Boo Sickness! Recipe, Word Geeking, Reviews

This not-flu or whatever is exceedingly tiresome. I should think it would be enough to live with the day-to-day stuff, let alone put up with this. Then again, nobody has ever claimed in my hearing that the world is fair.

MélusineI haven’t succeeded in holding any thoughts in my head long, so you’re in for randomness again this entry.

I have no idea why the main article was linked from ZDNet, but doesn’t this cheddar and apple sandwich seem yummy? I wonder how it would be with ham? I used to have a really good recipe for a sausage and apple dish, but I know I haven’t cooked it in the last decade. Maybe I could dig it out of my ancient recipe box? There are few ways to go wrong with cooked apples, as far as I can tell.

The Virtu
Sam, Katie and I found ourselves discussing the proper use of “bring” and “take” this evening. I found this site’s list of common errors in English usage the last time the subject came up, in a grammar class (intended for writers and editors) I took at Southern Poly.1I hated having to drop that course. It was one of my favorites. Yes. I know that I’m odd. My professor, who was also my adviser, took great pleasure in explaining that the site is exceedingly prescriptivist. I had to go read more on the subject, but I think I’m pretty comfortable in embracing my identity now. Yes, I tend to be very prescriptive, grammatically.

I finished reading the third volume of Sarah Monette’s Doctrine of Labyrinths series, The Mirador last night, then read her anthology The Bone Key today.

The MiradorThe Mirador deserves a far better review than I’m up to at the moment, although it really wasn’t quite up to the expectations set in the earlier volumes. I thought it would be the last, but there’s another book in the works, according to Monette’s site. This entry was every bit as well-written and clever as the others, and I remain intrigued by the intricate world. There wasn’t really a huge plot in this book, though. Things happened, and old mysteries were solved, but the scale of importance seemed terribly limited this time around. I like the characters and world enough that I kept reading, but if I hadn’t already come to know them in the earlier books, I don’t know if I would have. The absence of significant female characters, other than complex Mehitabel, is also somewhat unsettling. It will be interesting to see where she goes in Corambis, but it isn’t scheduled for publication until 2009.

Archivist Kyle Murchison Booth, the protagonist of the stories collected in The Bone Key, works for the Samuel Mather Parrington Museum. That institution might well be placed in Arkham, Massachusetts, although I don’t believe Monette ever gives the city a name. It’s definitely in New England, and Boston is mentioned. In any case, fans of M.R. James and H.P. Lovecraft, the duo to whom Monette dedicated the collection, should be pleased with these stories. They were terribly unsettling, as horror should be. I’m really not a fan of horror, but kept reading because the writing was so very good! One of the stories is up on her website if you’d like a sample: “Wait for Me.” (That one is gone, but “The Replacement” is on the site.) I have to say that “Elegy for a Demon Lover” was probably my favorite of these stories, if only because it contains the only real expression of love in the book.

The Bone KeyMonette is a writer to stretch your vocabulary, so much so that I finally got a notepad to write down new words while reading The Bone Key. I didn’t actually stop reading to look them up, because I could understand them through context, but now I wish I had. “Ukases” carries so much more freight than “orders” would have! And “megrims,” what an apt word to describe the effects of finding oneself sensitive to ghosts and such. I wonder if Hot Springs, Georgia features “chalybeate” waters? Do you feel differently about a character described as “exophthalmic” than you would about one called “bug-eyed” or “pop-eyed”? Logophilia at its finest!

New AmsterdamI’m left wondering about a couple of references, though. In “The Wall of Clouds,” Booth remarks that another character must have read “Roses for Horatio” after she makes reference to Pentecost (as a person, not an event). Google gives me no hints as to what that might mean. Is it a Lovecraft or James reference?

In the Doctrine of Labyrinths, “tarquin” is used repeatedly to refer to sexual sadists, with “martyr” used for masochists. I can’t seem to find a reference to that usage elsewhere. Is it common? The only Tarquins I can find are two Etruscans who were kings of Rome (Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, the fifth king, and his son Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, the seventh and last king) and Sextus Tarquinius (Superbus’ son) who was immortalized in Shakespeare’s The Rape of Lucrece. The family was originally from Tarquinia, but I don’t find any immediate reference to sadistic practices there. Rape is sadistic, but, well, I have a terrible squick factor thinking that Monette used the name of a rapist to portray the part someone takes in consensual activity. Of course, there’s a lot of baggage associated with “martyr,” too. Does anybody have hints for me? References to other uses of Tarquin in this sense? A clue bat?

A Companion to WolvesNow I’m on to another anthology of related stories, New Amsterdam by Elizabeth Bear. I found Bear because I was looking for more books by Monette, and they wrote a book together, A Companion to Wolves. Yes, that one’s on my shelf of library booty, but my hand happened to hit New Amsterdam first. Maybe I needed some steampunk in my life.

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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4 thoughts on “Boo Sickness! Recipe, Word Geeking, Reviews

  1. Bear is great – my favorite is ‘Hammered’, although any of her novels are good.

    Not read New Amsterdam yet – I’ll put that to rights next week.

  2. Did you read the whole trilogy that Hammered was in? They’re all good. I read her LJ, so I know that she’s working on a new novella set in the New Amsterdam world right now.

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