Sometimes the best thing to do is stop talking

I have only been in a courtroom a few times post school and summer/semester clerking. The vast majority of times since then have been for jury selection when I was called for jury duty (counsel always excuses me). I have occasionally seen a lawyer tell a client to stop talking. Usually when they started talking directly to the judge or opposing counsel inappropriately and oversharing in a way that was detrimental to the case.  (Telling your client to stop talking looks bad and signals poor client control, but sometimes it’s better to get them to just stop talking even so.)

I feel like sometimes in life, we all need someone to tell us to sit down and shut up because we are making things worse. That m/m author could use it right now. The new post at her blog (which I’ve now removed from my reader, thanks) is Not Helping. It’s all Poor Me! People are So Mean! While making it pretty clear there was an ulterior motive (sell more books!). Ugh.

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Fandom things unrelated to books – cranky post

I’ve been watching The West Wing on Netflix lately.  I was late to the show, didn’t start watching it until the third season.  And then I ended up missing most of the last season.  But I loved C.J. Cregg – my competence kink, let me show you it.  I will watch anything with Allison Janney in it, anything.  Now that I’m rewatching it from the beginning, I still love CJ but I find a lot of the other characters considerably less sympathetic than they were on first watch.  Part of it is perspective/age and experience, and another part of it is watching several episodes at a time and seeing repetitive behavior that irritates.

How many times did Toby undermine CJ?  How many times did he talk down to or underestimate women?  All the damn time.  The episode when Felicity Huffman’s character burns him hard?  He so deserved it; he underestimated her and treated her like she was stupid.  Why?  Mostly because she was a woman and he seemed to feel like it was okay to condescend to her (and to blow off CJ at the same time).

Sam’s call girl friend – the president promises that she’ll get admitted to whatever bar she wants.  Uh, that’s not really the way bar admissions work.  Moral turpitude is often grounds to deny admission.

Anna Deavere Smith as Nancy McNally is awesome.

But do not get me started on the political appointee/operative attitude toward government employees.  The contempt is not even veiled.  Which I guess is only to be expected since in my experience, the contempt that rank and file government employees feel toward Congress and elected officials and their appointees is reciprocal.

Also on a fan-ish note, I’m struggling with my enjoyment of professional hockey.  The NHL is problematic, as much as any other professional sports league, although they (and a lot of fans) seem to think otherwise. It’s mostly white bro-culture that’s homogenous, racist, and sexist (spare me the “hockey moms! hockey fights cancer!” PR program; try again when Ice Girls are either gone or get to wear exactly the same clothes as guys shoveling ice).  It has domestic violence, assault, and substance abuse problems that the league prefers to pretend do not exist.  I have always been aware of this and acknowledge that being a fan is problematic (to put it mildly).  But this summer has really been awful:  the deportation voluntary departure of Slava Voynov, the settlement of a civil assault case filed by a former nanny against Mike Ribeiro, drug charges against Jared Stoll and Mike Richard, the drunk driving and leaving the scene by Ryan O’Reilly, and pending rape investigation of Patrick Kane are just the things we know about.  What other stuff has been deemed small time and swept under the rug by the NHL or the teams?

The Blackhawks and Predators have been pretty tone deaf to how bad this looks to outsiders and to female fans in particular.  The league’s indifference has been infuriating.

My favorite team is currently not under the microscope for similar off-ice activities; I have no illusions that it always has been so or that it will always remain so.  I paid for my season mini-plan before the Kane allegations and the NHL’s most frustrating indifference surfaced.  The share of ticket revenue that goes to the league is already gone and there’s no way to get it back.  Only one of the games I have tickets to involves any of the teams involved above (although I also have no illusions about the possibility of equally awful but unreported behavior by players on any other teams).  I’m not sure what to do.  Make an equal donation to either Turn Around or House of Ruth?  Sell my tickets and donate the proceeds?

I’ve got a letter half-written to the NHL (like they’ll actually read it?) but I don’t think they’ll care or change their radio silence. Why bother unless/until fans who are revolted by this actually hurt their bottom line?

Tangent:  the CWHL announced a collaboration with the NWHL and NHL.  I’m very curious about the timing of it, since the NHL has basically ignored women’s hockey and the CWHL for as long as it’s existed.  Now it’s time to get some good lady-PR?  How convenient.


