Thursday, August 15, 2013

Nevermore, the Final Maximum Ride Novel

A somewhat spoiler-ish and very emotional review just a mere twenty minutes after I finished the book, by yours truly.

After having been reading the series for five years, it's over. James Patterson seemed to write as much of a suspenseful, thrilling novel as he could to close out the saga. Sometimes, all I can say was, as a reader, I felt like he was REALLY pushing it. There's only so much you can throw at a reader in the last book.

Overall, I was satisfied with the ending in the Max-love-triangle way. Really, I think what bothered me the most was that I wished this one, final novel was more about the core flock together again, ready to take on the world. Instead, it was a lot about Dylan, who I did like, but I think if the previous book dealt with the outcome of the love triangle, this book would have been infinitely better to me. In respect to a few other important characters, there was little closure. James Patterson could have ended this book with a lot more meaning if he devoted just one more chapter to every other character who had featured so prominently in the series. If I were to pick up any book in the series to read again, it probably wouldn't be this one. It was just too much.

Although certain aspects of the ending weren't what I wanted, the ending and the new world that arises is something beautiful. It's something that I wish would be continued in another book. It's almost as if we waited for this moment, and once you get a taste of it, it's gone.

That being said, the whole, eight book story was incredibly well told. I love Maximum Ride. There is something so uniquely personal about the way the entire series has been told; you feel as if Max is your friend as she narrates. She lets you in on everything, and as a reader you're by her side- through the good and the bad. I've felt more apart of her journey than I ever expected. To me, it's so sad that it's over, it really, really is.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

My Spiritual Journey: 3/5 Stars

My Spiritual Journey by Dalai Lama XIVI'd first like to clarify that I found very much of this book interesting and I came away having learned very much about Tibet and Buddhism. This being said, I still really had to push myself to finish this book. I came into reading it with very high expectations, I thought it would be the exact type of book I would be enthralled in. However, I reserved a few problems with it.

First, I, personally, did not feel a great sense of continuity or organization within the book. I learned and enjoyed the most from Part Three of the book, where the primary focus was on the situation between the Tibetans and the Chinese. In the first two sections, it was more difficult for me to see clear lines between the chapters and divisions, and the occasional breaks in the book that felt random didn't help.

I also felt like a lot in this book was either restated too often, or established too late. I probably would have been able to grasp a lot more from the first two sections had I been as informed on the Chinese and Tibet situation as I came to be after it was greatly discussed in the third section. There were also many things I just felt were said and then repeated a few pages later. This ties in with the organization, also.

Overall, although I did not enjoy this book as much as I wished to, I still learned from
it and found much of what the Dalai Lama had to say very inspiring and insightful. Three out of five stars was given, however, for the issues I experienced along the way.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

I finished The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater today and I can honestly not recommend it more. It was an incredibly beautiful story with complex and endearing characters that captivate until the very end. Taking place on a small island where mythical water horses arise from the sea once per year, the story centers itself around a deadly race of the wild horses, of some riders who want to race and some who wish they didn’t have to. The Scorpio Races is a novel that explores the price of happiness, and deals with recognizing who we are to the very core of our being and discovering what we want from life. Sean and Puck in this novel learn what it means to have to understand yourself fully before you can understand others, and this is translated in the beautifully written novel.

Monday, May 27, 2013

I think it's finally time that I go back to Annabelle, the novel I wrote in November for NaNoWriMo. offered to participants who completed the 50,000 word goal to give five copies of the novel they had written in like real book form. Awhile back I made the cover design for it all - the question is, should I order it (it' free, just pay for shipping)? My only hesitation is that it is a super rough first draft and that I will no doubt be embarrassed of so much of it. Do you think I should go for it?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Why I Enjoyed As I Lay Dying More than The Sound and the Fury

The Sound and the FuryAfter powering through the second half of The Sound and the Fury, I finished somewhat confused and unsettled. Benjy and Quentin had incredibly difficult sections to work through, and it was pretty difficult to know what was going on through most of it. After reading some helpful summaries online after I finished each section, the missing pieces were filled in, luckily. Jason's narrative, although a welcome relief from the disjointed streams of consciousness of Benjy and Quentin, was unnerving. When you read, it is a time to embody another character's worldview: to see themselves and the world around them in the unique way that they do. Jason was an awful man, and seeing his hateful views on the family members I liked was unsettling when it came to the end. Jason goes on a hunt to kill Miss Quentin, and hurts Luster and Benjy in the process, completely absorbed in his own selfishness. Yet, nothing really happens to Jason in the end, there is no justice served for how terribly he treats his family, unless you count the tragedy of his life beforehand.

