Saturday, May 31, 2008

Your lips, cracked and chewed

Your lips, cracked and chewed, look like worry. I can picture only anxious eyes above them. Remember the morning they bore twin scabs from your unconscious gnawing? I almost laughed, thinking, Victim of an enamored vampire. You chapstick them compulsively, but I imagine they taste of small pains anyways.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"The Trees"

Last summer I checked out The Norton Anthology of Poetry from the library for the summer, and I'm doing the same again, hoping to read a little poetry everyday. If you haven't seen a Norton anthology before, it's a two-thousand-page beast, so it's a wonderful way to discover poets. Every time I open it I find something miraculous.

The Trees
The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too.
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

– Philip Larkin

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Let the record show

Friends, I am holding in my hands a volume called C.S. Lewis: A Companion & Guide, which opens to a page to which I have referred many times: C.S. Lewis's own outline of Narnian history and pertinent earthly years.

According to this timeline, Peter was born in 1927, Susan in 1928, Edmund in 1930, and Lucy in 1932. They traveled to Narnia for the first time through the wardrobe in 1940, at the respective ages of thirteen, twelve, ten, and eight (and spent fifteen Narnian years there, if you were wondering). Their return to Narnia at the summons of the horn occurred one year later.

And the actors and actresse? During filming for the two movies, the actors were, respectively and approximately, sixteen and nineteen (Peter), sixteen and eighteen (Susan), thirteen and fifteen (Edmund), and nine and twelve (Lucy).

Not great, especially the older Pevensies...but I can deal with it. What I can't deal with is this: Prince Caspian X was thirteen years old at the time of the war with Miraz. Ben Barnes, the actor who played him, was twenty-five at the time of Prince Caspian's filming. :beating forehead with wrists: Is it any wonder Will kept quarrelling with him? I'd be testy too if I had to deal with that casting decision on a daily basis.

On another Narnian note, don't you think this model would make an excellent White Witch when she got to be older? Just the right kind of otherworldly freaky-deaky, in my opinion.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

These made me think of Christopher Paolini.

"We say that an author is original when we cannot trace the hidden transformations that others underwent in his mind; we mean to say that the dependence of what he does on what others have done is excessively complex and irregular. There are works in the likeness of others, and works that are the reverse of others, but there are also works of which the relation with earlier productions is so intricate that we become confused and attribute them to the direct intervention of the gods."
-Paul Valery, "Letter about Mallarme"

Nothing is more "original," nothing more "oneself" than to feed on others. But one has to digest them. A lion is made of assimilated sheep.
-Paul Valery, Analects

via i collect things

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Midnighters #1: The Secret Hour

In Bixby, Oklahoma, time freezes at midnight, and a twenty-fifth hour belongs to the dark creatures of humanity's oldest nightmares - and to a handful of teenagers who call themselves Midnighters. The uneasy peace between midnight's human and darkling inhabitants is broken when a new Midnighter appears, a girl with a gift unlike any of the other Midnighters' special talents, one that the dark creatures fear above all the rest and will gather all their own powers to destroy.

I found this first book of Scott Westerfeld's Midnighters trilogy, The Secret Hour, fairly similar to the
Uglies books in that it was exciting, moved quickly, and really pulled me in, and the idea of a frozen hour and the rules by which one operates within it allowed for some pretty awesome ideas. Most of the enjoyment of the book was to be had in the reading of it; there wasn't that much for my thoughts to keep busy mulling over afterwards. The only thing that didn't work for me was the romance, which I found insufficiently developed, uninteresting, and unnecessary. A great ride of a book, though.

Grade: A

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Keeping the Moon

Keeping the Moon happened to be the only one on my library shelf when last I visited and, mm...good book! If it's a representative sample of her books, I think I'm a fan. Her writing is admirably trim, unpresumptuous, and effective, and she does a good job avoiding cliches. What's more, this story wasn't full of happiness and things that turned out perfectly, but it really made me happy. I fell in love with the characters - they were so original and real and complex and wonderful. I think a few of them could used some further developing, but they still felt quite three-dimensional. Wonderful story about what confidence and friendship mean.
So, I keep seeing Sarah Dessen's books on Good Reads and people's blogs, and I figured that now that I've plenty of free time, I should finally try one of hers.

