18 random thoughts

1. I can't believe it'll soon be 2011. Time is funny. It's unregulated, you see: it goes far too fast and slow and altogether strangely to be understood.

2. Reading rehabilitation is going quite smoothly.

3. In fact, I'd like to say I'm doing quite well. Reading about two books a day for the last two weeks: Diana Wynne Jones, mostly, and I reread the whole Harry Potter series.

4. Deathly Hallows is actually quite magnificent, once you get past the whole tramping through the countryside part.

5. Christmas didn't feel like Christmas.

6. The only things on my wishlist this year were two books (Geek Love & Pale Fire), but somehow I ended up getting many things. Presents just muddle me, because suddenly I have new things, too suddenly, and I push it off to the side because I'm not sure what to do with all the new stuff.It's a bit overwhelming.

7. The walls of my cheaply-built neighborhood are too thin. I can hear my neighbor from two houses down, and he's inside. So am I.

8.I have immense respect for Neil Gaiman. He dips back and forth between children and adult books, and writes fantasy in a way that's lovely. He's a wonderful writer; even though none of his books are my favorites; it's hard to explain. I just respect his writing a lot.

9. Nearly finished with American Gods by Gaiman, you see. The storyline is in a way dense--whirling off to long-ago tales and coming back to present-day; but it's rich, like a cheesecake of a book.

10. You know how once you hear about a book or an author, you keep hearing about it everywhere? The authoress this is happening with right now is Anais Nin. I have yet to read anything by her, though. I think I might have to.

11. I've decided I loathe furniture.

12. It's funny how you can look back on things that at the time you thought were so cool and realize that now, suddenly, you don't like it at all. This has been happening to me with: photos, especially those hipster-y ones; to some extent, Jonathan Safran Foer, who is obnoxiously smug in his interviews and whose writing is actually pretty gimmicky; and especially comic sans, which I thought was okay when I was ten. However, things that I used to not like but am now warming too: egg drop soup, freckles, and the color yellow.

13. I am actually superstitious of the number 13.

14. I am quite anxious about the Hunger Games movie. I'm actually quite pessimistic about it; it occurs to me that the strength of HG is Katniss' voice and internal monologue; and that this will probably not be translated into movie form. Also, I don't even like action movies as much; and I'm horrified at the thought of some terrible Disney teen actors being cast. Basically, I'm afraid of a botched job.

15. On the other hand, I've decided that Hailee Steinfield, girl-star of that the Coen's latest film, True Grit, would be beyond awesome from the role, and that I'd actually be a bit disappointed if she wasn't cast. I mean, this girl has got the acting chops- she stole the show during True Grit.

16. It's a good thing you only apply to college once, because I don't think it's humanly possible to do it another time. I'm not even sure I can do it this time.

17. I know too much British slang, and I have no opportunity to use it.



reading rehabilitation: stage one (tales)

Lately, I haven't been reading. So I've decided to institute a reading rehabilitation program, in which I'll relive my reading life.

Today, I spent an hour or two uselessly looking for picture books and copies of Junie B. Jones or Captain Underpants, my 2nd grade favorites.

My house, in case I haven't yet mentioned, is a labyrinth of dust and dilapidated junk. Going looking for something is never a good idea.

I started with The Parent Closet.

The light broke a year or two ago, and we haven't bothered to get it repaired. Groping around in the darkness, I managed to hit my knee, elbow, and toe quite painfully against a stuffed animal, a wooden chest, and a stack of books. But I couldn't find the flaslight necessary to navigate more than a step away from the door. I decided to give up, since it was pitch dark, and we didn't yet have a hard helmet. Y'know, looking for picture books isn't exactly the way I want to head out.

So I turned to my room.

At some point last year, in a uncharacteristic fit of purpose, I organized my personal library alphabetically. By this time, basically all the picture books and early elementary favorites had disappeared, never to come back, into either the yawning abyss of my parent's closet or into the used book piles at my local library.

