annathepiper: Star Wars Procession (Star Wars Procession)
Two posts I've put up for those who might be interested:

A review of Blade Runner 2049, which, happily, doesn't suck!

Long overdue next post in the Bilingual Lord of the Rings Reread, in which I cover the French edition of Chapter 2 of Fellowship. Long post is long, and also extremely geeky, but as y'all know, that is indeed how I roll.

In other tidbits of random news:

I have ambitions of tackling Nanowrimo next month, because apparently I just need the external impetus to get any damn writing done this year. The overall plan will be to try to throw as many words at possible at the novellas, and see if I can drag those bastards closer to being done.

I've been fighting what appears to be a sinus infection, or possibly leftover irritation after the last smoke incident we had in these parts mid-September, or maybe a little of each. Went to my usual clinic this morning, and got authorized for a round of antibiotics, so hopefully this'll make things settle down. My nose has otherwise healed up pretty well from the surgery earlier this year.

[personal profile] solarbird and I joined the Planet Fitness gym down the hill from our house, and I've been doing weekend workouts there, in the name of trying to get my metabolism and weight back under control. Also because next year, Big Fish will be moving offices and this will directly impact my commute. I'll still be taking the same bus, but will have a much shorter distance to walk from where I need to get off to where the office will actually be. So I won't have the nice long walk anymore as daily exercise. Therefore a new exercise regime is called for.

And so far, Planet Fitness is nice. I have discovered I like working with the arc trainers and ellipticals, which makes me feel better about paying money to exercise at a gym as opposed to using the old treadmill we actually have in the house. Plus, after talking with their personal trainer on staff, I've started doing light work with lat pulldowns and low rows, to gently work the muscles on my back right around my shoulderblades. This, as those of you who are familiar with my medical history posts may recall, is the land of Reconstruction Surgery and to this day, those muscles still get a bit cranky at me in the cold or if I happen to turn the wrong way. I'm hoping that gentle weights work will give my lats more stability and limber my back up in general.

And oh yes: the trailer for The Last Jedi dropped, and what I have to say about that is YES BRING THIS MOVIE UNTO ME. :D
annathepiper: (Good Book)

Finally, another post in the Bilingual Lord of the Rings Reread series! This post provides my commentary on the French edition of The Fellowship of the Ring, and specifically on Chapter 1.

As I get into the bilingual commentary on these chapters, I’m going to be following a similar format to what I’m doing in the Harry Potter Reread posts. So I’ll be borrowing many of the same headers I’m using on that series!

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annathepiper: (Beckett and Book)

Back at last to the Trilingual Harry Potter Reread! When last we left Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry and Draco had spent a lot of time going “grr” at one another, setting up a long and honorable tradition of them doing that all throughout the series. Now finally I’m heading into Chapter 10, wherein we’ll finally settle the triad of three primary characters into place–courtesy of a troll!

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annathepiper: (Good Book)

Welcome back to my reread of The Lord of the Rings! As I’ve posted in my previous post, this reread is now bilingual, since I’ve been regretting not doing that properly for a while. And since I do have French editions of this trilogy, though not German editions yet, so it’s bilingual instead of trilingual.

To refresh your all’s memories, my commentary post on the Prologue of Fellowship is here. To this, I will now add some commentary about what it says in the French edition! I’m going to do this similarly to how I’ve been doing the Harry Potter reread posts, limiting the lingual commentary a bit so that I can keep the length of the posts down to something manageable.

So here we go! This is mostly going to be a bunch of commentary about various worldbuilding terms, given that they’ll be important once we get into the story proper. Once I’m past the prologue I’ll kick into the format I want to use for these posts.

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annathepiper: (A Star Shines)

Y’all may have noticed that I’ve been dragging my feet on doing the Lord of the Rings reread posts. This is because I’ve also got the trilogy in French, and I’ve been vexed at myself for not doing a proper bilingual reread since I’ve got the French versions available!

