Monday, May 2, 2011

Monday rambles when she's stressed . . . and talks about umbrellas a lot

So, it's a write about your life week, and I'm gonna be honest: it's been a rough week for a lot of different reasons. My fraternity's farewell masque was on Saturday and I'm moving away so there was a lot of crying involved, I had to drop out of a show I was really looking forward to working on in favor of the musical I'm directing that I'm also really looking forward to working on, my students who are supposed to perform in a week are not really ready, one of my best friends graduates and moves away on Sunday and I don't know when I'm going to see him again, and the weather has sucked recently.

But I'm not going to talk about any of that. I just needed to get it off my chest.

Also, I lied. I am going to talk a little about that. I'm going to talk about the weather. Specifically, I'm going to talk about umbrellas. Why? Because I can.  Also, because I don't think you want me to make one week Umbrella Week.

So, I don't know what the weather's been like where you all live, but around here, there's been lots of rain, lots of dreariness, and lots of flooding. Now, I don't mind rain as a general rule. Summer thunderstorms are some of my favorite weather ever. What I mind is Bowling Green rain.

Bowling Green, or Blowing Green as it is often called, is the real windy city. Forget Chicago. See, BG is flat. It's in one of the parts of Ohio that the glacier actually crossed over, so we have no natural hills to speak of, and therefore, nothing to stop the wind. The buildings on campus and downtown create wind tunnels because of this. When I lived on campus, I never owned an umbrella, for one simple reason:

BG is where umbrellas go to die.

 Seriously. Your typical, five dollar, pocket umbrellas will last you two rainstorms, maybe three if you're lucky, but after that, you're left with a bent and hopeless tangle of metal and waterproof material that is barely recognizable as having once been an umbrella. Also, even if they don't turn inside out or snap in half, they don't do much good. The rain combined with the wind means that it rains sideways here and never from the same direction for long.

Then I got my hands on one of those big, fancy umbrellas and I moved off campus. The rain falls in a more vertical direction most of the time on most of the routes I walk, and the big, fancy umbrella has held up for more than a few months now, even if it is more of a hassle to carry around when it’s not raining.

But there are days here in BG when even the best of umbrellas does no good. And one of those days was yesterday. It wasn’t raining or drizzling or sprinkling yesterday. It was misting. Misting! Like I was at Niagra Falls! My umbrella did nothing, and I was just vaguely damp most of the day, and it was decidedly unpleasant.

As I write this, I can see my boyfriend sitting up and flexing his fingers to write, “And you still want to move to the Pacific Northwest?” To which the answer, dear, as always, is yes. Yes, I do. Because while it rains a lot, it’s proper rain. Oregon is not humid, it’s green, and blue, and gorgeous, and has the perfect ratio of city to mountains to ocean. Also, Powell’s bookstore.

I’m rambling now. And I’ve spent my entire blog post talking about weather and umbrellas. So let’s wrap this up with something of substance, shall we? We just finished a month, which means I just posted a reading wrap-up on my LiveJournal, and I’ll post it here, too. Here are the books I read this month.

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
* I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett
* The False Princess by Eilis O’Neal
* Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card
The Crimson Thread by Suzanne Weyn
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn
The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine
East by Edith Pattou
* Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

The asterisks are the new books I read. The rereads are all worth taking a look at, especially The Crimson Thread and East if you like fairy tale retellings. And you’ve all heard The Book Thief recommendation. So, this month's new books, with my thoughts, are below.

I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett

This is the final installation in the Tiffany Aching series, and . . . God, I loved it. It was the perfect ending to that series. It's sad that it has to end, and clearly, he wrapped it up the way he did because of the Alzheimer's, and there's definitely a different tone to this book than to the others, but the quality of the story suffered not a bit. I highly recommend this story. Pratchett is the best kind of author, and to tell you why, I 'm going to be infuriatingly vague to avoid spoiling the series. I'll just say this: That it takes a special kind of author to set something up for three books, make all his readers anticipate that the something will happen in the fourth book, and then in the fourth book reveal that it's not going to happen while simultaneously chastising you for expecting it to happen, which makes you feel guilty for wanting it to happen, and yet continue to make you hope that, before the end, it just might happen anyway. And then, to snatch that hope away from you and have something completely different happen that, a book ago (hell, even six chapters ago), you would have been infuriated by yet somehow get you absolutely in favor of what does, eventually, happen. Takes a special kind of author. And I hate him for it. But you should all go read this quartet.

