osprey_archer: (window)
What I’ve Just Finished Reading

A. R. Luria’s The Making of Mind, which is an interesting account of Luria’s various psychological experiments (I found the one comparing the descriptions of geometrical figures given by illiterate peasants and literate townsfolk particularly interesting), but frustrating short on any personal details. And by frustratingly short, I mean that the personal details are so emphatically absent that the copy I read had an afterward by the translator wherein he gives a capsule summary of Luria’s life, because otherwise the reader wouldn’t know such basic facts as, say, whether Luria was married.

It’s a very different approach to autobiography than the one that I’m used to. It’s an interesting book as a snapshot of psychology, but not worth reading if you’re hoping to glean any background details about the early Soviet Union.

What I’m Reading Now

I started Andy Weir’s The Martian, but then I got ambushed by Cara Nicoletti’s Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way through Great Books, which is essentially a series of vignettes (each accompanied by a recipe) about food in great literature. There is, say, a chapter about bread in Les Miserables, Mary Lenox’s relationship to food in The Secret Garden, and those unforgettable meals in The Boxcar Children.

It’s interesting - and almost all of the recipes sound like food I would actually enjoy eating, which is unusual in food books (I’m particularly attracted to the Gingerbread Cake with Blood Orange Syrup recipe in the chapter about Hansel and Gretel) - but I think the chapters would benefit from being a bit longer, with a higher ratio of literary analysis to personal recollection.

I also think that someone needed to proofread this book a bit better, or indeed at all. The copy-editing is fine, but in the very first chapter Nicoletti refers to Laura’s father in the Little House series as “Pa Wilder.” Ingalls! Laura’s maiden name is Ingalls! This is only stated approximately fifty times in every single book in the entire series!

She also claims that Les Miserables “mostly takes place in 1815, just fifteen years after Marie Antoinette reportedly declared ‘Let them eat cake’ upon hearing the peasants had no bread to eat,” which packs a lot of wrongness into one sentence. Only a very small part of Les Miserables takes place in 1815, and even if the whole damn book took place then, you could not call that “fifteen years” after Marie Antoinette made her unfortunate alleged cake statement, because that was an inciting rumor at the beginning of the Revolution, which started in 1789.

It rather undermines my confidence with Nicoletti starts writing about books that I’m not familiar with. What basic facts might she be getting wrong about The Bell Jar ot The Hours?

But the food descriptions make me very hungry, so there is that.

What I Plan to Read Next

I’m going to finish The Martian. I also have L. M. Montgomery’s The Golden Road and Marie Brennan’s Voyage of the Basilisk, the library having come through in spades on my holds, so I’m rather spoiled for choice.
osprey_archer: (food)
Happy Halloween, everyone! It is a very cold Halloween here: I'm sitting inside watching snow fall past the sliding glass door. I suspect the prospective trick-or-treaters are undergoing agonies: I remember one Halloween, when I was a kindergartner, when thunderstorm succeeded thunderstorm all evening long and we only had time to trick-or-treat on one street. Awful!

Regardless of the weather, I had an excellent day at work today. My coworkers dressed up as Hansel, Gretel, and the witch, which was fun: we totally got a photo of Gretel pushing the witch in the oven as Hansel beamed in the background. It was pretty sweet.

And! And I got my [livejournal.com profile] trickortreatex stories! Four of them. Most exciting!

First, my gift story: Return to Innocence, Pirates of the Caribbean, Philip/Syrena,PG. This is about Syrena the mermaid and Philip the missionary, who were clearly the most interesting part of the entire movie: I know Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz did some stuff, but really, the mermaid/missionary love story is where it's at.

Second, an adorable Les Miserables ficlet: Thankfulness, Eponine/Cosette (Eponine => Cosette?), PG. Cosette gives Eponine an eclair, thereby winning her heart forever and also making me really, really want an eclair, because it sounds so delicious.

And two Rome fics! First, The Haunting of Lucius Vorenus, Antony/Vorenus (in a dream), briefly R. Antony is dead and far away in Egypt, but even now that he's returned to Rome, his spirit haunts Vorenus's dreams.

