I have in the past few days read all 12 of the Dave Brandstetter mysteries, by Joseph Hansen. These were one of the first, if not the very first, series to feature a gay detective; the first, Fadeout, was published in 1969, while the last was published in 1991. They're in the hard-boiled/noirish PI subgenre, but not relentlessly gritty; a hair less fluffy than the Donald Strachey books, I'd say.
Dave Brandstetter is an insurance investigator who follows up on death claims when the insured have died in mysterious circumstances. He's the best at what he does (he's been on Donahue! *g*), and he is a very competent investigator through much of the series (I hate dumb/bumbling detectives, so that's a plus for me). He's also gay, which the series treats as incidental as much as possible (there is none of the continuing angst of say, the Kate Delafield mysteries, which are not much later and set in the same place [LA]). Dave has several lovers over the course of the books, but these are definitely not romance novels, no sex scenes, etc.; he has gay (and one lesbian) friends as well and is definitely a part of the gay community. But again, this is not the focus of the series: it's a backdrop.
Beginning as they do in 1969 (they're roughly contemporary with the date of publication), the books are dated of course, but in an interesting 'primary source' way; my favorite parts were definitely the portrayals of life for gay people before I was born ('78). The first few have gay-themed plots and characters as well as Dave's gay personal life, but later on the series stops focusing on gay issues, which I felt made many of the later books less strong overall. The books also interact with race issues a lot, not always well, but they are trying, and it gets better as they go on. And Dave himself is a really good character, the hero of his own story, but charming for all his flaws.
Hansen is a very good writer, very good at the style these novels fall in, and he excels at evoking a sense of place (one of my favorite things about mysteries, often). You can tell how much he knows and loves southern California here; again, I find myself comparing them to the Kate Delafield series, which is also set in and around LA, and Kate comes up lacking (sorry, Kate; I do love those too, though, I promise).
If you like mysteries or post-Stonewall gay history, I definitely recommend them. They're all available on Amazon for the Kindle. I love ebooks; so much easier than paper books!
First, some general stats:
Total books: 69
Total pages: 17,101 (this seems too few given that one of them was Les Mis, but so Goodreads says)
Historical (fiction): 31
Books about Classics (fiction and non-): 10
Books with m/m content: 31
Books with f/f content: 2
Non-English: 13 (1 Spanish, 7 Latin, 5 French)
Best book(s): Les Misérables, no question.
( More recs and discussion under the cut!Collapse )
( The whole list under the cut!Collapse )
As always, you can find me on Goodreads if you want! This is me.
Thank you so much for writing a story for me! Yuletide is such a wonderful thing, and I'm so glad that fandom does it every year. You are terrific for participating. :) I hope Yuletide is a chance for you to write something that will make *you* happy; just by your writing me a story in one of these fandoms, I will be made happy!
If it helps you to know more about me/my tastes, in general, I like: awesome women doing awesome things; m/m slash, femmeslash, gen; fluff over angst; history; mysteries and case fic; first times; redemption arcs; AUs; crossovers; epic poetry.
Will not read: animal harm (or any threatened harm even if it turns out okay: best just to avoid mention of animals, honestly).
Dislikes: non-con, character death, partner betrayal, heavy angst.
I can read a number of languages; relevantly to my requests, fic in English, Spanish, or Latin is fine.
You can find my past Yuletide letters/recs/etc. here on LJ. If you want, you can find me on tumblr at carminapossunt.
And now, more about my specific requests, if that will help, or if anyone just wants to know more about these teeny fandoms!
( Gran HotelCollapse )
( India Black-Carol K. CarrCollapse )
( Inspector George GentlyCollapse )
( Roman MythologyCollapse )
So there you have it! I will be so excited with any story you write here, and I cannot *WAIT* until it's present-opening time!
Happy, happy Yuletide to you, dear Author!
Hugs and Hobbits,
Threshold, by Jordan L. Hawk, which is the second book in her series about Percival Whyborne, comparative philologist, and his boyfriend Griffin Flaherty, private detective, who investigate supernatural mysteries in 19th c. New England. In this one, they go to West Virginia to investigate suspicious reports from a mine owned by Whyborne's father. Not the most literary thing ever, but fun and readable!
I also read the fourth Peter Grant book, Broken Homes. ( Reactions, no spoilers.Collapse )
I also read an anthology of English translations of Greek epigrams (tr. by Gordon Fain) that I picked up at the used bookstore. They were very charming, and as I am firmly of the opinion that Greek loses almost nothing in the translation (unlike Latin; and yes, I realize this mostly speaks to my own abilities with the two), I enjoyed it ever so much more than when I've read them in Greek. (If you like Catullus, you'll like these.)
What I'm Reading Now
Still working on Livy 38 (albeit slowly).
What I'm Reading Next
Maybe the third Sarah Tolerance book. There is also apparently a novel tie-in to the Gran Hotel series that I've been watching (season 2 arrived today, and I've preordered Season 3, which will be out Aug. 28), which I think appeared during the second season, so I guess I will have to buy and read that too at some point. :)
The SA did the little camera thing on my skin. The code comes up: 4Y05, or something -- I think it matched to the MUFE powder foundation in 118. Um. I'm thinking, "Am I really that deluded about what my skin looks like?" The SA goes to get it and comes back, and I am staring at the thing, thinking, OMG that is like brown dirt compared to my skin. The SA was looking also rather dubious, but says, "It does a really good job!" Uh huh. So she swatches it on my face. Yep. Brown dirt. She starts asking me all these questions: have I had caffeine, was I working out, etc., because your skin is supposed to be in a neutral state, not red from exertion or anything. I say no, she tries again.
That time it came up with something slightly more reasonable, but not much. Still way way darker and yellower than my skin. We go through the swatching again. No. Still like orange stripes. She's now starting to seem kind of upset, because it "has always worked on everyone else." My skin is apparently weird! And unmatchable!
