mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Wednesday meme

Doing this with nose to keyboard because July guck eye means no lenses.

What have you just finished reading?
The Minority Council. I see why Griffin may have wanted a break from Matthew. His city is observed in such minute detail that writing his books must take vast reserves of energy. Fortunately they give off vast energy in return, which allows them to be read happily in a heat wave.

More uncharitably, I might say that Griffin/ Webb likes to do a certain by-the-numbers kind of humour. Horatio Lyle has a lot of it, Magicals Anonymous a fair deal, Matthew almost none at all (except when the female characters start wise-cracking, which they all do, /and/ in the same voice and vocabulary, and thus become tiresome.) Thus she can't coast as much in writing Matthew.

She does coast, I think, when she ramps up the descriptives. All characters doing description (the Beggar King and Penny in this book) do it in the same voice as Matthew. It's fascinating and mesmerizing but no, really, they shouldn't all talk alike, even if you *can* write this in your sleep.

I'm still bemused that she can find so much to say about what, objectively, sound like really dull or really ugly parts of London. If I wanted to do similar urban magic with Toronto, I'd be very hard put to set it anywhere but downtown-- which is a) the common failing of people writing fantasy set in Toronto and b) an example of our local snobbery, which I possess to a t. Life is magic. What life is there in the six-lane strip-mall high-rise worlds outside the downtown core? or, come to that, in the luxury condo worlds and office towers inside it? Or in the yuppie gentrification of the desirable neighbourhoods all the length of Bloor St? Or... well, you see where this is going. No there here, basically. Griffin manages with similarly depressing chunks of London and for that alone I admire her.

What are you reading now?
Higashino Keigo, Kirin no Tsubasa, slowly. Always fascinating to see what Tokyoites themselves make of Tokyo. Higashino won me at once by wondering irascibly what kind of people would build the Shuto Expressway right over Nihonbashi, back in the giddy Olympics days, and what a blight the thing is in general. Put it anywhere you like, guys, but not right on top of the spot that was the official centre of Japan for the last three centuries. (All distances in Japan were reckoned from Nihonbashi, as time in the world is reckoned from Greenwich.)

Maureen Johnson, The Name of the Star. One of my book blogs has a scrolling list of other book blogs, one of the links clicked on randomly had a review of the sequel, my local library branch had a copy. Thus: more fantastic London. Maybe. Jack the Ripper tie-ins are something I can usually live without.

What will you read next?
(grimly) Depends how long it stays hot.
Tags: meme, place, reading_13, rivers

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