Florence reads on in 2024

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Florence reads on in 2024

Editado: Dez 31, 2023, 9:11 am

Hi All,

My name is Florence, I am 60 and I live in Paris, France. I try to keep track of my reading here on CR but I very rarely do any in-depth reviews of books. I’m also pretty bad at participating in other threads, because I’m lazy (lazy should be my middle name, if we had such a thing in France) and because I rarely have anything meaningful to contribute.

I’ve been reading a lot of fantasy romance this last year and will probably continue doing so in the foreseeable future. I seem to read mostly in English, partly because of CR’s influence. Books that are not originally in English or French I try to read in a French translation.

At the end of my 2023 thread I took stock of what’s in sight for me at the moment, and I will copy my list here.

Books I’m reading now and likely to finish soon:
The Jinn-Bot of Shantiport by Samit Basu
Shadow Unit 2
Stormsong by C. L. Polk
99 Erics by Julia Serano

Books I’m reading and may finish within next year (2024):
Essais, livre I by Montaigne
Lais by Marie de France (which I just took up again after reading a review)
les Métamorphoses by Ovid
La Fabrique du sexe by Thomas Laqueur (which I’m reading in French because I was misled by the author’s name, when in fact the original language is English)

Books that are on the back burner but that I’d like to finish some day:
Afrique subsaharienne, un continent d’histoires
Petite histoire de l’Afrique by Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch
A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There by Aldo Leopold
The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks
Witch King by Martha Wells
The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri
Hammered by Elizabeth Bear

Books that I’m not sure I will finish
Lord Foul’s bane by Stephen R. Donaldson
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
Histoire de l’Afrique noire by Joseph Ki-zerbo
The Social Construction of What? by Ian Hacking

Not included above are the dozens of short story collections I am reading on and off.

Dez 31, 2023, 9:15 am

Welcome back to Club Read, Florence! One good thing about CR is that it's a come-as-you-are group. No pressure to conform to expectations, because there are none! I love your input on various topics and themes and have learned a lot from you, sporadic participation or no. So carry on! and I'll be following along.

Dez 31, 2023, 9:57 am

Hi Florence, Happy New Year from one of your followers. I have. Enjoyed your posts.

A little known (USA) author here is Marie NDiaye but her La vengeance m'appartient was translated in 2023 into English and is getting a lot of buzz. She seems like an interesting writer. Have you read anything by her?

Dez 31, 2023, 10:05 am

>2 labfs39: Thanks Lisa, and thank you for setting up CR, it’s a great place to discuss books and other things.

>3 kjuliff: I only read part of one of her books, which was also getting a lot of buzz at the time in France, Trois femmes puissantes. I couldn’t tell you why I didn’t like it, it could be just me, although I think my mother was unimpressed too. As the title implies, there are three stories in the book and I finished the first one, so I don’t know if it can be considered a DNF, but I never felt motivated to read the rest.

Dez 31, 2023, 10:12 am

>4 FlorenceArt: Thanks Florence. The New Yorker named La vengeance m'appartient as one of the top books of 2023. I was hoping I’d found another Slimani whose early work I found interesting.

Jan 1, 9:27 am

Good to see you here again, Florence. I hope you have a good reading year.

Jan 1, 7:01 pm

Wish you a happy new year, Florence.

Jan 1, 10:22 pm

Happy new year, Florence! I've read some of Julia Serano's nonfiction so am curious to hear what you thought of her novel. And seeing Montaigne mentioned always tempts me to drop everything and pick him up...

Jan 2, 1:56 am

>6 rachbxl: >7 dchaikin: >8 LolaWalser: Thanks, and happy new year to all!

>8 LolaWalser: I was rather reluctant to try her novel, but since it’s free with my kobo subscription I decided to give it a go, an I’m enjoying it very much. It doesn’t really feel like a novel, but it’s very funny and easy to read.

Jan 3, 12:29 pm

Happy New Year. I'm looking forward to following along with your reading.