Dilsey was a fantastic character, she is the antithesis of Jason in that she is loving and selfless; she is the only mother that Benjy and the Compson children truly have. My favorite part of the book, in fact, is when she proudly takes Benjy to church with her and states that God loves him as much as anyone else in the world. I enjoyed Caddy's character probably as much as Jason despised it, and I also was fascinated by Quentin- I had never read a character like his before.

The family dynamics in both The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying are what I enjoyed the most about both novels. It was interesting to see the similarities- each book about three brothers, both mother's in the novels had a special love for the son that treated them the worst, and each of their daughters were promiscuous and had an unwanted pregnancy. I also love how Faulkner sets his characters in the same town, so when I first read Anse's character in The Sound and the Fury I was sort of mind-blown.

Overall, I liked As I Lay Dying more because I thought the relationships in this novel were more interesting and intricate; I felt like there was more to each one of their stories. The Sound and the Fury primarily dealt with each sibling's relationship with their sister- Benjy's longing, Quentin's distress and possibly incestuous desire, and Jason's raging hatred. As I Lay Dying explored the ideas and ethics of Darl's insane actions and state of mind, if he was truly insane at all. The novel shed light on Jewel's character, who was seen as spiteful and harsh but in actuality cared deeply for his family. Cash, well, he is just my favorite character ever, so I'm very biased on him. All of these reasons and intricacies Faulkner laid out in As I Lay Dying, along with Addie's unique, mothering figure that touched each of her family members lives in an enormous way, were just something that I found unmatched in The Sound and the Fury. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Perfect Graduation Gift

Even though my bookshelf is at maximum capacity, I can't help but to want to begin a collection of these beautiful books. Scrolling through tumblr, I found this blog of an amazing designer who created these Penguin classics. The books are cloth, hardcovers with gorgeous color and designs of so many of my favorite novels. I'm hardcore dropping hints for a few of these as a graduation present; I found an Amazon listing of the Dickens' novels for significantly less than the expensive list price, so it's looking up!


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Was Gatsby Great?

The Great Gatsby was assigned summer reading going into my sophomore year, and sure, I liked it, but I never really got it. After seeing how incredible the movie looks I picked it up again, and now I literally can't believe I let it just sit on the shelf all these years. The Great Gatsby is one of the greatest books I've ever read; it's one of those few books that have completely blown my mind and I feel like everyone needs to just read it.

By luck, as I was just finishing the novel, I was assigned Gatsby in my AP Literature class's Literary Death Match, aka a fight to the death. By this point I was basically in love with Gatsby, extraordinarily peeved at Daisy, and just detested Tom. I was a mess of feeling for this book and didn't do it justice.

But what I wanted to make a point of in the match against Frankenstein was why Gatsby was, indeed, great. After thinking about this central question a lot, I've come to the conclusion that Gastby was great because of his "extraordinary gift for hope," as Nick Carraway famously introduces him as possessing. Gatsby stares out across the bay, living on the wish of a perfect restoration of the past. All of the wealth and riches Gatsby acquires mean nothing if they do not please Daisy; he is only this rich because he wanted to meet her standards. 

Gatsby is a perfect representation of the American dream: to become something out of nothing, to become wealthy in the monetary sense, but also in the sense that he would be rich having a "golden girl". But, perhaps because of the overwhelmingly wealthy lifestyle Daisy has lived her entire life has made her so careless, so unable to appreciate Gatsby. No matter Gatsby's endless waiting, Daisy just did not care, and this carelessness translates directly to the tragedy of the novel. 

Gatsby was great because he is a manifestation of everyone's desire to live fully. His ambition is what we all have somewhere- Gatsby's was simply clouded by "foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams," or Daisy, the unworthy fixation of his devotion. Gatsby rose from nothing to almost unimaginably rich but the novel really is revealing how this wealth leads to corruption. The Great Gatsby is a perfect account of this life of Gatsby, who cannot be seen as anything less than great.

