Let us not dwell on the October that was filled to the brim with ALL THE THINGS TO DO AND DRAIN ENERGY EVER for too long and just get straight to the goal review. Because goals are fun!
I Want to Read:
From Here to Timbuktu by David Milton
An Heir to Thorns and Steel by M.C.A. Hogarth
Halls of Ivy by Roland Nuñez
I Want to Write:
10,000 words of fiction
We shall not speak of this month of terrible, terrible fail. Although I did manage to read two of the books on my list! Sort-of. I abandoned one of them. And I did actually write things. I just wound up focusing more on preparing things for NaNoWriMo rebelling than doing much actual fiction writing. I have written a little, though. It’s just most of my writing energy actually went into any of the following: making a timeline for Demi-Princess, making a timeline for Promises, figuring out where to start Promises 2 (i.e. throw out everything except the original draft and look at it again and lo! A beginning point was right there)and other such assorted prepatory things.
November is, of course, NaNoWriMo month for a lot of people. Me, I’m comfortable being a NaNoRebel. You’ll see what that means. ^_^
I Want to Read:
I Want to Write:
50,000 words of fiction
Yep. I have no goals this month except to write 50,000 words of anything fiction-related in total. I’ll be focusing on the Demi-Princess story as well as on Promises 2, but theoretically anything goes as long as it’s fiction. To that end, I’ve not set any reading goals and we’ll see if this has any effect whatsoever. It’s experimentation time!
Because we all know that I’m good at experimenting with things, yes. This also means that blog content will be sparse this month. You’ll get PGSM commentary and NaNoWriMo updates, but that’s more or less it for November in terms of what I’ve planned. Sea Foam and Silence remains on hiatus for the time being. I currently have no reviews planned for November. I plan to post at least one NaNo update every Sunday to recap the week and possibly more.
I most likely will not manage to write or update every day, but I’ll try to remember to post a snippet from whatever I work on to share with you all throughout the week. That could be fun. ^_^ Onwards, to NaNoWriMo!
I’m also considering to let friends read along with me somehow. I’m undecided.
Well, after watching La Reconquista and Petite Étrangère, I couldn’t very well not watch Un Nouveau Voyage after MissDream released the fansubs, could I? (Many thanks to them as always for their hard work and dedication in making these shows accessible to audiences who don’t speak Japanese or only speak it patchily.)
So, without further ado or preamble, have the livetweet Storify of when I watched it! It cuts off a little abruptly at the end, apologies, because I was tired and very sad about the graduation of the Inners. I loved their dynamics and interactions and I wish they’d had a chance to do all five shows.
And after the cut below you’ll find more coherent thoughts on the show. First, some more background.
Un Nouveau Voyage, like the other two musicals I’ve watched this year, is based on one of the story’s main arcs. In this case, it draws on Sailor S/the Infinity arc. I will discussing the narrative in Classic as well as in this storyline purely because I know Classic’s story better. S has always been the season I’m least familiar with even in the anime and I’m most familiar with Classic’s interpretation. So I expect discussions of what I was expecting and comparisons to key moments.
Beyond that, well. The senshi are looking at entry tryouts at the prestigous Mugen Academy. Things, of course, go horribly wrong as the whole thing is run by a mad and evil scientist. Ish. It’s more complex. So now let’s move onto the rambly thoughts!
Plot Recap: Kunzite turned Ami into an evil senshi! Dark Mercury is set on destroying her friends. Mamoru is grappling with his feelings even though he’s moving away in a month and none of it will matter because he’ll be at university. Usagi is determined to cheer up, even though her heart’s still in pieces. Makoto and Motoki share awkward scenes together as they stay at the hospital to look after Ami. The plot order recap is entirely out of chronological order.
So let’s just get to the episode, shall we? Spoilers below the cut!
It’s a little bit later than I’d planned because it’s been pretty hectic the past few days, but here’s my round-up for #Diversiverse 2015. ^_^ The #Diversiverse challenge ended this past Saturday, which some of you may know, means it coincided with Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon held on 17-18 October, 2015.
Nabbing an idea from Elizabeth‘s wrap-up post, a reminder of what this reading challenge is all about.
During the first two weeks of October (October 4th-17th)
It’s not actually the low standard it seems to be when you consider that not everyone is a fast reader and the challenge only lasts for two weeks, but for a relatively fast reader like myself it’s a pretty low bar.