Jan 3, 1:04 pm

Good to see you here for another year! Your comment ...by Thomas Laqueur (which I’m reading in French because I was misled by the author’s name, when in fact the original language is English)... did make me smile -- my husband and I were trying to figure out what language to watch a Netflix series in (with subtitles) as the titular character had a German name and it was clearly set in Paris. I looked it up and it was, of course, a Spanish production.

Jan 3, 3:32 pm

>10 rocketjk: Happy new year to you! I’ll be following your reading too.

>11 RidgewayGirl: That’s funny! Happy new year.

Jan 3, 3:43 pm

Starting the year with a weird short story. I found this because several people here mentioned The Time Traveller’s Almanac, I went to look for it but didn't find a digital edition, but I found this instead. I think I missed a lot of references in this one, but I liked it.

Errata by Jeff VanderMeer

Jan 3, 10:27 pm

>13 FlorenceArt: I got that book from santathing!

Jan 4, 4:10 am

>14 dianeham: It sounds like a great book, I hope you enjoy it!

Jan 4, 5:59 am

I hope you have a great year. Don't let a lack of anything "meaningful" to say keep you from participating on threads, at least mine! I am always just happy to know that people have visited.

Jan 4, 9:37 am

Good luck with your 2024 reading!

Jan 4, 9:50 am

>16 ursula: I know, but this is where the “lazy” part comes in! I’ll try to do better after things calm down a little, right now I’m not even keeping up with the reading.

>17 mabith: Thank you!

Jan 4, 1:50 pm

Happy 2024 reading!
I relate to what you call your "laziness". I think I have been mainly lurking on your thread last year. I might try to participate this year, we'll see!

Jan 5, 2:31 pm

>19 raton-liseur: I guess we’re even since I have been lurking on your thread!

Jan 5, 2:33 pm

Stephanie Burgis
Hardwood Spellbook 1

This is an involuntary re-read. It was a FaRoFeb freebie, but it became clear to me almost immediately that I had already read it. In 2021 apparently. I’m not sure why I didn’t follow up on it. Probably because I was already busy pursuing a couple of excellent series, and this one didn’t grab me enough at the time to leave a lasting impression. Also I’m not crazy about worlds based on Victorian England. I have to admit though that the world building is pretty good, and the story was enjoyable. I think I will pick up the next one this time. I like how in this world, gender roles are, not fully reversed but leaving more power to women, and yet they are just as rigid and stifling as those of Victorian England.

Jan 6, 9:09 am

May I ask what version of Les essais you are reading? My uncle and my aunt who are literature professors edited a version. I think it is the one of La Pléïade. This book seems interesting but I think it would be too difficult for me.

Jan 6, 11:13 am

>22 chlorine: It’s always difficult to choose with these old classics, and also to pick up good quality versions among the gazillion of cheap public domain editions (which are not necessarily bad quality, but it’s hard to know in advance and the translation will always be an old one). I hesitated between the one translated by Guy de Pernon and the one from Bouquins. The first one is self published and the typography and layout are ugly, but I have some doubts about the translation in the Bouquins version, so in the end I’m reading the Pernon. I think you can find the pdf for free on his website. The pdf is better looking than the ePub version, IIRC.

It’s not a difficult read, though I’m sure I’m missing a lot. I need to read a little about Montaigne. He seems to have lived in “interesting times”, as the saying goes.

Jan 6, 12:34 pm

>23 FlorenceArt: Missing a log is what I'm afraid of with this kind of book. Maybe I'll get to it one day...

Jan 9, 1:50 pm

>21 FlorenceArt:

Victorian porn changes the view somewhat on those stodgy Victorians. :)

>22 chlorine:

Cool aunt and uncle! Btw, I can't seem to find your thread, chlorine.

Jan 9, 8:12 pm

Happy new year to you! As Ursula said, there are many of us (including me) who are delighted by visitors, with no pressure to provide sophisticated commentary.

