Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovich

Aug. 18th, 2017 08:00 am
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Posted by SB Sarah

B

Midnight Riot

by Ben Aaronovitch
February 1, 2011 · Del Rey
Science Fiction/FantasyMystery/ThrillerUrban Fantasy

First, a note: this is more of a review of the series, but the books therein need to be read in order so I shall start here. Second, I will avoid spoilers as much as possible, focusing mostly on what I like, what I find bothersome, and whether I recommend the book and the series. The grade above is both for this book and the series as a whole – lucky for me they line up, which doesn’t always happen.

As I mentioned in a recent Whatcha Reading post, both my husband Adam and I are reading these books one after the other.

Well, he’s reading one after the other. I take breaks every two to read another book in a different series. If I don’t, the pattern of the writing becomes to distracting. I think because my brain loves to pick out a pattern, glomming one author or one series for too long is detrimental to my enjoyment. I notice the writerly tics and they smother some of my interest. I also read very quickly, so even with reading other novels in between, we are keeping about the same pace as far as plot twists and character developments. A number of our dinner conversations have begun with, “Where are you in…?”

In Midnight Riot, London police officer Peter Grant is working when a ghost starts talking to him. As you do. This leads to his involvement in The Folly, a somewhat secretive and very old branch of the police department specializing in magic, or, as it’s referred to in the series, “weird bollocks.” Peter becomes the first apprentice wizard in a long ass time, working with Nightingale, the last remaining wizard/police officer.

Each successive book after Midnight Riot (the UK title is Rivers of London) builds on the larger magical world and the (many) problems therein, while also solving an individual case. There are mystery elements, various relationships and characters that appear and recede, and a whole bunch of different individuals, including goddesses, fae, wildlife that may be more conversant with humanity than one would suspect, and more weird bollocks.

Black Mould graphic novel cover with Guleed and Grant in full body hazmat suits

I’m immensely enjoying this series, even though there are a number of things I find a little frustrating.

Also, I have skipped the graphic novels because I’ve discovered that the illustrated version of the characters was so at odds with my own mental image, I was irritated when I tried to read them. (I know, my brain can be very diva-like.)

What I like about this series:

  1. Language is a character – I couldn’t ask for a more enjoyable piece of catnip for my nerdery interests. Just as in some books the setting can be a character, in this series, the slang and colloquial language define individual people, signal a multitude of elements about each person (among them class because whoadamn do multiple systems of class play a role in this world), and create a linguistic environment that’s almost as much of a puzzle as the plot. It’s a good thing I’m reading this on my Kindle because I stop and look things up constantly. (I’ve also heard that the audiobooks are terrific for the same reason, so I might start listening to them after I’m done.) The language is so much fun for me.
  2. Women have to explain things to Peter All The Time – Peter is intelligent, and has a scientific way of looking at the magical world he’s learning about, but there are several secondary characters, Lesley May and Sahra Guleed among them, who have to explain things to Peter that he missed entirely. Peter is not the most special of all the wizards, and is pretty regularly undone by his own bad habits (which can be frustrating and satisfying).
  3. Random delightful references to all manner of fun stuff – I don’t think there has been a narrative from which Adam and I have texted one another more quotes. There was a Phineas and Ferb reference that delighted me for days. The random pop culture bits are delightful, and ground the world in a contemporary reality that makes the magical “weird bollocks” (yup, I really like saying that) seem plausible as well. And I feel pretty pleased with myself when I catch one. I also enjoy Peter’s internal nerdy monologues about architecture, which is one of his secret passions, one he’s deeply opinionated about.
  4. Casual inclusion, casual prejudice – Peter is a character of mixed race, and the stories are told from his point of view. This means that he mentions the race of every character, partly because he’s a police officer who by training learns to catalog such things, and partly because he’s not operating in a worldview of white default. There are characters of different classes and backgrounds, all casually inclusive in a way that makes this world seem very, very real. (Reality! It’s awesome.) There are also so many moments of casual racism directed at or around Peter, and there’s a repeated, powerful contrast between his mental tally of who said what and at which time, and his outward absence of reaction.
  5. Women’s power is relentlessly underestimated – I’m just at a point in the series where the fact that the power of the women around Peter and Nightingale has been misunderstood and dismissed might be about to rise up and chomp them both in the butt, and I’m pretty excited about that. It’s past due.

