Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A big announcement

I feel weirdly nervous about this announcement, which doesn't really make sense, but there it is. ANYWAY.

I've decided to move this blog to Wordpress. This isn't because I've fallen out with Blogger in any way. It's simply that I like Wordpress's style. I like that I can create separate pages. I like the clean, uncluttered feeling I get from their blog designs. So from now on, you can find me at By Singing Light [Wordpress style].

I've transferred all the archives (but not the comments) over there so you don't have to switch back and forth. However, this blog will remain up in its entirety. I hope to see you all there!

Monday, September 21, 2009

So far this morning

I have:

+ gotten up [This was an Accomplishment]
+ gotten dressed and all that jazz
+ said prayers
+ had my tea and a quarter of a tomato for breakfast [I don't really do traditional breakfasts]
+ poked about online [really interesting articles on singleness/Christian relationships HERE and HERE and about contests HERE and HERE]
+ finished a homework assignment
+ washed the dishes
+ started lunch warming up

Now I'm listening to Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. :)

It's the Nativity of the Theotokos today, Old Style. I...didn't really do anything beyond singing the Troparion and Kontakion.

I've still got lots of homework to take care of and Things to Do today.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Crisis averted. After posting about my recent reading doldrums, I picked up Graceling and so far I love it! (I'm 292 pages in.) All is not lost.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

State of the TBR pile

Mine is less of a pile and more of an overflowing basket.

I've been doing a lot of reading recently and I have quite a few more books to read. You can get a sense of how many by looking at the handy little widget on the right side of my blog, the one titled "Books currently checked out." So I've felt this pressure to keep reading, to get the book done and reviewed and sent back to the library so I can get on to the next one so I can order a new one. And so far I haven't been super wild about any of them. Savvy was lots of fun and I love Fire and Hemlock but the first was more of a romp than anything else and the second was a re-read. Besides the fact that I was so tired when I read some of it that I didn't enjoy it quite as much as I normally would have.

Part of the problem is that I'm not sure if I actually objectively don't like these books a whole lot or whether the mood I'm in (not wonderful at the moment) is coloring them. I am going to return A Bone from a Dry Sea unread though. I'm just not...okay, look, it's nothing against Peter Dickinson. I loved "Flight" and I remember liking his stories more than Robin McKinley's in Water. I think it's the prehistorical setting.

Planning to go to bed early tonight, which will hopefully help.

Unintentionally hilarious

For my Victorian Poetry class, we're currently reading contemporary critics on Tennyson (contemporary meaning Victorian). The first of them, by a William Johnson Fox, had a few moments which were quite hilarious.

Here's the first (I italicized the funny bit--the rest of it you just need as background): "Now whatever theories may have come into fashion, and gone out of fashion, the real science of mind advances with the progress of society like all other sciences. The poetry of the last forty years already shows symptoms of life in exact proportion as it is imbued with this science. There is least of it in the exotic legends of Southey, and the feudal romances of Scott. More of it, though in different ways, in Byron and Campbell. In Shelley there would have been more still, had he not devoted himself to unsound and mystical theories." That one might only be funny to me. But the second one...this is how the author described a merman: "the finny worthy."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Just weird

So, this morning I was in my apartment when the phone rings. My parents and I have been vaguely trying to connect with each other so I picked it up right away. This is the conversation that ensued:

Me: Hello?
Unknown male: Hello?
Me: Yes, hi?
UM: Are you there?
Me: Yes?
UM: What's your Social Security Number
Me: I'm sorry, I don't give that out over the phone. *hangs up*

o_0 I mean, what? Seriously! Is this some sort of new scam? Call people up and ask for their SSN and see how many of them automatically give it out? BIZARRE.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Astrakhan Farewell is playing on my roommate's iTunes right now and suddenly I remember a summer night years ago when we sat on a dark porch in the Virginia heat and my sister and a friend played it on flute and violin.

