Activism Nature Writing

Missing people: context and honesty in nature writing

Replied to by Antonia Malchik (On the Commons)

Maybe mothers can’t write about nature in a way that excludes other humans because they don’t have days that exclude other humans, Dungy said. And beyond that, far more than that, it’s a problem rather than an asset that so many people are able to write book after book about the wonders of nature and their love for it without including hints of what is going on in human society at the time. That they don’t have the imagination to think that you can write about struggles against prejudice and injustice and rivers.

“I have grown intolerant of that. I can’t be fully interested and engaged in writing that seems to erase me. Because all of those concerns about civil rights struggles and women’s rights struggles and those kinds of things—if those don’t move forward, if they don’t get paid attention to, if they don’t get talked about, that negatively affects my ability to move forward in the world.” — Camille Dungy, Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden

This is part of what I’m enjoying in Braiding Sweetgrass: her life is not separate from nature that she can ever set either aside, that her connection with nature and community are intertwined, that the way she relates to nature is dependent on her personal history and her family’s history and her people’s history. There’s no pretending nature is this pristine untouched place “untainted” by people (untouched nature is largely a myth anyway) because she recognizes how humans have played a part in the ecosystem — she even studies the indigenous practices for harvesting sweetgrass and sees indications that gathering sustainably actually keeps the population growing healthily — that human stewardship is part of the balanced ecosystem.

Fantasy Romance

Read Wicked Beauty

Read Wicked Beauty (Dark Olympus, #3)

*A scorchingly hot modern retelling of Helen of Troy, Achilles, and Patroclus that’s as sinful as it is sweet.*

In Olympus, you either have the power to rule…or you are ruled. Achilles Kallis may have been born with nothing, but as a child he vowed he would claw his way into the poisonous city’s inner circle. Now that a coveted role has opened to anyone with the strength to claim it, he and his partner, Patroclus Fotos, plan to compete and double their odds of winning.

Neither expect infamous beauty Helen Kasios to be part of the prize…or for the complicated fire that burns the moment she looks their way.

Zeus may have decided Helen is his to give to away, but she has her own plans. She enters into the competition as a middle finger to the meddling Thirteen rulers, effectively vying for her own hand in marriage. Unfortunately, there are those who would rather see her dead than lead the city. The only people she can trust are the ones she can’t keep her hands off—Achilles and Patroclus. But can she really believe they have her best interests at heart when every stolen kiss is a battlefield?

Of the three books in this series, this plays the loosest with the source material overall, but then clings a little too close in other spots. Some things seemed to be included just to show that it was referencing the Iliad (Ajax), but would have been more powerful if those roles had been expanded (Hector).

The romance in this was a bit messy, starting with an established partnership in an open relationship and adding a third person, with some hurt feelings and bad behavior on the way. For the romance, I would have appreciated one more chapter at the end — it would have been good to hear from Patroclus again, and I never felt like Achilles and Patroclus resolved their mutual secret “you’re going to get tired of me and leave me” issues.

This set up some big pieces for the overall story of the city, but left too much unresolved IMO. There’s a big question about one of the plot pieces that we’re I guess just supposed to accept will be explained in the next book.

Using a golden apple on the cover when Atalanta is in the book but not the love interest is a weird choice for a series devoted to retelling myths, where readers may be familiar with the story of Atalanta’s footrace.

Fantasy Horror

Watched Sandman S1E11

Watched Dream of a Thousand Cats/Calliope from

In this two-part story collection, a Siamese cat dreaming of a new world and a writer in desperate need of inspiration cross paths with Morpheus.

Interesting strategy to release a bonus episode a few weeks after the series drop, another push to get people talking about the show again.

The animation of the dream of a thousand cats I didn’t find quite up to the comic, though it did seem to stay true to it. A good spot for a Neil Gaiman cameo.

I did think the Calliope episode turned out well, Arthur Darvill was good as Ric Madoc, and it gave us a chance to see another side of Morpheus.

Comics Fantasy Romance

Read Lore Olympus S2

Read Lore Olympus

Witness what the gods do…after dark. The friendships and the lies, the gossip and the wild parties, and of course, forbidden love. Because it turns out, the gods aren’t so different from us after all, especially when it comes to their problems. Stylish and immersive, this is one of mythology’s greatest stories — The Taking of Persephone — as it’s never been told before.

Fantasy Romance

Re-read Electric Idol

Read Electric Idol (Dark Olympus, #2)

He was the most beautiful man alive. And if I wasn’t careful, he was going to be my death. *A scorchingly hot modern retelling of Psyche…

Was in the mood for a Psyche and Eros story so I revisited this one, which is ~mobster marries the socialite / influencer he’s supposed to kill.

Interesting to read this again while I’ve been reading Lore Olympus online to see how they portray the same characters.

I’m still iffy on the “hero” who is a hitman that kills innocent people because his mother dislikes them — which is compared as being maybe nicer than destroying their reputation or getting them exiled? 🤔 I get it, he’s been emotionally manipulated and controlled since childhood and is basically totally traumatized and disassociative… but he still murdered people so he wouldn’t suffer emotional punishment from his mother? I think this is over the line on a redeemable hero, whereas the hero in Alyssa Cole’s A Hope Divided has been forced to torture people for the war effort and basically escapes it by repeatedly being taken as a POW. They’re both self-loathing but one makes an effort to stop whereas in this book he realizes what he’s become and kinda goes well guess I’m trash 🤷‍♀️

Comics Fantasy Romance

Read Lore Olympus webcomic

Read Lore Olympus

Witness what the gods do…after dark. The friendships and the lies, the gossip and the wild parties, and of course, forbidden love. Because it turns out, the gods aren’t so different from us after all, especially when it comes to their problems. Stylish and immersive, this is one of mythology’s greatest stories — The Taking of Persephone — as it’s never been told before.

