I WILL NEVER OWN ENOUGH BOOKS Spreads AmazeSauce over Self’s Saturday!

Today, I Will Never Own Enough Books nominated self for the CREATIVE BLOGGER AWARD!

Epic Blush!

The rules say that self has to share five facts about herself. So here goes:

  1. Her favorite indulgence is reading Everlark fan fiction.
  2. She was a Fellow in the Stanford University Creative Writing Program.
  3. Her 2nd favorite indulgence is watching plays. The last play she saw (July 2015) was “King John” at the Globe in London.
  4. She loves riding trains.
  5. She has written a 9/11 story called “Wavering” (Published in a literary magazine now defunct, boo).

So here are self’s five nominees:

  1. TheGypsyMind16
  2. The Alchemist’s Kitchen
  3. Kick-Ass Ireland!
  4. cassandra jp
  5. Kahakai Kitchen

Onward!

ERAGON, p. 8

  • BUT WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH THE STONE? Eragon asks himself.

Whatever you do, boy, do not leave it in the forest.

It’s like that moment in The Matrix when Morpheus holds out the pills to Neo.

Well, Neo, which one do you pick? Which? (Of course we know what he is going to pick. Otherwise, END OF STORY)

Still, self fusses at Eragon like he wouldn’t know any better: Do not leave that stone on the ground, Eragon, do you hear me? DO NOT!

Of course Eragon is going to keep the stone. He’s fifteen, for crying out loud. Teen-agers never stop to consider consequences.

It’s simply ridiculous the way self gets into these books. Her reading material this year has veered widely from history (The Third Reich at War) to Mark Twain (Journey to the Equator) to The Infernal Devices to The 100 to Harold Jacobson’s The Act of Love to Eragon.

She also finds it amazing that every single teen-ager whose home she has had the privilege to share in the past year has shown her shelf after shelf of actual books.

Hey, weren’t we told in some distant past that the internet would destroy the printed book forevermore? Render printed matter (like newspapers) obsolete?

The people self sees with Kindles are all middle-aged. She hasn’t seen a single teen-ager with a Kindle. And neither has she met a single teen-ager who reads novels on their cell phones.

It is only self who madly scrutinizes her cell when there are at least three people ahead of her in line. What is she reading? Fan fiction of course, lol.

And then the reluctance of these teen-agers when she asks to bring one of their books to her room. Promise you won’t read them while you’re eating! They’re hardcover and, you know, PRICELESS.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Fan Fiction, 2015: Unleash Your Imagination

“Unleash your imagination” is the banner of the grand-daddy of all fanfiction sites, which went up 1998: fanfiction.net

In the fan fiction universe, so far 2015, self has made a few interesting discoveries:

  • The 100 (the book) has NO fan fiction. The TV show has plenty, but they’re mostly Bellarke (Bellamy + Clarke). To which pairing, self can only say: MEH!
  • The Infernal Devices has a few hundred fan fiction, but most are JESSA (Jem + Tessa) which self most decidedly does NOT ship. Self also thinks it is particularly hard to write fan fiction for The Infernal Devices universe because the characters just don’t travel well to modern AU. Can you imagine Will Herondale as a modern college student? No, thank you.

In the Everlark field (in which self has been happily gamboling, for about two years now), the list of stories is exploding. OMG, self has so many faves. Here are a few of her favorite authors (not sure where they’re from or if they’re even American. Self only knows for sure when they say things like, “There is a really good Cuban restaurant in Hoboken, New Jersey . . . ” or “I’m hosting a Hunger Games fan fiction writers meet-up at the March Rodeo in Austin, TX . . . ” Sometimes she’ll even read things like: “Can’t upload now, in the middle of a biology test!”)

The aliases (Of course, in this field, everyone is pretending to be someone else) of her favorite writers are:

arollercoasterthatonlygoesup * atetheredmind * dracoisalooker76 * ImBeautifullyHuman * just-a-dram * Mejhiren * passionately curious * Ronja * titania522

This is only the tip of the iceberg. And there are many fan fiction writers who literally disappear when they’re work goes into the 10,000 kudos range and they take everything down so they can turn it into a published book.

Strangely, self never got into the Harry Potter universe. But ‘s okay. With the number of new stories being posted every day for Everlark, she will never run out of stories to read.