As I mentioned when I announced the sign-ups for the challenge, my plan was to have a few reviews prepared in advance to add to the book (or books) I’d pick up and review during the two weeks of the challenge.
I didn’t make a TBR pile for the challenge, largely because most of my eligible books are reserved for the Year of International Reading project I’m doing next year.
The last was one of the books I read for #Diversiverse itself. I also read By Vow and Royal Bloodshed by M.C.A. Hogarth (the sequel to Heir) and Passing by Nella Larsen, neither of which I managed to review in time for the end of the challenge, but which I’ll talk about later this month.
Plot Recap: Kunzite has targeted Mercury! (And he hasn’t yet usurped Beryl for reasons known only to him. Possibly he doesn’t want the day-to-day managing?) Usagi has learned that Mamoru is engaged! Mamoru is actually being a nice guy! And, yep, that’s pretty much all the plot progression we’ve had in the last episode. Pretty Guardian Sailormoon is nice and slow on things and can I just point out that Usagi and Mamoru are getting to know each other as people and falling for the person rather than the whole magical “Love at first sight” thing that was so prominent in other versions? I can? Good because I just did.
Anyway! That’s it for the plot recap, so let’s get on with the episode.
What, Exactly, Is This Year of International Reading?
It is a year in which I commit myself to reading authors from all over the world instead of predominantly from the US. You can join me if you want to! It’ll be fun and we’d be able to cover more books and spread more love for international fiction! Maybe get a snowball effect going? That would be amazing.
For the purposes of this project/challenge, I’m defining “international fiction” as “Stories written by non-American authors and available in English”. If you want to join me, feel free to tweak that definition to suit your own situation and needs.
In the year of international reading, I’m going to deviate from my standard “I only talk about individual books when I like them or have really big problems I can discuss in a constructive manner” rule and talk about anything I read. Even if I didn’t finish the book. Even if I don’t feel like I have a whole lot to say. Maybe not if I hated it so much I have nothing good to say about it at all, I’m undecided.
Lynn, What Exactly Are You Going To Do Then?
From January 1st, 2016 until June 30th, 2016 I will read only books written by non-American authors.
Remember that I said I was only sort of going to read nothing but non-Americans for a year? I don’t actually have the funds to read only new acquisitions for an entire year. Not only that, but a lot of the pushback against challenges and events like the Tempest challenge, #Diversiverse and even the last few Hugo Award outcomes consists predominantly of privileged people who seem to interpret “reading diversely” as “never reading works by authors from X group of people ever again”. There is a lot you can say about that and much of it has already been said, so I’m not going to.
But since I’m afraid I can’t afford to do a whole year anyway, why not use half of the year to demonstrate that “reading diversely” does not have to mean “cutting X out of one’s reading diet forever”? So, from July onwards, I will tentatively be adding American authors back into my reading schedule.
And there is a note attached to that sentence: I will be focusing on minority authors and authors from marginalised groups because my reading choices lean (slightly) in that direction anyway. I’m not looking to change what I read in terms of the kind of stories I enjoy. More on this in a bit!
My goal with the way I’m tackling the Year of International Fiction is twofold: to highlight international authors/books that are otherwise frequently ignored and to prove that reading diversely doesn’t mean saying goodbye to anything. It just means making a bit of room for more books and authors who tell the same kind of stories you like. This is not an either/or situation.
The books I read will be primarily SFF.
I know I already said that and it was probably redundant the first time around, but. Most of my reading is SFF (with a strong leaning towards fantasy) in general and a good chunk of this personal challenge is rooted in the actions and history of the English-language (and predominantly American) SFF community. It makes sense to focus on SFF both as a response to what’s been happening in the English-language community and as a way to prove that reading diversely doesn’t mean changing your reading habits. I can’t do that if I’m suddenly switching over to, say, literary fiction.
That said, in looking for non-American SFF available in English, I found several books in other genres that sounded fascinating. I have added those to my 2016 TBR pile as well. If the mood strikes, I’ll be reading them. I do enjoy reading outside of the SFF genres, but I rarely do it. I always get distracted by the shinies within SFF and push the non-SFF books aside. I’m really looking forward to trying something that will make me put aside the SFF to read something else again and shake things up a bit.
