Monthly Archives: February 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I would die to meet

toptentuesday2

The Broke and the Bookish have decided to take a break until March 7th so I looked over some of their older Top Ten Tuesday posts and I really liked this idea. I picked five authors who are no longer living but I’d still like to meet them somehow.

One. Tanith Lee

She is my favorite author and May will be mostly (if not completely) devoted to her. I love her work and there is so much I just want to chat about.

Two. Jane Austen

I have so many questions for her. I think each book has made me want to write her a detailed letter and then hope for some sort of cosmic shift so that we can reach across time and space and I can get some answers. And I’d want to talk to her about what’s going on in the world now.

Three. Sei Shonagon

Like Jane Austen, Shonagon has a really cutting wit and independent mind. I’d want to talk about her time (her perspective on Murasaki Shikibu and The Tale of Genji would be particularly helpful) as well as ours.

Four. Carson McCullers

I read The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and there was a part I was not expecting at all and it made me cry and my professor was gleeful when we all came into class traumatized. Basically, I just want to talk the book out with her.

Five. Oscar Wilde

I think he’s hilarious as well as deep and I imagine he’d be the life of the party. I’d like to know if that image is true.

Weekly Pieces: February 27th

weekly-pieces-inspired-by-jan

It is almost the end of February! It feels a little crazy.

So March plans…?

I’ll be switching writing gears. I’ll be working on my novel for the year. This second draft has been a real pain but that is what second drafts are for? Painful decisions and more research and massive restructuring but I do want to hang on to the fun. I still really like my main characters.

I’m pretty sure I want to do The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern as my Retro Reread for March.

I’ll also be making my dramatic return to social media.

What else…?

The Vampire Diaries is ending in March… That’s pretty crazy too. I’m still watching the seventh season (And it is slow going because I miss Nina Dobrev!) on Netflix and I will probably wait until the whole last season is available before I watch it.

Will you be wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day?

Thoughts and feelings? Let me know in the comments below.

A Unicorn Attacks Convenience Store

There is blood mixed with cereal under the unforgiving fluorescents.

A unicorn, summoned

Or simply created,

Went rampaging through our convenience store.

No one is dead but one is severely injured.

Now we have to clean up everything before day-shift arrives.

Tea with the Neighbors

That abstract love takes me and wrings me out.

My freckles are starting to show.

But I have to drink this tea in measured sips with my pinky out.

And the unicorns may come to get me in this cell.

You don’t know.

They could just walk through the concrete slabs.

My mother sighs.

His mother looks at her, “Is she trying to make a joke?”

Henry is still determinedly studying the pastry tray.

“Did I say all that out loud?”

“Dear, just finish your tea and for Heaven’s sake Henry just pick something. None of them are poisoned,” my mother responds.

We all take another sip and Henry picks the tiramisu.

The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu

book-review

This might be changing it up a little bit but The Tale of Genji is an important book in Japanese literature study.

I read excerpts of it in college but this year I decided to read the whole thing. I started it in January and I finally finished it this week.

Another title for this book could be “The Life of a Philandering, Rich, Royal Dude.” It does get a little repetitive and most of the sections of this book are about Genji having issues with his wife and his courtship with other women.

There came a point where I wasn’t really reading this for the plot or characters. I enjoyed reading the culture notes, appendices, and looking at the pictures. That’s what gives this book its longevity and importance. There is a lot to be learned about Heian culture even though this is a work of fiction. Historians and literary critics both find something to value here.

If Heian period culture and history is something you are passionate about and you’ve read other books on the subject, I definitely recommend reading the fancy Penguin edition of this book. If you are interested in the Heian period but don’t know where to start I would recommend The World of the Shining Prince by Ivan Morris which talks about the cultural and historical background of The Tale of Genji and uses excerpts from the book to illustrate points. If you want to know what all the fuss is about but are intimidated by this giant book, you can probably find an anthology with excerpts and you would get the gist. You can also read excerpts from Murasaki Shikibu’s diary if that is more your style, although I will say that her personality is not my favorite. She comes off a little whiny and stuffy at times.

Thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

Retro Reread #2: Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn

november-book-review

185289

The concept of Retro Rereads was created by a writer at Book Riot and the idea is to pick books that you haven’t read or reread in a while and read them again to see if they are still your favorites. (I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe for January. Still one of my favorites.)