Stay tuned.

Beneath Your Feet: The Sea City Museum in Southampton

Self is posting this as a tie-in to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge:  BENEATH YOUR FEET.

The Daily Post says:

Experiment with your angle. Stand as you snap your picture, or get close to the floor.

In July, self visited the Sea City Museum in Southampton, which has a fantastic exhibit on the Titanic.

Until then, self had no idea about:

  1. Where do icebergs come from?
  2. Where are icebergs made?
  3. Which part of the Titanic sank first: the bow, or the head?
  4. Poop decks: what are they?

Here is a floor map of the city of Southampton. The red dots mark the homes of the crew who went down on the Titanic. Apparently, a majority of the Titanic’s crew of 897 were from Southampton. Of the almost 900 crew members, only 212 made it home. Which makes perfect sense when you are reminded (by the exhibit) that the crew bunked in the bowels of the ship, near the engines. They had no chance to escape once the ship hit the iceberg (It took less than an hour for the ship to become completely submerged)

Floor Map of the City of Southampton, part of the Sea City Museum's Titanic Exhibit

Floor Map of the City of Southampton, part of the Sea City Museum’s Titanic Exhibit

Further Areas of Southampton Showing Homes of the Titanic crew who drowned

Further Areas of Southampton Showing Homes of the Titanic crew who drowned

As self said earlier, it’s a floor map.

Here’s her friend Joan McGavin, who lives in Southampton, pointing out other place markers to self.

Joan McGavin pointing to (something?) on the floor map of Southampton at the Sea City Museum: July 2015

Joan McGavin pointing to (something?) on the floor map of Southampton at the Sea City Museum: July 2015

It was a fantastic exhibit. Self highly recommends it to anyone who has heard about the Titanic, watched the movie, or just wants to know about social classes in England in the early part of the 20th century.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#BackInTheEighties (Inspired Tweets)

#BackInTheEighties on Twitter last night, some good ones:

  • Wore floppy bows under suits * NO REALITY TV
  • Winona Ryder + “Heathers” * Jem (Not Carstairs)
  • Leg Warmers ala “Flashdance” * Cabbage Patch Kids!
  • M. C. Hammer and Vanilla Ice * Axl Rose + Guns’n Roses + “Sweet Child o’ Mine”
  • NO Kardashians. Whatsoever * NO Beverly Hills Housewives, either.
  • Shelley Long + “Cheers” * “Taxi” + Andy Kaufman + Danny DeVito
  • “Body Heat” + Kathleen Turner + William Hurt * William Hurt + “The Big Chill”
  • “Desperately Seeking Susan” + Madonna + Rosanna Arquette * Molly Ringwald + “Sixteen Candles”
  • “The Breakfast Club” made detention soooo exciting! * And everyone knew who to call.
  • Nastassja Kinski + python * Valerie Bertinelli + cuteness
  • Big Hair + Perms
  • Miami was kept safe by two dudes wearing pink suits and no socks.
  • Smart drones could go around corners — so sayeth Wayne on SNL.
  • 1st Gulf War “Shock and Awe” + Schwarzkopf
  • Everything was soooo tubular!
  • “Dressed to Kill” + Brian De Palma + Angie Dickinson’s million-dollar gams * We all tuned in to watch “Dynasty” and “Dallas” and everyone wanted to know WHO KILLED J. R. EWING
  • “Dirty Dancing” + Patrick Swayze + mullet
  • Siskel & Ebert did the thumbs-up/ thumbs-down on movies.
  • “Back to the Future” + Michael J. Fox * “Cagney & Lacey”
  • “Three’s Company” + Suzanne Somers + John Ritter
  • Self heard about AIDS for the first time.

Stay tuned.

First Sentence, New Story/ And Self’s Discovery of a New Fantasy Book Series

  • Let me tell you about wind.
Self was going to take a picture for this week's WordPress Photo Challenge, instead she got distracted by bars of light . . .

Self was going to take a picture for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, instead she got distracted by bars of light . . .

It is a red-letter day. Self started a new series by Christopher Paolini. The first book of the series, Eragon.

