Saturday, December 30, 2006

Breaking Even

Spinners, Donna Jo Napoli (189pp) A variant of the Rumplestiltskin tale with a family theme. A well writen story, though I found the ending a bit abrupt. The author spent time researching spinning and learning to spin. This might explain the amazing variety of yarns Saskia invents.
Buddha vol.2, Osamu Tezuka (414pp) I read Siddhartha by Herman Hesse years ago and loved it. Somehow I never pictured the young prince surrounded by a bevy of naked dancing girls in the playroom. Nor the language used (mosly anglo saxon). I don't think I'll be introducing this series to my students interested in Buddhism. They can find it on their own.
Lupin III vol.3, Monkey Punch (191pp) Yep It's Lupin, oh so bad and dangerous. And since when did Goemon date Fujiko? That ain't right. I love the letter that brings Lupin to the north Pole:

Dear Lupin,

Please rescue me. I'm trapped in an iceberg.

A.E. Normous Diamond

Aww that Lupin. Such a sensitive soul.

Early Irish Myths and Sagas, trans. Jeffrey Ganz
Mulliner Nights, PG Wodehouse
Mythologies, William Butler Yeats


Friday, December 29, 2006

candied absinthe

Rebel Angels, Libba Bray (548pp) the second in a series which started with A Great and Terrible Beauty. In this volume we are introduced to the Golden Dawn book shop (oh Crowley may be rolling), the Brotherhood who talks about the Eastern Star (Freemasons anyone?), anagrams, sirens, centaurs, incest and the dangers of sweatshop labour. All in all I found this volume more interesting than the first. Did I mention the absinthe? Brought me back to my goth days it did. I'll most likely borrow the third, tentatively called The Winterlands, from the library when it's released.

So I wonder why the protectors/lovers of the Order (a female group of magic handlers) are called Rakshana. In my readings of the Ramyana the Raksha are considerd evil. I hesitate to say demons as the Indain mythos is not as clearly seperational as the Western orthodox version of angels and demons. Even evil seems to be pushing it. Of course there was a great fascination with aspects of Indian thought at that time what with the British Raj, theosophy and all.
The Magic Circle, Donna Jo Napoli (117pp) Just how did an old woman come to live in the middle of a medieval forest in a cottage decorated with candies. Not too many children are to be found in such a place. This short volume proposes an answer.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Covering for others

Is not fun. More so when small creatures may suffer simply because one person decides not keep up their part of an agreement and then doesn't inform the other party until many, many days have gone by. If you don't do something well you have a couple of choices: either be up front with it, or, make sure someone who does does that job. 'Nuff said
Companions of the Night, Vivian Vande Velde (206pp) Helping rescue a small stuffed animal from a 24hour laundromat for your kid brother may not be such a smart thing to do. Might be kinder to let him cry. If you do that he won't be kidnapped by a Vampire hunter. 'Course then you won't meet a really hot french vampire but, you know, the world is full of choices.
So, New Years Eve plans involve a little Pink Martini :) ****CV

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

My kingdom for a bookcase

Fragile Things, Neil Gaiman (366pp) A collection of stories and a few poems by an author everyone should hear read aloud at least once. A Study in Emerald, red implike knockers on green doorways, overzealous guardians, smilodons, hell is a psychological inventory, and Grendel's mum: what is not to like?
GodChild volume 3, Kaori Yuki Oh my. I said after number one I would not get another one of these and what did I do? I got another one. *sigh* Perhaps I got carried away with Angel Sanctuary and thought, Hey she wrote this so maybe GodChild isn't so bad. Oy.
Well I don't quite have 200 unread books so I went and got some more today (of which I have almost finshed two)

