Corset Blues

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I write poetry, stories, madness. I transcribe my life into words. Beauty can be found anywhere and I guess I'm here chasing after my muse. Yet again. To contact: fizzlicious@gmail.com

So August has come to an end. It zipped by so fast that I’m still reeling.

Books Read This Month: 28
Books Read from the TBR Mountain: 13
Books Read from the Library: 11
E-books Read: 4

Books Purchased This Month: 3
Books for Review: 7
Books Added to TBR Mountain: 8

The Haul

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  • Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire (From Randomhouse Canada)
  • Heriot – Margaret Mahy. Purchased library copy for 50c
  • The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell (From Randomhouse Canada)
  • Black Ice – Susan Krinard (unsolicited from Tor)
  • Wolfsbane – Gillian Phillips (unsolicited from Tor)

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  • Trial by Fire – Josephine Angelini (request review copy from Raindcoast)
  • The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place – Julie Berry (^)
  • Man – Kim Thuy (from Randomhouse Canada)
  • Little Lord Fauntleroy – Frances Hodgson Burnett (free copy)
  • Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth – Warsan Shire (Book Depository)
August Wrap-Up and Book Haul So August has come to an end. It zipped by so fast that I’m still reeling.

The Cover Wars

Bone-Gap-FINAL

Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new…

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Insecurity

It can strike any time. Any where. About anything.

Is my face too round/narrow/cheesy?

Am I not a fun/friendly/cool person?

What if my book is all purple prose? How will I ever live down the horridness of that?

See?

Insecurity.

How do you deal with it?

Because I don’t. I can’t.

I turn off the world and eat ice cream. Usually it works. Other times it takes my mom to tell me to get out of the house…

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Before I go into a spiral of examining how much/little I’ve read this summer, I must apologize for the lack of proper book reviews and recommendations this month on my part. The thesis has kept me busy. September, I promise, will be much more active.

Now, for a review of all the things I said I’d read when I was young and foolish summer was beginning and everything looked hopeful and shiny:

  1. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (Didn’t love it as much as I loved The Diviners but Libba Bray’s not-so-good is still very, very good.)
  2. Rebel Angels by Libba Bray
  3. The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray
  4. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (Struck out halway through … because I am only halfway through this one.)
  5. Going Bovine by Libba Bray
  6. The Demon’s Lexicon trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan (Enjoyed it! I mean, I did do a huge post on it. But again, not as much as I enjoyed The Lynburn Legacy.)
  7. Spiritwalker trilogy by Kate Elliott (I started reading Cold Magic. I love it!)
  8. The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson
  9. Legend trilogy by Marie Lu
  10. Kingdom of Xia duology by Cindy Pon
  11. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
  12. Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke Allen
  13. The Worn Archive edited by Serah-Marie McMohan

Basically, I veered from the list completely and here is what I ended up actually reading:

Out of these, I think I didn’t enjoy only 4 of them.

In the end, I have come to learn two things about myself:

  1. I really do love making plans.
  2. And then before you know it I’m all, “Plan? What plan?”

So, what did you guys read this summer?

Summertime Madness (TBC Into Fall) Before I go into a spiral of examining how much/little I’ve read this summer, I must apologize for the lack of proper book reviews and recommendations this month on my part.

Worn Stories by Emily Spivack

Worn Stories by Emily Spivack

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Hardcover, 160 pages Published August 26th 2014 by Princeton Architectural Press
Source: ARC from publisher

Everyone has a memoir in miniature in at least one piece of clothing. In Worn Stories, Emily Spivack has collected over sixty of these clothing-inspired narratives from cultural figures and talented storytellers. First-person accounts range from the everyday to the extraordinary, such as…

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What I Read This Summer

What I Read This Summer

What I Read This Summer.

Did you ever have to write an essay during your early school years on What I Did This Summer? I don’t recall ever having done so. Either my teachers were more imaginative than that or I have forgotten. Here’s what I set out to read over the past few months:

  • Journey to the Centre of the Earth (Jules Verne)
  • Middlemarch (George Eliot)
    • also, potentially, The Mill on the Floss…

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Remember that shiny post I wrote up describing all the books I would be reading through the summer?  Yeah. That didn’t happen. I mean, I read books. I read quite a few books but I didn’t read the books I said I would.  Actually, I didn’t really feel like reading most of the time. I was revising my thesis novel and that took a lot out of me both mentally and physically. And since I was spending so much time with the written word already, I didn’t want to spend whatever time I had left on more reading. Let’s go through some of the titles I did read and talk about some of the ones that are more memorable.

