Tag: Zen Cho

WWW Wednesday

Posted July 21, 2021 by Nicky in General / 0 Comments

It’s Wednesday again already! How does that keep happening? And do I make the same joke too often? It’s too warm to think of a new one.

Cover of Black Water Sister by Zen ChoWhat are you currently reading?

A couple of things at once, as usual! I’m most of the way through Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass, which is more autobiographical than I had been led to expect, and which just doesn’t quite work for me in its outlook. I’m also still working on Behave, by Robert Sapolsky; he seems to be taking an awful long time to say nothing new.

In fiction news, I finally started Zen Cho’s Black Water Sister, which I’m enjoying but not getting super into — partly because I haven’t had much brain for reading with how warm it is.

Cover of The Fabric of Civilization by Virginia PostrelWhat have you recently finished reading?

Virginia Postrel’s The Fabric of Civilization, which I enjoyed quite a lot. I think I’d have got more out of it if I had a visual imagination, though: when she described how to weave, for instance, it just meant nothing to me.

What will you be reading next?

Don’t know! I really need to get to Slippery Creatures (K.J. Charles), but who knows?

Alright, your turn!

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WWW Wednesday

Posted July 15, 2021 by Nicky in General / 2 Comments

Real quick, this week:

Cover of The Fabric of Civilization by Virginia PostrelWhat are you currently reading?

A few books at once, as usual! But I’m in a hurry, so I’ll stick to saying that I’ve just started The Fabric of Civilization, by Virginia Postrel, and I’m finding it fascinating. The first chapters go into specific elements of fabric (thread, dye, etc) describing their origins and development.

I’ve also started a reread of The Paradise War, by Stephen Lawhead. It seems almost impossible that the suck fairy hasn’t visited this book I loved as a teen, but it was so formative to my tastes that I’m giving it another go.

What have you recently finished reading?

The last thing I finished was Magic Strikes, which was a reread, and remains a heck of a lot of fun. I overestimated how much the arena scenes featured in the book, though!

What will you be reading next?

Should be Black Water Sister, by Zen Cho, since it’s coming up as a book club read. But, as always, I can’t promise I won’t be tempted by shinies, especially with my wife currently reading K.J. Charles’ Will Darling books, which I have not yet started…

So… what are you reading?

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WWW Wednesday

Posted July 1, 2021 by Nicky in General / 0 Comments

Anyyyy day now I’ll get round to scheduling more of my backlogged reviews, but for now, here’s the WWW Wednesday post!

What are you currently reading?​

Cover of After the Dragons by Cynthia ZhangAbout eight books at once, last I checked! So I’ll just pick a couple to talk about: first on my mind is After the Dragons, by Cynthia Zhang. It involves dragons, biology, and a prickly love interest with whom things will (presumably) get figured out. I hadn’t realised it was queer, actually, somehow — or hadn’t remembered it, anyway. I am promised there will be cuddles soon, and I wonder quite how they’re going to get there.

I’m also reading Ancestors: The Prehistory of Britain in Seven Burials, which would be more accurately but less catchily titled “Ancestors: The Prehistory of Britain, with seven key burials discussed to varying degrees, and mostly lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of description of non-British archaeology”. Which is cool, but I actually wanted a closer focus on particular burials — that’s what I was interested in.

Finally, I’m now reading Anthony Berkeley’s The Wychford Poisoning Case, which is fun: the detective character is very glib and smooth-talking, in a way familiar to those who love Lord Peter. Mind you, Lord Peter never tried to turn his grown-up female cousin over his knee to spank her, so there are definitely bits that ring very oddly to a contemporary reader.

Cover of What it Means When A Man Falls From The Sky by Lesley Nneka ArimahWhat have you recently finished reading?​

I am really bad at keeping track of that recently, so the thing that mostly jumps to mind is that I finished Seashaken Houses, by Tom Nancollas. He made the cardinal sin (to me) of getting something wrong about Arthurian myth — the very briefest of references, but infuriating. That said, it definitely scratched the curious itch I had when looking at it on the shelf, so it worked out.

Oh, and I finished What It Means When A Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah, which has a lot of clever stories in it, and which I’m still mulling over.

Cover of Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall KimmererWhat will you be reading next?

No idea at all. Chances are high that I’ll be picking up Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer, since it’s a book club read for this month. Black Water Sister by Zen Cho is also coming up soon, so that might be a choice. But really, who knows?

What are you folks reading?

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Review – The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo

Posted August 8, 2020 by Nicky in Reviews / 2 Comments

Cover of The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo by Zen ChoThe Perilous Life of Jade Yeo, Zen Cho

I don’t usually get on well with books that are meant to be funny, or books described as satirical, but The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo was great fun. Jade (or Geok Huay, but Jade is a translation and the name she uses in Britain) has a great voice: it took me ages to decide what it reminded me of, until I saw someone else mention I Capture the Castle. Yep, really quite like that, though I think also I’m being reminded of Mori from Jo Walton’s Among Others… there’s something in the curious, practical, analytical tone (not divorced from dreaming, but approaching things with a sort of scientific curiosity) that is both endearing and entertaining.

The story does feature one moment of the sort of horrible miscommunication that makes me writhe with second-hand embarrassment… but Jade’s voice carries it beautifully, and though I wasn’t passionately interested in how things turned out for her (actually, I felt it could be entertaining no matter what), I was glad that she had her happy ever after. And in the meantime, I thought the descriptions of kissing with the guy she doesn’t really have any feelings for were quite hilarious:

In ordinary kissing one aligns one’s lips with the kissee’s lips, and presses them together, but in well – i can’t think of a better term – in sex kissing the insides of one’s mouth is involved, and it is quite difficult to make it so the respective lips are aligned. One folds one’s lips on top of the other’s. But caution is required: if everyone’s lips stray too far beyond the mouth it gets very damp and one feels as if one is being eaten by an excessively friendly lion.

And that is exactly why french kissing baffles me quite a bit, on a personal level, though I know very well that others don’t see it in quite such mechanistic bodies-are-silly ways. It’s such a great way of showing both the lack of emotion between the two characters involved (at least on Jade’s side), and Jade’s general attitude to sex.

All in all, very fun, and often funny — even to me, and I hardly have a sense of humour.

Rating: 4/5

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