Trading in Books

So, I've always been pretty sentimental about my books. I've kept them on display in my bookshelf for years. Lately, my bookshelf has been overflowing and I want to read more and more different books. My taste is surely changing, I just took eleven YA books and got some fantastic ones in return that I can't wait to read: Tender is the Night, This Side of Paradise, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Catcher in the Rye! Even though I feel a little cheated for getting just $13 for all of the books I brought in, I'm trying not to dwell on it.

What I sold:

What I bought:

Thursday, May 2, 2013

What I'll Be Reading this Summer

The somewhat completed, hopefully plausible and subject to be lengthened summer reading list I have made for myself:

I'm most looking forward to The Catcher in the Rye and This Side of Paradise! Hopefully will get to those first!

The Catcher in the RyeTess of the d'UrbervillesGone with the WindSlaughterhouse-FiveThe Art of HappinessThe Sun Also Rises
Love in the Time of CholeraPersuasionThe Old Man and the SeaA Farewell to ArmsThis Side of ParadiseTender Is the Night
The Beautiful and DamnedGreat ExpectationsThe Five People You Meet in HeavenA Midsummer Night's DreamOthelloMuch Ado About Nothing
As You Like It Julius CaesarDavid CopperfieldWar and PeaceAnna KareninaFor Whom the Bell Tolls

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Motivation and Macbeth

If you didn’t find yourself screaming “whhhhhhhhhhhhhy!” during just about all of Shakespeare’s tragedies- you read them wrong. In particular, reading Macbeth over spring break brought back all of those emotions that I finally recovered from after reading Hamlet so...yay?

Macbeth was given his fortune of ruling the kingdom by the three witches, to which he warily accepted and tried not to think much of. To think that if Lady Macbeth hadn’t gotten her hands on that letter there would be no tragedy. As soon as she finds out the fantastic future Macbeth was just bestowed, she commits herself to making it a reality.

Macbeth alone couldn’t have thought of this plan- he didn’t want to kill King Duncan even when Lady Macbeth first bid him to. It was Lady Macbeth’s continuous and influential persuading that led Macbeth to wield a knife on not only his house guest, but his king.

When given power, Macbeth didn’t even seem to want it. He became paranoid, driven mad. Macbeth decided that he needed to kill everyone of his competitors for the throne- even killing his friend Banquo to assure his place as king. Later, Macbeth would refuse to sit at the feasting table for he saw Banquo’s ghost sitting down there.

Macbeth became a pawn in the hands of an incapable game maker. Lady Macbeth couldn’t truly carry out her plan. She couldn’t direct Macbeth because she was losing her mind herself- seen frantically scrubbing her hands of blood that only she can see. The two both go mad.

Lady Macbeth was driven for power and control-wanting to be queen more than anything else. Macbeth didn’t have this same drive, he was working for his wife. He was manipulated by Lady Macbeth to kill, and in the end, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, themselves, became victims of their own game.

Friday, April 19, 2013

"Soldier of Fortune" by Bret Anthony Johnston

Bret Anthony Johnston’s “Soldier of Fortune” both paint a picture of a troubled youth, torn between right and wrong, as well as between childhood and adult life. For Josh of “Soldier of Fortune,” a thrust into a darker world acts as a focal point, of which each main character pivots around it’s center. Johnston utilizes symbols, characters, and moments of realization in “Soldier of Fortune” to complete the picture of growing up. Josh describes several times in his story his fascination with a picture of Holly Henderson, his neighbor that he is desperately infatuated with. In the picture, Holly is holding hands with her young brother, Sam. Holly plays a very large role in Josh’s story, giving him drive and motive to do the things he does, such as end his relationship with his best friend, Matt, and repeatedly defy his parents wishes. Josh also decides to sneak into Holly’s room to look at the picture of Holly and Sam, taken at an orange grove. Josh becomes so obsessed with the picture he even contemplates taking it. Josh soon finds that Sam is Holly’s son, and he realizes that he, too, has been a child this whole time, believing the lie that the Henderson’s have told all along to protect Holly, only a young teenager. Told by Josh in the present, looking back about thirty years ago, Josh realizes that he wanted this picture to make sure that he can always hold onto that moment of his youth where Holly was the same girl he always knew, forever dancing on the edges of real and imaginary, as far away as in the picture or as close as the hands being held in it.