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Color me surprised…or not

It turns out that a m/m author who has long used a masculine name turns out to be a white, cis, heterosexual woman.

On one hand, it’s been made abundantly clear — in mainstream publishing — that using a masculine name will get an author vastly more attention from publishers and editors.  So a pseudonym, eh, whatever.

On the other hand, this author assumed the persona of a gay man in her social media, which is more than just using a pen name.  I’d have to hunt for it, but I’m pretty sure there are posts or comments at various venues online (perhaps gone now but for The Way Back Machine?) in which the author writes about her partner and the impact of legalizing gay marriage, etc.  This author has long been pointed to by other m/m authors and readers as a successful gay man in the m/m industry, which is largely written by and for straight women.  The author never corrected those assertions and profited from them even as LGBT readers/writers voiced frustration with appropriation by non-LGBT authors.

Basically, this boils down to disclosure for me.

If I had hard copies of any of her books, I’d be tossing them right now.  As it is, I’ll be deleting files from my laptop and Kindle, which doesn’t really give the same feeling of satisfaction.

Disclosure:  I liked the Adrien English series, but other work by this writer has been hit or miss for me, and I stopped buying her work because I thought her pricing was ridiculous.  I refuse to pay $3.99 for a 20 page story.  Beyond that, I read very little m/m any longer for a variety of reasons that I’m not sure I could articulate coherently.  So this isn’t a reader flouncing off in a huff; it’s an observer who is just grossly offended by the lack of respect an author showed for her readers and others, first in her behavior FOR YEARS and second in the way she blows people off in her “coming out” post.


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The Wanted List

Right now I’m reading Sisters in Law, the dual biography of Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  I put Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in my bag for beach re-reading; I haven’t read it since it was first published, and hadn’t realized how much I’d forgotten and how much was omitted from the film.  The September installment of the In Death series was actually better than other recent installments, in my opinion, because it was all about procedure; the series is fading for me, but this was an okay installment.

I put the last couple issues of bitch in my beach bag, and have compiled of list of books and movies I want to see based on its reviews and articles.

The books on my wanted list now are:

  • If Nuns Ruled the World by Jo Piazza (non-fiction)
  • Passing by Nella Larsen (fiction set in the 20s, written in the 20s, about a black woman passing as white).
  • Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement (fiction)
  • More or Less Dead: Feminicide, Haunting, and the Ethics of Representation in Mexico by Alice Driver.  The reason I haven’t bought this book is that it is $45 for Kindle, which I’m reluctant to pay.
  • Ink and Ashes by Valynne E. Maetani (YA)
  • The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic by Jessica Hopper (planning this as a gift)

Also on my wishlist is The Hanging Tree, the next Peter Grant book; I’d pre-ordered a copy from, but got a notice that publication had been pushed back :(  But perhaps that means it’ll be better edited than the last book?

The article on TBI, which points out the absence of domestic violence victims among studies of TBI, was good.  I get that it was highlighting an area that was ignored in a major study, but also felt that its concentration on the NFL concussion litigation and failure to mention other sports and studies that point higher rates of concussion diagnosis among women (athletes) left a hole.

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Late to the party

I ran across NPR’s list of 100 swoon-worthy romance novels and am sort of bemused by the list.  It’s pretty heavy on historical romances and on relatively recent work.


Lord of Scoundrels, by Loretta Chase – okay, seriously, I do not get the love for this book.  Meh at best.

Indigo, by Beverly Jenkins – haven’t read it

Outlander (series), by Diana Gabaldon – read the first one, have no interest in the rest of the series or the TV show.  Also, Gabaldon is a gigantic hypocrite regarding fan fiction, which influences my opinion/interest.

Texas Destiny, by Lorraine Heath  – haven’t read

The Serpent Garden, by Judith Merkle Riley – haven’t read

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, by Jennifer Ashley – read it, liked it well enough.

The Bedwyn Saga (series), by Mary Balogh – I really liked the book that spawned the Bedwyns, A Summer to Remember.  But couldn’t read more than 1.5 books of the Bedwyn series proper.