Over the years, she has had much cause to thank various nieces, nephews, sons of friends who tell her, “Read this! You won’t regret it!” She thought it would be fun to compile a list of series she started because niece/nephew/children of friends brought them to her attention. Here goes:

MASSIVE SPOILER-Y ALERT:

  • The Hunger Games: Thank you to Niece G, who saw self reading Twilight and told her: “You should read The Hunger Games.” Self put off finishing Book 1 (the last 50 pages) because she thought Peeta was going to die. Until, one fine day, she spilled her angst to Niece G and Niece G said, “Peeta makes it.” Then self had to rush back home because she needed to finish the last 50 pages she’d put off reading. For three years. Two books later, self was a goner. How deep into this stuff is self? She even entertained the notion of meeting up in Dallas for a convening of Everlark fan fiction writers)
  • Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief:  Thank you to son of Gayo A.
  • The Infernal Devices: Thank you to niece in Calgary, Karina Villanueva.
Karina in Calgary: So Adorbs!

Karina in Calgary: So Adorbs!

  • Eragon: Thank you to Isaac S. At first self thought she would never get over The Infernal Devices — the angst! The Victorian Steampunk! London and York! — but Isaac thought she just might like this new series, so anyhoo, she gave it a shot. Hoooooly Smoke !!!! The Prologue was — mind-blowing.

Also just began reading Kass Morgan’s The 100 (which she heard is very different from the CW TV series). The plot goes something like this: 100 juvenile delinquents get sent to Earth to re-populate it. YAY!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Books Self Is Interested After Perusing The Guardian’s Summer “Text on the Beach” Issue, 23 July 2015

Self used to do this. A LOT. Post about books she was interested in reading after picking up a copy of The New York Times Book Review (which she used to subscribe to. Until last year), The New York Review of Books (which she also used to subscribe to), The New Yorker (which she still subscribes to, but hasn’t read in six months) and The Economist (which she no longer subscribes to)

Anyhoo, after that very lengthy introduction, here is self with The Guardian’s Summer Reading issue, and after going through the whole thing, self has culled just three books. She must be in some kind of slump?

Here are her three:

  • Grey, by E. L. James — What what what? Self actually read the first two pages in Hodges Figgis in Dublin. And what do you know, she liked it! But The Guardian review is so silly. “Come again, if you insist . . . ” Self still wants to read it.
  • My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante — “The first part of the Neapolitan trilogy in which almost nothing happens.” (OK, these reviews are one-note and boring. Sorry, Jim Crace, Reviewer. Self will read in spite of)
  • The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins — Let self dispense with the utterly dispensable: i.e., the review. And let’s just say, if this novel is indeed a riff on Gone, Girl, she likes. So “Girl, Girl, Girl, Girl, Girl, Girl, Girl, Girl On the Train” is a barrel of laughs.

Just for that, self is popping over to the London Review of Bookstore (Hey, last AWP Book Fair, in Minneapolis, she actually saw a table for the London Review of Books! She’s not sure if they’ve been coming every year, but this year was the first time she noticed them)

Side Note:  Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman is in every bookstore window, all over Dublin and London. So happy for her. Promise to read the book, at least five years from now.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Villanueva + LOCAL NOMAD + Flash =

The theme of Local Nomad’s Spring 2015 issue is KILLING GROUND.

As the editor puts it:

  • KILLING GROUND — a place to be within, where we go to be other, to be against. Fraught moments, places of fear and striking out: territories, borders, streets, bodies. The barbed line we cross to do harm (or to seek compassion). What we call war, protection, or defense, what we call hatred or expediency.

Here are the stories included in the issue:

  • David G. Tilley’s “Jisei” (“Driving eastward on the way home from the dermatologist, I hear myself singing carcinoma to the tune of My Sharona.”)
  • Self’s revisionist Biblical story “The Ark” (“There were great stores of food laid up, for Noah knew that the flood would last a long time.”)
  • M. Leland Oroquieta’s “Postcard for Hong Kong” (“The fake blonde who doesn’t love me is in my Jag again, searching for peace and composure in the Prada bag I had bought her recently.”)
  • Leny Mendoza Strobel’s one-paragraph story “Erosion” (“The erosion of desire flows toward the ocean of Nothing.”)

Yeah, quite an array of styles there. One thing the pieces have in common is: they are all dark.

