Details 4: Surprises Reward Close Observation

For this week’s challenge, try to look past the big picture and take a more intimate approach . . . zoom in on details in unexpected places.

— Jen H., The Daily Post

Today:

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Interesting Adornments for a Mercedes Benz!

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At the 2015 AWP Conference in Minneapolis, The Loft had a kind of raffle: You wrote the name of your favorite book and dropped it into a big tumbler. Then you picked out a card to see a book someone else had recommended. Self wrote: Suzanne Collins’ THE HUNGER GAMES Trilogy. The card she picked out had this book recommendation.

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Just in time for the upcoming U.S.Presidential Elections, a book with a very rad picture of Hillary, doing a kind of Dirty Harry pose. ROFL!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Jack the Ripper Meets THRONE OF GLASS

It’s like Ten Little Indians, Survivor, and The Hunger Games, with a fantasy setting.

Self likes!

In Throne of Glass, by Sara J. Maas, someone is knocking off, one by one, the 24 champions who have gathered together in Adarlan’s palace for a great tournament.

Is it one of the other champions, getting a head start on eliminating the competition?

Is it our plucky heroine, the Assassin rescued from the salt mines of Endovier at the very beginning of the book?

Is it some supernatural force that has found its way through a time portal?

Is it the salacious and loathsome Duke Perrington?

Is it one of the four stone gargoyles that guard the clock tower?

SPOILER ALERT!

The Assassin, whose name is Celaena, who is blond and beautiful, plucky like Katniss, and sort of despairing as well as depressed — though what she has to be depressed about self simply cannot imagine. Unless it’s the fact that she has to be an assassin! — is taken to the scene of the latest murder.

Celaena: Those are clean cuts around his ankles. His tendons were snapped by a knife, to keep him from running . . .  Look at his fingernails . . .  The tips are cracked and shattered.”

She used her own nail to scrape out the dirt beneath the victim’s nails, and smeared it across her palm. “See?” She held out her hand for Chaol to observe. “Dust and bits of stone.” She pulled aside the arm, revealing faint lines in the stone beneath. “Fingernail marks. He was desperate to get away . . . “

As, who can blame the victim? Self, too, would be desperate to get away, if she knew something was trying to kill her.

Anyhoo, self loves having discussions with her niece Karina over:

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Karina: self’s guide to all things YA.

What is going to happen next?

Who are these two men who love Celaena?

What makes a bad-ass female assassin?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Throne of Glass: The ‘Katniss’ Affect

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Karina reads! She introduced self to The Infernal Devices, by Cassandra Clare, Spring 2015.

Niece’s latest book recommendation is Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass. It’s about a female assassin who, as the book opens, is stuck working as a slave in a salt mine.

If you’d like to know how she ended up there, read the book. She gets a surprise when, one day, she is taken to meet the Crown Prince.

Assasin’s name is Calaena. She refuses to bow, naturally. Which means someone grabs her by the back of the neck and forces her face down to the floor (Don’t worry, she’s not an egg; she won’t crack)

. . .  she’d been trained to be an assassin since the age of eight, since the day the King of the Assassins found her half-dead on the banks of a frozen river and brought her to his keep. She wouldn’t be humiliated by anything, least of all being dirty.

Throne of Glass, p. 8

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Admiration 4: A List (Far From Complete)

OH NO! SELF ACCIDENTALLY DELETED HER OWN POST.

It happened while she was trying to expand on her reasons for assembling this particular mosaic of images to represent the week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge: ADMIRATION.

And she couldn’t find a previous saved version. Gaaaah! And in re-selecting images, she decided to stop at six instead of the eight she originally had. And she also substituted some images. Sorry for the confusion!

  1. Lady in Red: Ger, chef of Cork’s pre-eminent restaurant, Café Paradiso. Such a great chef, and also very direct and witty! Self loves Ger.
  2. Katniss Everdeen: Self-explanatory, really.
  3. Allison Joseph, co-editor with Jon Tribble of Crab Orchard Review. Fabulousness.
  4. The mother-daughter team who cook and manage Chez Mamie, 22 Hanway Street, London. They make London feel like home.
  5. SeaCity Museum, Southampton, England: Thank you to Joan McGavin, who took her here last year. What a great exhibit on the Titanic. While other cities lay claim to having the best exhibits on the tragedy, Southampton’s is so poignant because it focuses on the crew, most of whom were from this city. And therefore, the focus of the displays is on working-class people. Which makes this a much more layered story. In one gallery, there’s a map on the floor with red dots representing the houses of each of the victims. The dots are clustered around the poorer sections of the city.
  6. Last but not least: Nutschell Ann Windsor, Program Administrator for UCLA Extension’s on-line Writers Program. She is the best. She not only handles all requests with Zen calmness, she is a writer herself. And an editor. She’s holding an anthology she edited.

And now self will post before she accidentally deletes something again.

Stay tuned.

More London 2015

SPOILERS FOR THE INFERNAL DEVICES!

London, June 2015: Hunting for Blackfriars Bridge. Because Blackfriars is where Tessa and Jem, the other leg of The Infernal Devices love triangle (Self ships Wessa. Her fanfiction alias would be PeetasandHerondales, if that weren’t already taken. But anyhoo, Blackfriars) meet every year for eternity to see what’s up with each other (after Tessa married Will! Yes!).

June 19, author Cassandra Clare reminds the Shadowhunter universe that Will Herondale died on that day. KA-BOOM! Self is in her lodgings in London, having a melt-down. Wants to get to the Serpentine River, because that’s where Will took Tessa to look at ducks. But she has too many FEELZ.

Here’s a link to a tumblr author whose Shadowhunter graphic illustrations are just so on point.

Stay tuned.