So I’m waking these posts up again, but I’m going to do it moving forward with covering what I can pick up out of the French editions as well. I’m going to format the posts similarly to what I’m doing in the Trilingual Harry Potter Reread–i.e., limiting the lingual discussion to “five general things noted in the French edition” and “five worldbuilding things noted”. This will be in the interests of trying to keep the post lengths down to as reasonable a length as possible, and also to help me actually try to do them in a reasonable time frame.

My next post is going to be a catchup to get to the point where I left off in the English edition, which is to say, the hobbits are about to meet Tom Bombadil.

For the interested, my French edition of The Fellowship of the Ring is this one, or at least has this cover; the ISBN on my copy doesn’t match this one on Goodreads:

La Communauté de l'Anneau (Le Seigneur des Anneaux, #1)

Now that I’ve completed another rewatch of the movies, though, I am now totally in the mood for this. So let’s do this, shall we? Next post is about to drop!

(And the only reason this isn’t a full Trilingual Reread, by the way, is that I don’t own copies of the trilogy in German. YET.)

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annathepiper: (Book Geek)

I have been asked on Google+ when the next post of this series would be going up, and I take this as a nudge to go ahead and get this posted! To all those who have in fact been coming by to read these: thanks and I hope you’re enjoying them! I’ll try to make sure I do them more regularly moving forward.

So where’d we leave off? Harry, Ron, and Hermione have made it to Hogwarts, and they’ve come into the great hall to be Sorted into Houses along with the rest of the incoming first-year students. Which, of course, means that we get to see the Sorting Hat in action.

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annathepiper: (Book Geek)

La Rivière des mortsLa Rivière des morts by Esther Rochon

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It’s tough for me to review this novel properly. My French isn’t good enough yet to have truly understood the majority of what I read here–and it didn’t help either that certain aspects of Mme. Rochon’s style here made it difficult for me to follow the action.

One, I did at least figure out that the book’s divided into a section involving protagonist Laura Fraser as a young girl, and a section involving her as an older woman (post-menopausal? Again, my French isn’t that solid yet, so I wasn’t able to nail that down for sure). It baffled me that the book changed tenses between these two sections, from first person in the earlier part to third in the latter. That was a baffling decision, one beyond my meager French to properly understand; it may well have made much more sense to Quebecois SF/F readers, I don’t know.

Two, in both sections, there was a certain distinct detachment to the action. In the first part, Laura tells the reader a lot of her history, along the lines of “this happened to me” and “I felt such-and-such a way”, with very little of what was going on actually played out directly. The same held true in the second part, although at least there, there were a few more scenes of direct interaction between Laura and other characters, notably Valtar and Sirwala. This made it a lot harder for me to feel engaged by any of the characters.

Three, instead of getting much in the way of action and character dialogue played out directly, we get a lot of lengthy paragraphs of Laura being introspective about assorted things that trouble her as a girl (mostly “the French speakers think I’m weird because I have an English name, and the English speakers think I’m weird because I speak with a French accent, and I HATE ALL OF THEM and I’m going to go dream about being a spider now”), and later, assorted things that trouble her as an adult. Later, when she does actually have direct interaction with other characters (mostly Valtar), each paragraph of dialogue is likewise very long. On the one hand, I regret that my French was not up to the task of following much of this, because I’m certain I’d have engaged with Laura as a character much more if I could actually understand most of what the text was saying. On the other hand, even as an Anglophone reader who’s barely able to dip her toes into Quebecois SF/F so far, I kept feeling like the lengthy, expository nature of the dialogue was forced. I’d be really curious to know if it reads that way to Quebecois readers as well, or if this is just a matter of my being a beginner at French.

So far, the one other Quebecois SF/F novel I’ve successfully read was significantly different stylistically, and targeted for younger readers as well–so it was much easier for me to follow. This one, I’ll straight-up admit, was a hard slog. So for now I’m going to have to give it two stars. But I’ll want to try it again later, as my French improves, and see whether my reading experience is different.

