A Seasonal Sort of Round Up PLUS A SNEAK PEEK!

Good afternoon all! I’m posting with the aim of giving you a quick update, some sort of seasonal round up teasing what I might review in the near future, and an exciting sneak peek of some possible future work.

I received, as ever, a wonderful amount of books for the Winter Festival of Doom. Some of them might be reviewed, some of them might not be. A running theme in the pandemic has been that I’ve been struggling to read: whether this is the general stress or the fatigue/brainfog that is common with the Covid longhaul symptoms is hard to tell, but it means I’ve barely read any of the Winter Doom books this year. Still, for your delight and delectation, a list of what I got with some comments.

  • Wanted: A Gentleman KJ Charles. ROMMAAANNNCEEEEEEEEEEEEE and QUEEERRRSSS in the regency era!
  • Band Sinister KJ Charles. As above, but more.
  • On Connection Kae Tempest. I’m excited about this, but unlikely to review.
  • Clouds Cannot Cover Us Jay Hulme. Poetry. Also excited, also unlikely to review (but who knows?).
  • The Factory Witches of Lowell by CS Malerich. I’ve never heard of this author before, but it sounds interesting.
  • Glitter + Ashes: queer tales of a world that wouldn’t die ed Dave Ring. Well, this sounds right up my street!
  • A Kind of Spark Elle McNicoll. This looks good, but also like it might make me cry a lot.
  • All Systems Red by Martha Wells. OOOOO I’ve been meaning to read this! I think it’s about a rogue AI?
  • Sentient Lesbian Food Gets Me Off Chuck Tingle. Look. LOOK. We all need a laugh now and again. Especially this year. And however wild Chuck Tingle’s premise is, I know that everyone is going to have a good time and live happily ever after and right now that’s comforting.l
  • Camouflage: The hidden lives of Autistic Women Dr Sarah Bargiela, illustrated by Sophie Standing. I think this will be interesting reading.
  • Working on a Song: The Lyrics of Hadestown Anaïs Mitchell. Oh, you thought my Hadestown obsession was on the wane did you? I’m afraid that was incorrect.
  • Daemon Voices: On stories and storytelling Philip Pullman. I’ve no idea what this will be like.
  • How To Randall Munroe. I love Randall Munroe.
  • Underland Robert Macfarlane. This looks like I’ll enjoy it once I have time.
  • Folk Magic and Healing: An Unusual History of Everyday Plants Fez Inkwright. This looks fascinating and magical.
  • Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self Portrait Introduced by Carlos Fuentes.
  • Climbing the Date Palm by Shira Glassman. I may already have a copy of this but MORE QUEER JEWISH FANTASY YES!
  • I think I’ve missed some things off this list, but I can’t find the rest of my seasonal books so this is it for now.

Additionally, I already have a large TBR pile that’s mostly novels, so you may well get nothing on this list for quite a while, and instead get the Kiran Millwood-Hargrave or the Kacen Callender that I’ve been meaning to read for a while.

Book cover shows a beautifully dressed black woman with a headdress sitting in the crown of a tree. There are houses in the tree, and her hand is outstretched to a hummingbird. The background is primarily blue, with a yellow sun behind the woman. The book title "The Dark Fantastic" is in gothic-style letters beneath the seated womanCurrently, I’m reading The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games by Ebony Elizabeth Thomas. It is an incredible read, and even though I’m not finished reading it yet, I’d still strongly recommend it. It’s wonderful to have a piece like this from the perspective of an academic who is also an active participant in fandom – previously when I’ve read academics trying to understand fandom I’ve just had to go and laugh and laugh and laugh because it’s so clear that, in that instance, they don’t understand what they’re talking about. This is not a problem with Ebony Elizabeth Thomas. I’d say this book is vital to anyone writing fantasy, and I’m finding that it’s introducing me to a whole canon of work that I’m unfamiliar with (exciting!).

In terms of a seasonal round up, which is not something I usually do, I suppose I just want to look at the past year and yell a lot. It’s been a hard year in the arts, and I’ve spent a lot of it ill, and so although I have ideas for things I want to do going forward they are all extremely tentative.

