Chapter Six, TTTDOJ: The Birth of Julian Scaller

Chapter Six is possibly self’s favorite chapter so far. Alix E. Harrow, what a clever writer you are.

SPOILER ALERT!

It turns out that January’s father, whose name in his own world (“the world of the Written”) was Yule Ian Scholar, became the employee of a rich American businessman named Locke who, in addition to keeping January under lock and key, changed the father’s name to Julian Scaller. Oh! (Self snarls at Locke)

So many Will Parry/ His Dark Materials FEELZ! Will Parry and his endless search for his explorer father, only to hear whispers of a mysterious entity named Jonpari, a wild man, a hermit, an explorer who’s lost his way, who turns out to be the very much alive JOHN PARRY (in The Subtle Knife, one of self’s favorite novels of all time)

There is also an Italian grocer-boy who brings on the Will Parry feelz, because he is January’s devoted friend and helps to rescue her from a sanatorium.

Before self ends up spilling the plot of the whole book (which would not be very nice), let her just say that in Chapter Six, Julian Scaller begins to doubt the wisdom of leaving his daughter all these years in the care of the American businessman Locke.

He tries to come up with a plan: Option A, Option B, Option C and so forth.

Option D:

Run away, take refuge in another world. I could find a door and go through it, taking January with me, and build a new life for the two of us in some safer, brighter world. In favor: ultimate safety from pursuers. Against: see above. And I am far from certain that all worlds connect to one another — were we to flee to another world, could I ever find the Written again? And if Ade should claw her way back home, would she ever find us?

There was no E. Continue on precisely as before, but this is the course I ultimately chose. Life has a kind of momentum to it, I’ve found, an accumulated weight of decisions which become impossible to shift.

Orange and Pink: Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

You have to look hard in a few of these, but they definitely all DO have Orange and Pink.

Thanks again to Cee Neuner for the Fun Foto Challenge!

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Redwood City, California: January 2019

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London: 3 December 2018

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Heffers, Trinity Street, Cambridge: 23 November 2018

Can you tell how much self loves Philip Pullman? She read all the books on this table in the first few months of 2018. She knew that when she got to Oxford, she would look for as many Philip Pullman-related sites as she could.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Self’s Top Three Reads of 2018

How did self end up selecting these three?

The books may have been far from perfect — self thinks, in particular, of the first two — but they were the books she found herself re-reading, despite their flaws:

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  • Dead Letters, by Caite Dolan-Leach: Bravo, Dolan-Leach. Self has not been able to dislodge the dysfunctional Antipova twins and their yummy boy toy, Wyatt Darling, from her thoughts since she read this, Dolan-Leach’s first novel, mid-November.
  • Autonomous, by Annalee Newitz: Beat out a host of other science fiction self read this year, including All Systems Red, Book 1 of The Murderbot Diaries, by Martha Wells; and Jade City, by Fonda Lee. The book lived because of a character named Threezed.
  • The Subtle Knife, by Philip Pullman: Vol. 2 of His Dark Materials killed self in every way. If not exactly perfect, it was close. Will Parry forever. The book did such a number on her that she went to Oxford to see Will and Lyra’s bench, in the Oxford Botanical Garden.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Lyra Silvertongue: The Amber Spyglass, p. 262

Lyra tells how Will Parry had

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His Dark Materials, vol. 3: The Amber Spyglass, p. 261

fallen overboard as a baby from the side of his father’s ship and been washed up on a desolate shore, where a female wolf had suckled him and kept him alive.

The people ate up this nonsense with placid credulity and even the deaths crowded close to listen, perching on the bench or lying on the floor close by, gazing at her with their mild and courteous faces as she spun out the tale of her life with Will in the forest.

Sly Lyra knew Will was listening with rapt attention and it only spurred her on to greater heights of invention. Because this was the best part of her. And she was offering it to her truest companion and best friend.

