will be posting on another blog for the next four months (not exactly reading-related)


Okay, I have to admit, my comeback so far has been kinda lackluster.

But, I am really going to be blogging pretty consistently (I hope) over the next four months. I'm going abroad in the fall, and it seems a good idea to keep a journal of sorts. Therefore this new blog I've started is primarily a study abroad blog, where I'll be posting about any adventures I might have (though to be fair, even though I'll be living in another country I think I'll still manage to live a pretty uneventful life, as I always do).

It will be much more personal. I haven't posted there enough to know exactly what form the blog will take; but generally I'm thinking posts will be about my life or thoughts (in contrast to posts here, which are supposed to be my thoughts only about reading and words). It will definitely have a much smaller audience than this blog, primarily composed of friends or family.

I know some of you have said you'd like to be updated on things,  even if I'm not writing on topics normally featured on this blog.  Because it will be so personal and will have more identifying info than here, I don't really want to leave the link out here for any random person who happened to this blog on accident to click. I have a short form below, just asking for your email and name. I'll email you the address of my blog if you submit the form.

Before you fill anything out: I would like to stress that just because you follow/read this blog, it doesn't mean you'll be interested in this other blog. Please, make sure that you won't be disappointed or irritated to find this other blog not to your interest, or not up to your expectations.

So I expect the overlap between readers of this blog and readers of the new blog will probably be only a handful of people. But I figure there are some people who follow here who would be really nice friends to have, and who I would not like to lose a chance to connect with, since internet buddies are just as important as real life friends.

Oh, another thing: somehow the google friend connect on this new blog I've started is already broken, and seemingly irreparably? (bad blogger! bad google!). So it'll probably be a pain to be updated unless you have an rss feeder or psychic powers haha.

If you decide to not fill out the form, I wish you the very best for the rest of 2013 and beyond. I hope you find lots and lots of lovely books to put on your shelves and have hot chocolate or coffee whenever you want and have fluffy puppies or kittens serenade you to incomparably sweet dreams etc.


review: a face like glass


It's been exactly a month since I've written that "rash" post. I really should stop writing posts about posting. Anyway, I've been sitting on a review that I wrote a while back but never posted here. And I figure why not post it here, even if it's kinda convoluted. I just...love...Frances Hardinge? Like I want to be her best friend and read everything she ever writes, and sort of brandish her books at people and smack them on their lil heads until they read them *cough.* We need more Hardinge love around here, is what I meant.


 The main character of A FACE LIKE GLASS, Neverfell, lives and works in the cheese tunnels of
the underground city of Caverna. This city is home to masters of craft who make all sort of intricate and exquisite goods and wonders: wine, cheese, chocolate, and desserts. Some of these concoctions are so special they have magic properties. [*Cue Snape’s intonations from Potions Class voice here*]: there are cheeses that can bring back memories, wines that can make you forget, jellies imbued with the song of birds, and perfumes which sway your emotions.

 Neverfell is pretty happy and innocent and lollops* all over the place  and is clumsy and can’t keep still and is pretty likable because she is kind of like a puppy with too-big paws and a too-big tail. She's an apprentice to Grandible who is a Master cheesemaker, so she's got some serious skills with cheese. But she’s not allowed to go outside and has to wear a velvet mask on her face if she answers the door. There aren’t mirrors around, so she just assumes there’s something wrong with her face (such as hideousness)**. She longs to visit outside. She was discovered wandering around the cheese tunnels when she was 5 and that’s how she became an apprentice, but hasn’t left the tunnels since.

The city of Caverna is special in quite a few ways, and that includes its people: they’re born without the ability for fluid expression. Instead, they have to be taught Faces, so a whole system has arisen, a market if you will— sort of the equivalent of fashion or fads or 18th century wigs or etiquette— where Facemakers teach you appropriate faces for each occasion. It’s become an art, the arrangement of a face. Most people have a range of hundreds of faces to express what they’re feeling; they’re numbered and titled sort of like haikus would be. I imagined them to be the equivalent of a slideshow— a succession of still, rippling photos (if regular facial expressions are fluid and like a movie).

 You can imagine the kind of deceit possible with these Faces, and the difficulty of knowing someone if they can wear a kindly face all the time when they’re really actually mean, or look innocent when they’re really guilty. Everyone is prey; everyone can manipulate. This idea of Faces fits in perfectly into the world of Caverna which is full of schemers who have lived far too long and are all vying for control and power in the deadly Court.

 Of course, Neverfell manages to get out of the isolated cheese tunnels (in a Alice-in-Wonderland tradition, she follows a rabbit) and from then on, she’s irreparably out in the wild and the world. She realizes the reason she has to wear a mask and hasn’t been let outside: she’s the only one in Caverna who has a face with live expressions. Any one who looks at her instantly knows she doesn’t belong and is an oddity. She's also unable to lie with such an expressive face. Since she’s been so sheltered and is so completely trusting, she becomes the newest pawn in the wiles and games of the Court, peopled by the heads of clans (who make the True Goods like the wines and chocolates). It really is deadly: you can show up to a feast and expect a number of creative assassination attempts in between each sumptuous course, and that's all part of the fun.