So, the tentative going forwards:

  • I’d love to be able to bring you more book reviews.
  • There’s a sequel to Tales From Tantamount in the plotting, but I am going to have to sort out more writing time. I’ll put a sneak peek of what I’ve got so far at the foot of this post.
  • I want to think about where I’m selling things (la la la amazon la la la) and if there’s anywhere better for my ebooks to go, and how I then handle print copies.
  • Collect Queer Galaxy Storm together into something that you could buy, if you so desire, and have a think about what extra content I’d write for you all if I did that (TELL ME IF THERE’S THINGS YOU’D LIKE TO SEE IN ANY POTENTIAL EXTRA CONTENT).

That’s about it. I’ve no idea if I’ll be able to make these things happen, but hopefully some of it will be possible. In all this, I have to bear in mind that there is still a pandemic, that I’m in month ten of recovering from Covid, and that I also have a bunch of other work and studying commitments. So it might be a bit ambitious!

And now, the thing you’ve been waiting for!

SNEAK PEEK OF THE POSSIBLE SEQUEL TO TALES FROM TANTAMOUNT:

THE OCEAN REMEMBERS

Being a Collection of missives, epistolary, and ephemera found between a rogue airballoon and the Town of Tantamount-Newly-On-Sea in the Year of The Translunary Washing Machine.

Dearest Thora,

I miss you. I know this is obvious, but of course it bears saying anyway. I understand why you had to return (temporarily?) but I miss you like blood, like brine, like salt. I miss you like magpies miss treasure. I hope all is well. Come back to us, come back to us safe and happy and whole.

We are currently adrift over an archipelago of lost islands – they have sunk off all ordinary maps and exist only in the memories of those who saw them, and of course the fish and birds. They are gone from maps but remain in the space between migration patterns. We can hear songs sometimes, rising up from them, and music. We aren’t daft enough to try landing, don’t worry.

Time moves differently up here, above the surface. I am still, of course, mostly in a well even on this airballoon, but that has turned out to be unexpectedly advantageous as we have steady supplies of fresh water.

Laura insists we attach a list of recipes for you, though not the actual recipes themselves. Something about “incentive to get back here” I think. The recipes are as follows:

  • Ereshkigal’s food cake mix
  • Mussel stew
  • Pigeon pie recipe, given to us by a pigeon, containing no pigeon
  • Mixed mushroom fricassé (eat with caution)
  • God remains steak
  • Pasta bake with onions

Write us back. Let us know how you are, and if we can help. You’ve only to call, love, and we’ll be there. Tantamount-Newly-On-Sea is much easier to get in and out of than it ever was before.

Love, all

Mila and Laura

Letter sent by exciteable carrier pigeon from an airballoon, given to a seagull, and delivered to Tantamount-Newly-On-Sea mostly intact.

Dear Tantamount-Newly-On-Sea Shadow Council,

I am writing to you in regards to the sale of my property, 31 Pendlewise Lane. I have sent correspondence previously, but was advised that it was eaten by Councillor Dewdrop. This is hardly my fault.

The property in question was left to me some time ago by a now-probably-dead historian known as Syrena, whom I have never met. The Secret Society of Historians have disputed the home ownership, and frankly I am in agreement with them. I have said, multiple times, that I am happy for the Secret Society of Historians to take ownership of 31 Pendlewise Lane, but have been told every time that I must go through a solicitor or estate agent. Seeing as solicitors and estate agents have currently been outlawed in Tantamount-Newly-On-Sea since the Year of the Procrastinating Badger, you will understand that I’m having some difficulty with this. As, technically, a constituent, please advise what I can do about this ridiculous situation.

Attached is the official bribe of T60 and a bag of rhubarb and custard sweets.

