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pockycrusader

September 2017

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Other than my constant disappointment with the job-hunting scene, I've been trying to pare down my backlog of books. I'm currently working my way through This House is Haunted by John Boyne. It's like The Turn of the Screw but without the long, rambling sentences. And the haunting action is a little more active and involved. The creepiness is sprinkled throughout the book like little breadcrumbs. It's a good October book, but I couldn't wait to get into a good ghost story and cracked it open a little early.

I just finished Supermarket by Satoshi Azuchi. I didn't expect to enjoy that one as much as I did. Who would have thought that a supermarket would be such a tempest in a teapot? Blackmail, backstabbing, embezzling, secret lovers' trysts, cover-ups, factions warring against one another.... I mean, I guess those things exist in any workplace, but the last place you'd expect would be your local supermarket.

On my e-books, I've been reading Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente. It's interesting how she takes traditional Russian folklore and makes it fit both the old tales and the Communist Russia era.
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May. 11th, 2017 02:14 pm
pockycrusader: (Default)
Today's Radnauseum suggestion is "start a book from your backlog."

Perhaps I should explain "Radnauseum" first. Radnauseum is the feeling you get when there are a bunch of things that you want to do, but you don't know what you want to do first. In order to overcome this paralysis, I have created The Radnauseum Box - a repurposed tissue box filled with strips of paper with suggestions for things I can do when I don't know what to do. Usually they're fun things (or at least things that I considered fun), but sometimes there are "penalties" such as "deep-clean a room" or "update your resume". They're things that I usually need/want to do that aren't high up on the priority list, but always manage to get shoved to the back of my mind.

Anyway, today's suggestion was to dive into one of my backlogged books. Today's book is Warriors of Legend: Reflections of Japan in Sailor Moon. It's basically something that could be (and may have started out as) an anime convention panel talking about the real-life geographic and cultural influences on Sailor Moon. Most of these things are obvious to Japanese viewers, but Western viewers don't realize that Sailor Moon takes place at actual, real locations in Tokyo. They aren't just made up spots in a generic part of the city - Azabu-Juban actually exists, and Sailor Moon is something of a time capsule for life in that part of the city back in the late 90's and early 2000's. It's a very short book - less than 200 pages - but so far I've learned some interesting things from it. I'll probably finish it by the end of the day, and then I can mark it off of my Goodreads backlog. Yaaaay!
A few days ago, I had to go to the DMV to renew my driver's license. It wasn't one of those "check a box, mail a check, and wait a few days" types of renewals, and the DMV is notorious for long wait times no matter how many windows they have open. Since my Kindle is a bit large for my purse, I decided to grab one of my many, many backlogged paperbacks (I don't have a problem. Stop saying I have a problem, or I'll give you a problem, buddy!). The book I grabbed was Kamikaze Girls.

It was probably the most amusing way to spend an hour at the DMV. Kamikaze Girls is about the clash of two Japanese subcultures - the Gothic Lolita and the Yanki. Not only are these two cultures clashing, but they're clashing in some one-horse hick town an hour away from the city, so there's this added layer of absurdity. It reminded me of when I was attending high school in the Azores, and people were trying to build these cool, trendy personas despite the fact that we were on an island in the middle of nowhere. (One of these days, I'll talk more about living at Lajes Field.) I probably got a lot of funny looks at the DMV... then again, it is the DMV. I didn't finish the book, as it's almost 300 pages and I only waited an hour, but what I've read is pretty good. Once I've finished it, I'll probably post a review of it on my Blogger blog, and I'll crosspost it here.

I'm also working on my e-book backlog. E-books are wonderful for a multitude of reasons. I can collect books without having to worry about storing them. I can easily switch between books without having to worry about a huge stack of books on the bedside table. I can also read controversial books in public without any of those judgemental stares from people. However, it's also really easy to build up a backlog without realizing it because there's no physical stack of books staring accusingly at you from the bookshelves. I think I have around 200 backlogged ebooks right now, so... yeah. Quite a lot of books to catch up on.

And then there's my translation backlog. I have been trying to work on my Japanese skills in a sort of real-world context, or at least a more natural context than textbook Japanese, by getting untranslated manga and these free Japanese newspapers from the local Oriental market. Unfortunately, I am really bad at getting around to these things.... Plus, it's really time-consuming to translate when your grasp of the language is somewhere around...toddler level. And don't get me started on kanji.

At any rate, if you can find Kamikaze Girls and have an interest in YA fiction about Japanese subcultures, it's pretty good. As I work through more of my backlog, I'll be able to share more gems and duds with you here. As long as, y'know, I don't visit anymore used bookstores or anything.
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