She tried it a third time, and it came up with 5Y04, which, still no. She went and got the Benefit Oxygen Wow liquid (in the second lightest color) it suggested -- and brought with it the lightest one in that line, because she knew the one it suggested would never match. She didn't even bother swatching it on me, just held it up, and then went ahead with the lightest one in that line ("I'm Pure 4 Sure Ivory").
We agreed that that was much closer than anything the machine came up with, so she went ahead and did a full application of it, and gave me a sample afterwards, and she was very nice, apologizing over and over about how the machine couldn't match me at all. I'm glad I didn't buy it, because it definitely was still way too dark and yellow in some lighting, even though it's close in most. (I looked at myself in a bathroom mirror in the mall and it was pretty horrifically a yellow mask. I should've taken a picture of that!) Also the finish is kind of dull.
( A few photos, non-horrific!Collapse )
I looked when we got home on Sephora's reverse lookup (since the SA didn't give me the code it came up with, no point), and their website says that that foundation would match a 4Y03. I'm not sure that's right at all, because there are some *weird* suggestions that their website has for things (like, multiple very different shades in the same product, etc.), but at a little lighter and less yellow (say, 3Y02 or something), the matches become things I've thought were reasonably close when I've played with them in the past. (My beloved Tarte BB cream there is listed under 2Y01, FWIW, and yes, it is a bit too light if I apply too much.)
So the final thing she picked wasn't a bad match, and definitely no one but me would care. But I'm still just so sad that the Color IQ thing couldn't match me. And here's the worst part -- I'm pretty sure I figured out why. One, it's actually not all that great and there's lots of people (despite what the SA said) whom it doesn't match correctly: lots of people on MUA report it didn't work for them -- including a woman who works at Sephora.
But two... so she kept asking about things that would change bloodflow to your face, right? Caffeine, exertion, skin treatments, etc., right? And over and over, I was like, "No, no, no..." And she couldn't figure out why it wouldn't work. Well. What was I experiencing about having to talk to them and interact and all? That's right, horrific anxiety! And what does my skin do when I feel anxious? If you said, turn red, you're right! *headdesks forever* STUPID SYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM.
In fact, right now, while I'm writing about it even, I bet you that if I go look in the mirror, my face will be slightly redder than it was before I started the post. And there is *NOTHING* I can do to stop that. So... great! I was a big brave lysimache and talked to them despite my terrible awful horrific social anxiety, and it was all in vain, because my anxiety made the thingee not work anyway.
:( :( :(
So I bet it would work for most people, but it clearly is not a good idea if, like mine, your skin turns red when you interact with people! *frowny face forever*
- Current Mood: sad
Quam multum interest quid a quoque fiat! Eadem enim facta claritate vel obscuritate facientium aut tolluntur altissime aut humillime deprimuntur.
What a great difference it makes who does what! The same deeds, in fact, can be either praised to the heavens or buried in obscurity depending on how famous the person who did them was.
--Pliny Ep. 24
While reading Livy this afternoon, I came across a story I have never ever heard before, despite all the 'women in antiquity' courses, etc. Chiomara*, the wife of a Gallic** chieftain, captured after the battle of Mt. Olympus, takes vengeance on a centurion who has raped her.
Livy 38.24, Latin text:( Read more...Collapse )
( English translation. Discusses rape, not in detail.Collapse )
Isn't that great? No self-immolation for Chiomara! No, she cuts off the Roman's head and goes home to her husband... like a boss.
That is totes one of the best stories I've ever read in Livy! Chiomara is *awesome*.
*Livy does not give her name, but Polybius (21.38) does.
**These are Gallograeci, "Greek-gauls," the Gauls who lived in Asia Minor ( > Galatia). Book 38 explains how the Romans conquered them because 1) Romans are better than Gauls and 2) they're not even real Gauls anymore, but effete unmanly Easterners now.
***Possibly Polybius actually met with her many years later in Sardis, but probably not.
What I Just Finished Reading
I just read the first two books in the Miss Sarah Tolerance series by Madeline Robins, Point of Honour and Petty Treason. They're plucky-girl-detective mysteries set in (more or less) Regency London. Sarah, a Fallen Woman (yes, always capitalized like that) has decided to become a private investigator rather than a prostitute and so now she investigates things. The characters are likeable, the mysteries are serviceable (a tad too easy, but forgiveably so), and the setting is of course a favorite. For some reason -- one hesitates to say laziness -- the author has decided to signal that these books Take Liberties With History by having Queen Charlotte as regent instead of the Prince of Wales (later George IV). Other than the succession, nothing appears to be different at all (there is, for instance, no way in which having a female regent has made anyone think women are at all capable). So not fantasy, or even that AU, just... ahistorical.
I also read The Sallee Rovers, by M. Key, which is actually also a bit... AU with history. It's a boat!book, along the lines of Patrick O'Brian or C.S. Forester, the kind where people have the weather-gage and a thousand kinds of sails, etc., but the main character is a gay boy (in the British navy). The author claims (and I believe it) that he (I believe that well enough also) has sailed on recreation historic ships, and it feels *much* more authentically boat!book-like to me than other m/m Age of Sail books I have read (Alex Beecroft, Lee Rowan; W.A. Hoffman's Brethren of the Coast books are equally detailed but very different); it's *really* just POB with gay boys. Part of the reason for that may be that the plot is not actually a romance, and here begins my complaint... I really, really, really liked the first 2/3 or so. I was planning to rate it 5 stars on Goodreads (which I never do), I stayed up all night to finish it (it's long)... but. About 2/3 of the way through, the author seems to have basically changed his mind about what was going to happen in the story, and the main character began to behave in ways that were wildly out of character of him up until then. So. I *do* recommend it if you intrisically like boat!books and were just sad that everyone was (nominally) straight, but do not expect a fulfilling romance or a professionally-edited (or even well beta'ed) story. (I have not bought any of the sequels, if that tells you anything.)