Things that bug me:

  1. Plot, plot, procedural development, plot, OH MY GOD IT IS THE END WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED – The development of the story takes place bit by bit, which I like because instead of getting information in heaping teaspoon-sized helpings, sometimes I get 1/8th of a teaspoon, and sometimes it’s one grain of salt at a time. But when the Solid Waste Connects With the Air Circulating Device my gosh does it splatter everywhere fast. When there is action of any kind, it mostly happens in the last few chapters, sometimes the last few pages, and I have to go back and re-read. And you can count on all sorts of shit going down in the last few chapters as much as you could count on a purple prose sex scene within 10 pages of the cardboard insert in an old Zebra romance. To quote Horse eBooks, everything happens so much. And each time, at the end, it can be too much, especially when several books in a row follow this pattern.
  2. Women have to explain things to Peter All The Time – There are times when I’d much rather follow characters like Guleed or Beverley or Abigail much more than I would Peter. His character can become so boring and repetitive, while they are interesting and complex in ways he isn’t. This perspective may be because I am so used to romance that having interesting women not at the center of the story can make me surly and impatient, and because Peter is narrating the story so of course I get overly-familiar with his POV. I suspect there are millions of bytes worth of fanfic focused on Beverley, Molly, and every other character – Toby! Toby fanfic! – because I can’t be the only reader who wants to follow them home.
  3. Peter can be obtuse to screamingly obvious degrees – There are a few incidents where something weird happens, and despite weird being his literal business, Peter shrugs and is like, “Oh, well, whatever.” It’s not just Chekhov’s gun he’s walking past. He ambles blithely by Chekhov’s howitzer mounted on a Gustav spray painted hot pink. Maybe it’s a thing that the women both in the story and reading the story are sometimes more aware than Peter?
  4. Women sometimes rest on the fringes of the fridge – Bad shit happens to some of the women closest to Peter, which is boring and predictable. How those women respond (if they aren’t dead) is fascinating, but it’s still a giant let down for women to be constantly harmed while the multitude of dudes Peter counts as allies and colleagues seem to end up perfectly fine.

This series has been a terrific brain reset for me. Jumping back and forth between this series and Ilona Andrews’ Hidden Legacy series has been fascinating as an exercise in comparison and contrast in terms of world building, romantic plot elements, and character development. I haven’t finished either series, but the way in which the respective magical worlds are built and power is managed mean I have a lot to think about while I read. Thinky brain is happy brain.

As for whether I recommend this series for romance fans, I do, though obviously you have to suspend all genre expectations at the door. As a reader who loves immersive deep dives into different aspects of various cultures, and who loves puzzles and language, this is a lot of my catnip. Reading it concurrently with Adam is also part of what makes it fun on a personal level, but it’s a series and world that comes with a lot to talk about, too. If you’re looking for a blend of mystery and magic and like snarky deadpan narration, there’s a lot here you’ll enjoy, too.

Have you read this series? What do you think? Are you keeping up with it? 

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Posted by SB Sarah

I interview author Santino Hassell about his new series with Berkley, starting with Illegal Contact, which just went on sale on August 15th. We discuss his inspiration for football romance since he’s a baseball fan, and we talk about his being one of few men writing romance. We cover how he got started as a writer, what writers inspired him to start and keep going, and how he addresses stereotypes of bisexuality in his writing, We also discuss his writing projects with Megan Erickson, and, a special note for all of who who are fans of his work: we describe the perfect bait to trap him, should you wish to do so. (Kidding! That would be creepy.)

