Friday, July 29, 2016

WBI: Richmond Valentine

Kingsman: The Secret Service is the dopest spy movie I’ve seen in a long time. I blame Daniel Craig. Anyway, let’s chat before the sequel comes out next year.

via
Richmond Valentine put all his money towards protecting the environment only to realize one thing: it wasn’t going to make a damn bit of difference. Earth is sick and humanity is its virus. The solution? Be the one to cull humanity first, before humanity destroys itself and its home.


WBI Profile

Classification :: A023567$#*
Role :: Alpha (plotting and idealistic mastermind)
Motivation :: chaos (exterminating humanity), idealism (Earth must be saved), insanity/psychology (megalomaniac), lifestyle (remaining rich and elite), desperation (humanity’s survival), personal/material gain (Earth and humanity’s survival)
Bonus :: money (and lots of it), minions (Gazelle, personal army), lair (a mountain)

via

His Significance To…

Harry Hart—as a Kingsman agent it’s Harry’s duty to put a stop to Valentine’s plan; however, Valentine has more information and the power to bend his very will

Eggsy—as a green recruit, Eggsy has little to do with Valentine until he is the one person standing between the villain and a successful world takeover

Gazelle—she is his partner in crime and Valentine trusts her completely to help him (although she enjoys killing folks more than he does)

the world’s elite—Valentine wants humanity to continue after they cull the species; these are the chosen ones who will fulfill that prophecy

ordinary people—since it is the sizable quantity of ordinary folks overwhelming Earth, these ones must die for the world’s salvation

via

Notable Actions

surveillance—Valentine pays attention to people, because they all have the power to bolster or break his project. In the end, people make all the difference.

planning and testing—as twisted as he is, Valentine knows he wields dangerous power and he puts firm limits on how far he’s willing to go. That’s why he makes careful plans and tests them before making the final launch.

succeeding—his diligence and attention make Valentine’s plan work in the end; the Kingsmen need to stop him after his plan has started working.

via

Big Idea

he turns around so he can have deniability—Valentine vomits at the sight of blood and the first time he kills a man with his own gun, he doesn’t like it. What’s the problem, when he arranges the deaths of so many others? He didn’t kill them; “they killed each other.” The literal act of keeping his hands clean is what matters to Valentine. He puts murder in motion but places full responsibility on those who commit it. Even if they didn’t have a choice.

charisma, good intentions, and logic work—Valentine is a likable person. He wants to save the world and devises a rational way to do that. As horrible as his plan is, it’s easy for him to convince so many people to join his cause because he’s smart and he’s charming. That makes people trust and believe him.

some lives matter—certain fears surround contemporary movements like #BlackLivesMatter. Many people perceive this means that black lives matter more than others, when they really mean to address injustice that often presents itself as inequality under the law. Valentine shows what a real superiority movement looks like. He handpicks some thousands he thinks worthy of keeping, discriminating by a single factor that puts over 99% of the world to death. And then he lets the chaos ensue. It’s scary.


Because of that last idea, it seems a little insensitive to make Valentine and Gazelle the only notable people of color present in the film. Race isn’t meant to be the point, of course. The point is that Valentine values money as a status symbol, and so the people he saves for his new world belong to a specific group. The rich. The elite. The powerful. Whether they are politicians or philanthropists, musicians or teachers, he wants the people that matter. This really hits a nerve with our protagonist, Eggsy, because he didn’t grow up with status. He grew up poor and abused and struggling and he can’t walk away from it. Even when he’s out saving the world he has a mother and sister he needs to get to safety.

We sympathize with Eggsy because he isn’t the megalomaniac who wants to murder seven billion people. And I don’t blame us for that. Still, when I think about whose lives we value more as a planet, I have to wonder whether Eggsy and Valentine are appropriate representatives. Maybe in some ways. But in others? I have to wonder. Because Valentine isn’t the only one who believes in superiority, and the ones who do might look a lot like Eggsy.


Have you seen
Kingsman? (Despite my criticisms just now, I do seriously love this film. Go see it!)


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Are Books With Multiple Authors Funnier?

Giggles
Flickr Credit: john.fletcher39
I love funny books.

Glancing over my favorites bookshelf, there isn’t a one without a rapier wit or clever turn of phrase. Sometimes this language belongs to a single character, but it’s all the better when it’s weaved into the narration itself. If sarcasm isn’t the quickest way to my heart, then it’s surely the quickest way to my head.

I am on a quest for funny books, so humor me this question: do you think books with multiple authors are funnier?

Okay, that is not exactly what I want to know. Better to ask something along the lines of, “Are fictional books written by multiple authors humorous as a collective—which isn’t to say that they are all funnier than every book written by one person but that when two or more people sit down and write a book together they go for laughs more than other reactions—at least in general?”

That is a stupidly long question to turn into a blog post title, though. I decided to pass.

My question stands. Are we usually meant to laugh when two people team up to write a story? Is there ever a story where we’re only meant to cry? Or get nightmares so bad we wet our pants? Because in my experience, the humor always comes first.

via Goodreads
Tesla’s Attic by Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman | When fourteen-year-old Nick finds some of Nikola Tesla’s inventions in his house he ends up visiting the morgue and maybe ends the world. As much as they pack science and thrills into this story, I mostly remember cackling at the jokes because they were so fun. I knew I was supposed to be smiling, and I did.

via Goodreads
Mothership by Martin Leicht and Isla Neal | Pregnant sixteen-year-old Elvie Nara’s life gets turned on its ear when her spaceship school gets invaded by aliens, one of whom is her baby daddy. I love Elvie’s voice. She’s relatable and admirable, but her flippancy, attitude, and the general absurdity of the story is what makes it most endearing to me.

via Goodreads
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodie Meadows | This is the story of Lady Jane Grey but instead of Protestants they are shapeshifters. This is fine with me because historically I would belong to the shapeshifters and how cool is that. Anyway. From the Greek-Chorus-like narration to the Princess Bride references to calling sex “the very special hug” I was highly amused while reading about one of my favorite historical periods. Why don’t we rewrite history like this more often?