The other book I've read in the last week was another plucky-girl!detective historical mystery (yes, that is one of my absolute favorite genres: if there were only ones about lesbian plucky-girl!detectives in Regency/Victorian England, I think I would've found my perfect perfect book), the fifth book in the Liberty Lane series, Keeping Bad Company. I wasn't particularly impressed; I think the series is fizzling out. Sigh.
What I'm Reading Now
Livy, Book 38 (ed. P.G. Walsh). The downfall of the Scipios (later in the book: right now I'm still besieging Ambracia and making arrangements about the Aetolians).
What I'm Reading Next
I've bought the third Sarah Tolerance, so probably that.
- Current Mood: hot
Today while it was hot we went to the mall. I bought sineala some clothes (which she wants to regard as a birthday present) and me some nail polishes -- sadly, I was almost out of swatchcicles (fake nails mounted on a popsicle stick which you then paint and label to swatch polishes: that way you can compare what they actually look like without needing to waste polish over and over, etc.) so I made some new ones (gluing) while we watched Lewis on PBS this evening.
( Lewis 7x02, The Ramblin' BoyCollapse )
Otherwise, let's see, I read Mel Keegan's Fortunes of War which is one of the more famous Pros AUs that have been published with the serial numbers filed-off, as we say. Bodie is Dermot Channon, an Irish/Spanish mercenary soldier, and Doyle is Robert "Robin" Armagh, the son of an English/Irish Earl; they meet when Bodie comes to Elizabeth I's court as a bodyguard to his uncle, the Spanish ambassador, and they have sex (lots of sex) but then are separated and only find each other some years later, but then they are privateers! It's very long, which is good, and in readable prose, but there were a lot of things I had some issues with. ( Mild spoilers, I guess, but nothing major.Collapse ) Other than that, it's a fun story, and there are (eventually) gay pirate Bodie and Doyle!
And I want to share a makeup rec, because I am IN LOVE with this product: a few weeks ago I ordered Tarte's BB primer in Fair, because the Internet promised it was actually really pale (matching MAC N5-10) and would probably match me (I feel like nothing does: everything is either too pink, too yellow, or too dark), and it had good reviews on MUA (excepting that it breaks some people out; I haven't had that problem). And OMG you guys, yes, it really is pale, and it matches my pale skin which by itself is amazing enough, but it actually does do a really good job of just evening out my skin and making it look more flawless, and although I don't have particularly oily skin, even my t-zone and nose are noticeably (to me) not oily as the day goes on. It actually lasts from morning until bedtime, and it is just... miraculous. I LOVE it. It does really, really make any dry patches show, though, so I have had to actually moisturize (I don't with any regular frequency normally), but other than that... PERFECTION. <3 I have pretty much worn it every day for weeks now, even when I've not put any other makeup on, just because it is so amazing and I love it so.
Also, I watched this video. A lot. It may be my new favorite thing EVER:
It's an ad for Guerlain (the French makeup/perfume company with the incredibly expensive but so awesome products), for their Météorite Perles (small balls of shiny glowy amazing face powder). I have one set of them (Teint Rose), and they are awesome and worth every penny and I love them so much I wear them despite how they are strongly scented because LOVE. Ahem. So the Guerlain balls leave their beautiful container and fly around CGI Paris and illuminate it (JUST LIKE THEY DO YOUR SKIN) and it is SO HAPPIFYING.
And tomorrow there will be a live stream of Maya Hakvoort singing at the Styriarte Festival in Austria, and I will watch that too! YAY!
- Current Mood: happy
I was looking on the tumblr tag for my beloved beloved Megan Follows (i.e., Anne of Green Gables) earlier while I was avoiding doing any work, and I discovered two things.
1) She's going to be in a show on the CW about Mary, Queen of Scots. It's called "Reign," and she's playing some dude's mother. I don't know who dude is. ("Francis?") We'll see.
2) She was in a short film based on a poem by Elizabeth Bishop called "Where Are the Dolls." A short artsy lesbian film. Oh, my heart! ♥♥♥♥♥ Here it is (it's good!):
If you were watching closely, yes, that was Anastasia Phillips, who plays Vera on Bomb Girls, in the background!
3) I went looking for MF's episode of Made In Canada (The Industry) online (whyyyyyyyyyy won't they release the whole show on DVD, whyyyyyyy?) and yay, you can watch it! Broken into parts on YouTube, but it looks like pretty much the whole series is on there, so hooray! If you have never seen her play "Adele of Beaver Creek," you are *SO* missing out.
I told you I loved you bestest, LJ. You're welcome.
- Current Mood: exhausted
Some thoughts, in numbered list format because that looks organized, but not necessarily in order of importance, because that would be organized.
- YOU MUST READ IT. YES, YOU. In French, if that's at all an option. It's so beautiful, and yes, sad, but amazing and lovely and thought-provoking and awesome. And the writing, oh, the writing -- I love 19th century novels anyway, and this has many of their best and worst features, but Hugo's prose to me is in so many passages closer to poetry. It has this driving rhythm, propelling one forward, and he has this really common technique of piling up synonyms or multiple ways of saying something (in at least fours, so not the classical tricolon, but sometimes in huge groups) that I really like. I actually highlighted a bunch of passages, just because I liked the way he said them. It's sort of Livian, actually, just such exuberant fullness of language: lactea ubertas. And yes, the digressive passages were not my favorites always (although I really liked the part about the bishop and the part about convents; I was rather unmoved by the sewers; baffled by all the references in anything about history -- apparently my AP Euro class was decidedly shaky on France beyond the major names), and a couple of times I may have yelled at him a little to return to the story, but I really like the outpouring of thoughts and (especially) feelings, in all of its digressive glory. After all, you couldn't have Joyce without it, right?