I also have a giveaway to go with this episode! I have a very, very cool pair of Barons athletic socks, and a copy of Illegal Contact for one of you. There will be a giveaway widget in the show notes for this entry at SmartBitchesTrashyBooks.com/podcast, and you can enter to win.

Standard disclaimers apply: void where prohibited. I am not being compensated for this giveaway. Open to international residents were permitted by applicable law. Must be over 18 and prepared to wear some very nifty socks. Whereas, upon participation in the contest as aforesaid, said participant shall nonetheless deliver hereunto all such paraphernalia as reasonably necessary and appropriate.  Notwithstanding anything hereinafter to the contrary, the contest shall nonetheless be conducted as heretofore described thereupon. Do not taunt happy fun ball.

Listen to the podcast →
Read the transcript →

Here are the books we discuss in this podcast:

Giveaway! You can enter the giveaway right here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if the widget doesn’t work for you, this link should work as an alternate. If you’re having trouble, please email me, k?

Standard disclaimers apply: void where prohibited. I am not being compensated for this giveaway. Open to international residents were permitted by applicable law. Must be over 18 and prepared to wear some very nifty socks. Whereas, upon participation in the contest as aforesaid, said participant shall nonetheless deliver hereunto all such paraphernalia as reasonably necessary and appropriate.  Notwithstanding anything hereinafter to the contrary, the contest shall nonetheless be conducted as heretofore described thereupon. Do not taunt happy fun ball. Winner will be chosen at random and announced on 25 August 2017.

And, of course, we have links!

You can find Santino Hassell on his website, on Twitter, on Facebook, and in his Facebook group, Get Hasselled.

If you like the podcast, you can subscribe to our feed, or find us at iTunes. You can also find us on Stitcher, too. We also have a cool page for the podcast on iTunes.

More ways to sponsor:

Sponsor us through Patreon! (What is Patreon?)

What did you think of today's episode? Got ideas? Suggestions? You can talk to us on the blog entries for the podcast or talk to us on Facebook if that's where you hang out online. You can email us at sbjpodcast@gmail.com or you can call and leave us a message at our Google voice number: 201-371-3272. Please don't forget to give us a name and where you're calling from so we can work your message into an upcoming podcast.

Thanks for listening!

This Episode's Music

Our music is provided each week by Sassy Outwater, whom you can find on Twitter @SassyOutwater.

This is from Caravan Palace, and the track is called “Panic.”

You can find their two album set with Caravan Palace and Panic on Amazon and iTunes. And you can learn more about Caravan Palace on Facebook, and on their website.

Remember to subscribe to our podcast feed, find us on iTunes or on Stitcher.

2 links 17 August 2017

Aug. 17th, 2017 11:15 pm
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
[personal profile] sasha_feather posting in [community profile] access_fandom
Eric Deggans on NPR (All Things Considered):

Netflix, ABC Portrayals Of Autism Still Fall Short, Critics Say

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/08/11/542668400/netflix-abc-portrayals-of-autism-still-fall-short-critics-say

You can read or listen to this piece, which is about "The Good Doctor" and "Atypical".

untitled by witchboyiero (SFW)

Aug. 17th, 2017 11:06 pm
aethel: (lindsey [by mcee])
[personal profile] aethel posting in [community profile] fanart_recs
Fandom: Bandom (MCR)
Characters/Pairing/Other Subject: Frank Iero & Gerard Way
Content Notes/Warnings: none
Medium: digital drawing with embedded tweets
Artist on DW/LJ: N/A
Artist Website/Gallery: [tumblr.com profile] witchboyiero

Why this piece is awesome: Expert cartoon-style drawing in this series of illustrations for a twitter account about MCR badfic. I also like how the inspirational tweets are placed to balance out the drawn portion. Any day now I'll stop reccing Frank/Gerard fancomics, but this one is hilarious. Features circa-2005 Revenge-era Gerard and Frank and Gerard's snake tongue going in one of Frank's ears and out the other.

