sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Last night I accidentally wrote a mini-essay on why I hate The Great Gatsby on my tumblr. WHOOPS. So I am reposting it here since DW is my primary journalling location!

John & Hank Green's youtube channel Crash Course is doing a series on literature, by John Green. And the most recent video from Crash Course Literature was about The Great Gatsby.

I’ve been rereading Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, for the tumblr-based Jonathan Strange book club I’m hypothetically taking part in, and reading some other people’s thoughts about JS&MN has confirmed something for me.

See, all of what John Green says in this video about The Great Gatsby is perfectly true! And all of that is valuable stuff to have in a book! Except that the book is SO SO BORING.

John Green talks as if the only thing people who hate TGG hate about it is that its characters are pretty unilaterally unpleasant. Nope. As other people perspicaciously pointed out, JS&MN is full of characters who are terrible human beings (or other kinds of beings), and yet that book is riveting where TGG is stultifyingly boring. I mean, I don’t like the characters in TGG, yeah, and I used to think that’s why I didn’t like it, but I’ve changed my mind. I bet it’d be perfectly possible for someone to write a story about those people and for me to find it interesting. JS&MN is proof that you can have unpleasant people and STILL HAVE AN INTERESTING BOOK! TGG is stultifyingly boring because it is a book that is so in love with its pretentious meaningfulness that it forgot to have any other content. YOU CAN HAVE BOTH. I mean, as I will be saying on my tumblr in a few days (....I mostly post on tumblr through my queue, okay?) about Verity’s Teen Wolf fic about butts, it is both utterly hilarious and actually quite thinky! Having the combination of meaningful thoughts and enjoyable content MAKES BOTH PARTS BETTER FOR THE ASSOCIATION.

It’s like how bread is usually acknowledged to be boring on its own (look, I will happily eat good bread with nothing on it just for the joy of the bread, but I also admit I’m unusual.) and cheese is nasty on its own (there are some people who will happily eat good cheese with nothing else, but they’re unusual too), but if you put them together and fry the whole thing in butter it becomes DELICIOUS. And you might eat the sandwich by itself, or you might choose to add the pickles of likeable characters, or you might prefer to add the ketchup of intricate plotting, or you might even best like to pair it with the raspberry jam of steamy romance! But most people will not appreciate eating nothing but the dry bread on its own.

Sorry, my metaphor might have gotten away with me there. I just have a lot of feels about how awful The Great Gatsby is, gdi, and how it is my least favourite of all the things I have ever had to read for a class and that includes the entirety of The History Of The Peloponnesian War which I fell asleep once while reading.

(maybe I would have a new least favourite if I’d actually done all the readings for my 3rd year lit course in university, because I had some fairly divergent opinions from my prof on what makes for good literature, but you know, The Great Gatsby might still have given those books a pretty strong run for their money.)

(also that lit class gives me another example to add to this conversation: Wuthering Heights. MY GOD EVERYONE IN THAT BOOK IS AN AWFUL HUMAN BEING, but it is so very compelling anyways. I mean yeah, I got distracted halfway through and never finished, but I do that even with books I adore in every single way (cf: HMS Surprise by Patrick O’Brian, and how it took me a year and a half to read….), so it’s not like that’s a comment on the quality of the book’s compellingness)

Two memes!

Jul. 20th, 2011 12:01 pm
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Two meme things, from [ profile] justice_turtle! The first one involves her asking me five questions, which I am now answering, and if you want five questions from me, then reply to this post requesting five questions. And the second one is the "marry, shag, cliff" one, so if you want in on that, then reply asking for three people. Or you can request both! Or neither! It's all good!

In which I answer questions about my default icon, stealth space mennos, my favourite book, remembering songs, WWII, and a band AU of SGA )

In which I choose which out of Lord Peter Wimsey, Loki, and Rodney McKay I would shag, cliff, and marry )


Jun. 19th, 2011 09:35 pm
sophia_sol: Geoffrey with his head resting on a podium, with text saying "headdesk" (S&A: Geoffrey: *headdesk*)

My iPod, which I got new for christmas THIS YEAR, has randomly decided to die on me. Raven King, how could you DO this to me? Well -- I guess that's what I get for naming my iPod after such an inscrutable sort of dude? Maybe I have to wait for two magicians to return to England, and then my iPod will start working again. :D

So I'm going to take the Raven King to the store and see if anything can be done about it. But first I need my parents to mail me the receipt. And Canada Post is on strike right now, so mail service? A leetle bit shaky, as I discovered when I tried (and failed) to post a letter yesterday. GODDAMNIT WORLD, why you gotta do this to me?

So I'm going to be iPodless for a while, probably. Which SUCKS, because how else am I supposed to survive going jogging regularly? I NEEDS MY MUSIC TO LIVE.

Okay. Um. What can I say that will end this post on a cheery note?