Have I read funnier books? Certainly. Have they been authored by one person? Also true. But I haven’t read many books that have more than one author to their name and yet aren’t funny. If that happens, they are usually:

a) non-fiction (or something close to it)
b) a graphic novel (in which case the other person is actually the artist but they deserve that credit)
c) an adaption (like how Pride and Prejudice and Zombies lists Jane Austen as a writer due to the direct quotes)
d) a compilation (poetry, short stories, etcetera)

To be fair, I make it sound like there’s a lot of room for exceptions. Maybe that’s true, but since my focus is on novels, A, B, and D don’t really apply. And Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is really funny so I’m not really hurting my case on that roll.

I guess I just want to know why. I remember attending a reading of Tesla’s Attic with both Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman. I don’t remember the exact words, but Eric Elfman told us, they had a lot of fun writing together—especially the funny parts. Those bits were only given the okay when both writers would laugh at the section. Then they’d know they were doing it right.

Is everyone like that? Do writers come together because they like laughing, and laughing with others? Is it just easier to produce quality humor together as opposed to quality tragedy or horror? Do people who don’t want to be humorous not work well with others?

I have no clue. But it’s a pattern I’ve glimpsed so I wondered—have you noticed it, too?

Do you think when authors team up they intend to write humorously?


Monday, July 25, 2016

How Do You Interpret Poetry?

Pandora's Box
Flickr Credit: Shawn Tron
Last week we discussed annotating poetry. For me, it’s a process of SOAPSTTone-ing and then picking out important pieces of the poem that I’ll refer back to later. Today we’re returning to “Pandora” by Topaz Winters to ask “What does it all mean?”

Pandora
And I could’ve kissed you. Right there,
you with that dance and me with the look on my face that says
goddamn. Who knew people could be sunlight.
Add that to the things I’ve learned
while trying and failing to wrestle this year into submission:
one, a body is a prayer, not a temple.
two, is it really so selfish to want to be the one thing you’ll never say out loud?
three, the closet/the humming box/the things that come out of both of them.
four, yes, you idiot, of course I’m in love with you.
How many times do I have to tell you before you pick up the goddamn phone?
So me, I’m over here choking myself to sleep and you, you’re
busy kissing all the tornadoes in Kansas good night.
Like there’s anything more mutual than waiting.
Like there’s anything left, except for maybe everything.
Telephone cord dangling like something burnt to death,
the closet/the humming box/the things that are best left closed.
Me with the look on my face that says
goddamn. It’s been a long year.
Me with the look on my face that says
goddamn. Just look at that,
darling. Just look at you dance.
–Topaz Winters (source)

(Once again, many thanks to Topaz for letting us borrow her poem!)

There are multiple ways to interpret poetry and obviously I can’t go over them all, but I think there are a few things that are important to keep regardless of how you decide to share your thoughts.

1. Purpose and Meaning—purpose can make something creative sound incredibly dry, but the poet wanted you to take something away from their writing. What did they want to pass on? Why?

2. Evidence—no matter who you are, saying “I think this poem is about aliens because I say so” sounds dumb. Point out the pieces of the poem that say something to you.

3. Explanation—evidence alone doesn’t do much; it needs to be interpreted. That interpretation should ultimately lead straight back to the purpose and meaning we already discussed.

They’re a few simple ideas, but they can result in very different outcomes and even different formats. To demonstrate this, I enlisted my best friend to share her thoughts on the poem. She is smart and good with poetry, but she explained her thoughts in a completely different way than I did below. But, you’ll notice, our meanings are bolded, our evidence is italicized, and explanations are underlined.

Pandora's Box/Jar
Flickr Credit: 'No Matter' Project

Elizabeth’s Response:

A body is a prayer, not a temple. A line that strikes with a truth I haven’t considered before.
How many times do I have to tell you before you pick up the goddamn phone? A line in which I hear bitterness that I recognize.
the closet/the humming box/the things that are best left closed. A line that exemplifies the title, a line that connects the mythos with the modern.
What I get most from this poem is emotion. Raw emotion, and experience. It’s amazing to me that a poem can be Pandora and it can but it can also be something else entirely:  a story of truth through a medium of words, reminding me of what Tim O’Brien says about story and truth, that something doesn’t have to be real to be true.
That’s what this sounds like.
When I read poetry, I latch onto the feeling. (Maybe this is why I’m not an English major?) I go straight to the emotion and say why. "Why does it make me feel this way? What do I connect to? What truth has the poet spoken that I can identify?"
What I hear – my answer to the why – is a double edge of love and bitterness. A familiar theme, maybe. She says darling but compares the telephone cord to something burnt to death and I feel the discordancy as a shiver, feel the give and take of the words.
The speaker says, I love.
The speaker says, I hurt.
Sometimes, that’s all I need to know.

My Response:

“Pandora” expresses the frustrations of a queer speaker whose closeted relationship lacks adequate communication. Unless the speaker and her lover begin speaking their relationship will remain at a standstill, but the latter is notoriously silent throughout the poem. Her sexuality is the “one thing you’ll never say out loud, ” so it’s unlikely the speaker is going to get the verbal acknowledgement she craves (7). Let’s not lay all the blame on the lover, though. The speaker used to initiate conversations with her lover, but it’s “the look on her face that” is speaking (17). The voice of this poem is ambiguous—we don’t know how much the speaker says aloud and how much is unspoken longing. The only noise we’re sure is heard is Pandora’s “humming box,” which the speaker equates with the proverbial closet that queer people leave to externally affirm their identity. Where the phone is “like something burnt to death,” the box audibly vibrates (15). The same curiosity that motivated Pandora to open the box plagues our speaker, presumably to open the closet. Like in the myth, though, the consequences for that action will be severe.
What evil could she unleash? It isn’t the queer relationship itself—we’ve no moral qualms on that front. In fact, she tells us “a body is a prayer, not a temple,” justifying her love (6). This verse, 1 Corinthians 6:19, condemns same-sex relationships in a “house of God.” To the speaker, though, bodies are prayers—a spiritual communication platform that can involve a request, supplication, or thanksgiving made to a higher power (OED). In other words, a prayer (and thus, a body) is a kind of spiritual conversation. This is ironic considering the lack of conversation present in the speaker’s love life that initiating conversation will not solve. Ultimately the speaker never names the evil she could release, but she hints as to its identity in line 16 when she suggests her lover’s closet is “best left closed.” It would be wrong to out her crush. Why? It isn’t thoughtful, obviously. Maybe if Pandora opens the box too early, she’ll lose everything she had in the first place. Maybe it’s important that Pandora’s lover takes the initiative. She asks, “How many times do I have to tell you before you pick up the goddamn phone?” (10) Our speaker has waited and waited, but unless her lover picks up the phone they’ll never have the connection she seeks. Until her lover can reciprocate, it’s better that the box stays closed. It doesn’t mean Pandora isn’t curious or in love, but in her closing, she apparently seems content to wait, for now.