Lupin III volume3, Monkey Punch
GodChild, Kaori Yuki
Spinners, Donna Jo Napoli
The Magic Circle, Donna Jo Napoli
Companions of the Night, Vande Velde
Colonel Chabert, H. Balzac
And I went to the library for Rebel Angels (Libba Bray) and Buddha by Osamu Tezuka.
Speaking of Rebel Angels: is it just me or do the heroines in many YA books appear overly modern for their time periods? I saw a book today called Blood Countess which is a retelling of the Hungarian countess who liked to bathe in blood to stay young (among other pleasant past times) and the blurb I read seemed to be more appropriate to Jacky Faber than a Hungarian pre rennaissance girl.
It's as if Emma said to D'arcy: "Dude if you don't ask me to the dance Saturday night we are so through"*Snap!*

Monday, December 25, 2006

Tres libros

Interesting. I have three duplicate copies of books I have yet to read. What could it mean? To whit:

Crochet Castle and Nightmare Abbey, Peacock
The Book of the Courtier, Castiglione
The Red and the Black, Stendhal

I have also located the titles of the other three works yet to be read for the From the Stacks Challenge:

The Gift, V. Nabokov
The Three Musketeers, A. Dumas
Cousin Pons, H. Balzac

In the meantime I have read the following two books:

Nocturnes, John Connolly (404pp) A collection of otherworldy tales or rather worldly stories which involve aspects which would be inexplicable if one did not know the world of Lovecraft and Faeirie. The Erlking was deliciously creepy and The Reflecting Eye reminded me of Charles DeLint's story Mulengro.

Black Swan, White Raven, Ed.Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling (366pp) Fairy tales ala Anderson, Lang and Grimm told with a modern perspective. I found the beginnng tales okay but the volume picked up towards the latter half. The True Thomas story is the oddest I've come across so far: not neccessarily in a bad way. I do disagree with the story The Three Dwarves and 2000 Maniacs being sourced at Snow White. According to The Blue Fairy Book, ed. A. Lang, it is called Toads and Diamonds. ***CV

Friday, December 22, 2006

little shop of...books?

I like to read. I like to browse book shops and find intriguing premises to take home and coddle. Pleasant habit no? Not dangerous. Rather edifying. So why, oh why after rearranging my room today did I discover 33 new unread books?

Do they breed? On what pray tell do they subsist?

I now have at least 200 unread books. Not counting the ones I borrowed from the library today. I think that's a bit much. Especially when I have actually culled the herd before reaching the above total.

Shhh? Do you hear them?

"Read me Chittavrtti. Read me!"

Guess I'll be going now. Bye. ***CV

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Dark Lord of Derkholm, Diana Wynne-Jones (505pp) Can I just say, I really like all the DWJ stories I've read so far. They are so full of human-ness. In this particuar story I found myself recalling bits of fairytales I had read; not because of the main characters, but, because of all the extras, the third and fourth characters. There is something so delightful in a story which cares as much for its redshirts as it does for its MCs. I did fear someone would be sacrificed and was mightily relieved when that did not occur. A friend recently shared that his favorite character in this story was Callette. I found that Scales was mine: such a crochety granpa type ;)
And another appropriate read for this solstice eve:

The Wild Hunt, Jane Yolen (180pp) A story in which one comes to doubt the virtue of light and the wrongness of dark. ***CV

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Found that book I was looking for. At the same time I found a miser's purse already in progress. Huh. I think I know what pattern I was following but I will probably frog it as I'm not sure where I stopped. Pretty though as it's in sarlet thread with gold.
Picked up the two volumes of Angel Sanctuary I was missing, today. Now I have 1-17. (And I'm thinking of getting GodChild but I'm not sure.) Apparently there will be 20 total in the series. At the same time I intended to get a copy of A Christmas Carol, of which there were ten the day before yesterday. Today there was one. What the...? Sudden rush on stocking stuffers? Moved to prime location? Usually there is some sort of notice about where to find the book that's been relocated.

Oh well, no copy means no copy.
Came home after class and an hours reading in the cafe (It was packed! at 10 in the morning?!) to a five hour nap. How can having nothing to do tire one out so much? Maybe I need to do a cram session on the STR and make every pair for the year end grade A.