 Johnston characterizes Josh differently throughout the story. Josh tells the reader of how he and Matt used to dress up as army men, wearing camouflage to school everyday and covering their walls in army decor. Josh then makes it clear that he does not see this as fun anymore, and already, at fourteen, Josh is growing out of that juvenile stage of his life. He pushes, and is being, pushed away by Matt. Josh becomes more and more engrossed by Holly, and enters into the world of sex, as well as complicated and complex illusions and lies. Josh is from then on described by himself, looking back as an adult. “Now I think of 1986 as the year my life pivoted away from what it had been, maybe the year when all our lives pivoted,” Josh says, “It was the year I surrendered the weapons of my youth- the morning after I fought Matt...”. Josh demonstrates a violent outburst when he attacks Matt for insulting Holly’s family. His irrational and impulsive judgment is clearly acted upon, yet in this way he is becoming more respectable as a character, in that he is leaving his childhood behind to pursue the real world for not only the sake of themselves, but for others, as well: Holly. This characterization, enlightenment, and symbolism work in unison to signify a growth in Josh’s life.

"Flight" by John Steinbeck: An Initiation into Manhood

“Flight” tells the story of Pepe, a jovial teenager who is described multiple times as very lazy and easygoing. His mother waits and waits for him to take life more seriously. After committing a murder, however, Pepe is changed, he does become a man, as stated by the narrator. The murder Pepe committed was done using his Father’s knife.

Pepe is often compared to his hardworking father by his mother, who desires for her son to be more like her deceased husband. Pepe wielding his father’s knife is symbolic of the completion of his childhood and entrance into adulthood. He used his knife just as his father had, but he used it to take the life of another. The maternal figure in this story is used by Steinbeck in order to convey the idea of Pepe’s rising power as a man. Pepe’s mother was clearly shown to be his caretaker in the opening of the story. She scolds him, feeds him, and looks after him. However, when Pepe is trusted to go to the city by himself, his mother surrenders her hold on the family. In an attempt to have her boy become a man, she gives him a great responsibility. Pepe eagerly accepts this opportunity, but is confronted with the face of death instead of a small journey. Pepe’s mother put her trust into Pepe, and he did not disappoint her, because in the end, Pepe made the journey and left boyhood behind him.

  Steinbeck uses characterization in his attempt to convey the profound change that occurred for Pepe. Once described as a jubilant, lazy teenager, Pepe morphs into a different person. “He was changed,” states the narrator. “There was no laughter in them (eyes) any more nor any bashfulness. They were sharp and bright and more purposeful”.  With the light that used to radiate from himself gone, Pepe is forced to leave his home, his brother and sister, and most importantly, his mother. In this absence from the security of  his home and family, he is no longer sheltered from the outside world. This realization in Pepe’s life drives the rest of the narrative, which focuses on survival in the outside world after living on the inside for so long.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spring Break Reading

"So, what did you do over spring break?"
"Oh, just some light reading...."

I read ten freaking books over spring break. I mean, one of them (well forty pages of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) was sort of mandatory but the other nine...were strictly optional.

Yes. Ten books. 2,705 pages. It was fantastic. There is really nothing better than sitting down and reading a good book for hours, and going through all of it in just a day or two rather than stretching it out over a week.

So, from top to bottom I read:

The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare

Macbeth by Shakespeare

Maximum Ride: The Final Warning   by: James Patterson

Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports    by: James Patterson

Maximum Ride: School's Out Forever    by: James Patterson

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment     by: James Patterson

March by Geraldine Brooks

The Picture of Dorian Gray   by: Oscar Wilde

The Outsiders   by S.E. Hinton

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest   by Ken Kesey

Some of the books were rereads, like The Outsiders, for example. This was the book that made me fall in love with reading, the first book that I truly felt like the world had ended around me when I finished it. Reading it again for the first time since freshman year was amazing, I loved it even more and the entire message of the book was revealed to me once again in different ways. I could relate to the characters all over again, and they still feel strikingly real to me and it's so hard to shake I've stopped trying.

