lb_lee: Miranda saying "REALITY" with airquotes. (realitylolz)
We found a book in the library, Working Like Dogs: The Service Dogs Guidebook, by Marcie Davis and Melissa Bunnell.  This book is concise, informative, and I feel it'd be helpful for anyone wanting to learn about service dogs, whether for themselves or a writing project.

Making a post for our own reference later, should we ever forget and wish to return to this title.

--Miranda

lb_lee: A happy little brain with a bandage on it, surrounded by a circle and the words LB Lee. (Default)
There must be some bibliophilic older queer woman in my neighborhood who keeps dropping her queer books in the free library. Whoever she is, THANK YOU LADY!

From this hypothetical human, I have managed to get my hands on Exile and Pride, a really crappy pink book about multiplicity that I ditched, and now The Lusty Lady which is about the woman-owned peep show by the same name in Seattle. Back in the 90s, a photographer wanted to tell the dancers’ stories, only to be told that if she wanted to get it, she needed to work there. So she did, and the book is made up of her photos and work stories.

I picked the book up because I’ve heard of the Lusty Lady and wanted to learn about it, only to get an awesome reference text of queerness, sex work, and women in the 90s.

--Rogan
lb_lee: A short-haired person flexing their muscles and declaring, "Queer trans multi proud!" (pride)
One of the bonuses of my profession is that every independent queer comics creator in the area seems to meet me at some point.  Which means I now have delightful access to some freaking FANTASTIC indy queer comics.  For someone who struggled finding queer material I liked as a teenager, I am in hog heaven.

So, time for a list!  In this case, my favorite indy queer comics. (Excluding porn, which gets its own list.) To simplify things for myself, I'm putting in some provisos: only one title per author, only series that are either complete or which I am sure will finish, only shit I own/read regularly, and only titles that are still legally findable.  Anyway, in no particular order here they are!  I hope other folks enjoy them and check them out!
COMICS! )
lb_lee: A pencil sketch of me drawing/writing in my sketchpad. (art)
I've been reading an enormous comics biography of Osamu Tezuka.  And the more I read, the more I am glad I am not Mr. Tezuka.

Don't get me wrong, he's a master of his craft!  I love his work!  But reading about his work schedule, I am completely unsurprised he dropped dead at sixty.  We like to remember the sheer output he created during his lifetime, but the fact was, that level of output came at a hefty price.  I've read about him working for two and a half days solid, locked in a room, with no sleep.  His editors were usually in there with him.

I mean, yes, sure, he could pound out thirty-two pages in a day with one assistant, and made a ton of money doing it, but there's a reason one of his colleagues, Eiichi Fukui died at 33 from raw overwork.

This biography, I feel like, is a good cure for any jealousy I might've had.
lb_lee: A happy little brain with a bandage on it, surrounded by a circle and the words LB Lee. (Default)

I have finished the Adam Worth, master thief book and moved on to the Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu.  It’s pretty awesome so far!  It talks about the history of literary culture there, and the fight to save manuscripts from invaders.  I'm not very far in yet, but it's been really exciting and interesting to read.  I will keep y'all posted as I progress!

Other nonfiction books we've read recently:
 

  • No Bone Unturned, by Jeff Benedict.  Talks about the work of a foremost forensic anthropologist, especially the enormous legal case when the federal government tried to stop study of ancient American remains, blanket claiming them as Native American.  This book was fascinating, and complicated.  The anthropologist himself is one of the coldest fish I've ever seen, and we spent half the book deeply disliking him, then slowly warming up as he tried to use his coldbloodedness for the power of scientific good.  Definitely worth a shot!  Beware though, this book is pretty harrowing at points, since this IS the guy who had to piece together the victims of the Branch Davidians shoot-out in Waco.
  • Sally Heathcote: SUFFRAGETTE, by Bryan and Mary Talbot and Kate Charlesworth.  This one is a comic book about the militant suffragettes of Edwardian England.  Read about feminists blowing shit up, throwing axes at politicians, and getting tortured by the prison system!  For real, though, it's a good book, and feels especially timely seeing how political violence seems to be on the rise.  I got this book because I like Bryan Talbot, and I don't regret this decision.
  • The Death of Innocents, by Richard Firstman and Jamie Talan.  It's about infanticide and SIDS!  Hooray, wholesome reading for the whole family to enjoy!  It focuses especially on the Juanita Hoyt case, and the fascinating mythos of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome that rose up and was based on faulty science.  Honestly, I found that bit more interesting than the legal case itself, especially since I could see how I could've been taken in by similar reasoning.  If you're aching to read about the politics of dead babies, this book is for you!
  • Carnivorous Plants, by Slack.  Awesome research text on the care, identification, and behavior of carnivorous plants.  Also has beautifully drawn diagrams by the author.  My sole complaint is that at times, the images and text were poorly integrated, probably due to print requirements; still totally worth it though!
lb_lee: The Blue Beetle, Ted Kord, doubled over laughing. From Justice League International #7 (bwa-hah-ha)
Lately, I've been reading a book called The Napoleon of Crime, by Ben MacIntyre.  It's about master thief, Adam Worth, the real life inspiration for Moriarty.