Or would that be too much like HS?***CV

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Hugo and Diane

I blame the cold weather for my being unable to get out of bed at a decent hour. Of course, being on vacation affords the perfect excuse. So, not much accomplished today. Weeded a bagful of clothes from the closet (do not live too close to thrift shops for the article you would never buy at full or sale price beomes a must buy at three dollars). I think closet weeding should become a daily practice for a while.
Apparently I've been reading the preface to The Toilers of the Sea and that is why it so very topographical. I may need to create some sort of reference to refer (oh that was redundant wasn't it?) to when the actual story starts. Is this typical for a Victor Hugo book?
So this afternoon I started Dark Lord of Derkholm. (Thanks to VH's story I know what a holm is ;)

A book with griffins: what is not to like?***CV

Monday, December 18, 2006

just me and chanticleer

The thing about going to an early morning class is that, suddenly, you are up and about early: way before anything is open. I do not think I like it. I must find things to do if I insist on attending predawn practice. Thank goodness Powell's was open at 9; for most certainly the library was not.
A Harlot High and Low, H. Blalzac
History of the Thirteen, H. Balzac
Bleach vol. 1
Angel Sanctuary v.16

Then I went to a cafe and knit, which took all of two hours, then I came home after thrifting again (New Docs for only ten bucks!) did washing, shopping and reading.
A Great and Terrible Beauty, Libby Bray (403pp) YA must mean intimacy and dramatic death. I can see how readers of the Bloody Jack series would enjoy this book for itsMC is a strong and willful female lead who rebels against society's rules about what sort of person she should be.I found the use of "I" hard to bear for the first half of the book (But I had just finished a Hawthorne novel so...). Also the references to theosphy, goddess cults, and the setting of Victorian England was a bit much for me. Having already gone through a Victorian/occult obsession it was very easy to nitpick the story. I might read the second in the series if it's at the library. I would not put it on the class shelf though.****CV

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Overdue Book 2

The House of the Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne (245pp) I am slowly realizing that one aspect I enjoy about much of the later 19th century books I read is that the stories are simple and the descriptions detailed. It is as if the environment is a metaphor for mankind and therefore the actions of the characters are not elaborated upon for their surroundings are proof enough. I first realized this while reading, A Tale of Two Cities, and was reminded of it with this last book. There is a thoughtfulness and highly metaphorical aspect to the tales which allow human beings to be simple and profound at the same instant. Thus, The House of the Seven Gables is not a deeply convouluted and tragic story and yet it is intimately connected to both its past and present in a tragic manner. Lots of references to mesmerism, metaphysics and self perception (this is the most ironic I have found Nathaniel to be - I loved it) and a sweet happy ending, umm, if you think the bad guy should get his desserts of course.

Oh and punctuation in page long paragraphs: absolutely fabulous.
Another lazy day so I started a Great and Terrible Beauty by Libby Bray. Hmmmm. I think I'll reserve judgement until I've finished it. I do need to check up on my Overdue Books Challenge list. I can't recall if it was The Gift or another Nabokov I was supposed to read.
For the KTC project I'm crocheting a miser's purse. Golly for A Christmas Carol do you think it's appropo? Now to find the pattern book***CV

Saturday, December 16, 2006

answers for anonymous

The middle english book I used is, An Introduction to Middle English by Simon Horobin and Jeremy Smith. While it does present the evolution of english from Anglo Saxon on, that discussion is an overview and the heart of the text is concerned with Chaucerian english. There is lots of phonemic and graphological speak. It is not an elementary age text by any means.

The fortune kittie pattern is from the blog Just Jussi. I didn't felt mine. I just knitted them, stuffed them with some colored fleece, crocheted collars and strung lucky coins on the collars.
Oh lazy lazy day. I woke up in time to go to class but didn't. Instead I hung out and started reading the House of the Seven Gables. I'm halfway through.