And finally, an adorable ficlet Preparing for War, Rome, PG. The author summarized it as Antony sizes up the newest recruit; but Vorenus is clearly sizing up Antony in return.
osprey_archer: (les Miz)
Title: Angels and Demons
Fandom: Les Miserables
Pairings: Enjolras/France, Grantaire's massive unrequited crush on Enjolras
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: So not mine. :(
Prompt: [livejournal.com profile] hc_bingo, bruises
Summary: Enjolras's new mistress is the female personification of France - or so he says. Grantaire thinks she might be an evil spirit.

Soul fics

Oct. 13th, 2013 12:04 am
osprey_archer: (window)


I happen to have two fics to rec that have the word soul in the title, so I thought, hey, I should rec them together! Never mind they are not even slightly alike!

Title: Whatever our souls are made of
Author: [livejournal.com profile] dollsome
Fandom: Gilmore Girls
Pairing: unrequited (so far) Paris/Rory
Rating: G
Word Count: 3571
Warnings: None
Summary: Edward Cullen tries to woo Rory. Paris does not approve.

Excerpt: “Exactly,” Rory agrees. “When I first read Wuthering Heights when I was nine—”

“Of course you were nine,” Paris grumbles, and suddenly feels like an eleven year old failure.

“—my mom pitched it as the greatest horror story ever told. And that Kate Bush song definitely helped to back up her stance.”

Paris considers her. “You’re suspiciously un-delusional for someone raised in Avonlea.”

“You’re suspiciously good at off-the-cuff Anne of Green Gables references,” Rory counters, “considering you’re, you know, evil.”


Why I loved it: In the days of yore when I watched Gilmore Girls, I was all about Rory/Jess, but fic has totally sold me on Rory/Paris. Both brilliant, both driven, one hiding it (Rory) behind her sweetness and the other (Paris) an intense steamroller with no social skills? Sign me up.

And this fic has perfect Paris voice, and perfect Rory-and-Paris repartee - it was so hard choosing just one excerpt for you! The whole thing is hilarious! “THIS IS THE SKIN OF A KILLER, RORY,” Edward shouts - ugh, it is just so perfect, go read it!


Title: A Digression on Selling Souls
Author: athousandwinds on AO3
Fandom: Les Miserables/Fallen London: Echo Bazaar, but I’m not familiar with the second and I still got the fic.
Pairing: It’s a little bit Enjolras/Grantaire, but not very much.
Rating: PG
Word Count: 2537
Warnings: None
Summary: Lost in the winding streets of Fallen Paris, Grantaire considers selling his soul. Enjolras objects, verbosely.

Excerpt: Grantaire laughed too loudly, but he couldn't help himself. "What is there that you of all people expect me to understand? I am no Keats; my art has always been devoted to eliding that which is true in pursuit of that which is beautiful."

Why I loved it: Fic with philosophical argument, you guys! This should totally be more common. The philosophical flights and verbal agility are really impressive, and this is one of the few fics that managed to sell on on Enjolras/Grantaire as a semi-healthy relationship while keeping them in character.
osprey_archer: (art)
Fic: Second Chances
Fandom: Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
Rating: PG-13
Prompt: [livejournal.com profile] hc_bingo, free space, for the prompt "learning to be loved"
Sequel to Requiem, though I don't think you need to read the first to understand the second.
Summary: Eponine intends to go back to the streets after telling Cosette about Marius's death. But Fauchelevent insists on trying to talk her out of it.

Also on AO3: Second Chances

Second Chances )
osprey_archer: (Les Miz)
Lo, I stand before you a god among men! For I have finished reading Les Miserables!

Eventually I will have coherent thoughts about other things that happened in the book, specifically EPONINE, who remains my favorite, because she is so deliciously messed up, poor Eponine, I want to write all the AUs where she lives.

I think the simplest way is to have Marius get shot by the soldier that Eponine stops in the book. Thus Marius won't save the barricade; it will fall quite early on. Unlucky Enjolras will be deprived of his glorious last stand, but he will get to shoot Javert, as Valjean won't be there to save anyone...

