Specifically, Readercon and Mysterium. Readercon is within commuting distance for me; Mysterium is on the other coast and I would normally not fly out just for that, but it's happening right before the week that it was going to make sense for me to visit my parents, so I'm flying to Spokane for Mysterium, my dad is driving me from Spokane to my parents' house in the Portland-ish area, and I'm flying back from Portland a week afterwards.

I expect Readercon to be shiny and literary and over my head in a pretty predictable way (see my post a bit ago about my currently somewhat-intimidated relationship to reading). I'm not sure I'll have read anything by the guests of honor, but hopefully I can concentrate on going to nifty panels and readings and stuff instead of feeling guilty.

With Mysterium, I am less certain of what to expect. I've played Myst and Riven countless times and been at least a lurker or infrequent poster in online fandom for the last 10 years and dabbled in fanart and stuff... but on the other hand, I'm not that enthused or knowledgeable about the more recent games and don't feel like I'm a well-known forum-goer these days. So I'm not sure how it will work out socially. But, well, geeking out about Myst fandom will be nifty in any case. I'm hoping to have a few Myst jewelry pieces (referencing the ages from the first game) put together to wear while I'm there, and maybe also a linking book thingy for my G1 ^_^
-Returned from Lake Tahoe safe and sound. Had a pretty good if exhausting time while there, and I think I have more enthusiasm for my job and also a better idea of what is neat about our company.

-Got addicted to Insaniquarium, but I think I'm done.

-My dad sent me some pictures from when we lived in Nevada; I'll upload them to Flickr and post them once I've chosen which to share with people.

-Finished The Orphan's Tales. ZOMG. READ THESE BOOKS, PEOPLE.

-So uh moving... anyone have advice on moving when you have the ability to do so in stages? We have to be out by the end of the month but have the ability to move stuff there sooner. Some bits of our current place are relatively organized (uh, like the books that are on the bookshelves?) and a lot of bits are kind of chaotic--including some boxes that I never really finished unpacking. Also we have more stuff here than space in the new place, so some stuff will have to go. I figure we'll want to paint the new place first of all, but I'm not sure what comes after that. If you're the kind of person who'd be happy to hang out with us and keep us sane while we sift through stuff, let me know.
So many books to read! This is just fiction, and is just the books that I physically have right now (either borrowed or bought).

I am kind of a slow reader and often end up feeling guilty about how few books per time unit I read these days, like I'm letting down the voracious reader I was in middle school/early high school. (In retrospect, I'm not sure what led to the decline in my reading--college certainly dealt the killing blow, but I had slowed down earlier. I guess part of that was just that I had exhausted the supply of interesting sci-fi/fantasy books at the city and school libraries in Grangeville.)

Another component is the feeling that I'm missing a big chunk of the background I ought to have to think about and talk about books, since I feel like book discussions often involve comparisons and the other books that are brought up are usually things I've either not read or read so long ago I don't remember much about them. And then I feel obligated to mentally add them to the buffer, which quickly grows to be unmanageably long.

Anyway, I'm hoping that by actually thinking and talking about how cool the books I'm going to read are, I'll feel excited about them instead of just guilty and avoidant. This stack of books is full of awesome, and I want to focus more on the "oo, shiny!" response when I look at this picture and less on the "ack!"

to-read, 5/31/09

This is not necessarily indicative of the order I'll read these in, just the order they stacked nicest for photographing.

From top to bottom:

The Door Into Fire, by Diane Duane -- purchased at Powell's when I was visiting my parents because of this review

Ship of Magic, by Robin Hobb -- borrowed from Susannah

City of Saints and Madmen, by Jeff VanderMeer -- purchased after reading Palimpsest, because I want more weird stories about cities (Cities are still strange to me. Part of my brain still thinks Lewiston, ID is a reasonably-sized city.)

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz -- this looks good! And I encountered the author in my worldbuilding class when I was an undergrad :)

Lilith's Brood, by Octavia Butler -- I've never actually read anything by Octavia Butler and I should fix this.

The Compass Rose, by Ursula Le Guin -- I read this a long time ago, but I'm curious how much more I'll get out of these short stories now. I particularly want to re-read The Eye Altering. Re-reading these stories may or may not start me on a Le Guin re-reading spree. I think that a lot of the political background for the things she's written about will be more familiar to me now than when I was in high school! (Like, uh, feminism for starters.)

The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, collection of short stories by many authors -- This caught my eye in the Porter Square bookstore and looks like a nice sampling-platter of a bunch of neat authors and stories.

Flora Segunda: Being the Magickal Mishaps of a Girl of Spirit, Her Glass-Gazing Sidekick, Two Ominous Butlers (One Blue), a House with Eleven Thousand Rooms, and a Red Dog, by Ysabeau S. Wilce -- Yes that is the full title. Borrowed from Susannah

The Orphan's Tales: In the Cities of Coin and Spice, by Cat Valente -- I am utterly completely head-over-heels in love with The Orphan's Tales. Palimpsest was a lovely fling, but this world is so, so much... more. Um, yeah, it is awesome in ways I don't even know how to talk about. *flaps arms wordlessly* This is the second (and final as far as I know) book; I'm maybe a fifth of the way through it. The overarching frame story for the section I'm on right now is drawing me in a little less deeply than the ones about witches and saints in the first book, but it is still very good.

I'm not sure how many of these I'll take with me on the plane/to read in the hotel. (Posting about books is more interesting than packing a suitcase!) Maybe I'll take all of them.
So, a while ago, I got the book She's Such A Geek and, while I didn't read every single essay in it because Oh Hai My Short Attention Span--a lot of the book really made me happy. Many different types of female geek, from science to engineering to gaming, and not all straight and white and able-bodied and cisgendered (though many of them were those things) were talking about stuff I'd been going through and thinking about and noticing while I was at MIT. Their experiences either rang really true because I'd had similar ones or seen friends having them, or gave me what felt like valuable insight into female geekdom from different eras and from cultural backgrounds I was less familiar with. I glowingly recommended it to a few geeky friends who were working through gender/feminism stuff.

And so finding out one of the editors has some glaring and problematic issues that she thinks are good things! to proclaim loudly and publicly! about trans people was very very GAH. Especially since in this case her name is on the cover but a bunch of (as far as I know) independent-and-unrelated-to-her voices (of people who presumably don't necessarily share her problematic ideas about trans people) are in the book. I like talking about the intersection of feminism and gender and geekiness, and I am troubled that someone with skeevy (to me) ideas about trans people is at the forefront of what I thought of as a really important work on the subject. And I'm not entirely sure what to do about it. I mean, I think that everyone else's work in the anthology should stand on its own, but her name is still on the cover. Should I say something when I recommend the book to other geeks? Should I not recommend it? Do I keep recommending it and not say anything about her other issues and hope that people who research her can do their own work in separating the uncomfortable stuff she's said from the awesomeness of all of the stories in the collection? (I'm not actually asking my reading list to answer these for me--these are the questions I have to resolve for myself.)


Anyone have links or book recs on the feminism/gender/geek topic?


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