- The characters are awesome. And perhaps more nuanced (and interesting) than in the musical. ( Read more...Collapse )
- I think I just kind of want to read the whole thing again. I don't want it to be over!
- Current Mood:miserable
I have not felt much like posting. It needs to be warm NOW (and sadly, no temperatures over 50 yet in sight) -- I cannot deal with any more winter. :(
I've not done too much. Finished Volume III of The Wretched, FINALLY, yesterday -- and I really, really loved the end of it, the ambush Thenardier lays for Valjean, Javert popping up, it was *awesome*, so many things happened! And then... I started Volume IV and he's going to tell me about history again? NOOOOOOO... Sigh.
We've also been watching Vikings, which is pretty awesome so far. It's got all the fangirl bait one could want (including a canonically bi male main character, which is pretty awesome for mainstream tv, really). Slave kink, the dude who plays Grantaire in the Les Mis movie...
In fact, I like the show so much that this morning I translated all the sections from the Gesta Danorum that are about Lagertha (wife of Ragnar, the main character), because she is AWESOME. I dislike the way in which so many people conflate 'strong female character' with 'physically strong woman', because of course strong character =/= only people who fight a lot, but she is still awesome.
I even posted the translation to tumblr, what? I know. My first post there, even. But I'll put it here, too, because I like you best, LJ. <3
In case you wanted to read about Lagertha as reported in the historical sources! These are still legends, obviously. The text is my translation of the stories about Lagertha in Saxo’s Gesta Danorum, a 12th c. compilation of Danish ‘history’.
The Latin text I used is found here. There is an older English translation of the whole thing on Wikisource, but I was trying for slightly more modern English. It’s surprisingly hard to produce readable English when one spends all one’s time with Translationese, though — ah, the perils of being a Latin teacher? So, yeah, still not exactly colloquial. Sorry.
Warning: there is discussion of the rape of women in the text. There’s also lots of Lagertha being awesome!
( English version.Collapse )
But now I have to wait like another whole week before episode 5, which they're apparently not going to put up early. POUT.
This volume appeared to be mostly digressions (Waterloo, the convent) and false starts (JeanValjean is sent back to prison but escapes! JeanValjean shows up to get Cosette but spends many chapters at the Thenardiers' tavern first! JeanValjean finds a place to live in Paris, but, oh noes, it's Javert! JeanValjean finds refuge at the convent but first has to sneak out and come back!, etc.). No wonder so much of this is totally cut or remarkably collapsed for the musical. After all, M. Hugo keeps admitting how none of his digressions advance the story of JeanValjean at all: but clearly, one is not reading this mostly/solely for the story, or I'd go watch a movie.
So other than the Waterloo bits, which, no, sorry, skimskimskim--I would've done the same in English, ugh, battle strategy--, I did read all of the meanderings. A few thoughts:
I was literally *shocked* when JeanValjean went back to Toulon. I mean, I thought him escaping was the point. But I guess it was not; I'm glad his escape attempt was more successful this time.
I really do not understand why JeanValjean took so long to get to the point that he wanted to take Cosette away. What was he waiting for? Was it just so that he could play Père Noël? Which was nice and all, but surely he could've spared Cosette some of that suffering? (Also, no one got poor baby!Gavroche anything still, did they? Why does Mme. Thénardier not love Gavroche? IDGI.)
I actually thought at first when JeanValjean decided that Javert was after him -- his seeing Javert as that beggar for a moment -- and then the chase through the streets of Paris, that it was paranoia on JeanValjean's part, that it wasn't Javert at all. I read the explanation of how Javert found him, and it *still* seems like it shouldn't have happened; but yes, coincidence is a prime mover of plots in the 19th c. novel, I know, and I have to allow for how Javert is the bestest inspector ever. Although, apparently, he's not all that good at hunting, allowing his desire to act like a cat toying with its prey to enable JeanValjean to get away. He must not *really* want to catch JeanValjean, I think. For reasons?
The convent section. Well. I actually enjoyed the history/description of the convent of horrors and all, but I thought it was... interesting how the narrator's editorial remarks about how cloistered orders are bad and unmodern and all that appeared to totally contradict what happens to JeanValjean (we are told) there: they're so terrible, but they complete JeanValjean's process of sanctification (justification)?* Also there are some interesting gender things going on as the convent of horrors starts out being the climax of the hallucinatory/nightmarish escape from Javert (esp. the corpse-like nun doing penance on the floor), but then resolves itself into something harmless/controlled/benign because it is made up of (just) women (and girls). Also JeanValjean's admiration of their willingness/ability to suffer (despite their innocence) on behalf of others (his comparison of it with his experience in Toulon, all of which makes the nuns out to be more physically hardy and spiritually holy), it also seems to massively undercut the narrator's "convents are awful" stance.
And man, hit us over the head with the death-->rebirth symbolism of JeanValjean having to leave the convent in a coffin and be buried in a grave before being reborn to a new life, M. Hugo, much? Mmm, anvilicious.
And now the years have rolled by and Cosette has grown up. Time for Volume III (in which, so far, there has been some slang I didn't know!).
*It seems the Bishop is representing prevenient grace, Cosette justifying grace, and then the convent/nuns sanctifying grace; how oddly Wesleyan of the Catholic M. Hugo? I thought Catholic theology only recognized two forms of grace?
We watched all of George Gently that was on Netflix (S1-3). Why is there no fic at all? I cannot decide whether I could even stand seeing George/John, and it would be rather difficult to make happen, of course. But it would be worth it for the amount of facepalming poor George would have to do, wouldn't it? (And hey,
I also bought some nail polish and makeup, which is always fun. I got the Metro Too Chic set of mini Sephora by OPI polishes at Sephora the other day (I like the packaging a lot, all right? It's that awesome 1890s Paris-y kind of style, and whatever if I have dupes for some of them; they're minis, it's fine). I also got the heart-shaped blush by Too Faced, because, yes, packaging. I wore it yesterday and it wasn't the most pigmented thing ever, but it showed up (almost everything does, which is the good thing about my nearly translucent skin) and it's pretty, and did I mention how it's in the shape of a heart? Awwwww.
