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The End at Last!

I finally finished Moby Dick. The beginning of the book was cute, and the end was tragic and exciting. It's just that it took soooo maaaany chaaapters of doom, gloom, fearsome omens, and soliloquies to get from A to Z. My chief feeling now is one of relief. Now I can read something fun and happy! Hooray!
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Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

I just saw it, finally. I wasn't really interested when it first came out because zombies aren't my thing AT ALL, but decided to give it a chance because Pride and Prejudice is the very definition of my thing, and I already had all the other versions.

It was awesome.

I love how they lifted about 75% percent of the dialogue directly from the book, and it had everything I love about the Regency era, except... with zombies. (And minus ships stuffed full of pretty Navyboys. Oh well.) Plus, all the girls I love were now sporting swords and pistols, and had trained at the Shaolin Temple in Henan, which I actually visited last month. (Although, if Lizzie had spent time in Henan, why did she quote The Art of War in incomprehensible supposed-to-be-Cantonese, instead of the Mandarin they speak in Henan? She referred to it as "the original Wu dialect," but I'm not convinced. But then, I only read it in an English translation, and can't quote from it at all, so I suppose I shouldn't be too picky here.)

Anyway, I was very pleasantly surprised. Very Jane Austen, except with extra-heaving bosoms (they forgot their tuckers), and extra-swashing buckles. I giggled all the way through. Will definitely watch again.

The End.
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More Moby Dick

I'm still plugging away, listening to Moby Dick on audiobook, at odd moments, like now when I'm taking out summer clothes and putting/giving away winter clothes. (My almost-4-year-old, meanwhile, was amusing himself by jumping onto the bed, but then decided to make the bed, all by himself. Hooray!)

So...Moby Dick. I read the abridged version as a teenager, and mostly remember it was about Doom and Gloom, so never went back to it again until deciding to give it another chance this year. I'm on Chapter 17. There are 44 chapters altogether. It's like climbing a mountain. The first three or four chapters were funny and cute, and revolved heavily about Ishmael and Queequeg snuggling in bed. Then they got on the ship together, and I was looking forward to hearing more about them. But ever since then...It's mostly
A)Premonitions of Doom,
C)A Very Long Catalogue of Various Types of Whales,
D)More Premonitions of Doom,
E)A Long Chapter About The Futility of Employing Poetic Seamen With Probable Attention Deficit Disorder As Lookouts,
F)A Description Of The Crew, Where They Sleep, And What They Eat, With No Reference To How Ishmael Feels That He Is A Lowly Seaman Who Sleeps Before The Mast And Queequeg Is A Lordly-Yet-Savage Harpooner Who Sleeps Aft, In Fact No Interaction Between Ishmael And Queequeg Whatsoever,
E)Some Poetry,
F)A Very Long Treatise On Feelings Inspired By Various White Objects And Creatures Around The World And Through History, With Attendant Period-Appropriate Matter-Of-Fact Racism, Despite The Fact That Ishmael's "Husband" Belongs To One Of The So-Called Duskier Races, and
G)More Premonitions Of Doom And Gloom.

Right. Just thought I'd vent a little. Time to turn the audiobook back on and get back to spring clothes-sorting.

P.S. At the end of Chapter 18 we finally get Ishmael and Queequeg sitting together on deck, weaving a mat together for their boat, all cute and cozy and nautical and domestic. Ishmael, of course, takes the opportunity to drift off into more lengthy philosophizing, but then Tashtego sights a whale. Tashtego is kind of awesome. Maybe the action will pick up now.
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Somebody wrote a fic for me, for me, for meeeeee!

This may be the most exciting day of my fandom life so far! I made a plot bunny, all unawares, and hyarrowen made it into a fic! A real fic! I am still in shock and amazement! *turns metaphorical handsprings*

But I don't actually know how to link to it, or even if I should. It's "Scarlet Macaw," on following_sea. And it has everything one could want in a feel-good fic: LKU and three-way cuddles. I will keep it in my cheer-up category. Cheer-up fics are essential to have on hand as an antidote after reading too much Archie-torture and Angst. Thus we have a balanced fic diet.