Elizabeth’s response described her personal reactions to the poem and mine was more academic. Still, we both took the same poem and came up with a way to describe what the poem meant to the both of us. There’s plenty of room for your opinion, too.

What does “Pandora” mean to you?

Saturday, July 23, 2016

RW Update 6 and Melancholy

I am reading…
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
How to Love by Katie Cotugno
46/30 books finished

Girl reading
Flickr Credit: Pedro Ribeiro Simões
Reaching the end of my summer reading challenge has more melancholy moments than I expected.

Of course, I’d be lying if I omitted the fact that I’m excited. I really, really, really, really, really want to reread something by Mark Walden before the summer’s end. Probably Escape Velocity. Maybe Dreadnought. And let’s not forget to recall the feels present in Rogue. You have no idea how often I walk over to my bookshelf and allow myself to skim a page or two before replacing the book among its siblings. I’m getting to be desperate. Breaking my ban will be nice.

And that goes for other books, too. I’d like to reread Tesla’s Attic and Mothership and a few other works authored by guys. I can’t forget the unbelievable talents I’ll get to return to.

Then again, thinking about my TBR dredges up all kinds of regret. One of my goals this summer was to cut down on my physical TBR and I was very successful. As we speak, I only have two books solely authored by women that I haven’t read yet. And both will be rereads.

Breaking this ban means that if I want to work on my TBR, I’m going to read a lot of male-authored works. There’s nothing wrong with male authors, per se—there’s as much to adore in them as with anybody else. But I’m also wary. There are a few problems you’re more likely to find in books authored by white men and I’ll be undertaking those risks again. I’ve kind of being spoiled with such an interesting and enjoyable range of fictional women written by women. It’d be nice to keep that up.

(Admittedly, plenty of books I read this summer were disappointing, but the reasons are a little different.)

Ah, well. I’m sure it won’t be terrible. As much as The Odyssey and The Things They Carried may not be the stories I’ve grown accustomed to, they’re still worth reading. There’s always the library. My Kindle. School will be starting soon, and that brings its very own book list.

Still, I feel as though I’m going to have to lose touch with a system I’ve come to enjoy.

It’s funny. At the beginning of this summer, I doubted my ability to read thirty books by women because I wouldn’t have the willpower to stick to it. I was so sure that I’d cave and want to read male authors more. Now, at the end of this exercise, I’m looking at my diminished TBR and wishing I were reading women for another month.

Then again, I hear my rereads calling to me… Eight more days. I can do this.


Have you ever completed a reading challenge?


Friday, July 22, 2016

Maybe I Will Write About Something Else on Fridays

Seattle
Flickr Credit: Tiffany Von Arnim

I don’t know if you knew this, but I have a blogging schedule.

Mondays I talk about writing. Wednesdays I write about reading. Thursdays and Fridays alternate between talking about reading, villains, and blogging. Today I am supposed to talk about blogging, but I don’t want to.

To be fair, I usually don’t. Most Fridays when I am supposed to talk about blogging, I use a tag to create some semblance of talking about blogging. It’s social, anyway—I like that bit. With tags you can call someone out for interacting with you and then interact with others. It keeps me social and active in my blogging community.

But “blogging” isn’t the umbrella title I want to use for what I do these days. I don’t write about how to be a blogger, and I don’t want to. Are you looking to increase your followers? Well, don’t look at me. Do you want to know how to format your blog? You don’t want to enlist my help. Are you trying to find a better way to connect with your audience? Nice try—run along and Google it, okay? Point is, the mechanics of blogging isn’t my main focus here.

I don’t know what I want to replace “blogging days” with, though. I like the format I have set up. It works for me. But what do I put here? Should I have another day of discussion? Should Wednesdays be reserved for books and Fridays for television? Should I make it a day to focus on being social? Would someone be interested in updates on my college experience? Or maybe I could choose a particular lens to focus on during those days. That’s an option, too.

It’s something I’ll have to think about. I could leave things the way they are, but that would be of no help to anyone. Also, by sharing my own feelings right now, perhaps you will have pertinent responses relating to your interest in the subjects I speak about and would like to see more of. Though if we’re sharing feelings, I want to be honest. There’s a spider trapped in the light fixture in the bathroom and it’s been there for like, a whole day, but I’m too chicken to get it down and kill it because its silhouette is big. I did just kill a bigger spider, though. Man, it’s legspan was like an inch and a half across! Yuck.

Anyway, the point is that maybe something will change around here soon, and we’ll do something else on Fridays like these. But not today. I did a tag on Wednesday. I am many things, but I’m not the kind of person who posts two tags in a week.

That’s final.

How do you decide what your blog schedule will look like?


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Bookshelf Tag II

I do love me some book tags, and Liz from Out of Coffee, Out of Mind was kind enough to tag me for her update to the Bookshelf Tour Tag. Thanks, Liz!


The Rules (of the original tag):
  • The book(s) you answer with must be from your bookshelf.
  • Include a picture of your bookshelf, if possible, or you could include pictures of your dream shelf. 
via Goodreads
a short but powerful book | Wit by Margaret Edson | a two hour play about a woman dying from cancer that deals with the significance of choice and teaching and healing in her last hours

a good, long book | Inheritance by Christopher Paolini | as a rule I dislike long books, but Paolini sucks me into his fantasy worlds and I love them so, so much

favorite classic on my shelf | The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde | this play is hilarious and I had to bury my face in my pillow so my laughter wouldn’t wake up my family in the middle of the night. how could I not love it?

