Evenings’ Readings


I’m getting back into the practice of reading before bed. So here are my bedtime books for the past two nights:

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day. I haven’t really been a big fan of Felicia’s before but I really enjoy her writing style. It’s bright and conversational and fun. Feels like chatting over dessert.

Hamilton: The Revolution by Jeremy McCarter and Lin-Manuel Miranda. This tome is big and beautiful and an utter delight. I am a process person so reading about Lin and Hamilton’s process of becoming is amazing. And his libretto annotations? Sheer joy!

Keep Reading, My Darlings


I am sitting here, still riding the high of having read three books this month (it’s been literally years since that happened) and surrounded by books that I want to read next. It feels like there are so very many of them, though, far more than the five that are currently at the top of my to-read pile. I am almost starting to despair of getting any of them read in a month. I know that I shouldn’t despair, I have no reason to. I have already made good progress on one beautiful novel (Clockwork Lives by Kevin J. Anderson and Neil Peart) and May has just begun. I have time, as long as I take my fringe moments and make use of them and feed my soul with literary beauty.

There are so many gorgeous stories, so many heartfelt biographies, and books on living, feeling, connecting, writing, and being heartful. I want to devour them all, pull them deep down into my belly, and let them sink into my blood. Books will forever be the balloons that carry my imagination aloft, feed my creativity, and buoy my soul.

Keep reading, my dears. Keep devouring those stories. Keep pulling them deep down into your belly. Keep letting them sink into your blood, their words swirling in your veins, and worlds stored up in your heart. For Heaven’s sake, keep reading!

 

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This is NOT my work. I don’t know who to credit but, if you see this, thank you for your beautiful artistry! 

 

Once a Lost Girl…


Ruth B’s single “Lost Boy” has been moving quite fluidly across the airwaves of late,  sung in her dreamy, soulful voice, though I first heard it when a friend of mine shared a YouTube video of the song to my Facebook page, saying that it reminded them of me. I take that as quite a compliment, personally. The first half of the song goes like this:

There was a time when I was alone
Nowhere to go and no place to call home
My only friend was the man in the moon
And even sometimes he would go away, too

Then one night, as I closed my eyes
I saw a shadow flying high
He came to me with the sweetest smile
Told me he wanted to talk for a while
He said, “Peter Pan, that’s what they call me
I promise that you’ll never be lonely, ” and ever since that day

I am a lost boy from Neverland
Usually hanging out with Peter Pan
And when we’re bored we play in the woods
Always on the run from Captain Hook
“Run, run, lost boy, ” they say to me
Away from all of reality

When I was a child, the first storybook character I fell in love with (yes, I believe that I loved him with all my little-girl heart) was Peter Pan. I had a beautifully illustrated storybook, a book on tape, loved the Disney movie (was so jealous that Tiger Lily got to “kiss” Peter), watched the “Peter Pan and the Pirates” television series on Fox in the mornings before school, had my blue “Wendy” nightdress, and had the Mary Martin production of Peter Pan memorized (still sing “Once Upon a Time” and “I Won’t Grow Up”). It’s safe to say that I was a bit obsessed with Peter Pan and all the characters therein.

When I was a child, I didn’t have many friends. I was small, skinny, awkward, studious, always with my nose in a book. Not many people wanted to associate with that, particularly in the first half of middle school. So I turned to my books and movies (which were mostly based on books), to the characters held within them who had ever been steadfast friends. I was a Lost Girl in truth. I could sink myself into those stories, let the characters pull me along to join them on their adventures, and live a thousand lives that I would never have in the real world. I was happy as a Lost Girl, in Never Land. I was happy with the dream of Peter (who, interestingly, has continued to grow as I have grown) coming to my window, taking my hand with that handsome, sweet grin, and flying me off to somewhere where I could be more than what I was. Where I could be a Lost Girl, not just little Melissa. Where I could talk with mermaids, fly with fairies, fight pirates, and dance with Tiger Lily.

Where I could be someone else. More than what I was.

Even now, I am still a Lost Girl. I still run off with these characters and dive into their stories, their ranks having swelled over the thirty-some years of my life. Dear friends and new, they make me happy to be a Lost Girl. In fact, there are two new books on my table, two new shedloads of characters just waiting to take me on their adventures and share with me their realities.

As a matter of fact…I think that’s a tap on my window. Excuse me.

 

 

Stepping Out of Middle Earth


Yesterday evening, I went with my husband to witness something very, very close to my heart: the closing of Middle Earth. Thirteen years ago this month, I was taken to the movies by dear friends, to watch “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”, and, honestly, I had no idea what I was getting into, storywise. Not really. I had begun reading The Fellowship of the Ring a little before those but had gotten busy with my sophomore year of college and set it aside for the time being. Now, after having dress-rehearsed all morning for my first performance on the SCF/Kappa Chi team for the Musical Madness competition, I gathered with those friends to see this film. Needless to say, I was seized, captured, and enthralled.

For the next two years, it became tradition for me to treat my friends to the midnight showing of each subsequent chapter of the Lord of the Rings as a Christmas gift, before we all parted ways for the holidays. I cannot tell you the fun of those nights, going out to dinner with my friends and then getting to the theatre early to garner good seats together. Then, each time, I would lose myself in Middle Earth, travelling on this harrowing adventure with Hobbit, Elf, Wizard, and Man.