HAPPY VID REC, that's what. Multifandom! You don't need to know any of the fandoms! It is a vid about DANCING and HAVING FUN and it is HAPPY-MAKING. Celebrate 'cause that's all I know, by catemonster. ENJOY. I'm off to go watch it again myself.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Thing One: Dude. DUDE. *dies laughing* So a comment in response to a Dresden Files fic I was reading said something about how angry Harry's subconscious must be with him at a particular point in the fic. And I grinned, and was like, yeah, probably. Then today I started reading Fool Moon (aka Book Two of the series) and spoilers )

Thing Two: So, here's a minor matter of etiquette/custom/what-have-you. When posting to dreamwidth and crossposting to LJ, what does one do when linking to old posts of one's? Link to the DW version exclusively? The LJ version exclusively? The DW version if it was posted since moving to DW, and the LJ version if it dates to before the switch to DW? The DW version on DW and then go and edit the LJ post to have a link to the LJ version instead? Some other option that I've managed to not consider? Aaaaaah! Obviously some of these options are more viable than others, and also obviously each choice says something specific about one's policies and/or opinions about the respective sites. And I don't know what I want to be saying! WHAT TO DO.

Thing Three: So Dinah introduced me the other day to this trailer to a new movie based on Beauty and the Beast. And you know I'm a sucker for fairy tales. And, weirdly, this movie actually looks kind of promising! I mean, it could still turn into all kinds of bad news in its execution, since stories like Beauty and the Beast are just ripe with possibilities for fail, but -- I like what I can see of it in the trailer. Am I just crazy or is there actual promise in here?

My biggest problems with it )

Um. Apparently I have more reservations than I thought. But I'm still intrigued! (also, NEIL PATRICK HARRIS. Hopefully the movie makes good use of him!)

Thing Four: I'm pretty sure I've decided to just go with the Raven King as the name for my iPod. I keep on trying other names on for size, and I keep coming back to that one. So the Raven King it is, despite the gaudy case.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Thing One: It probably should not come as a surprise to you that I have something of a thing for pairings involving a dubiously moral dude and the boyscout he loves. I now have a new pairing to add to my list.... (John Marcone: probably these are spoilers. I'm bad at judging ) I would never want to meet him in real life but I LOVE HIM SO MUCH.)

Speaking of which, I don't really recommend the practice of diving headfirst into fic for a literary canon, and happening to read one of the actual canonical books in the middle of all this fic. You WILL forget which things happened in the book and which happened in the various fics you've read. Or at least you will if you're me. Oops?

Thing Two: When I first noticed AO3's new "kudos" feature, I was all "bzuh? what is this?" but now that I have figured it out I am STARRY-EYED IN LOVE. It means I get more people telling me they enjoyed my fics, which feels lovely. But more importantly, it fixes my eternal dilemma of: loved this fic! Should tell author so! But leaving a comment that just says "love this fic" feels awfully perfunctory and not actually full of love, so I need to compose a longer and more heartfelt comment! But ahhhh that is stressful and effort so most of the time I won't do it, I'll just leave the fic sitting open in a tab for ages glaring at me with a guilt-inducing stare! Eventually I will give up and just bookmark it, and never leave a peep in comment!

Now it goes: loved this fic! Should tell author so! *clicks the kudos button* Mission accomplished!

(Already I've begun feeling the lack when I read fics on LJ and DW...)

Thing Three: My exciting christmas gift of awesome: an iPod! But now I have to name it, obviously. I've been thinking hard for the last week about what I should name it. It needs an awesome name, that's at least slightly fannish, and also relevant to what it is. My computer, for instance, is Bunbury -- somewhere I go when I'm ostensibly being Responsible, but is really mostly for having fun. I'm thinking of naming my iPod The Raven King (or John Uskglass, or The Nameless Slave; the last thought rather amuses me), on account of the way that shiny new technology like this is mostly a magical mystery unto me. But the protective covering on my iPod is sky blue, which is not particularly Raven Kingish. I feel like he'd object kind of strongly. I have also considered naming it McKay, on account of it being scientific and musical and convinced it's better than me, but for some reason despite it fitting I'm not in love with this name possibility. Do any of you have any brilliant suggestions?


Jan. 5th, 2011 11:52 pm
sophia_sol: Jack Aubrey lifting a glass, with text that says "I'll drink to that" (M&C: Jack: I'll drink to that)
Third post in my "but THIS should be my first post upon returning from vacation!" series: YULETIDE!

So I was lucky enough to two full-length stories AND a treat this Yuletide, for three different fandoms -- so basically I got fic for ALL of the reasonably-accessible fandoms I requested this Yuletide!

My assigned fic was The Redemption of Sam McGee, by [ profile] Isis, and it totally thrilled me. I'd managed to figure out before the 25th that my fic was going to be for Cremation of Sam McGee, given that when a "mystery work" appeared under my gifts there was exactly one fic each for two of the fandoms I'd requested, and I knew that the day before, there'd been exactly one fic for one of the fandoms I'd requested. But it was still a mystery to me just what would be done with it -- and I can say unequivocally that this was not what I expected, though I really should have expected to be surprised, given how open-ended my request for this fandom was! This fic is a lovely look at Robert Service the author, and the real-life dude from whom Service borrowed the name "Sam McGee", and the ways in which the poem haunted McGee.