via Goodreads
a relatively obscure book | Much Ado About Grubstake by Jean Ferris | it is a ridiculous story because it is the stereotype of every western ever but slightly different but I love it, love it, love it

an underrated book | Twilight by Stephenie Meyer | obviously a ton of people love this book, but as I reread it now I wish more people talked about the Underworld overtones and the good and evil and just be more academic about it

via Goodreads
an overrated book | The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan | the fandom is 32% responsible for ruining Riordan for me. fourteen-year-olds gone wild ruin my Pinterest feed. they think they are so special

most reread book | Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling | it’s sort of disappointing for this to still be true but I don’t think I’ve read any other book more than 24 times

how many of the books you own have you not yet read? | 22 | books don’t get to live on the shelf until I’ve read them, so I make a point of reading the books I own

via Goodreads
a book you haven’t read | How to Read Novels Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster | I really liked his other book and I’ve been meaning to find out more of his thoughts but since he is a guy, I can’t read it yet

a short story collection | Girls to the Rescue! by Bruce Lansky | I have four or five of these collections and they are nice little stories about how girls do awesome things that aren’t always romantically important

a nonfiction book | I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou | turns out my old AP texts can have really interesting sources and this was both beautiful and heartbreaking

via Goodreads
a copy of a book with an interesting story behind it | Sherlock by Jay. | my friend who lives in Japan sent this to his American contacts who sent it to me so I got a random Christmas present in the middle of the year and while I speak no Japanese I think it is super cool to have anyway


Thanks, Liz, this was really fun! For my tags, I tag Grace, Shar or Shanti, and Ashana Lian. Have fun, friends!


Okay, people. Pick two books you own and tell me which categories they would fit into!


Monday, July 18, 2016

How Do You Annotate Poetry?

Pandora's Box
Flickr Credit: Vicious Bits
Annotating poetry is the bomb dot com. If it weren’t for the lessons received from my 12th grade English teacher, college would be a heck of a lot harder. Poetry is everywhere and it’s a complex thing, so coming up with a system to understand it has been a true lifesaver for me.

I like to learn by doing, so I’ll demonstrate how I annotate through a reading of “Pandora” by Topaz Winters, which was originally published on her blog. (Thanks for letting me use your poem, Topaz!) For your convenience, here is the poem:

Pandora
And I could’ve kissed you. Right there,
you with that dance and me with the look on my face that says
goddamn. Who knew people could be sunlight.
Add that to the things I’ve learned
while trying and failing to wrestle this year into submission:
one, a body is a prayer, not a temple.
two, is it really so selfish to want to be the one thing you’ll never say out loud?
three, the closet/the humming box/the things that come out of both of them.
four, yes, you idiot, of course I’m in love with you.
How many times do I have to tell you before you pick up the goddamn phone?
So me, I’m over here choking myself to sleep and you, you’re
busy kissing all the tornadoes in Kansas good night.
Like there’s anything more mutual than waiting.
Like there’s anything left, except for maybe everything.
Telephone cord dangling like something burnt to death,
the closet/the humming box/the things that are best left closed.
Me with the look on my face that says
goddamn. It’s been a long year.
Me with the look on my face that says
goddamn. Just look at that,
darling. Just look at you dance.
–Topaz Winters (source)

Gorgeous, right? But maybe also a lot to take in? I get that. That’s why I have my system.

1. Get Some Context

It can help to know where the writer is from, what year it was written, some personal history, and many other details if you can get them. For now, these are Topaz’s thoughts in her original blog post:
“Here is a poem about love. […]It is also a poem about destruction and sadness and waiting and Greek mythos. And it is a poem about healing. And music. All things, after all, are about music.”

Even if you’ve never heard of Topaz before, you have a few themes to start from and an idea of what Topaz might care about.

2. SOAPSTTone It

This is a common teaching tool that gives focus to your investigation of a text. It’s super tedious with prose, but my go-to method for poetry.

Subject: What is the poem about? Give an overview of the topic. *For “Pandora,” I might say this poem is about love in the face of evil.

Occasion: What is the (temporal) context in which the poem is written? Note if the poem takes place during a particular season or after a certain event, etcetera. I like to think of it as, “Upon _____, the speaker wrote this poem.” *Upon seeing her lover dance, the speaker wanted to end the silence.

Audience: Who is the poem speaking to? Observe whether the poem is addressed to any particular person or idea. *The speaker addresses her lover. 

Purpose: What is the reason for this poem? This is the message the poem tries to convey, the ultimate point, the meaning intended in the poem. It helps to do this part last, when you have all the details.

Speaker: How does the speaker characterize his or herself? This is not the poet (necessarily) but only what we know of the speaker from the actual poem. *Words to describe Pandora (our speaker) include struggling, frustrated, enamored, queer, and silent. 

Title: What is the poem’s title? My teacher added this in because a poem’s title often informs us of the subject matter. *For example, “Pandora” alludes to the woman who unleashed all evil upon the world. This indicates that “the humming box” refers to Pandora’s box from mythology.

Tone: What is the speaker’s attitude? This is usually conveyed through the word choice and literary devices present in the poem. I tend to accomplish this in the next two steps.

3. Word Sort

Now I like to grab a few highlighters and start sorting words. By highlighting common themes, I can pick out the speaker’s focus and feelings. In this poem, I highlighted disasters (like those of Pandora’s box), love words, time words, and words referring to speaking aloud.

(Click to see full size)

4. Pick Out Literary Devices

At this stage I pick out significant pieces of language (here’s a list of literary devices, should you need them). This is everything from metaphors to sibilance to allusions. This poem alludes to Pandora (of course) and the Biblical 1 Corinthians 6:19. She also uses apostrophe to address her lover, who is not present (to us, anyway).


And, of course, there’s a lot more that one could do, but this is where I like to get started. I would encourage you to pull out a piece of paper and SOAPSTTone this poem yourself and figure out the purpose of the poem yourself! (If you need some hints, headers with stars have my own interpretations in white.)

What does your SOAPSTTone of “Pandora” look like? Do you have a system for annotating poetry?


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Thursentary: Do You Write Negative Reviews?

Not My Pirate Face (But Suspiciously Similar)
Flickr Credit: David Goehring

Malevolent reader confession: I like writing negative reviews.

Admittedly, I hate writing reviews in general. They take a long time to write and wouldn’t offer much of value and other people will write better reviews. I’d rather just read and if I see something cool I’ll talk about it here somewhere. Yeah, I don’t write reviews.

There are a few exceptions to this rule:

1) I got it for free, in which I will be polite and gracious by reviewing.
2) The book is in desperate need of reviews and people need to know.
3) I did not like the book at all.

Also, I made writing a few Goodreads reviews a goal for my summer reading challenge, but I don’t know how I feel about doing that again.