Ravished, by Amanda Quick – I think I read this?  Years ago.

The Wallflowers (series), by Lisa Kleypas – Nope.  (I don’t love Kleypas the way so many readers do.)

The Bridgertons (series), by Julia Quinn – The Black Mallet of Death!  The Duke and I seriously pisses me off, but The Viscount Who Loved Me is excellent.  I don’t think I’ve read the whole series.

The Brothers Sinister (series), by Courtney Milan – haven’t read it.

The Rules of Scoundrels (series), by Sarah MacLean – haven’t read it.

Flowers From the Storm, by Laura Kinsale – have never managed to finish it.

Spindle Cove (series), by Tessa Dare – haven’t read it.

Maiden Lane (series), by Elizabeth Hoyt – haven’t read it.  Although I think I read another series by Hoyt back when she debuted.

Pennyroyal Green (series), by Julie Anne Long – haven’t read it.

The Bride, by Julie Garwood – which one is this one? I used to have mad love for Garwood, so I’m pretty sure I would have read this but they all blur together in my memory.

The Pink Carnation (series), by Lauren Willig – Lost interest after the first couple of books.

A Knight in Shining Armor, by Jude Deveraux – Read this years ago as a new romance reader and it remains one of the few books to ever make me cry.  I’m not sure how I’d feel about it if I read it today.

Not Quite a Husband, by Sherry Thomas – I’ve read Thomas but I”m not sure about this book.

Desperate Duchesses (series), by Eloisa James – Haven’t read it; I think James is pretty overrated.

Something Wonderful, by Judith McNaught – Another early read that I think I’d hate if I tried to read it today.

The Windflower, by Laura London – Meh.  Another classic that other readers love that I do not.

The Spymasters (series), by Joanna Bourne – Okay.

The Duke of Shadows, by Meredith Duran – Okay.

Beast, by Judith Ivory – I think I read this?  Maybe?

To Have and to Hold, by Patricia Gaffney – Nope.  Not a Gaffney fan.

The Captive, by Grace Burrowes – Haven’t read it.

The Lotus Palace (series), by Jeannie Lin – Haven’t read it.

All Through the Night, by Connie Brockway – Okay.

Blaze, by Susan Johnson – LOVED this back in the day.  Footnotes!

Morning Glory, by LaVyrle Spencer – Read it, but it’s one of my least favorite Spencer novels, never reread it.

Simple Jess, by Pamela Morsi – Liked it, but not my favorite Morsi.

The Morning Gift, by Eva Ibbotson – DNF

A Lady Awakened, by Cecilia Grant – Haven’t read it.

The Summer of You, by Kate Noble – Haven’t read it.

The Rake, by Mary Jo Putney – Probably read it, but like Garwood, Putney’s historicals all bleed together except for her Fallen Angel series.


The India Fan, by Victoria Holt – liked it back when I glommed Holt as a teen.

North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell – really liked it, although I have to admit that I probably wouldn’t have picked it up if I hadn’t seen the miniseries first.

The Far Pavilions, by M.M. Kaye – liked it a lot

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen – not my favorite Austen but still good.

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte – oh, Jane.  Why?

Venetia, by Georgette Heyer – Meh.


Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell – Haven’t read it.

Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins – Okay.

The Queen’s Thief (series), by Megan Whalen Turner – On the keeper shelf, despite the fact that I do not love the fourth book of the series.

Perfect Chemistry, by Simone Elkeles – I know I’ve read this but cannot for the life of me remember much about it.

Adios to My Old Life, by Caridad Ferrer – Really enjoyed this book.


I-Team (series), by Pamela Clare – Haven’t read it.

In Death (series), by J.D. Robb – Good series, but I’ve stopped buying them and now wait to borrow from the library if I decide to read.  Somewhat repetitive.

Nine Coaches Waiting, by Mary Stewart – Haven’t read it.

Science Fiction and Fantasy

Psy/Changeling (series), by Nalini Singh – Haven’t read it.

The Iron Seas (series), by Meljean Brook – Really liked the installments I’ve read but I’m pretty sure I’ve missed some.

Kate Daniels (series), by Ilona Andrews – Really like the world building but find the editing problematic.  So many discontinuities and sloppy errors.