Grade: A-

N.N. Content-wise, nothing really objectionable, but definitely for teens and up.
n.b #2 The Good Reads summary oversimplifies in a big lame way, but I can't be bothered to write my own today.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A snatch from what I've got my nose in at present

“I used to wonder what would happen if characters in books could change their fates. What if the Dashwood sisters had had money? Maybe Elinor would have gone traveling and left Mr. Ferrars dithering in the drawing room. What if Catherine Earnshaw had just married Heathcliff to begin with and spared everyone a lot of grief? What if Hester Prynne and Dimmesdale had gotten onboard that ship and left Roger Chillingworth far behind? I felt sorry for these characters sometimes, seeing as they couldn’t ever break out of their stories, but then again, if they could have talked to me, they’d likely have told me to stuff all my pity and condescension, for neither could I.”
- Jennifer Donnelly
from A Northern Light

I feel as though I could write an love poem to summer for the leisure time it offers! Why, I've read as many books this past week as I'd read the last month and a half before that! (I guess I didn't mention, but I finished up with finals last Wednesday and flew back home on Friday, where I am now, missing my friends when I think to, pondering employment, and eating my weight in books. Summer's like that for me.)

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Ordinary Princess and Wildwood Dancing

And now, to get started catching up on all the books I've read recently...haha.

The Ordinary Princess, by M.M. Kaye (if you're very spoiler-wary, don't read the Good Reads summary) - a charming, quirky little quasi-fairy tale about a princess who was given the gift of ordinariness at her birth. I really enjoyed the plot...everything that happens, and especially the ending (I sighed happily), is just right.

The characters aren't terribly complex, but Princess Amy is a likeable protagonist if ever I met one, and the courtiers and family members surrounding her are woefully funny in their ridiculousness.

I'd especially recommend it to those who are well-read in fairy tales and fairy tale retellings (i.e. most or all of you, heh).The Ordinary Princess feels to me like a friendly wink or a little nudge at my fairy tale-loving self. Clever and sweet with a charming humor all its own, and at only 120 pages, all it asks of you is an hour and a half or so.

Grade: A-

Juliet Marillier's Wildwood Dancing because so many others have already read and reviewed it...I found it rather slow to get into, but after I made it through the first 150 pages or so I was pretty engrossed. The prose itself didn't strike me as anything special, and I do think it could have been tightened down in terms of length, but it was an exciting story, with especially strong characters (ooh, that Cezar drove me so crazy...) and a nice darkly magical feel. I didn't love it, but I thoroughly enjoyed it after I passed about the one-third mark. An interesting redrawing of a - or rather, several classic fairy tales.
I won't say too much on

Grade: B

Oh, and I found Summermoon's interview with Juliet Marillier very interesting - check it out, if you haven't!

Monday, May 12, 2008

I'm too old, but you probably aren't

To enter this contest, that is.

So, as a tie-in to the release of Maureen Johnson's new book, Suite Scarlett, Scholastic is giving away a trip for two to New York, and, once you get there, a night in a plush hotel and brunch with Maureen Johnson. Schweet stuff. I may enter my sister so I can come as her companion if she wins. Muahaha.

Here are the details (or the deets, as Enna Isilee would say).

Sunday, May 11, 2008

I met Gail Carson Levine. :)

On Thursday evening! She signed my copies of Ella Enchanted, The Two Princesses of Bamarre, and The Wish, and talked about her new book, Ever (among other things), which some of you have already read in ARC form. I took some notes which may or may not be of interest to you, which I shall put up soon.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The 123rd page meme

Tagged by Q.

The Rules:
1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4.Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people and post a comment to the person who tagged you once you've posted your three sentences

I picked up the Iliad, by Homer, trans. by Robert Fagles. Landed in the infamous catalog of ships - bad luck. And it was such a loong passage. So then I chose the next nearest, Reading Lolita in Tehran, by Azar Nafisi (one of my favorites, an excellent book about books).

"After the trial, Nassrin asked permission to continue attending my classes whenever she could. Mahtab told me that Nassrin was her neighbor. She belonged to a Muslim organization but was a very interesting kid, and Mahtab was working on her--an expression the leftists used to describe someone they were trying to recruit."

Five people...meh. I'll tag Sarah Louise and Taiger.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Book-loving ain't for the faint of heart

Wildwood Dancing was due at the library yesterday. I'm on page 292, and I'm seriously sucked in now. The two options which would spare me further fines:

- finishing it today before the library closes
- turning it into today and checking it out again tomorrow

I haven't got the free time for the first, but there's no way I'm letting it out of my hands for a whole twenty-four hours. Sigh. Twenty or thirty cents in fines, however, I think I can endure for this book.

Sometime I would like to jot a list of the things we MOLDy types suffer for our books...there would be a number of far more interesting things on that list, I'm sure. Submissions? ;)