|Books read, late February.
||[Mar. 1st, 2011|05:46 pm]
Charles C. Mann, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. For something like the last four years, every time I go to a convention, someone has said to me, "Have you read 1491? Oh, you should!" So I decided to read it before Minicon so I could have a different conversation. Sometimes it's incredibly depressing to read something being debunked and think, "People had to debunk that? Because anybody ever thought it? Really? Uff da." But y'know, needed stuff. And some of the tidbits were particularly interesting, about how they figure out who lived where when and like that. There was more post-Columbian stuff than I'd hoped for, though.
Sarah Monette (truepenny), Unnatural Creatures. More Booth stories! I found The Bone Key engrossing, and this is more in the same series. Hooray!
E. Nesbit, Oswald Bastable and Others. First Kindle read of someone else's work (I have some of my own manuscripts on my Kindle). This is a bunch of minor Nesbit stories. Fun but not fabulous; you can tell why other things are more famous, for sure. It's also fascinating to watch the shift in what is notoriously progressive and non-preachy over time, because this had some appalling gender stuff in it (that was still better than most of the gender stuff of the time, I know!).
Reading it on the Kindle was fine. I found, for example, that when I had a headache, reading on the Kindle in a dark room with just the Kindle cover light on was better than reading in an ordinary lit room. It's very useful to take with on various errands and appointments. I still like books better and trust books more. But this is a useful word-related gadget.
I'm not sure how to keep track of things, because a lot of things aren't clear on how long the item is, and I don't put every short story I read in my book posts, so I'm not sure whether I should treat Kindle items as each an item to report or try to guess how long they are. Organization! Anal-retentiveness! They are harsh mistresses.
John Scalzi (scalzi), Zoe's Tale. This is the other thing that's my Minicon prep reading so far. (Depending on what panels I get put on, there might be more.) The advantage to my library list is that I can keep track of all sorts of things I want to read that the library has available. The disadvantage is that it saps a lot of motivation to read any particular thing I want to read, because it'll always be there and not even cluttering up my grandpa's desk (where the "to read" pile lives). So I figured that if having Scalzi for GoH at Minicon was not motivation to read Zoe's Tale, I wasn't sure what would be. It was fun. Most of the plot is coming-of-age story if you've already read The Last Colony and know about stuff from that direction, but there's a reason coming-of-age stories keep coming out in various forms.
Takaya Natsuki, Fruits Basket 6-23. Another first: my first manga. I skipped the first five volumes because alecaustin said they were overwhelmingly material that overlapped with the anime. And I didn't read these because I feel I want to start reading a lot of manga, I read these because the anime stopped and there was clearly more story there, and this is how I could get it. I am not at all a visual person in some regards, so a lot of the art was wasted on me. I was fascinated to see one of the things about switching from an anime to a manga with the same characters: I discovered that I was using color coding to tell characters apart a lot. This was particularly startling because I generally think of myself as less color-coding-based than other people when watching non-animated TV: I almost never have the "I don't know, there are four blondes, I can't tell them apart" problem that some people describe having (in Veronica Mars, for example, with blondes, or in The Wire with African-American men of a certain age and style of dress, or etc.). But a lot of the things I usually use to distinguish characters are flattened out in an anime of this type, and so I suppose the color-coding thing was reasonable.
Anyway, even with that problem to adjust to early on, I had no trouble telling who was saying what, because the character voices were all very distinct for me. This confirms what I've said about comics in English: I am not the least bit opposed to them, but they're not going to be a primary source of fiction for me, and if I'm going to read them, I need a source to dump a huge pile on me all at once, because each volume is not quite enough to be satisfying. (Happily, alecaustin was that source.)
So anyway: the story itself? The very very ending was in some ways quite alarming, and you could tell the target demographic even if it didn't say so on the cover, because of how many of the characters ended up officially paired off at the very end. It almost felt to me like, "Who have we got left? Okay, we'll go with that," but that may be because I like Hanajima best and wanted her to go off and do something interestingly Hanajima-ish. Oh! That's another technical-ish thing: I liked that they left honorifics and suffixes for the names in Japanese. I see why some people would have wanted to translate Honda-san as Miss Honda, but...the attempts I've seen at approximating the different levels of intimacy, affection, formality, etc. into English just don't work. We rarely have enough of the right terms. In the anime, they translated onee-chan as Sissy, and...no. Just no. We don't have an equivalent term for older sisters, and admitting that we don't and just having Kisa call Tohru onee-chan is definitely the way to go. Still not enough about the story itself? Oh the angst! Ohhhh the crack crack crack angst! (But not as much focus on the ridiculousness of the premise as I had feared, which I knew from the anime.) Also, in addition to Hana-chan, I like Uo-chan, and also Hatori and Kyo.