Winner of Calvino Prize Announced by University of Louisville

(And you know, self joined this year. Why else do you think she’d be so interested in the outcome? Don’t look too hard at the list of runners-up, her name isn’t there LOL. The judge was Robert Coover.)

2014 Calvino Prize Winner:  Micah Dean Hicks, “Flight of the Crow Boys”

Runner-Up: Alisa Alering, “The Night Farmers’ Museum”

Finalists:

David James Poissant, “Minotaur”

Jill Birdsall, “Dandelions”

Hubert Vigilla, “Here Be Dragons”

Emily Temple, “My Past and Future Selves Eat Pasta”

Bree Barton, “Sexing the Starling”

Aline Zybum, “The Vending Machine”

Judith Edelman, “The Parchment Is Burning, but the Letters Soar Freely”

Andrea Witzke Slot, “Where Our Hands Rest in the Night”

Caroline Belle Stewart, “Widow”

Further Achievements, 2014

Self is still coming up with posts for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge:  ACHIEVEMENTS.

It is a very fun exercise, which has her reflecting on the many excitements occurring in the year 2014,

One of which was: She saw the Book of Kells! It is housed in Trinity College, Dublin. Self had to endure a humongous line, and they don’t allow pictures. But it was definitely worth it.

Trinity College, Dublin: June 2014

Trinity College, Dublin: June 2014

She explored the beautiful countryside around Cork and spent two nights in Ballyvolane House:

Approaching Ballyvolane House in County Cork, Ireland

Approaching Ballyvolane House in County Cork, Ireland

She saw the Harry Potter Dining Hall! Which was actually the dining hall of Christ Church, Oxford. Luckily, she was one of the last batch of tourists allowed inside before dinner was served to the residents:

The Dining Hall of Christ Church, Oxford: May 2014

The Dining Hall of Christ Church, Oxford: May 2014

Servers were just wheeling in carts piled with plates and cutlery. Fabulous!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

And Now, Jeff Baker of the OREGONIAN

Self will just keep posting the funniest/wittiest reviews for “Mockingjay, Part 1,” regardless of whether the reviewer liked the movie or not. Self is still sitting on the fence about watching it. She fell into the Peeta camp about 1/3 of the way into the first Hunger Games book, and put off reading the end for two years because she was so sure the baker boy would die. Until niece G, still in Stanford at the time, relieved her mind and assured her that “Peeta makes it.”

Of course it is distressing to self when Baker describes on-screen Peeta as “a scrawny wimp” who is nevertheless “catnip to Katniss.” Make no mistake: when self first saw the pictures of the actor cast as Peeta, she confesses being absolutely befuddled. But the hotness quotient of J-Hutch rose markedly with “Catching Fire,” thank you Francis Lawrence. Apologies for the digression, dear blog readers.

Now, back to the Baker review of “Mockingjay, Part 1”:

Baker is upset that “Katniss fires her bow exactly once” (We’ve all seen that moment in the trailers) and that “her big action scene involves rescuing a cat.” She deposits on Gale “a pity smooch” (Thank God it’s only a pity smooch, dear blog readers, or self would definitively refuse to see this movie) and “Hutcherson acts like he’s drugged, as usual.”

What’s so funny is that Peeta actually IS drugged, at least he is after being taken by the Capitol. Baker does, however, offer up this morsel:

The best part of “Mockingjay, Part 1” is when Katniss sings “The Hanging Tree.”

That’s right, Jennifer Lawrence can sing. Not only can she sing, J-Law turns “The Hanging Tree” into a murder ballad that calls back to her Kentucky roots and causes rebels across Panem to march forward and blow up a dam, eco-terrorist, look-for-the-union-label style.

Strange things did happen, no stranger would it be. If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree.

Yes indeed, “The Hanging Tree” is a strange little ditty, but self loves it. Loves that Suzanne Collins put such a macabre song into her YA novels and that Katniss gets to sing it in the movie.

And with that, good day, dear blog readers.

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