The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal

I picked this one up on a whim at the library, and I'm very glad I did so. A vague prophecy, mistake identities, last minute switch-ups, and a twist that even I didn't see coming make this a very fun and engaging read. Basically, a girl who has spent the first sixteen years of her life believing she was the princess suddenly finds out on her sixteenth birthday that she's not, she's just a decoy, and the real princess is on her way back, so Nalia is being sent back to the peasant family who gave her up. The book does a really good job of showing how Nalia deals with that and how difficult it is to adjust to a new life and a new identity, and O'Neal really makes us think about what kind of motivations truly drive our actions. I enjoyed this book a lot.

Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card

This book made my head hurt. Like, a lot. I'm not saying it wasn't good and well written and well crafted, I'm just saying that if I'd known it would include quite that much time travel, I probably wouldn't have picked it up. I still don't understand half of the things that happened. It's a sci-fi/fantasy combo that actually combines both fairly well with both versions of time travel (1. You CAN change the past, 2. You can't change the past, it exists in a loop) existing side by side and sometimes even being used simultaneously. There's a good story at the core and it's very well written, but I probably won't ever pick it up again, and I'm probably not going to read the sequel it seemed to be setting up. But reading it did make me feel like I could take on pretty much any other time travel book right now because it can't possibly be as confusing as this one was.

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

I really liked this book, which was exciting to me because I wasn't expecting to. Not that I was expecting it to be bad; I just thought it would be a pretty light, fluffy love story. And while it was, in the end, it also went a lot of places I wasn't expecting, and it built really strong, well developed characters and answered questions like "Who would you be if you could be anyone?" I liked and appreciated the openness of the ending, too, as well as the exploration of how romantic love doesn't have to be part of a friendship, but that friendship does need, on some level, to be a part of any romantic love that lasts. That's an idea I really buy into, and Zevin crafted it very well in this book.

Oh! And I helped my brother review Twilight over on YouTube. It’s being posted in an epic video series this week, and here’s the link to the first video, should you be interested:

Alexandra: I think I’m gonna point people toward your post last week when they ask for someone who is more HP-obsessed than I am. I own very little in the way of memorabilia (though I do now have Neville Longbottom’s wand because my boyfriend is awesome). I want robes, but I’m unwilling to pay a hundred dollars for the ones on the theme park website when I can just sew a Ravenclaw crest onto my college graduation robe and be down with it. I would like a Ravenclaw scarf, though . . .

Carlyn: Well done on your challenge. You made Bella an extremely interesting character without her even having to speak! Or maybe because you didn’t have her speak . . . seriously, go check out what I have to say about Bella in the review that will be posted Thursday on Matt’s channel.

Casey: Firefly and Simon Tam love for the win! Simon is my favorite character, though I love them all, and his relationship with his sister is so well done. I need to actually finish enough of my fanfiction that centers around him to be worth posting somewhere.

Christina: I’m so glad you’re getting into Firefly! If you don’t want to wait to watch week by week, all of the episodes are on Hulu. But in the meantime, we will do our best to keep this blog spoiler-free. :)

And a question for all of you: How would you feel about doing some kind of big project/challenge like . . . every three months? We could decide it pretty far in advance and assign the week and be able to work toward it. But I like the idea of either challenging each other or doing so collaborative project within a collaborative project. So, what do you think?

Two months down! Read you later!

Oh! And happy 13th anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts and the Final Fall of Voldemort!


  1. I'm guessing that you didn't enjoy Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn quite so much (based on that you didn't post a recommendation, but I could be wrong), but I wanted to tell you that I love that book, because I like sappy romances every once in a while :). That and Once Upon a Marigold are my go to sappy romance novels.

  2. Haha, no, I actually really enjoyed Reincarnation. I love the way she adapts the narrative to each new time frame and shows the growth of these souls from one lifetime to the next. It was such an intriguing book, and I like it a lot.

    I just read so much that I've gotten out of the habit of recommending rereads -- on my LiveJournal, it's pretty much understood that it's recommended if it's a reread, and I'll be honest - I just copy and pasted from there. :)