Please please please please let there be a Will Parry in The Book of Dust trilogy. Just one teensy mention.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

First Stop on Telemachus’s Journey

Self is fascinated by Telemachus, that poor boy who never knew his father because Odysseus left for Troy when he was but a baby (this is definitely giving her Will Parry feelz). Thank goodness Telemachus has found a Mentor in the goddess Athena.

Telemachus’ first stop is PYLOS. Here’s a map from the book:

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It’s just a wee way from ITHACA.

Pylos is the home of Nestor, “horse-lord.”

Telemachus encounters him barbecuing (or grilling some dark meat anyway) “in the center of the town” with several “companions.” This is a somewhat disconcerting image, self is not sure why — probably because she expected a more dramatic encounter? Why —  of all the different things Nestor could be doing when he encounters the son of Odysseus for the first time — should he be barbecuing? (On the other hand, the fact that Lord Nestor is engaged in grilling meat humanizes him in a very definite way, and that is cool)

Self is very admiring of Telemachus, especially when he comes right out and says to Nestor: “Tell me the truth!”

And Nestor begins his response with, “Dear boy . . . ”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Onward With the Reading List: TREASURE ISLAND

Big, fat tears are rolling down self’s cheeks right now. Damn you, Philip Pullman, why?

Why?

Why?

Treasure Island, save self!

Luckily, self was able to see through her fog of tears and read all the way through to p. 7 of Chapter 1 (The Old Sea-Dog at the Admiral Benbow). And on that page she reads about ‘the dead man’s chest’ and a ‘one-legged seafaring man.”

Self almost wants to laugh: the dead man’s chest? A one-legged seafaring man? Could you be any less clichéd, R. L. Stevenson?

Then she realizes these are pirate tropes. (Look at the title of the chapter, for heaven’s sake!)

And they probably weren’t around YET when Robert Louis Stevenson used them. Because he started them. DUH!

This edition of Treasure Island (a book self has never read, because come on, even to read it would have been such a cliché! She’s only trying it now because no one cares anymore, what self reads!) has the following information about Robert Louis Stevenson:

  • Born, 8 Howard Place, Edinburgh, 13 November 1850
  • Died, Vallima, Samoa, 3 December 1894
  • Treasure Island was first published in 1883.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Amber Spyglass (Pause for Now)

NO SPOILERS FOR THE AMBER SPYLGASS, PROMISE!

p. 248, just halfway. But self was immersed in a wonderful piece of Amber Spyglass fan fiction (and there are very few of those. At least, when compared to Hunger Games. There are six times as many Hunger Games fan fics than there are Amber Spyglass fan fics — of any ship.) Anyhoo, self was enjoying the fan fic hugely until she landed on a chapter where the writer quotes the end of The Amber Spyglass. And — self knows the end already because Twitter is an undisciplined space. But she didn’t expect it to go down like that. It was so awful. Seeing as how she found the ending of The Subtle Knife excruciating, she knew she wasn’t strong enough for the end of The Amber Spyglass. Exhibit A: She put off reading the last 50 pages of The Hunger Games for two years, until the movies started coming out, because she was so sure Peeta would die. But then a niece looked self straight in the eyes and said, “Peeta makes it.”

Oh. He DOES?

Screech!

Self returned home, read the last 50 pages of The Hunger Games, went to the local bookstore, bought Catching Fire and Mockingjay, and binge-read.

So, alas, farewell for now, His Dark Materials, and on to . . .  Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, which has zero angst.

The edition self checked out of the Redwood City Library has a neat little intro — Stevenson’s essay, “My First Book.” She’s actually been dipping into it off and on, the past few days. Here’s an excerpt:

I am told there are people who do not care for maps, and find it hard to believe. The names, the shapes of the woodlands, the courses of the roads and rivers, the prehistoric footsteps of man, still distinctly traceable up hill and down dale, the mills and the ruins, the ponds and the ferries, perhaps the Standing Stone or the Druidic Circle on the heath; here is an inexhaustible fund of interest for any man with eyes to see or twopence worth of imagination to understand with!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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