Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Literature’ Category

There are so many books that I’d like to read, but I can never find the time during the school year.  But, come this summer, there’s a big long list waiting for me.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to read/reread some of them.

  • The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
  • Voyage of the Dawn Treader (C.S. Lewis)
  • 1984 (George Orwell)
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (J.K. Rowling; yes, I’ll try to reread this one)
  • The Lost Symbol (Dan Brown; everyone keeps telling me that it’s the best of his yet)
  • Hiroshima (John Hersey; in which I will cry in my backyard while reading)
  • Faerie Tale (Raymond Feist; I may actually get this one finished by May)

If you have any recommendations for things I should read this summer, please don’t hesitate to tell me!  I’m very receptive to new books.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

It’s been a year.

Okay.  Almost.

It’s nearly been a year since I really picked this blog up and decided to let it be more than the single posts about Christmas from 2007 (yes, for all of you who did not know, this blog has been alive for quite a few years).  I don’t really know what to say to my blog.  Happy Birthday?  No.  Not really.

A year ago, I was sitting outside in the Quad, dreading the winter that was to come, watching the people around me, feeling so philosophical.  I guess not much has changed.  I still chill in the Quad all of the time (just maybe in different places), still watch people to figure out more about what they may be like, et cetera.  Maybe I wear more scarves now and my hair is longer and I have more music in my iTunes library.  That’s about it from the physical perspective.  But, you may wonder what has changed in this past year:

Well, I’m more outgoing; that’s for sure.  I’ve opened up more than I could have imagined by talking to strangers and being genial.  Unfortunately, this also means that I’ve been more open with how I feel about things, which causes drama and anger.  People have thought that I’ve grown meaner.  I think I just grew more honest and maybe a bit more secure.  Sometimes, that backfires.  I question whether I want everyone around me to know that I’m excited or happy or stressed.  Sometimes, I turn back into the girl I always was in middle school and just hide everything.  As unhealthy as it is, I still find it comforting to hide behind my mask at some times when I’m not completely sure of my surroundings or if I just want to know I still have the strength to play this charade.  It’s an INTJ trait, I’m afraid.  We are a manipulative bunch, after all.

I’ve made new friends, too, and I guess you can say that I’ve lost some others.  I didn’t know a year ago just how amazing my dorm house was, but now I see all of these people I love every day, and it feels like the best family one could ever have.  We spend our time together, working, playing, relaxing, cooking, stressing, and everything else that a family shares.  It’s blissful, and I’ll be sad to leave when, in another year, I find myself no longer in the dorms.

I’ve also learned a lot.  That should be a given since I’ve been at uni for a full year, but I never would have imagined from last year just how much I would learn.  So much of my classes has been applied to everyday life or general conversations, and it leads me to wonder just how I got through in the past without the knowledge that I now have.  It’s also been exciting to apply what I learn in one class to other subjects.  Something about intuitively combining information in order to allow it presence in another department of life is terribly exciting.  It’s the proof that I’ve learned instead of just absorbed information for it to be squeezed out of me come exam time.

Also, I’ve multiplied my music and film collections.  Here are just a few for you:

Music:

  • Fiona Apple’s “Extraordinary Machine”
  • Loreena McKennitt’s “The Visit”, “The Book of Secrets”
  • Yael Naïm’s “Yael Naïm and David Donatien”
  • Kate Havnevik’s “Melankton”
  • Florence + the Machine’s “Lungs”
  • Imogen Heap’s “Ellipse”
  • Nickel Creek’s “Why Should the Fire Die?”
  • Patrick O’Hearn’s “Glaciation”
  • Kingdom of Heaven Soundtrack
  • Emiliana Torrini’s “Love in the Time of Science”, “Fisherman’s Wife”
  • Joanna Newsom’s “Have One on Me”
  • Beirut’s “Gulag Orkester”

Films:

  • Kingdom of Heaven Director’s Cut
  • Sleepy Hollow
  • Marie Antoinette
  • Pleasantville
  • Mean Girls

Books:

  • Great Expectations (Dickens)
  • Wuthering Heights (Emily Brontë) (even though I hated every single character)
  • Sense and Sensibility (Austen)
  • Fahrenheit 451 (Bradbury)
  • All Quiet on the Western Front (Remarque)
  • Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro)

You can have at it on the media that has been with me during the past year.  Meanwhile, I’ve learned how to make three new types of hats, bake bread, make vegetarian entrées, pay bills, and work at a summer job basically teaching Missouri state history.  So, it’s been educational and new.

But I still want to assure you that, if the ground was not so wet, I would be outside right now, watching everyone around me, listening to some good music, and thinking about everything that happened to occur to get me in that spot and everything that was to occur.  I may not be listening to Muse, and I may not be commenting on my personal philosophies, but I would still be there.

I might as well be right now.

Read Full Post »

I can sum up this post in one sentence: I like to bitch about facial features of story characters even though I have no facial recognition (whaddup Prosopagnosia?).  Really, don’t bother to read this.  It’s confusing and weird and quirky.  Sure, some good pictures along the way, but really now, let’s not kid ourselves into thinking I’m humorous.

I have this super bad habit of trying to figure out what a character in a story looks like so that I can properly read a book and reinact their movements and gestures in my head.  But I also have a lot of trouble with facial recognition and imaging the right face.  This ends with me reusing the same male characters for just about everything or me scouring Google images in order to find something better.  It’s why you can see me reading A Great and Terrible Beauty but also parading Google in order to find better dress/hair styles for the characters or reading Dan Brown books while searching for the perfect picture of Johnny Depp to be my image of Robert Langdon (which Molly ended up finding for me, which was spectacular).

