gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
I am hennaing my hair on a warm Los Angeles afternoon. We recently had a brutal heat wave (complete with wildfires), but things have calmed down. Next week it looks like we may even have a spate of early autumn weather, though I'm sure we'll have another blast of heat before Halloween. Meanwhile I am thinking of Hurricane Irma and hoping my friends in Florida weather the storm easily. I can't even get my mind around the devastation the hurricane has already caused.

A few days ago Patti Smith's slim new book Devotion appeared on my tablet. It is half fiction, half memoir / meditation on writing, and I gobbled it up far too quickly.
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
I am hennaing my hair on a warm Los Angeles afternoon. I really need to get a haircut before next month's Henna Day, as the process is getting unwieldy.

Last night I watched Daughters of the Dust for the first time, and I'm still wowing about it today.

The other day I finished reading the Feminist Press edition of Violette Leduc's Thérèse and Isabelle, and now I'm once again deeply annoyed that Leduc's letters haven't been translated into English.
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
I am hennaing my hair on an autumnal LA afternoon. The political situation continues to evolve in alarming and surreal ways. It's shaping up to be a very strange holiday season.

I finally finished reading the wonderful Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life, which I began before the election. I'm not sure what I feel like reading next, which is to say I'm not sure what will keep my attention off of politics for more than a few minutes at a time.

I probably should be watching a lot more horror movies.
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
My poem "Champagne Ivy," inspired by Rouben Mamoulian's 1931 film of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, is now live at Mythic Delirium.

Here are a couple of terrific interviews with two of my favorite writers: Marilyn Hacker on Moving Between Poetry and Translation and Interview with Dodie Bellamy.
gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
It is Henna Day, in the midst of a spate of lovely autumnal LA days. (Another heat wave is scheduled for later this week.) Yesterday I baked pumpkin scones (from a Trader Joe's mix), and they are delicious.

The election is three weeks away, and I'm on edge, though at least the polls are encouraging.

I'm enjoying the new Shirley Jackson biography (Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin), which is full of amazing information, such as the fact that "Jackson tried to structure a story around a potato kugel recipe."
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
It is Henna Day, and we are currently not having a heat wave, though I wish it were cooler.

I am very happy with the results of the 2016 Hugo Awards (The Fifth Season!, Binti!, Uncanny!, etc., etc.), aside from the ways the Puppy shenanigans impinged on the ballot. I hope the Puppies give it a rest next year, though I said that last year.

I'm reading Shirley Jackson's The Lottery and Other Stories. Also I'm rereading Chris Kraus's I Love Dick, which I last read when it came out in 1997. Friday night I watched Jill Soloway's Amazon pilot loosely based on the book and disliked it rather a lot, though everyone else is praising it. I immediately reached for my copy of the book, which made me dislike the TV version even more. (Since it's such a loose adaptation, I might have been able to appreciate it on its own terms more if Soloway had gone whole hog and changed the title of the show and the characters' names.)
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
It is Henna Day, on a fairly hot day in Los Angeles. But 91 degrees F doesn't feel like much compared to last weekend, when it was around 112 degrees in my neighborhood. I hope we don't have any more extreme heatwaves this summer.

I have watched season four of Orange Is the New Black. Until the last couple of episodes, I might have said it was my favorite season, but I had issues with the storytelling decisions towards the end of the season. I wasn't spoiled, but I was prepared for Something Extremely Upsetting by nonspoilery reactions on Twitter. I'm not sure whether the storytelling decisions were warranted or merely gratuitous and ill-advised, but I'm leaning towards the latter.

I'm reading and loving the final volume of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan series. I've tried to space the books out so I wouldn't finish the series too quickly. I suppose eventually I can try Ferrante's earlier work.
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
I am hennaing my hair on a hot Los Angeles afternoon. We've had cold (for LA) weather, along with some rain, but now it's hot and bone-dry. Yesterday I finally got a long-overdue haircut, which I'm especially pleased about now that the weather has veered into summer.

I mentioned in a previous post that I have a poem in the latest issue of The Cascadia Subduction Zone, but when my paper copy arrived the other day, I read Julie Phillips' essay "'I Begin to Meet You at Last': On the Tiptree-Russ-Le Guin Correspondence," and it's fantastic. (It looks like you can watch Phillips read the essay here; there's also a link on the page to video of Ursula Le Guin reading the letter she wrote to Alice Sheldon after she "came out" as Tiptree.)
gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
I am hennaing my hair a day early, as tomorrow we're supposed to have a storm (after a few weeks of bone-dry, unseasonably warm weather). Since the last time we had a big storm, my power went out, I figured it would be best to get Henna Day over with ahead of time, just in case. I hope the power stays on this time.