Jan 10, 4:40 pm

Two more FaRoFeb freebies:

Chevalier, First Class
Alison Carr Waechter
This is really a short story, and a prequel to a duology called The Aetherreals. Which I should maybe check out. In any case this was a quick and reasonably enjoyable read.

Through The Paintings, Dimly
J. M. Butler
The best I can say about this book is that I finished it, unlike several other FaRoFeb offers. So I didn’t hate it, I guess. Bad writing is what makes me stop reading, and this one was OK in that regard, but I didn’t like the story or felt any empathy toward the characters.

Jan 12, 4:47 pm

I just bought a new phone, and so I got several (temporarily) free subscriptions from Apple, including Apple TV. So I had a look and picked up a series called Strange Planet because it looked intriguing. I don’t know if I’ll be following up but this first episode was funny. I liked it.

Jan 12, 5:02 pm

>28 FlorenceArt: You might check out Pachinko while you have access to Apple TV. It's not all released yet, but the first "season" was excellent, I thought.

Jan 12, 5:14 pm

>29 labfs39: Thanks, I’ll have a look.

Jan 14, 3:27 am

We watched Silo on Apple TV (adaptation of the book Wool by Hugh Howey). I hadn't read the book beforehand so I don't know how it compares, but the 1st season was pretty good.

Jan 14, 3:33 am

>31 ursula: Yeah, I saw it on the home page and had a look, but it sounded pretty dark. I think I have enough dark and stressful with ST Discovery for now (still progressing, very slowly, through the first season).

Jan 14, 8:33 am

>31 ursula: I liked the adaptation too. I think at some point there will be a second season. I've read the books too, and they're pretty good (and fast reads).

Jan 14, 4:31 pm

The Jinn-Bot of Shantiport
Samit Basu

I think I found this book via a Kobo recommendation. Because of course, since I read Murderbot, I must be interested in anything featuring bots. Sigh.

And, well. I loved it! But it has nothing to do with Murderbot except, well, bots.

I have to say that some serious suspension of disbelief is required as regards the world building and plot, but that’s not what I’m interested in. The characters are wonderful. I love how they all grow and evolve, especially the narrator, Moku, a “storybot” who starts as a slightly befuddled but more or less objective observer but grows more and more emotionally involved with the family he met and became a part of.

One thing that I kept reflecting on throughout the book. While everyone in our world seems to be freaking out about AI taking over, I notice that a lot of fiction featuring bots, cyborgs and androids features the one issue that Silicon Valley moguls, commentators and basically everyone who is voicing an opinion in public about this subject is studiously avoiding: slavery.

Jan 17, 2:47 am

Blood Legacy
Vela Roth

Another not so great FaRoFeb advent freebie. I finished it because it’s short, though I hesitated.

Jan 19, 5:15 pm

I am subscribed to the University of Chicago Press newsletter because of their monthly free ebooks. Today they sent me a message about their sale, and one book caught my eye: Ahab's Rolling Sea, because Moby Dick has been coming up in conversations here. I wasn't planning to buy the book although it sounds very interesting, but I headed to the Kobo bookstore to wishlist it in case I changed my mind later. And was happily surprised to find out that it's included in my Kobo Plus subscription ! So it's on my reader now. And of course, one thing led to another and I now have (one more copy of) Moby Dick. Which I abandoned and gave a 2 star rating to, back in 2010. Thinking back, I think I was more or less determined to hate it, or at least I wasn't trying very hard to enjoy it. I may be better disposed now? Especially after reading the introduction in my Signet Book edition. So, I may or may not read both books concurrently. I tend to start a lot of books and not finish them lately, so we'll see.

Jan 19, 5:55 pm

>36 FlorenceArt: I purchased that one some months ago on Audible, but I haven't listened to it yet. I thought it sounded interesting, and then of course there is my "Moby Dick" theme which was my first "theme" 13 years ago, and I'm still adding titles to that list!