Last week I got some other things from Sephora, including the YSL Glossy Stain in 27 Pêche Cerra-Colla, a light peach, which is my new favorite lippy EVER, even if it doesn't last very long at all compared to the other Glossy Stains/L'Oréal dupes I have. It's so pretty! It shows up just fine on me, although I know a lot of people have complained. It doesn't look quite as pretty on me as this, of course, but it's similar.
Today I tried the off-white np from the OPI Euro Centrale collection (My Vampire Is Buff, which is one of the better names in the collection, actually). I can't decide yet if I like it; it's either too yellow or too peach or too stark or something. Maybe I'll like it more in the sunlight tomorrow? Before that, I was wearing Illamasqua Cameo (also new), which, OMG LOVE. Amazing.
( Wanna see recent nail pictures?Collapse )
So I just ordered today the new set of Color Club holos, actually; I looked several times at the local beauty supply (where local = chain, but still), and they hadn't gotten them although just today the NB reports that other people are finding them at other locations over by Albany, so too bad local-ish business, I ordered online. And then I bought a couple of things from Ninja Polish, Divinity, because I am sad that I missed out on Alexandrite (my favorite gemstone!) and Models Own Indian Ocean, because I've lemmed it for yeaaaaars now and I didn't even know they sold it until the NB mentioned!
I guess it's bedtime. Man, I am not looking forward to going back to work and having to get up at 5.30 am again every day. Sigh.
*Albeit evil murdererous people, because, you know, a mystery show. GRRR, ARRRGH.
- Current Mood: sad
So yes, the second half.
Book 4 ("Trusting sometimes means entrusting").
So Fantine, the not terribly responsible mother (seriously, who was watching Cosette while she was out picnicking with her boyfriend The Jerk?), has decided to move back home. But even though she can represent herself as a widow to Mme. Thénardier, she can't continue lying, or something, once she gets back? So having a kid will be a problem for Mlle. Fantine. But this didn't occur to her until she had already left Paris and so she hadn't made any arrangements ahead of time. Um, okay.
Luckily along the way she stops in Montfermeil and sees Mme. Thénardier watching her two* angelic kids playing (on a very important and much described wagon thing; there's a lot of words for vehicles in this novel,
But of course, the Thénardiers are bad people and do not love Cosette as much as their own children. They don't treat her very well at all, but hey, at least she eats better than the dog, if not so well as the cat -- and she does have her very own bowl under the table with them! And the townspeople call her "The Lark," because she's up so early (working as a servant, when she's just 5), because they like cute nicknames for abused children!
*Eponine has a baby sister, apparently. Who, because of her mother's love of trashy romance novels, is lucky enough to "only" be called Azelma, and not Gulnare. Well, okay then.
Book 5 ("The Descent")
An "unknown man"** has in the meantime migrated to Montreuil-sur-mer, arriving in 1815, and because he was awesome and smart, he's revolutionized the industry there with cheaper raw materials to make imitation jet. (I didn't know we made imitation jet, but TIL that we do.) And then le père Madeleine eventually becomes M. le maire Madeleine (even though he totally turned the offer down the first time, because he's modest and avoids people). He's quite rich, having 650K francs chez Laffitte, which I assume is a bank; but it would be so much more if he didn't give so much of it to charity!
The bishop dies, blind at the end, which is okay, because it's a special kind of happiness to know that you're blind but a woman loves you so much that she just hovers around caring for you, like the Bishop's sister does. (Um.)
Javert appears! And there are many, many, many animal metaphors (my favorite is the bit where Javert is the human face of the dog that is apparently born in every wolf litter but that normally the mommy wolf kills because otherwise it will grow up to devour the other babies; oh Hugo and Asturian peasants, biology, ur doin it wrong).
M. Madeleine saves the dude under the cart, even though the dude under the cart never liked him and Javert is right there being all, "There is only one man in all of France who could lift something so heavy! He was... a convict!" What, France is a nation of people with no upper body strength? (When does Valjean have time to work out? Is it carrying around all those bags of money to distribute to the wretched?) But hey, he gets the dude a job as a gardener in Paris.
It's really terrible to be Fantine. Also, maybe education is part of the answer for eliminating wretchedness, because if she's just been able to write as well as read she wouldn't have had to rely on the public writer to write her letters to Cosette for her, and then her fellow-workers wouldn't have gotten so curious about them. So curious, in fact, that one woman is willing to pay 35 francs to travel to Montfermeil to gawk at Cosette? That's taking gossip a leeeettle bit far, surely?
So Fantine gets herself fired, but because she never complains, she goes from (not-really-that-)bad to worse. (Also, really, what would anyone have done if she'd walked out on her furniture and the lease and gone back to Paris? They'd never have sent debt collectors after her, would they?) She sells her hair, and then there's the HORRIFIC tooth thing (thanks, movie, at least I was prepared for that), and she's not got anything left, so she'll have to be a "public girl," which is a totally clear but gross euphemism.
And then she gets herself arrested by Javert, not for prostitution, but for attacking a gentleman of leisure, who is the sort of jerk who hurls insults at toothless, hairless prostitutes, and when they don't respond, drops snow down the back of their dress. Really, what is wrong with people?
But never fear, Madeleine saves the day, popping up weirdly in the police station (he'd clearly been there a while but nobody noticed?) to insist that Javert free Fantine, citing the exact part of the law code that gives him that authority (awww), even after Fantine spits in his face because she blames him for all her problems (I'd look at some of your own choices too there, Fantine: like, if you're just going to end up a prostitute anyway, don't sell your hair and teeth first, because that is clearly not a long-term plan; also, again, default on your debts and move to a different city! Change your name! Go collect Cosette!). But he is horrified at her condition and promises her the earth and sky for the verrrrrrry short time she has to live (cough, cough).