Regards

Laura L Lovelace

TO: Laura Lovelace, The Woman In The Well AKA Mila of the Well

FROM: The Tatamount GAzette

RE: Your monthly update of highlights from Tantamount-Newly-On-Sea, February edition

Dear Laura Lovelace and The Woman in the Well AKA Mila of the Well,

We’re DELIGHTED that you’ve decided to continue your subscription with us for another month! The subscription fee of T5 or equivalent barterage will have been deducted from your personal funds by the likely-angry wasps who delivered this message! We hope you choose to keep receiving news form us 🙂

If you wish to pay by a more conventional means, we recommend screaming in the direction of our direct debits team, who we are reasonably certain are still alive somewhere…

ONTO THE MONTHLY HIGHLIGHTS FROM TANTAMOUNT-NEWLY-ON-SEA!!!!

Popular idiot politician, Johnson Johnson, suggests that dryads are just naturally less gifted than Humans. Later found partially eaten by willow tree. Dryad spokesperson has no comments, but we think the situation very fair and reasonable. It wouldn’t be good if Johnson Johnson was ACTUALLY in CHARGE of anything, would it?

Saltlick Bookcavern eats unsupervised children during half-term. Many parents suddenly discovering reasons to leave their kids there.

Town suffers influx of feral flamingoes – they appear to be trying to build a volcano, but surely that is impossible?

And finally, a picture of a very tall man. Gosh he is so tall! We only have a section of his legs available in the photograph. Check the attachment!

And that’s it! We hope you enjoyed this message, and we’ll send you more next month.

All the best,

Tantamount Gazette

Attachments: antiviral blessing.20.7.201212.translunary-washing-machine

Tallman.jpg

This message delivered by wasps!

And that’s it! Take care all 🙂


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Book Review: This Is How You Lose The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

Book cover, a pale blue background. An image of two birds, one red and one blue, is centred. The red is on top facing right, the blue upside down facing left. Their feet meet in the middle, and the images are in slices that don't match up. The words "This Is How You Lose the TIme War" fit around the birds, At the top, the author name AMAL EL-MOHTAR in blue. At the bottom, the name MAX GLADSTONE in red.When Red wins, she stands alone.

This is an epistolary love story told in bones and blood and lava, and one of the best time travel books I’ve ever read. Red and Blue are rival time agents from different futures, sent back along the threads of various pasts to manipulate them so that their future becomes more likely. The premise is just as fantastic as it sounds, if not more so, and I pretty much devoured this novella in one sitting. There was definitely not enough sleep…

Even the structure alone would have drawn me in, because so much time travel fiction focuses on one person bouncing around outside of time. This Is How You Lose the Time War posits a multiplicity of timelines all interlinked, and at least two futures that have figured out time travel enough to send agents back. However the structure is backed up by a strong plot and excellent character dynamics. The first letter between the rivals is, of course, a mocking thing: smug, gloating, and sharp. A message from Blue to Red, informing her that Blue has noticed her, and noticed her tactics, and that sadly, what she thought was a win is not. Red replies, and thus a correspondence between two enemies is born. It is a brilliant correspondence: sharp, angry, admiring. Hidden in the growing bones of a goose, in the steam of a boiling glass of water. And slowly, piece by piece, the correspondence turns into something else.

I can’t say a great deal more without spoiling the plot (and what a plot – making full use of it’s time travelling qualities) (although if you really want some ideas, just take another look at the title of the book). The writing is fantastic: viscerally descriptive with sharp turns of phrase and humour that bites, while somehow managing a certain level of occasional sweetness and hope. Red and Blue are intriguing and dynamic, and the whole thing is delightfully and casually queer. Overall, a highly enjoyable read.

Rating: eat after reading.


 

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Update post: copyediting and other things

Hello all! A quick update post from me. I’m still doing longhaul Covid, and the symptoms are still (relatively) mild. There’s been a lot of upheaval with work and studying and a bereavement, so it’s hard to guarantee that I’ll be here regularly but I’m trying. Hence, this little update from me.

Reading: The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison/Sara Monette. This is a comfort re-read for me, and I recommend it if you’re interested in unique fantasy. I’ve actually yet to read anything else by this author, but The Goblin Emperor is a consistent delight.

Writing: Um, not much. I’m hoping to climb back into some of my projects once my energy levels are a bit more reliable. I’ve been squinting at a sequel to Tales From Tantamount and trying to figure out when I can dedicate time to that…

Excited about: THIS!