BUT FIRST I HAVE TO VENT MY FEELINGS ABOUT THIS ENDING which will of course involve spoilers spoilers, all the spoilers, though probably unless you are living under a rock you know how Les Mis ends by now... )

IN CONCLUSION: I now need to decide which French classic to read next. Should I stick with Hugo, who (despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that he makes me write screeds about some of his decision) is clearly a winner, and read The Hunchback of Notre Dame? Or should I branch out into Dumas with The Count of Monte Cristo, and thus consider the "prisoner who escapes unjust imprisonment" genre from a different angle?
osprey_archer: (tea)
A thunderstorm at teatime! It cleared the air and cooled the world enough that I could in fact have tea, which was lovely. (I was organizing my tags last night, and you guys, I had not realized how much I post about tea. Which reminds me, assuming that no one falls deathly ill over night, tomorrow I am having an Oreo tea with Emma and Rick. Did you guys know there are watermelon Oreos? I wouldn't have believed it either, but I have photographic proof!

Watermelon Oreos ahoy! )

However, they will not be gracing tomorrow's tea. We got a bag yesterday, and they taste sort of like Jolly Ranchers or watermelon bubblegum, which makes them oddly refreshing...but mostly odd. We shall be having peanut butter Oreos instead.)

But back to my thunderstorm tea! Usually I read something with my tea, and I considered reading more Les Miserables. I have achieved page nine hundred! The end is in sight! Okay, three hundred pages away; but still, on the horizon.

Marius has dropped the creepy stalker baton, Eponine has picked it up, Marius finally went to see his grandfather, who offered him money, which Marius refused even though it would have allowed him to be happy with Cosette because Marius is just special like that -

- and now he is marching off to the barricades. Everyone is going to die there, and as such I find myself loathe to go on reading.

So instead I read Alexandre Dumas fils novel Camille (which is also called The Lady of the Camellias, which has the advantage of actually making sense), which at a mere two hundred pages seemed breathlessly svelte. Also, compared to Les Mis, rather slight: it tells the tragic tale of a young man who falls in love with a courtesan, believes himself betrayed by her, and realizes only too late how truly she loved him.

Naturally it was rather schlocky. But I was prepared for it to be failtastic (it's a French guy! Writing about women! Women who have sex! How many ways could this go wrong?), so schlocky was almost a relief.

It's had a ton of theatrical adaptations (including one with young Colin Firth), and I can see why. The outlines of the story overflow with feeling, and I suspect with good actors there's not a dry eye in the house by the end.

But the writing (or rather the translation): well, it's quite pacey, and I had a good time reading it - but that's just it; for a tragedy, I shouldn't be able to say "It's a fun book!", at least not without adding caveats of the "but in a soul-crushing way" variety. So it's a good read, but for me, at least, Dumas didn't quite accomplish what he meant to.
osprey_archer: (books)
What I Just Finished Reading

Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan, which I found unexpectedly compelling. Ivan is a gorilla who lives in a little cage in a mall circus that is slowly going bankrupt. The keeper decides to bring in a new attraction: a baby elephant, Ruby, to join Ivan’s ailing elephant friend Stella in an elephant act.

”A good zoo,” Stella says, “is a large domain. A wild cage. A safe place to be. It has room to roam and humans who don’t hurt.” She pauses, considering her words. “A good zoo is how humans make amends.”

A good zoo is their goal: they want to save Ruby from living this tiny cage life. It’s an economical book. Ivan writes short sentences and leaves a lot of white space on the page, but there’s a lot of story packed in those few sentences.

Humans waste words. They toss them like banana peels and leave them to rot.

Everyone knows the peels are the best part.


What I’m Reading Now

Back to Les Mis! Houston, we have an Eponine!

Also we have creepy stalker Marius. He doesn’t know Cosette’s name yet, but he stands under her apartment window at night and swoons when he sees a shadow on the wall that might be hers. Also he sees her in the park every day, and gets mad when the wind blows up her skirt. The hussy! How dare she stand in the wind so anyone could see her legs!

I just finished up with the scene where Grantaire goes to a tavern to Talk Revolution, and Enjolras walks by later and discovers that Grantaire is playing dominoes and not talking revolution at all. [livejournal.com profile] carmarthen, did you ever write that story where Grantaire (presumably after Enjolras drags him out of the tavern by his ear) waxes eloquent about the noble history of strip domino?

I’m also reading Jaclyn Moriarty’s I Have a Bed Made of Buttermilk Pancakes. Despite my devotion to Moriarty’s work I hadn’t heard of this book till recently, and I am beginning to suspect this was for good reason. Also, it seems to be the same book as The Spell Book of Listen Taylor? Like, parts of it were adapted to make Listen Taylor.

