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bear by san

March 2017

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criminal minds gideon kill fast

rhiannon rings like a bell through the night and wouldn't you love to love her?

41.) Aliette de Bodard, Servant of the Underworld (ARC)

A rather good first novel set in pre-Spanish Mexico, involving dark gods, murder mysteries, and imperial politics. I am not overly familiar with the culture, but the level of detail was convincing to me. I do think there was a certain amount of hesitation and repetition and temporization that could have benefitted the book by its extraction. However, we expect a certain hesitancy of line in an early work.

I'm going to be blurbing this one when I think of something clever to say about it.

42.) Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain

Sadly, I suspect Professor Scarry could have been an exceptional prose stylist, if academia had not ruined her. There are flashes of very nice writing in this, an otherwise often impenetrable labyrinth of Oxford commas, vague qualifiers, and complex-compound sentences.

I disagree with a whole spectrum of her premises and conclusions (about the nature of play, about art and how it presents pain and whether it addresses pain's effects on human consciousness (I do note that many of my reflexive counterexamples to her arguments--Alan Moore, Criminal Minds--post-date this 1985 book; others however--1984, "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas"--do not.), about the very discussibility of pain) but it's a valuable and an interesting book and I'm glad I read it.

Sadly, I find myself feeling that her discussion of "procedural rights" (the right to vote; the right to free speech) versus "substantive rights" (the right to health care; the right to a livelihood) in the United States is just as relevant today as it was during the dark days of the Reagan administration.

Anyway, either this book or low blood sugar has made me very crabby.

Comments

I'd forgotten I have the Scarry book on my shelves. (And have had for years.) One of these months I really will have to read it, once I get up the courage to go back into the maze of impenetrable sentences.
It's a sad fact that many academics feel it necessary to write in pretzels in order to look serious. I try to sit on the tendency, but it does sneak out from time to time -- and I do rather tend to the Oxford comma. Which I should not, because I'm a Cambridge girl, through and through.
I read _The Body in Pain_ shortly after it first came out, and was quite impressed with it. I agree, though, that from my perspective today, it's likely not as persuasive.

Have you heard her analysis of the military and civilian response on 9/11?

http://forum-network.org/lecture/who-defended-country

I think she makes a very interesting point about centralized vs distributed decision making on issues of national security.
I remember being very geeked, some time ago, on catching the reference in the Wire in the Blood pilot to The Body in Pain, which I'd read shortly before, and immeasurably so by Tony's "yes, but" being something that had crossed my mind in a much less formed or coherent way at the time.
"Wire in the Blood" is good, and passes the Bechdel rule.

takes to the sky like a bird in flight and who will be her lover?

And what's wrong with the Oxford comma?

Vague qualifiers, on the other hand, have no excuse.
It's mostly a...confidence of line issue? Which is definitely a First Novel Problem, and not that big of a deal. Um, more in email. *g*
I've been interested in reading The Body in Pain for some time now, but still haven't tracked down a copy. If it's impenetrably academic, I might want to find a library copy instead of buying it, hmm? I don't have a great deal of patience for labyrinthian academia, arrggh.
Elaine Scarry is a much better writer than Martha Nussbaum, for example. TBiP is not "impenetrably academic". It does assume a fairly broad background knowledge of literature and history.