Monday, December 29, 2008

One step at a time

I've got lots to do today--packing books, housework, and multiple other random bits of things. But I've fixed my computer screen and gotten my letter to my homestay lady ready to send, so that's good.

I've actually been doing some writing the last few days. (!) What with finals and then moving it's gotten a little pushed to the side. But I finished my NaNo novel for 2008 and went back to an old beginning of a story. I've also got a few short story ideas floating about in my head.

And now I'm off to Do Something Useful. Toodles!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

St. Herman's day

Today old calender Orthodox Christians, like myself and my family, celebrate the feast of St. Herman of Alaska, one of the first and greatest Orthodox missionaries to America. There is lots of good information out there on his life and contributions to Orthodoxy, so I won't go on about that. If you're interested, I'm sure OrthodoxWiki would be a good place to start.

I've been thinking about a couple of things though. First, I'm glad that we American old calender Orthodox have something to celebrate today. With most of the country and lots of the world celebrating Christ's birth, it can get a little lonely over here in our corner. But we can celebrate St. Herman and his life and works.

Second, I'm very glad that Orthodoxy has such a good track record as missionaries. Orthodoxy has always been very respectful of indigenous cultures and ideas. While we don't bend the truth, we do adapt customs. And I think that's a very healthy thing. We have to spread the word of God, certainly. But we have to spread it with understanding and love, not with the sword and threat of violence or with blind disregard for the people who are supposed to receive it, as has all too often been done. St. Herman, like all Orthodox missionaries I know, was respectful and loving. Even today, the Alaska natives talk about him with love and honor. I read once that for them, to be an Alaska native is to be Orthodox. That says something to me about the success of St. Herman's mission.

At any rate, while most of the world is opening presents and eating turkey or ham and such, we'll be having fish. And maybe later on we'll watch a slide show of the Alaska wilderness where St. Herman spent most of his life.

Today, I'm thankful for what I've been given.
Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate it today. I hope you have a wonderful and blessed day. And if you're in the Pacific Northwest, build a fire and have some blankets and tea. Because it's COLD.

Monday, December 08, 2008


I've had this enormous build-up of links in the past couple of links.

The Tale of Despereaux trailer: I'm not wildly thrilled. At least from the trailer it looks like they've cutified it.

NYTBR Outtakes: An interview with Markus Zusak. I really need to read more of his books.

I'm YA and I'm OK: An interesting musing on being a Young Adult writer. (Personally, I think the whole category is a lot of hooey.)

Why Jane Austen matters: Just shows that people have a much higher capacity for understanding than most want to allow.

E-mail error ends up on road sign: Is it wrong that much laughter was my immediate response to this?

Wax ornaments: I want to say that my family or someone we knew once made these? But I could be wrong. Not sure.

Over-earnest: Excellent post from The Common Room on parental expectations.

Embracing Story: Another excellent post from The Common Room on Story.

Pride and Prejudice as Facebook: Also known as Sheer Genius. I especially love "Lydia Bennet and Kitty Bennet joined the group 1,000,000 Strong Against the Officers Leaving Meryton!" Because you know there would be a Facebook group for that.

Lemony Snicket posts! How can you not love that?

November book list

I'm tired, but nonetheless I am bringing you the November booklist. You'd better all appreciate it. :)

Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce: A sweet children's story. Very definitely fantasy, if you object to such.

Skellig by David Almond: Reviewed HERE.

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip: I've heard several people say this is their favorite McKillip. Not so much for me (so far it might be Alphabet of Thorn). It's fine, I enjoyed it, but it's not my favorite.

Wolf Tower by Tanith Lee: Reviewed HERE. NOTE: I'm currently stuck in the beginning of Wolf Star. We'll see.

Harrowing the Dragon--Patricia McKillip: Short stories. I really liked this. It's hard to beat a good short story collection.

The Talisman Ring
The Spanish Bride
An Infamous Army by Georgette Heyer
: Definitely a fan of Talisman Ring and An Infamous Army (which made me BAWL and laugh, sometimes on the same page), not so much The Spanish Bride. I couldn't quite believe in Juanita as a character, which kind of ruins it.

The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge: Reviewed HERE.

Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card: Reviewed HERE.

The Riddle-master of Hed
Heir of Sea and Fire
Harpist in the Wind
by Patricia McKillip: A trilogy. Very nice although they didn't feel like the "usual" McKillip. This is an observation, not a criticism. They felt a bit like a grown up version of the Prydain Chronicles. A bit.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman: I guess technically I didn't read this. I listened to the author read it. Which might be even better. Man, I loved this book.

The House on Parchment Street by Patricia McKillip: It was okay--I liked the realistic description of interactions between happen-to-be-related children, but I'm not keen on ghost stories in general. They just...don't do much for me. Bar The Graveyard Book, but that's different

City of Ember
by Jeanne DuPrau: Excellent. A word of advice though, if you are planning to read the book DON'T WATCH THE MOVIE TRAILER. Seriously.

The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula LeGuin: Probably my favorite of all the Earthsea series. Which I am a fan of anyway.

Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey: I liked this book a lot. The only problem with it was combination of the really short chapters and two narrators. Until I got into it a bit I kept getting mental whiplash.

At the Corner of East and Now by Frederica Mathewes-Green: Excellent book for both the baptized Orthodox and those interested in finding out more about it.

The End of the Affair
by Graham Greene: For school, but I loved it. Seriously loved it. It made me cry and all in all I just thought it was beautiful.

Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr: Sigh. I was okay with the first book--not wild, but okay. I thought I might as well read the second one and I was more than not wild. I didn't hate it. I just didn't care very much. It was interesting to see Niall from the first book in a different perspective.

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley: This book is in my top five of all-time favorite books ever. I read it obsessively in middle school. I still love it. And I love the cover of my copy which is miles better than the awful one that was on the middle school copy.

The Street of Five Moons by Elizabeth Peters: Dare I say I have a new (slight) addiction? I can't heeeeelp it. (Schmidt! Dashing thieves! Art history!) I blame Leila. There is some content, although it's pretty understated.

Movie Shoes by Noel Streatfeild: I definitely have a Streatfeild addiction. Okay, maybe it's more like nostalgic love. I like Movie Shoes because the plot gets varied a bit and because it contains what I choose to interpret as a veiled jab at the butchering of stories in movie adaptations.

The Thief
by Megan Whalen Turner: Can we just accept that I really, really, really love this series? Cause I do *insert obligatory Gen fangirl squee*. Did I mention fourth book in 2010? And without dancing bears, with baths and sparring.

Return to Gone-Away by Elizabeth Enright: Another MAJOR nostalgia read. It's been awhile for this one and I felt like I was seeing old friends again after a long absence. Uncle Pin and Aunt Minniehaha! Villa Caprice! Othello!

Sunday, December 07, 2008


I have been largely absent for the past week or so. Why? Well, I've been working on a 25-30 page analysis of Pride and Prejudice and North and South. At this point, I've got 32 pages and have yet to write a full intro or conclusion.

So. I have some things to say, but they might be on hold for a little longer. I'm hoping to get my November book list up today, but we'll see. I'm not promising anything.