Image shows a book on a crocheted blanket. Book cover is a wooden desk, on which there is a journal, a key, some lit orange candles, and some herbs. The book title is Intuitive Magic Practice. Author name Natalia Clarke

So I copyedited this book for Natalia Clarke back in February (I think), and I was delighted to learn that it had found a home with Moon Books publishing. The author was kind enough to send me a complimentary copy, which arrived in the post a little while back. It’s beautiful. Intuitive Magic Practice will be coming out in April of 2021, and I do recommend checking it out if you’re interested in reconnecting with your intuition and/or building your own magic practice, especially if that practice has a Pagan base.

Link to book.

Listening to: I’m basically still listening to The Amazing Devil on repeat with a hefty dose of Hadestown. Currently particularly in love with If It’s True from the original concept album.

Pondering: The introduction of rabbits to the UK.

And that’s me – hopefully some more book reviews soon – take care all!


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Book Review: The Deep by Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes

Image shows a merperson with their back to us. They have brown skin, fins coming off their arms, and warm yellow electricity lines along their body. They look up to the surface of the water. The book title, The Deep, is written across the top in transparent lettering. Int he background, a large whale faces the opposite direction from the merperson. Other seacreatures are visible but faded. At the bottom in white the author names: Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes“It was like dreaming,” said Yetu, throat raw.

What a fucking excellent book. I don’t have a good simile for reading this. When I was eleven (?ish), I nearly drowned in a riptide and it was terrifying and at the same time I knew that the ocean didn’t mean me any harm – it was just an ocean doing what it does. This book felt sort of like that: it hurt to read and it was sharp and wonderful and healing, and it also felt like the ocean: it’s a book that exists, and it’s not about me and that’s not a bad thing. It’s a visceral, skilled piece of storytelling.

Yetu is what you might think of as a mermaid, though it is rather more complicated. The wajinru are the water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slaves thrown overboard. They live in the deep, and they have the ability to channel electricity. Yetu is their historian; the one tasked with remembering – everyone else forgets except for once a year when they gather together to remember and Yetu can unburden herself of the History for three days. She has always felt the weight of the History strongly. She has always felt lost in it, and she’s struggled to hold this important part of her people’s culture. So during this Remembering, terrified that she will actually die if she has to carry this knowledge any longer, she leaves. She swims away, and up and up, to the surface, and faces some unknowns alone, as merely herself without a history. She abandons her people, trapped in the memories she has given back to them, and looks for freedom.

This is a beautiful story, told with skill. It is the story of Yetu herself, squashed beneath the weight of the History since she was young,  and through Yetu the story of the wajinru: a legacy of slavery and cruelty and survival and living and forgetting and rebuilding. Of the kindness of whales. I was enamoured with Yetu as a character: she was interesting and vulnerable, and had what might be termed a sensory disorder (she struggles with the electricity that the wajinru use to communicate). I enjoyed the dilemmas presented, and how they were resolved (or not) by the narrative, and the friendships that Yetu strikes up as she tries to re-find herself. It’s overall a compelling, brilliant read that I don’t think I can quite do justice to in one review.

Rating: read this book, watch for storms.


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Reblog: Community, not conspiracy – a letter to anti-lockdown protest organisers — Amplify Stroud

So, I meant to have a book review ready for you today, but it has been a busy week! Hopefully you’ll get a review of The Deep on Monday. Until then, enjoy this reblog of a letter relevant to my area. The coronavirus pandemic and the UK government response (or non-response) has lead to fertile ground for all sorts of weirdness, and in my local area a lot of that weirdness comes in the form of conspiracy theories that far-right activists then inveigle their way into. The top one in Stroud is “5g caused the Coronavirus” followed by “Coronavirus is a hoax” and then some complex mumbling about how wearing a mask is oppression blah blah blah blah blah. It’s been upsetting and frustrating, and so although I was initially infuriated to learn of the anti-lockdown rally that may or may not be happening tomorrow (they haven’t got permission to go ahead) to which some very suspect speakers were invited, I was heartened by the response to it. There won’t be a counter-rally, because we’re trying to actually respect the lockdown, but there was a movement to have on before the lockdown was announced, and there appears to be continuing counter-action which heartens me. This letter has been part of it.

