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Three Weeks: The Finaling

The end! It's finally done! Why I ever thought we should read an Elinor Glyn novel, I do not know, but now at least we have.

I apologize, but I did like this metaphor:

But no sight of her writing gladdened his eyes, until he began to be like the sea and its tides, rising twice a day in a rushing hope with the posts, and sinking again in disappointment.
I GUESS the Mystery Woman has a recessive blonde gene in her past, because this dark-haired woman has a blonde baby in what feels like weird colonialism. But here we are in 1907! Paul is a father from afar and we are told by Captain Grigsby that she is from Russia and the baby will definitely inherit some vague throne.

Since she's Russian, are we to assume the Russian throne? This feels in bad taste, but only because we know what happens to the Russian royal family. Speaking of which, Prince Alexei was born to the Romanov dynasty in 1904, thereby ending their worries about the succession since the royal family had previously had…
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#24in48: The Preparening

#24in48 approaches once more, and as always, my main delight in it is making book stacks.

I mean, how many of these will I in all likelihood read? Probably three. But piles of books are mine (everybody's?) favorite, so here it is.

I'm especially excited for this #24in48, as I've rented a hotel room downtown, so I will be holed up and upping my reading stats on a couch I've paid to sit on for a few hours.

Readathons are particularly great because they give you license to ignore the other things going on in life because of their organized nature. "What? I'm not just 'reading all day,' I am participating in a READATHON. With these other good people. It is a group activity that we all do separately in our own spaces and with our own snacks that we do not need to share because they are ours."

This year, readathons are vibing as more important to me than ever, as my girlfriend and I might be moving in, and a lot of my books are already at her place, but…

Three Weeks by Elinor Glyn: "Considerable Mental Tribulation Over a Woman"

THIS WEEK in Elinor Glyn's Three Weeks, week 4!

Paul continues to live in a weird fever dream

You really get a glimpse inside Elinor Glyn's head here:

"My Paul, I want you never to forget this night—never to think of me but as gloriously happy, clasped in your arms amid the roses. And see, we must drink once more together of our wedding wine, and complete our souls' delight." An eloquence seemed to come to Paul and loosen his tongue, so that he whispered back paeans of worship in language as fine as her own. 
"as fine as her own." Is that what it is?
She continues to whisper languorously and writhe sinuously and I am once more reminded that all this would be ruined by someone farting.
The three weeks end! There's the title. They end by Unnamed Woman fleeing in the night and leaving an extremely overwrought (could it be anything else?) note for Paul. Paul collapses with brain fever, which immediately reminded me of the movie Soapdish when Jeffrey has…

Three Weeks, Part III: "Don't Speak!"

Elinor Glyn starts chapter 13 of her epic Three Weeks at Peak Glyn:

Do you know the Belvedere at the Rigi Kaltbad, looking over the corner to a vast world below, on a fair day in May, when the air is clear as crystal and the lake ultra-marine? When the Bernese Oberland undulates away in unbroken snow, its pure whiteness like cold marble, the shadows grey-blue?
Ok I googled Bernese Oberland, because I legit thought it was another name for a Bernese Mountain Dog and she was like "you know how that dog jumps around in the snow and it looks great" but it is in fact this:

Unnamed Woman and Paul are wandering around, and she asks if he'd ever wanted to kill someone: "to have them there at your mercy, to choke their life out and throw them to hell?"

Paul says, er no.

She says she would want to kill one man, a rotten carrion on this earth, and Paul is AGHAST because she is his beautiful angel lady and they do not talk about things like carrion. Anyway, she shows a bunc…

Three Weeks Part II: Needs More Tiger

You love me because I give you the stimulus of uncertainty, and so keep bright your passion, but once you were sure, I should become a duty, as all women become, and then my Paul would yawn and grow to see I was no longer young, and that the expected is always an ennui when it comes!""Never, never!" said Paul, with fervour. At least Glyn kind of knows what's up.

Now that Paul has had his first amorous dalliance (with a foreigner, no less), he is completely scornful of his fellow English citizens. Coming into a restaurant hatless, really. So like them and their kind. Not like Paul. Paul is now a sophisticated man of the world. Because, you see, he has had sex. On a tiger skin, no less. He has, as he thinks of it, a "love-secret."

This lady, however, the un-first-named (first names! so common!) Madame Zalenska, continues to dine alone and not speak to him, so you know something's UP. They decide to leave for some mountain retreat, with him in the guise o…

Three Weeks: The Elinor Glynalong | Elinor Glyn's Trashy Classic

Here we are at the start of a new year, reading some 1907 trash. Feels right.

I never thought you could actually read Elinor Glyn's books; she seemed like some distant untouchable literary figure, referenced in The Music Man, but whose works were not to be seen by contemporary eyes. Well that is nonsense. They're right there on the internet for free.

Glyn's first novel was published in 1900 (The Visits of Elizabeth) and her last in 1940 (The Third Eye). This readalong focuses on one of her more scandalous works, Three Weeks. It is termed an "erotic romance novel" and concerns a young English twit who falls in love with an older (i.e. in her 30s) Eastern European woman of MYSTERIOUS ORIGINS.

It was the subject of an anti-vice campaign in Boston (what wasn't, amirite?) and mainly made its cultural mark through the means of a tiger skin, seen in the book cover above.