Ember, by Bettie Sharpe – LOVED this.

The Inheritance Trilogy, by N.K. Jemisin – haven’t read it.

A Civil Campaign, by Lois McMaster Bujold – On the keeper shelf.

Archangel, by Sharon Shinn – Haven’t read it.

Warrior’s Woman, by Johanna Lindsey – Read it as a teen; tried rereading later and found it unreadable.


Charley Davidson (series), by Darynda Jones – Haven’t read it.

The Black Dagger Brotherhood (series), by J.R. Ward – Loved it when it first came out, lost interest for a variety of reasons ranging from appropriation to crackpot author behavior.

Immortals After Dark (series), by Kresley Cole – Haven’t read it.

Fever (series), by Karen Marie Moning – Haven’t read it.

The Winter Sea, by Susanna Kearsley – Liked it.

Cry Wolf, by Patricia Briggs – Liked it.

Vampire Huntress (series), by L.A. Banks – Read one of the series, liked it.

Dark Hunter (series), by Sherrilyn Kenyon – Haven’t read it.


The Magpie Lord, by K. J. Charles – Haven’t read it.

Fated Love, by Radclyffe – Haven’t read it.  Liked other Radclyffe that I’ve tried though.

Hot Head, by Damon Suede – DNF, thought it was nearly unreadable.

Cut & Run, by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban – DNF.

Keeping Promise Rock, by Amy Lane – Haven’t read it, although I think I have tried other Amy Lane.

Butterfly Tattoo, by Deidre Knight – Read it, thought it was okay.


Maid to Match, by Deeanne Gist – Haven’t read it.

Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers – Haven’t read it.

Erotic Romance

Natural Law, by Joey W. Hill – Read it back when it was first published and liked it.

Liberating Lacey, by Anne Calhoun – Haven’t read it.

The Lady’s Tutor, by Robin Schone – Read it, felt ambivalent about it.


Bet Me, by Jennifer Crusie – Read it, really liked it.

Heart of the Falcon, by Francis Ray – Haven’t read it.

Something About You, by Julie James – I’ve read one James book (it was okay?) but I’m not sure if it was this one.

The Chocolate Kiss, by Laura Florand – Haven’t read it, but it is TBR.

A Bollywood Affair, by Sonali Dev – Haven’t read it, also TBR.

Dream Man (series), by Kristen Ashley – Nope, not interested.

The Chesapeake Bay Saga, by Nora Roberts – Read it, loved it at the time.

Lucky Harbor (series), by Jill Shalvis – Haven’t read it.

Chicago Stars (series), by Susan Elizabeth Phillips – Read the early books of the series, have stopped reading Phillips, found them somewhat problematic upon reread.

Troubleshooters (series), by Suzanne Brockmann – Really loved this series back when it started, long before 2001; I’ve since abandoned it for a variety of reasons, including my discomfort with the real-life contractorization of the military that is on display in the books and the complete disregard for constitutional rights and criminal activity displayed in the fiction.

Virgin River (series), by Robyn Carr – Haven’t read it.

The Mackenzie Family (series), by Linda Howard – Read and liked it way back when, although I’m pretty sure if I tried to read it now, I’d hate the books.

Blue Heron (series), by Kristan Higgins – Haven’t read it.  (I do not love HIggins’ work generally.)

The Madaris Family (series), by Brenda Jackson – Haven’t read it.

Wild Seasons (series), by Christina Lauren – Haven’t read it.

Intimate Betrayal, by Donna Hill – Haven’t read it.

Crazy Thing Called Love, by Molly O’Keefe – Haven’t read it.

Black Knights, Inc. (series), by Julie Ann Walker – Haven’t read it.

The Girl You Left Behind, by Jojo Moyes – Haven’t read it.

Category Romance

Doukakis’s Apprentice, by Sarah Morgan – Haven’t read it.

Sex, Straight Up, by Kathleen O’Reilly – I’m pretty sure I read this and liked it.

Her Hesitant Heart, by Carla Kelly – I’ve read this book, but would not consider it Kelly’s best work or even her best “category” in the sense of historicals published through HH.