Living through the Covid-19 pandemic, and under the measures and restrictions introduced to manage the spread of the coronavirus is not easy. The new national lockdown announced will have many effects. But a statement signed by many local people urges the organisers of an anti-lockdown rally planned for next weekend to withdraw invitations to two speakers – who peddle racism, deny the Holocaust, and promote baseless conspiracy theories, and asks people not to attend.

Community, not conspiracy – a letter to anti-lockdown protest organisers — Amplify Stroud

Book Review: A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

Image shows a large spiky throne against a backdrop of space. An older person is sat in the throne, and someone approaches. This image takes up tyhe top third of the cover. Below in gold the book title A Memory Called Empire is displayed. Below the author name: Arkady Martine. At the top of the cover are blurb quotesIn Teixcalaan, these things are ceaseless: star charts and disembarkments.

I loved this book. It’s unapologetically complex, with quite a lot of prose that hits just the right level of purple (it’s specifically sci-fi purple as opposed to fantasy purple, which feels quite different). It’s also harrowing. Or at least, I found it so. Mahit Dzmare is the new ambassador from Lsel Station to the Teixcalaanli Empire. Her job, as laid out by the Councilors of the Station, boils down to “keep that Empire the hell away from us”.

It is a job that would be infinitely easier if the last ambassador had sent any information back in the last fifteen years, or, indeed, if anyone knew what had happened to him. Teixcalaan certainly isn’t explaining. So Mahit dives nearly blind into the complexities of Teixcalaanli Empire politics, with a brain implant (the implant is a cultural Lsel thing, rather than anything nefarious) that appears to be malfunctioning and a lot of people who are unwilling to answer questions. And from there the reader is simply pitched face-first into the action of the book. Explanations? NO! Things happen, and you are just as confused as the main character, if not more because you may have to use a dictionary to find out what “encomiastic” means. A Memory Called Empire is probably space opera, although I am not the best at subgenre. It’s a big story wrapped around a smaller story, and it has a lot to say about the brutalisation of one culture by another, and what personhood is (the Teixcalaanli and the inhabitants of Lsel Station have some disagreements on that), and how power imbalances in a wider culture affect personal relationships.

It’s also a damn good murder mystery with motives spanning at least twenty years and two civilisations. Mahit Dzmare is a compelling protagonist, and I loved the structure of the whole thing, especially the little extracts at the beginning of each chapter. As a whole it’s interesting and complex and bittersweet, and I’m excited for the sequel.

Rating: read this book, wonder if you ever really knew what that poem meant.


I’m still dealing with longhaul Covid symptoms, though I’m incredibly lucky in how mild they are, they still have an knock-on affect so I’m still going to be in and out on here. But hopefully more reviews forthcoming!
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Book Review: Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Y. Davis

book cover shows a wooden door in a brick wall. Both wall and door are aged and weathered. The door is locked with a chain and padlock. At the top is the author name Angela Y. Davis. Then across the top of the door in yellow is the book title: Are Prisons Obsolete?In most parts of the world, it is taken for granted that whoever is convicted of a serious crime will be sent to prison.

This book was being read by the Discord group that I’ve been hanging out in through the pandemic, but as I kept missing those dates I bought myself a copy. Are Prisons Obsolete? is a relatively small book that nevertheless makes the case for prison abolition very strongly, connecting it to antiracist work as well as feminism. Angela Y. Davis’ work is primarily based in the US, so a lot of the examples and information are from there, but it is still incredibly relevant. I cried reading it. I knew the system was bad, but I truly had no idea how bad. I had a vague notion that there was an interplay between discriminatory justice systems, private companies wanting to make a profit, sexism and racism, and the prison system. I did not (and probably still don’t) grasp the extent of the prison industrial complex, or how embedded it is in, well, everything. The systematic relentlessness of the dehumanising of people who end up in this system is harrowing, and I still don’t entirely have the words to try to describe the systems that make this profitable. Luckily, Angela Davis does. So:

The exploitation of prison labor by private corporations is one aspect among an array of relationships linking corporations, government, correctional communities, and media. These relationships constitute what we now call a prison industrial complex. The term “prison industrial complex” was introduced by activists and scholars to contest prevailing beliefs that increased levels of crime were the root cause of mounting prison populations. Instead, they argued, prison construction and the attendant drive to fill these new structures with human bodies have been driven by ideologies of racism and the pursuit of profit. Social historian Mike Davis first used the term in relation to California’s penal system, which, he observed, already had begun in the 1990s to rival agribusiness and land development as a major economic and political force. (Mike Davis, “Hell Factories in the Field: A Prison Industrial Complex,” The Nation 260, no 7 [February 1995]) Quote from chapter 5 of Are Prisons Obsolete?, p 84 and 85

The notion of a prison industrial complex insists on understandings of the punishment process that take into account economic and political structures and ideologies, rather than focusing myopically on individual criminal conduct and efforts to “curb crime.” The fact, for example, that many corporations with global markets now rely on prisons as an important source of profit helps us to understand the rapidity with which prisons began to proliferate precisely at a time when official studies indicated that the crime rate was falling. The notion of a prison industrial complex also insists that the racialization of prison populations – and this is not only true of the United States, but of Europe, South America, and Australia as well – is not an incidental feature. Thus, critiques of the prison industrial complex undertaken by abolitionist activists and scholars are very much linked to critiques of the global persistence of racism. Quote from chapter 5 of Are Prisons Obsolete? p85

I chose these two quotes to try to illustrate the concept of the prison industrial complex, because it is very helpful to have an understanding of these interlocking systems. And it is a system, that is probably the most important thing to grasp here. It is not that some individual people have had terrible experiences in the prison system: the prison system is designed to be awful and to generate a profit. It is systematically dehumanising and discriminatory. In the UK, prisoners cannot vote while in prison (something that I seem to recall has been challenged in various courts). I haven’t managed to find information on prison labour in the UK, but I’d be absolutely astounded if it wasn’t happening (do comment with info if you have it!) – this means that prisoners are made to work and are paid a pittance, and so companies can generate a larger profit by using prison labour. Prisoners are often unable to unionise, and as far as I can tell do not always have an option for not working (whether that is because the work is mandatory or because basic amenities like sanitary towels or phone calls have to be bought from the prison). Making people work for nothing with no options otherwise is also known as slavery, just, if you were unclear about that.

So, in summary: read this book, it is clear and concise and full of justified rage. You might want to check out some organisations that are working towards abolition. I only found the one in the UK (via google), and haven’t properly read through all their stuff yet but here they are https://cape-campaign.org/ some of their information seems out of date, although their social media appears active. If other people have resources, let me know and I’ll add it here.


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Book Review: Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh

A book cover. The background is light blue. The title of the book is at the top of the page "Solutions and Other Problems". Across the page is an illustration of a person holding a balloon. The image looks as thought it has been hand drawn in the paint programme of windows, and the person vaguely resembles a frog in a onesie with a ponytail. The author name "Allie Brosh" is squished in next to the person

I saw a balloon going 90 miles per hour.

So, this is the kinda sequel to Hyperbole and a Half, which I don’t have a review of but I do recommend you read because it is fantastic and will make this book way easier to understand. It is very good, and I would describe it as an autobiographical, anecdotal piece about mental health and attempting to live with it when it breaks down. And also dogs, and what to do when a goose breaks into your house. It has a lot of excellent drawings that look like they were drawn with a mouse in the Windows paint programme.

Anyway, onto the book I’m actually reviewing. Some context – I deeply love Hyperbole and a Half, and one of the things about being an Allie Brosh fan is that since that book we’ve mostly been hanging about really really hoping that she’s okay because she went quiet and oh no. I do not often get hugely invested in strangers on the internet, or even in authors that I like, but in this case I was and I’ve been quietly hoping she’s okay for a few years now. So the new book comes out and there is a big sigh of relief, because if she’s published a new book she is at least alive. Phew!