What I’m Reading Next

I am hoping to settle in and steamroll through the rest of Les Miserables, because I have only six more weeks of French class and one measly book is not a very good summer overview of French literature.

Plus of course I have more Newbery books. Except I forgot to bring Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising sequence with me when I visited my parent's house! Noooo, those were totally going to be my early morning tea books.

It is ridiculous that I have not read The Dark is Rising yet, I know. I did read Cooper's King of Shadows and The Boggart - I loved The Boggart ridiculously and rather turned up my nose at the inferior boggarts in Harry Potter.

King of Shadows and The Shakespeare Stealer are probably responsible for the fact that I automatically assume all things Shakespeare are cool. Also Becoming Rosemary, which quotes him liberally. I think possibly there is a children's book conspiracy to acclimate the young into an appreciation of Shakespeare - and a longstanding conspiracy, at that, stretching back to Laura Elizabeth Howe Richard's 1892 Captain January.
osprey_archer: (books)
Books I’ve Just Finished Reading

Amelia Atwater-Rhodes Promises to Keep. Atwater-Rhodes’s books are not what you might call “good,” but I keep reading them because they are ridiculously idtastic, although sadly nothing has quite reached the idtastic heights of Shattered Mirror. (Although Hawksong, featuring a political arranged marriage turned love match meant to reconcile two warring species of shapeshifter, got pretty close.)

So on about page five of Promises to Keep, our hero Jay Maranitch starts flirting with a vampire, who is all “So how about some homoerotic blood-sucking action,” to which Jay is like, “Sure,” because vampire-hunters in Atwater-Rhodes are always interested in vampire nookie - no, seriously, they always have vampire lovers. It’s kind of weird.

Jay, however, is apparently an exception to this rule! Because despite spending the book palling around dozens of vampires (well, okay, two vampires, but one of them calls Jay her “pretty witch,” come on), no one sucks Jay’s blood at all. I felt so cheated.

On the other hand, in Promises to Keep Atwater-Rhodes kind of blows up the social structure of her universe, so I have to give her some points of chutzpah.

Books I’m Reading Now

L. M. Boston’s The Rivers of Green Knowe, which is the third book in the...I hesitate to call it series, because this third book has swept away the characters of the first two as if they never existed. Where have Tolly and his grandmother Mrs. Oldknow gone? There doesn’t seem to be a big time gap between books to explain their disappearance.

As such, this book lacks the family history aspect that I so enjoyed in the first two books, where Tolly sees ghosts and learns their stories piecemeal. In its place we have a trio of children - Ida, Oskar, and Ping (whose real name is Hsu, which Oskar changes because he thinks it’s too hard to pronounce) who spend their days messing about in a canoe, finding hermits and giants and islands of winged horses.

I daresay in 1959 Ping’s existence in the book was rather progressive, especially given that he speaks proper English (rather than allegedly comical pidgen) and is no more or less comic than any of the others. (If anyone is wondering how he and indeed Oskar got to Green Knowe: they are refugee children.) But, uh, the other characters randomly changed his name. I am just saying.

Also Les Miserables. I have met the Amis! Grantaire sounds like the most annoying person in the history of the universe and also kind of a stalker! Enjolras is like, “Please go away, you are so annoying,” and Grantaire is like, “NEVER, I am just going to sit here and look at your face and bask in your ridiculous but nonetheless attractive ideals.”

(Maybe I should finish the Enjolras/Grantaire story by having Enjolras take out a restraining order.)

People in Hugo just seem to display their love via stalking; I still haven’t forgotten that scene where Valjean is like, “I don’t even know Cosette and have at this point no intention of adopting her, even though I just got her a super expensive present. But I think I’ll just creep around the Thenardiers’ house like a creeper to figure out where she sleeps, so I can watch her.”

What I Plan to Read Next

More Green Knowe! I intend to sweep through the entire series this summer. I save it for coolish days, when I can open up all the windows and read it in the cross-breeze while drinking tea.