Anyway, the third one tends to be the rule to the exceptions—if I write a review, chances are it will be negative. That fact has been on my mind for a while. Brett Michael Orr discussed the topic on his blog a little while back. His post framed the discussion as a moral question: “Should You Write a Negative Review?” He went on to offer some reviewing guidelines for readers, like don’t send bad reviews to authors and don’t make it personal. All good ideas.

But the question still gets me. Should you write a negative review? Should you write it? Should you not? Brett talks a little bit about negative reviews from the perspective of an author and reader, and his thoughts remain totally valid. But malevolent reader that I am, I have only one answer: YES OF COURSE WRITE THE NEGATIVE REVIEW.

My practical reason for this, I suppose, is that I feel it is my solemn duty to warn other readers about the investment they’re making. If I had a miserable experience, others shouldn’t suffer the same, especially if an exchange of money is involved. Or just time. They have value and shouldn’t be wasted.

Then, of course, I like to be critical. Of course, you should and must be critical with books you truly enjoyed, too—it isn’t that there’s exclusivity in this premise. For me, though, criticizing books I like often takes two or three reads before I feel confident enough to get a sense of the details and an objective attitude. It’s easier with books I don’t like because all of the problematic bits stick right out and I can put out a review right away condemning the writing, or whatever else it is that bothers me.

I often have a lot of fun when that happens.

I also suspect that most people either may not enjoy writing negative reviews or simply stop reading books they dislike (both of which are fine, by the way). If this is true, though, books may have reviews skewed towards the positive side. And it’s great that people like a book but I also like to read negative reviews because they’re often more honest about the content and contain a more critical eye. Thus, I seek to provide an equalizer. 

That critical eye is not important just to judge a book’s content, but also to judge a person’s. Because I judge people on their negative reviews. If I see that they dislike things that would also concern me, I’m more inclined to trust their values and discernment. And if I see they dislike things that are not concerning or just ridiculous, then I also lose trust in their opinions. And sometimes their personality, too.

Is it wrong to judge people this way? Yes, I’m sure it is. But I am a malevolent reader—inherently implying that I have bad character, okay? Okay.

Anyway, I like negative reviews. They’re fun to write and can even offer a meaningful perspective of the people in your bookish neighborhood. And that’s okay. Malevolent reader out.


Do you write negative reviews? Do you enjoy it?


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Potterhead July: Harry Potter and Our Mythology

Guess what? Read at Midnight’s Aentee is hosting Potterhead July, a month-long celebration of Harry Potter! You can read a Harry Potter themed post every day of the month, leading up to Harry’s birthday, the release of Cursed Child, and a Twitter chat all on July 31st. So, basically, major coolness.


My regular readers may recall that I have the tendency to rag on Harry Potter sometimes, but not today. We’re celebrating because Harry Potter is something special. And it’s special because of its place in our generation’s cultural tradition—which is why I want to talk a bit about the relationship between Harry Potter and mythology.

First, a question: do you think Rowling created the magical world in which Harry Potter is set?

I don’t deny that it’s Rowling’s genius that developed ideas like the Knight Bus or the Deathly Hallows, but think broader. Where these details make the Potterverse Rowling’s own, their concepts have a greater base of ownership. Witches waved wands long before 1998. Everyone knows about werewolves and the full moon thing. And centaurs? Do we really want to start on the Greco-Roman mythology?

Yes, yes we do. Because Harry Potter has the symbol of Zeus on his forehead. Because Firenze calls to mind Chiron, another patient teacher of heroes. Because Minerva McGonagall bears resemblance to the goddess of wisdom and tactical skill. Because the third floor corridor houses “Fluffy,” a three-headed dog suspiciously similar to, I don’t know, Cerberus. We meet Dedalus Diggle and Alecto Carrow and Merope Gaunt and Remus and Cadmus and Andromeda and Hermione and Augustus and Charity and Olympe and I could go on. Greco-Roman mythology. Yeah.

And it matters because these are names we passed down for centuries. They’re old and meaningful but they find new homes in new characters with new stories. I don’t think it’s a mistake that Alecto Carrow is named after a fury, or that the myth of Merope the Pleiad involves her fall from immortality. The way Rowling repurposes these ancient names of the Western world creates something new, bringing mythology down into the world we live in today and, in a way, writing itself into that same mythology.

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That’s right—Harry Potter is working its way to sit alongside the Greek pantheon. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Rick Riordan has this quote in Demigods and Monsters, an anthology of essays discussing his Percy Jackson series. It goes, “When I speak to school groups, I often ask children what Greek god they would like for a parent. My favorite answer was from a schoolgirl in Texas who said, ‘Batman!’ Actually, the girl’s suggestion of Batman as a Greek god is not too far off, because it’s the same idea at work: creating a superhuman version of humanity so that we can explore our problems, strengths, and weaknesses writ large. If the novel puts life under the microscope, mythology blows it up to billboard size.”

Harry Potter is a series of novels. And I’d hazard that the microscope thing holds true here—Rowling makes many myths and folktales specific. Now we know that phoenix feathers, dragon heartstrings, and unicorn hairs are what make wands work. Now we know about the stigma that comes from being a werewolf. And now we know what it looks like inside a Gryffindor’s heart.

At the same time, Harry Potter is so much greater than just a series of novels. The fandom sees to that. You can spend hours and hours poring through the headcanons, fan fiction, and fanart people take such care to make. Revisions, criticisms, and interpretations that are not part of the world that Rowling made, but are becoming part of how we remember it: as representative of our values.

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The fandom is actually writing Harry Potter into their own mythology. It’s the big picture that they want it to be.

House morality is simplistic and unfair in the books—so our Slytherins adjust the narrative to build a house they are proud to be a part of, values they’re glad to uphold in daily life.

Many female characters don’t get the development they deserve in the books—so Tonks has a life outside of her HBP lifelessness, Luna gets a future with Neville, Lily is given a voice against Snape. And they keep giving voices to women.

And the books fail to offer complex portrayals of diversity—however the books are “meant to be read” in Rowling’s expanded universe, it lacks the explicit characterization of LGBT+ characters, disabled characters, and culturally diverse/POC characters. Again, the fandom has their ideas about how the magical world would help and support people belonging to those groups. And they’ll want to see the same things happen in the real world.

We had a series. And the series was great, but flawed. This collective of people who saw themselves in that series decided to put even more of themselves into it and then share that with others. They developed a magical world where a superhuman humanity allowed them to take more pride and confidence in what the series stood for. And it’s impacted a generation of readers, and we will influence the generations that follow.