So I pawed over my bedroom, looking in dusty nooks and crannies. I retrieved two books: my copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales and a rather beaten up picture book called Tomie de Paola's Favorite Nursery Tales. I looked some more, screamed when I encountered a spider, retreated into the living room, and decided that I didn't want to risk my life anymore.


There it occurs to me that I did alright. These books I've found are tales that I listened to before I knew what words where, and perhaps this is chronologically first in my reading life.

But oh, Tomie de Paola has such lovely drawings. The book starts:

How am I to sing your praise,
Happy chimney-corner days,
Sitting safe in nursery nooks,

Reading picture story-books?

Among the tales, there's "Johnny Cake," "The Little Red Hen," and one of my favorites, "The Princess and the Pea," all lushly illustrated and written.

I feel happy reading these stories, only a few pages in length. And picture books are actually pretty well-written.

I smile when I get to this part in The Princess and the Pea:
"Oh terribly badly!" said the Princess. "I have scarcely shut my eyes the whole night. Heaven only knows what was in the bed, but I was lying on something hard, so that I am black and blue all over my body. It is really terrible."
& also the mantra of laziness in Little Red Hen. "Not I," "Not I," "Not I."

The thing is, you can't go back and read a childhood book without remembering the years and times you've heard these stories, and loved them, and how ingrained they are in you, to have resided in your brain for so long. It's lovely, returning to them.

When I turn to Grimm's Fairy Tales (cover at left) I find a little surprise. It's my very first book review written on the last page. A one-liner.

"Hi this is Meg it is June 8 2002 and I am eight. This is book is sorta boring sorta interesting. I have less than a week until school ends. Fridays and Saturdays our my favorite days. I like sports a lot and I am really good at them. P.S. The reason I am writing this is because I want to remember what I was like in this grade." Then I have this bit where it says J3 M2 F1 A2 D1 N1 O1 S1. and then "Meg when you see this and wonder what this means I did this when I was 8."

Pfft. Counting how many months start with each letter? I must have been bored. (Here, I suddenly remember my habit of hiding messages just like this for me to find when I was older. I have a few tucked and hidden away in my room, I recall, but I don't remember where.) But what, since when is Grimm's Fairy Tales boring? ARE YOU KIDDING ME, KIDDO? I MEAN, FREAKING CINDERELLA'S SISTERS CUT BITS OF THEIR FEET OFF, WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT IN TERMS OF CLIMAX, HUH?

Thank goodness I came to my senses. I love Grimm's Fairy Tales so much. This book is beautifully illustrated as well. It's action packed, full of talking animals and magic and princesses and princes set off to find their fortunes, and quite a lot of true love. Also, castles.*

It's full of magical sentences. Literally. And also those typical fairy tale sentences. I flip through, reading bits and pieces.

"He took up plow, harrow, horses and all, and carried them home like a bundle of straw."
"Then the wedding of the Prince and Briar Rose was celebrated with all splendor, and they lived happily till they died."
"And he marveled at her beauty, her royal garments, and the start on her forehead."
"Queen thou art of beauty rare
But Snow-White living in the glen
With seven little men
Is a thousand ties more fair."

Oh, these tales. So wondrous. Ones we all know, in some form.

I don't have time to read all 362 pages of Grimm's Fairy Tales today. I have the rather pressing matter of finals to study for. But I'll be keeping it nearby, to read during lulls in the day.

It's hard to describe the feeling I'm getting, reacquainting myself with these tales that bring up memories every time I flip a page. It's a sort of fullness, I'm feeling. This sense that, somewhere, all these stories I've read and heard are still there, ready to be summoned. And the feeling that it's just amazing to know that in each of us, there are stories, waiting to be told and heard and remembered. That we carry them with us every day, and that we're millions of stories jostling each other, full of so many words and plots that aren't ours.

This is kinda my mini-epiphany of the day.

