Review: Affinity

Affinity by Sarah Waters

During my trip to Ireland, I bought a copy of Sarah Waters’ The Little Stranger, her 1950s gothic novel. I’ve been meaning to get around to that (and the rest of my small Irish haul) ever since I set foot back in America, but I felt like I couldn’t until I finished her “Victorian Women in Love” trilogy (there’s a snappier title out there, surely?)—I’d already read and loved Fingersmith, recommended heartily during 2010 in the book blogging community, and I’d loved Tipping the Velvet, so as my work load for this semester increased, Affinity seemed like a pretty sure bet.

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The Sunday Salon: Chapters of Dublin

This will be my last post about my adventures in Ireland. Across from our hotel in Dublin was Chapters, a bookstore I had actually already heard about from those who had previously gone on the Ireland trip in glowing terms. While I didn’t have a chance to go during our first days in Dublin, I managed to hit it up—twice—during our final weekend in Dublin. And let me tell you, I could spend hours in there.

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The Literary Horizon: Affinity, Wildthorn

Victorian novels about queer women turn up on my reading list a lot, insofar as any particular pattern can turn up on a reading list pushing five hundred books. All of this is, of course, due to Sarah Waters, whose Fingersmith and Tipping the Velvet are just wonderful. Naturally, the first of today’s selection is the second of her three Victorian novels, and the second strongly reminds me of Fingersmith. Allons-y!

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Booking Through Thursday: Romantic

What’s the most romantic book you’ve ever read?

(Mind you, I don’t mean the hard-core stuff you hide in plain wrappers under your mattress. I mean True Love, Romance, deeply emotional, heart-tugging, and all that stuff.)

And, secondly, did you like it? Is it your usual kind of reading, or did it take you by surprise?

Argh—love≠sex, people. (And romance≠smut.) It’s too early for me to just let that one pass. This is probably why romance as a genre doesn’t particularly attract me, as an asexual woman; too many unnecessary sex scenes. (I’m not saying all sex scenes are unnecessary—I liked Tipping the Velvet—but for books specifically marketing themselves as romance, like The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, they usually are.)

Now, to actually answer the question—I’m going to go with Malinda Lo’s Ash as the most romantic book I’ve ever read. (The review’s going up on March 2.) Not because it’s deeply emotional or heart-tugging—although it certainly can be—but because it’s rational and organic. The titular character has to choose between an idealized and extremely unbalanced (in terms of power) relationship with a supernatural being and an organic and earnest relationship with the King’s Huntress, which is still above her new station in life. The way Ash navigates this and begins to understand the rules of her world were great, and her ultimate choice made my heart sing. Also, it can be read as a commentary on the slew of unbalanced relationships with supernatural beings currently invading young adult fiction—just look at this—and proving that real love, organic, earnest, and true love, will always win out. Fantastic.

Review: Tipping the Velvet

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters

Sarah Waters’ third novel, Fingersmith, is one of my favorite books—it’s a gloriously twisting piece of work and, as a lesbian Victorian novel, is quite, well, novel. In fact, Waters has made a name for herself writing about women in love in the Victorian era, although her latest two novels are set in the 1940s. (It’s probably because all three of her Victorian novels have been adapted for television or film.) Having loved Fingersmith, I picked up Tipping the Velvet, hopeful that the Gaiman Conundrum didn’t apply to Waters.

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The Sunday Salon: 2010 in Review

It’s the last Sunday in 2010, so you know what that means—it’s time for my annual top ten list, taken from the books I’ve read this year, not books only published this year. (I don’t think I’ve even read ten books that were published in 2010.) Here’s last year’s, if you’re so inclined. I have to admit, having an entire year to pull from (as opposed to last year, when I had about four months’ worth of sparser reviews to pick through) made things a bit difficult; there some books I wanted to include, but ultimately ended up deciding against. If you’re interested in what I left off the list, feel free to rifle through the 5 and 4.5 Stars subcategories under Ratings. That said, let’s dig in.
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BBAW 2010: Unexpected Treasure

Today’s prompt for Book Blogger Apprecation Week asks us to share “a book or genre you tried due to the influence of another blogger“. Well, the book I’ve selected is Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith- it wasn’t suggested by any one particular blogger, but by most of the ones that I read! Not only did Ana of things mean a lot, queen of all things Victorian, love and adore it, but so did Teresa over at Shelf Love, who initially had written off Sarah Waters as a writer of erotic Victorian fiction. I finally read it over the past summer, and I loved it. Woe betide anyone that spoils this wonderful book for anyone else.

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Review: Fingersmith

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

It seems that every book blogger I know or know of has either read Fingersmith or is meaning to read it. In fact, I think all this fervor can be traced directly back to Nymeth of things mean a lot. The author, Sarah Waters, is known for writing historical fiction with lesbian characters, particularly Victorian fiction. Historical fiction with queer romance? As an ace, I approve most heartily. I picked up Fingersmith expecting only what I’d read in summaries and reviews; I was not prepared for what it truly was.

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The Sunday Salon: Two-Part Film Adaptations

For those among us who have been living under a rock, the next three big book to film adaptations are Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (or, a generation grows up), Breaking Dawn (or, the death of Taylor Lautner’s career), and The Hobbit (or, I didn’t come with a funny name because I’m so freaking excited). The other thing all three of these films have in common? Well, as the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows trailer puts it, they’re all “presented in two parts”. As fannish friends, reader friends, and filmmaker friends express approval over this trend, I often feel a bit awkward when I admit that I think it’s a terrible idea.

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The Literary Horizon: Luck in the Shadows, Fingersmith

Recently, I’ve come across two books that have gay romances at their heart, but those romances aren’t the sole purpose of those books. Somehow, I’ve never read queer historical fiction or any fantasy with queer characters as explicitly defined in the text (although it was blindingly obvious to me, at least, that Dumbledore had a thing for Grindelwald). This is something I absolutely have to correct. So let’s take a look at the thieves at the heart of both of these books.

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