Sunday, August 25, 2013

I've Got a Tumblr Now

Yes, I finally made the switch to Tumblr earlier this year and for the most part I'm enjoying myself a lot; for one thing it's allowed me to share my art a lot more freely since I feel less stressed about the quality there than I do on, say, deviantArt. Another good point is I've met a lot of crazy Silmarillion fans like myself, which is exciting because I only know two people outside of the internet who have even read the whole thing. If you follow/followed me here and are interested in still keeping in touch (I'd love to stay in contact!), you can find me at: abadpoetwithdreams.

I post and reblog a lot of Tolkien/Doctor Who/Supernatural/literature/Sherlock/and Irish dance stuff, mainly, as well as my original artwork and fanart, peppered with personal posts about my life outside of fandoms. Currently I'm in the middle of setting up a separate blog for my original works of fiction. I've also started posting a lot of Breaking Bad things lately, since I got hooked on the show after attending the San Diego Comic Con panel and marathoning all aired episodes to date in only two weeks. Now I have to wait for new episodes every Sunday like the rest of the world, and it's torture.

Anyway, basically from now on I will be much more active on Tumblr than I am here. I will try to check into this blog periodically, but, I mean--just look at that gap between my last post and this one. Ouch. I should move all my book reviews to my Tumblr blog . . . Hm. Something to think about, I guess. I am not going to abandon this blog entirely, but if you want to keep in regular contact with me, my new blog is the way to go.

Thank you to everyone who has followed me here for the past, what--five years? Six? I can't even remember. I made my first post on the eve of my leaving home to attend college for the first time, and now here I am writing as a new graduate. Yes, I graduated with a BA in English with highest honors, and am currently job hunting while taking a break from school to write and dance. I will be returning to the world of academia to get my Masters, possibly next year. Right now I'm considering pursuing a career in fairy tale and folklore studies, as that's what I spent the last two years of my college career writing an honors thesis on.

Anyway, the point is--thank you. It's amazing how much I've changed and how much I've grown since I first began this blog. As I continue moving forward I will be delighted if you choose to follow me to my new internet home, but if not, then I wish you the best as we part ways and I will still update here periodically, with my infrequent updates hopefully always providing you a smile. God bless!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

My favorites for 2012

Hey, internet. It's, uh, been a while. Actually that's a lie; I'm on the internet a lot, just usually confined to Facebook and deviantArt now. So hi, Blogger, it's been a while!

2012 was a massive year for me. I went to San Diego Comic-Con; I began work on my honors thesis which I am--squeak of terror here--frantically working on finishing up now; I read over sixty new books and watched dozens of new films; I wrote some actual poetry and my first complete short story since I was fourteen; and I trimmed my hair for the first time by myself. All great accomplishments. But I'm here now to share my "Top 5" picks for what were my favorite films and books of 2012. Note that I limit the film selection to films released in 2012, not just films I saw for the first time in 2012, but the publication dates of the books I read are fair game. Also, these lists are arranged in no particular order. Except for the fact that The Hobbit is in fact my favorite film of the year. Other than that I can't really rank 'em because I'm indecisive.

So first of all: the books.

Top 5
The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, by Christopher Healy: Technically this is a children's book, but I love well-crafted children's books just as much as I love, say, Moby Dick and War and Peace. This book is funny. The characters are all super endearing, the style has this great deadpan humor to it, the subversion of the fairy tale is affectionate and really entertaining, and the illustrations are superb. I really, really want this turned into an animated film. I don't usually laugh aloud while reading but this book cracked me multiple times. After I finished I made my 18 yr old brother, 15 yr old brother, 12 yr old sister, and 9 yr old sister all read it and they all loved it just as much as I do which shows you how broad the appeal is.

Royal Assassin, by Robin Hobb: This I'm including in combination with the first book in the series, Assassin's Apprentice, which is equally brilliant. Hobb's mastery of language and of characters is simply awe-inspiring. I love how she writes her first-person narrative; it's one of the most convincing first-person voices in fiction, in my opinion, up there with David Copperfield and Ponyboy Curtis. Everything about this series is so inventive and powerful: the magic system, the feuding royals, the cut-throat politics, the frightening "Forged" ones, I could go on forever. This book is so good. I decided to spotlight it over Apprentice for a few reasons, mainly because while Apprentice's ending had a twist that literally made my jaw drop and had me holding my breath all through the climax, Royal did what I had thought impossible: the shock value and emotional punch of the ending was even more intense than its predecessor. Also, I adore the character of the Queen and it was a joy having her more prominently featured in this novel compared to the first one.

His Majesty's Dragon, by Naomi Novik: British Napoleonic warfare. With dragons. I really don't think I can say much more to convince you why you should love this book; if that doesn't convince you nothing will. I adore British writing from this time period and so what really makes this book is not just the creativity and fun behind the concept, but the way Novik so perfectly imitates the style of the time period, mimicking its descriptions, sentence structures, dialogue conventions, and so on enough to be entertaining and convincing but with a fresh liveliness that's entirely her own. I'm not usually a fan of dragons in fiction other than Tolkien dragons, but Temeraire is a fantastic character. Currently I'm making my way through the rest of the series and so far these books are all just as good, but I'm listing Majesty here because it is where the story begins.