The story itself is intrinsically interesting, of course--a rags-to-riches story via theft, a gallery of colorful criminal characters, morality in Victorian England, what's not to like?  But there are two random things I've really enjoyed about reading this book.  First is hearing about how Worth planned his crimes.  The second is all the things that go wrong.

I'm pretty open about my disdain for Rube Goldberg plots--you know, the kind where everything is ridiculously complicated and depends on really improbable, uncontrollable details, such as the hero discovering a certain hidden piece of evidence, hidden specifically because the plotter somehow knows their quarry but no one else will find it all on their own, at just the right time.  And yet these plots work, because in the controlled environment of fiction, a genius plotter is never foiled by, say, his quarry calling in sick from work.

These Rube Goldberg plots are especially annoying if you have two dueling geniuses--you start getting into "TWAS I WHO POOPED IN YOUR BUTT" territory.

So it's really refreshing to read about someone like Adam Worth, who by all accounts was a very smart, very resourceful man.  But his plans?  Are usually very simple--carefully planned, of course, and lubricated by a lot of money, but simple.

For instance, when Worth's hapless younger brother got caught and sent to prison, Worth hoped to spring him from jail by paying his bail, at which point his brother could skip town.  But if Worth did it himself, the police would know about their connection, causing risk.  So instead, he stole a valuable painting from some other dude, clipped a scrap of canvas from it to give to his brother, and then got his brother a lawyer to contact the painting's owner to say, "I have a client who can help get your painting returned, if you pay his bail, and he's got a bit of the canvas as proof." Brother gets sprung, without Worth ever coming into it.  Simple!

But even simple plans like this don't work out as planned.  In fact, they go wrong all the time!  For instance, with the above example, there was a lucky break, and Worth's younger brother managed to get out of jail all on his own, leaving Worth with a very valuable, completely unsellable painting.  Other times, his henchman squeal on him, or get arrested, or escape jail only to be captured by brigands and have to pawn their gold teeth to make it home!  Even Worth himself gets sent to prison multiple times!  Even Worth has his bad days where he makes very, very poor decisions, because he's human and every human screws themselves over some of the time.

And that just makes it so much more fun to read about!  Reading about how Adam Worth deals with his backstabbing henchman, or flees a failed heist only to try again, or talks his way out of jail, is way more interesting than if everything had gone right!  It says so much more about his intelligence, ruthlessness, and his nerve when you see him deal with failure.

I get the sense this book plays a little fast and loose with the facts, but it is entertaining.  And I'm okay with that.

--Rogan

BOOKS!

Jan. 19th, 2017 06:21 pm
lb_lee: A happy little brain with a bandage on it, surrounded by a circle and the words LB Lee. (Default)

Things I’ve read recently:

  • Col Williams’s I Love My Hair, Dysphoric Thoughts, and Remove the Knife and the Scar Still Remains.  Little black and white ziney comics; I think the hair one is my favorite.  Totally recommend. (they’re @colsart‚Äč on tumblr)
  • Food Porn from Filthy Figments.  It’s a big bunch of queer porn comics AND a cookbook, so basically everything Mac and Biff ever wanted from a book.  It might possibly be my favorite anthology, though duking it out with Queerotica.  Thanks to @our-witching for it!
  • Horny Tails and The Pound #1 from Richard Moore.  This was a weird nostalgia thing; we were really into Richard Moore’s non-adult work back in high school, and as an adult, I figured I’d try out his adult work.  It’s okay.  Still love his inks more than the actual stories.
  • Integration is a Bitch! by Tom Floyd.  Awesome example of education through comics and humor from 1970 about racial integration in the workplace.  Really wish I knew more about the publishing history!
  • Fire Dancer, by Ann Maxwell.  Old nostalgia read; our copy has now been literally read to pieces.  Old sci-fi pulpy romance from the early 80s.  We imprinted on it as a wee middle schooler.
lb_lee: The Blue Beetle, Ted Kord, doubled over laughing. From Justice League International #7 (bwa-hah-ha)

I found a comic in the free library with the best title: Integration is a Bitch!

Of course I got it.