If I don’t want to finish a book, I won’t.
Again, I’ve already said this, but it doesn’t hurt to repeat it: I’m not going to force my way through something I hate just because it’s written by an international author. That defeats the point of finding international works I really like.
If you’re curious, this is also why Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem is not in my pile. Everything I’ve read about it suggests that it’s not my kind of book, so, unless friends whose skill at picking books I enjoy is impeccable tell me I’m going to love it, I’m giving it a pass. Sorry!
Short works don’t count.
I’ll consider reading any single narrative that’s 100+ pages according to Kindle’s standard pagination, but I really want to focus on novels. International authors do (somewhat) better in short fiction even if they’re not raking in the awards, but when they’ve written novels those tend to be hard to locate and fairly obscure. Especially if the book has been translated.
This is not going to stop me from reading short works if I come across some that sound interesting (for example The SEA Is Ours anthology that’s currently on IndieGoGo), but they’re easier to find.
This Sounds Like A Great Project, Lynn! What Can I Do?
Well, the most obvious thing you could do is join me, of course, and spend (part of) a year reading non-American authors and talking about the books you’ve read. If you read predominantly books from another nationality, you could redefine my use of ‘international’ to better reflect your situation.
If you’re looking for reading suggestions, I recommend perusing my post listing 170+ international SFF authors as a starting point. You’ll have to look up more details than their names yourself, but that’s half the fun of exploring new authors! You can also check out the responses to my calls for recommendations for a bit more detail (here, here) or you can check out the books that are on my pile here to see if there’s anything that sounds intruiging on there. You could also throw a search for lists into google or use the GoodReads list function to find specific books, but I don’t know that that would necessarily net you what you’re looking for. When I tried tagmashes for translated work on LibraryThing a lot of the results were American English books translated into other languages, so you might have to do some additional research to be sure.
Other ways in which you can help:
Spread the word!
Talk to your friends about that awesome(-sounding) international novel you found. Discuss authors whose work you’ve liked. Write reviews. You know, everything you’d normally do for an author whose work you’ve enjoyed. Word-of-mouth is incredibly important to any author, but perhaps even more so to international ones who may find it close to impossible to network efficiently within an English-language setting. These are authors that are frequently at the very fringes of their respective fields in this community.
Mention this project to people. Discuss it. Link to the author list (once I have one up). Make your own and share it with the world. Mention similar projects to people. Take on the Tempest Challenge or join #Diversiverse and read intersectionally (and then talk about it).
Give me book recommendations!
I’d like to make a list of all the recommendations I’ve received, so that other people can find them in a single, handy location. I’ve found it pretty hard to find international fiction and even harder to find international SFF. A list like could provide a nice resource to get people started. Right now I’m still trying to decide on the best way to make it. Ideally I’d like a way for others to add to the list as well.
Of course if you’ve reviewed international books, please do share those links too! The more books (and links to reviews) the merrier, I say!
I think that’s about it for the things anyone could join me with. Please do add more suggestions in the comments if you have any ideas! ^_^
There are a couple more things that you could do if you’re an international author or reader. In that case, you could also:
Write about your experiences with international fiction.
I’d love to hear about your experiences. If you’ve got posts written on the subject, send me a link so I can share it. Or contact me about writing a guest post if you’re so inclined. Maybe you’ve got a Storify or a vlog to link to?
Contact me about reviewing your book.
International authors/publishers: if you’d like me to review your (English-language) ebook for this project, please contact me about it! I would love to hear from you. (Yes, I only accept ebooks.)
Books I’ve received in exchange for a review will be prioritised. I will discuss the book honestly and write a separate Book Talk post for it even if I disliked it or didn’t finish it. (Yes, I am absolutely willing to accompany the book with a guest post or an interview.)
Obviously, if you can think of more things, you can do those too.
I’m excited for 2016! I have so many shinies on my TBR pile. Okay, they’re not that many yet, but they feel like a lot. And I’m itching to start reading them. They sound sooooooo gooooooood. Hopefully you’ll join me next year, if only as a lurker, and maybe you’ll discover a new favourite author or book!
Having just tackled my favourite fantasy book, it’s probably going to be fun to tackle my second-most read genre as well: science fiction. Whoo! As I mentioned in an earlier post, I don’t really read a lot of science fiction, so this is going to be fun.