In about four minutes I'm going work, fortified with all sorts of things to do, so I don't get horribly bored.

We went to Saturday Market this morning where I bought a geranium and blackberry honey. Among other, more essential, things. The geranium was 50 cents. Even if it dies, it was still extremely cheap. But I hope it doesn't die. Geraniums are such cheerful things.

Now my roommate is making bread.

Tonight my group of friends is Doing Something together, unknown as of yet.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Unleaving: a review

by Jill Paton Walsh
(also known as Goldengrove Unleaving)

This book was in the children's section of my school library and I'm not sure why. Not that it's a bad book--it's well written and interesting and the prose often sings. ("And far out, in the distance, the lighthouse in a tissue of haze is just visble" (134).) There's a masterful interweaving of past and present which reminded me of several of Rumer Godden's books. But its themes are adult and though there are children in the book, the tone and philosophical discussions make it definitely not a child's book. Maybe young adult.

I'm still not sure if I like it or not. I tend to be fond of past and present interwoven, if done well and this was done well. And, despite the very gloomy outlook of several main characters, the book ends up affirming love and beauty. Madge is a very sympathetic character and Patrick, if not exactly sympathetic, is interesting. If you think you'd like a fairly quick read with some philosophical and moral dilemmas, set on the Cornish coast, you'd probably like this one.

Book source: my school library.

Fire and Hemlock: a review

by Diana Wynne Jones

Most people have only one set of memories. But things are a little different for Polly Whittacker. She has one set, normal, undistinguished in any way, and another set which her nineteen-year-old self struggles to retrieve. These hidden memories are all centered around one Thomas Lynn, a seemingly ordinary cellist in the British Philharmonic Orchestra. As she begins to delve into the true past, she remembers that they met when Polly gate-crashed a funeral. At first their friendship is simply a bright spot in Polly's life. But gradually strange things begin to happen and continue to happen.

The narrative structure of the book works very well, in my opinion. It would have been an easy one to mess up, but Diana Wynne Jones pulls it off (because she's awesome like that!). The fact that Polly's forgotten her own memories allows the whole story to unfold in the past while still moving the plot of the present forward.

Polly and Tom are both lovely characters--the kind that you just love from the beginning and never let go of. The minor characters are also part of the charm of this one. Tom's quartet are all magnificent and Granny is marvellous. Fiona and Nina, in their different ways, are also necessary to the whole book.

I'm trying to avoid spoilers, so I'll only say that the ending is one of those where no one seems to know exactly what happened. That's all right. Somehow it seems to me to fit into the pattern of the book as a whole.

One of my favorite books by Diana Wynne Jones.

Book source: my school library

Imaginary Lands: a review

edited by Robin McKinley

This the second time I've read this anthology. Oddly enough, I think I liked it more this time around. There were still a few stories I wasn't as wild about. But "Flight" by Peter Dickinson, "The Old Woman and the Storm" by Patricia McKillip, and "The Stone Fey" by Robin McKinley herself were all, in my opinion, excellent. They were also, interestingly enough, the stories which I felt best fulfilled the stated mission of the book: "the stories...must have a particularly strong sense of location, of the imaginary land each was laid in."

Having just read Fire and Hemlock, Joan Vinge's "Tam Lin" provided an interesting counterpoint. Fire and Hemlock is still my favorite (although Elizabeth Marie Pope's The Perilous Gard comes in at a very close second). It may have something to do with the length--book length lets Diana Wynne Jones build up her characters much more effectively. But I think it's mostly that I prefer Fire and Hemlock's conclusion. While both are somewhat bittersweet--something lost and something gained--Fire and Hemlock felt both more real and more hopeful to me.

"Stranger Blood" by P.C. Hodgell was another of my favorites. Again, there was a strong sense of the land and culture as something both distinct and real.

All in all, I'd definitely recommend this anthology if you enjoy reading fantasy, especially fantasy set in a specific location.

Book source: Southern Oregon University library