Category: biblios & syllabi
proposal for a Pugetopolis-area WisCon-inspired book group
chris. | 7 August 2014 | 9:00 pm | biblios & syllabi | Only Pings

About 3-1/2 years ago there was some effort toward starting a WisCon-related book group in the Puget Sound area.  Emails were exchanged, but eventually things just sort of fizzled out.  I blame the ~holidays~.

But i’d really like to see this happen!  I came home from WisCon this year rejuvenated and inspired, and despite WisCon’s (current) problems i am still very interested in trying to get a book group inspired by WisCon going.  So let’s try it!!

I’m going to make a few concrete proposals to grow from:

  1. Meet only 4-6 times a year.  A monthly book group is hard to keep up with — my current monthly book group12 sometimes can’t meet because people have conflicts crop up, and a few years ago we finally just gave up trying to meet in the summer at all because what’s the point of regularly cancelling those 2 meetings.
  2. Read at least the Tiptree, Parallax, and Kindred award winners.  Plus 1-3 books selected from book group member suggestions.  Always, however, keeping an eye on selecting books that are available via libraries, used book stores, or intra-member loan.
  3. Try to keep meetings:
    • Accessible via public transit.
    • In public, non-commercial spaces (e.g., library community rooms, rather than cafes) if possible — OR
    • In member homes that are smoke- and pet-free (for allergies) if possible.
  4. Bring your own snacks/beverages, so there’s no pressure on any one host to prepare food for everyone and no awkwardness when a member can’t eat the snacks provided.

How do we get this going?!

Well, 1st, sign up at the Yahoo group if you’re interested — the group has open, unmoderated membership at the moment3.  If you need help signing up, or if you’re interested but have questions/concerns, contact me at this temporary email: bookgroup @

2nd, i’d like to propose that we just go ahead and get the 1st meeting on the table so we have a fixed point to start planning around.  I suggest a weekend (because i already know of people in Olympia who are interested in coming up to Seattle for the book group) in either late August or early September — we can hammer out the exact date/time via the discussion list.

(Discussions for “1st meeting”: set reading list for 1st few meetings, set meeting dates and locations, generate ideas for naming the book group, random chit-chat)

And, also, i’m offering my place in Seattle’s UDistrict to host the inaugural meeting.  We do have cats, but we also have a large deck where the group can meet so that we’re out of the allergy zone.  My place also has accessibility issues because there are 19 stairs up to the front door, so if this is a problem then obviously we can move elsewhere.  I offer my place simply because it’s flexible scheduling-wise and we cut out the extra step of having to book a time at a library or something.

Possible book list based on my suggestion in #2 above:

  • Rupetta by N. A. Sulway.  Which, unfortunately, isn’t available at Seattle Public Library4.  We could start with last year’s winners — The Drowning Girl by Caitlin R. Kiernan and Ancient, Ancient by Kiini Ibura Salaam are both available at SPL.  (Checking SPL because it’s my local library.)
  • Smoketown by Tenea D. Johnson.  Available at SPL.
  • Redwood and Wildfire by Andrea Hairston.  Available at SPL.

Edited to add:  Also!  Personally, i am definitely interested in including readings that aren’t just novels or fiction.  I’d love to read some non-fiction (who wants to read Marx with me??), or go wild and read some fic, occasionally dissect a movie or TV series.  Let’s think big!  Mostly i want to engage with speculative fictions thru’ a feminist/social justice framework.

So, what do you think — shall we try it??

  1. We’re 12 years old!  Go us!! []
  2. Good grief, i am really really far behind in putting up our book lists. []
  3. The use of a Yahoo group is open to negotiation.  This is how the book group i’m currently in organizes, so i’m familiar with the system and thought this would work for the time being. []
  4. Yet!  Let’s all request it! []
for the #DiversityInSff hashtag — book recs
chris. | 4 September 2013 | 1:37 pm | (culture) consuming, biblios & syllabi, deconstructing bigotry | Comments closed

Today Twitter has been hopping with the #DiversityInSff hashtag.  It’s been interesting and useful conversation — check it out!

When i saw people asking for book recs, i braindumped all the useful awards lists i could think of:





Here’s one i retweeted:

I also saw many people asking about how to respectfully create diversity in their own works.  Here ya go:



And i couldn’t resist making a few comments of my own, because it was early in the day for me and i was feeling sassy and cranky:



Mithlond selections — 2011 (1st 1/2)
chris. | 19 December 2010 | 6:00 pm | Mithlond | Comments closed
This entry is part 11 of 9 in the series Mithlond


  • January: The Silmarillion. (Beren & Luthien) Tolkien, J.R.R. {This was a requested repeat since we didn’t have a november meeting in 2010.}
  • February:  The Detective. Howard, Jonathan L.
  • March: “Huldufolk 102.” (A documentary from 2006 about Iceland’s “hidden people.”)
  • April: Journey to the Center of the Earth.  Verne, Jules.
  • May: Watership Down. Adams, Richard.
  • June: Gilgamesh (trans. Andrew George) or Gilgamesh (Sanders novelization).
  • July & August: Summer break.
the searing kiss of hot lead: a love letter to typography
chris. | 21 September 2010 | 4:38 pm | (words) & their artistry, biblios & syllabi | 2 Comments

I love reading about typefaces and font design.  Futura‘s “lowercase has tall ascenders, which rise above the cap line.”  Sexy. Tell me all about your ball terminals, baby.  Ooooh yeah.

standard type text: Elements of Typographic Style

standard type text: 'Elements of Typographic Style'

If you are likewise warped inclined, Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst is a fun addition to your library.  This is the standard text on type design — it was assigned as course material for my ill-fated attempt at taking an introductory class in typography.  Curse my complete lack of visual design skill!