The Picture of Dorian Gray was fantastic. It took a better portion of my day to read, but it was totally worth it. Actually, I probably should have saved the last chapter or so until the next morning, because Dorian Gray stabbing the picture, therefore stabbing himself...the whole ordeal really freaked me out at one in the morning, to be quite frank. The movie Dorian Gray starring Ben Barnes (who I love) was sadly very disappointing (and come to think of it actually horrifically terrifying also and another thing I should have saved until daylight).

Oh! How could I forget- The Merchant of Venice. I actually laughed out loud when I finished the play because this was the first of Shakespeare's plays I've read where no one dies in the end. Ha, ha! (I'm looking at YOU Hamlet).

Those three were certainly highlights for me, but the one book I did not care much for was One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey.  This was pretty far outside the realm of books I would choose myself to read, and overall I just did not like it too much.This is saying something because I enjoy virtually everything I read. The whole tone was sort of... bleak? I'm not really sure. I also found it difficult, personally, to relate to this group of forty year old men drinking cough syrup and hanging out with prostitutes. Maybe I'm just a funny feminist that way.

Now, I'm off to take the eleven books I currently have checked out of the library back to their home, and maybe start The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Poetry for Kids

"The Arrow and the Song" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"A Poem Is..." are mini segments which air on Disney Junior that I often catch passing through the house while my sister watches the channel. I love how the kids interpret poems, and, frankly, the plain fact that Disney is promoting works from poets like Robert Louis Steven and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to such young children! The poems are matched up with Disney movies to help convey the meaning of the poem and to keep the child interested. Really, I probably enjoy it more than the children, but that's okay too.

"My Shadow" by Robert Louis Stevenson

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Friday, March 8, 2013

"What Lips My Lips Have Kissed" by Edna St. Vincent Millay

“What Lips My Lips Have Kissed”

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply;
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in the winter stands a lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet know its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone;
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.

-Edna St. Vincent Millay

In the poem "What Lips My Lips Have Kissed," the speaker feels particularly alone as a rainstorm pounds on her windows. She painfully recalls the company and love of men, whom she once had with her during these nights, that will never again come for her. Although she cannot remember each individual man, she misses the companionship and love all the same.

The speaker goes on to compare her loneliness to a tree, who does not know how many or which birds have come and gone, like the speaker and her men, but the tree is still alone all the same. She continues this to mark how summer once encompassed her, but now she has become like a tree in the winter: alone and lifeless.The saddened tone help to mark the overall emotion that stands out in the poem, that of hopelessness and abandonment.

Personally, "What Lips My Lips Have Kissed" may just be my favorite Millay poem. I just love the metaphor she draws between her own loneliness and the that of a tree, barren and bereft in the wintertime. Also, one of my favorite, most loved lines of all time appear here:

"I cannot say what loves have come and gone;
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more" (lines 12-14)

I think Millay is so perfect at capturing emotion, whether it is wonder in "First Fig," or elation in "Recuerdo". Those last three lines of "What Lips My Lips Have Kissed" hit the reader, so that they can truly understand the complete abandonment the speaker feels.

"Recuerdo" by Edna St. Vincent Millay


We were very tired, we were very merry–
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable–
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon;                             
And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.

We were very tired, we were very merry–
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;                    
And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.

We were very tired, we were very merry,
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
We hailed, "Good morrow, mother!" to a shawl-covered head,         
And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
And she wept, "God bless you!" for the apples and pears,
And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.

-Edna St. Vincent Millay

In Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem "Recuerdo," a couple enjoys a night of riding back and forth on a ferry, staying out all night and stopping off at different places. The couple go to dinner, lie on a hilltop and look at the sky, and buy apples and pears that they eat as they watch the sun rise. In the morning they see a poor woman who they buy a morning paper from that they never read, and give her all of their apples and pears, as well as all the money they have besides their subway fare. The poem closes with the woman being so grateful she cries and blesses the two.

What is so beautiful about this poem is the sense we get from the speaker. It would sound as if she was a young girl, experiencing love for the first time and wanting to remember every bit of it. The title is even called "Recuerdo," literally "to remember" in Spanish. Also, probably the most distinct aspect to this poem is the repetition. "We were very tired, we were very merry–/We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;" appears as the first two lines of each of the three stanzas. She stresses this, as if this sheer fact of staying out all night, exhausted and elated, is all she needs to convey to her audience the excitement of it all. She repeats this in the first two lines of each stanza, and the other lines are what tell the story.