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Correct what I said before—the books couldn’t write themselves into mythology. These volumes couldn’t force themselves to belong on Mount Olympus now and forever. No, it’s we, the fandom, who drag the books up there. We still care about the same old stuff—we like to eat food and love people and win battles and party hard, so Demeter and Aphrodite and Ares and Dionysus won’t step down. But we also want friendship, good and evil, diverse representation, community pride, portrayals of virtues we value and vices we don’t, and we want them up there on our terms.

We are young readers. We own this.

And it has its upsides and downsides, yeah. Despite all the greatness I’ve mentioned, the fandom may err in its judgment or come up with controversial headcanons (Hogwarts and wifi? You’ve got to be kidding me). But, hey. That’s what fandom is about anyway.

Harry Potter carries the old forward with its use of mythology. And we, the fandom, write Harry Potter—and many other books besides, I’m sure!—into that universal meeting place where the concerns of our past and the possibilities of our future must remember what we decided this series means to us.

Who knows where that will take us? I sure don’t. But I still think it’s pretty awesome.

Have you ever noticed Harry Potter’s mythological names? Do you have a favorite Harry Potter headcanon? 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Snazzy Snippets 7

Great news, mortals—Snazzy Snippets is back! It is hosted by Alyssa at The Devil Orders Takeout and Emily at Loony Literate and every couple of months it gives you a chance to share some of your writing. Because that’s what we do when we’re writers.


I just finished my most recent draft of I Piss on Magic (the WIP I mentioned last time) and I am relieved to say that I am taking a break from this story for a few weeks to clear my head of its intricacies. But perhaps you should like to see some?


1. A snippet where characters consider their backstory

“But it’s like I said in the tavern,” Silverhand continued. “I regret running him so hard and I never meant for him to suffer physical harm. He was just too eager to give up what he had, and I was taking too great of an interest in you to let him mean nothing.”
“You thought I was conducting illegal trade on the backside of my dress business,” I said, smirking.
He had the decency to look embarrassed. “A gifted girl with unknown power, whose family came into a peculiar amount of wealth. She frequently makes exchanges with foreign countries and keeps company with two deadly assassins. You have to admit, you are a little suspicious.”
I laughed as we took a sharp turn in the maze’s figure, seeming no closer to the end than when we had started. “You thought I was dangerous.”
“I thought you seemed dangerous,” Silverhand said. “By now, I realize that Prince Lucas has little more to fear from you than he does a dandelion.” I elbowed him in the gut, and he grunted. “A very ferocious dandelion.”
“Well, I did curse the prince.” I almost told him the rest of it, then, too. Ferocious dandelion? Vines, thorns, roses, there was more to this gift than that. There was a night in the docks, before Violette and Reverie had joined me. It was cold and dark and his hands were clawed and sharp. His voice was so greedy, so wet, and fear makes little girls break little bones. And that wouldn’t be such a big deal, if it didn’t take the rest of his spinal cord with it.
But that was a secret for another time. Silverhand smiled and he didn’t hear the sound of the crack as it echoed across the pier. He saw me and he didn’t see the mystery of the body found drip-dripping into the ocean at first light. He touched me and he didn’t feel the flutter of panic that always accompanied those memories. They never figured out it was me. And if he was to know, he wouldn’t know now.
For now, I was a ferocious dandelion that he had wronged. And who had also cursed his brother.
“Even so, I know better now,” Silverhand said. “I should have just talked to you. I’m sorry for jumping on you at the tavern, and humiliating you. That wasn’t fair of me.”
“I’m sorry for hating you,” I told him. “That wasn’t fair of me, either.”

Ta-da! I wish I could do some of the others ones, but I’m struggling to find any writing that meets the prompts and won’t be completely embarrassing to post on the public internet. But, hey, I told you the end of my WIP, so that’s a little something, right?

Are you going to participate in Snazzy Snippets this round?


Friday, July 8, 2016

WBI: Alec Hardison

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Hardison’s life of crime begins when he steals from Iceland to pay for his Nana’s medical treatment. He grows into an unparalleled hacker who uses his powers for good on Nate Ford’s Leverage crew. He learns the ropes and hopes to one day run his own crew as well.

WBI Profile

Classification :: Π245789*&
Role :: Technician (tech master)
Motivation :: idealism (revenge), insubordination (Nate’s employee), lifestyle (career criminal), personal/material gain (revenge, respect, etc.), power/influence (within industry), wealth (thief)
Bonus :: lair (Lucille, Leverage HQ), family ties (Leverage crew)

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His Significance To…

the crew—Hardison’s duties mainly involve bypassing technological forms of security and sometimes turning it to their own advantage. On occasion, he also forges props needed for a con.

Nate—the books confirm that more than anyone, Nate considers Hardison his protégé, and episodes like “The Gold Job” demonstrate the mentorship dynamic present between these two characters.

Parker—though she came from a troubled background, Hardison always went the extra mile to understand Parker, and that is why they eventually become pretzels to one another.

Eliot—Hardison’s playful nature leads to plenty of tension between these two, but as many times as Eliot says, “Damn it, Hardison!” by the end of the series, they are bound brothers in arms.

Cha0s—this rival hacker is Hardison’s “nemesis,” who the crew runs up against in his less-than-savory dealings. That Cha0s is a better hacker reveals some of Hardison’s professional weaknesses, but that Cha0s is a slimy person shows us that Hardison is of stronger character, and that is why we love him.

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Notable Actions

building the tech—whether it’s earbuds to make communication during a con possible or a forged diary, Hardison often builds all of the materials the crew needs and even names them, much to Eliot’s annoyance.

maturing as a villain—despite his easygoing nature, being a part of the Leverage crew increases Hardison’s skill as a hacker, his accountability, his teamwork, his ability to reach out. We watch his story and he comes out better in the end because of Leverage.

adding social awareness—Hardison doesn’t shy away from pointing out his disadvantages as a black man, nor is he afraid of pulling the “race card” (often in a humorous way, like claiming he’s Jewish) to delay a sticky situation.