Later I will get back to reading Elena Ferrante's The Story of a New Name, which I am loving.

(Also, I am still obsessed with Hamilton.)
gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
It is Henna Day, and we're having another mini heat wave (typical of Los Angeles in September). My kitchen is stocked with Trader Joe's pumpkin products, but it doesn't feel quite right to consume them in 99 degree weather. (However, I have made a pot of pumpkin spice coffee and eaten some pumpkin-ginger ice cream cookies.)

Fortunately I got my hair cut yesterday, which is helping me cope with the heat.

I am currently reading several books, including the new Shirley Jackson collection Let Me Tell You, Dodie Bellamy's new book of essays When the Sick Rule the World, and C.S.E. Cooney's Bone Swans. I'm planning to read a bunch of ghost stories in October.
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
It is Henna Day on a pleasant warmish LA afternoon. Yesterday I had another fun afternoon on Vermont Ave.: a browse at Skylight Books (where I succumbed and bought the new Penguin edition of Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber with introduction by Kelly Link, even though I already have Carter's collected stories), followed by a matinee of Mad Max: Fury Road, and dinner takeout from Juicy Burger.

Frenetically explodey films aren't usually my cup of tea, but Fury Road won me over with its awesome, mostly female characters and its fire guitar, to the point that I think I need to see it again.
gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
I am hennaing my hair on a pleasant LA day, after a spate of unwelcome heat. Also unwelcome was the smallish earthquake that woke me (and half of LA) around 4 a.m. last night.

Yesterday was both Free Comic Book Day and Independent Bookstore Day. I somewhat failed at Free Comic Book Day. There was a line around the block at Legacy Comics on a blazing hot Glendale day, and I hadn't eaten yet; I eventually opted to forgo the free stuff so I could go inside the air-conditioned store (and then go home and make brunch).

My Independent Bookstore Day trip to Skylight Books was much more successful. I bought the new book of Kathy Acker letters. After the bookstore, I went next door to the Los Feliz 3 to see the very impressive and intelligent Ex Machina. After which, I got a delicious burger and fries from Juicy Burger (conveniently located between Skylight Books and the movie theater). Days like this are part of why I enjoy living in Los Angeles (in spite of earthquakes).
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
My short story "In Lieu of a Thank You" (originally published in Strange Horizons), will appear in The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk. The table of contents is here.

Speaking of Strange Horizons, they're having their yearly fund drive, with bonus content (including poetry by Rose Lemberg and Emily Jiang, and stories by Alex Dally MacFarlane and Ann Leckie) and prizes!
gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
It is Henna Day, on a gorgeous weekend in Los Angeles. The weather isn't quite autumnal, but at least we're no longer having a heat wave. (For now.) To celebrate the lack of sweltering weather, I've been buying pumpkin products at Trader Joe's. (I love their pumpkin butter.)

I'm nearly done reading Patty Templeton's There Is No Lovely End. It is turning out to be one my favorite books of 2014.
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
Today is Henna Day. We've been having summer heat, but this morning was overcast. It even rained in other parts of town, but not here in Silver Lake, alas.

Yesterday I drove to broiling Glendale for another trip to Brand Bookshop (which is supposed to close in about a month). Their stock is now selling for 70% off, with no tax. I browsed while Clara Schumann and Mozart played on the radio, and bought books by Sylvia Townsend Warner (the Virago edition of Summer Will Show), Madeleine L'Engle and Karen Joy Fowler. I really wish the store weren't closing. Also, I wish it were autumn already.
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
Wow, I'm posting two days in a row. It's Henna Day, on a mild summer LA afternoon. I've been reading Mary Shelley's The Last Man as preparation for a Readercon panel.

Yesterday I had some sad news: Brand Bookshop, one of my favorite bookstores, is closing. An old-school used bookstore located in downtown Glendale, it will be much missed. I've been going there for over twenty years and have spent many happy hours there. It's hard to imagine Los Angeles without it.
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
I got home from Madison last night, after an epic day of travel (resulting from my original flight being canceled due to weather). Wiscon was excellent, especially getting to hang out with my friends, including [personal profile] nwhepcat, [personal profile] oracne, [personal profile] cafenowhere and many others. The panel and reading I participated in were both a lot of fun (especially the reading, with [personal profile] cafenowhere, Patty Templeton, and [personal profile] shadesong). N.K. Jemisin's and Hiromi Goto's Guest of Honor speeches were very powerful.

Books I bought at the con:

Women Scientists in Fifties Science Fiction Films by Bonnie Noonan
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
Re-Generating WisCon edited by Rebecca J. Holden
Naomi Mitchison: A Profile of Her Life and Work by Lesley A. Hall

Also I bought a beautiful necklace by [personal profile] elisem entitled "Pink Ladies of the Singularity."

