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Fun with French, Lord Wimsey style

Busman's Honeymoon

Busman’s Honeymoon

There is a side effect of being an author that I’ve seen other authors mention before, and which has started to affect me: i.e., I often am less inclined to read things in genres I’m actively writing. Which is to say, urban fantasy and epic fantasy. I haven’t ditched those genres completely, mind you; I did just do a sprint through the last of the Greywalker series, as well as the Dresden Files.

But every so often I specifically have to go read something in a genre I am not likely to write any time in the foreseeable future. And my current read is a long overdue visit to one of my favorite literary detectives, Lord Peter Wimsey! The title in question: Busman’s Honeymoon.

Which I mention in part partly because of the aforementioned need to visit other genres, but mostly because of the delightful and unexpected outbursts of French Peter keeps having in this book. French which, I note, is not translated in any way, as if Sayer clearly expected her readers to either a) know what the hell Wimsey said, or b) be in a position to look it up. Either way I approve.

What really tickled me outright about Wimsey’s French in this book, though, was a thing I recognized from Quebec French–i.e., the use of the word “blonde” in what I’m pretty damn sure is the context of “girlfriend/lover”. Moreover, unless I miss my guess, it’s in a saucy song!

Here’s the first bit of it that appears in the book:

La caill’, la tourterelle
Et la joli perdrix–
Auprès de ma blonde
Qu’il fait bon, fait bon, fait bon
Auprès de ma blonde–

And here’s the second bit:

Et ma joli colombe
Qui chante jour et nuit
Et ma joli colombe
Qui chante jour et nuit
Qui chante pour les filles
Qui n’ont pas de mari–
Auprès de ma blonde
Qu’il fait bon, fait bon, fait bon
Auprès de ma blonde
Qu’il fait bon dormi.

BUT WAIT the amusement does not actually stop there. Because I just looked this song up, googling what looks like the chorus, and discovered that it is in fact this song. “Auprès de ma blonde”. Which had English lyrics written to the tune for an Elvis song. I.e., “I Love Only One Girl”, from the movie Double Trouble. A song that I filked in Pern fanfic.

Between this and this book ALSO teaching me that the phrase “embarrassment of riches” comes from a translation of a French play, I’m getting all sorts of fun French mileage out of this read!


One last 2014 book roundup

This is getting posted in 2015, but it’s actually a 2014 book roundup, because all of these titles were bought before New Year’s!

Tales from Rugosa Coven

Tales from Rugosa Coven

Bought in print from Third Place Books, all of which are print copies of things I already own electronically (but I’m buying again because these are authors I want on my list of people I buy in both formats):

  • Blood of Tyrants, by Naomi Novik. Her eighth Temeraire novel.
  • The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, by Leslye Walton. The YA/magic realism novel I read last year, and which I really quite liked. Enough that I decided to get a copy in print, and because the hardback edition is smallish and quite pretty.
  • Revenant, by Kat Richardson. The final Greywalker novel, which as I write I’m currently reading electronically. Grabbed the hardback to fill out my collection of Richardson’s series.
  • Sing No Evil, by J.P. Ahonen. A graphic novel I grabbed entirely on impulse, because I thought the art was quite engaging, and because I liked the premise of a band in what’s clearly an urban fantasy type situation. Plus, it turns out it’s by a Finnish author and apparently this is a translation into English…? To wit, awesome!

Bought from Amazon, because that was the only place I could get it, and because it was DRM free:

  • Tales from Rugosa Coven, by Sarah Avery. This is a collection of three novellas featuring pagan characters, two of which were previously published by Drollerie, and one of which is new. Looking forward to reading the lot of these. I’ve read Sarah before, and quite liked her.

Bought from Smashwords, now that it’s finally available in electronic form:

  • Trafficking in Magic, Magicking in Traffic, edited by David Sklar and Sarah Avery. Another effort by fellow former Drollerie authors! I almost got in on this, but couldn’t get the story finished in time. Very much looking forward to seeing the final product now that it’s finally available in digital form.

169 for the year, and this time this IS actually the final title!

Trilingual Hobbit Reread

Tri-lingual Hobbit re-read: Chapter 17

It has taken me ages to get through my edits for Victory of the Hawk, you guys. But now that the end is in sight, I’ve had some cycles free up finally. Which means I can get back to the last few bits of my Trilingual Hobbit Reread!

And Chapter 17 of The Hobbit, “The Clouds Burst”, is pretty much where the Battle of Five Armies gets down to Serious Business. Which is a good place to be, given the movie that’s about to come out next month, yes?

Continue Reading


Thanksgiving weekend book roundup

Yoinked from B&N, digitally:

A Play of Shadow

A Play of Shadow

  • Symbiont, by Mira Grant. SF/Horror. Book 2 of her Parasitology series, bought for general Because Mira Grant purposes. And also because I LOLed at her posting to her journal that, quote, “nothing says Thanksgiving like tapeworms!”, unquote.
  • Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover, by Sarah MacLean. Historical romance. The fourth of her Rules of Scoundrels series.
  • Blood Magick, by Nora Roberts. Paranormal romance. Third of her Cousins O’Dwyer trilogy.

