11 May 2013 @ 10:06 pm
Book rec: Gossamer Axe  

Gael Baudino: Gossamer Axe
An Irish mortal-turned-immortal harpist-turned-guitarists forms a Heavy Metal band to rescue her lover from the realm of the Sidhe.
When I first heard the premise for this book I found it hard to take seriously. It sounded heard to pull off, to say the least. And yet, Gael Baudino somehow does it. Yes, the book becomes a bit preachy at times and silly at others, but it mostly works, and she always pulls it back so that it does. The main character is thoroughly enjoyable because she is competent, confident, and purposeful in what she does. The biggest hit with me was the author's music theory framework for her magic system, it's not often that you read about anyone using phrygian mode anymore.
Current Mood: surprised
Current Music: Yngwie J. Malmsteen - Black Star
Current Location: Germany, Bremen
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[identity profile] cranky--crocus.livejournal.com on May 12th, 2013 12:08 am (UTC)
Great rec! I read this as a teenager and loved it. I haven't read it again yet but I've kept it through a number of book purges, which is the real proof that it's a favourite of mine.
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Mothwing: Book[identity profile] mothwing.livejournal.com on May 12th, 2013 08:06 am (UTC)
This book is such a marvel, I really don't know where this has been all my life. And I love being surprised by books, that rarely happens anymore, so many books just stick to the format, and here is this miracle with a talking harp and lesbians from the sixth century. Yes, there is healing sex and a harp-to-guitar-brain-transfer, but the ride is far too wild to focus too much on the silly bits. This book would have changed me as a teenager.

Book purges - I half envy, half fear the people who can do that. I am a book-enthusiast bordering on book-hoarder like most of my family, I feel best in rooms that don't have visible walls. Crocky is the opposite - she does like books, but she only keeps around those that are particularly special to her and donates or re-sells the others. I can't fathom doing that, they're my books! D=
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[identity profile] cranky--crocus.livejournal.com on May 15th, 2013 06:05 am (UTC)
I'm not even sure where I picked it up, myself honestly. I think it was that year when I was 15 or so, had been out for a good while, and went "You know what? I want to read real lesbian books and feel represented." I looked up all sorts of lists, found links to them all on cheap used-bookstore websites (mostly half.com, an offshoot of ebay) and sent a list of links to my mother, who bought them all for Christmas. I read through them that year and I must say it was a pretty brilliant year, feeling that represented all the time in what I was reading.

Ahaha at the time I think I actually enjoyed the healing sex a bit, just because I had never seen anything like that (not so directly/literally) before, and because as a disabled youth I marvelled at the idea of sex that could heal like that.

I think what really struck me, in that I remember it even now (with no real specifics), is the understanding I got that sex and opening oneself up to intimacy was a gift of giving and receiving. I suppose I was so used to a culture of the concept of 'virginity' being so full of conquest and triumph ("lost" virginity rather than "gave", "took her virginity" rather than "was given her virginity", all of that sort of stuff) that it really stuck with me. The idea that I could disrobe, figuratively and literally, in this powerful and yet vulnerable way to give myself as a gift and to receive someone else as a gift; that sex could, and should, be an act of mutual giving rather than mutual taking. When I read it I started thinking that maybe there was an inner Goddess in me that should be cherished and respected, and that I didn't have to give anyone access to her if I didn't want to but that I could never be blamed when I did choose to, no matter to how many people (including at one time) nor how often.

It may explain why I really never felt compelled by peer pressure to do anything that I didn't explicitly want to do, and why on the rare occasion that I did take a step that I wasn't quite ready for, I didn't blame myself for trying.

I really do want to re-read it. I've got it up over my head on a bookshelf. I've just got so many books that I'm reading now and that are on my to-read lineup...

I also feel best in rooms without visible walls, although I am just as content to have them covered in posters and art.

I will admit that I am more likely to keep books I have paid for myself. I read a number of books from the library; those I obviously have to give back, but on a rare occasion I'll go out and actually buy the book just to have it. Most books I get from bookswaps, from friends, or from very cheap 'pay for a bag of books' type deals. As I work my way through them, I keep the ones that really stick with me and that I think I might open up again (like Gossamer Axe; otherwise I'll donate them, swap them, or pass them along to friends in the hope that they find the home where they will be striking in that manner to someone. Because of that, I end up with a 'to read' collection that is larger than my 'have read' collection, although it always is a rather lot of books in the end, at least given the living space I usually have.

(And that's the other key to it: at this point I only ever have a bedroom and a bit of storage at my parents' home to myself, since I don't ever like to take up space in communal living rooms. Who knows what will happen if I ever end up in a house of my own where I have the room to spread out?)
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Mothwing: Book[identity profile] mothwing.livejournal.com on May 20th, 2013 12:35 am (UTC)
You can put everything into words so perfectly. I like what you write about sex as giving because that's something that I hadn't been able to put into words like that myself before.

In the book, I found her dianic neopaganism a bit preachy at times I did enjoy the bit about the inner goddess and sex-as-giving to someone who needs intimacy and emotional connection rather than has sexual gratification. It's a concept that rings so true and I wish it were more common in literature.

Sex used to disturb me a lot growing up because I came to view it as an act of physical contact perpetrated by an active, dominant, controlling man to a passive, permissive, submissive woman not giving her consent. When I first encountered sex as something shared and enjoyed (somewhere in MZB's oeuvre, I believe) I was deeply intrigued, and I think this book would have been excellent for me at that age.

Most of my books are also still at my parents' place. My room is a storage/guest room and the books aren't bothering anyone, though there is still over a meter of books that I haven't gotten round to even over there and I'm not sure I ever will.

Hopefully I'll have a library room at some point. :D
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[identity profile] cranky--crocus.livejournal.com on July 28th, 2013 06:06 am (UTC)
(I'm sorry I never replied to this; it came at a difficult time but receiving it meant a lot to me.)

You can put everything into words so perfectly.
Thiiis has nearly made me cry each time I've read it. Thank you. I always feel as if I'm bumbling with my words and never quite expressing what I want to--or at least not expressing it clearly, coherently, and cohesively--so hearing this meant the world to me. It's a wonderful reminder that sometimes I can do it right!

Totally agreed on the dianic neopaganism; I remember thinking that even as a young reader. I'd definitely be interested in reading it again more than half a decade later to see what I picked up on.

I came to view it as an act of physical contact perpetrated by an active, dominant, controlling man to a passive, permissive, submissive woman not giving her consent.
I'm trying to remember how I used to view sex, at least in literature. I've always known about queer people in real life; my role model growing up was a lesbian and, while the idea of sex never interested me, I did always have the idea that it was something two consenting adults did because they found something they liked in it. I think the first time I ever read sex was in The Princess Bride. I can't remember much of it except that I was quite interested in it--and in Buttercup more than her partner. I loved the idea of how much pleasure she was getting from it. I'd like to re-read that one, too, I think; I must have read it for the first time when I was 12 or 13.

My rather large 'to read' collection of books is upstairs in my parents' house, still in my old bedroom (which is now a storage/guest room, so I suppose the same situation!). It's just about the only thing I actually have left there and I made the deal with my mother that it could stay because there was no way I'd be able to fit the shelf in my tiny little bedroom. She's also a bit more excited now that she's knows it's a "to read" pile and that she is welcome to grab any book from it at any time.

Mmm a library room. I'd love to have one with a hidden door.
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