In the thirteen years since seeing FOTR, I have devoured the books as well as The SilmarillionThe Books of Lost Tales, and written a collection of my own Tolkien tales. I learned a great deal from an excellent professor who is also a great lover of Tolkien. I learned to speak Sindarin Elvish (memorization and transliteration until it rolled off my tongue, sang in Rohirric, and had two papers published. When I saw that Peter Jackson as extending his movie magic to The Hobbit, I rejoiced. An Unexpected Journey was the first movie I watched with my newborn daughter and, now, my husband and I seized the opportunity (and the kindness of his parents) to close out the Red Book together. At the end, as Billy Boyd sang “The Last Goodbye” and Alan Lee’s beautiful drawings scrolled over the screen, I sat and sobbed. My husband was, admittedly, a little incredulous, but I begged him to let me have my moment for tears.

I grieved for the characters lost, for the pain endured, but I also wept for the ending of an era, for the closing not only of the Red Book but for that chapter of my life. There is now a banking of that fiery passion that burned so hotly for those years, a calm moving on (like Bilbo’s returning to Bag End and carrying on his life). The memories attached to Middle Earth, though, its world, people, and stories, will never fade but, I believe, will only shine brighter as the days and years go by. I cannot thank enough those who fostered this love in me, encouraged it, and rejoiced in the fruit it produced. Thank you, all of you, for all that you have done and given to me – from the writer himself, to the family that carries on his legacy, to the director determined to bring these stories to life, the writers who tenderly took Tolkien’s work in hand, and the actors who gave the characters breath and soul. To these last, I will never look at any of you ever again but that I will also see the characters who have become so beloved to me, see the emotion shimmering in your eyes and trembling on your lips, and feel the strength of your hearts. Thank you!

It was the closing of the Red Book, the ending of an era, and the tearful goodbye of a grateful heart that feels like a Hobbit, writes like an Elf, is fallible like Man, hopeful as a Wizard, and staunch as a Dwarf. You have my love and my eternal thanks. Hannon le. Amin mela le.

Book Review: Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce


83067256-20-14 – Finally and at long last! Ever since reading Pierce’s Melting Stones several years ago, I have hungered for more of Evumeimei Dingzai’s story. I really should have read Stone Magic, as it currently sits on my shelf, the beginning of her story in that she was discovered by Briar, but I shall simply chalk it up to working backwards through Evvy’s trilogy. Now, at last, I have Battle Magic, the story of the war between Yanjing and Gyongxe that is so often referenced in Melting Stones.

Battle Magic was my birthday gift from my husband and I have fallen in love with Pierce’s writing all over again, devouring more than half the book in only two days of reading. I know, I know, it’s pittance to my old reading habits but, believe me, that’s saying a LOT in these days of an active eighteen-month-old girl. 🙂

The newest character to me from these books is undoubtedly Briar Mos, the one who discovered Evumeimei and her ability first of all in Stone Magic and the mage who discovers the power is the mage who must train the power. Briar, at the tender age of sixteen, is a fully-certified mage under the Winding Circle Temple. I greatly enjoy the relationship between Briar and his mentor Rosethorn, about whom I know as little, having not read The Circle Opens quartet, nor far enough into The Will of the Empress to know her very well. She is very interesting to me, though, and I have a feeling that I will be expanding my Pierce collection even more after I finish Battle Magic and Stone Magic.

And Luvo! I can’t really say more than that but….squee!!! Luvo! That moment alone made me hug my Kindle as I read on the plane.

I shall return with updates soon!

9-26-14 – I LOVED this book! I finished it a few days ago and actually hugged the book when I was through with it. The first book I have actually finished in about a year or so and I regretted that it was over, though that means that I can now move on to Stone Magic, the beginning of Evvy’s story, which is awesome. Thank you, Tamora, for telling us this story. It was well worth the wait. ^_^

Nothing on the Shelf


So…today, I faced a unique problem. Well, unique to me. I couldn’t find anything to read. We were in Target and, of course, I decided to spin by the books. I picked up book after book and put each down again in disappointment. Every book was a “tragic love” and two in a row were about a woman being left with a pregnancy by the man who broke her heart. After about the fourth of fifth book, I shoved the last back onto the shelf with an audible, “Arggggh!” I wanted a book to grab me, to capture me with its story, not with the tragedy and helplessness of its protagonist.

I found one book to interest me, finally: Glitter and Glue: A Memoir by Kelly Corrigan. I’m not entirely certain that this is what I was looking for but this was the closest I had come in twenty minutes of searching. Unfortunately, I am on a tight budget right now and $27 for a hardcover was out of my price range today. I might pick it up on Kindle in a little while but, I have to admit. I was little disappointed today. It was like echoing the woes of a satellite subscriber: Hundreds of channels and nothing to watch.

I know, I know. First world problems.

Review: Everything I Need to Know, I Learned from a Little Golden Book


Yesterday, my husband showed up home from work and held this book out to me (along with a gorgeous new notepad and gel pen, the man really knows how to get to me). “For you,” he said, “I figured you’d chewed on enough of them in your childhood, so you’d appreciate it. And he’s right. When I was a child, I had dozens of Little Golden Books, both with the golden and the silver spines and I loved them for the mere fact that they were books. But I also liked them for another reason. I thought the spines were delicious. I would sit and chew on the spines of those books and just think. It’s like how some adults chew on pens or pencils in the midst of thought, that’s what I did as a kid. And it remains a joke within my family, especially now that I have a fourteen-month-old daughter who adores chewing on books herself.

However, this book really touched my heart. Full of advice and adages for a “golden” life, it pulls its wisdom from some of its most popular and beloved books, such as The Saggy Baggy Elephant, Baby Listens, Tootles, and The Pokey Little Puppy. As I sat on my couch and read through it, I smiled with every page, not only at the familiar illustrations but also at the simple but very encouraging advice. If you are looking for a keepsake book to just make you smile, this is a wonderful choice! 🙂