(It’s not about multiplicity at all, by the way.  It’s a gag/educational comic from 1969 about being a black white-collar worker.  It’s been posted in its entirety on tumblr here, though I DO recommend hitting the archive and reading in chronological order.  It's quite good!)

Gay golems

Dec. 3rd, 2016 07:41 pm
lb_lee: A pencil sketch of me drawing/writing in my sketchpad. (art)

Craft fair ACHIEVED!

To celebrate, I bought a couple bargain-bin gay golem romance novellas.  Today, I have made too much money to feel shame for my purchases!

Seriously, thank god for Boomerang’s.  We are slowly but surely getting our hands on all the nostalgic classics of our youth.  Yesterday, Mori got her hands on Robin McKinley’s Beauty, and I’m sure if we wait long enough, we’ll get our hands on Susan Wilson’s novel of the same title and theme too.

Wee Tiny Us had better taste than expected.

--Rogan

lb_lee: A tiny scribbly Rogan fleeing for his life with the big words, OH NO EMOTION (emotions)

Because Calamus Bookstore (the last gay bookstore in Boston) is shutting down for good, us and roomie went to ransack its bones and buy all the queer stuff we could get our little hands on.

I did not have much luck in traditional books, but I did have a pretty neat haul!  I got some leather pride flag stickers, found a tiny trans pride flag lapel pin, some old gay mags (worse comes to worse, Sneak can chop them up for zer craft projects), but that is not the crown jewel of my haul!  I found a really cool surprise hidden in there!

For some reason, I found a copy of Oni Comics/Rosy Press’s Fresh Romance!  The thing was, it wasn’t a book.  It looked like all the pages in proof form, just printed out (at very high quality) on ordinary paper, held together with brads.  No cover or anything, just... a pre-book, as it were.

And I got it for like $6!  Dang right I nabbed that sucker!  And it was really awesome and cute and I’m so glad I was able to get all this stuff for less than $20 altogether.

Goodbye Calamus.  You were a great shop. :(

--Rogan

lb_lee: A happy little brain with a bandage on it, surrounded by a circle and the words LB Lee. (Default)
A heads up to my local people, it looks like the last gay bookstore of Boston is closing this week!  All remaining goods are 25% off!  We're going to be making an excursion, try and buy up as many of the good old gay comics they've got... it's where I got my copy of Leonard and Larry a few years back!

Anyone want to join in?

--Rogan

lb_lee: M.D. making a shocked, confused face (serious thought)
We finished reading the Subtle Knife.  And wow, holy shitcake, no WONDER we didn't like it as kids.  What was that ENDING?  What did I even just READ?  What?

Me and Rogan ranted about it to each other for half an hour. (Nice thing about headmates, you can do that and odds are good SOMEONE else in there will care about your topic.  Mac and Biff totally jetted though.) Seriously, what?  WHAT?

Man, I need to go clean out my brain-mouth with Enron books now.

--Mori

lb_lee: M.D. making a shocked, confused face (serious thought)
We've been rereading a series we really liked as kids: Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials.

Well, that's a lie.  We didn't like the series.  We were REALLY into the first book, the North/The Golden Compass, and read it over and over in middle school, but found the second and third books disappointing and only read them once each.  Even the first book was foggy in our memory; the later ones we remember barely anything about, including why we disliked them.

I had a vague recollection that maybe we got so invested in the world of the first book that we found the later books annoying for departing.  Well, now I'm reading the second book, the Subtle Knife, for the first time in at least a decade, and I understand completely why we were not a fan.

Spoilers for the series )
lb_lee: A short-haired person flexing their muscles and declaring, "Queer trans multi proud!" (pride)
I know I've got a fair number of folks following us here on Facebook dealing with mental health issues, so I thought I might make myself useful and list some of the self-help books that I've found actually helpful. (Rather than fluff designed to massage my ego or sell more stuff.) Maybe some of it will be helpful to you!

(NOTE: as always, take all these books with grains of salt.  What worked for me may not work for you, blah blah, and even I pick and choose from these books.)