The Typophile TypoWiki is a good online resource.

I’ve been an occasional reader of Typographica off and on since back when it was still  It can be too industry-insider and sail right over my head (see above RE: lack of design skillz), but it’s still enjoyable nonetheless even for the amateur type nerd.

The documentary “Helvetica” made everyone a type nerd temporarily in 2007.  If you want to maintain that type nerd status, check out this year’s “Typeface” documentary.

If you want some fonts to play around with on your computer, i like both Font Garden (especially good for handwriting fonts) and Da Font.

If you want to play around with actual honest-to-god lead type, and you live in Seattle:

a)  The School of Visual Concepts offers classes in letterpress, tho’ i’ve never taken any myself because they’re fairly pricey.

b)  The UW’s Experimental College has a letterpress printing class.  Also not cheap, but a bargain compared to the School of Visual Concepts, plus it’s a 2-day class that happens over the weekend and so is less of a time commitment.  Plus!  Once you’ve taken the letterpress class, Bonnie will let you sign up for her open studio nights to work on projects.

If you’re not in Seattle, the community at Briar Press is a good resource for finding letterpress workshops near(er) you.

Now that you’re a big ol’ type nerd, you’ll be able to follow the “So you need a typeface” flowchart no problem.  You’ll certainly want to put the Periodic Table of Typefaces up on your wall.

There is one thing i’d like to get my hands on right now, and that’s a free/low-cost software program for viewing, tagging, and organizing my vast collection of fonts.  I used to print my font collection store the samples in a 3-ring binder.  That is not so feasible these days!  Part of my problem is that i’m on a Windows PC whereas Mac still seems to be the standard choice for designers.  I’m perusing reviews of font management software, but if you’re a font nerd and have a recommendation, share some love in the comments.

papermaking books
chris. | 15 August 2010 | 10:13 pm | biblios & syllabi, papermaking | 1 Comment

I’ve taken 3 papermaking classes with the wonderful Mary Ashton (via The Weaving Works).  Mary’s a fantastic teacher with a well-equipped paper studio.  She also has a thorough library of papermaking-related books.  Here are the recommendations she’s given out during the 3 classes i’ve taken with her — Introduction to Papermaking, Japanese Papermaking, and Tibetan Papermaking.

Many of these are out-of-print and can be hard to find.  I acquired my copies by regularly checking Powell’s, abebooks, and my local used bookstores.

papermaking — general

Art and Craft of Handmade Paper.  Studley, Vance.  (New York: Dover, 1999.)

Art and Craft of Papermaking.  Dawson, Sophie.  (London: Quarto Publishing, 1992.)

Complete Book of Papermaking.  Asunción, Josep.  (New York: Lark Books, 2001.)

Handmade Paper: A Practical Guide to Oriental and Western Techniques.  Cunning, Sheril.  (Escondido, California: Cunning Enterprises, 1983.)

Paper — Art & Technology.  (San Francisco: World Print Council, 1979.)

Papermaking.  Heller, Jules.  (New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 1978.)

Papermaking.  Hunter, Dard.  (New York: Dover, 1978.)

Which Paper? Turner, Silvie.  (Design Press, 1992.)

papermaking — general (student suggestion)

Paper Pleasures.  Shannon, Faith.  (New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1987.)

papermaking — with plants

Dyeing with Plants in Zimbabwe.  Noy, Ilse.  (Harare, Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe Foundation for Education with Production, 1988.)

Papermaking with Garden Plants and Common Weeds.  Hiebert, Helen.  (North Adams, Massachusetts: Storey Publishing, 2006.)

Plant Fibers for Papermaking.  Bell, Lilian.  (Liliaceae Press, 1981.)

papermaking — with plants (student suggestion)

Art of Papermaking with Plants.  Lorenté, Marie-Jeanne. (New York: W.W. Norton, 2004.)  Caveat: Mary thought this was a good book overall, except for the fact that the author used bleach and lye in all her papers.

papermaking — Japanese

Japanese Papermaking.  Barrett, Timothy.  (Trumbull, Connecticut: Weatherhill, 1984.)

Guide to Japanese Papermking.  Farnsworth, Donald.  (Oakland, California: Magnolia Editions, 1997.)

Liliaceae Press, 1981
‘Prince Caspian’ (Adamson, Andrew. 2008.)
chris. | 21 February 2010 | 5:29 pm | (consuming) 2010, Mithlond | Comments closed

This was one of our Mithlond selections for the year.  I love including films on our list of monthly selections!  There’s such a wealth of cinema we can draw from.

Andy and i had failed to see the recent film of “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” before watching “Prince Caspian” (which irritated me — i’ll have to make a point to watch LW&W this weekend).  It’s also been probably 5 or 6 years since i read “The Chronicles of Narnia,” and so i was coming at this movie with very few reference points.

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