Jan 19, 9:38 pm

>36 FlorenceArt: interesting about the University of Chicago Press. I hope you like MD next time you try it.

Jan 20, 1:58 am

>38 dchaikin: It does sound interesting! The idea of Moby Dick as a book about nature is new to me. But then I never had many ideas about MD.

>39 FlorenceArt: I hope so too Dan! About the free ebooks, most of them I just download and forget, but I’ve read some interesting things that way. I think. TBH the only one I remember is An Orchard Invisible: A Natural History of Seeds.

Jan 20, 3:27 am

>34 FlorenceArt: Interesting thoughts about book recommendations about bots and slavery.
I find that I do like a lot of bots or AI stories because they address similar questions about civil rights and/or integration in society. About (modern) slavery, have you read the short story A guide for working breeds by Vina Jie-Min Prasad? It is one my favorite stories.

Regarding my thread, the reason you can't find it is because I _still_ haven't started it! The beginning of the year hasn't been very satisfying for me hence the lack of motivation. Hopefully I will start it this weekend.

Jan 20, 4:30 am

>32 FlorenceArt: Makes sense! I didn't feel like it was particularly dark, but I am not a good barometer, we pretty much exclusively watch dark things, haha.

>33 arubabookwoman: Yes, there's supposed to be a second season. I imagine it was probably affected by the strikes. I'm currently reading the first book, it was interesting to discover that the first season really only covered the first half of it. I feel like often, adaptations chew up written source material at a much faster pace!

Jan 20, 5:47 am

>40 chlorine: No, I haven’t read that short story, thanks for the reference! I see it’s available at tor.com, and also included in the anthology Made To Order: Robots and Revolution, which sounds interesting too.

(No pressure about your thread!)

Jan 20, 5:49 am

>41 ursula: I think my dark tolerance is probably much lower than yours 😊

Speaking of Star Trek Discovery, I finished season 1 last night. I enjoyed it very much and look forward to meeting captain Pike in season 2.

Jan 20, 9:14 am

Lais bretons: aux origines de la poésie chantée médiévale
Gérard Domenec’h, Agnès Brosset
Accompagné d’un CD
Chants interprétés par l’ensemble COLORTALEA dirigé par Agnès Brosset

I’ve been struggling with the translations I found for the Lais de Marie de France, so I turned to my local library and found this little gem.

This small unassuming book and accompanying CD made a lot of things much clearer to me. I must admit I was rather confused as to the context of these lays.

Marie identifies herself as “de France” because, of course, she is not writing for the French but for the Plantagenêt court in England (is England an anachronism?). She is transcribing or translating songs that come from a much older tradition, one that originated in Brittany and was spread throughout Western Europe by jugglers. She is also adapting Arthurian tales and “chansons de geste” to her public. But in doing so, she (and others) transfer to the written word an oral tradition, with the result that the music was separated from the words.

This was probably the main revelation for me: the lais were not just poems, they were songs. The CD is an attempt to reconstruct what these sounded like, based on the research of musicologists, and of course some editorial decisions. I enjoyed the music very much, which was another surprise. The book has the original text (not always easy to follow along because of the unusual pronunciations and the polyphonic nature of some of the renditions) and a translation.

Finally, the book is beautifully illustrated with images and text from medieval manuscripts. Highly recommended to all my French speaking CR friends!

Jan 20, 11:10 am

>44 FlorenceArt: Oh, so interesting! I have the Lais de Marie de France on my shelves since Dan (dchaikin) reviewed them a couple of years ago (more or less), by have not read them yet.
Does this book include a translation of Marie de France's Lais, or is it more a companion book to the Lais?
Unfortunately this book is out of stock and it might be difficult to find it second hand...

