Monthly Archives: July 2011

CBR III Week 15: A Dance with Dragons by George R R Martin


It's finally here! Now we can all talk about it! I mean, right? No?

So you know how one of Martin's favorite things in this world is killing off important characters?


via PinkIndiaInk

Right. I like that he's willing to go there, you know? I really do. It's annoying to read a book where the main characters have plot armor. Here's the thing though: at what point does killing people off lose its shock value and become a "really, again?" thing? Sure, the world is a bleak and horrible place where stupidity and violence tend to triumph over all good things and…

Wait, where was I going with this? All those things are true. I wonder if Martin's concern with duty in this novel and specifically the way power and responsibility constrain those who would have them is a result of the struggle he's had pleasing fans and finishing this massive installment. A bridge too far?

Anyway, I read this, fangirled so hard I died, and then I came back to life. I think George would approve.


Happy Blogday!

Today is the blog's officially official first birthday. It's been a whole year since I was in China on a business trip with my dad, reading The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, when I decided PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW WHAT I THINK. Born of boredom! Maintained out of the need for continuous attention! I love you, blog! In one year I have:

-Read more than 40 books (by my not-very-accurate count).

-Written about 26 books.

-Pimped my dog out for internet traffic 6 times.

-Made loving fun of Anthropologie 3 times.

-Read the NYTimes book review 2 times ( sad face!).

I have also finished a draft of my thesis and realized that I need to rewrite the whole thing! Things around here are pretty thrilling. Next year: more books! Maybe a little fiction written by yours truly (more on this later)! More Molly! Even if she doesn't want to.

Photo (1) Photo (2)

Pictures courtesy of Chandler!

CBR III Week 14: Dubliners by James Joyce


A lot of the time when I am reading, I am like Clark Griswold in this scene in Vacation:


I hope you know German!

What I mean is that I don't take the time to digest whatever I'm reading, and to really try to understand what the author has done. This works well a lot of the time; after all, not everything deserves a long, hard look. Dubliners is the other kind of thing. What can you say about James Joyce, though, that somebody else hasn't already said? That his short stories are still startlingly good a million years later? That my favorite was "A Painful Case"? 

Ok. There's that.

Also, did you know that the common usage of the word epiphany is something James Joyce is [partially] responsible for? One of the things that unifies Dubliners is that each story contains a moment of epiphany, which Joyce thought of as a sudden manifestation of the essential nature of something, a realization of the truth of a situation. As he put it, "little errors and gestures – mere straws in the wind – by which people betrayed the very things they were most careful to conceal." I also love what he wrote about epiphanies in Stephen Hero: "Its soul, its whatness, leaps to us from the vestment of its appearance. The soul of the commonest object, the structure of which is so adjusted, seems to us radiant. The object achieves its epiphany."