View all my reviews

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annathepiper: (Book Geek)

Chapter 6 of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is, for my money, where things finally start getting interesting. We’ve had a lot of exposition thrown at us in the first five chapters of this story, mostly courtesy of Hagrid, who gives Harry his intro to the world.

But in Chapter 6, when Harry is finally on his way to Hogwarts, we get introduced to Ron and Hermione. Accordingly, we get the very beginnings of the friendship that is the foundation of the entire series.

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annathepiper: (Book Geek)

Whenever people think of the Harry Potter universe, one of the first examples that pops into everybody’s head as a canonical demonstration of how everything works is Diagon Alley: where all the Hogwarts students have to go to buy the equipment they’ll need for the coming school year.

And, well, it’s a justifiable thing for everybody to think of, because holy crap Diagon Alley is neat. As Harry gets to see for the very first time, in Chapter 5 of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone!

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annathepiper: (Book Geek)

Chapter 4 of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone brings us Harry’s first meeting with someone from the wizarding world–i.e., Hagrid! And we learn very quickly that Hagrid has no time whatsoever for Vernon Dursley’s shenanigans.

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annathepiper: Blow This Thing (Blow This Thing)
Oh good, I can crosspost again. But a couple of my recent posts got missed, so for the interested, here they are:

Book review: The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison (because I'm in the middle of trying to read all the Hugo Best Novel nominees)

Language and Star Wars geekery in the same post! (because I just watched Star Wars in French, which was huge fun)
annathepiper: (Aubrey Orly?)

(I just posted this to Facebook, where most of the Francophones I know are most likely to read me. But because I am a completist, and because I want to save this for later, I’m posting it here too!)

Aujourd’hui je veux pratiquer mon français! Attendez! Ce sera longue. ;)

Vous pouvez demander, mes amis d’Internet, pourquoi une femme américaine et anglophone, aime tellement la musique traditionnelle du Québec. J’écris beaucoup sur ça déjà en anglais, mais ça, c’est facile. Aujourd’hui je veux écrire sur ça en français!

La première chose: je pense qu’il est bon d’apprendre d’autres cultures. Les Américains, nous ne faisons pas souvent ça comme nous devrions. Les gens du Québec sont nos voisins, et ils partagent l’Amérique du Nord avec nous. C’est bon à connaître vos voisins. Et la musique et la langue sont deux voies merveilleuses à le faire.

En particulier, il a été mon honneur et mon plaisir à rencontrer plusieurs musiciens québécois. Ceci me donne les visages, les noms, et les gens vivants. Cela rend réel. Et je pense, ces gens, ils sont gens splendides. Je veux respecter et apprécier eux.

(Et c’est un signe de mon respect que je m’excuse à Olo et André et Éric quand mon français et poche. ;) Je ne peux pas m’exprimer en français parlé, pas encore. Je dois travailler de m’exprimer en français écrit. J’apprends encore!)

La deuxième chose: je suis un écrivain. J’aime des mots. J’aime des langues. Et une nouvelle langue entière–c’est un nouveaux voie de voir le monde. Il y a magique dans ça. Magique pour un lecteur comme moi-même, de voir le monde. Et pour un écrivain, de parler du monde.

Seriéusement, savez-vous comment mon cerveau s’éclaire quand je pense de tous les livres de SF québécois que je n’ai pas lu encore? Toutes les histoires que je pourrais dire si je maîtrise la langue? :D

Et la troisième chose, et véritablement, la chose plus importante–la musique? C’est magnifique. Elle parle à mon cœur. Elle parle à mes pieds et les incite à danser. Elle parle à mes mains et les incite à jouer les tounes. Et elle parle à ma voix et l’incite à chanter.