**Seriously, I had no idea you weren't supposed to have known that it was Valjean until Hugo told me books and books later, "I'm sure you've all figured out by now that M. Madeleine was none other than Jean Valjean!", and I was like, "Wait, when was that supposed to have been a secret?"
Book 6: "Javert"
M. Madeleine takes Fantine to the hospital he's established. He promises that he'll get Cosette for her. He writes to the Thénardiers, but they, understandably, are like, hey, this girl's a cash cow! Don't send her back! Say Fantine owes more money! And instead of going to fetch Cosette, Madeleine just keeps sending them money. Not the best idea ever.
Then... duh duh duh! Javert comes to see him to demand that Madeleine have him fired. Because Javert wrote a letter to the Paris police accusing him of being... JEAN VALJEAN! But of course now Javert known he cannot possibly be Jean Valjean, because some dude named Champmathieu has been arrrested for being Jean Valjean, and that's totally him. He'll be tried at an assize court tomorrow in some other town. So sorry, Javert says, he's made a mistake, please have him drummed out of the police force because resigning is too good for a terrible policeman like him! Okay, M. l'inspecteur. Of course Madeleine refuses.
Book 7: "The Champmathieu Affair"
And then he spends chapters and chapters angsting about what to do because he is... JEAN VALJEAN! (Yes, this is where the book finally says that.) He's hired a carriage to take him to the other town, but still isn't sure whether he's going to go, or what, and man, I wish he could've just sung a song about his angst; it would've been SO much faster.
He's made no decision at all, actually, but when the carriage shows up the next morning, he just goes, and he almost thinks he doesn't have to when the carriage breaks along the way and there's no way it could be repaired in time, but then providence intervenes and there's a spare carriage! Providence is mean.
He gets to the other town, and even makes his way to the court, and watches a huge part of the trial which (providentially) is taking place at night even though it should've been long over. And finally, finally, he interrupts and is like... "WHO AM I? I'M JEAN VALJEAN!" And the people who know him as M. le maire are all, "Yo, get a doctor, that man's not right!" but then he proves who he is by knowing a bunch of details about all the convicts who've shown up to identify the other dude (once again showing how ridiculously unreliable eyewitnesses are, and why do we even allow them as evidence in courts when it's been proved so many times that people are terrible witnesses?), and then everyone is like, "What do we do now?" And Valjean's all, "Well, kbye everyone, y'all know where I live if you need me," and he walks out of that court LIKE A BOSS.
Book 8: "Repercussion"
Valjean travels (much more quickly this time) back to Montreuil-sur-mer so that he can go see the dying Fantine. Who, btw, thinks he's off looking for Cosette and not even Sister Simplice, who NEVER TELLS LIES, could bear to disillusion her. His hair, which had been grey, has turned white over the past day from stress. I'm pretty sure that can't happen.
When Fantine notices that Valjean is back, she's all, "YAY! Where's Cosette?" and the doctor tells her she has to be very very quiet before he'll let Cosette see her. But she's maybe getting better with her happiness.
Then in comes Javert. He's been dispatched to arrest Valjean. And instead of taking their conversation into the hallway, Valjean's all, "Can I just have three days to go save Cosette? You could come with me if you want?" And then Fantine's like, "What do you mean? I thought you already got Cosette, M. le maire," and Javert, in a really jerky move, is all "THERE IS NO MAYOR THERE IS ONLY
:( Oh, Javert, that's méchant. Way more wretched than the musical!
And then, since Fantine is dead, Valjean lets Javert arrest him (which totally surprised me), but then he escapes from the local jail using his superstrength (Is he secretly a mutant or something? Has anyone written that AU?), and he goes back home to get his candlesticks and leave.
He's interrupted by Sister Simplice (the nurse nun who NEVER TELLS LIES) and then Javert is outside! Oh no! Nowhere to run! So he hides behind the door, and Javert comes in and finds Sister Simplice praying and he's all, "Are you alone there hanging out in the EEEEEEEVIL Valjean's room?", and Sister NeverLies says ....... YES! And then he asks again if she's seen Valjean, and she says NO! Hooray, Sister Simplice! The only two lies of her entire life were to save Valjean, awwwww. YAY!
And then Valjean gives her a letter to give to the curate saying he should see to Fantine's burial and then use all Valjean's stuff for the poor. And then what does the curate do? He dumps Fantine's body in the paupers' grave, because, after all, she's a prostitute and Valjean's a convict and hey, that leaves more money for the poor and all.
Way more wretched than the musical.
Next up: Tome II, Cosette, which opens with a book about Waterloo, which I've now read several chapters of and still have no idea what it has to do with anything! I'm skimming. A lot. Man, do I not care about Waterloo!
The Bishop is awesome. Hooray the Bishop! My favorite bit was, I think, when he was off seeing to his parishioners, and because he's donated all of his salary + travel expenses to the poor, he could only afford to hire a donkey to travel. He gets to the town, and the peeps are all astonished that a bishop would show up on a donkey, because... bishops are rich! And he's all, ah, yes, ¡qué escándolo!, I know, please don't think I'm being arrogant because I'm riding the same animal Jesus did. BURN!
--Monsieur le maire, dit l'évêque, et messieurs les bourgeois, je vois
ce qui vous scandalise; vous trouvez que c'est bien de l'orgueil à un
pauvre prêtre de monter une monture qui a été celle de Jésus-Christ. Je
l'ai fait par nécessité, je vous assure, non par vanité. (1.4)
And then there is no room for Jean Valjean at the inn. Or the other inn. Or at a house. OR EVEN IN A DOGHOUSE HE IS SO WRETCHED. "--Je ne suis pas même un chien!" (Okay, I LOLed a little. Sorry, Valjean. Sorry, M. Hugo.) But luckily the Bishop always has room even if he did switch houses with the hospital so that he has less room for vagrants.