Also Barry Hughart’s Bridge of Birds, because [livejournal.com profile] sineala recommended it to me and I am nothing if not malleable in the face of recommendations. Chinese inspired fantasy! It should be fun.
osprey_archer: (books)
What I’ve Just Finished Reading

Jaclyn Moriarty’s A Corner of White, but I have a proper review in the works for that, so I shall not detain us here any longer than to note that I quite liked the book.

Also L. M. Boston’s The Children of Green Knowe, which is the first of her Green Knowe series. I don’t know if the rest of the series is like this, but the first book is great as long as you’re cool with the fact that it is not so much a novel as a long, atmospheric, lovingly detailed description of a slightly magical country house full of History and of ghosts. But, like, nice ghosts, so it’s not like they contribute suspense.

I found it deliciously soothing, but I suspect if it’s not your cuppa then it’s deadly dull.

What I’m Reading Now

More Les Mis. Infinite Les Mis. I’m kind of stalling on it because we’re going to meet the Amis soon, and I suspect that once I read about the book canon Enjolras and Grantaire, I will be way too embarrassed to finish/continue my fic, and that would be a mean thing to do to my readers, whom I have already dragged through seven chapters of poor life choices and philosophical rambling.

HOWEVER possibly it will simply inspire me to finish the story, so I should really get on that.

What I Plan to Read Next

I have Grace Lin’s Starry River of the Sky, which I am saving for my visit home over Memorial Day weekend. Chinese folktale remix! With illustrations! I am excited!

Also Maureen Johnson’s 13 Little Blue Envelopes, because I have heard Maureen Johnson’s work mentioned hither and thither AND ALSO the book features European travel, so. Clearly a win-win.

Plus if I like her work, she has a ton of books, so I am clearly set for the rest of the summer. Except there are SO MANY BOOKS I want to read, you guys, how will I ever be able to prioritize???
osprey_archer: (books)
What I’ve Just Finished Reading

No novels since Unspoken. I did finish reading a history about the Beecher sisters - the Beechers of Harriet Beecher Stowe fame - which focuses mainly on Harriet’s little half-sister Isabella, who divided her energies between the suffrage movement and spiritualism. The Beecher family basically had their fingers stuck in every reformist pie in the entire nineteenth century.

Isabella was convinced that the Second Coming of Christ was imminent and when He returned, He would set her up as a ruler of the world called the Comforter. This has convinced most historians that she was utterly loopy, although she retained sufficient grasp on reality not merely to keep this particular delusion to herself - she confided it only to her spirit diary - but also to become a force in the suffrage movement, almost as important as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.

What I’m Reading Now

Still Les Mis. Valjean and Cosette are in a convent! Hugo decided to stop the action for twenty pages to tell us all about the history of the convent for ever and ever, world without end, amen. There is like a paragraph in there that pertains to the bit later where Valjean nearly gets buried alive, so clearly it was necessary.

Actually I am becoming fond of these digressions. I’ve always had a strange fondness for books when the author is like, “Now I am going to stop the action for a chapter and TELL LIKE A TELLING THING,” like that chapter near the beginning of High Wizardry where Duane outlines the life & philosophy of Dairine Callahan. (I don’t think I was supposed to respond, “Dairine, be my new role model!” Oh well.)

Oh, and we’re about to meet Marius! At least theoretically. Although I think we’re going to get fifty pages in which Hugo retells the last fifty years of French political history through the medium of Marius’s antecedents first.

What I Plan to Read Next

Jaclyn Moriarty’s A Corner of White.
osprey_archer: (Les Miz)
First week of French class: successfully completed! Here, let me share with you a poem we translated in class. (Yes, we are already translating poems. No wasting time here!)

Chanson d'automne
Paul Verlaine (1866)

The long sobs
of the violins
of the autumn
wound my heart
with a dull
lethargy.

All suffocating
and pale, when
the hour sounds
I remember
the old days
and I weep.

And I depart
on the ill wind
which carries me
hither, thither
like a
dead leaf.

Ah, nineteenth century poetry, how I love you and your wallowing in emotion. I want to name a story after this poem now. Technically it is too late for a Les Mis story, but eh, minor difficulties.

It occurs to me that, though moderns tend to criticize people of the 19th century (although perhaps not so much the 19th century French) for being repressed - the main criticism of this sort of Romantic poem is that it's too much, too over-the-top, too unrestrained.

