Category Archives: reviews

Pretending

So, As I mentioned earlier in the week, I am reading The Princess Bride. Usually I try to refrain from spoilers, but I feel like most of the world has seen the movie, and the part I am going to discuss is almost verbatim from the movie. If you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want spoilers, then you should stop reading and come back tomorrow.

I made the mistake the other night of saying “oh just one more chapter” about half an hour before I really needed to go to sleep (I have to be up for work at 6 on weekdays). So of course I said that at the longest chapter, where Buttercup is kidnapped, and Wesley faces three foes to reach her, and then they run through the fire swamp. the chapter is one hundred and twenty pages in my copy. So I did not finish it. Read the rest of this entry

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Fiction

I have just started reading The Princess Bride. I have heard a lot of negative and positive reviews, but never read the book. I know it apparently takes a while to get to the point sometimes, but I hope that adds to the humor.

So I got the 30th anniversary edition, and I am reading the introduction. It is hilarious. The author spins these marvelous stories about the history of the novel and his family life. And they’re all fake.

His introduction is just another drawn out story for the readers.

I love it.

It gives us this rich history, and puts the book into all sorts of fake contexts, and I think it’s really clever. And that made me think about the line between fiction and nonfiction. I love studying memoirs, but quite a few come under fire for holding falsities.

If the core of the novel is truth, then do the stories and specifics behind that truth need to be exact? Sometimes we learn more from fiction, right? It’s framed just right, and any leftover confusing aspects can be left out.

Anyway, that is enough rambling for now. Have a great Monday everyone!

Repeat. (lai la lai)

So, yesterday on my drive home, I decided I was not in the mood for the radio, and I put my Ipod on. The song that had been on the radio had reminded me of “Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance. That is the only My Chemical Romance song I really know and definitely the only one I own. Most of why I love it so much is it reminds me of “Come Sail Away” by Styx. After all, they both start off slowly, with piano, and then get faster after the intro. “carry on” is a phrase used prominently in both songs. I don’t know if Styx is one of MCR’s role models, or if they like the song, or if it’s all a coincidence, but I do know that both songs garner an emotional response.

Anyway, after playing “Welcome to the Black Parade,” I scrolled through my artists to decide on what to listen to next. I didn’t have to go far. Mumford and Sons. Perfect. I started them off on random, but decided I wanted to listen to their cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer”. Read the rest of this entry

Dinosaurs

I am writing about dinosaurs because I now have a turtle, and when she stretches her neck, she reminds me of a brontosaurus.

Actually what I think of is not as adult as “brontosaurus”. I think “long-neck” because I am part of the Land Before Time generation.

And by “Land before Time”, I mean the first movie, not the 18 bazillion sequels, which decreased in quality as they went along.

The thing with Land Before Time is that the first movie was produced by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. It was originally going to be a silent film. but they eventually added dialogue to make the story more clear. Many of the original elements were more intense than the final product, changes being made to be more appropriate for children.

I bawl every time I watch it. You might think that’s not often, but over the last year, that is simply not true. Read the rest of this entry

From The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Some books rock the one-word title; others go for long and slightly absurd. I’m of course going to talk about the latter today.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is a Children’s novel published in 1967. It is the story of a brother and sister pair who run away from home and live temporarily in the Metropolitan Museum of Arts. They discover a mystery and set out to solve it by seeking out Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, an eccentric, rich old woman. Read the rest of this entry

Stargirl

“We wanted to define her, to wrap her up as we did each other, but we could not seem to get past “weird” and “strange” and “goofy.” Her ways knocked us off balance. ”

One of my favorite books from childhood is Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. The story is told by a high school junior, Leo, who is intrigued and greatly affected by a new girl in school, Stargirl. I won’t go into too much detail because I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, but this book is amazing. It shows the hive mind of high school and the world in general. it shows how people react to those who are “different”. It delves into what is “real” in life, and what we merely construct. It focuses on teenagers growing into adults, interacting with adults, and figuring out what this world is all about. A main point of the book is that it’s the little moments in our lives that can have the largest impact.

My partner and I both love books, so a couple of months ago we went to a few different used books stores. I saw Stargirl and just knew I wanted to read it again. Jordan said he was pretty sure there was a sequel. I was sure he was wrong. I would have known about that.

He was right. Read the rest of this entry

On Writing

I read Stephen King’s memoir, On Writing, years ago. It is the only thing I have ever read of King’s, as his books just don’t really sound like my style. Truthfully, even though I loved this book and thought it offered a lot of great advice to writers, I never actually finished it. I remember reading the majority of it on a plane. I marveled at the great advice and felt really inspired, and then never picked it up again. Eventually I returned it to the friend who had lent it to me.

This didn’t keep me from loving the concept of this book and recommending it to every writer I know. A professor of mine even added it to one of her class reading lists because of the suggestions of a few of us in the class.

Today, while scouring the web for resources for a work article, I stumbled upon this infographic. It sums up the most important parts of the book in a quick, easy-to-read format. All the motivation, none of the slog. I still recommend reading the book, as it gives you a lot of insight into King’s journey as a writer, and the sacrifices it takes to (possibly) make it big in the writing industry. If your “to-read” list is already quite long and daunting though, the infographic is enough for now. Read the rest of this entry