Then I went to the local thrift store and wandered. I went in to browse their paperbacks then simply walked the aisles. Surprisingly I didn't find any must have clothes so I headed back to the book section and decided to read the hardback titles. Oh my goodness! They had Black Swan, White Raven ($2) another volume of the modern retellings of fairy tales put out by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. Now I have four in that series :)

I also found, A Great and Terrible Beauty ($2) which has been recommended but I haven't really been interested in reading. But, for less then three dollars I got it. And I also picked up, The Celts ($2) by Gerhard Herm. Normally I'm leery of historical peoples type books but there is a section on The Great Cattle Raid of Queen Maeve so I risked it.
40 hits? Fortune kitties are that interesting?****CV

Friday, December 15, 2006

disappearing cat

Stayed up until 1:30 am knitting then had two still left to do. Woke up at 5 am thinking, " I could stay and knit all of them before work, including embroidery and stuffing; OR, I could go to class and maybe get the sewing done. I go to class and sit in the lobby and think, "Well I could just sit in the lobby and get it done or I could take class." I take class and rush out (as usual to be on time for work) and wait and wait and wait for the bus. So I start making legs again and the bus is late and crowded but I finish all the legs on my second bus: but no faces or stuffing.

Oh well.

I get to work and find out that there is no school because there is no heat.

So I sit and knit and embroider and stuff and we do have class, 'cause the heat comes back, and all the children got their solstice fortune kitties *whew****CV

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Off with their legs!

I completed my mission of nine kittie bodies with capitas only to have a brain freeze when it comes to making the legs. Aaaaargh! *Fine* They shall be wobbling weebles if I can't unfreeze my brain by tommorow morning.

"I know what your thinking about," said Tweedledum; "but it isn't so, nohow."
"Contrariwise," continued Tweedledee," if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic."
Lewis Carrroll, Through the Looking Glass

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Pig and Pepper

A trip to the library equals: the Old Curiousity Shop (C. Dickens), Colonel Chabert (H. Balzac) and the Complete Works of Lewis Carroll. I was going to read Dostoyevsky but my goodness he is depressing and Tolstoy? No thank you.

I wonder if I can actualy finish them before they are due?
Speaking of finishing, my mission which I guess I chose to accept, is to complete nine kitty torsos with heads before class tomorrow. I have five with heads, two and a third torsos so I guess I should get to work.
Have a poem that startled and disturbed a friend when she took her daughter to see Alice in Wonderland (the scary part was she only got part way in asking me, "Do you know about the scene in Alice in Wonderland with the baby-?" And I quoted this entire poem):

Speak roughly to your little boy,
And beat him when he sneezes.
He only does it to annoy,
Because he knows it teases.
I speak severely to my boy,
And beat him when he sneezes.
For he can thoroughly enjoy,
The pepper when he pleases.
So yeah, I knew***CV

Monday, December 11, 2006

and one for the purse

"Hey! Aren't you reading Balzac?"

Huh? I just sat down in a seat made for three (yeah me, that girl and her purse, 'cause a purse needs an entire seat don't you know) and the bus is moving and I have a fortune kittie wrapped around my fingers with the bag the kittie is escaping from hanging from my wrist and a scarf wrapped around me 'cause the rain is seriously dripping in spite of the muffler and you asked me what? Who are you?

Oh, you're the person from two months ago on the bus heading the opposite direction when I was reading Balzac. Okay.