Hugs and kisses to hyarrowen!

*twirls happily off into the noonday rain*
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And now, Bolitho

So, I'm on a Revolutionary-to-Regency era reading streak, yes? It started, of course, with everything ever written by Jane Austen, multiple times over. Then I read most or all of the novels she mentioned her characters reading, like Belinda and Cecilia. Then I read the entire Richard Sharpe series, and associated fanfic. Then Hornblower fanfic. Then the entire Aubrey-Maturin series, some Marryat novels, and the actual Hornblower novels. Then I tried to get through Moby Dick, but have since abandoned it... Again. And now I've moved on, or perhaps down, to the Bolitho series. I can see where it's not as well crafted as the Hornblower series, or as entertaining as the Aubreyad - the dialogue feels flat, and sometimes clues are introduced and never mentioned again, like the author meant to develop a particular subplot but then forgot about it. But still, the stories are lively, and the ships are shippy. I started with the first novel that introduced Herrick, and liked it, and then went back to the beginning of the series for the cuteness of Plucky Midshipmen in Love. A dark-haired, brilliant, heroic midshipman who doesn't like heights, and his blond-haired, blue-eyed, loyal best friend who keeps having tragic things happen to him... sound familiar? They even sail on the Hotspur together.

So I read the first and second (as far as internal chronology goes) novels on my lovely, dodgy, Russian, free-ebook website - there were lots and lots of typos from imperfect scanning, but I can usually figure out what they mean, so it's okay. But when I looked for the third book chronologically (#02 in the series), I could only find it in... Spanish. I don't remember much of my high school Spanish. When I was blessed enough to briefly visit Barcelona, two years ago when my husband had a business trip there, all I could really manage was "Agua, por favor," accompanied by a violent blush. Spoken Spanish usually flows past too quickly for me to catch any scraps of meaning. But when I scanned the first paragraph of the Spanish Bolitho novel, just in hopes that maybe it was mislabeled and was really in English, I discovered that I could actually kind of understand the gist of it. (About as much as I understand spoken Mandarin, actually. Understanding written Mandarin is a lost cause, as far as I'm concerned.) And since it's an ebook, I can just tap on the words I don't understand to call up a Spanish-English dictionary. It's not as impressive as reading Don Quijote in Spanish, which I had wanted to do because reasons, but maybe I can actually stick with it. We'll see. It's slow going, and I'm already struggling with the temptation to just skip on to the next Bolitho novel I can find in English. But on the other hand, reading a novel in Spanish would be very good for me, don't you think?
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Lord Hornblower

I have been reading Lord Hornblower on my lunch break at work. This was a mistake, because I just got to The Bad Part. Now I have to sip my coffee and face the wall so people won't see me crying.

And also...I am kind of mad at Horatio. Why didn't you ever actually tell him he was your dearest friend, you grumpy old lump? I know you're going to beat yourself up and down about this, but for once you deserve it.
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Moby Dick and Hornblower

Lately I've been endeavoring to fill in the yawning week-long voids between chapters of bbcphile's Harboured and Encompassed by reading through all the Hornblower novels when I'm home, and listening to the free Librivox audiobook of Moby Dick when I'm driving or doing something useful, like darning socks. And, oh my word, I haven't read Moby Dick since slogging wearily through the abridged version as a kid, let alone since developing slash goggles, and... have you read it?

I mean, Book!Bush looked at Hornblower and felt sweaty and thirsty, and in the movies Archie exchanged Meaningful Glances with Horatio, and that was pretty much enough for us to be firmly convinced they're in love. But Ishmael and Queequeg...

