Marissa Lingen (mrissa) wrote,
Marissa Lingen

Soda fountains and what I've been reading

Someone on my friendslist posted something about a soda fountain in a locked post, and it reminded me of when we used to go down to the soda fountain. It was on Dodge St. in Omaha, somewhere between 52nd and 48th (can't swear to the exact cross-street), and it was in the back of a drugstore just like they're supposed to be. And it was next door to a used bookstore -- to one of the used bookstores where they knew us so well that when I came in after the tornado, the owner said, "Thank goodness! I wondered if you'd been up at college when that hit!" (The tornado was six hours from Omaha, up here in Minnesota, so it's not like it was big news.)

Anyway, the soda fountain: we would go buy our books and then sit down on the red vinyl stools at the soda fountain counter and look at what books the other people bought. We would order chocolate malts, and there was always some leftover in the metal thing, and they also had these little pointy paper cups that had their own metal stands, and we would drink water and our malts. It is hot, and I have birthday book money, and so I wish I could do that today. But I suppose scottjames and greykev have to work, and anyway the three of us live in different cities now, and it's a bit of a commute to the Cris-Rexall soda fountain counter.

This was all in the mid-'90s, by the way, so soda fountains did not entirely disappear in the spring of 1964, never to return.

Anyway. Reading.

Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn. Sorry, guys, I liked Tamsin better. Or alternately, you were right, guys, I liked Tamsin better.

Jim Butcher, Grave Peril. Third in the series. Still good fun. This was definitely a mid-series book of a series with large plot arc, though: all kinds of things are coming down on the main character's head as the book closes. I find I'm fine with that. I'm quite grateful that rysmiel bothered to recommend these, though, because the marketing might as well hang out a big ol' sign reading, "Not of interest to mrissas. Please move along." "Fans of Laurel K. Hamilton will love this!" is just not the way to win my heart or my book-buying dollar.

Mark Holloway, Utopian Communities in America, 1680-1880. He left out many of the bits I found most interesting, I'm afraid, but it was well enough as a starting point for this batch of research. It's also a fairly old book -- mid-60s copyright -- so it's missing a lot of perspective on communal living experiments recently. On the one hand, this is good, because it's not trying to make Fourierists exactly analogous to hippies. On the other hand, it's bad, because it makes it far too easy to treat communal living experiments as things people used to do.

Herta Laipaik, Wind Chimes. This was a birthday gift from aet, a memoir written by a young Estonian woman who was finishing her medical training and working as a writer when the Russians came. The translation wasn't bad in that I think the meaning got across pretty well and smoothly, but I think aet's idiomatic English is better -- the sense of when phrases are inverted in English compared to their Estonian equivalents, for example. Anyway, it was a fascinating and valuable addition to my library of all things Finno-Ugric, and I'm pretty sure I'll reread it at least once when I'm writing Winter Wars or whatever the silly thing ends up being named when I get to it, may that day not come soon.

Rex Stout, Black Orchids, Over My Dead Body, The Second Confession, and Where There's a Will. I got in a groove of sorts, and dd_b had lent me a whole stack, so I just read through the whole stack. I'm out now. Time to make more pitiful faces, I guess. This bunch was definitely better than the first two I read in this series.

Charlie Stross (autopope), The Clan Corporate. Not enough economics, too much stuff that the main character found inconceivable and I found perfectly easy to conceive of. Also this is another mid-series book with a larger plot arc, so plenty of stuff is starting to crash down on their heads as the book is ending. I am more interested in that crashing than I was in this particular book. This is the peril of long series with large plot arcs, and I'm perfectly willing to deal with books like that if I like the series as a whole, if the prose isn't jarring, etc.

Elizabeth Wein (eegatland), The Sunbird. This, on the other hand, was the third book in a series with larger arcs -- character arcs in this case, rather than plot -- that resolved issues pretty significantly and to my satisfaction. The down side of this is that it makes it look pretty likely that Wein is done with these people. But she can do other things, too, I feel sure, and sometimes it's good to do other things, so we'll just wait and hope.

Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple, Pay the Piper. I don't think that having heard people read should make me like a book more or less, but this did: having heard Jane Yolen read, I do not screech when her characters don't know what words mean and have to look them up, because she reads it like it's character rather than Educational. Does that make sense? Often when a character has to look words up, it's because the author is going to sneak vocabulary words in while those dear little angels think they're reading a fairy story, but really they're learning! they'll never notice! oh, the wholesome deviousness! bleh, gag, hurl. But Jane Yolen isn't like that. Not even a little bit. She tells stories to people, and some of those people are bigger than others, and that's okay.

Not that the whole book was characters poring over a dictionary. I don't mean to make it sound like that. Just that that's one of my pet peeves in children's/YA, and it actually didn't peeve me this time, and that's notable. What I wouldn't have given for a high school full of kids who thought folk-rock was cool, when I was that age. But never mind that part. I really liked what they did with the fairy tale middle child as the main character (and also the other major character's resonance with that). I will go look at whatever else they do together -- Troll Bridge is out, Amazon says. We'll see.

Oh, Dragonsept adults: I will gladly lend this one to K. and B. I think they'd like it -- K. in particular, is my guess. We can arrange this when we arrange for ice cream, yes?

And now I'm reading Joanna Kavenna's The Ice Museum, which is about all the different places that have been called Thule or Ultima Thule. I will note that I hardly ever get the urge to read about warm places for the sake of reading about warm places, even when it never gets above zero for the whole week in January. But this just looked cool and refreshing. The observant might draw conclusions from this.
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