Pour ça, j’aime tellement la musique traditionnelle du Québéc. Oui, je suis américaine–mais pour cette musique, un part de moi devient française.

Merci pour ça, les gars. <3

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annathepiper: (Book Geek)

After Chapter 1 of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone essentially serving as a prologue, we fast-forward to the present day for Chapter 2, “The Vanishing Glass”!

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annathepiper: (Beckett and Book)

In which I officially open the Harry Potter Triwizard Tournament Trilingual Reread with Chapter 1 of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: “The Boy Who Lived”!

Commentary and language geekery behind the fold!

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annathepiper: (Good Book)
I keep getting errors from Dreamwidth's Varnish server when I try to crosspost over from Wordpress on This is vexing! It only just started happening this weekend, and I don't know yet what's causing it.

Till Dreamwidth fixes it, here, have direct links to the last two, long-overdue posts of the Trilingual Hobbit Reread, which is now officially DONE!

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

And as I said at the end of the Chapter 19 post, this has been great fun. And I WILL be doing another Trilingual Reread, though I think I'll be changing the format a bit so that the posts don't have to be quite so long and involved.

What will I be reading?

Harry Potter. Stand by, y'all, this is going to be fun. :D
annathepiper: (Aubrey Orly?)

Since I’ve had some cycles free up now that Bone Walker and Victory of the Hawk are done, I’ve turned my attention to playing with translating my own prose. Specifically, I’m amusing myself writing that story I threatened to write some time ago, “The Dragonslayer of Chimay”, based on Le Vent du Nord’s song “Le dragon de Chimay”–and hey, I figure if it’s based on a song in French, I should try to write the prose in French!

Playing around with this yesterday, though, finally let me figure out the answer to a question I had come up doing the Trilingual Hobbit Reread: i.e., how quoting dialogue in French prose actually works.

I’d noticed in Bilbo le hobbit that some dialogue was bracketed by the familiar angle quotes, « and ». Some dialogue also involved m-dashes, and some actually mixed them in ways that didn’t seem obvious to me. To further complicate the matter, I noticed as well that within the same paragraph, dialogue was not separated from dialogue tags by closing quotes the same way an English sentence would do it.

So for example, an English sentence might look like this:

“I love that band,” she said. “Their tunes are awesome!”

But in French you’d get this:

« J’aime ce groupe, dit-elle. Leurs tounes sont fantastique! »

See how there’s no closing quote after “dit-elle”–which is “she said” here, what gets called a dialogue tag in writing–and no quote to reopen the spoken words after it?

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE. The m-dash comes into play, it seems, to signify if there’s a change in speaker. And furthermore, the angle quotes are used less to signify “here is something a person says”, and more “a general area of conversation that can involve one or more people”–and so the starting and closing quotes bracket an entire section of dialogue, as large as possible in the context of the narrative.

Which suddenly makes large bits of Bilbo le hobbit make more sense to me!

Here’s an example:

« J’aime ce groupe, dit-elle. Leurs tounes sont fantastique! 

— Qu’est-que tu penses de leur violoneux? demande son ami. Il joue bien, oui?

— Absolument! Il est merveilleux! Je veux apprendre toutes ses chansons! »

So that’s fun, and something I look forward to practicing as I slowly work my way through not only writing “The Dragonslayer of Chimay”, but also translating it as I go!

Relatedly: I have also discovered that if you’re dealing with those angle quotes in French prose, you’re going to want to make non-breaking spaces to go between them and the words they’re surrounding–otherwise the text will wrap weirdly and that’s no fun. And there’s an easy way to do this on the Mac: Option + Space.

Not as easy to do if I’m on one of my iOS devices, but this is a problem that can be solved by my Bluetooth keyboard!

What fun things do you all know about in non-English prose? What tricks do you know to make non-English characters when you’re typing?