The rhyme scheme is also very consistent throughout: AABBCC AADDEE AAFFGG, in this eighteen line poem, every two lines rhyme with each other. It helps draw continuity in the sometimes scattered thoughts of the young girl in her excitement.

The tone is whimsical and magical. Everything about the night they had was perfect, the night, “...we lay on a hill-top underneath the moon,” (line 5) even the ending of it all, when “...the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold” (line 12). The descriptions of the events in this way shape the tone to make it one of fantasy and elation. The poem serves to capture the memory of one meaningful night, where the narrator spends all night out and has difficulty explaining in words, thus the repetition of the first two lines, just how special it truly was.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Neil Gaiman announces his new project in which he will write twelve stories, "A Calender of Tales," as he calls it, in which he takes inspiration from his readers lives and stories to share with the world. All stories will be written by Gaiman, but he will change nothing, he will tell the story exactly as it is in reality, as shared by the participant. Possibly, the most exciting part of it all, is that we are all eligible to be one of those twelve.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Can One Simply Walk to Mordor?

I came across this five-part mini documentary last night called A Simple Walk Into Mordor. The mini series follows Lord of the Rings super fans who fly from America to New Zealand to walk the over 120 mile journey, that takes Frodo and Sam three books, in just seven days. As a Tolkien fan myself, I really enjoyed this documentary, and I loved seeing how beautiful New Zealand is. I was shocked how difficult this walk really was, and it was a friendly reminder how unfit I am. I could never do this! (Warning: Mild profanity.)

"First Fig" by Edna St. Vincent Millay

First Fig

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends-
It gives a lovely light.
       - Edna St. Vincent Millay

I was surprised to hear this poem recited in an episode of The Waltons yesterday, taking place in John Boy's , an aspiring writer, writing class. "Remain curious," the speaker says, "imagination dies when one is no longer curious". She then recites "First Fig", saying that this poem describes what being a writer should be, and the essence of what curiosity means to writing. The class ends on that note, and it has had me wondering since: How does this poem speak to the curiosity of a writer?

The imagery of a candle burning at both ends is a pace twice as fast as usual and, as a result, it is unsustainable. But even so, the beauty of such a candle, burning at both ends, gives a light twice as bright, something ignite a foe's jealousy, and something to share with friends. It speaks to gratification, indulgence, and passion, a worthy poem that speaks to the wildness of Millay, herself.

The curiosity of a writer means exploring everything, even something as simplistic, yet complex, as light. Light is something already explored by countless others but seeing it differently is the key. A candle burning at both ends, a short lived wonder that elicits awe. To me, it means take everything given to you, and explore it, love it, and be passionate about it. A recurring trouble of John Boy in The Waltons is that although he is desperate to be a writer, he has only ever lived in the mountains of Virginia, and he has never explored the world, and therefore cannot write about it. But what this poem says to me, is that you do not have to go to extraordinary measures to write great poetry, the story a poet is looking for is surrounding them, they just have to be curious enough to find it, and imaginative enough to dream it.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

"You know what's in that tablet, Mama? All my secret thoughts. What I feel and what I think about. What it's like late at night to hear a whipoorwill call and hear it's mate call back. The rumbling of the midnight train crossing the tressel at Rockfish, or just watching the water go by the creek and knowing some day it will reach the ocean, wondering if I'll ever seen an ocean and what a wonder that would be. You know, Mama, sometimes I hike on over to the highway and I sit and watch the buses go by and the people in them and I'm wondering what they're like and what they say to each other and where they're bound for. Things stay in my mind, I can't forget anything and it all get's bottled up in here and sometimes I feel like a crazy man. I can't rest or sleep or anything until I rush up here and write it down in that tablet. Sometimes I think I really am crazy."

- John Boy Walton, The Waltons

"Thursday" by Edna St. Vincent Millay

And if I loved you Wednesday,
  Well, what is that to you?
I do not love you Thursday–
  So much is true.
And why you come complaining
  Is more than I can see.
I loved you Wednesday,–yes–but what
  Is that to me?
                                   Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay is nothing if not a feminist, and "Thursday" is a remarkable production of that mindset. Millay is known today for her numerous love affairs, with both men and women, and her activism for gender equality, which she had the credentials to support being the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1923.