And then Valjean, after some soul-searching but not enough, clearly, steals the Bishop's silver. Who's all, "Nah, that's cool. I don't own things; they're for the poor, and that dude was clearly a poor man. Hey, have some candlesticks to go with!"
But Valjean takes a while to convert (the process needed to run overnight), and so on his way to becoming an honest man he steals money from a baby! Whoops. He didn't mean to; it was just his bestial nature, you know. But he's better now, yay?
The year 1817 was a really good year. Or important year. Or bad year. Or something, IDK. I wouldn't have known in English either; this was one of the most incomprehensible things I've ever read, seriously. There's a person mentioned every sentence, pretty much, and I'd heard of, like, three of them (Talleyrand! I actually even have some idea of why he's important! Chateaubriand, but isn't he a food? And the Duc de Berry, I think I've heard of, but I have no idea who he is, so). Sorry, M. Hugo, I don't think your history digression here really cleared anything up for me, no matter what you say about centuries being made up of individual years. So... at any rate, Napoleon's in exile (for good) and there's a king, and the people of Paris are too lazy to revolt, or something.
Anyway, back to the story. Fantine goes on a picnic with her boyfriend and their friends! She's behaving immorally, but hey, she thought it was TWU WUV. Her friends know better than to mistake this for wuv, because they wear more revealing clothes than she does. It's a lovely picnic, and then they have dinner. Her boyfriend is a self-important jerk, man, and someone needs to tell him to stop showing off his Classics knowledge. A horse collapses and dies, and only Fantine thinks this is sad. And then, the surprise that their boyfriends have been promising the girls for a year. The boys leave to go get it, and, SURPRISE! they're breaking up (via letter). They're all going back to their rich families to become important society peeps, it's been real, see ya never. Fantine is sad, even though the other girls (see above, re, TWU WUV) think it's sort of funny. Also she's sad because back at her (WRETCHED) room, she has... a baby. (Who's been watching baby Cosette, anyway, while Fantine has been picnicking?)
END BOOK 3
So I am indeed enjoying The Wretched so far, even if it takes foreeeeeeever to read (French! Incomprehensible references everywhere!), but I'm pretty sure that all of the wretched people's problems could be solved** by safe, reliable, easily available birth control. F'rex, Valjean's sister's seven kids: they wouldn't have been so hungry* if she hadn't had so many, now would they? And Fantine, clearly her problems would've been solved if she hadn't had The Jerk's baby. I'm sure the Bishop would understand how important it is despite what the pope says, even if he is an ultramontanian pope-supporter and not one of those gallicans...
*Also the part where Valjean was like, 'Yeah, no one would've died if I hadn't stolen the bread then because it takes a long time to actually die of hunger. We were just uncomfortable and stupid society is unfair', which it totes is. So much more reasonable, actually, than musical!Valjean ("my sister's child was close to death"). Also no one has ever cuddled him, which is sad, but at least he finally cries for the first time in 19 years after he steals the little kid's money and can't find him to give it back.
**Normally, I would say education is the answer, but the WRETCHED prison camp workhouse thing (bagne, whatever the English is) apparently taught Valjean to read, write, and do arithmetic, and that wasn't enough to solve his problems or make him less angry at the unfair world, so that is clearly not the answer here.
How the mouth changes its shape (132522 words) by breathedout
Fandom: Sherlock (TV), Sherlock Holmes & Related Fandoms
Relationships: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, Victor(ia) Trevor, Original Characters, lots of them, John(nie) Watson, Sally Donovon
Additional Tags: Genderswap, Alternate Universe - Historical, Butch/Femme, World War II, 1950s
1955. Under the placid veneer of suburban playparks and middle-class conformity churns a hidden London: femmes and butches dancing close in basement bars; clandestine love between women. To Sherlock Holmes, struggling private detective and mistress of disguise, it’s a realm she renounced years before. To Johnnie Watson, daredevil ambulance driver turned auto mechanic, it’s become a little too familiar. But when someone is murdered in the washroom of the city’s most notorious lesbian club, the investigation will lead both women to reconsider their assumptions about themselves, each other, and the world in which they live.
Okay, so as it says, this is Sherlock genderswap fic, AU set in the 1950s. The beginning (which I wasn't as crazy about) is Sherlock at boarding school; but then it moves ahead to Sherlock and John meeting in the 50s, moving in together, and solving a mystery. I thought it was a tiny bit too critical of butch-femme dynamics but that so didn't even matter because... this is GOOD femmeslash. I really, really enjoyed this: it's long! It has a plot! I didn't even hate the sex scenes! The characterization was pretty believable (although I can't quite see John as a butch lesbian, I'm sorry: original book!Watson, yes; BBC Sherlock!John, no). It reminded me in good ways of lesbian pulp (of course), although it just as clearly wasn't one (also, happy ending).
Also, Lacan would be so shocked: both Johnnie and Sherlock had the phallus!
1. Highlander, "Methos": Because although I like other Duncan/Methos too (OMG nosepainting!), that meeting scene, the electric recognition between them? And then the scene under the bridge where Methos tries to give his Quickening to Duncan? There is nothing else that is so *instant* and *connected* and epic and amazing and, yes, well. This is probably my favorite episode of anything ever.
2. Due South, "Eclipse": Because I love RayK and I love the backstory and raw emotions and the "Do you find me attractive?" conversation, and the whole amazing Bakhtinian carnival nature of the episode. And I think the dreamcatcher flying through the air is an amazing visual (and I am not a very visual person in the first place). LOVE.
3. Xena, "The Bitter Suite": Yes, the musical episode. I love musicals, okay, so there's that. But also, Xena and Gabrielle epically fighting their ways back to each other, wanting their relationship despite all the obstacles, and just the *emotion* here, the emotional *processing*: it hits me hard.