In no surprise, I decided to binge the remainder of Lore Olympus up to present 😂 Stayed up till 1:30 last night reading it then spent most of the day today – there is a lot of content over four years! Definitely did not want to wait another year and a half for it all to be published in print. But now I have to wait till the hiatus is over in April ☹️

I would guess the story is at 75% / “all hope is lost” beat so hopefully the romance will finish up at the end of this season? I could also see it being at 50% but I hope not! I don’t know if I can wait another four years for the ending 😟

Comics Fantasy

Read Lore Olympus Vol 1

Read Lore Olympus (Lore Olympus, #1)

Scandalous gossip, wild parties, and forbidden love—witness what the gods do after dark in this stylish and contemporary reimagining of one of mythology’s most well-known stories from creator Rachel Smythe. Featuring a brand-new, exclusive short story, Smythe’s original Eisner-nominated web-comic Lore Olympus brings the Greek Pantheon into the modern age with this sharply perceptive and romantic graphic novel.

I tried reading this years ago as a webcomic but I don’t like Webtoons’ interface, so I bailed in the first chapter. Now, this volume left off midway through the story so I have to decide whether to wait till July when the next volume comes out in paper or brave Webtoons 😂

A bit funny to read this so soon after Hades and Electric Idol, two other contemporary retellings about Hades and Persephone and Eros and Psyche. Katee Roberts’s books feel similar in vibe although all three reinterpretations have distinct plots.

Beautiful cover. The art seemed a smidge uneven at the start but smoothed out after the first couple chapters. Love Persephone’s pink. Hades’ blue is a bit hard to read against the black background sometimes. I’m not 100% on the font.

Love this panel for the first time Hades and Persephone interact

Didn’t expect the character to get raped 😟 It was illustrated sensitively but usually I avoid reading stories with rape 😕 But it is based on Greek mythology.

Fantasy Romance

Read Electric Idol

Read Electric Idol (Dark Olympus, #2)

He was the most beautiful man alive. And if I wasn’t careful, he was going to be my death. *A scorchingly hot modern retelling of Psyche…

This was less risque than the first book, but dark in a different way. The love interest is supposed to kill her. Instead, he suggests they get married. So that’s quite a hurdle to overcome, especially as quickly as they do.

I like how she uses a different type of power to defend herself.

Fantasy Romance

Read Hades

Read Hades (The Court of the Underworld #3) by Alessa Thorn

There’s nothing that Hades Acheron hates more than someone messing with his business. Two members of his Court have already been crossed by the shady and powerful gang Pithos, and the Lord of Styx is ready to take matters into his own hands.

When an informants trail leads back to his business partner Demeter, Queen of Athens and her company ‘Morning Harvest,’ he’s prepared to be as ruthless as he needs to be to find out why she’s decided to double cross him.

If Demeter wants a war, Hades will give it to her, and decides to take the one thing Demeter cherishes over her empire; her daughter Persephone.

Despite appearances, Persephone is no pampered princess. With a curse to create life in one hand and control death with the other, she’s going to make life Hell for her kidnappers.

The Lord of the Underworld isn’t inclined to let enemies go unpunished, and it will take more than the irresistible demigoddess to stop him getting his revenge.

I’m a sucker for a Hades and Persephone retelling, and this was a good one. It started off a little similar to Neon Gods by Katee Robert, but turned different quickly enough. I liked the idea of this one to give her both life and death powers, to give them a bond and connection.

I like books where the heroine and hero decide to be together before the climax and face the final challenge together.

Would really benefit from another round of edits, lots of missing words and incorrect punctuation. The way it showed a continuing piece of speech after an attribution made it seem like someone different was speaking which was confusing.

Fantasy Romance

Read Neon Gods

Read Neon Gods by Katee Robert

Society darling Persephone Dimitriou wants nothing to do with her mother’s ambitions. She’s biding her time until she’s able to leave the ultra-modern city of Olympus and start her doctorate degree. The one thing she never planned on? Her mother ambushing her with an engagement to Zeus—a man with more than a few dead wives in his past. Persephone will do anything to escape that fate…even flee the sparkling upper city and make a devil’s bargain with a man she once believed was a myth.

Hades has spent his life in the shadows, and he has no intention of stepping into the light. Not even for the woman who flees into his territory as if the very hounds of hell are on her heels.

But when he finds that Persephone can offer a little slice of the revenge he’s spent his entire life craving? It’s all the excuse he needs to agree to help her—for a price. She’ll be his for the summer, and then he’ll see her safely out of Olympus and away from her mother and Zeus.

Hades and Persephone’s deal might seem simple enough, but they both quickly realize it’s anything but. With every breathless night spent with Hades, Persephone wonders at her ability to leave him behind. And Hades? Now that he has a taste for Persephone, he’s willing to go to war with Olympus itself to keep her…

Blazed through this in a single sitting. Interesting adaptation of the Hades / Persephone myth in the vein that I enjoy, where Persephone has more agency and actively chooses Hades. I think it worked to have in first person present tense to give it that contemporary feel.

I’m not totally sure about the ending. I think it worked, but I feel like it was so quick that the relief of dramatic stakes maybe needed a little more?

I’m always a little wary of how much kink will be in books with kink, this was not offputting. Some equipment is briefly mentioned but not used by the characters. The kink they follow through on is public sex.