Monthly Archives: December 2013

Tehani’s top books of 2013

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Image courtesy of Flikr user Starzyia, licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

With the disclaimer that I can’t include any of the Australian YA or children’s books I have read as part of the CBCA Book of the Year Awards judging in this list (which means several hundred books are NOT considered, and also that I didn’t read nearly as many OTHER books as I usually would!), AND that I’ve not included FableCroft publications here, which of COURSE are five star (!), here are my favourite books of 2013! (in basically reverse reading order, thanks to Goodreads).

Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor

Thankless in Death by JD Robb

Once Upon a Time: new fairytales edited by Paula Guran

The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

How green this land, how blue this sea by Mira Grant

Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan

Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield

Chicks Dig Comics edited by Lynne M Thomas & Sigrid Ellis

Parasite by Mira Grant

We are all completely beside ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Perfections by Kirstyn McDermott

Caution: contains small parts by Kirstyn McDermott

Asymmetry by Thoraiya Dyer

Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal

The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

When We Wake by Karen Healey

Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs

Archie: Married Life (1, 2 & 3) by Paul Kupperberg et al

Hawkeye vol. 1, My life as a weapon by Matt Fraction et al

Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb

Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson & Lauren Myracle

A Trifle Dead by Livia Day

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Written in Red by Anne Bishop

Fables vol. 18, Cubs in Toyland by Bill Willingham et al

Batwoman vol. 2, To drown the world by JH Williams III et al

She Hulk, vol. 1, Single Green Female by Dan Slott et al

Captain Marvel, vol. 1, In pursuit of flight by Kelly Sue DeConnick et al

Girl Genius 1-11 by Phil & Kaja Foglio

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

Batgirl vol. 1, The darkest reflection by Gail Simone et al

The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Soulless the manga vol. 2 by Gail Carriger et al

The Voyage of the Unquiet Ice by Andrew McGahan

Saga vol. 1 by Brian K Vaughan et al

A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

Beauty’s Sister by Bradley James

Wow. Imagine if I hadn’t been CBCA reading! There are so many brilliant books! And if you really want to know EVERYTHING I’ve read (if not what I think of them), you can see my 2013 Year of Reading (368, apparently…) here!

 

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New Who in Conversation: A Christmas Carol (2010 Christmas special)

David is coming to New Who for the first time, having loved Classic Who as a kid. Tehani is a recent convert, and ploughed through Seasons 1 to 7 (so far) in just a few weeks after becoming addicted thanks to Matt Smith – she’s rewatching to keep up with David! Tansy is the expert in the team, with a history in Doctor Who fandom that goes WAY back, and a passion for Doctor Who that inspires us all.

We are working our way through New Who, using season openers and closers, and Hugo shortlisted episodes, and sometimes a couple of extra episodes we love as our blogging points. Just for fun! 

CC“A Christmas Carol”, 2010 Christmas Special

The Doctor – Matt Smith

Amy Pond – Karen Gillan

Rory Williams – Arthur Darvill

Kazran/Elliot Sardick – Michael Gambon 

Abigail – Katherine Jenkins

Young Kazran – Laurence Belcher

Adult Kazran – Danny Horn 

DAVID:

A very interesting Christmas special, as Doctor Who riffs on Dickens. I actually think this is one of the best Christmas specials so far, and certainly the one that takes itself the most seriously (I say this because “End of Time” doesn’t really feel like a Christmas special to me, aside from the original broadcast date which I of course missed). Yes, there are lots of a nice little moments of humour, but this has far more meat to it than the others. It’s very self contained, too, and you can imagine watching this with family members who had never seen Doctor Who, and not having to explain very much – the only vital starting point being that he is a time traveller, which is rather self evident. Because of that It reminded me a little of “The Girl in the Fireplace”, a story that shares some of the same themes – the idea of the Doctor ducking in and out of someone’s life and the way time passes differently from different perspectives.

CC1TANSY:

It’s a great Christmas special – RTD launched the crazy fake snow tradition for the show and I do enjoy his various slightly cynical takes on what constitutes Christmas telly (a grand British tradition that we don’t have here in Australia where the idea of a flagship drama premiering a new episode on Christmas Day is basically unheard of) but I like the Moffat specials more. They feel a lot more genuinely Christmassy and less self conscious. And I do have a soft spot for Victoriana.

More importantly, this is a gorgeously designed alien planet! One of my favourites, in fact. I like all the little worldbuilding details like the flying fish and the way it all feels a bit like it’s an underwater kingdom, with all the tech and architecture resembling old world diving helmets and portholes.

