Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"Outdo Yourself" 2011 Reading Challenge

I'm the worst at knowing how to put a button on my blog entries, but if you look to my right side bar you'll see a direct link (I think) to The Book Vixen's blog for signups for this "Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge" for 2011.  Or I've placed a tiny one above.

I think this is an awesome chance again this year!  Yay!  Another year of book renewals!!! 

All the information you need to know will be at the Vixen's blog in detail, but suffice it to say that this gives all of us bibliophiles another opportunity to top our scores against ourselves from 2010, and to read even more books than ever in 2011. 

A tiny bit of "cheating" (my words, not Vixen's) is in the category of being able to count audiobooks.  I can't actually justify listening to a book as "reading" a book, but if you walk that fence and you can...then, it's fair game, too!  I say, go for it, ye young and foolish and bookish of this great millenium!

All of the books don't have to be reviewed, either.  I find it difficult to stop myself doing that.  Generally readers are also "wordy" people, aren't we?  Didn't your English teachers at some point call you "wordy?"  If you are only a reader and not a reviewer, you'll absolutely have a leg-up on us in this.

I believe we can't start until January 1st.  But, I'm going to start gathering my list asap.  In fact, which one of us self-respecting bookish types doesn't already have a stack set aside to start in 2011?

This year my resolution is to:
 1) continue to read more new authors' 1st books,
 2) read YA fiction more,
 3) give a bit of time to political and/or national issues author(s),
 4) decide who is the best of the Steampunk authors of the year,
 5) give an award to that 'punky author...request an interview too!

So, those are my goals.  My semi-full list will be ready shortly. But, let me just start with these:  I want to read about 80 books in 2011

I hope  you'll leave me your blog link and share some of your books to be read, too.   Now, off to finish "Death of a Beauty: Immortal" which review you will soon be reading on my blogs...I hope.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Romance Goes Steampunk!


Katie MacAlister of Historical/Romance fiction fame has turned up the volume with a slide into the Speampunk genre...."a steampunk romance" is now available!   Oh, my!  I fear invasion of the love-drenched is not far away...   Here's a review below:

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Captain Octavia Pye is surprised to find an unconscious, oddly-dressed man and an equally unusually clad woman aboard her airship. There’s evil afoot in her world, and Octavia wonders if these two are pirates or secret agents. After an explosion in his lab, Dr. Jack Fletcher is shocked to wake up beside his sister in a Victorian airship, complete with a no-nonsense captain and crew, all of whom are outfitted in late nineteenth-century fashion. Jack thinks he has gone back in time; instead he’s astounded to learn that it’s the same day as the explosion. Caught in a parallel universe where technology is still at the steam engine stage, Jack finds himself pulled between a longing for home and an increasingly stronger desire for the intrepid Octavia. MacAlister hits it out of the park with this highly entertaining steampunk fantasy. There’s danger, adventure, romance, and lots of humorous moments as Jack and Octavia discover that the laws of love always trump the laws of physics. --Shelley Mosley
I happen to be a fan of MacAlister's or I would be cringing and worrying.  She is a writer who charms with humor and excellent writing skills, so I look forward to reading "Steamed."  I hope you will, too.
Let me know what you think about Romance writers dipping into our beloved Steampunk genre, though.  Not all of them are Katie MacAlister!
Your Bookish Dame/Deb

Sunday, December 5, 2010

New Steampunk Genre Split??? Bustlepunk!!!

I read recently that one or two of our women authors want to call their steampunk books "steampunk~bustlepunk" books.  It's interesting enough since most of the time-travel books to this point have been written by men and mostly about men, and the more recent "steampunk" genre was actually born-again by male writers.

Women writers have a huge following...I would think mostly women read their books, but I understand from surveys that a slew of men do, too.   It just galls me that women have to been seen as authors on the up-take on genre such as this, and I tend to think there are two sides to this Bustlepunk issue:

One side is that it's a fabulous name that will by all means draw the female crowd to a genre specific author and book.  There is so  much to say about a story written by a woman, about a woman, for a woman.  That's good fun and good fantasy.  The Bustlepunk tag helps us find those books so readily.  And I love the name as it connotes the clothing, the Victorian timeframe, and the steampunkish genre.  Really, so many pluses to the concept.

However; and secondly, I'm ashamed of it.  And here's why.  I'm a feminist.  It just galls me that we single ourselves out even in literature.  In some ways it sets us apart in a good way (as I mention above), and in another way it continues to mark us as "second best to the male author."  Since a male author first came up with the idea of time-travel; i.e., H. G. Wells, women can only be followers at best.  Since we have gained so much in equality, why give it up now??  By singling ourselves out, we destroy the ideal that authors are all equal in their intelligence and capabilities to confir and express their imaginations and knowledge.  It's a battle women have fought for ages. 

I think of Charlotte Bronte' and sisters who had to publish under such names as Currier Bell.  And of other books like "Middlemarch," written by George Eliot who was Mary Ann Evans;  the Baronne Dudevant otherwise known as the french writer George Sand, mistress to a famous musical genius and author of more than 40 books and plays, and, did you know that J.K.Rowling used that name because she didn't want anyone to identify her as a woman writer only in writing the "Harry Potter" series?  

There are many more examples of worthy and famous women writers who felt they had/have to hide their identities and genders behind male pseudonyms.  Isak Dinesin, one of my very favorite authors, was actually Karen Blixen and she wrote "Out of Africa."
Another of our childhood beloved authors who did the same male name cover was the author of the "Nancy Drew" series.

On another note:  Have you  noticed that more Steampunk authors are starting to use just first initials and last names?  Wonder if this is a Wells copy thing...or if it's a disguise of male/female gender?  Interesting....

These rights of women authors are something that remain close and clear in my mind and, I'm certain in the minds of those of us who took to the streets, the writing formats and college halls to protest and call for their equality and recognition.  It was time in the 1960's and it's time now to remain steady.  Are we back-tracking?

What do you think?

Your Bookish Steampunk Dame/Deborah

Steampunkish Jewelry by Talis Bijoux

I've just started designing Steampunk jewelry (and my photography is awful!) so I'm going to be showing some on my blog for the fun of it. 
This one above belongs to my daughter.  I named it:
  "I Remember the Paris Flea Market circa 2022." 

This is one I made thinking about a journey so it's called:
                               "c. 1944 Space Model Trip 3"

You will see if you click on the pictures that both have hands on them.  I love hands.  They are so beautiful to me as an artist and they say something about the trips we make through time and fantasy.  Our hands grasp and express, they sense and relay touch, they are beautiful to see and preceed us in most of our discoveries. To me they symbolize alot in travel and space...time travel and grasping the possiblities...  I incorporate hands in my Steampunk jewelry whenever I can.

My jewelry company,  Talis Bijoux is the place to see all of my jewelry, and while most of it is not of the Steampunk variety right now...I expect to be featuring more over the next few months.

Thanks for looking!

I remain,

Your Bookish Steampunk Dame/Deborah