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annathepiper: (Viva Las Vegas Smug)
Busman's Honeymoon

Busman’s Honeymoon

There is a side effect of being an author that I’ve seen other authors mention before, and which has started to affect me: i.e., I often am less inclined to read things in genres I’m actively writing. Which is to say, urban fantasy and epic fantasy. I haven’t ditched those genres completely, mind you; I did just do a sprint through the last of the Greywalker series, as well as the Dresden Files.

But every so often I specifically have to go read something in a genre I am not likely to write any time in the foreseeable future. And my current read is a long overdue visit to one of my favorite literary detectives, Lord Peter Wimsey! The title in question: Busman’s Honeymoon.

Which I mention in part partly because of the aforementioned need to visit other genres, but mostly because of the delightful and unexpected outbursts of French Peter keeps having in this book. French which, I note, is not translated in any way, as if Sayer clearly expected her readers to either a) know what the hell Wimsey said, or b) be in a position to look it up. Either way I approve.

What really tickled me outright about Wimsey’s French in this book, though, was a thing I recognized from Quebec French–i.e., the use of the word “blonde” in what I’m pretty damn sure is the context of “girlfriend/lover”. Moreover, unless I miss my guess, it’s in a saucy song!

Here’s the first bit of it that appears in the book:

La caill’, la tourterelle
Et la joli perdrix–
Auprès de ma blonde
Qu’il fait bon, fait bon, fait bon
Auprès de ma blonde–

And here’s the second bit:

Et ma joli colombe
Qui chante jour et nuit
Et ma joli colombe
Qui chante jour et nuit
Qui chante pour les filles
Qui n’ont pas de mari–
Auprès de ma blonde
Qu’il fait bon, fait bon, fait bon
Auprès de ma blonde
Qu’il fait bon dormi.

BUT WAIT the amusement does not actually stop there. Because I just looked this song up, googling what looks like the chorus, and discovered that it is in fact this song. “Auprès de ma blonde”. Which had English lyrics written to the tune for an Elvis song. I.e., “I Love Only One Girl”, from the movie Double Trouble. A song that I filked in Pern fanfic.

Between this and this book ALSO teaching me that the phrase “embarrassment of riches” comes from a translation of a French play, I’m getting all sorts of fun French mileage out of this read!

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annathepiper: (Good Book)

It has taken me ages to get through my edits for Victory of the Hawk, you guys. But now that the end is in sight, I’ve had some cycles free up finally. Which means I can get back to the last few bits of my Trilingual Hobbit Reread!

And Chapter 17 of The Hobbit, “The Clouds Burst”, is pretty much where the Battle of Five Armies gets down to Serious Business. Which is a good place to be, given the movie that’s about to come out next month, yes?

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annathepiper: (Book Geek)

So B&N sent me a $5 credit, because I was one of the first 200 responders to a survey they sent out–they’d seen I’d recently bought a Nook HD, and they wanted to know my experience with it vs. with my earlier Nook. Awesome, I said, and promptly answered the thing and got the five bucks.

Les Rêves de la Mer

Les Rêves de la Mer

Which I then promptly turned around and spent, and this time, my target purchases were books by Élisabeth Vonarburg! She’s been on my radar for a while as a prominent Quebecoise SF/F author, so I’ve finally grabbed three of her novels to queue up for when I’m feeling ambitious enough with my French to try to tackle her. Probably after I do a bit more Élodie Tirel, and some Esther Rochon. :D

The titles I got were:

  • Le Silence de la Cité
  • Chronique du Pays des Mères
  • Les Rêves de la Mer

I was originally just going to get two books, but as soon as I grabbed Chronique I realized that that was actually book two of a series, so I grabbed Silence as well. And I grabbed Rêves since it’s Book 1 of a different series, the Tyranaël books.

Just going by the titles and by what I gleaned out of the blurbs for these books, I’m expecting stuff heavy on the feminism. It’ll be interesting to eventually compare her to oh, say, Sheri Tepper, who I also need to read.

This puts me at 117 for the year.

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