>36 FlorenceArt: And on a different subject, do you plan to read Moby Dick in English or in French? I have Moby Dick on my shelves but I am contemplating buying another translation, a newer one that got praise when it was released (and I think the one that was used for La Pléiade), by Philippe Jaworski. So I am just curious to know what you bought and/or downloaded...
(Fun to ask you this question after reading and participating in the discussion around translation in Lisa's thread, especially when I was saying I would not like too much difference to be made between works translated by different translators!).

Jan 20, 12:02 pm

>45 raton-liseur: No, nothing from Marie de France, I think those are her source or inspiration. Most of them are in the Roman tongue (langue d’oil) but two are in Breton. They are from the 13th century except the last two by Guillaume de Machault from the 14th century, when this form was already starting to go out of fashion. I doubt you will find it outside of a library unfortunately, but if mine has it, maybe one near you also has it?

I will read Moby Dick in English. I often dislike the sound of translated books, so since English is the only language I can read in the original text (well, with French of course), I avoid translations.

Jan 20, 12:19 pm

Thanks for the clarification. I found it on an online second hand bookshop actually, but I am reluctant to buy it as I wonder what the quality of the CD will be. The nearest big library does not seem to lend it though, so I'll see what I do.

Fair enough on the Moby Dick front. My English is not good enough to allow me to read such a book in the original language though... Curious about what you'll think about it if you finally decide to read it.

Jan 20, 12:36 pm

Which translation do you have for the lais? The one I bought is translated by Alexandre Micha. It sounds clumsy and it’s in prose. It’s a bilingual edition but in ebook form that’s really not practical. At the library I found a translation by Paul Tuffrau, which is at least in free verse and feels a bit more literary and lively. Both versions are so different that I’m wondering which one is closer to the original. I see that there is a bilingual edition translated by Philippe Walter, paper only I think (Folio Classique) so I’m thinking of buying that one so that I can at least keep an eye on the original while I read.

Jan 20, 12:43 pm

I have the Folio+collège version, which is a pity because it is not bilingual (and only very marginally less expensive). I realise that I'll have to find the lais on internet and print them.
The translation is by Philippe Walter, so probably the same as the folio classique. The translation seems to flow, but is not in verse.

Jan 20, 1:32 pm

>49 raton-liseur: OK, thanks. Maybe the folio is the one for me then. Though in the meantime I discovered another one, which is much more scholarly: Lais bretons (XIIe-XIIIe siècles): Marie de France et ses contemporains. What to do… maybe I’ll buy both!

Jan 20, 2:29 pm

>43 FlorenceArt:

hey now! Glad to see Disco won you over in the end. :)

Jan 20, 4:13 pm

>51 LolaWalser: It did! Season 2 looks to be very different. I just watched episode 1. Interesting.

Editado: Jan 20, 8:47 pm

>44 FlorenceArt: what a cool experience. I’m fascinated. Wish I knew enough French to get something out of this.

>45 raton-liseur: I loved those Lais. Such an enjoyable read.

Jan 21, 12:56 am

>53 dchaikin: I did buy Lais bretons XIIe-XIIIe siècles without seeing the translation, because the scholarly articles at the beginning took up the whole excerpts I could find. It looks like something I can live with: free verses following the original structure, and the language sometimes feels a bit awkward but less than the first translation I tried. Since it’s an ebook, I still have the problem that it’s difficult to go back and forth between the original and the translation. I will have to look for a way to view them side by side on my iPad.

Jan 21, 5:39 am

>53 dchaikin: and >54 FlorenceArt: You're making my "want-to-read-right-now" list increasing to unmanageable proportions!

>54 FlorenceArt: I've seen that book while looking for the book you reviewed in >44 FlorenceArt:. I'll be curious to read your feedback when you read it.

Jan 22, 2:51 am

>44 FlorenceArt: I will be looking out for this one !

Jan 22, 4:09 pm

Deux femmes
Song Aram

I picked this up from the “librarian’s choice” table at the library.
A Korean graphic novel, or maybe two connected novellas, about two young women struggling to make a life in a very misogynistic society. It’s rather bleak, but I think I liked it. I need to let it percolate a little.