Luna Moore, Met at AWP 2016 Los Angeles, at 40th Anniversary Calyx Reading

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Luz Delgado and Her Daughter Luna Moore, at the Calyx Press 40th Anniversary Reading at AWP 2016, Los Angeles, April 2

Every time self meets a new young person, she always asks for a book recommendation.

Her curiosity always pays off in spades. Hello, Infernal Devices, Cassandra Clare’s steampunk trilogy, recommended by Calgary niece Karina!

So, at the recently concluded AWP  Conference, held in Los Angeles, self met a wonderful girl named Luna Moore.

And Luna recommended:

  • Jane Eyre
  • The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
  • the Harry Potter series

Turns out Title # 2, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, is by Aimee Bender. Which means it probably isn’t YA. Luna is quite a sophisticated reader!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Transtromer: Train Poem for The Hunger Games

Regular readers of this blog know that self is a fan of:

  • Hunger Games/Everlark/fan fiction
  • Shadowhunters/Victorian Steampunk/ anything related to Will Herondale
  • Dystopia
  • Poetry, all kinds (Miguel Hernandez, Tomas Transtromer, Luisa Igloria, R. Z. Linmark being self’s enduring favorites)
  • Fiction (Current faves: Mary Gaitskill and Kurt Vonnegut)

In honor of a deleted scenes from The Hunger Games movies finally crawling its way into the universe (Katniss & Peeta discussing the meaning of throwing bread), here is a train poem from Transtromer. Because self is all about intersecting universes:

Tracks

2 a.m. moonlight. The train has stopped
out in the middle of the plain. Far away, points of light in a town,
flickering coldly at the horizon.

As when someone has fallen into a dream so deep
he’ll never remember having been there
when he comes back to his room.

As when someone has fallen into an illness so deep
everything his days were becomes a few flickering points, a swarm,
cold and tiny on the horizon.

The train is standing quite still.
2 a.m.: bright moonlight, few stars.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Guardian’s Review of Mockingjay 2

Self is writing this, her third post of Saturday, even though she swore she’d go out and walk the streets of Manhattan! On this unusually temperate December day!

She wants to see “Joy,” David O. Russell’s new movie starring Jennifer Lawrence.

Self loves J-Law.

Anything with J-Law in it, self will watch.

But she just can’t stand The Guardian review because it is all J-Law. There is not one mention of J-Hutch. And Peeta, his character, self’s thought all along, is the real reason The Hunger Games is such an enthralling story.

Sure, Katniss Everdeen is really kick-ass. Kick-ass like no other. Her hunting? Her bow and arrow? Not to mention her Mockingjay outfits? Epic.

But the Katniss Everdeen story wouldn’t be anything without the character of Peeta. The guy makes us believe she has a heart. He’s in love with her from afar, it’s the greatest stroke of luck (for her, not really for him) that he gets reaped along with her, he gets to play a fake romance with her that really screws up his brain, gets hijacked, then keeps trying to kill her.

In short, Peeta is a mess.

The films gave very short shrift to his character. Which was a mistake. Because when the end came, when Katniss gets to have him, there is just no ooomf.

Self doesn’t know if Lionsgate had no faith in Josh Hutcherson as an actor. Or if they just wanted to cash in on the J-Law phenomenon. But the films would have worked better if they’d given Peeta his due. Seriously.

That said, she really loves the way Mockingjay 2 ended: not because of the meadow scene (In this scene, J-Law looks like Maggie Gyllenhaal! Not a criticism, just saying), but because of the scenes with Peeta and Katniss together in her house: Peeta reading aloud Annie’s letter in the kitchen (And J-Hutch just looks so good here), the two watching it rain. Katniss joining Peeta at night in the guest room. Because: normal is good! Normal is where Katniss needs to be! The daily routines — and not her Messianic mission — save her.

Suzanne Collins wrote this ending because she knew she needed to show Katniss whole. The selflessness of the warrior woman needed to give way to her personal satisfaction.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Victory Can Only Come After Struggle

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, VICTORY, posted on Friday morning. Right after that came news (from Twitter; self’s news always come from Twitter) about the Paris attacks.

It seemed very ironic, that the photo challenge urged us to think of the positive. The terrorists made that all seem like such a travesty.

Nevertheless. Nevertheless.

Here are some pictures that self needed to look at today. Reminders of the positive.

The inaugural issue of Irish lit mag Banshee was celebrated at the most recent Cork International Short Story Festival, in September. Self was so glad she attended the launch:

It is a perilous venture, the field of literary magazine publishing. But the young women who edit BANSHEE prove that the dream never dies.

It is a perilous venture, the field of literary magazine publishing. But the young women who edit BANSHEE prove that the dream never dies.

One of the most life-affirming and redemptive characters of recent fiction is, in self’s humble opinion, the baker of The Hunger Games. She only caught the symbolism today: Hunting doesn’t feed the belly, doesn’t sate it, to the degree that bread does. In the purported love triangle of the trilogy, there was never really any other choice for Katniss: Peeta Mellark rocks.

Self will mourn the passing of this franchise when the final film opens on Nov. 20. J-Hutch, you did a great job bringing Peeta Mellark to life!

Self will mourn the passing of this franchise when the final film opens on Nov. 20. J-Hutch, you did a great job bringing Peeta Mellark to life!

Finally, one of self’s favorite reads in 2015 was Crab Orchard Review’s West Coast and Beyond issue, which included a haunting short story by Lucy Jane Bledsoe. Self brought the issue with her to the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, this past summer. Whenever her writing energy flagged, reading a bit from the Crab Orchard Review never failed to revive her inspiration:

Several of the contributors from the West Coast & Beyond issue will be participating in a panel during AWP 2016/ Los Angeles, end of March.

Several of the contributors from the West Coast & Beyond issue will be participating in a panel during AWP 2016/ Los Angeles, end of March.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.