***

We've also started reading excerpts from Le Comte de Monte Cristo. I think they must be simplified, but I'm not sure...Does Monte Cristo have ridiculously short chapters?

And what is it with nineteenth century French authors and prisons, you guys? Is there any other literary tradition quite this obsessed with prisons?

***

Have not progressed on Les Mis since we last spoke. However, I do come bearing a pair of Eponine & Cosette stories (which might also be read as Eponine/Cosette, although I kind of think they're tagged that way because pairing stories get more readers. Certainly if I can possibly tag a story as a pairing story, I always do.)

Recs recs )
osprey_archer: (books)
What I’ve Just Finished Reading

Frances Hodgson Burnet’s A Lady of Quality, which is interesting in part because it is such a contrast to Emily in The Making of a Marchioness. Emily’s chief quality is her good cheer, her patience, and her massive, massive gratitude once her Marquis proposes to her.

I get why she’s so grateful - she was looking at a long and lonely life and a probably-poverty-stricken death otherwise - but still, sometimes I just wanted to say to her, “Have a little self respect! Or at least do something to make me think there’s more to your relationship with the really rather selfish marquis than the fact that you are so, so grateful to him?”

Clorinda, the heroine of A Lady of Quality, is quite the opposite. She comes into the world shrieking like a banshee, and by the age of six her terrific willpower (and lung capacity, and willingness to kick and hit and shriek) have terrified all the servants into doing her will despite the fact that her father takes no interest in his children. But then he meets Clorinda, and makes a pet of her because he is so charmed by her fury and her beauty.

Clorinda’s beauty. Oh, man, Clorinda’s beauty. Like Cedric’s incredible handsomeness in Little Lord Fauntleroy, Clorinda’s beauty gets described every other page. I don’t even think I’m exaggerating. And in both books it gets so repetitive, I kept hoping Cedric or Clorinda would fall off horses and break their noses or do something to mar their looks, but nooo. And doubtless they would have been beautiful with broken noses, anyway.

(And then a bunch of other stuff happens to Clorinda: her childhood is actually rather a small part of the book. It’s a very odd book, perhaps especially for a Victorian book, although I don’t think a standard modern heroine could get away with some of the things Clorinda does. At any rate, I can’t remember the last book I read that presented the heroine beating a horse into submission as a sign of her own high spirit and willpower.)

What I’m Reading Now

Les Miz, for the foreseeable future. Javert and Valjean are playing cat and mouse through the streets of Paris.

Also also, I’m reading Maria Cummins’ The Lamplighter, which is a sentimentalist bestseller from the 1850s about a little girl named Gertie, who lives a terrible and squalid life, unloved by anyone, until she is taken in by the lamplighter - who is named, with one of those wonderful mid-century novel names, Trueman Flint. He is from New England. His name is the most New English of names.

What I Plan to Read Next

I have been thinking that as this summer I am taking French class, I should make this a Summer of French: French class, French classics (all the Hugo! more Zola!), French movies, and of course French desserts.

I need to decide which Zola novels to read, because he wrote approximately five zillion. Does anyone have Zola opinions?
osprey_archer: (lizzie bennet diaries)
My [livejournal.com profile] rarewomen fics! As aforementioned, I didn’t manage to finish my assignment: I just wasn’t feeling the prompt and I figured someone else would give her a better story. But! I wrote three treats to expiate my guilt.

First, Requiem, a Les Mis story about Eponine and Cosette for [livejournal.com profile] anomilygrace: a canon AU where Marius dies instead of Eponine, and Eponine, pushed by a strange tortuous sense of guilt, goes to tell Cosette, because she knows no one else will think to.

Old blood from Eponine’s clothes smudged Cosette’s blue and white dress. Red and blue and white: the tricolor. A bitter, sobbing laugh burst out of Eponine, so raucous and sad that Cosette raised her head. Perfect Cosette, face blotchy and red. A thread of snot hung from her nose.

“I should go,” said Eponine.


I always feel kind of bad picking favorites...but this is my favorite of the treats I wrote. I'm kind of sad more people won't see it, it being buried pages deep in the Les Mis section.

Maybe I could add more chapters. More people would see it then. It could become an Eponine & Cosette epic! Yes/yes? (Seriously, do you think it would be worthwhile?)