4. X-Files, "Tunguska/Terma": This was the episode where I first (consciously) saw same-sex subtext (Mulder/Krycek 4eva) for the first time. I was 17, had just started college, was a baby MSR fan, and then there was this ep. I was like, "Wait, what?" And then I read Loligo's essay about it, and it changed *everything*. And man, I imprinted hard on this ep, seriously. Plus it has awesome mytharc, although the black oil will always be icky...
5. Firefly, "Shindig": Because Kaylee gets a big pink poofy dress! And it makes her happy! Kaylee being happy makes me happy! Hooray!
Ha, also, I have icons of Methos from that episode of Highlander, of Kaylee and her pink dress from that episode of Firefy, *and* an icon of Callisto from the beginning of that ep of Xena. See, I am consistent! But I have NO Mulder/Krycek or due South icons at all, which is frowny face.
This was recommended this week on crack_broom , so thanks to the reccer there for point it out! It's Snape/Shacklebolt (and then a triad) as the main pairing, so I never saw it, but it was really, really good! And reeeeeeeaally long, yay!
Title: Fate Is a Four Letter Word
Word Count: 550313
Pairing: Snape/Shackelbolt, Snape/Shacklebolt/Harry
Author Summary: Harry‘s only aim has been to create a safe and happy life for his family, but his efforts are destroyed one spring afternoon. Harry meets new friends and old enemies, old friends and new enemies, whilst trying to find a path through a changing world.
This is by the same author who wrote the Snarry story The Apple Tree, which is also very long (300K words) and very, very good. This also has Snarry content (in the context of a pre-existing Snacklebolt relationship), but for me, the enjoyable parts were pretty much gen, actually.
It's epilogue-compliant (except for the part where Snape didn't die of his wounds, which, you know, fair enough; he shouldn't have), and takes place some 20 years after DH. Two of Harry's sons are grown up and gone from the house; Lily is in her last year at Hogwarts. Then, one day, Ginny (still married to Harry but unhappily) is murdered and her lover Draco is immediately arrested.
From the beginning there, the story follows a larger, incredibly complex plot of a re-rising of Pureblood supremacy groups in the WW, and all of Harry's friends -- and old enemies -- are drawn in. It's fascinating; I loved the continued world-building and the characterizations and plots (it does suffer from some Super!Harry syndrome, but that's not even what moves the solutions to the plot along, so it didn't bother me particularly), and it pushed a lot of buttons for me.
My favorite parts were the subplot about Lucius Malfoy agreeing to spy for Harry on the new groups; being set so far in the future, Snape was already redeemed and respected and so on, and so I felt like a lot of the type of story that is often given to Snape (in the stories I like best) was here shifted to Lucius. Most in character thing ever, no, but I LOVED it, and I shipped Lucius/the author's OFC *SO MUCH*, OMG, I cannot tell you. (I know, right? Het? But... nothing gets me like a good redeemed!evil character romance. It's my biggest fiction kink. This plotline pushed that but good.)
I also liked the Snacklebolt, which isn't a pairing in general I'm super attached to, because I think it must be mostly movie-based or something, and that it has a lot to do with Kingsley being hot in the movie? Otherwise it seems sort of random to me (do they even interact in the books?). But the love and desire they feel for each other, after being together for 20-some years, was really lovely in this story.
The Harry/Snacklebolt plotline, however, didn't really work for me. Part of it is that I don't like most polyamory stories much in general; it's not my thing. But--despite the author trying to spend 500K (!) words here convincing me--I never got how a stable (previously completely monogamous) pair of 20+ years could, with almost no discussion even, decide that they were going to become a stable triad. Agree to have a one-off threesome, have it turn into something more emotional/long-lasting, maybe, that I could see. And I would still expect a lot of troubles along the way. But to transition their relationship like that after so long with no difficulty? I never really understood why they would do it, and I didn't really want them to.
So for me, I wasn't reading for the romance plot (except Lucius/OFC, which, yessssss, needed it like BURNING), but for the gen, and the gen is amazing. SO recommended!
Classes are a little better than last week, definitely more manageable-seeming. There's just one student left who I'm really hoping drops (because he is rude and disruptive and I signed his form but he didn't turn it in and the deadline passed and he has cut class this week and then been out sick). But still, so much prep work, OMG, and I *really* would rather be teaching Cambridge than Ecce. :( I feel like there is absolutely no content here at the beginning, and yet I can't go through it any faster (we're on Ch. 3) because there's too much vocab to reasonably go any faster, plus, of course, then we'd get too far later (can only go to 17, really, since that's all the further the other teacher went in the fall).
But hey, today some of my (puerile: derived from puer, as we learned today!) boy students left class shouting down the hall to their friends abīte, molestī!, because that is just soooo funny (it means "go away, pests"). At least they learned something?...
The weather is weird (0°F over the weekend and now in the 50s today?), and driving over the mountain tonight there was *so* much fog. Still, better than than below 0 all winter, right? (How do people live in those places? Gah.)
TIL something I think I knew already, but repetitio mater memoriae and all that, so hey, here goes: the endearment anima mea ('my soul'), which Claudia addresses her sister as in the Vindolanda birthday letter, appears to be a variant on an attested female speech pattern from comedy, the female-oriented use of mi anime ('my spirit, my life') which is generally (9 times out of 12) said by women in Plautus and Terence. Cicero also uses meae animae to women in his letters, and Marcus Aurelius calls Fronto anima dulcissima in one of the letters (of course I ship it; Amy Richlin auctore). The phrase is apparently also engraved on a gold ring from Britannia. Neat, huh? [The notes on the letter cite: J.N. Adams, 1984, "Female Speech in Latin comedy," Antichthon 18: 43-77. I would *really* like to read that article, but the ejournal seems to be only in some random database ("Periodical Archives Online") that I don't have access to. BOO.]