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Big Idea

“Age of the geek, baby!”—this is Hardison’s catchphrase. So many times, we see people who love computers and fandoms and those other “unpopular” things and think of a person less for it. But as a hacker and a nerd and a geek, Hardison owns the titles and finds empowerment in a job he clearly loves to do. I’d want every aspiring nerd to look up to him.

that family dynamic—where Nate is the father of the Leverage crew and Sophie the mother, Hardison is the middle child. He’s different than the other team members, but in an important way. The team couldn’t function without his expertise, and the people on it would suffer a lot more if Hardison wasn’t there to watch their backs. But, at the same time, Hardison wouldn’t be the same if he didn’t have the mentorship or companionship that his crew members provide.

privilege exists, even among villains—though Hardison is one of the guys on the Leverage crew, he reminds us that in the outside world, that isn’t always true. He never had the opportunity to go to college. He is very familiar with poverty. And as he says in “The Three Days of the Hunter Job,” “I am a black man caught on an army base with a video camera. I am going to jail FOR-E-VER!” He has a distinct disadvantage compared to the rest of his crew mates. Even if he does an equal share of the work, he might take a greater share of the fall. Racism isn’t dead, and justice can be cruel and scary to someone like Hardison.


In the beginning, when Hardison was just a poor kid with a computer, I think he began hacking as a way to fight back. If Iceland had to take the fall for his Nana’s health, so be it. He needed the money more. And as he kept fighting against a system, it made him stronger. Joining the Leverage crew, however, made for a bigger step in his career: he started fighting for people. Yes, the system remained corrupt and Hardison could still fight back against that system. But rather than doing it for his own gain, it was to help ordinary people gain leverage against entities that no normal individual could ever hope to take down on their own.

Hardison was always about growing up into something greater, but I think Nate helps him see that he can grow into someone for something greater, too. And still kick some ass at the same time. Ass-kicking is mandatory.

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Leverage doesn’t really have any villain songs, but I love this clip of Hardison and Eliot singing. Enjoy it.

Also, this quote sums up who Hardison is very well.

“See, while you are well-versed in dead guy art, I myself am not. My entire criminal career is built on technology built after 1981, so I am riveted. Quite so. Please, do go on.” –Alec Hardison, “The First David Job,” Leverage 1x12


Hardison is one of my favorite geeks. Who is one of yours?


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Do You Like to Read New Books?

for the love of books {3 of 365}
via RebeccaVC1 on Flickr
I am a self-proclaimed rereader. This may be a misleading title, because it isn’t as though I don’t read new books all the time. In fact, in general, I do read more new books than old ones.

I consider myself a rereader, though, because if I’ve only read a book once, then I can’t have had the highest opinion of it. Or, possibly, I just finished it and am not about to just flip back to the beginning right away (though I am often tempted). If I love a book, then I will read the heck out of it, again and again, until I’m familiar with the ideas and the text and the characters so much that I can quote what is making you laugh while I watch you read. (Yes, it sounds creepy and is.)

I live for that experience, and so reading too many new books can be an altogether depressing experience.

I don’t know if anyone else gets this feeling, but there are times when I can forget I like to read. Which isn’t as weird as it sounds. I’ve heard that introverted brains can get disengaged from even one’s favorite activities, and until you activate long-term memory of that activity, you can “forget” that you dislike that activity. For me, it isn’t that I don’t know I like to read (the bookshelves are in my room for a reason) but I lose any and all interest in picking up a book.

That’s where, at least for me, book slumps start. And I have actual evidence.

Last summer between May and July, I read 28 books. As far as I can tell, all of them were new reads for me. And there were plenty of books in that mix that I loved. Early on, anyway. As I cleaned out my TBR, by the end of the summer I was reading rather disappointing books, and my habit of reading ten or so books every month dropped.

I only read three books that August. I enjoyed one of them.

It wasn’t until I picked up a book that activated my “Yay Reading!” memories that I picked up more books again. It was The World Forgot by Martin Leicht and Isla Neal. Love.

I’ve picked up 23 new books this summer, and there are guaranteed to be more. I’ve reread (or restarted) nine books, and only two of those have I really adored. I look at my dwindling TBR pile and I’m tempted to not pick anything up. Just DNF’ing The Scarlet Pimpernel is an idea I long to keep up with.

But, I can’t. I still have goals to reach, and I have some averages to maintain. And that’s why I have a few great rereads that I’m looking forward to in the near future:
Vicious by V.E. Schwab (I CANNOT WAIT because it is SO GOOD!)
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (I should do this anyway, before Crooked Kingdom comes out!)
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (This time with an exciting study activity to go with it. Fun stuff!)
via // via // via
I still do like reading, and I’m aware of that. Part of being a good reader, then, is knowing that I am a rereader. And I will have to do some rereading to keep my habits on track. The more you know!


Do you ever find reading new books draining?


Monday, July 4, 2016

My Space (And The Truth Revealed)

Happy Independence Day! Eat watermelon, read the Declaration of Independence, check your privilege, listen to Hamilton, make merry. Today’s a great day.

TRUTH
via Matt Brown on Flickr
On Friday we played a game of truths and falsehoods. Today the truth comes out! After a short delay.

All of my true/false statements had to do with the decorations in my room and I wanted to elaborate on that a little more. Having my own room means a great deal to me. It’s nice to have personal space, and it’s one of the things I’m most concerned I’ll lose when I finally move out. A room of one’s own secures a safe and productive retreat, somewhere to recharge, somewhere to write.

To make the most of such a room, I like to put stuff on my walls. I like to be inspired by funny quotes, enchanting characters, beautiful things. And you’d expect people to decorate according to their own tastes.

But I also like to put stuff I made up on my walls—drawings and tracings and colored printouts, etcetera. It’s important that I do creative work that isn’t writing. Though they are messy and imperfect and contrived, that’s what I love about them. The important thing is that I worked on them. I relaxed, I engaged my hands and my head. I had fun. That’s special, too.

So that’s what you’re about to see. An attempt made at a comfortable and cheerful living space, just for me. Take a look at the answers:

(Haven’t guessed yet? Check out Friday’s post and see what you think!)

1. I keep a few pictures of me and my sisters near my desk—FALSE. I don’t decorate with humans, and my only allowance is one photo of infant me and my parents.

2. I have a couple quotes from the H.I.V.E. series next to the Olympians poster—TRUE. Of course it’s true, H.I.V.E. is my favorite series.