Second: Vendetta, a story for The Borgias. It is about Lucrezia and Sancia and deals with spoilers for season two )

And for something completely different: Movie Night, an LBD fic about Lydia and Mary hanging out and trying to pick a movie to watch. Unlike the other fics, with their focus on Misery and Death, this is all sparkles and rainbows and unicorns! Like, literally unicorns. Or at least, discussion of My Little Pony.

Although an LBD fic with literal unicorns would be awesome. Lydia would laugh herself sick when it went right up to Mary and put its head in her lap. Possibly there would be something thematic about slut-shaming and purity of heart etc? Possibly that would be a bit too obvious.
osprey_archer: (Les Miz)
I have a cold, which makes it difficult to do anything that is not consonant with sitting around and coughing weakly, and have therefore been plowing through Les Miserables. The pacing is just about appropriate for my befogged brain: by the time he got through, say, fifty pages about how the Bishop of Digne was a really, really good person, it had totally sunk in.

Seriously, though, despite being repetitive it is pretty entertaining. Also, the Bishop's whole "Oh, Valjean the ex-convict didn't steal my silverware! I gave it to him. Except I forgot the silver candlesticks" thing makes a lot more sense when you have this build-up - although I suppose the movie version has the advantage that it's just as surprising for us as for Valjean when the Bishop is actually nice to him?

More stuff happens! Valjean figures out a way to make jet beads more cheaply, makes a fortune, gives most of it away, and becomes the mayor of Montreuil-sur-mer.

Fantine's ex-lover turns out to be an even bigger jerk than I surmised from the movie. (Hugo helpfully informs us that the ex-lover went on to live a long and happy life. Thanks, Hugo.)

Javert attempts to arrest Fantine. Valjean stops him! Javert denounces Valjean in a fit of rage, only to discover that another guy who they think is Valjean has been captured! He tells Valjean.

Valjean undergoes a long, dark night of the soul, followed by a longer, darker day of the soul, followed - because two long dark time spans weren't enough - with a pitch-black evening of the soul. And then he turns himself into the court! "I am Jean Valjean!"

(Valjean is lucky Javert had left by then. I'm pretty sure before Valjean had even finished saying "I'm the real Valjean!" Javert would have sprung onto the courtroom floor and clapped him in irons, possibly with an involuntary click of his heels and definitely while thinking "I knew it, I knew it, I told you so!" as loudly as was consonant with the dignity of the court.)

Javert, however, is not there, and everyone else in the courtroom is so stunned that they completely forget to arrest Valjean. (I kind of admire how Hugo just brazens this out. "There will be no story if I send Valjean back to Toulon," I imagine him thinking. "I know, I'll just have him walk right out of the courtroom while everyone gapes at him.")

Valjean takes the post carriage back to Montreuil-sur-mer! Javert catches up with him by Fantine's deathbed! Valjean escapes again! But Javert has caught the scent now - he's on Valjean's heels - can Valjean remain free? Can he reach Cosette???

Hugo: This is clearly the time for a digression about Waterloo!
Everyone Else in the World: No! No it really isn't!
Hugo: Wheeeee forty pages of Waterloo.
Hugo's Editor: *weeps quietly*

(Did Hugo even have an editor? Were there perhaps even more digressions that the editors did manage to convince Hugo to cut out? "I know you want to give us a complete history of the French Revolution, Vicky, but no. Just no. Two hundred pages is too long of a digression even for you.")

So yes, Hugo and I are still traipsing around the battlefields of Waterloo. There are bullets embedded in dying apple trees, and a well stuffed to the gills with skeletons, because after the battle they didn't have time to dig enough mass graves. I have to stop and grade finals soon, but perhaps this evening I shall finally meet Cosette?
osprey_archer: (Les Miz)
My newest terrible Les Miserables fic idea, inspired by [livejournal.com profile] sineala's Rome AU Res Novae. Free to a good home!

Enjolras gets a significant other. But this is no ordinary significant other! No, it is the personification of his Cause come to life, like a terrible version of Pygmalion's statue!

The exact personification would vary depending on the setting: Roma Dea in a Rome AU, Marianne for France in an actual canon fic, and...God knows what in a modern AU. Enjolras does not really seen to have a Cause in a lot of modern AUs. (How is he even Enjolras without a Cause?)