1. The Accidental Keyhand (Ninja Librarians) by Jen Swann Downey. I’ve already reviewed this here so you can see how I feel about it.

2. The Changeling Sea by Patricia McKillip
This really small novel, novella actually, managed to encompass everything I like in a fantasy novel. Beautiful writing, fun characters, that ambiguity which makes things a lot more fun. It is worth checking out and comes highly recommended from me.

3. The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
Ogawa’s books are really short in length but have a lot of substance. Plus I like the glimpses of different cultures afforded by translated books. This one in particular concerned the relationship between an elderly mathematician with short term memory loss and his housekeeper and her son. The quiet friendship is really beautifully rendered.

3. A Face of Glass – Frances Hardinge
This was an amazing book. The writing, the plot, the characters are all lovely.

4. The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf – Ambelin Kwaymullina
Dystopian fiction with a lot of ecofeminist theory worked into it. Not consciously, of course, but very ripe pickings for any scholar. (Nudge, Stephie.)

5. The Ghost Bride – Yangsze Choo
This concerns the tradition of finding wives for dead unmarried sons. Set in Malaysia, this is chilling and quite fun to read. There is a dragon.

6. The Goblin Emperor – Katherine Addison
Easily one of my favourite books this year. This standalone fantasy though marketed as adult works perfectly as a crossover. High recommended to any fantasy fans.

7. Glass Sentence – S. E. Grove
This was not as wonderful as it has been touted to be. For various reasons. However, it was enjoyable. And a good middle grade novel should always get the spotlight. Plus excellent worldbuilding.

8. Geek Girl: Picture Perfect – Holly Smale
Smale dresses up her Geek Girl series as fluff but honestly, it’s smart fluff. It’s fun fluff. And I like fluff.

9. The Child of a Hidden Sea – A. M. Dellamonica
So, I just finished this last night and for a portal fantasy, this gave us a different heroine. This is adult fiction and could function as a crossover. The main character is a biology geek who is afraid of defending her Masters thesis (Yash and I are both going to defend soon so this struck very close to home).

My Summer Time Reading Remember that shiny post I wrote up describing all the books I would be reading through the summer?  

The Poetic Soul: An Ode to Sylvia Plath

The Poetic Soul: An Ode to Sylvia Plath

I used to write a lot of poetry. In the beginning, it was bad poetry but after I took a class, it became passable poetry. I used to think that poetry was the only medium I could express myself in. I read Sylvia Plath, internalized her emotions or perhaps, I already had her emotions and I just reflected them through my words. Either ways, here is an edited version of a collection of vignettes I…

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Often, when you finish a book, you are left with a sense of satisfaction (if it was a good book that is).The story has closed and it has settled the tension in your heart and answered the questions buzzing about your mind. You know that the characters’ motivations have been resolved, they will be alright, and you know that that particular world will always be there, nestled between two covers, should you need to revisit an old friend. But on the rare occasion a world has become so real that it’s readers become inhabitants, emigrating between reality and fantasy. I have experience this before but only once. It was when I finished reading first The Hobbit and then immediately following, The Lord of the Rings (I think I was 12 or 13). I still remember how turning to the first page of the last chapter I was overcome with a profound sadness, a great chasm was opening up in my chest as I slowly began to realize that this was truly the end, and we had all made it together. That’s not to negatively comment on the length of the book trilogy, but truly it had probably taken me a year to read the whole set. At age 12 I wasn’t so accomplished a reader and I had school and school books and assignments. Yet, each night I would retire to Middle Earth and upon closing The Return of the King I felt like I was closing the door on a good companion forever.

So, I read it again.

Upon finishing it the second time I was left, once again, wanting. That’s when I discovered The Silmarillion. Written by Tolkien and completed by his son, Christopher Tolkien, this companion book tells many of the myths, legends and histories of Middle Earth. It accounts the Elder Days, the First Age (when Morgoth, the first Dark Lord dwelt in Middle Earth) and provides the backgrounds to the many references made to the History of Middle Earth in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Indeed, there is the rub. This book is only readable, and enjoyable for that matter, by those who have read and enjoyed The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. It’s like a mythology textbook, a class in ancient Middle Earth History and it’s wonderful and fascinating if you belong to that world.