It's clear from the fic that the author wrote with a strong knowledge of Service, and that made me happy. Because as much as I love Cremation of Sam McGee (AND I LOVE IT!), I also just plain love Service. Yay!

AND, as a bonus, the fic ended with an extra two stanzas to act as a coda to the original poem, and those stanzas are just PERFECT.

My surprise extra yuletide fic was Wedding Day, by [ profile] chiana606, for Little Women. And -- Little Women fic! About all sorts of favourite characters of mine from the sequels! Featuring an asexual Nan, who is a competent and awesome doctor! (NAN ILU) And female friendships! And Tommy/Dora! And hints at Bess/Dan (or at least Bess/Dan angst...!) Getting to wallow with joy in spending time with these characters is awesome. *happy sigh*

And then my treat was Long Distance, by [ profile] AriadnesThread, for Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, just a short little look at Arabella and Jonathan's relationship after the novel: HE DOESN'T FORGET HER, despite wandering off to be all magicy and academicy with Norrell! YAY! (the only tragic thing is that it is so short, because now I want to know MORE. But it is a nicely self-contained ficlet, and that is just me being selfish.)

I also wrote a fic this yuletide (obviously), and now I can reveal it! My fic was As The Sea Will Allow, written for [ profile] echoinautumn, for Fairy Tales, and it's a modern day Canadian femslash adaption of the story of the selkie. (I know -- I said after my last fic that I would never again title a fic after a song. I lied.)

It was SO WONDERFUL to get to spend all this time in a fandom in which I last wrote anything probably at LEAST five years ago, a fandom that was my FIRST EVER FANNISH LOVE (Oh fairy tales how I love you!). It's nice to write for it with a bit of actual, you know, writing skill. I was pleased with how it came out! Though mildly distressed the whole time at how long the thing insisted on being. I started writing it and knew almost immediately that it would end up longer than my then-longest fic (my 5000ish word long Inception fic), and I was a bit worried it would end up being more in the range of 10,000 words. Thankfully the latter didn't happen, but I was right about it becoming my longest fic.

I found this fic really hard and really easy to write in multiple ways. cut for minor spoilers for the fic )

It helped that my recipient was really easygoing, and basically wanted ANYTHING about one of the four fairytales they'd requested. That might have been intimidatingly open-ended to me in another fandom, but the idea for this fic just dropped into my mind (because: FAIRY TALES! YAY!) and OFF I WENT.

In conclusion: Yuletide is awesome, both in the giving and the receiving. AS ADVERTISED!
sophia_sol: From Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Joseph looking happy with his coat spread out behind him (JatATD: Joseph's happiness plus coat)
Dear Yuletide Writer:

I am so thrilled and happy and excited to know that you are going to be writing me a shiny fic in one of my fandoms. I already know you have excellent taste, since you love one of my beloved fandoms as well, so have no fear that I will adore whatever it is you write for me. If you are the sort of person whose inspiration gets stifled when given an overload of information, then stop reading right now and run faaaaaaar away, because I tend to get very long-winded when I am excited about something. I am sorry!

But if you want further details about what I am especially jonesing for, well, I am happy to share! Also feel free to stalk the rest of my LJ for further details about me if you feel so inclined; none of it is flocked!

The rest of my letter is split into two sections: the first section is Things Which Apply To All Fandoms, and the second section is Things About Each Specific Fandom.



And that is all, O Wondrous Author! I look forward with great anticipation to see what you will come up with for me! I hope you have fun with this.

With much love,

PS: There is a good chance that I will not have the ability to read my gift until a number of days after Christmas, so do not feel bad if I do not comment on your story for several days after it's posted -- it simply means I haven't had the chance to read it it yet!
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
As a further part of the fandom appreciation challenge, here are three recs of fics that are older than six months. I WOULD make them all recs of stuff from my biggest fandom, just for a change of pace, but I haven't got far enough back yet in my Delicious organization project to have reached all the SGA fics yet. So instead you're getting an extremely random hodge-podge.

Strange's Country, by [ profile] concernedlily. This is a Supernatural/Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell crossover. Weirdest crossover ever, maybe, but it works so well. I'm not even a Supernatural fan and I still fell head over heels in love with this fic. It doesn't really use the characters from Strange & Norrell, but draws on the mythology from it, and incorporates it so perfectly into the paradigm of the show. Bottom line: this fic is amazing. It's also, um, really long. Like, over 50k words. BUT TOTALLY WORTH IT.

Love Like A Djelibeybian, by [ profile] gehayi. This is a Discworld fic, specifically for the book Pyramids. It's about Ptraci as Pharaoh, and what an awesome job she does of it too. And also about how she manipulates the country into letting her marry her female lover. Mmm, I do love Ptraci.

A Foolish Wit, by [ profile] petronelle. This is a Slings & Arrows fic, and Sloan-centric. Sloan helps Oliver finally find resolution in telling Geoffrey how he feels, through writing a play together. It's so great to look at the show from the perspective of someone who ISN'T overly-intellectual and Shakespeare-obsessed -- it's not a perspective one often gets to see. But this shows how Sloan really is a wonderful person, more so maybe than some of the people who are more "intelligent" than him.

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