Link: drawing tweets from badmcrfics tweets aka my biggest artistic regret yet

Historical Romances on Sale!

Aug. 17th, 2017 03:30 pm
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Posted by Amanda

Sarah: Today and tomorrow, 40% off Accessories at Zazzle, with ZACCESSORIES. The code expires 8/18/2017 at 11:59 PM PST.

The accessory sale includes water bottles! And we have some of those:

Waterbottle 1: Disrupt the Patriarchy, Read Romance

Water bottle 2: Slayer of Words (all profits to Doctors Without Borders)

Destiny’s Surrender

RECOMMENDED: Destiny’s Surrender by Beverly Jenkins is $2.99! This is the second book in her Destiny series and follows Andrew, Logan’s brother. He has a particularly unique relationship with a courtesan named Billie, who shows up on his doorstep with a child she says is his – and with the intention of leaving her son there so he can have a better life and escape the danger that’s closely following Billie. This book has an impressive 4.2-star rating on GR. 

The child he didn’t know he had . . .

Andrew Yates has come to a decision: it’s time to stop sowing those oats and start a family. But searching for a bride isn’t as simple as he’d hoped, and many of the respectable women of his acquaintance feel . . . lacking. Then beautiful, feisty Wilhelmina “Billie” Wells arrives at the family ranch with a toddler in her arms, claiming Drew is the father!

The woman he didn’t know he loved . . .

Billie had no choice but to show up at Destiny in search of Drew. For the sake of their child, she’s willing to leave him with his father so the boy can have a better life, but then, before she can blink, she’s saying “I do” in front of a preacher in a marriage of convenience. All Billie and Drew have in common is the heat that brought them together, but can their sizzling passion lead to an everlasting love?

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

Kobo Google Play iBooks

and

amazon

 

 

 

Moonlight on My Mind

Moonlight on My Mind by Jennifer McQuiston is $1.99 at most vendors and $2.99 at Barnes & Noble! This is an enemies to lovers historical with a marriage of convenience. Readers really loved the heroine’s redemption arc, but found the suspense/mystery element took away from the romance a bit.

To ruin a man’s life once takes a regrettable mistake.

To do so twice takes a woman like Julianne Baxter.

Eleven months ago, Julianne’s statement to the authorities wrongly implicated Patrick, the new Earl of Haversham, in his older brother’s death. The chit is as much trouble as her red hair suggests, and just as captivating. Now she has impetuously tracked him to the wilds of Scotland, insisting that he return home to face a murder charge and save his family from ruin. A clandestine wedding may be the only way to save her reputation—and his neck from the hangman’s noose.

Julianne has no objection to the match. More and more she’s convinced of Patrick’s innocence, though when it comes to igniting her passions, the man is all too guilty. And if they can only clear his name, a marriage made in haste could bring about the most extraordinary pleasure…

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

Barnes & Noble Kobo Google Play iBooks

and

amazon

 

 

 

Temptations of a Wallflower

RECOMMENDEDTemptations of a Wallflower by Eva Leigh is $3.99! The previous book is also $3.99. Elyse read this one and gave it an A-:

Temptations of a Wallflower is very very sexy (people talking openly about sex and finding what works for them together is sexy) and it’s also very smart. There were a few things I still wanted, though. Overall, I found the third book in the Wicked Quills of London series to be eminently readable and very hot, and I highly recommend it.

Eva Leigh’s deliciously sexy Wicked Quills of London series continues as a Lady’s secret career writing erotic fiction is jeopardized by real-life romance . . .

In society circles she’s known as the Watching Wallflower—shy, quiet, and certainly never scandalous. Yet beneath Lady Sarah Frampton’s demure façade hides the mind of The Lady of Dubious Quality, author of the most titillating erotic fiction the ton has ever seen. Sarah knows discovery would lead to her ruin, but marriage—to a vicar, no less—could help protect her from slander. An especially tempting option when the clergyman in question is the handsome, intriguing Jeremy Cleland.