This one is also a fantasy novel that could be read on its own or part of a six book series. I read the whole series when I was twelve-ish and I was bawling uncontrollably for about an hour when I finished. So… I’ve only read the whole series once but I’ve read this first book multiple times. My copy has a cracked spine and pages falling out of it now. But I hadn’t reread it in years so I wanted to see how I felt about it (especially after reading her new Touchstone series that I didn’t like at all).

I have to admit that from the first page I felt the magic. We start out with Prince Zehava hunting a dragon with his son-in-law Chay. Very Beowulf. I had a hard time putting this book down to read my library books.

Rohan is his son. There is also Sioned, the Sunrunner. Their marriage is arranged a little by Andrade and also by fate. (“Even if it was written in stone you could still break it.”)

So there is a bit of insta-love but I love the characters so I wasn’t really bothered but I know this situation can bother other people.

Not only are the main characters strong but also the supporting cast. They feel real and human. I love reading about them even when they make some really ugly decisions. They take responsibility for them and have friends around them to knock them back on the right path again. This book celebrates the good in humanity but doesn’t ignore the bad.

Men and women fight together. Back in the day this was not a given in fantasy.

I also love this magic system that has the light of sun and moons at the center.

So I can firmly say that this is still one of my favorite books.

Warning: There is one rape depicted and multiple rapes of another character that are mentioned, not shown. The first time I read this book I had to put the book down for a day before I could continue.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I liked more or less than I thought I would

toptentuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week the theme is all about expectations. Did these books fall flat or soar above? I’ll start with the ones that fell flat because I want to end on a positive note.

One. The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu

If I just look at the story and characters… This one is not that fabulous. Basically this is about Genji’s life as a philandering courtier. I read this for the cultural stuff (mostly in the notes).

Two. Katherine by Anya Seton

I had high expectations because this is a relationship that hasn’t been done to death and their are writers who say this is their standard of excellence for historical fiction. It took about 200 pages to get to the promised, heavily foreshadowed, romance and when it did happen it was pretty anticlimactic.

Three. Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen

This one wasn’t bad overall. There were good elements but I knew who the murderer was right after she found the dead body.

Four. Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

I barely remember this one, that’s how little impression it made but it was one of the ones I was anticipating because it has Baba Yaga.

Five. What Light by Jay Asher

I did connect with Thirteen Reasons Why so I came into this expecting something life-changing again and this was not.

Six. Poetry and the Police: Communication Networks in 18th Century Paris by Robert Darnton

This was my first microhistory and I really liked it. I want to read more now.

Seven. Harriet the Invincible by Ursula Vernon

I knew I’d like it because I like Ursula Vernon but I didn’t expect how empowering this turned out to be. It was quite fabulous.

Eight. Grayson, Vol. 1: Agents of Spyral by Tim Seeley

I had no idea what to expect from this first comic and I really liked the combination of espionage and superhero fun.

Nine. Faith, Vol. 1: Hollywood and Vine by Jody Houser

This was everything I didn’t even know I wanted from a superhero comic.

Ten. Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

This was perfect for Christmas time. I was in the mood for it and it made me laugh as well as feel for the characters.

Weekly Pieces: February 20

weekly-pieces-inspired-by-jan

I’ve been suffering a bout of situational depression.

The contributing factors feel a lot like cloaked figures putting keys into locks to let the depressive beast out. As much as I would like to just kick the creature back into its hole I know that’s not how the battle is won. I have to weaken it and gradually back it into its elaborate holding pen and then I have to turn the keys and lock it in again. Unfortunately, sometimes I have to retreat and regroup. Sometimes the monster is just stronger this time. I also have to figure out how to deal with those cloaked figures. They may be a character I’ll never see again or they are recurring characters. I have never been able to destroy them.

Writing and reading are my weapons. Even though they are heavy now I know they get lighter. It feels like my mind is split, like a lucid dream. The depression is there and strong but there’s another part of me, just as strong, that tells me that even though I don’t want to write or read I know it will make me feel better bit by bit.

Thoughts or feelings? Let me know in the comments below!

Emotion

Mercy

Is not in his design

But emotion fills my every cell

And I can’t resist a chance to drain all of that out.

I’m tired of lying about how I really feel.

Midnight Blue

Across the floor made of

Marble tiles,

Alternating black and white,

Every dancer is in bright colors

And two can’t keep their eyes off each other

Even though they deliberately dance with other people.

The spectators don’t know why

They can’t touch.

It isn’t a magic spell or curse.

It could be they’re afraid their fragile worlds will be destroyed.

But they are wearing the exact same shade of midnight blue.