It’s that time of the semester, again. When I can no longer read non-fiction for fun. Though to be honest, I was able to read my own history-for-fun books for longer than usual, because I’m only taking one history class. When your only history studies are in early Western Civ, digging into the “excitement” of Mesopotamia, then you can keep reading your books by Larry Schweikart on the history of America and American exceptionalism. But eventually, the amount of study and writing catches up with you. And now, I read well-worn fiction that I’ve read a million times, to pass the time when I’m eating at home. If I’m eating my lunch at school (and I usually am), I’m trying to work my way through C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, when I have time.
So, obviously, my German studies, reading my Geology book, and now my History books are starting to keep me busier. Which is almost too bad, when you’ve discovered some writers in one of your classes that you’d happily discuss books with, for hours on end. And share them. But they’re no more able to read fiction off my bookshelves than I am. Oh, wait, I did manage to fit in the latest books by Rick Riordan, The Blood of Olympus, and the “picture book”, Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods. But those are light reading, easily polished off on a Saturday. Some of my conversations with classmates have set off the “have you read this? have you read this?” default setting that every major bookworm knows and loves. And maybe their friends hate. If they aren’t bookworms, they might just, but then that means something’s wrong with them, right?
L.M. Montgomery, as well as Elizabeth Gaskell, Charlotte Bronte, & Jane Austen.
For example, thinking about fantasy fiction for a certain class has me thinking about my favorite writers that specialize in creating their own fantasy worlds, or they even retell classic fairytales. My favorite of these is probably Robin McKinley, who both writes a killer fantasy tale in worlds that boggle my mind, or she just rewrites the old favorites in an absolutely brilliant fashion. Take Spindle’s End or Rose Daughter, for example. The former is such a detailed tale of Sleeping Beauty that it still takes my breath away, every time I’ve read it (you know, about 150 times). And Rose Daughter is her second Beauty and the Beast story, the earlier one having been aimed at children, and she still manages to make both of them original and magical. And this is still the author that won the Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown, and the Newbery Honor mention for The Blue Sword (which is actually my favorite of the two). And along with the rest of the fantasy loving world, we’re all waiting for the second book in her Pegasus series, because if that book didn’t have the world’s most “horrible” cliffhanger, followed by three years of waiting… excuse me while I go sob in a corner for a while.Ok, now that I’ve pulled back from the Cliffs of Insanity, which is starting to talk about my favorite fantasy fiction, I’ll hit another type of book. Or two. Because when I realized that one of my classmates was minoring in Creative Writing, specifically in Poetry (myself, I’m considering minoring in Creative Writing, in Fiction), I had to start wondering two things. Have they ever read L.M. Montgomery’s Emily books and do they like Emily Dickinson?Quite the contrast, isn’t it? Stay with me for a second. As any reader of my book posts knows already, I’m an avid fan of L.M. Montgomery, but not just because of the Anne series. While not my least favorite of Montgomery’s books, Anne of Green Gable is not my favorite even of that particular series. That is, of course, Rilla of Ingleside. You should probably look up another post on the subject, because if I get started on Walter and Dog Monday, I’ll probably cry. But you really need to read the entire series to reach the crowning achievement which is Rilla.
Did I mention I love Larry Schweikart? Beowulf AND Tolkien, for the win. And Emily Dickinson.
Ok, I’m getting sidetracked again. Sorry. Emily of New Moon, and the rest of that trilogy, follow a young girl who’s been orphaned and sent to live with family members that don’t particularly want her. No, no, she isn’t Anne, by any stretch, even if she is an orphan and has an amazing imagination. From the very start, she has more determination than her father, and she wants to become a writer. Starting with letters written to her beloved father, she eventually meets a teacher who appreciates her skill and desire to write and the scenes where he critiques her writing and verbally slaughters everything she writes, in order to make her better… they’re priceless. Considering how much I enjoy writing, can you understand that I not only feel a sense of awe over Montgomery’s way with words, but wish that I had a bit of Emily’s skill, too? Because she attempts poetry, as well as fiction, and every writer understands the desire to want to write even better (and more).Back to Dickinson. I rediscovered this author while in my British Literature class, last semester. That may sound odd, since she wasn’t British, but one author that we did read (and I disliked the book, by the way) was fascinated with Emily Dickinson. Some of her lines were in the chapter titles and there was one poem at the beginning of the book, which we concentrated on, as well as the title of the book, Opposite House. It made me curious, because I vaguely remembered Dickinson from when I was in elementary school. I just remembered that she was rather dreary.
But when I looked her up again, all these years later, I was hooked! And despite having a number of poetry collections, and occasionally scraping out a few of my own, I’m not a big poetry reader. But I had to buy a complete collection of Emily Dickinson’s work, and though I still haven’t finished it, I’m fascinated by how she strung her words together. Of course they were supposed to go that way in the poem… but how did she know it?
Pssst… three of Wrede’s books are on the left side of the shelf. Awesomeness.
A few days ago, I discovered there was a one-woman play that had been written about her, called The Belle of Amherst, by William Luce. Apparently, it’s playing in New York City right now, starring Joely Richardson, and if I could afford to go to NYC for the weekend, I’d go right now. Unfortunately, I have to get back to my schoolwork soon and do tons of writing over the weekend. Oh, and I can’t afford a plane ticket. But I’m going to read that play soon, just to see what another author thought of Dickinson’s words.In the meantime, I’m looking forward to when Charlie N. Holmberg’s sequel to The Paper Magician comes out, though I’m not sure when that is. It’s called The Glass Magician, and I pre-ordered it. Another fictional tale that places magic in Regency or Victorian times. But if I tell you all about how much I love Patricia C. Wrede’s stories set in that type of setting, I’ll never shut up. Some of you have heard it before. Better search for her name in my previous posts.
Now, I need to go read some Geology or do something else constructive. Tomorrow, after school, I’ll really get down to the business of catching up on a few items of homework, just so I can spend the rest of the weekend writing. Because ENGL 345 has my name on it for Thursday, especially, and I have some more drafts to spin out. Auf wiedersehen, good night. 🙂