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Rereading years later

A somewhat embarrassing confession:  I’ve never read Don Quixote in English.  In college, I read it in Spanish for a literature class.  I would not classify that as reading for pleasure, although I could appreciate it and deconstruct enough for discussion in class.  Since then, nope.  Actually, until I picked up a remaindered copy at B&N, I never owned a copy in English, although I’ve still got the Spanish one in a box of old college texts*.  I keep picking it up and putting it down.  It’s too big to carry comfortably as my commute read; let’s ignore the fact that I could just download a copy from Gutenberg or elsewhere for a nominal amount.

While browsing audiobooks at the library, I had the brilliant idea to listen to it.  Except I’m finding that my patience is pretty low.  Part of the problem is the narrator, whose voice and characterizations for different characters I don’t really care for.  But it is also the book itself.  While I can still appreciate the literary and historical allusions and the context in which it was written, I’m just not engaged by the first part.  I know that it’s basically a parody of contemporary romances and that the second part will be more to my taste.  But Don Quixote is delusional and he’s inflicting his madness on everyone around him, taking advantage of people of lesser status and intelligence, and imposing on them, and just wandering away from disaster he has wrought on others.  I’m struggling to keep listening.

*I probably ought to haul that box out of storage and either recycle or donate the books.

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*pokes at blog*

I’ve been mostly offline for the summer, in terms of keeping up with reader/bookish blogs. I sort of missed some things about it and sort of didn’t.

I owe Beth all the words about her book, which I loved.

Aside from Beth’s book, I’ve gotten a little reading done this summer:

The Road Beneath My Feet – Frank Turner’s memoir. One one hand, I like the narrative style, as tour dates beginning when he went out on his own.  It’s interesting to read about his life on the road and how he developed his band and touring philosophy, etc.  On the other hand, while he has clearly worked hard to get where he is, he sometimes comes across as cavalier about his opportunities (white, middle class English dude who attended Eton and London School of Economics) even as he occasionally acknowledges his good fortune. Which kind of circles back to my ambivalence about the lyrics/message of “Photosynthesis” about doing what you love vs having a job merely to earn a living.  Also, his editor really should have cut back on the use of “in the event” in the text. Worth reading if you like his music and can find a copy, since I don’t think it’s been published in the US yet.  [FYI, his new album, Positive Songs for Negative People, came out a couple of weeks ago and is pretty good.  Not my favorite, since England Keep My Bones is pretty awesome, but I like Get Better and Love Forty Down.]

Uprooted by Naomi Novik. This needed serious editing. The Eastern European fairy tale/mythology was interesting, but the story was not particularly original otherwise. And if you (like me) are expecting actual dragons a la Temeraire, you will be disappointed.

Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews. It was okay? I wasn’t all that engaged by the Big Mystery. And the volume of little discontinuities or errors was irritating, but par for all of Andrews’ books. Also, why no commas when using multiple adjectives to modify nouns? Is that a dying part of grammar?

The Kizuna Coast by Sujata Massey. A Rei Shimura Mystery. I thought Massey had left this series behind, and so wasn’t looking for a new book when I ran across this in a display at the library. Set in Japan after the 2011 earthquake. I guessed whodunnit pretty early but not why exactly. It was nice visiting this series again but I found the domestic/relationship piece to be a little cloying, although I’m not sure I can articulate why exactly.  Maybe it felt like the narrator was trying too hard to show how happy/compatible Rei and Michael were?  I don’t know.

Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold. LOVED this short story. It’s set in her Chalion world but centuries before The Curse of Chalion. If you haven’t read the three other books and wonder if you’ll like the world, it might be a good place to start.

What else have I done all summer? I feel like I’ve worked a lot mostly, which is weird since summer tends to be slower.  Except it’s also when a lot of people are out on vacation, so even if volume is down, there are fewer people around to deal with things, so… When work and other things were not making me cranky, I went to Chicago for a long weekend. I’m working on a baby blanket for a friend. Hemmed and hawed and then ponied up for a 10 game ticket plan for hockey.  I picked games where I’ll be able to cheer against the Caps – Pens, CBJ, MTL, SJS, Preds, etc. Flirted with the idea of Istanbul for a vacation in November or February until there were more bombings in the tourist areas and gunfire at the consulate; I think maybe that window has closed for now.


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