* I have a particular interest in castles, seeing as I intend to live in one one day.**
** What? It's a totally reasonable goal. Also, I have a lot of experience with dilapidation in my current house, so I'll do better than most with mold and creaky towers.***


i'm sure you're all tired about me talking about getting my blogging-pants on, and then not actually following through, but here it goes

I feel like I've written this post several times before. It goes something like this: YOU GUYS I AM SUPER, LIKE SUPER DUPER SORRY & I WILL BLOG AGAIN SOON, AND OH YEAH EVERYTHING WILL BE LIKE IT USED TO BE.

Well, after a whole month of not posting anything, I'll be honest: I don't think I'll ever get back to those glorious months where blogging was at the forefront of my mind, where I raced home from school and switched on the computer first thing, catching up on blogs I followed and then proceeding to write my own posts. Those were the days where I spent two or more hours on the blogosphere everyday & loved every minute of it; loved talking about the books I had read that week, the newest thing in YA, what YA really is, what other bloggers were saying, what authors were saying, and arguably most importantly, what I liked about chocolate.

That just doesn't happen anymore.

But, I've realized something, something I touched upon in me, blogging. Blogging has had too much of a positive impact on my life. What I'm doing now with the time I used to spend on blogging isn't an improvement at all. I'm, in effect, wasting my time looking at things (photos, TV, blank word docs), and not creating things or thinking actively like I did with blogging. Blogging really helped me grow as a reader, a writer, and a communicator--I was forced to think analytically about each book I read, picking over the faults and merits, pinning down what I felt after reading a book, why I felt it, and what the author had accomplished. Then, when it came time to write book reviews, I had to sit down, and figure out what language and what expression would communicate just what I felt, in an at least somewhat-appealing style. My reviewing improved as the months went on. So did my sense of a "blogging voice."

At one point, I was reading 10 books a week. Not reviewing all of them, of course, but readingreadingreading every time I exhaled, every free minute of the day, cramming in words whenever I could.

Then, I began to suffocate.

Books piled up. Books I couldn't get into, especially because I felt pressured to deliver with REVIEWS ON TIME, when oh heck noes, I couldn't think about that, I had school and friends and family and activities to think about.

Then, came my dislike of the repetitiveness. I got tired of posting memes, so I mostly discontinued that. I got tired of the way I was writing reviews. I got tired of YA. I got tired of sitting down and writing posts.

And now, I'm tired of reading.

I can't even bear to say it aloud. So I'll whisper it. I don't read anymore.

Reading has defined my life. I always was a reader. I read when I was unhappy or happy. I read because I wanted a story I could dive into. First it was magic, adventure, and imagination that had me addicted. Then it was a matrix of language, soft-feather language, soft-slow smooth language, strong-song language.

My attention span has a length of about 5 seconds now. I can't keep my eyes glued to the page. I close books more often than I open then. I say, "meh," when I read or "maybe later."

I can't bear it anymore.

It's like a huge chunk of me is gone, this word-loving reader writer escapist who had a second-home in books.

I have to do something to change this.

So I'm instituting a reading-rehabilitation program. I'm starting bottom-up. Slow steps, here. I think, first will be my old picture books, Junie B. Jones, and then Roald Dahl, if I can find them. Next, Harry Potter, oh yes. Then Diana Wynne Jones, oh how I love you, Ms. Jones. A period of YA, for sure. And some literature after that.

I'm reliving my reading life. & I think I would also like to blog about that. I think. I really want to follow through with this.

If you guys are still there, I'd be honored if you listened. I was thinking that perhaps I should move my blog to a different address--I feel overwhelmed by the followers, quite honestly--but I haven't decided.

At the moment, I'm going to stay at in which a girl reads. See if I can pump a little life and a little love into this blog.

Oh, and yeah. I am no longer accepting books for review. UNLESS IF YOU ARE DIANA WYNNE JONES. IF SO I LOVE YOU AND I AM YOUR SLAVE FOREVER, OKAY?