Nothing like starting off the morning with the game: Name That Obscure Bus Rider.
So, kitties. I have three torsos, one torso with head, one two limbed kittie and I am running out of yarn. I think I will have to frog one torso in order to capitate another and then dig up some similar weight yarn. My kitties are going to be a lovely combination of mint green and cream it appears: snow tree grinning fortune kitties :)
Meanwhile a child wishes to write a modern poem in Middle English. Fortunately we were learning about Chaucer last year so I do have a Middle English Intro. book *whew*CV

Sunday, December 10, 2006

grim grimmer grimmest

Goose Girl: Ah Falada dost though hang there?
Falada: Princess, if thy mother knew thy pain, her heart would surely break in twain
The Pillow Friend, Lisa Tuttle (335pp) Agnes Grey is a lonely girl with a disturbed mother and a tendency to escape into reliastic fantasy. This story is melancholic but so well written I could not put it down. I wonder if the fairy tales told in early Parisian salons were of such a dark nature. Many fantastic figures appear not least of which is a golem. For those who love animals beware the white horse section. For those who love fairy tales this is the first modern book (it is set in Texas during the later 20th century) I've read that mentions Falada. And now that I think about it, anyone who has seen The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover, may have a macabre sense of deja vu while reading this tale.

Well Robin Moore stepped up and said "That woman is my wife."
And he drew a silver pistol and a wicked bowie knife,
and he shot the man with the wing-nut ears straight between the eyes.
And Betty Coltrane she moaned under her table.
Well the frog-eyed man lept at Robin Moore who stabbed him in the chest.
As Mr. Frog eyes died he said, " Betty you're the girl that I loved best."
The sailor pulled a razor Robin blasted it to bits
"And Betty, I know that you're under the table."
Well Robin Moore said, "Have no fear, I do not want to hurt you.
Never a woman did I love near half as much as you.
You are the bless'd sun to me girl you are the sacred moon."
And Betty, shot his legs out from under the table.
(skipped verse)
Betty stood up, shook her head and waved the smoke away.
"I'm sorry Mr. Barman to leave your place this way."
As she emptied out their wallets she said, "I'll collect my severence pay."
Then she winked and threw a dollar on the table.
Nick Cave

Saturday, December 09, 2006


The sailor said, "I'm lookin' for my wife they call her Betty Coltrane."
The frog eyed man said, "That can't be. That's my wife's maiden name."
And the man with the wing-nut ears said, "Hey I married her back in Spain."
And Betty Coltrane crossed herself beneath the table.
Nick Cave

There is no such thing as too many books. Witness the reaction of a child who, when told all I had was books in my house, immediately hugged me and wondered: "When can I come over?"

Therefore I am free of guilt over the following purchases today:

The Pillow Friend, Lisa Tuttle
St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, Karen Russell
Balzac and the Novel, Samuel Rogers
The Turk, Tom Standage
One kitty almost done. Eight more to go***CV

Friday, December 08, 2006

hello kittie

Yay! My morning teacher came back. She went on holiday to see family and it was a long three days. She made up for it though. Uttana shalabasana anyone?

I didn't think so.
Well I certainly have more books than I can possibly read over winter break, however, I just saw that Lisa Tuttle has a new book called The Silver Bough, there are several Wodehouse's I want to read, there is a new Mervyn Peake book out and, there is that collection of short stories about lost girls (retellings of fairy tales in scary, scary ways). Also, I want to read some more of Ian Fleming's stories but I suppose I could borrow those from the library.
First however I must get to work on the solstice fortune kitties***CV

Thursday, December 07, 2006


What is this "Your new blog is ready"? I don't remember ordering a new blog. Kinda creepy. Like waking up and finding someone in your kitchen, hat in hand saying, "Your car is ready." "Wh-a-a? What car? I don't have a car. Who are you? And what are you doing in my kitchen?"
Onto more cheerful stuff. A former student who is now being homeschooled came by for a visit. We sat and knit for an hour. Very nice.
Twelve Impossible Things Before Breakfast, Jane Yolen (178pp) A collection of short stories involving young persons either from classic fiction (Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan) or new charactrs in strange and unusual settings. I particularly like that one about Them, yup no more Golden Arm stories, and the Winter King though it was sad.
So many reading challenges are going up. I think I'll stick to From the Stacks this season***CV

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Below the Root

Yes all the children who went came back.