Fev 1, 12:56 pm

The Fire in the Glass
Jacquelyn Benson
The London Charismatics 1

I got this for free somehow, probably through FaRoFeb. I liked it but I won’t continue this series. Lily is a great character and the writing is decent for a change, but I don’t like her brand of paranormal power (although it makes for interesting plot twists), and I like the rather heavy handed references to a higher purpose even less.

Editado: Fev 12, 4:40 pm

As usual, I am reading too many books at the same time, and interrupting serious reads for more frivolous ones. Here is a partial update on what I've been reading and doing.

Finished: The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold. I don't know why I don't read more by her. Maybe because her writing is not very inspiring. But her wonderful characters more than make up for it. I just bought the next Chalion book, Paladin of Souls, and the first Penric, Penric's Demon.

Kreuz und Quer durch Freiburg: I don't usually list tourist guidebooks here, but then I don't usually read them in German, so that's a small achievement. The last time I tried to read a book in German was some 35 or to years ago. I think it was Der Steppenwolf, and it left me utterly discouraged. Anyway, I did manage to follow a couple of the walks described, not of course without some involuntary detours, because I can't tell my Rechts from my Links any more than I can my droite from my gauche. I enjoyed my visit in Freiburg. I visited two museums and the "quartier Vauban" which is famous for its environment friendly architecture.

In progress : Essais by Montaigne. I am approximately 30% into book I, so a long way to go but progressing (slowly but) steadily.

Finished: Aigremorts, poems by André Frédérique. I left this book for ages at 95% or so, which tells you how much I enjoyed it at the end. However the beginning was better. Looking back, I bookmarked 5 poems (out of 37, so that's not a big success for me).

Finished: Shadow Unit 2. OK but felt almost identical to the previous one.

In progress: Voix de femmes au Moyen-Age.

I picked up this book at the library while looking for Marie de France or related material. She is not included in this collection but I thought it might be worth a look. I enjoyed the introduction, which gives a bit of context and a presentation of the works selected for the collection. Then the first section contains works by trobairitz (female troubadours), and this one is both intriguing and frustrating.

The introduction obviously supposes I know much more than I do about troubadours, which is next to nothing. But it was enough to make me curious and I have started looking for information online. There's a lot we don't know about the troubadours, and attribution can be uncertain, so out of the 20 or so artists identified as women (out of about 460 known troubadours), a few might well be men writing from the point of view of a woman. Their production doesn't differ much from that of their male colleagues, except that the typical situation described (a man pining for an unattainable and silent woman) is sometimes mirrored. One of the songs complains that a woman is not supposed to actively seek her lover's attentions, but she is frustrated by said lover's insufficient solicitations.

The texts are presented in translation only, and anyway I don't suppose I would understand the original. But it's frustrating because the translation doesn't attempt to emulate the rythm of the original. I suppose the translator prioritize fidelity to the meaning rather than the rythm, but it sounds really awkward at times. Especially since those were initially songs, I think the rhythm should reflect that at least.

I'm still working on the trobairitz part. After that come three mystics, then Christine de Pizan, followed by two texts on the "secret knowledge of women", and a chapter on men's voices. I never intended to actually finish the book, but I'd like to read a little from each part at least, ideally. But I already extended the loan once and I have to give it back in two weeks.

Fev 12, 6:38 pm

>59 FlorenceArt: Congrats on reading a book in German. I was quite proud of myself for reading one in French last year. Yours may have been a guide book and mine a juvenile novella, but we did it! I enjoyed Freiburg quite a bit when I was there 34 years ago. (Is that really possible, 34 years? Yikes)

Fev 12, 9:53 pm

Wow, Montaigne.

I’m fascinated by your comments on Voix de femmes au Moyen-Age.