And, from Kobo:

  • The Future Falls, by Tanya Huff. Urban fantasy. Third of her Gale series.
  • A Play of Shadow, by Julie E. Czerneda. Second in her current fantasy series.
  • The Best of All Possible Worlds, by Karen Lord. SF. Grabbed because I’d heard some good things about this, and of the Star-Trek-ish influence on it.
  • Adulthood Rites and Imago, by Octavia E. Butler. Books 2 and 3 of her Xenogenesis series. Grabbed because I already had Book 1 and I seriously need to read this trilogy.

135 for the year.


Spotted on Dear Author today: to DNF or not to DNF

Dear Author pointed at this article today, in which the article writer admonishes people who bail on a book before finishing it. I do not agree with the article, though I’ll give its author props for a cogently written argument.

As you all know, Internets, I am a voracious reader–voracious enough that I’ve started reading books in a whole extra language, for fuck’s sake. I read on the bus. I read at lunch. I read while waiting in lines for stuff. I read print. I read ebooks. I read on my phone. I read on ereaders. If there’s a newspaper lying around and I have nothing else to read, I’ll read that. Hell, if there’s something suitably interesting on it, I’ll read the back of a cereal box.

So trust me when I tell you that 999 times out of a thousand, if I commit to starting a book, chances are very high that I will finish it. If I pick up a book in the first place, I’ve already done my due diligence–I’ve read reviews of it, I’ve checked out its ratings, I’ve probably even read sample chapters. Something about the book has piqued my interest and made me think, okay yeah, this is possibly a book with which I will be happy to entertain myself for a few hours.

But every so often, I will DNF a book. (That’s Did Not Finish, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the acronym.)

And when I do, it’s typically because something in it has actively pissed me off. Crappy writing isn’t usually enough by itself to make me do that–though I’ve found that if I have too many reactions of “no no no YOU’RE WRITING IT WRONG”, I’ll bail. More often than not, though, it’s because something in the storyline has pissed me off. Usually, a character that does something that makes me want to climb into the book and punch them out of irritation.

As the article I link to points out, sure, it’s possible that a book that does that to me will eventually hand me something awesome that makes up for it pissing me off. But I can think of exactly one example of a book where the writing was compelling enough to make me stick around, despite the fact that I actively loathed every character in the book. And the book in question did not in fact redeem itself in my experience.

So I don’t honestly see the point of sticking around to finish a book that irritates me. That’s tantamount to saying “gosh, hitting myself on the head with this hammer really hurts! But maybe if I keep at it long enough, it’ll start feeling better!”

Seriously, who has time for that?

What about the rest of you? What makes you bail on reading a book?


Quick ebook roundup

Just to clear this off my post queue!

Green Rider

Green Rider

Picked up electronically from Kobo:

  • Where I Belong, by Alan Doyle. Memoir. I bought the hardcopy of this from earlier this year, but of course I wanted the ebook too.
  • Green Rider, by Kristen Britain. Fantasy. Re-buy of a book previously owned in print, the first of her ongoing series that finally had a book five show up. I’m more likely to re-read books 1 and 2 if I have them electronically, so this is me going about getting those.
  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth, by Carrie Ryan. YA/Zombies. Another re-buy of a book previously owned in print, because I want to get caught up on her zombie books, too.
  • Writing Out the Notes, by Bob Hallett. Another memoir. Because as long as I’m reading stuff by Great Big Sea musicians, I really ought to finally read this too! I’ve got a print copy, but it’s available in ebook as well.

Pre-ordered electronically from Barnes and Noble:

  • Unbound, by Jim C. Hines. Urban fantasy. Book 3 of his Magic Ex Libris series, which I went ahead and pre-ordered on general Supporting Mr. Hines principles, particularly since he recently drew the ire of GamerGate.

127 for the year. And I’m counting the Hines as this year even though it doesn’t drop till January, because I’m paying for it now.

Books, Other People's Books

All-French ebook roundup post

So B&N sent me a $5 credit, because I was one of the first 200 responders to a survey they sent out–they’d seen I’d recently bought a Nook HD, and they wanted to know my experience with it vs. with my earlier Nook. Awesome, I said, and promptly answered the thing and got the five bucks.

Les Rêves de la Mer

Les Rêves de la Mer

Which I then promptly turned around and spent, and this time, my target purchases were books by Élisabeth Vonarburg! She’s been on my radar for a while as a prominent Quebecoise SF/F author, so I’ve finally grabbed three of her novels to queue up for when I’m feeling ambitious enough with my French to try to tackle her. Probably after I do a bit more Élodie Tirel, and some Esther Rochon. 😀

The titles I got were:

  • Le Silence de la Cité
  • Chronique du Pays des Mères
  • Les Rêves de la Mer

I was originally just going to get two books, but as soon as I grabbed Chronique I realized that that was actually book two of a series, so I grabbed Silence as well. And I grabbed Rêves since it’s Book 1 of a different series, the Tyranaël books.

Just going by the titles and by what I gleaned out of the blurbs for these books, I’m expecting stuff heavy on the feminism. It’ll be interesting to eventually compare her to oh, say, Sheri Tepper, who I also need to read.

This puts me at 117 for the year.