HIVE and Intern
(I am having trouble finding the original comic, but it says, "And if you haven't any further questions, I'm going to turn you over to my intern Heather.")
3. Above the Olympians poster is the Grim Reaper’s intern, who shares my name—TRUE. My dad printed out a little comic he found online and it brought me such joy that I taped it up.

4. I hang an Artemis Fowl poster over my bed’s headboard—FALSE. I like Artemis Fowl, but that’s where my founding father pinups go.

5. The Highwayman’s song from Over the Garden Wall sits next to my bedroom door—TRUE. Made while I listened to Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Where Do We Go From Here?” speech. *giggles*

HWM
(Also inspired by Adam and the Ants)
6. I have maps of fictional places on the walls, but, weirdly enough, no maps of real places—FALSE. I have a map of the Americas near my bed. And I like it very much.

7. I’m building a little shrine to my favorite villains on the other side of my favorites bookshelf so there is a little Hades and a little Jareth and a little Bob. It is a work in progress—FALSE. I actually don’t even have plans to do this.

Loki and Mulan Writing
(also, a National Geographic thing I ripped out of a magazine in sixth grade)
8. I keep my youngest sister’s interpretation of the Disney movie Mulan near the north window—TRUE. She drew me a picture of “Mulan writing” and it made me laugh so I put it up.

9. The most recent addition to my wall is a poster of Loki from the Marvel Cinematic Universe—TRUE. And a lot of Crayola metallic markers, charcoal pencils, and hairspray went into the effort.

Maps and Loki
(the real life places map, as promised)

I love my things on the wall. Thanks to Victoria and Liz for tagging me. In return, I tag Alex, Alyssa, and Engie. Go forth, make nine statements in a 4/5 split of truthfulness, and call me when you get back, darling, you know how I enjoy our chats.

What do you hang up in your room?


Saturday, July 2, 2016

#RW Update 5 and June Report Card

I am reading…
And the Bride Wore White by Dannah Gresh
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Queer Virtue by Rev. Elizabeth M. Edman
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emma Orczy
31/30 books finished
On the platform, reading
Flickr Credit: Mo Riza
I feel like I JUST did a status update for May, and here we are having June already. Time flies when you sacrifice your temporal awareness for the sake of fiction, right?

Let’s recap the goals:

1. Read 30 books by women—31/30 complete!
2. Read ONLY books by women.—Day 63: still staying strong.
3. Read 2 plays—0/2 complete. I’ve still got a month…
4. Read 3 autobiographies—3/3 complete. Memoirs count as autobiographies.
5. Read 1 graphic novel—1/1 complete.
6. Read 1 book of poetry—2/1 complete.
7. Read 1 book in another language—2/1 complete. I had a short picture book in Spanish in stock, just in case.
8. Listen to 2 books on audiobook (preferably #ownvoices)—0/2 complete. But I have one in progress!
9. Read 15 diverse books—14/15 complete. I definitely plan to read beyond this goal. Forrealz.
10. Read at least 10 new books (that is, books I haven’t read before)—20/10 complete. I have no idea how I’ve managed to do this. Wow.
11. Read 10 eBooks—6/10 complete. I can manage four next month, probably.
12. Read 10 books from the TBR list—6/10 complete. And four here, I guess.
13. Review at least 5 of these books on Goodreads—5/5 complete. I just went on a reviewing spree. Now I don’t have to do it again!

TL;DR: I still have thirteen progress points to meet over the next month. And I will totally do it, because even if I’ve read thirty books, the jig is not up until August.

But enough of that drivel. WHAT DID I READ THIS MONTH? Read on, mortals.

via Goodreads
Best book this month? I will succumb to a three-way tie: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynn Jones, and The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black. They were all superb.

Worst book this month? Probably His Revolutionary Love by Lynn Cowell. I felt like it was very condescending.

Book that got you out of your comfort zone? This feels like a scapegoat, but La Casa de los Espíritus by Isabel Allende. It took a lot of drive for me to read a full-length novel in Spanish.

Most surprising book this month? On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis! I spontaneously grabbed it at the library after reading Ava Jae’s review, not having any particular expectations, and then it was AMAZING. Seriously, I was so impressed.

Most disappointing book this month? I’ll talk about A Journey of Faith by Kristiana Gregory in another post, but that’s the one. I’m most disappointed in myself for liking Shadows of Asphodel by Karen Kincy, because my weakness for cute romance overcame the problematic elements of the story.

Book from this month you’d recommend to anybody? Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, because it was adorable even if I knew who Blue was early on.

Books reviewed from this month? His Revolutionary Love, Shadows of Asphodel, Click Here (to find out how I survived seventh grade), Ash, and Heaven or This


I don’t have any categories to put them in, but I did want to give a shout-out to Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash and The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie because they were both also good. So read them and enjoy.

What was your favorite book you read this month?


Friday, July 1, 2016

Five Truths and Four Lies

Lies
Flickr Credit: Cat Branchman
Liz and Victoria tagged me for that tag where you list nine statements and people guess which five are true and which four are false. Thanks, amigas!

Rather than wasting the opportunity to make you guess whether or not I’ve ever eaten kangaroo meat (spoiler alert: I have), I decided to use this tag in combination with this coming Monday’s post, in which I will talk about the decorations in my room. Because the way I decorate my room is meaningful to me. As it should be.

Today, you get to guess which of the following I have on my walls! Remember, five of these are true, four are false.

1. I keep a few pictures of me and my sisters near my desk.
2. I have a couple quotes from the H.I.V.E. series next to the Olympians poster.
3. Above the Olympians poster is the Grim Reaper’s intern, who shares my name. 
4. I hang an Artemis Fowl poster over my bed’s headboard. 
5. The Highwayman’s song from Over the Garden Wall sits next to my bedroom door. 
6. I have maps of fictional places on the walls, but, weirdly enough, no maps of real places. 
7. I’m building a little shrine to my favorite villains on the other side of my favorites bookshelf so there is a little Hades and a little Jareth and a little Bob. It is a work in progress.
8. I keep my youngest sister’s interpretation of the Disney movie Mulan near the north window.
9. The most recent addition to my wall is a poster of Loki from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

Finally, I’ll give you one more hint: none of the locations are incorrect. I didn’t say something like “I have a portrait of a rubber duck next to my bed” when in reality it’s on my closet door. If the thing exists, then I have listed it in the correct place. If it doesn’t exist, then it doesn’t exist.

Happy hunting.


All right, mortals. Can you spot my lies?