(Warning - some spoilers for Moby Dick and Hornblower and the Atropos, and sorry I didn't italicize any titles this time, because it is a pain.)
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Lieutenant Hornblower (and Horse)

I read it all in one evening. I'm wondering how I managed to get through it the first time without seeing any slash, even as an innocent fourteen-year-old virgin unclear on the concept. Bush watches Hornblower taking a deck shower, and suddenly gets hot and sweaty. He watches young Hornblower drinking from a well, water slopping over his chest, and suddenly feels thirsty. Right. Not to mention, he gets all annoyed when plain sturdy not-young Maria is sobbing unbecomingly because Hornblower is going off to war. Not that we can blame Bush. The author is pretty harsh on Book!Maria. I remember now why I disliked her. Movie!Maria is prettier, more wistful, more sympathetic. Book!Maria is merely plain, pathetic, and perhaps manipulative, at least as seen through Bush's eyes. He reminds me of Patrick Harper's exasperation when his beloved Sharpe loses his head over yet another petticoat - probably not an accidental resemblance.

Anyway...usually I approach Renown-era fic with a sense of dread because of the Bad Thing that is going to happen to Archie, but he was obviously posted off to another ship during this one and was therefore safe, so I wasn't as emotionally invested here and could enjoy the story. It wasn't as fun as the movies, with Archie, but it wasn't as tragic, either. Book!Captain Foster wasn't quite so scary as in the movies, since he stayed safely out of his senses after The Hold, and I had great hopes for Weller. They were rather gratuitously dashed, I must say. But the whole Court of Inquiry was conducted more rationally, like in many LKU fics, reinforcing again the utter unfairness of the Bad Thing in the movies.

So, a good book, and I did love Bush/Hornblower here. They were cute together, although Horatio has already mostly changed from adorably flaily midshipman to the Man in the Impassive Mask. Thankfully, Bush sees through it and loves him anyway. I just can't reconcile this with Kennedy/Hornblower, which is my OTP, since that seems a bit unfair to Book!Bush, so I guess I will need to view these as somewhat parallel alternate universes. In any universe, I know that in another book or two, although I will guiltily rejoice when Horatio is free of poor unsuitable Maria and can marry Lady Barbara, supposedly his soul mate, I am going to be annoyed with him for not stopping the infidelity there, but continuing on and on with his serial skirt-chasing. This is part of why I have to believe that his character and future would have been quite different if he had been able to stay wth Archie, because I wouldn't want Archie to have to fit in with all the serial wives and mistresses. esmerelda_t's stories explore that possibility really well, and although well-written, they utterly depress me. Even Bartholomew can't cheer me up after reading two or three unhappily-ever-after LKU in a row.

In other news, I had Horse Riding Lesson #5 today. It took me at least four tries to heave myself gracelessly up onto the poor beast, even with the trainer holding its head and lowering the stirrup from my chest height down to lower rib height so I could get my foot in. My leg just doesn't want to go up that high, let alone spring me lightly aloft. I am never laughing at Horatio's horsemanship again. And also, I have saddle sores. Ow.
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Mr Midshipman Hornblower

Just finished it. I liked it the first time I read it and I still like it now. I was surprised at how closely the movies followed the book. It doesn't have quite as much drama in some parts as the movies, nor are the supporting characters as well defined, but Mr Hornblower is earnest and geeky, and he does have some cute, slightly snarky, and happy-go-lucky friends on the Indy. The biggest difference was the prison chapter, of course. Horatio had more prison roommates in the book, but apparently little cameraderie, no oubliette, and absolutely no carrying beautifully tragic best friends in the rain. Also no breaking the rules of war, and no annoyingly smug comments from Horatio about how he's going to get them all out of there. (Midshipman Hunter is a lot nicer in the book too, but we don't hear from him again after they are captured. Too bad.) The cuddle reflex here is all for poor lonely honorable Horatio. He reminds me a lot of Book!Sharpe, actually, which is unsurprising considering that Richard Sharpe was meant to be a bit like Hornblower-on-land.

Also, the Duchess here is already wearing an empire waist dress, which surprised me. In the movies I didn't think they were in fashion yet. I wonder which is right? Horatio was born in 1776, plus he was nineteen (maybe and a half) when he was captured, so...1795? It seems he was captured while the Battle of St Vincent was going on within earshot. When did empire waists come in? I could look this up, but maybe someone will just tell me! :D

Anyway, a good read, and more fun and comprehensible after reading a steady diet of AoS over the last two years!