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Reading was a big escape for me this year, and I was really surprised to find I enjoy contemporary romance novels, not to mention supernatural romance.  Jennifer Crusie was a huge find for me this year.  The subject matter that really drew me to these books or kept me reading is in brackets in the above list.  Taking note of what I liked about each book was a really fun way to see patterns in my reading – and will hopefully help me find more books to read in 2012, not to mention help other readers read their way from one author to another.

  • Black Watch - Connie Willis (Time Travel, the London Blitz, World War II, History)
  • All Clear - Connie Willis (Time Travel, the London Blitz, World War II, History)
  • Not Less than Gods (a Company Novel) - Kage Baker (Travel, Orientalism, Victorian Europe, Time Travel, Cyborgs)
  • To Say Nothing of the Dog - Connie Willis (Time Travel, Victorian England, Comedy, Mystery Novels, Seances, History, Romance)
  • Fingersmith - Sarah Waters (Victorian England, Con Artists, Crime
  • Tipping the Velvet - Sarah Waters (Victorian England, Theatre, Romance)
  • Wolf Hall - Hillary Mantel (Mercantile Europe, History, Tudors, Economics, Statesmanhood, Domestic Drama)
  • Her Fearful Symmetry - Audrey Niffenegger (Graveyards, Romance, Family Mystery, Supernatural, Seances, Ghosts)
  • Mr Impossible - Loretta Chase (Romance, Egypt) (thanks Cassie!)
  • Dead to the World - Charlaine Harris (Vampires, Werewolves, the South, Romance, Melodrama)
  • Soulless - Gail Carriger (Victorian London, Vampies, Werewolves, Steampunk)
  • Redemption - Pat Barker (WW1, Soldiers, War, Poetry, Psychology, History) (thanks Anna!)
  • Changeless - Gail Carriger (Victorian London, Vampires, Werewolves, Steampunk)
  • Agnes and the Hitman - Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer (The South, Food, Romance, Crime, Weddings)
  • Bellwether - Connie Willis (Trends, Chaos Theory, Research, Scientific Discovery, Romance)
  • Blameless - Gail Carriger (Victorian London, Vampies, Werewolves, Steampunk)
  • Heartless - Gail Carriger (Victorian London, Vampies, Werewolves, Steampunk)
  • REAMDE - Neal Stephenson (The Internet, Technology, Gaming, Economics, Capitalism, Fantasy, Worldbuilding, Geography)
  • Children of the Company - Kage Baker (Civilisation, World Building, Espionage, Conspiracy, Time Travel, Cyborgs, California, The Future)
  • Bet Me - Jennifer Crusie (Food, Romance, Statistics) (thanks Cassie!)
  • The Iron Duke - Meljean Brooke (Steampunk, Romance, Conspiracy)
  • Busman’s Honeymoon - Dorothy Sayers (1930s, Aristocracy, Country Life, Mystery)
  • Welcome to Temptation - Jennifer Cruisie (Small Town Politics, Romance)


fuzzy science fiction

 Can I crowdsource some social science fiction reads...

Who has suggestions for SF where speculation about the way societies work features prominently?

I'm thinking Ursula Le Guin, Joanna Russ, Kim Stanley Robinson, Philip K Dick, Sherri S Tepper, David Brin, Mary Doria Russel, Neal Stephenson... but other authors and specific titles would be good.

Any time you've read a work of science fiction that has blown your mind and made you think long and hard about how the world works... those are the books I want.

It's like moving.... but...

My landlord is tearing all the ceilings in my house down, installing fireproofing and sound proofing (yay!), and new fancy downlights (yay!), and then putting new ceilings in. 

This is all well and good, but means that I have to pack up my living room, bedroom and kitchen so that they can shower the whole place with plaster and dust.

So I was wondering if anyone would be interested in helping me pack up my books and craft supplies and clothes etc.  Basically just an afternoon of putting things in boxes.  I need to be all packed up by the 3rd of July, but the only days I am free between now and then are Sunday the 26th of June and Saturday the 2nd of July.  If anyone is free either of those days and would like to help, I can offer copious amounts of iced tea, other beverages, and vegan sorbet to sweeten the deal.

p.s. I don't think we'll have to move anything off site... just move it into wardrobes and cupboards and my funny little garden room out the back.

To a child born in a marvelous year...

My favourite NZ poet, Allen Curnow, would have turned 100 today.  Russel Brown wrote a really nice tribute to him here

The last two lines of this poem haunt me, too, but I think of it as much as being about a new person in a new part of the world.  Curnow is pretty much the most antipodean poet we have.  Everything is backing away.

The Skeleton of the Great Moa in the Canterbury Museum, Christchurch

- Allen Curnow

The skeleton of the moa on iron crutches

Broods over no great waste; a private swamp

Was where this tree grew feathers once, that hatches

Its dusty clutch, and guards them from the damp.

Interesting failure to adapt on islands,

Taller but not more fallen than I, who come

Bone to his bone, peculiarly New Zealand's.

The eyes of children flicker round this tomb

Under the skylights, wonder at the huge egg

Found in a thousand pieces, pieced together

But with less patience than the bones that dug

In time deep shelter against the ocean weather:

Not I, some child, born in a marvelous year,

Will learn the trick of standing upright here


perfect gluttony

what's the point of being home alone after a night working at the library if you can't make yourself some late night chocolate sauce to eat with your delicious homemade ice cream?

here be dragons

#readit2011 online twitter book/reading discussion tonight 8.00pm (AEST). Come talk about the experience of reading Fantasy with us #specfic

If you have a twitter account, or even if you don't - but like reading Fantasy and want to discuss your reading with people (it will take two seconds to set up an account and you can follow this discussion via the #specfic hashtag: http://twitter.com/#!/search?q=%23specfic), I hope to see you there!

p.s keep in mind that it can be a challenge keeping your thoughts on reads to 140 characters

p. p. s. non-fantasy readers can totally participate too!

listen with your cells...

Being this fatigued and tired and absently listening to the rain on the roof for some reason makes me think of being in New Zealand

Who am I kidding?  Everything at the moment is making me think about being in New Zealand!

Living Here

My friend Eleanor kindly emailed me Cilla McQueen's beautiful poem 'Living Here', which I couldn't find on the internet and don't have in any of my NZ poetry anthologies.

In honour of going home in a few days... I can feel it is close nowCollapse )


I am stuck in the eat chocolate, drink tea, eat chocolate, drink tea cycle.

It makes me miss living at Marian Street.

When I am at home now I basically never use my living room.  I prefer to conduct all business... *all* business... on my bed. 

It's like I'm living in a studio apartment again.  What's that about?

fly away

2.30am cold shower and wardrobe change - now wearing shortie pyjama bottoms with swallows on them.

Not sleeping any time soon.


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January 2012


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