I may have eaten more cheese and drank more alcohol than I usually do at Wiscon. Fried cheese curds plus a giant gin beverage are an ill-advised combination, but I was relatively unscathed.
gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
It is Henna Day, at the tail end of an annoyingly unseasonable heat wave. Yesterday I went to Skylight Books for California Bookstore Day. Then I headed to Legacy Comics in Glendale for Free Comic Book Day, but there was a line out the door and down the block, and it was broiling out, so I threw in the towel and drove back home. I'm glad so many people showed up for the events, though.

A week ago I managed to crack a tooth on a blueberry pancake. (To be fair, if it hadn't been the pancakes, it probably would've been the next thing I ate.) I've finally more or less adjusted to the ill-fitting (both too short and too wide) temporary cap on my tooth. Hopefully it will stay put until I get the permanent cap in a week and a half.

In other weird health news, apparently they're having cases of mumps in Madison, so I got a blood test for mumps immunity. Depending on the results, I may get a booster shot this week. In happier pre-Wiscon news, I've been rereading The Female Man for a panel. It's been over twenty years since I'd read it, and possibly I just wasn't ready for it the first time, because I'm enjoying it vastly more this time around.

I am getting quite close to the end of the Jo book revisions. Yay!
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
Scott Miller died a year ago today. I didn't find out until two days later, and my response was, "I can't believe it." I can scarcely believe it a year later. He was only fifty-three. (His cause of death has never been disclosed online--in an attempt, I believe, to protect his two young children from ghoulishness--though he was open about his struggles with depression.)

I knew Scott only slightly. I saw his band the Loud Family play a few times between 1995-2000. I interviewed him over the phone for the Bay Area New Times in 1998. It was the rock interview I was most pleased (and overawed) to get to do. He was unassuming and humorous, as well as vastly intelligent. Much later, we were Facebook friends. (Unbelievably, both my Facebook friends named Scott are now dead. Today I find myself imagining Scott Miller and poet Scott Wannberg arguing about music and books in heaven.) [Edited to add: It occurs to me now that I do have a living Facebook friend named Scott! But he goes under a different name on Facebook, which is why I forgot.]

Scott Miller's music meant, and means, so much to me, as does his book about pop music, Music: What Happened? Today hurts, as I knew it would.

gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
It is Henna Day, on a warmish Los Angeles day. We have had a spate of unseasonably cool (for us) weather, and are apparently about to have a mini heatwave. So long as we keep not having more earthquakes, I'm okay with this.

Once again I have not posted here in nearly a month, though I keep meaning to post about books. A few books I have recently finished reading:

Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson. This is early Jackson, and she hasn't quite worked out her style yet. The novel (mostly set at a college supposedly based on Bennington) doesn't quite work as a narrative, especially compared to the ultra-propulsive style of, say, The Haunting of Hill House. Weirdly, the book suddenly kicks into Quintessential Jackson, with bonus paranoia, in the last thirty pages or so. The book is peppered with some amazing set-pieces, like this one about the posters at a movie theater: "One of the pictures showed a glorious scene between a man in a cowboy hat and uncomfortable pistols, who backed against a door to face a darker, equally weaponful villain; in the background a damsel wrung her hands and all three seemed to turn anxiously to the camera, which alone could justify the violent emotions they ravished themselves to feel. It was plain from the picture that it was near the end of the day; the sun was setting dramatically outside the backdrop window; the hero had the look of one who would shortly remove his guns and his spurs and go home in a car he had bought but could not afford; the heroine seemed to be thinking, under her beautiful look of fear and concern, that perhaps she should keep the children out of school until this chicken-pox scare was over." (Weaponful is my new favorite word.)

Death in Midsummer and Other Stories by Yukio Mishima (loaned to me by Lyman). "Patriotism," in which an army officer and his wife have sex for the last time and then commit ritual suicide, is probably the story that stood out most for me, though I found it hard to read. A story I liked a lot was "Onnagata," about the infatuation of a kabuki actor for the clueless director of his latest play.

The Little Disturbances of Man by Grace Paley. I am a huge fan of Paley's later short story collections (Enormous Changes at the Last Minute and Later the Same Day), but in the past I bounced off her first book (aside from a few stories like "Goodbye and Good Luck"). I finally made it through the whole book, and I see why I bounced off. Unlike Shirley Jackson, Paley nailed down her style early on, but it took her awhile to fully figure out her subject matter and, maybe more importantly, her approach toward her subjects. Or maybe it's that Paley succeeds most fully as a writer of middle-aged and old characters, rather than young ones.

Books I'm reading at the moment include: Hild by Nicola Griffith, Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire, and The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino.

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