Fev 14, 11:13 am

>60 labfs39: :high-five: 😉
I’ve been looking for some not too hard novels or short stories in German but I’m not sure how to look. I downloaded several conversation guides before my trip but wasn’t very motivated to read them!

>61 dchaikin: I’m finding Montaigne a relatively smooth ride (in translation!). I recognize some of the stoic sources of his thinking, which I studied a little, in my dilettante way, a few years ago, and which I find very relatable. I like reading his rambling thoughts, it’s a bit like a conversation with a friend. A very well educated friend.

Fev 14, 1:13 pm

>62 FlorenceArt: I'm afraid I'm no help with the German. All I know how to say is Guten tag and Wo ist der Zug, bitte?

Fev 14, 8:51 pm

>62 FlorenceArt: you’re making Montaigne sound fun. I’m surprised you are reading him in translation as I thought he wrote in French. I guess it was a while ago. What language did he write your book in?

Fev 14, 9:09 pm

>62 FlorenceArt: For a fairly simple (or at least not overly difficult) novel in German, Glenkill by Leonie Swann is fun and straightforward.

Editado: Fev 15, 11:41 am

>64 dchaikin: True, Montaigne wrote in French, but from what I understand his French was not mainstream already at the time (lots of regionalisms, plus a sentence structure heavily influenced by Latin), and the language has changed since then, especially the meaning of certain words. I want to read Montaigne, not decrypt him 😉

>65 RidgewayGirl: Thank you! It does sound like fun.

Fev 19, 1:28 am

Glad I dropped by! Trobairitz are a fascinating subject. And I am planning on reading Montaigne's Essais this year (because I am reading authors from Dordogne - département 24 - in 2024). I am looking forward to your comments and/or reviews :-)

Fev 19, 1:52 pm

Congrats on reading a book in German and on your Montaigne progress!

I read The Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls and really liked them. As you said, the characters are great. These books really gave meaning for me to the expression "character-driven".

Fev 22, 1:50 pm

>67 Dilara86: Yes, troubadours and trobairitz are very interesting. I was under the impression (like most people I think) that troubadour were men who made a living going from castle to castle or town to town to perform their songs. In fact it seems troubadour was not a trade, but closer to an art movement, despite the obvious anachronism. Most of them were in fact noblemen (and a few women). If I understand correctly, they were the ones who invented l’amour courtois, or fin’amor. I just bought a history book about them (Les Troubadours by Henri-Irénée Marrou), but it will have to wait in line since I still need to finish Making Sex.

Fev 22, 1:54 pm

>68 chlorine: My first contact with Lois McMaster Bujold was Mountains of Mourning, following a recommendation on another forum. It’s a wonderful novella, but when I tried to continue with the Vorkorsigan saga, I found that Miles was simply too hyper for me, and I didn’t read anything else from her for years. Recently I discovered the Sharing Knife series and loved it too.

Fev 22, 9:14 pm

>69 FlorenceArt: how many movies does that factoid undermine? 🙂🙁

Fev 22, 11:44 pm

>70 FlorenceArt: Making Sex sounds interesting.

Fev 23, 1:10 am

>71 dchaikin: I doubt that’s the only thing the movies get wrong about the Middle Ages 😉

>72 dianeham: It is! The main points (*) are completely new to me and very intriguing. However the book is not meant for dilettantes like me, and it keeps piling on evidence far past the point I can remain interested.

(*) That sex is just as socially constructed as gender (that part is not a complete shock to me). And that the view of sex underwent a major reversal, from the idea that sexual differences were fluid and females were basically an inferior version of males (not hot enough, basically), to the conviction that the sexes are essentially different. In the first view, sex differences are on a continuum, and it’s not particularly shocking to see a girl turning into a boy. In the second view, sex is binary and the differences between sexes (and gender, which were the same thing until recently) are grounded in the male and female essence. The first view was prevalent in antiquity and the middle ages, and the second view is the one that still shapes our prejudices. I’m still in the middle ages as far as the book is concerned.