Role Models: Literary Villainesses

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You may have noticed that I took the weekend off from posting, which was nice because I didn’t have anything I very much wanted to get out.

But today I’d like to talk about some of the women in literature I find to be very inspiring- the women who are pretty much the devil incarnate.

Putting aside issues of women’s representation in literature and other arts, and how it may or may not be more connected to men’s imagination than female actuality… some of my favorite characters are strong, selfish, and mean people.

I’m not sure why this is, especially because I’d like to think that I personally am nothing like that.  But it’s also not difficult to see why their drive, anger, and uncompromising attitudes are appealing.  After all, the world is a scary place and women are frequently expected to be easy victims of it. Continue reading “Role Models: Literary Villainesses”

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Never Too Old For High Fantasy

High fantasy: fantasy set in an alternative, fictionalized world

I haven’t stopped loving high fantasy as I’ve gotten older, even if I read it less than I used to.  Reading a story that wakes up your imagination is at once comforting and thrilling- comforting because that’s a part of mind that I associate with being younger and the security of being little and taken care of. Thrilling because I can be transported to another world.
It’s this world building that’s always been my favorite thing about fantasy- the maps in the front pages of the book (that sometimes fold out!), exotic names for places and people, fabricated family trees, and the existence of a whole new sequence of history and code of rules waiting to be discovered.
I even dreamed of writing the next great fantasy novel (I can remember so many that I started and never got very far with- “Under the Eye of the Dragon” being a title that springs to mind 😛 ), but characteristically got bogged down in the planning of the details, which was honestly the most exciting part for me.  Drawing maps of my own kingdoms, diagramming my own (very convoluted- I read too many books about Tudor England) ancestries, cataloguing the horses in my imaginary stable (with names, breeds, and ages, of course), drawing a floor plan of said imaginary stable on graph paper, and drawing up adoption booklets filled with fictional beasts (and then making my parents adopt them so I could send them postcards from the adoptees).

So I never got around to writing the next great fantasy novel.  But that hasn’t stopped me from reading them and appreciating other people’s world-building, character choices, and well, patience, which was the thing that I really lacked.
(Guess what? I have it now and sometimes write short stories! But not so much for people to read, because I know I overuse adjectives and adverbs and comparisons. It’s very self-indulgent writing 😛 )
So if you feel like curling up with fantastical happenings, heroic adventures, and sometimes romance, here are some suggestions that i think do a good job of appealing to the child in all of us while still being well-written and innovative enough to not offend our adult sides. Continue reading “Never Too Old For High Fantasy”

Intimidating and Read

Spring boarding off my post of yesterday, I decided to write a post about the longest books that I have read.  At least the longest books that I’ve read and would recommend. It’s a list that makes me feel accomplished (I read so many words!) and kind of nervous, because maybe I’ve already finished all of the best long books… It’s hard to know whether you’re going to die before you finish reading everything you want to, or whether you’re eventually going to find a place where you’ve found and read all of the things that appeal to you most. Both strike terror into my heart.

I once again cut off the list at 800 pages, with the lengths given according to Amazon.com.  Some books I real (Moby Dick, The Woman in White, etc.) felt like they should be in here but are apparently not so long as I imagined. Or perhaps Amazon is selling them as large-paged books with tiny fonts? Anyway, they must be omitted, no matter how exquisite and verbose they seemed. Continue reading “Intimidating and Read”

Back with Books

And we’re back.

It’s taken me a while to regain the desire to blog (or do anything, for that matter) post-election. I haven’t made the fact that I’m fairly liberal a secret, on this blog or anywhere else. And I’m very distressed about the looming prospect of a Trump presidency.
However, this is something I’ve talked about on various other social media, and for now I don’t see this blog becoming a platform for that. In very great part because it’s not something I’m ready to talk about to a general audience.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how to broach the subject of the election here. This is all there will be for now.

And in the meantime, I’d like to let you in on some family dynamics. Some family reading dynamics.  We’re all rather literate.  I read more than either of my parents do. I also think about and talk about books a great deal more.  There are over 400 distinct titles on my ‘to read’ list at the moment, and at one point it was over 2000.

I love recommending books to people (especially when people are willing to talk about their other favorites so I can get a good idea of what they like)- this may sound a bit strange, but I’ve realized that searching for ‘the perfect thing’ is one of my favorite things to do.  I do it with movies, books, gifts, names, everything really.

In a horrible twist of fate, I don’t like taking recommendations very much.  Especially when it comes to books.  Books take a little while longer to get through than movies, and while I will not infrequently add things to my reading list based on recommendations, I’m not likely to let some upstart recommendation jump the 400+ line of books waiting for my love and attention.  And you have to read a book when you’re in the right mood for it.  I can’t just be in the right mood for a book because someone recommended it.

But to the point of this post: My parents and I trade recommendations pretty frequently.  Or they sometimes recommend things that I eventually get around to and the rest of the time I’m shoving an elite selection of books at them, desperately trying to get them to read when really they have lives and other hobbies and I… well, I do, but not as much.

So a dissection of this over the years, starting with Mom- I’ll do Dad tomorrow: Continue reading “Back with Books”