“Angels and Demons would have been a much better movie, had I starred in it.”

But let me sum up my lack of imagination and help I often need when thinking up how a character will look.  No, let me just explain how I reuse characters.  You know Howard Roark from The Fountainhead?  I put a beard on my image of Edward Cullen for that one (my Edward Cullen looked nothing like Cedric Diggory, by the way).  You know Joe Gargery from Great Expectations?  He happens to look identical to Simon in A Great and Terrible Beauty, but again, I added a beard.  And the protagonists from both Fahrenheit 451 and 1984?  Same exact person.  I’m so freaking lazy.

“Um, hi.  I happen to be Missi’s go-to-guy for every baddass character over the age of forty.”

“Hi.  I have a beard, which allows my character to be used even more times.”

But it’s infuriating for me to not picture someone as the character.  It’s easy for me to picture the women, and I can make it be a variety.  But the men?  I have to have them perfect.  Maybe it’s because I want to fawn over the book character, or maybe it’s because I’m just some type of OCD about the men of the story.  I don’t know, but it bothers me when I can’t come up with something right–especially for the guys my age in books.

So, it’s that kind of dilemma that I have hit while reading Great Expectations.  I’ve been able to come up with what every character looks like just fine–except the main character.  Pip.  Oh Pip.  What the hell do you look like?  I could imagine young Pip just fine.  A kid.  Easy.  But handsome Pip around my age?  Shit.  I haven’t a clue.

I could go the easy route and imagine a young Brad Pitt or Orlando Bloom or what-have-you.  But you know what?  I keep seeing the same thing over and over in my head.  This:

Why Barnes and Noble?  Why?  Why on earth do you ever put what you think a character looks like on my novel?  Why would you not give me the opportunity to try and figure out what Pip looks like?  Why would you ever give me this weird ginger kid to be Pip?!

I know, I’m obsered.  But imagine that you have a character that looks like this in your head:

And every time you open your book, BAM!  This is what you see:

WHY?!

I have enough trouble as it is imagining characters without the book itself trying to put yet another face into my mind!!

So, that is my dilemma that I have been bitching about in my own head.  Sorry you had to bear witness to it.  Sorry also to those who have seen my copy of Great Expectations and wondered what the weird mass was over the picture.  It happens to be a painting I made out of black paint and nail polish so that I wouldn’t have to see that guys ugly speckled mug any more (wait, Ron Weasley from Potter Puppet Pals?  No!  That would have been a great choice; not this rubbish).

So, there you have it.  I have to have the perfect image in my head of a character, but I have trouble when the books tell me what I should imagine.  GRRR!  FEAR ME, BOOK COVERS!

Read Full Post »

Oh dear goodness, I’m practically rolling around in my childhood right now, listening to Dixie Chicks on shuffle and scribbling song lyrics into my diary.  It’s moments like these that remind me that I still have some type of grasp on who I used to be and continue to be.  And even while most of these songs are such rubbish, so much makes up for it: Chris Thile mandolin solos, choruses shifting into minor chords, power building up in bridges.  Oh, the bluegrass of the late nineties and early 2000s was magnificent.  Think on it–Dixie Chicks, Nickel Creek, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Alison Krouse.  A lot of great bluegrass came out then.

In fact, a lot of great music came out in the nineties, but it’s taken me until nearly twenty years later to realise that this crap was… well, not crap.  My room mate for next year is really into nineties alternative, which I started getting into about five years ago, and I’m fairly certain that you’re going to be able to walk into our room and feel like you’re in your childhood.  Matchbox Twenty will be playing in the background while you reach for my Skittles candy machine and a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  Only our laptops will give us away.

One day, I’ll look back at the nineties and 2000s as the “Good Ole Days”, and I will lament about the kick-ball and hiking in the woods and climbing the trees while singing Spice Girls and shoving Pokèmon cards into our Lisa Frank binders.  God, I still have those Lisa Frank binders full of Pokèmon cards in my closet, right next to a bin of Beanie Babies that I was so sure would be worth a ton of money and put me through college.  But you can buy those same Beanie Babies from a garage sale for fifty cents, so, so much for that monetary adventure.

But I’ll look back at all of this in wonder; that much is certain.

I was reading Fahrenheit 451 today while waiting for the mall to open and let me buy a Father’s Day present, and I was surprised by how everyone around me reminded me of the characters.  Sure, in limited ways, but so many people are the sheeple like the majority of characters, and I wondered if I would be like Guy or Clarisse or Mildred or Beatty.  When we read things like this or Animal Farm or Ishmael, we always want to pretend that we would be one of the enlightened ones.  One of the people who catch onto what society is up to and starts fighting the system and thinking for ourselves.  But, in all reality, would we really be that person?  Or would we be following the motions like anyone else, living day to day with no other question?  Would we wake up and go to school or church or work like every other day?  Would you be the one to sit in front of the telly and soak in everything that it had to offer?  I was that person for so long before waking up, but as I read, I still can’t help but realise that I would be one of those people.  I’d be a sheeple right next to everyone else.

We can’t all be a Clarisse.

Will books be banned one day like in Fahrenheit 451?  It makes me wonder if the good old days will be right now because of the knowledge that we presume to be free.  And it’s something to think about.

But for now, it’s best left to Dixie Chicks and scribbles of what I think into a diary that no one will ever read.  It’s better off in poems that tell stories of far away places where people learn lessons in the strangest ways that no one else will understand but in glimpses of another’s mind.  It’s better left to sentences that don’t know how to end.

Read Full Post »