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Wednesday Reading report time.


A Sailor's Garland, ed. John Masefield, a 1906 anthology of sea poems edited by a future Poet Laureate who'd spent a few years as a merchant sailor before turning to writing. A lot of good stuff here, including bunches I'd not met before. I would have preferred fewer ballads about British naval battles, though it's certainly in character for the period to run so many, and in general the focus is more on sailors than the sea itself. The generous selection of chanties was an excellent choice for closing it out.

Just Princesses, script Crystal Velasquez, art Manuel Preitano -- I liked the art and the story reaches for some good if predictable things about gender roles, but the ending completely flubs the stepsister's arc -- and since that had been bearing all of the story's moral weight, ultimately the story is not successful.

Clementine, #1 of a series, Sara Pennypacker -- Another chapter book first heard in audiobook and now read aloud. Third-grader Clementine is having a not-so-good week. Okay, fine. It's a very bad week, starting with getting blamed for helping a friend cut off her glue-tangled hair. Great voice, this one. My favorite detail is that we never do learn her little brother's name -- Clementine always calls him various vegetables on the grounds that she got stuck with a fruit name and he didn't. Clementine's panic about not fitting in seems to have gone completely over TBD's head, but they liked it nonetheless. We've just started book #2.

Ratpunzel, Hamster Princess #3, Ursula Vernon -- Another fun fractured fairy tale in chapter-book form. This one gets the story moving faster than #1, which is a plus. Querk!*

(Did you know that it is very hard to not insert a K. after Ursula when typing quickly? Because it is.)

In progress:

Of Mice and Magic, Hamster Princess #2, Ursula Vernon -- Yes a little out of order, because anachronistic library reserve system. This time, it's the 12 Dancing Princesses getting fractured. Querk!**

Assassin Farmer (捡枚杀手做农夫, more literally "Picked up an Assassin to be a Farmer"), Xi Zhen (席祯) -- This is technically somewhere between xuanhuan and pseudo-historical, but I hesitate to use either label as the defining genre is actually sweet romance, making the exact setting irrelevant. The main couple are a master embroiderer transmigrated from Republican Era China (nice genre variation there) and a socially awkward ex-assassin left for dead by his former employers. Is it fluffy? Yes, Dear Readers, it totally is -- not a whiff of a revenge plot within 200 li. At 62 chapters, the translation is a little less than ⅓ in, coming about 2 chapters a week, so if starting something unfinished is a problem, you might want to hold off. If you're looking for diabetes-inducing slice-of-life fluff, though, this is The Stuff.

On hold:

Jun Jiuling (君九龄), Xi Xing (希行) -- Pseudo-historical webnovel (specifically, Ming Dynasty template with an AU imperial family and no foot-binding;*** the opening is concretely set in southeastern Shanxi province) with a transmigrated female protagonist, but who she was before her previous death is held back for a while, which is an interesting change -- we don't even get confirmation that there was a transmigration until chapter 10, though it's hinted at before then. In further genre variations, the transmigration involves no time or timeline hopping, the immediate stakes are not Imperial, the protagonist's goal isn't revenge -- the "new" Miss Jun's initial focus is on survival and establishing a safe place for herself -- and the ways she is not the person she once was is more obvious than typical and treated more realistically. The writing is vivid (though the first 2-3 chapters are a bit confusing, at least in translation) and the slowly unwrapped mysteries are compelling. Recommended. Caught up with the translation at chapter 221 (out of 800-odd).


The Daily Life of the Immortal King, Kuxuan -- This, oh dear gods and goddesses above, is the unholy offspring of a futuristic xianxia and a Japanese school-life comedy -- with all the LCD tropes of both parents. Its only redeeming feature is that the MC's ludicrous overpoweredness is treated as the source of comedy it is, as he attempts to live an anonymous high school life. I read a couple dozen chapters with the fascinated horror of watching a train wreck in slow motion, and regret every minute wasted.

* Which is Quail for "We liked it."

** Which is Quail for "Onward!"

*** I've yet to meet foot-binding in any flavor of Chinese historical novel, including wuxia. I may be looking in the wrong places.


Subject quote from Adonais, Percy Shelley.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/687021.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.