Tasked with unmasking London’s most scandalous author by his powerful family, Jeremy has no idea that his beautiful, innocent bride is the very woman he seeks to destroy. His mission must remain a secret, even from the new wife who stirs his deepest longings. Yet when the truth comes to light, Sarah and Jeremy’s newfound love will be tested. Will Sarah’s secret identity tear them apart or will the temptations of his wallflower wife prove too wicked to resist?

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

Kobo Google Play iBooks

and

amazon

 

 

 

The Trouble with Honor

The Trouble with Honor by Julia London is $1.99! This is the first book in her Cabot Sisters historical romance series. The heroine makes a deal with the hero for him to seduce her stepbrother’s bride-to-be and of course, they fall in love while he’s supposed to be wooing someone else. Readers loved the heroine, but felt the last quarter of the book didn’t fit with the rest.

Desperate times call for daring measures as Honor Cabot, the eldest stepdaughter of the wealthy Earl of Beckington, awaits her family’s ruin. Upon the earl’s death she and her sisters stand to lose the luxury of their grand home – and their place on the pedestal of society – to their stepbrother and his social-climbing fiancée. Forced to act quickly, Honor makes a devil’s bargain with the only rogue in London who can seduce her stepbrother’s fiancée out of the Cabots’ lives for good.

An illegitimate son of a duke, George Easton was born of scandal and grows his fortune through dangerous risks. But now he and Honor are dabbling in a perilous dance of seduction that puts her reputation and his jaded heart on the line. And as unexpected desire threatens to change the rules of their secret game, the stakes may become too high even for a notorious gambler and a determined, free-spirited debutante to handle.

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

Barnes & Noble Kobo Google Play iBooks

and

amazon

 

 

 

Guest Squee: The Works of Fred Vargas

Aug. 17th, 2017 08:00 am
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Posted by Guest Reviewer

Squee

An Uncertain Place

by Fred Vargas
October 25, 2011 · Penguin Books
Mystery/ThrillerUrban Fantasy

NB: We have a guest squee or rather an author squee for Fred Vargas’ mystery novels. It’s made a couple of us at SBTB HQ add the books to our TBR piles.

This squee comes from Lara. Here is Lara’s bio: “A burlesque-dancing feminist with a deep yearning for solitude and a library of my own. I also teach English to high school students and knit when the stress levels rise.”

Heartbreak requires a very particular kind of book. In my case, I needed a book that was compelling enough that I forgot I was living in a metaphorical ditch and hopeful enough for me to believe that just maybe life does work out. Fred Vargas provided me (and her millions of readers) with those exact books. But she has taken it a step further: her books have reminded me that it is human connection in all its forms that sustains us, not romantic relationships.

It was on the very day that Donald Trump became President-Elect, that I was dumped. This was the relationship that I wanted to last for the remainder of my years. Reader, I was devastated. None of my usual comfort reading (historical romances and crime) was providing even a modicum of comfort. During a library amble, I found Fred Vargas’ An Uncertain Place. It had a suitably eerie cover, a slightly different size page to what I was used to and a list of awards to its name. I would only work out later that this book is quite near the end of the series featuring Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg and is probably not the best place to start, but nevertheless it was the only book at the time that could hold my attention and remove me from my temporary metaphorical ditch.

I give you this backstory, not to rehash the misery of being dumped, but rather to emphasise just how captivating this series is. Despite heartbreak (which included a trip to the hospital for suspected ‘pulmonary embolism’ according to the ER doctor) and the sheer weight of misery, this book held me close. I could not look away. These novels are not romance novels, but, my God, are they Romantic. There is a spark, an originality to the characters, setting and writing that set these novels apart from all other contenders.

