starlady: a circular well of books (well of books)
[personal profile] starlady
I read exactly 101 books this year. I think that's going to be my goal for next year; I'm only off last year by 38, which frankly surprises me; I thought grad school would have more of a negative impact on my reading. Regardless, I don't want to go below 50 non-grad school books read in 2011.

101 books, 5 rereads, meaning that I should be picking 8-9 books for the year's best at a slightly less than 10% selection rate. So:

Eight excellent books
1. Kraken by China Miéville
2. When Fox Is a Thousand by Larissa Lai
3. Scott Pilgrim (6 vols.) by Bryan Lee O'Malley
4. Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick
5. Fullmetal Alchemist (27 vols.) by Arakawa Hiromu
6. Bury the Chains by Adam Hochschild
7. Servant of the Underworld by Aliette de Bodard
8. Kamikaze Girls by Takemoto Novala (trans. Akemi Wegmiller)

Given that I read 1/3 of these within the last two months, I think there's definitely a degree of chronological bias here, but whatever; all of these books are great, and some of them, particularly Nothing to Envy and Bury the Chains, are vital.

I've done better than last year with reading books by chromatic and female authors, and that's a trend I want to continue next year; I also want to actually read some of the Japanese novels I have lying around, as well as more manga (I'm always resolving to read more manga). Half my resolutions relate to reading anyway, so, without further ado:

New Year's Resolutions
1. Get new glasses and new contact lenses (I already have the prescription);
2. Read manhwa! I'd love recs for English-language available series!
3. Watch Kdramas and Cdramas. Recs much appreciated!
4. Read more manga, novels in Japanese, and books in translation;
5. Get Netflix (again);
6. Go to the dentist, now that I have dental again after three years;
7. Keep writing, running, and biking


A very Happy (Gregorian) New Year to my dear acquaintance, each and every one of you. ♥
May 2011 be a very good, and better, year for all of us. 

(no subject)

Date: 2010-12-31 23:41 (UTC)
ein_myria: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ein_myria
Happy new year!

Here are some recs that you requested. I hope you enjoy them, if you haven't seen them before. :)

Manhwa: Goong
Kdrama: Dae Jang Geum (Jewel in the Palace), The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince, My Girl.

Happy new years!

Date: 2011-01-01 00:26 (UTC)
lnhammer: girl in yukata kissing a surprised boy on cheek - caption: "buh?" (buh?)
From: [personal profile] lnhammer
When you say "available in English," do you mean officially or unofficially?

For the former, my favorite is Time and a Again (aka Pahanjip), a historical fatansy based on traditional Korean and Chinese folklore. For drop-dead gorgeous, there's Bride of the Water God, another traditional-lore fantasy. One I've just started is Dokebi Bride, another traditional lore fantasy, this with a contemporary setting.

(My favorite manhwa period is Ciel, which Tokyopop licensed then dropped before publishing -- it's more generic-European generic-19th-century fantasy that shows signs of being very aware of Fullmetal Alchemist, despite being nothing at all like it. Also unlicensed is the back catalog of HWANG Mi Ri, who often features physically strong and agency-ful heroines, but also sometimes creates humor by making her dense as well; the best place to start, despite its length, might be Hot-Blooded Woman. I tend to be wary of shoujo-equivalent high school romances, as the gender politics depicted is all too often even more problematic than in manga; Romance Papa is one of the least objectionable that I've read recently -- They, Too, Love has many of the problems, but is one of the few I've met that recognizes how problematic they are, and has a genuinely sweet romance between two adorkable protagonists.)

---L.

Re: Happy new years!

Date: 2011-01-01 03:22 (UTC)
lnhammer: girl in yukata kissing a surprised boy on cheek - caption: "buh?" (buh?)
From: [personal profile] lnhammer
(A couple other non-licensed series worth checking out: Utopia of Homosexuality manages, despite the heteronormative (sorta) ending, manages to not be either creepy or fetishistic about the gay male and lesbian protagonists. Bell Princess is another drop-dead gorgeous historical fantasy, this one based on Chinese (IIRC) lore; hardly anything scanned though. Dear My Girls is, um, well, a high school AU of Little Women, from the point of view "normal" Beth who is jealous of her popular sisters; worth checking out if only for seeing Jo wearing a bouncy ponytail as captain of the fencing club.)

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-01 02:19 (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
About Kamikaze girls...do you have any idea what the ISBN for the actual novel is?

My library hasn't got it in the system at all (not even ILL), and I'm trying to look it up to buy online. Everyone appears to be lumping the manga and the novel together in their descriptions, though I understand they are very different.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-01 13:53 (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Thanks! That book was referred to as a novel, but the product descriptions consistently used the review/product description calling it a shojo manga for all versions.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-01 13:18 (UTC)
seichan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] seichan
2nding the rec for Dokebi Bride and Bride of the Water God (awesome artwork)...I haven't actually read all 5-7 volumes of each..so can't vouch for how the stories progress in each.

Coffee Prince is an excellent kdrama to start with, too. It's a great romantic romance. Painter of the Wind is a good period piece. (I have yet to see a cdrama worth recommending to anyone)

Thx for listing your book recs!

Happy New Year!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-01 14:29 (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I'd recommend http://www.dramabeans.com/ if you're looking for kdrama recs.

Dramafever http://www.dramafever.com/ and Hulu have several kdramas available for (legit) streaming. I've been watching Tamra Island, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, and just finished My Girlfriend is a Gumiho.

Tamra tickled me because of the interaction of England, Holland, Japan, and Korea that makes the story possible, as well as the diver matriarchy that runs the fishing industry of Tamra. Its set in the Joseon era, but doesn't work real hard at historical accuracy (or British accents).

Sungkyunkwan is about a girl who passes the civil service exam and enters the university disguised as a man, though the punishment for getting caught is decapitation. Also set in Joseon, also takes a few liberties, especially toward the end.

My Girlfriend is a Gumiho is the latest drama by the Hong Sisters, and is a revamping of the korean fox myth. I starts a little slow, from selfish manchild's POV, so I don't think I would have made it without dramabean's rec to keep with it. Ends up a nice dissection of these myths and what they say about the role of women, sexuality, and the Other as well as how an actual successful relationship deviates from them.

Also:

Date: 2011-01-01 19:13 (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Sungkyunkwan is adapted from a novel called The Days of Sungkyunkwan Confucian Scholars. http://yogurutu.blogspot.com/ has been doing a translation of the original book into English.

Tamra is an adaptation of a manwha I've yet to find in the wild.

happy new year!

Date: 2011-01-02 03:38 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ariadnechan.livejournal.com
Totally captivated!! i love that one!

my hubby read martial arts and he says that "Veritas" and "the breaker" are really good

if i spot some other good i will tell you!
i only read like 6 books this year and too much K/S fanfiction! :)
Edited Date: 2011-01-02 03:38 (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-03 13:41 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] socair.livejournal.com
Wow that's a lot of books. I hope 2010 is kind to you! :-)

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-03 17:21 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starlady38.livejournal.com
I read 139 in 2009, which was the first year I started keeping track. I'm sure that's a post-high school high.

Happy 2011 to you too!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-03 21:12 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] socair.livejournal.com
Well, given that I read a grand total of three this year, anything more than that is impressive to me. ;-) (I'm absolutely blaming law school.)

And I wrote 2010, didn't I? Sigh. I meant 2011, though, so it still counts. One of these years I'm going to learn to say happy new year and not attempt to incorporate numbers, because I almost never get it right!

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