  • Edmund Bourne's The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook. Anxiety isn't really one of my bugaboos, but back when I WAS in a really anxious situation, this book did have some handy exercises for defusing the anxiety and panic attacks.
  • ATW's 'got parts?' The most helpful self-help book for DID I've ever found.  Good for structuring the solid foundation needed for getting your shit together, should you be multiple--crafting headspace, taking note of who's there, working on communication... it's the 101 book I wish I'd found a few years earlier than I did.
  • Marshall and Alderman's 'Amongst Ourselves.' Not as good as 'got parts?' but another self-help book for DID.  It has a handy chapter on disclosure and others on dealing with health personnel, at least.
  • Susan Blauner's 'How I Stayed Alive When My Brain was Trying to Kill Me.' Exactly what it says on the tin.  I admit, I haven't read this book since the Homeless Year, but hey, it kept me from killing myself!
  • Kate Bornstein's 'Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws.' Also helped me from killing myself.  I STILL refer to it on bad days, and got my copy signed by Ms. Bornstein herself. :B Lots of things to do instead of killing yourself.
  • Glenn Schiraldi's 'The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook.' Takes a scattergun approach to pretty much anything that PTSD might trouble you with, from anxiety and flashbacks to ways to calm down and deal with triggers.
  • Staci Haines's 'Healing Sex.' Specifically for dealing with the aftermath of sexual violence.  This is hands down the best book I've found for the nuts and bolts of dealing with triggers and freak-outs regarding sex. (Most of the sexual violence books I've found focus way more on emotional stuff, rather than the physical, which had limited use for me.) Specifically intended for cis women, queer or straight, but you can monkeywrench it.
  • Mike Lew's 'Victims No Longer: The Classic Guide for Men Recovering from Sexual Child Abuse.' This is one of the emotion books I mentioned above, and specifically for men.  Good balance with the physical stuff in 'Healing Sex.'
  • McKay, Wood, and Brantley's 'The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook.' DBT is handy for some things... I used it primarily for when I was in terrible environments that I could do nothing about at that time.  It's originally intended for folks with Borderline Personality Disorder, which is kinda the OPPOSITE of the issues I deal with, but hey, maybe that's what you need! (Apparently it's also becoming a sort of fad therapy?  So be careful.  If it doesn't apply to you, move on.)

--Rogan

 

lb_lee: A happy little brain with a bandage on it, surrounded by a circle and the words LB Lee. (Default)
Me and Biff went to the library and got two books.

He got the Nazi Hunters, by Andrew Nagorski, which is a non-fiction book about the folks who tracked Nazis after World War II and tried to bring them to justice (usually with court proceedings), despite huge resistance.  It's been really interesting so far.  Biff's interested in it because he likes nonfiction and likes learning about stuff like this; I'm most interested in the psychological nature of evil.

And me, I got Dead Ice, by Laurel K. Hamilton. >:D It's something like book #30 in the Anita Blake series, none of which I have ever read, and I have decided, for the good of us all, that I should use my queer little poly self to read this book and mock the shit out of it.

THE TIME HAS COME!

--Rogan

lb_lee: M.D. making a shocked, confused face (serious thought)
Okay guys, we have just read this awesome book, one I can't not recommend to y'all.  It's called Inside Job, by Connie Willis, and it has one of the best premises I've seen in a book for a long time.

It's a novella about fraudulent channelers... mostly. )
lb_lee: Tiny scribbly man waving his arms while the yellow background is filled with red naughty words (ffffff)
At the library, I picked up a copy of Blue is The Warmest Color, an award-winning French comic book by Julie Maroh that has since been made into a movie, also award-winning. I knew it was about lesbians, and the ink wash and watercolor art was beautiful, so I took it on.

I was... disappointed. Spoilers behind the cut. )
lb_lee: Tiny scribbly man waving his arms while the yellow background is filled with red naughty words (ffffff)
I’m reading Image and Mirage: Art Therapy With Dissociative Clients, by Dee Spring, and it is the WORST DID book I have read since Robert Mayer. The rest is behind the cut for really gross racist bullshit, plus discussions of rape and child abuse.

It's true. We do indeed have cows in headspace. )
lb_lee: Miranda saying "REALITY" with airquotes. (realitylolz)
This company makes entertaining, educational comics about science, including the space program, primatology, the infamous wire mother experiments, and stage magic. I've read two of their books so far (Wire Mothers and Feynman), and they were both good, involving artists and writers I've read elsewhere. I encourage anyone interested in comics or those subjects to either buy a copy or grab one from the local library!
lb_lee: The Blue Beetle, Ted Kord, doubled over laughing. From Justice League International #7 (bwa-hah-ha)
Okay, I don't have the luxury of being able to perform a full MST on this monster, but looking for something to read, I grabbed this romance novel off the shelf at the hostel.

Now, I will be the first to admit that romance is NOT my genre. Even so, while I often find the "heroes" repulsive, at worst I tend to find the heroines pathetic. Even Anastasia Steele's primary crime was doing NOTHING.

This romance novel is different. Dating from 1988, those halcyon days of Fabio and cheese, it is the first time I have actually found a romance heroine repulsive in her malevolence... with a heaping helping of pathetic on top. I'm only about twenty pages in, but oh, those twenty pages!

Spoilers! The heroine hits children. )
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