Here’s an excerpt from William Doreski’s poem “The Big Departure”:

The local hospital has collapsed
in a heap of yellow brick, crushing
the nurses with long painted nails

and the doctors who bought Porsches
to overcome midlife crises.
So I’ve come to the city where screams

linger in the jagged night air

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Vengeance Is Sweet: More From Part 2, Chapter 1 of THE THIRD REICH AT WAR

14 June 1940

The German soldiers enter Paris, which has become a surprisingly vacant city: “Instead of the usual cacophony of car horns, all that could be heard was the lowing of a herd of cattle, abandoned in the city center by refugees passing through from the countryside farther north.”

Then the ranscaking begins.

“On Hitler’s personal orders, the private railway carriage of the French commander in the First World War, Marshall Foch, in which the Armistice of 11 November 1918 had been signed, was tracked down to a museum and, after the museum walls had been been broken down by a German demolition team, it was moved out and towed back to the spot it had occupied in the forest of Compiegne on the signing of the Armistice . . .  Taking the very same seat occupied by Foch in 1918, Hitler posed for photographs, then departed, contemptuously leaving the rest of the delegation, including Hess, Goring, Ribbentrop and the military leaders, to read out the terms and receive the signatures of the dejected French.”

Self truly appreciates Evans’s wide range of vocabulary. Take that word “dejected.” It is perfect.

Which brings to mind other types of emotional states, all beginning with the letter “d”:

  • disconsolate
  • depressed
  • distraught
  • disappointed
  • distracted
  • discombobulated
  • desperate
  • dissembling
  • damaged
  • desultory
  • diffident

Why, any and all of the above could be applied to the French at the moment of the signing of the Armistice, June 1940.

The relative ease with which Germany accomplished “the greatest military encirclement in history” led the Reich to attempt the invasion of the Soviet Union, the following year.

Hitler was so gleeful that he confided to Albert Speer, his architect, “that he had often thought of having the city razed to the ground.”

And now it is another June, 75 years later, and self is in Ireland, and it’s a beautiful summer day.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

ROY G. BIV 2: London & Annaghmakerrig & Banff (And The Year Is Only Half Over!)

The WordPress Photo Challenge this week is really interesting.

Self had no idea what ROY G. BIV stood for, but now she does. Each letter stands for a color: Red. Orange. Yellow. Green. Blue. Indigo. Violet.

The Daily Post prompt says:

You can attack this challenge in one of two ways: share an image that contains all the colors of the rainbow (or an actual rainbow . . . or share a multi-photo gallery, one image for each color.

Today, self is going for the multi-photo gallery. First, the color BLUE (She should have begun with RED, her apologies!)

This is Blackfriars Bridge in London. The sky was amazingly blue that day.

Blackfriars Bridge, London. Self particularly wanted to see Blackfriars because it plays such a prominent role in Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices. The sky was amazingly blue that day.

Next, the color ORANGE:

It was Wednesday. Self's friend Joan McGavin invited self to come along and participate in a demonstration near Lambeth Bridge, asking the government for greater measures to address climate change.

It was Wednesday. Self’s friend Joan McGavin invited self to come along and participate in a demonstration near Lambeth Bridge, asking the government for greater measures to address climate change.

Next, the color YELLOW:

This teapot is yellow (duh). It's in her cottage at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig.

This teapot is yellow (duh). It’s in her cottage at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig.

The next color is GREEN:

This beautiful etched glass panel is in the Church of St. Bride's, near Fleet Street (Also known as the Church of Journalists).

This beautiful etched glass panel is in the Church of St. Bride’s, near Fleet Street (Also known as the Church of Journalists).

Next, the color RED:

An Armchair in Self's Cottage in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig

An Armchair in Self’s Cottage in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig

Next, the color INDIGO:

Twilight, London: Somewhere Off Great Russell Street, Near the British Museum

Twilight, London: Somewhere Off Great Russell Street, Near the British Museum

Finally, VIOLET:

The Books Self Checked Out of the Library in Banff

The Books Self Checked Out of the Library in Banff

It took self FOREVER to decide on the last photo. She had no idea how little violet there was in the world. Honestly. This entire post probably took her an hour, and finding the last picture probably took her 15 minutes. And now, the book spines don’t really look violet!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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