Then I read the new book.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love it. It’s brilliant, it has the same wonderful witticism, the same sharp insights, and the same painful honesty. The drawings continue to be an utter delight, and I basically read the whole thing in one sitting and then glared at my clock because it was suddenly and mysteriously 1am. However it turns out there were a number of really good reasons why we hadn’t heard from Allie Brosh in a while, and it makes for some harrowing reading (it is communicated to us in the unique Brosh style, with fun facts interspersed through the hardest section). Some trigger warnings for those who want them TRIGGER WARNING TRIGGER WARNING Allie Brosh had to have an enormous amount of surgery, and her sister killed herself END TRIGGER WARNING END TRIGGER WARNING.

Image is in a colourful style, and shows a person represented by a sort of pink cone with frog eyes and a pnytail trying to hide a cat in a drawer.

Internal illustration taken from Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh

Part of what is so wonderful about Solutions and Other Problems is the feeling of not being alone. Yes, I am a slightly odd person, but here is a whole book about another slightly odd person just trying to live their life. It includes an excellent section about daydreaming, another one about trying to make friends with yourself, and some fabulous anecdotes. We get to hear about the time Allie Brosh stole her neighbour’s cat when she was a kid. There’s some existential dread illustrated in bright colours. I love it. I love it because it’s funny and dark, and I love it because I find that Allie Brosh has a real skill for giving words to the kind of weird and incomprehensible shit that can occur in the human brain, especially when it is not functioning at its best.

Rating: read this book, have tissues on standby and try to avoid stealing cats.


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Update Post

Hello all, a little update for you. The pandemic is still pandemiccing, and now that Queer Galaxy Storm! is finished I’ve slowed down on the blogging.  For those of you who don’t know, I did have COVID back in March, and am still doing a slow recover. Alright, and did not have to be hospitalised, but supremely slow and bloody aching all the time. There is much fatigue and brainfog.

Reading: currently reading The Deep by Rivers Solomon, and listening to the songs that inspired it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EnPFsk4lOo&list=OLAK5uy_nvgRCvdpAGBFgauzqs2QyD2X-QMRVSkdY

Writing: I’m in a bit of a dip between projects. There are a few things I want to look at, but everything is rather slow at the moment. I might go back to poking that poetry book notion… Gonna try to write book reviews as well, as I have actually managed to read a few and it’s been nice to get that part of my brain back.

Listening to:  Tales to be Told Volume II by the Mechanisms: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Uz1LkOn4jQ&list=PL6qTkVOYGwr0HGMdvD5SGRQRcJSPBwpC3

And also every version of Hadestown that I can get my hands on.

WatchingThe Witcher. Aaaaah, it’s just, oh it’s so camp, and silly, and fantasy, and swords, and magic, and timelines, and fight sequences. Mmmmmmm. Also the memes are golden.

Image shows me wearing a crocheted cape in autumnal colours with a hood

Making: I have created a cape. I may be, a little bit, embodying my Wizard self from Wherefore. Also you should definitely watch Wherefore, and then tell me which wizard you think I am. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qzo8uejd13E&list=PLd-6bmI3UuPDjEp1YqIYY6GkVTmG-1qux)

That’s it for now – short and sweet. Hopefully back with book reviews in the near future. Take care all!


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REBLOG: The uncanny death of Annamarie Nightshade — The Hopeless Vendetta

Enjoy this story about a story, in which we discover that I have been infected by Hopeless, Maine. It was only ever a matter of time… SO MUCH THANKS TO TOM AND NIMUE FOR LETTING ME CLIMB INTO THEIR WORLD AND PLAY!

Hopeless Maine gets inside people’s heads. This is a story about a story… Merry Debonnaire was one of the many people who was not best pleased about what happened to Annamarie Nightshade. She dealt with this by writing into the original story and adding a second layer that changes everything. If you’ve not read that…

via The uncanny death of Annamarie Nightshade — The Hopeless Vendetta

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