Book Meme

Jul. 21st, 2014 01:42 am
taliahale: (Default)
Saw [personal profile] jedusaur's post and wanted to write this up.

List ten books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t think too hard — they don’t have to be the “great” works, just the ones that have touched you.

I’m going to really blatantly cheat and include series as individual books. Just warning you.

1. The Oxford Time Travel Series by Connie Willis (Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog, Blackout, and All Clear) To Say Nothing of the Dog has been my favorite book for going on five years now. The entire series is brilliantly plotted and written, with incredible worldbuilding in a near-future Oxford populated with believably flawed and sharp characters.
2. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman One of the few science fiction ‘classics’ that’s held up for me. Haldeman wrote the novel as his MFA thesis for the Iowa Writers’ Workshop before serializing in Analog Magazine. After receiving his BS in Astronomy and Physics Joe was drafted into the Army and served as a combat engineer in Vietnam. The Forever War draws heavily from his experiences as a vocal opponent of conscription, but never feels heavy handed or preachy. If you think military scifi’s not your bag, I’d give it a read.
3. The Hainish Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin I love the entire ‘series’ (I use the term loosely, since the novels/shorts don’t really share characters and are simply set in the same universe). My tattoo is a portion of a quote from The Dispossessed ‘I come with empty hands and the desire to unbuild walls.’ Le Guin’s a fine writer and a brilliant worldbuilder whose philosophies bleed brightly through everything she creates.
4. Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli It doesn’t hold up quite as well as some of the others on the list, but I read Maniac Magee a dozen or more times in primary school. Still one of the greatest opening chapters I’ve ever read.
5. Tortall series by Tamora Pierce They’re so wonderfully interwoven it’s nigh impossible to pick a favorite, but Pierce introduced me to asskicking ladies in fantasy and I’ll be forever greatful.
6. The Patternist Series by Octavia Butler A dark and thought-provoking look into the psychology of immortality. Also a biting social commentary on issues ranging from post-colonialism and slavery to Western modernity.
7. The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson I adore all of Ibbotson’s work, which is largely aimed at middle-grade readers, but Platform 13 is a gem. A magical island hidden from the world in mist, a portal between King’s Cross station and the island that opens only nine days every nine years, a kidnapping, ghosts, hags, and all manner of wonderful delights in this adventurous romp.
8. The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan I’m ambivalent about most of Tan’s work, but I couldn’t for the life of me set this book down. Poignant and very interestingly structured.
9. Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke The sequels are nothing to write home about, but Rendezvous with Rama is my favorite of Clarke’s works. The premise and design of Rama (the ship, itself) are chillingly alien in the best, classic scifi way. It’ll be a dream of a movie if it ever moves out of development hell. Also sporting one of the greatest last paragraphs in fiction:

And on far-off Earth, Dr. Carlisle Perera had as yet told no one how he had wakened from a restless sleep with the message from his subconscious still echoing in his brain: The Ramans do everything in threes.

10. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede Eminently charming, funny, and quotable. Kickass heroines and all sorts of trope subversions. As a kid I wanted to grow up to be Morwen. Or Cimorene. Or Kazul. Basically all of the characters were my heroes.
taliahale: (Default)
I'll be ringing in the New Year at work this year, guys (oh, hotel night audit you are such a glamorous thing), so I hope you're all out having fun in my stead.

 1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
Moved somewhere new with an actual plan in mind.  This...probably shouldn't be the first time I've managed that?  I'm 24 years old.  But I'm pretty damn proud of myself, anyway.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Didn't make any last year. Won't this year, either.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My sister's sister-in-law.  I'm not sure if that counts, since we're neither geographically or emotionally close, but it got my sister and her husband talking about kids which is pretty big news.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, but it was a five-year anniversary of the deaths of two people with whom I was incredibly close.  It was rough in ways I didn't anticipate and didn't deal with particularly well.

5. What countries did you visit?
None.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
Schoolwork.  I've finally got the money saved to finish my BA, which (depending on how many classes I can fit in around my work schedule) should take about a year and a half to two years.  So I want a degree, but I'll take the work that gets me there for now.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
The anniversary of Lucy's death.  Bit self explanatory, there.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
The big move!  And also getting back to fandom, I think.  I hadn't realized how much I'd missed the active participation bit of being a fan, and the beta work and odd bit of writing has been a real joy.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Nothing huge, I don't think, but I didn't do a great job of taking care of my physical health.  I did a lot of work on my emotional well-being, but my commitment to healthy eating and exercise fell a bit by the wayside.  I didn't gain much weight, or anything, but I feel a bit sluggish and haven't been sleeping as well as I'm used to.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Tonsillitis.  It was the 8th time.  They still refuse to take them out.  Ugh.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A treadmill desk.  It's my new baby.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
All of you lot.  My sister who started her masters in archaeology.  My cousin who came out to his family, despite knowing how they'd react.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled?
Basically everyone I came in contact with at my old job. No. Really.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Rent, food, gas.  I was pretty good about spending in 2013.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Figuring out what exactly I wanted to major in.  At my last school, I'd been working towards a Lit degree, which...it is mostly impossible to get a job in my area without a masters or phd, so--social work!  Yay!

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
Uh...the Pacific Rim Soundtrack? I don't know, don't look at me.

17: Compared to this time last year, are you: 
(a) happier or sadder?
 Happier.  Not...not by a lot, but it's significant.
(b) thinner or fatter? Maybe five pounds heavier?  Not noticeably fatter.
(c) richer or poorer? Poorer.  Is anyone richer?

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
...not much?  I was pretty happy with what I managed to accomplish in the last year.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Putting up with being treated poorly.  I'm not sure when I got so terrible at sticking up for myself, but that's not happening anymore.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Quiet day in with my immediate family sans Indy (she had winter-term classes).

21. Did you fall in love in 2013?
No.  Thank fuck.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
...that's still on?  Nothing much.  I rewatched all of SG1 and SGA this year, so it was pretty much all Stargate all the time at Casa Hale in 2013.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
...no.  Like people significantly less?  yes, yes, yes

24. What was the best book you read?
That I was reading for the first time?  Human Division by John Scalzi.  Rereading?  To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis.  (It was a spec fic kind of year.)

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
2013 wasn't a big music year for me.  I listened to a lot of my old standards, enjoyed the latest albums from a few favorite bands, nothing really new.

26. What did you want and get?
My treadmill desk.  Been saving up for ages and it was a great purchase.  

27. What did you want and not get?
Not...much?  Not anything that I was realistically expecting.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Just one?  Pacific Rim.  I saw a lot of good movies this year, but that was the fave.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Going back to school sooner.  The money situation just didn't work out.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
I...didn't have one?  I spent most of my year in sweats at home and a uniform at work.

31. What kept you sane?
Fandom.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Uh...it was sort of a Joe Flan resurgence this year.  Like I said, too much Stargate.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?
Baby Boomers shitting all over Millennials; educational debt; reproductive rights; same old bullshit.

34. Who did you miss?
My little sister, Indy.  Looking forward to seeing her this week at Disneyland!

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
Take shit from no one.

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