Current Distractions, March 2014 Edition

I should really do a better job of keeping track of what I'm up to over the course of the month. Half the time I've forgotten everything by the time I sit down to write my distractions posts.

Basically I'm ongoing with unpacking stuff, work, and making my latest costume.

I've also been...


Star Trek: Voyager
Still! It's been going by fast and slow because it's a dumb show in a lot of ways. I watch between one and three episodes most days, but it doesn't drag me away from getting things done the way a better show would, so I haven't felt the need to pause between seasons. If you're up for a #longread, have a look at this interview with Ron D. Moore, which articulates a lot of the problems with the show far better than I ever could and also reveals some of the genesis of the great Battlestar Galactica, or B*.


Les Misérables
So I have an iPad mini these days, and I've finally started using it a bit more, having realized that I could use it for reading books and watching movies while travelling to and from work (when I'm not the one driving, that is). But anyway, I've wanted to read Les Mis en français for what feels like forever now, and I've finally started. In fact, I think I might introduce it onto this blog as another series of posts. It's going to take a looong time to read, but I'm hoping that it'll also keep some of the dust off of my French language skills.


Speaking of language skills, I've been introduced to Duolingo and love it so much. I'm using it to learn, as you may have noticed directly above, Italian. Spanish arguably would've been a more useful language to learn, given the continent I live on, buuut I'm planning to travel to Italy in the next few years, so whatever. The biggest challenge so far is that I sometimes get Italian and French words confused (although knowing French helps significantly).

This'll be it for now, though. The weather is kind of awful as I write this, but I have high hopes for April.

What I'm Reading: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Those who follow me on Goodreads or pay attention to this blog in any way whatsoever will know that I'm often posting reviews significantly later than when I actually finish reading the books, mainly so I can keep some semblance of a regular posting schedule. This is especially the case for my Random reviews, but applies across the board. In my post about What I Read Last Year, I mentioned that I'm going to be making more of an effort to read 20th century books for the Random portion of the List. But I'm still reading all sorts of other stuff and would like to share some of that with you, so I'm repurposing the What You're Reading tag as a thing where I drop everything from the order I should be posting in, and instead tell you about a newish book that I've just read, in a more informal way than I do with my normal reviews (as if those are anything approaching formal).

And so:

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown was published just last year, and is a story of a girl who wakes up hungover after a party to discover that almost everyone she knows has been killed by vampires. I heard about the book through a chance visit to a Bookslut roundup of scary books back in October, and couldn't help but be intrigued. I didn't even really realize that it was YA before I started reading it, and more reviews of it.

Here's why I liked it so much, and Twitter followers please forgive me if you've seen this stuff before. This book fixes all of the mistakes that Twilight made. (I kind of hate to be drawing the Twilight comparison here, but really I find the premise of that novel interesting while the execution leaves everything to be desired. And for at least one more reason as mentioned below.) The vampires in this book are sexy, but they haven't been defanged. There's also a ton of gore so that those fangs are always in your face, making it uncomfortable and unsettling to find so many of the situations in the book so alluring. I found myself teetering on the edge of horror and delight pretty frequently, let me tell you.

Holly Black does not shy away from modern technology, either, by the way. Tumblr and Twitter are both name-dropped, and there's a lot of talk of live web feeds of various vampire parties and such. This all reads almost like science fiction, thanks to the fact that almost no one else is willing to do this. I'm not sure how that will impact the future of the book (how will it read in a year from now? ten years?) but I think it's a really refreshing risk.

And finally, the book is YA. The number of the characters' outfits that are described verges on excess, and might actually be the low point of the book. On the other hand, there's at least one bisexual character and one trans character, although these things aren't really spotlighted to any great degree, but which I consider relevant in light of this bullshit about Frozen having a gay character in it.

So yeah, I'm not sure exactly what it says about me that I thought the best thing about this book was just how disturbing it is, but there you have it. Highly recommend this as YA's answer to Anne Rice.

How about you? Have you read this book or anything else good lately?