I’m not talking about worlds like More’s Utopia, Lovecraft’s Dreamlands, Barry’s Neverlandor Carroll’s Wonderland which have inspired many (many many!) retellings and reusings over the years – – but rather a focus on one particular world by both the authors and the audiences. Indeed, had the world not fallen in love with LOTR as they did I’m not sure that the compendium books would have ever been published – but we wanted more. This phenomenon seems to have opened the floodgates. Over the past couple of decades these Historical texts about a particular fantasy world have become more common, particularly with the worlds of children’s literature. How curious. Is it because a child really does transport themselves into the magical world of Harry Potter and adventure alongside the protagonists? Fiction is said to inspire empathy in children and perhaps they become so empathetically linked to the characters and the world that they find it difficult to let go – but I also think it has something to do with the suspension of disbelief. A child is full ready and willing to give themselves over to fantasy and not to question it. Children in all sorts of capacities are ready to immerse themselves in fantasy, be they well to do Western children with no other worries but those presented in fiction, or be they children in need, reading a used manuscript and escaping into the mind of a valiant hero.  That’s a rather broad blanket, but I would argue for it’s truth in most cases.

By any means, the results are these curiosities on the bookshelf that can only be called the Histories of Fantasy Worlds. We have the likes of The Tales of Earthsea among many other’s penned by Ursula K. LeGuin about her Earthsea realm. Phillip Pullman’s own alternate universe from His Dark Materials has inspired quite a few non-fiction speculations and explanations, but from himself Lyra’s Oxford, which recounts some of Lyra’s adventures in Oxford and delves into the history of the world, also  Once Upon a Time in the North which focuses on the bears and the witches and their histories – and the much anticipated Book of Dust which will settle some great debates about Dust and delve into the scientific history of Pullman’s world. Last, but certainly not least, are the continuations and offshoots of the Harry Potter universe. Aside from Pottermore, which Janet know much more about than I, and all the extra J.K. penned materials found there are the companion books. The Tales of Beedle the Bard is meant to be a republication of the very book that Dumbledore left to Hermione in his will (and upon which hinges the story of The Deathly Hallows) and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them  which explores and expand on the magical world alongside our own dull muggle one.

The downside here is the insane commercialization which follows these books – a film of Fantastic Beasts which for all intents and purposes reads as a History and Science text and not a fantastic adventure at all is underway, for instance. And I just have to wonder how long it will take Suzanne Collins to come up with a Historical account of Panem and for those movies to begin production.

All cynicism aside, I think that these books are fascinating. Exploring the corners of an author’s mind and universe, and learning are at the core of their existence. Yet, even having read quite a few of the aforementioned volumes myself I still wonder about them. I mean, I quite enjoy the histories and mythologies of our own civilizations as well, but I’m truly living here. I think, perhaps, these authors have truly succeeded in creating what Tolkein called, the secondary world. And what isn’t captivating about imagining that a world so close to our own and full of magic, might truly exist? Well, it certainly does in my own, and in many other’s, imaginations.

The Extraordinary Cases of Histories of Fictional Worlds Often, when you finish a book, you are left with a sense of satisfaction (if it was a good book that is).The story has closed and it has settled the tension in your heart and answered the questions buzzing about your mind.

The Liebster Award

Hello all!

We have been nominated for another blogosphere award and because they are so much fun to participate in, here we go!

liebster-award

The Liebster Award Rules:

1) Link back to the person who nominated you.
2) Share 11 facts about yourself. (We’re going to do 5 each.)
3) Answer 11 questions that were asked by the person who nominated you.
4) Nominate 11 people who you think deserve the Liebster Award.
5…

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The Cover Wars

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To Master Thief Fin, an orphan from the murky pirate world of the Khaznot Quay, the Map is the key to finding his mother. To suburban schoolgirl Marrill, it’s her only way home after getting stranded on the Pirate Stream, the magical waterway which connects every world in creation (Apparently she shouldn’t have climbed aboard the mysterious pirate ship that sailed out of nowhere and into a dry…

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How To Prepare For Your Thesis Defense

How To Prepare For Your Thesis Defense

As I may have said a couple of hundred times already, I’m defending my thesis on the 18th of September so I have roughly a month to prepare for it. I shall give you some basic steps on how to prepare for a thesis defense (or defence, I don’t think it matters):

1. Don’t.

Really, don’t. Just do something else. Watch a drama, read a book, go outside. Have a staring competition with a strange…

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