First, the author. Fred Vargas herself is French and these books are translated from French into 32 languages, one of which is English, thankfully. The books are set in Paris and there are two series which intersect with each other in a most pleasing way. There is the Adamsberg series. This series focuses on Commissaire Adamsberg, a big deal in the police department who does not adhere to a single social norm. Each book tells the story of a particular crime. This major plot line is resolved before the end of the book, but there are larger plot lines which weave in and out of all of the books.

The Three Evangelists
A | BN | K | iB
Then there is The Three Evangelists series. This series focuses on a group of unusual housemates. These novels each focus on solving a particular mystery or crime, but again, there are plot lines that weave in and out of the books. The two series do also interact in terms of plot and characters. I would recommend reading both series simultaneously and just reading all of them in the order they were published in French. (For reasons I don’t fully understand, the books were not published in chronological order in English.)

Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg is a police detective, and a relatively successful one despite what his detractors might think. He is scruffy in appearance and rather short. He is not presented as a romantic lead and yet that it is precisely what he is, for the characters and myself all fall in love with him in our own ways. Be it through Danglard’s devotion or Retancourt’s protectiveness, or my obsessive reading, we are all drawn to this man who holds himself distant, but never consciously so. He is just living his life. He walks for hours and doodles constantly. He battles to remember names. He hates reading and doesn’t consider himself above his team.

At this point, I need to make it very clear that while some of these characteristics might sound familiar, NONE of the usual detective tropes are evident in these novels. Not a single one. These are characters I met for the first time, and ones which in no way served as echoes of other characters from other novels, or indeed my own life. Adamsberg is a singularity both within his setting and the larger world of literary detectives.

As the books progress a team is built up around Adamsberg. Chief amongst them is second-in-command, Danglard. There is a clear love between these two men that never becomes twee. They’ve evolved to work as a unit, but not always harmoniously so. Adamsberg sees how he irritates Danglard, but Danglard remains devoted. Adamsberg will call Danglard first, always. Danglard himself is pear-shaped, and a single father of five children. He hides white wine in the cellar of the police station and (during the earlier books) would often be drunk before 3pm.

Added to these two are a team of people unlike any you’ve met. Normal rules are chucked out the window and it works. These two series of books serve as eloquent arguments for just allowing people to be instead of forcing them to follow social strictures. Parts of the story are farcical and difficult to believe, but you do anyway. There is a hint of magical realism to the books, but only ever a hint, it never takes centre stage.

This Night’s Foul Work
A | BN | K | iB
Importantly, there is also a spectacular office cat. Below are a few extracts about The Snowball from This Night’s Foul Work. For context, Retancourt is an Amazon of a woman and each of the team are in awe of her; she is infallible and all-powerful in the eyes of all those around her.

The team took it in turns to look after the big, soft, furry creature, scared of its own shadow, which needed to be accompanied when it went anywhere, whether to eat, drink or relieve itself. But it had its favourites. Retancourt was the leader by far in this respect. The Snowball spent most of its days close to her desk, snoozing on the warm lid of one of the photocopy machines. The machine in question could not be used without giving the cat a fatal shock.

Danglard considered himself lucky when the creature deigned to walk the twenty metres to its feeding bowl. One time in three, it would give up and roll on its back, obliging someone to take it to the food or to its litter tray in the drinks room.

[they are in the very middle of a murder case when this conversation takes place]

“Get back here quickly, lieutenant, the cat’s pining for you.”

“That’s because I went without saying goodbye. Put him on the line.”

Adamsberg knelt down and put the mobile close to the cat’s ear. Lying on its back, the cat listened while Retancourt explained that she was on her way back home.

Are you in love, yet? Well, are you?! Because heavens to Betsy, I definitely am.

