netgirl_y2k: (Default)
[personal profile] netgirl_y2k
I had a big, long post about the election planned, except it basically boiled down to: well, that was weird. Good weird, I think. I'm not sure.

I'm glad I got to keep my SNP MP, because she has been A Good Egg. But it turns out that my newfound evangelism for Scottish independence was soft, and based on the presumption of a permanent tory majority in Westminster, because as the night wore on I realised that I honestly wouldn't have cared if the SNP had lost all their seats, so long as they had all broken for labour or the lib dems.

Thirteen tory MPs in Scotland. There goes a perfectly good panda joke. I mean, fuck's sake, hating tories was the one thing we were good at up here. I blame it entirely on Ruth Davidson and her un-tory like ability to act like a real, actual human being. On the other hand the constituencies that went conservative were old school tory seats, so maybe things aren't weird, maybe this is the closest to normal we've been in years?

In conclusion, I have no conclusion... Let's talk about books.

City of Miracles - Robert Jackson Bennet
The Power - Naomi Alderman
Peggy & Me - Miranda Hart
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Michael Chabon
Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud - Elizabeth Greenwood


City of Miracles is the final book in the Divine Cities trilogy, which has been brilliant, is about the aftermath of people killing the gods, and which is not shy of killing off characters that you would have thought had plot armour. This is a satisfying conclusion to the series, in which divine offspring make their appearance; it's maybe the weakest of the three, but that's largely because the first two set such a high bar, which it ju-st fails to clear. But if you've been waiting to read them until the series was concluded then don't walk, run. Highly recommended

The Power just won the Bailey's prize, so if you believe the Bailey's panel, maybe read it, if you believe me, probably don't. In it women develop a vestigial organ that allows them to conduct electricity, and suddenly we're the dominant sex. The thing that never worked for me is... like, while I believe that given a sudden biological advantage women might well be shit to men, what I couldn't buy was that they were immediately shit to men in the style of 1970s misogynists. As straight sci-fi I don't buy it and think it lacks imagination, and as metaphor I think it's too on the nose. The one thing I thought it did really well was of all the rotating povs only one was a dude, a Nigerian journalist, and his incremental fear and realisation that his bodily autonomy wasn't necessarily inviolable was extremely well done.

Memoirs about people's lives with their dogs are one of my guilty pleasures, and Peggy & Me has the benefit of being genuinely hilarious.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay has been sitting in a pile of unread books for, oh, years, and I had a hankering for a physical book after a run of ebooks. I assume I'm pretty much the last person in the world to get to this; it's about the golden age of comic books, but it's also about the second world war, and being gay in the 1930s, and families both biological and of choice. I loved it. It's nearly seven hundred pages long, meanders all over the place, and is essentially a boy book about boys, and still I loved it. So there you go.

Playing Dead is about people who've faked their own deaths. Except it's not about that, it's about the author whinging about her boring life, and student loans, and the google 'how do you fake your own death' rabbit hole that she went done. The problems with this book are numerous: 1) the writing is rubbish, 2) it's not a book, it's an eminently skippable internet article, 3) about a fifth of it is about people who believe Michael Jackson is still alive, which appears to have only been included to inflate it to the minimum wordcount for publication, 4) the author's personality really came through in the writing, this was not a good thing.

Date: 2017-06-11 04:16 am (UTC)
st_aurafina: Rainbow DNA (Default)
From: [personal profile] st_aurafina
Kavalier & Clay is so good. And it really went *everywhere*, places I couldn't have picked. So good.

Date: 2017-06-11 09:57 pm (UTC)
dhampyresa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dhampyresa
if you've been waiting to read them until the series was concluded

IT ME

Date: 2017-06-14 03:29 am (UTC)
fyrdrakken: (Kindle)
From: [personal profile] fyrdrakken
I just got done reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which has a lot of the author in it as pertaining to A) how this topic came to her attention and B) her adventures in trying to contact the surviving members of the Lacks family and get (and maintain) their cooperation as she researched this story. But she did a satisfactory amount of work on the scientific research sections, and the other half of the story is about how the family was left in ignorance about what was being done with their mother's cells (and left to struggle and suffer in poverty (and various untreated health issues) while a massive research supply industry grew up around the tissue that had been taken from their mother).

I also was intrigued by the doctor whose project resulted in the creation of the HeLa cell line -- I can't say the available evidence is enough to state that he deliberately buried this woman's identity, but he did all he could to quash any articles about the woman who was the source of the cell line, and let reporters use the wrong name for her when they did mention her. On the one hand, this cell line kind of ate his career and was the one major accomplishment he had -- on the other hand, so much of his reputation rode on his wife's (apparently uncredited) work that it really leapt out at me how hard he was trying to forefront his own name and research at the cost of an unwitting research subject's recognition.

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