Somehow the United States does not seem like a Cause quite like nineteenth century France. I mean really. Leaving aside shifts in revolutionary fervor, Uncle Sam is just not sexy. And obviously Enjolras is not going to sleep with, like, an eagle.

Anyway! Enjolras gets his Cause. Meanwhile, Grantaire simmers with jealousy.

And possibly it turns out that the personification is actually sucking out Enjolras' life force in order to remain personified, and Grantaire is all "Enjolras, your cause is going to kill you," and Enjolras is like "Obviously, Grantaire, that is the point, why do you think I entered into this pact with my demon lover?" and then Grantaire gets very drunk and beats his head against the wall because how do you argue with someone so unreasonable, how? It is impossible!

If I am feeling very kind, maybe it will turn out the Enjolras' Cause is just a run of the mill demon who tricked and seduced him, and Grantaire will defeat it and send it back from whence it came. Enjolras probably will not thank him.
osprey_archer: (window)
I am going to a ballet tonight! I am excited!

And I went ahead and posted chapter 3 of the Les Miz fic, because it was just sitting there, why not?

Fic: Lives of Quiet Desperation
Fandom: Les Miserables (2012)
Pairing: Enjolras/Grantaire (eventually)
Rating: PG, heading upwards.
Disclaimer: still not mine
Summary: Marius has fallen in looooooove.

“But mooning over an infatuation is still a waste of time!” Enjolras said. “Sexual relationships should be efficient, just frequent enough to keep both partners satisfied so they can focus their attention on the more important work of – ”

Marius fake-gagged. “Agree to disagree, my friend."


Chapter 3: Love
osprey_archer: (Les Miz)
The second chapter of the Les Miz fic is up. I have decided to try to update it every Tuesday, on the grounds that if I'm on a weekly schedule I will not set aside everything else until I've written the whole damn fic.

I'm kind of sorry I didn't think to name the fic after the Mumford & Son's song "Awake My Soul." Don't these lyrics sound Enjolras-y?

"Lend me your hand and we'll conquer them all.
But lend me your heart and I'll just let you fall.
Lend me your eyes I can change what you see.
But your soul you must keep totally free."

Oh well.

BACON

Mar. 18th, 2013 05:47 pm
osprey_archer: (Les Miz)
Finished my art history paper! You know, the one that I meant to do over spring break, oops. Nonetheless I am celebrating! I am making bacon for dinner!

With, you know, scrambled eggs and toast. Much as I love bacon, just bacon would be rather too much of a good thing.

I also have cranberry and chocolate chip scones, as Caitlin came over for tea this afternoon. Hopefully the scones will see me through the response to Homi Bhabha that I have to write. I don't suppose my professor will much approve of response that reads "I've read this twice and I don't know what the fuck Bhabha is talking about, and I don't think he does either."

I think Homi Bhabha does the writing equivalent of spatter-painting. He tosses "hybridity" and "ambiguity" and "liminality" on the page at random and then builds his arguments around the places where they land.

***

Maybe I will make Enjolras spout some postcolonial theory in my story. (Like, for two lines. I don't intend to torture my readers.) Maybe then that class will feel slightly less like a black hole that is sucking away my soul.

Except if Enjolras is a fan of Homi Bhabha or Gayatri bloody Spivak, I may lose all respect for him as a person.

But I think Enjolras would like Fanon better. Or Cesaire. Cesaire has great moral clarity.
osprey_archer: (Les Miz)
First: where the heck are all the Les Miz icons? I've been poking around the internet for them, but if there is a secret treasure trove somewhere I have not discovered it. (I blame tumblr. It may be entirely unfair, but I blame tumblr for all the things.)

Second: The Enjolras/Grantaire epic begins!

Fic: Lives of Quiet Desperation
Fandom: Les Miserables (2012)
Pairing: Enjolras/Grantaire (eventually)
Rating: G right now? Maybe PG for swearing.
Disclaimer: still not mine
Summary: “Butterflies died to bring you these coffee cups!” thundered the barista.

Searching for a cure for his hangover, Grantaire stumbles into the coffee shop where Enjolras works. It's hard having a crush on someone whose one true love is revolution.

Chapter One.

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