prodigy: Jadis the White Witch from "Horrors of Literature," illustrated by M.S. Corley. (queen of ice and snow)
the late, or rather, later Henrik Egerman ([personal profile] prodigy) wrote2013-01-19 08:12 pm
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Reading meme - Morpho Eugenia, Emma, etc.

Stealing this from [personal profile] qian to give it a try!

What are you reading now?

I know [personal profile] themis will probably roll her eyes at my recurring insistence on braving the Byatt gauntlet despite her overwroughtness and obsession with playing out the same gender roles in fiction over and over, but... I can't help it, her prose style has a certain je ne sais quoi. So I just finished with "Morpho Eugenia" which--had a lot of Byatt weaknesses in it, like uncomfortable exotification of a non-English locale as a metaphorical backdrop for what the English characters are up to, and presenting heterosexuality with that same vaguely predatory, conquest-based framework from the man's perspective, and in general I didn't care for it. But we'll see how I feel about "The Conjugial Angel," which is the second half of Angels & Insects.

My other problem with "Morpho Eugenia" was the really boring and typical treatment of incest. I feel like incest in fiction, unless the story is About Incest in and of itself (and even then), always takes place between these two beautiful ciphers of people who just decide to start defying Westermarck just.. because... and outside the context of the kinds of toxic family environments in which these things actually transpire, and ignores that it's kind of one symptom that usually goes along with a whole syndrome of family dysfunction, not a sexy taboo act that springs out of nowhere. Then again, it's almost always a heavy-handed metaphor for something, or a lurid detail. Sigh.

I'm also reading Emma because I feel like it, which is, of course, much better. Emma Woodhouse! It's kind of fun to mentally exercise yourself trying to speculate what other literary characters she directly influenced.

What did you just finish reading? Apparently what I've read so far in 2013 has been:

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch: Fun! Great fun. I don't say that lightly, I do not generally find crime-procedural urban fantasy to be any fun whatsoever. But it's funny and upbeat and fairly creepy reading, actually, with a pretty horrific villain and supernatural conceit, and Peter Grant and Thomas Nightingale (I think he's a Thomas, anyway) are pretty endearing.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt: I... don't really understand this book's strange, melodramatic appeal, and yet I am sure I would and will reread it sometime. I think it has something to do with Francis. (There's a great YT fic called the mother of beauty from this year.)
The Bone Key by Sarah Monette: Collection of Kyle Murchison Booth stories, which I have finally gotten around to reading all of. They're... uneven overall, and variable, and have a tendency to be kind of anachronistic, and I don't really like how Monette writes women in her horror stories, it cleaves rather closely and without much subversion to many misogynistic horror tropes (and horror is basically a collection of misogynistic tropes). But I'd read more of them, I admit. I like "The Green Glass Paperweight" and "Drowning Palmer."
The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter: One of those "things I never got around to reading in the stage in my development when I should've!" It's... good, although I think it suffers from some Seinfeld Is Unfunny for younger people like me through no fault of its own and due to the oversaturation of dark feminist fairytales in the past 10 years?
The Magician King by Lev Grossman: Aaaaaargh. Basically everything that was piss-annoying about Grossman as an author in The Magicians was amplified, and--you know, I actually liked The Magicians, in spite of my general desire to slap the male heterosexuality right out of Grossman's authorial perspective, but The Magician King was just a mess and went from bad to worse in how it treated women. Not good.
Cotillion by Georgette Heyer: Heyer's so all-over-the-place for me but this one was really, really fun. And hilarious.

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