Archive for the ‘info’ Category


8 Random Facts

May 17, 2007

Jill at My Individual Take (On the Subject) tagged me for the 8 Random Facts meme, so here goes:

The rules –
1: Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
2: People who are tagged, write a blog post about their own 8 random things, and post these rules.
3: At the end of your post you need to tag 8 people and include their names.
4: Don’t forget to leave them a comment and tell them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

1. I’m writing this while packing. Today is the day I leave school for the summer.

2. I have a large and ever-growing collection of paint samples. I stop in at hardware stores just to collect more, and sometimes the employees eye me suspiciously.

3. I had a slight infestation of ladybugs in my room earlier this year, and just now I found dead one stuck to the bottom of my foot. No, seriously.

4. John Le Carré’s George Smiley is pretty much my favorite fictional character ever. And Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy is one of the few cases where I like a movie better than the book it was adapted from. But it’s close.

5. I named my cat, Stella, after the author of Cold Comfort Farm, which was my favorite book when I was thirteen. A lot of people do impressions of Marlon Brando when they hear her name, and I find it really irritating.

6. I won a prize last year for my collection of old children’s books.

7. There are piles of books all over the floor in my room at home, but this summer I’m finally going to get some new bookshelves. I know it’s bad that my first shelf-space-related thought is “now I can buy books again.”

8. I wrote my big interdisciplinary paper in 11th grade on Horatio Alger. I used a Jean Webster book and an anonymous short story from the back of an Alger book for an English paper this semester. I am currently trying to figure out how my history thesis next year can be about children’s books. Or Terry and the Pirates.

I’m not going to tag anyone. Sorry.


Thinking Bloggers Award

March 15, 2007

Apparently I was nominated in the Thinking Bloggers Award meme by Jill at My Individual Take (On The Subject). Thank you! I’m supposed to nominate five other people now, but I wouldn’t know where to start — I don’t really read that many blogs.


more preliminaries

March 4, 2007

There are stories where everyone is basically good, and they’re pretty boring. Then there are stories where some characters are good and some are evil, but those tend to be a bit flat and unsatisfying. Theoretically, the next step up in complexity should probably be shades of gray, but it isn’t. There’s a large body of literature that deals with good and evil by moving characters back and forth between the two. In general, there’s a good character who sometimes behaves badly, usually by having a bad temper, and there’s a character who seems pretty normal at first, but inexplicably turns evil. This character works against the protagonist for most of the book, but is reformed at the end, often on their deathbed.

I’m not describing any particular book here, or even a particular author. This is a pattern that applies to a large chunk of the ordinary novels written between the mid 19th century and World War II. There was a whole body of writers–not the great ones, but ordinary writers–people whose works will never be part of the canon, but who knew how to write, and to create stories people would enjoy, and who earned a living at it. And for the most part, these writers were struggling to make their characters more real. They tried to add complexity in different ways, and while none of their characters seem as if they could jump off the page, most of them work. They’re flawed as people and they’re flawed as characters, and they’re a big part of why I enjoy this kind of book so much.

I tend to fall in love with the suitors the heroine rejects. I preferred Hindley Earnshaw to Heathcliff when I read Wuthering Heights. I once spent a couple of hours arguing with a friend over King Lear because I like Albany better than Cordelia. Characters in forgotten, mediocre novels often speak to me more than important characters in important books.

And when they don’t, they appeal to my sense of the ridiculous.


An explanation.

March 4, 2007

I love books–all sorts of books. But I have a special fondness for old books, the kind that mostly got left behind. Children’s books that aren’t sophisticated enough for kids today. Novels that were popular in their day but mostly get laughed at now. Sure, they haven’t got much in the way of literary merit, but they can be a lot of fun.

I read a lot of those books online, at sites like Project Gutenberg. And now I’m going to talk about some of them here.