"Thursday" is very much Millay's voice which is acting as our narrator. She loves a man, or that is what she told him, Wednesday, but by Thursday she does not. It does not matter that she loved him the day before, because in twenty four hours time, she has changed her mind. She ends with "-yes-but what/Is that to me?". Even in today's day and age, women would probably be high-fiving each other over that last line. However, it means even more when you think about the time period this was written in.

"Thursday" was published in the year 1921, the very beginning of the Women's Rights Movement. However, it really is something to think that from the time Millay was writing "Thursday", it would take over forty years to pass the Equal Pay Act, over fifty years to make it illegal for men to rape their wives, and the still going debate today over the legality of abortion.

Millay was a woman ahead of her time. She used her inner thoughts, projected them through her love affairs and her writings, and that is what allows her to become the poet she was: she wrote about what she knew and what she believed in.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A reading of "What Lips My Lips Have Kissed" by Edna St. Vincent Millay. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

What I really thought about Villette by Charlotte Brontë

Villette was written by Charlotte Brontë at an important juncture in her life. It was written at a time when she lost everything, most notably her mother. She was also the only one of her siblings to survive until adulthood. Charlotte was very affected by these deaths, as shown in the sullen mood that settles throughout the book that surely must have been written as a kind of catharsis.

Charlotte and her sister Emily once taught together at a boarding school, where she is said to have fallen in love with a professor, presumably much like M. Emanuel. Her publisher, and at one point suitor, is said to very probably have been portrayed in the novel as Dr. John Bretton. She writes heavily about these characters, maybe even more so than her protagonist. The novel is very, very much a story of these characters, and sometimes it just feels as though Lucy is telling us all about them and nothing about herself. Charlotte came back alone after the death of her mother to teach, and her stay was full of loneliness and unhappiness.

Villette is not an easy novel. The tone is almost always gloomy, yet Charlotte is very deliberate in this. I noticed while reading that you can easily see that she means exactly what she is saying. She is putting so much emotions into the words she chooses it is palpable. A great example is shown here:

"...the negation of severe suffering was the nearest approach to happiness
I expected to know. Besides, I seemed to hold two lives - the life of thought, and that of reality."

Main character, Lucy Snowe, says this and I felt the pain. The only life Lucy can imagine that is not miserable is not to be happy, but to just be not in suffering. Even more, she can only imagine this life, never reach it. It was just plain sad, for me, as I truly liked and empathized with Lucy from the beginning. I was still waiting for this dark cloud to be lifted.

This was the part that left me just putting down the Kindle and having to think for awhile. "Finally, finally!" I thought. I was dangerously approaching the very end of the book, and Lucy and M. Emanuel have begun relationship, to which I was thrilled. This happiness was quickly shot down when Lucy waits for M. Emanuel for years while he is at sea, and he never returns. Although Lucy allows the reader an out, to imagine a happier ending, I couldn't help but know it, as much as I didn't want to, that M. Emanuel had died.

This was the hardest for me. To see Lucy first love the likable and kind Dr. Bretton, a man she has known for so much of her life, and watching him marry another woman. Then Lucy falls in love with M. Emanuel, and he leaves her too, in death. It was very depressing to also know that this is how Charlotte must have really felt while writing such a novel, only to have it end in despair.

Villette took me a long time to read, and in return I gave the story a long time to mull over in my mind. For me, it wasn't a book I was completely hooked on, it was a book that was something I totally did not expect in terms of mood, and it was just not capturing my attention. I read a lot of books in between  but I didn't give up on it. I'm glad that I didn't, too.

No, Villette was not the book that my all time favorite Jane Eyre was (but, knowing myself, it was likely because of the less-than-happy ending and lack of marriage that I was way too hopeful for). However, that doesn't mean that I don't classify Villette as one of the greatest books I have ever read. Reading it right around the time I was working on my NaNoWriMo, I was constantly appreciating the symbolism, the imagery, and the structure and style of the novel. I enjoyed it monumentally from that perspective. But, I mean, come on, how could you not be hoping for a Mr. Rochester?