The Rurouni Kenshin series, by Nobuhiro Watsuki: I am so not an anime/manga person. At all. But I am very much a story and character person, and this series is very entertaining on both counts. I only discovered it thanks to a friend, and while it doesn't make me want to seek out more manga to read, I did buy every volume of this series so I can read it over. And over. Again. As someone who loves both writing and drawing I really liked that Watsuki is both author and illustrator of this story; the art is very vibrant and the sense of motion in the panels is better, in my opinion, than most "Western" comic books I've read. But it's really the characters I fell in love with. I know I'm late to this party as this series' heyday was, what, over ten years ago now? But if like me you aren't really familiar with/interested in manga I'd recommend giving this series a try. It's funny and exciting and when the angst happens it really packs a punch.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, by Catherynne M. Valente: To put it simply, I adore this book. It's as though Valente decided to write a story specifically for me, blending together many stories and fantasy conventions that I love with her own brilliant imagination, and the result is a quirky, beautifully told fairy story that's witty, heartbreaking, humorous, wise, and certainly, in my opinion, a children's novel on the level of Narnia or Oz in that it should be read by and savored by children and adults together for generations to come. This book deserves to be a classic and September is a heroine for the ages. I even wrote a college paper on this book because I love it so much. If you love imagination, or fantasy, or George MacDonald, or CS Lewis, or Neil Gaiman, do yourself a favor and read this book! And if you don't like any of those things then read it anyway because you should.

Honorable Mention: No Country for Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy

Monday, June 4, 2012

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity-Jig

I blame my long absence on the excessive amounts of time I've been spending sleeping and reading. Sorry about that. School is properly over until August so now I'm not technically too busy to update here; I'm just distracted by my suddenly copious amounts of free time.

I know I haven't posted any new book reviews in a long, long time now, my apologies, but I really wasn't able to get much pleasure reading done at all during April-May. I am trying to make up for that now. So in the coming weeks look forward to reviews on these books as I finish them (I'm over halfway through them all already): Titus Groan, Time Quake, Royal Assassin, Throne of Jade, Crown of Stars, Wives and Daughters, Shadow of the Wind, and Deathless. I read The Night Circus last week but it was ultimately disappointing after a very promising beginning. The book had a lovely mood of slowly brooding tension, and a gorgeous playground for the reader's imagination in the form of the circus itself, as well as some promising characters, but then fell apart greatly in the last act. The tension doesn't lead to any appreciable climax, most of the characters never reach the potential promised for them in early pages, and everything ends up feeling too rushed, too skimmed. Which is a pity. I imagine this could be a more effective film than novel since it's so very visual on the page and seeing these characters visually might help give them a bit more of an emotional impact than what the author managed in the book.

Lately I've also been RE-reading--Plain Kate, The Scorpio Races, A Tale of Two Cities, and A Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, all books I have earnestly recommended in the past and which I will enthusiastically recommend again now. Is anyone else almost unseemly excited about the prospect of a sequel to Fairyland being published this Autumn?

I should amend what I said above; in addition to spending my time sleeping and reading I've also been doing a lot of swimming. The weather has been glorious so far this summer, aside from today which has turned out to be a bit gloomy and cool, and so my brothers and I have been walking to the pool and then swimming in said pool pretty much every day since I came home. This means I'm actually getting a little tan; how strange for a girl who usually stays paper pale due to her spending most of her time in her favorite habitat of libraries and other places where books reside and the sun does not.

It's very pleasant being home.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ooh, Blogger's posting format's changed

I guess that's a sign that I've been away too long. Also it now apparently defaults to the default font setting for this browser, which I set as a joke as Tengwar about two years ago. And then promptly forgot about. I was a bit surprised when I started typing just now, but it's fixed now.

Well, the time-turner thing didn't work out but I'm managing anyway, slowly and linearly. Only two more final exams to do, one tomorrow and one on Friday, and then I am free! Free to go home and bake cookies with my siblings and read books to my baby sister who's not such a baby any more and watch The Avengers again with my brothers (one of THE best movies ever, by the way) and get back into proper dance training again and prepare to go to Comic-Con! It's my first time going and I'm extremely excited.

My proposal presentation, in what I still consider to be a not-so-small miracle, actually went well. I even won an award for best Arts and Humanities presentation. Hopefully this means the worst of this whole project process is behind me now, because honestly these past few months have been slow, agonizing torture. I've never had a worse academic experience.

In other news I am also going to be posting my creative writing a lot more over the summer, I hope. I've signed up for Camp Nano, no idea what I'm writing yet and maybe I'll just use it to finish The Outlaw's Hand, but I dunno. Also I'm back to practicing my drawing. And there's many, many books I want to read--the rest of the King's Assassin series, the first Gormenghast book, a Kate Elliot novel, the rest of Wives and Daughters, Great Expectations, and much more. In short--bring on summertime, I can't wait!

Monday, April 16, 2012

I need a Time-Turner.


First I will use it to go back in time and get all the homework done that I need to get done for this week.

Then I will use it to go forwards in time until I'm back home on May 13, with the presentation I have to do on the fourth completely and forever behind me. As well as all these research papers. And finals week.

Can Time-Turners even go to the future? Well, mine would be able to.