I started the End of Mr. Y but it needs a good attention span of time so I put it aside and started Twelve impossible Things instead last night. I'm looking forward to the Neverland story and the dark Peter.

While at the library today I came across a book series that I loved when I was 8 but promptly forgot the author's name. It was about a group of beings who lived under the roots of a forest while above was another group who lived amongst the branches of the trees. It was one of the series where I first felt transported into the author's imagined world but I could never remember who wrote it. (Unlike the Light Princess which is another great story.)

Figures. It's Zilpha Keatly Snyder. I adored ZKS books at that age. I read every one of her books my library had (age appropriate shmage appropriate). The first volume is called Below the Root. I don't know if it would be as good to me now. I'm just happy I found out who wrote it***CV

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Ra or Re

Public transportation with young ones is always fun, no? Who else are you willing to accept singing and cross aisle converse from? Surely not the rather fragrant individual who seems to have slept in the back of the bus all night and wishes to share their dreams with you.

But children? That is another story entirely.
Big controversy this afternoon about evangelicizing your fellow student when they don't wanna be evangelacized.
Picked up my fortune kitty bells and coins today****CV

Monday, December 04, 2006

cheshire moon

I got thanked by an author for one of my mini reviews today. I had to reread what I had written to mak sure it was what I thought I had said. Wow.
It felt like prom at work today. One child brought in two dozen pink roses and another child brought in carnations: half a dozen white for my co-teacher and half a dozen pink for me.

We're off on a field trip tommorrow via Public Transportation. I do hope it's not adventurous. ***
I think I've decided on my solstice giving this year. I'm making fortune kitties. (I have a convoluted reason. Crescent moons always make me think the night sky is smiling in a cheshire cat grin. Since winter solstice is the longest night I like to think the cheshire moon grin is cheering on the sun. Thus grinning fortune kitties.)***CV

Sunday, December 03, 2006

dos libros

Two more reads purchased today:

Eats, Shoots and Leaves
The Botany of Desire

I consider these work books as well as general reading.
The Chess Artist by JC Hallman (328pp) While parts of this book involve the history of Chess the main context is the author's introduction to the game, his interest in it from a historical standpoint and finally his journey with a chess master friend to Kalmykia in search of chess' place: is it an art, a science, a religion? During the course of his seach for an answer I gained the impression that Chess has descended from a game of social standing to one that is now engaged in by unwashed psuedo intellectuals. This may not have been the author's intent. Yet, after many, many descriptions of the members of various chess clubs it is the one over riding visual I am left with. The tale fluctuates between historical anecdote, autobiographial expositions and discussion of specific playing pieces. It is an interesting read which does not glorify the game itself.

Hikaru No Go vol.8, Yumi Hotta. Hikaru is in the run offs for the Insei playoffs. It is now that he realises many different people atempt to become proffessionals including *gasp* motorcycle riding adults. Will he be too intimidated to play well or will he succeed in winning the necessary three rounds?

What? You thought I'd tell you how it ends?***CV

Saturday, December 02, 2006

*gasp* she's wasting Time!

lalala! No writin' means time for readin'

Hikaru No Go vol.8
The End of Mr. Y, Scarlett Thomas
Children of the Wolf, Jane Yolen
Twelve Impossible Things Before Breakfast, Jane Yolen
The Mislaid Magician or Ten Years After, Patrica Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
The Chess Artist, JC Hallman
and time for knittin' ***CV

Friday, December 01, 2006

epiphanic commute

Portland bus etiquete.

Rule 1: If you stand within a bus shelter and do not move a bus will pull up and the driver will start harangueing you because you did not wave him on.

Rule 2: If you deboard a bus and see your connection stopped at a red light and make eye contact with the driver at the same time waving him to wait: he will take off without you.

Huh. Seems like HS to me where if you act coy the boys flock but if you are direct they run screaming. Who knew bus drivers and HS boys share the same psychology?**CV