The Grand Steward oversees this court. I'm mentioning the steward because I found his character to be especially imaginative in a book bursting full with fantastical things.  In order to keep track of all the plots and schemes and rule, he has resorted to only keeping either his Left of Right part of his brain awake. One is logical, the other not. One side of his body goes to sleep and the other wakes, and such is the divide he has two different personalities and two different bureaucracies. Neverfell interests him—she interests many courtiers since she is a tool waiting to be used be anyone with dastardly designs on power, which happens to be a good portion of the Court.

 We are awakened to the world Neverfell is living in just as she is. We learn the way the city functions on exploitative labor (just as children will one day realize how our world does too). We find out that people are not always what they seem, and are complex--just because they seem primarily one way or represent a particular way of being does not mean they are not capable of any number of unexpected, opposite things (their appearance as completely one thing is why they can do such opposite things).That sometimes what is decaying must be struck at in order to clear way for the new. Oh, and a lot of important things about friendship. All of which are things that kids should be thinking about or at least introduced to.

 Also, funsie things like trap-lanterns (which light up the dark city, powered with the breaths of humans); a Kleptomancer (grand thief) prancing around the city and pulling off heists; and my favorite element of all: Cartographers who are so mad in their quest to map Caverna (which is a twisty, illogical, impossible maze of ever shifting, ever growing tunnels) they have bent their brains into a madness. You can only talk to them for five minutes because their madness is contagious and starts making sense; they are creating crazed, fragmented, love poetry and art for Caverna with their attempt to map and survey her completely and discuss her peculiar beauty.

 Anyway, this is some smart and quality kid’s lit, and it’s really the best kind of stuff out there. I really especially loved how Neverfell transforms from a naive girl to— well— someone who can hold her own against people in the Court while still retaining her sweet personality.

 I hope you got a sense of how inventive and strange and delightfully weird and whimsical this book is from me trying to say what it’s about; I haven’t read such an intricate and original book for a very long time indeed. Hardinge has playful style with her prose—you can really tell she loves words and that she’s having lots of fun with all her unusual combinations. You can feel her joy in her writing while the words teeter and majestically dance and cavort on the page and do little cartwheels once in while with their tongues stuck out.

I will say that this book has made me sure that she is my favorite living children’s fantasy author**. Physical copies of A Face Like Glass  might be a little hard to find. But if you can get your hands on Fly By Night (her first book, set in an alternate 18th century England and which I like even more than this book, probably) you will be very happy indeed and then we can be happy knowing that we have both read a book, which unread, means your life is a little bit less full of eccentric lively lovely children’s fantasy, which is a sad thing indeed my friends.

* Yes, this is the book where I learned the wonderful word 'lollop.'
** I have to warn you, if excessive use of parentheses make your eyes bleed, this post is going to be unpleasant. Kinda not sorry though,  since I'm a grammar rebel. *ducks*

***Diana Wynne Jones is my favorite children's author of all time, in case you've forgotten.****

****Not that I was expecting you to remember or anything! I love her though.


perhaps a rash post, but

Hi everyone (if anyone is still here),

How are all of you? It seems a bit strange since I haven't posted here in such a  long time --years-- so I don't know if I fit in this blog anymore-- it seems a little strange, foreign. I read a page or two of my past-postings, and it feels even stranger thinking I wrote those words because I don't remember them at all.

Some of this blog I've outgrown, certainly; my opinions on books and media (or life in general) are pretty changeable, and things I once thought great seem pretty lackluster or flawed now; or things I didn't as much appreciate I appreciate more now. I think I was 15/16 for most of the time I was posting here; I'm 19 now. So I guess I've changed in some respects. The last two years, since I've started college, haven't been so great in regards to reading, or thinking of books, or writing -- words and stories (except in TV form) have pretty much fallen by the wayside, so much so that usually I'll not finish a single book the whole semester.

Right now, I'm about a 1/3 of the way done with my summer break, and I'm finally getting down to some reading, although my concentration is awful, and it's difficult for me to finish a book now (I toss so many away after only being 1/2 or 1/3 done).

But it occurred to me that it was nice that I used to write down my feelings regarding books; even if I don't agree with these perceptions now, I'm still happy that there is even a record of them. My memory is terrible; if I didn't write things down, I would have no idea what I used to think before and what I think now. So I need to write; and writing is a type of thinking, and the way I best think.

So I have a small little hope to return to book blogging. I don't know how often I'll post: maybe once a week, maybe once a month. But if I ever read a book, and want to note down some particular feelings or revelations I had, I'll try my best to put them here, since it is already well-organized and easily found.

This blog will be pretty personal in my reviews, and they might not help you at all in deciding what to read; I won't be posting memes or doing any of the "traditional" book blogging things I used to do, and won't be sticking to just YA. This is simply going to be a place for my thoughts to have a small little home--I don't care if there are mistakes, or you don't like it (feel free to unfollow, or to scroll past). A glance at the followers button makes me a little scared of posting my thoughts here (so many people! so many strangers!)--but I'll tell myself not many people would read them actually--if it gets too scary, I'll make a new blog and post the link here.

Actually, I might do that--I'd like to start afresh, in some way--for now, I'll post here, and let everyone know if I move.

Nice to talk to y'all again! How has life  and reading been?