The Three Evangelists series tells the story of three historians and an old detective who all share a ramshackle house. Mathias is a prehistory specialist, Mark studies the middle ages, and Lucien focuses on World War One. Mark’s uncle – a detective who was fired for allowing a murderer to escape – completes the quartet. These characters are revealed delicious clue by delicious clue and the discoveries are heart-filling. I will say, however, that if you don’t fall in love with Mathias, then you might have a heart of stone. The four men build a bond as deep as that between Danglard and Adamsberg and it is a beautiful thing to witness.

Read these books; they will separate you from the noise of life. Vargas’ books are an ode to the outcast and how those outcasts build bonds and support each other. Vargas’ subtlety means that this realisation will grow steadily in your heart and you’ll only realise the depths of love between characters when you’re seven books in and it is 2am and you’re crying because Adamsberg called Danglard first.

Regardless of the question, human connection is the answer. These books prove it.

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Posted by SB Sarah

In our first installment of Podcast and Episode recommendations, my playlist grew by giant leaps and piles of downloaded audio – thank you for all the suggestions!

I have a few more episodes to suggest this week, especially because I found these to be very thought provoking – sometimes enough to listen to multiple times.

So, let’s get started!

Lifehacker The UpgradeLifehacker’s podcast The Upgrade has been changing in subtle ways – there’s a new co-host, and there’s more discussion between the co-hosts before they get to the interview. I’m not sold on either combination, to be honest.

The interviews are the best part, however, and there are three episodes I really enjoyed that I’d like to tell you about.

First: Why Your Awkwardness Is Secretly a Social Asset, With Ty Tashiro was a brilliant interview. Tashiro is compassionate towards the emotional pain of social awkwardness, and also scientific in his approach and analysis, a combination I found very compelling.

Tashiro’s book, Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome ( A | BN | K | G | iB ), is now on my TBR, but if you only listen to the podcast, there are many kind and soothing pieces of advice, and techniques to examine your own perception of your awkwardness. I recommended this episode to about six people while I was listening to it.

Other interviews that are excellent from this series:

And one of my favorites that I’ve also listened to multiple times: Charles Duhigg on Self-Motivation, Mental Models, and Getting Stuff Done. There’s one moment where he talks about the desk of 50 years ago that I think about constantly.

You can find Lifehacker: The Upgrade on iTunes, Stitcher, and wherever you access your fine podcasts.

The Racist Sandwich podcast logoAmanda also has a suggestion:

I’d like to recommend the Racist Sandwich podcast, which discusses food and its connection to race. It’s really fascinating!

They have guests like food photographers, cookbook authors, etc.

Episode 20: Taking in New Orleans in the Age of Trump is where I started because of this LitHub article, “Talking in New Orleans in the Age of Trump,” written by Maurice Carlos Ruffin.

Racist Sandwich is available at iTunes, Stitcher, and in your friendly local podcast app.

Hey Sis podcast logoElyse really likes the podcast Hey, Sis, which features two sisters (you guessed it!) in a conversation-style podcast. From their description:

We’re Nicole and Nailah Blades, two sisters who are 12 years apart, living 3,000 miles apart, but who still manage to talk everyday about so many different things. We thought it’d be cool to add other folks, like you, into this ongoing conversation.

In particular, Elyse recommends episode 4, “Read ’em, Honey,”  wherein they interviewed Glory Edim of The Well Read Black Girl, a Brooklyn based book club.

You can find Hey Sis on Stitcher, iTunes, and your podcast app-land.

Slate Culture GabfestSlate’s Culture Gabfest podcast has a lot of different and interesting episodes, but my favorites are the Hit Parade episodes, which are nerdy deep dives into popular music.

First: Hit Parade: The Imperial Elton and George Edition looks at the “imperial period” of Elton John and George Michael – the period at which they were so popular their music was an instant hit, regardless of what it was. The episode also looks at their friendship, and I got teary listening to it at the end – and built the mother of all playlists from some of the songs sampled.