TEHANI:

Very steampunkish! A lot to love, and following a theme of bloody fantastic set pieces for the season! Continue reading

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New Who in Conversation: The Pandorica Opens / The Big Bang S05E12/13

David is coming to New Who for the first time, having loved Classic Who as a kid. Tehani is a recent convert, and ploughed through Seasons 1 to 7 (so far) in just a few weeks after becoming addicted thanks to Matt Smith – she’s rewatching to keep up with David! Tansy is the expert in the team, with a history in Doctor Who fandom that goes WAY back, and a passion for Doctor Who that inspires us all.

We are working our way through New Who, using season openers and closers, and Hugo shortlisted episodes, and sometimes a couple of extra episodes we love as our blogging points. Just for fun! Tansy and Tehani love this season so much we’re making David do more work – we’re changing up our usual plan and reviewing each episode, in sets of two.

the_pandorica_opens_by_shereline-d5vm3gk “The Pandorica Opens / The Big Bang”

Season five, episodes twelve and thirteen

The Doctor – Matt Smith

Amy Pond – Karen Gillan

Rory Williams – Arthur Darvill

River Song – Alex Kingston

TANSY:

I always forget quite how much I love “The Pandorica Opens” until I’m watching it. The ‘cold open’ piece before the credits is especially wonderful. It’s fascinating how quickly this new mode and tone of Doctor Who has established itself in only a few months, so that the season finale is able to rely on nostalgia about the Eleventh Doctor and the friends he has made along the way.

TEHANI:

It’s quite amazing how much is packed into that beginning, and how lovely it is to revisit old friends in such a way. And they feel like old friends, even though we’ve really only just met them!

River1DAVID:

The whole setup of this episode is wonderfully done, not only do we get a refresher on some of the key players of the season, we barely have time to draw breath. River is wonderful, and we see her as this real James Bond type figure, absolutely dashing and fearless. And the reveal of the cliff face and the message was hilarious – It is certainly one way to get someone to return your calls!

TANSY:

The River Song of these episodes is my favourite. This is the point at which we start seeing the Doctor respond to her overtures (if not entirely crossing over into romance on his side) by being genuinely intrigued (rather than just annoyed) by this woman who knows him so well that she will deface one of the wonders of the universe just to get his attention – and of course set up a colossal scam which establishes her as Cleopatra, and him as Caesar. My favourite River quote of this episode (and there are many): “I hate wizards in fairy tales. They always turn out to be him.”

TEHANI:

I love that line. And River too. I also love in these episodes that the Doctor by now just completely expects River to be able to do the things she can, and believes her and works with her, without a blink. Continue reading

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Still here!

I’m just going to list the things I’ve been doing instead of blogging, because that might explain why I haven’t been blogging…

  • Marking university assignments and sessional tutoring (two different universities).
  • Writing a subject for Charles Sturt University’s new Masters degree.
  • Reading approximately 8 million books on a deadline for CBCA Book of the Year Awards.
  • Wrangling Aurealis Awards judging.
  • Publishing several books since October.
  • Edited final copy of WA School Library Association journal for 2013 (plus reporting for AGM).
  • Organising birthdays for several of us and Christmas at home for us and a bunch of friends.
  • Trying to maintain a semi-organised and clean house of six people.
  • Maintaining an active social schedule for the children…
  • Applying for several jobs. Failing to get shortlisted for a single Tasmanian one (Tas-mate-ia…), but getting flown up to Canberra for an interview for a fantastic position in a lovely school and being offered the job on the spot. No, we aren’t moving at this stage – I’m going FIFO while David is house-husband!

And probably other stuff I’ve forgotten because I’ve been too damn busy!

Goals for the next four weeks before I start my new job:

  • Sort out and cull the zillions of boxes still not unpacked.
  • Tidy out the kids’ rooms & cupboards.
  • Find a small studio/bedsit/unit to live in while in Canberra.
  • Edit forthcoming FableCroft novel.
  • Sort out (with Tansy) Cranky Ladies pitches for FableCroft.
  • E-publish final Glenda Larke novel in the Isles of Glory trilogy.
  • Finish the final touches on the unit writing for uni.
  • Hang out with kids.
  • Read more CBCA books.
  • Wrangle shortlists for Aurealis Awards.

That should do it!

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This is me…

Screen Shot 2013-12-01 at 3.38.59 PM

I think this comes from Adventure Time – I don’t watch it, so can’t be sure!

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