCE by Michelle Sagara
Genre: YA paranormal
Series: Queen of the Dead series book 1
USA Release Date: Currently available
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4/5 stars
Recommended?: Highly recommended, particularly for people who love ghost stories, strong friendships, and human-shaped monsters.

Summary:
"It began in the graveyard... "

Ever since her boyfriend Nathan had died in a tragic accident, Emma had been coming to the graveyard at night. During the day she went through the motions at her prep school, in class, with her friends, but that's all it was. For Emma, life had stopped with Nathan's death. But tonight was different. Tonight Emma and her dog were not alone in the cemetery. There were two others there--Eric, who had just started at her school, and an ancient woman who looked as though she were made of rags. And when they saw Emma there, the old woman reached out to her with a grip as chilling as death....

Emma was not quite like others teenagers. It was true that other girls had experienced grief. Other girls had also lost their fathers, or had their boyfriends die in a senseless accident. But though she hadn't known it till that night in the graveyard, unlike those other girls, she could see, touch, and speak with the dead. In fact, Emma could draw upon the essence of the dead to work magic. That was what Necromancers did. But Emma had no desire to be a Necromancer. She just wanted to help the ghosts who walked the streets of Toronto, unable to escape from the land of the living. And that was just as well, because had she chosen the path of the Necromancer, Eric would have had to kill her.

Instead, Eric and his fellow Necromancer hunter Chase found themselves violating every rule they were sworn to follow, becoming part of Emma's group, helping her to stand against those who preyed upon the dead. But whether Emma and her friends could survive such a battle was anyone's guess. And whether Emma could learn to use the magic of the dead against her enemies without herself falling victim to the lure of such power remained to be seen. Eric seemed to think she could, and her living friends would never abandon her. But only time would tell what Emma's true destiny was....


Review:

Our main character, Emma, spends part of her nights walking her dog Petal (a delightfully sweet and funny Rottweiler) to the cemetery so she can sit in silence by her boyfriend's grave. The night the book opens, Emma actually sees someone she knows, new boy Eric.

Eric isn't alone; he's with an old woman who gives Emma the lantern she carries, along with a disturbing kiss, after she realizes Emma can see her. This unwelcome touch brings unfortunate side effects: excruciating headaches, lots of nausea, and, suddenly, Emma can see and hear things no one else can.

At the heart of it, this is a pretty straightforward story: Emma can see the dead, talk to them, use them to gain power. She's tempted by the power, mostly because she sees the ways she could use it to do good, to help the ghosts, to solve the mystery surrounding what happens to them after they die.

There are other people like her in the world, necromancers who have no qualms about taking the power for their own needs, and Eric, his pseudo-brother Chase, and the old man who trains them (plus others) hunt down necromancers and kill them.

Emma is an excellent main character and narrator. She's loving, loyal to family and friends, and driven by her desire to do good in the world. I particularly love her friendships; this is no lone girl, different from all the other girls (ignore that bit in the description). She is different than most people because she sees ghosts, but she participates in her life, even as she mourns her father and her boyfriend. She is close with her mother, she has dear friends, and those two things are such a nice change. Female friendships forever.

Also wonderful is the lack of a love triangle, which can be done well, but so often isn't. Here, Emma is still in love with her boyfriend, and so desperately mourning him, there is no real room in her life for a new romance. It's not that she'll never love again, but it would have weakened the story for her to start out mourning him, and then immediately enter into a love triangle with Eric and Chase. The way the guys are introduced could lead to that, and I braced myself, but was happily surprised when it didn't happen. Emma convinces the boys not to kill her not because they're flirting with her, but because of how much she loves her friends, her family, and how much she tries to do good for the ghosts.

For the most part, I enjoyed the Sagara's writing style, but there were a couple times that the narrative became far too talky in the middle of an action scene, including one of the last big scenes at the climax. That's not the time I should be flipping ahead, hoping for something to happen, but that's what I did.

Emma's group of friends are pretty wonderful (I particularly love her best friend, Allison, who is smart and funny and sweet, and the token mean girl who is actually friendly and loyal and snarky), but there are some issues surrounding Michael, who is autistic. I'm neurotypical, and would be speaking from a place of privilege, so I'm going to link instead to Ada Hoffman's review at Disability in Kidlit, which hits the things that pinged for me, and then goes into more depth with them: Ada Hoffman's review of SILENCE.

Quote:
This is where a lot of my misgivings about the book come from, and is complicated to talk about. I don’t want to suggest that it is somehow bad or undesirable to provide clueful help to a disabled person. Yet I think a lot of us with disabilities will feel a familiar wince at the idea of being a charity case – of being valuable, not for ourselves, but so that someone else can earn goodness points by helping us.

I really love Michael's character, particularly the way he is with child ghosts (oh, man, could be creepy because CHILD GHOSTS, ends up surprisingly sweet), but Hoffman has an excellent discussion of his purpose in the story.

In the end, I really enjoyed SILENCE, loved the characters, and immediately purchased the next book in the series. I can't wait to see what happens next, and to explore more of this delightfully developed world.

(Originally posted at www.carlamlee.com.)
seeksadventure: (Default)
It has been particularly hard to write lately. Hard to do anything. I'm in the middle of a pretty nasty bipolar cycle, and I am not doing very well. I haven't been doing well for a long, long time, though.

Current active projects include:

The UK Horror Series isn't off this list because it's complete, unfortunately, but because my cowriter needed to take a break.

Stand Alones


Werewolves in Love
New adult romance. Werewolves, murders, and the constant sea. Status: Outline complete, first draft in progress.

Monsters & Music
Young adult supernatural mystery. Werewolves, murders, and teen witches. Status: Outline in progress, first draft in progress.

Love in the Time of Percussion
New adult romance. Marching bands, rock bands, and snarky flirtations. Status: Outline in progress.

Sex, Love & Drums
Young adult contemporary romance. Status: Outline in progress.

Chase the Sun
Young adult contemporary. Sisters on a road trip. Status: Outline in progress.

Monsters in the Trees
Young adult horror. Friends, makeouts, and monsters in an isolated cabin. Status: Brainstorming.

Race the Drums
Young adult contemporary. Marching band can save a life, if he lets it.

Essays


Nothing currently in draft form, but I'm starting to make notes about a series of essays about my experiences with bipolar.