Then, Hit Parade: The Charity Megasingle Edition:

In the mid-1980s, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and “We Are the World” gathered dozens of the biggest stars in music to put on a show for a good cause. The two songs spawned imitators, but today, the charity megasingle is a relic of pop music’s past, except around the holidays. This month, we examine how good intentions, pique, excess, and vanity led to the rise and fall of the do-gooder celebrity pop song.

If you’re a little like me, the prospect of a nerdy behind-the-scenes exploration of charity mega-singles sends a thrill right to your eardrums. Fear not, Canada, for Northern Lights is also mentioned – you’re not left out!

You can find Slate’s Culture Gabfest on iTunes, Stitcher, and all the nifty places you grab your podcasts.

(And though I’m pretty sure you know, I want to make sure to note that we also have a podcast, Smart Podcast, Trashy Books, and you can find all the details here at the site, or at iTunes or on Stitcher.)

So what episodes of what shows have rocked your brain lately? Anything you want to tell us about?

 

lynz by ghostparachutes (SFW)

Aug. 16th, 2017 09:54 pm
aethel: (gerard bed head [by obsessivewhore])
[personal profile] aethel posting in [community profile] fanart_recs
Fandom: Bandom (Mindless Self Indulgence)
Characters/Pairing/Other Subject: Lindsey Way
Content Notes/Warnings: none
Medium: traditional (markers)
Artist on DW/LJ: N/A
Artist Website/Gallery: [tumblr.com profile] ghostparachutes

Why this piece is awesome: There's a lot of delicious colorful art by ghostparachutes to love, but I picked this one because I have found so little high-quality art of Lynz. There are two pictures in the post I linked, but I especially like the portrait of Lynz playing her bass--the red bandana and matching bloody knees (and hands!), the guitar, the hair, and the dark cloudy background.

Link: lynz

PFAW Fact Sheets for Recess

Aug. 16th, 2017 07:05 pm
executrix: (Default)
[personal profile] executrix posting in [community profile] thisfinecrew
People for the American Way has one-page fact sheets (great for tabling and canvassing!) about, e.g., the Mueller Russia investigation, voter suppression, separation of church and state, and opposing white supremacist hate:

http://act.pfaw.org/go/529?t=3&akid=126%2E3037677%2EcD6eBT

The site has lots of other tools and graphics too.

Words!

Aug. 16th, 2017 10:52 pm
schneefink: (FF Kaylee excited)
[personal profile] schneefink
I haven't written fic since *checks* May, huh. But then suddenly I got an idea, and now in the past three days I've written over three thousand words and it feels amazing. Story writing is a thing I can do! Oh man, I missed this feeling of getting words onto a page, instead of being stuck at the image-to-word conversion process in my brain.

Btw, I recently read a piece on writer's block that I liked a lot, So you're having a bad writing day: Consider: the act of telling a story is you CONJURING AN ENTIRE UNIVERSE INSIDE YOUR MIND and then using words as knives to CARVE THAT UNIVERSE INTO REALITY SO THAT OTHERS CAN VISIT YOUR IMAGINATION. “Today I am going to make a world out of my brain that you can go to in your spare time,” you say aloud, hopefully realizing that this is far more significant and far more bizarre than tying your shoes or blowing your nose.
Writing is hard, and that's okay. (Clearly prolific authors who update frequently are wizards.)
opalsong: (podfic)
[personal profile] opalsong posting in [community profile] amplificathon


Title: Burn Your Castles Down
Author: blackkat
Reader: Opalsong
Fandom: Naruto
Pairings: Orochimaru/Jiraya
Rating: Teen
Length: 1:47:36
Size: 148.1MB
Music: It's a monster! by Slayers BGM
Cover: Opalsong
Summary: Even monsters can be human. Of confrontations, choices made, and a small change that could very well shake the foundations of the world.

Part 2 of the Cry Havoc series

Link: mp3

Thanks to Paraka for hosting!

cross posted at amplificathon, my journal, and AO3

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