This week is chapters 1 through 6. To convince you to read this amazing work, here is a recap:


Minithon the Mini Readathon: September 8, 2018

The minithon is upon us once more! Minithons are for the lazy. Minithons are for the uncommitted. Minithons are for us.

The minithon lasts 8 hours (10 AM to 6 PM CST), therefore making it a mini readathon, as opposed to the lovely Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon and 24in48, both of which you should participate in, but both of which are a longer commitment than this, the Busy Watching Netflix person's readathon.

By 'read for eight hours' what's really meant in the minithon is "read a little bit and eat a lot of snacks and post pictures of your books and your snacks, but mostly your snacks." We like to keep it a mini theme here, which mainly means justifying your books and your snacks to fit that theme. Does your book have children in it? Mini people! Does it have a dog! Mini wolf! Does it have pencils? Mini versions of graphite mines! or however you get graphite, I don't really know. I just picture toiling miners.

The point is, justify it or don't. Does…

#24in48: What Was Good, What Was Bad, What You Should Read

24in48, where we try to read for 24 hours out of 48, has come and gone once more. I managed 13 hours, which considering my usual average is 2, is excellent and I will take it. I attribute this to genuine planning this time and a remarkable lack of things to do that weekend.

What did I finish!

The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff
Captain Phasma by Kelly Thompson (comic)
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
DC Bombshells Volume 1 (comic)
The Punisher: The Complete Collection, Volume 1 (comic)
Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall

The Good.

It was actually all pretty good, so I'm gonna give a quick recap so you can decide if it strikes your fancy or not.

The Summaries

The Witches: Salem, 1692. This is a breakdown of everything that happened before, during, and after the Salem witch trials of 1692. I loved the beginning because Stacy Schiff gives you a good idea of the awfulness of life in New England in the 17th century, and it also helps you understand how the trials happened, because everyth…

Spotlight on Black Women for Black History Month

It's February! Let's read some BOOKS.

Black history is notoriously underrepresented in our schools, except for the usual mentions:

I focus on women's history, so here are some great American women-centered reads for Black History Month!

Phillis Wheatley Poems. Phillis Wheatley was kidnapped from West Africa and enslaved in Boston after being bought by the Wheatley family. They taught her Latin, Greek, theology, mythology, an ancient history, and she published a volume of her poetry in 1773. She was the first African-American and first U.S. slave to publish a book of poems in America. She dedicated several poems to George Washington and was invited to meet him in 1776. She was eventually freed from slavery and died in her early 30s in 1784. You can read some of her poems here.

Narrative of Sojourner Truth by Sojourner Truth. Did you know Sojourner Truth grew up speaking Dutch and also lived on a commune for a while and escaped enslavement and was a general revolutionary badass?…

The Top 10 Books from The Millions Book Preview

The Millions listed the best upcoming books for the first half of 2018 and I have distilled that FURTHER through the filter of “very specific fiction but also nonfiction.”

The full list is here! So here we go:

This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jerkins.
It's an essay collection! They remain so hot right now! She covers “Rachel Dolezal; the stigma of therapy; her complex relationship with her own physical body; the pain of dating when men say they don’t ‘see color’; being a black visitor in Russia; the specter of ‘the fast-tailed girl’ and the paradox of black female sexuality; or disabled black women in the context of the ‘Black Girl Magic’ movement.”

She's doing an event with Women and Children First in Chicago in February. This looks real good. Let's all read it and discuss.

The Sky Is Yours by Chandler Klang Smith.
This is getting compared to Blade Runner, which I haven't seen, but I HAVE seen Fifth Element, which seems inspired by Blade Runner, unless it isn't…

2018: Plotting the Year Ahead, Which Will Inevitably Fail But Here We Are

It's 2018! I don't know how I feel about things!

Things feel...vaguely...better than 2017. But that's mostly because of our lovely tradition of "it's a new year!" which is preeeetty arbitrary in the grand scheme of things, but also since a lot of cultures have calendars, also probably not. This new year MEANS something. And what it means is there is like a 20% chance of this year being better than the shitshow that was last year. 20% because you don't wanna tempt fate, man.

I have plans for this year! Big plans! Mostly regarding books, because obvs.

Last year, counting comic volumes, I read 105 books. Mostly because I was freelancing for much of the summer. This year, I'm starting a project that'll necessitate reading even more nonfiction, which I'm very excited about, and I'd like to finish Martin Chuzzlewit and my book proposal. Ideally both by July, but I'm not married to the Chuzzlewit idea.

My personal library is slowly getting whittl…

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg: Magic! Also It's Pretty Fun!

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg (a lady!) caught my eye a while back because of its cover.

It also has a lady in a late 1800s dress AND she's holding an umbrella, which usually specifies whimsy of some kind? I don't know. Also paper in what way! Is SHE paper? I have questions.

So it turns out magic in this 1890s/1900s world seems pretty accepted? And there's a school, and Ceony Twill, the whimsically named heroine (ah, that's why that umbrella's there) has just graduated from said school and she has to bond to a material because that is how magic works here, do not question it. 

But she gets assigned to paper because no one chooses paper because it is stupid. Why would you choose paper when you could work with metal (she wants to work with metal). But there she is, so she goes to the home of her new instructor guy whose apprentice she'll be. And the guy (Magician or "Mg." Thane) turns out to be like 30 and okay looking, at which point I went &q…