December 26, 2008

building safety nets under my feet

Posted in books tagged , at 4:53 pm by placeinthestars

I have been completely enthralled and engrossed in Megan Whalen Turner’s Eugenides trilogy: The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, and The King of Attolia.

I bought them for my niece for Christmas a couple of years ago, on the recommendation of…someone, and a more recent post on the subject reminded me of them, and so on Christmas Eve, while waiting to open gifts, I started reading. And basically didn’t stop, except for when people were here or I had to go be elsewhere (which was a lot, or I’d have been done sooner. sigh).

I highly recommend these books – they are a lot of fun. If you know me at all, you know I really liked the pseudo-Greek-ness of them, and also the roguish thief angle, but they also include such awesome characters as the Queen of Eddis – who is very awesome – and the Queen of Attolia, who is very awesome and also one scary lady.

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December 17, 2008

death is no parenthesis

Posted in books tagged , at 4:56 am by placeinthestars

Since sleeping is apparently not happening tonight, I got up around an hour ago and finished reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I cried and hugged the book to my chest. Then I got out of bed to make this post, because sleep is apparently still not happening.

The short version is this: Read this book. The ending is completely inevitable (the narrator spoils it halfway through the book and then gives sort of a half-assed apology for it, because it’s really not that important – as he says on the very first page:

***HERE IS A SMALL FACT***
You are going to die

and yet absolutely devastating. Totally earned and all the more heartwrenching for it. And yet, even though it’s the story of a young girl in Nazi Germany during WWII and the trials and tribulations she undergoes while living with her foster family, it’s not without hope, not relentlessly bleak, even though, as I said, you know the ending is going to be heartbreaking. It’s very much about the random, startling acts of kindness people commit, and also, the random, horrible acts of violence people perpetrate. Sometimes, the same people.

It’s a story about the power of words, of books, of stories, and how we need to tell them, how Liesel Meminger needed to tell her story, and how Death – the narrator – needed to tell it, too.

To quote Death:

It’s just a small story really, about, among other things:
* A girl
* Some words
* An accordionist
* Some fanatical Germans
* A Jewish fist fighter
* And quite a lot of thievery

the part with spoilers

December 10, 2008

i never knew you

Posted in movies tagged , at 11:55 pm by placeinthestars

RB and I went to see Changeling, which was omg long and sort of oddly paced, imo, and hella depressing. Angelina Jolie looks gorgeous in period costume, though, and her lipstick is FABulous. Jeffrey Donovan does an accent that I guess is meant to be Irish? but mostly comes off as, “Wtf accent is he doing?” But this movie reminded me that he does sort of resemble Guy Pearce, and wow, if this had been an LA Confidential type of noir instead of what it actually was, I probably would have enjoyed it more. As it was, I can’t say it was bad, but it was also really long and really depressing and not something that would have been my first choice. Oh well. Happy movie next time.

~*~

December 6, 2008

Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale by Dan Albergotti

Posted in poetry tagged , at 12:50 pm by placeinthestars

Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale

Measure the walls. Count the ribs. Notch the long days.
Look up for blue sky through the spout. Make small fires
with the broken hulls of fishing boats. Practice smoke signals.
Call old friends, and listen for echoes of distant voices.
Organize your calendar. Dream of the beach. Look each way
for the dim glow of light. Work on your reports. Review
each of your life’s ten million choices. Endure moments
of self-loathing. Find the evidence of those before you.
Destroy it. Try to be very quiet, and listen for the sound
of gears and moving water. Listen for the sound of your heart.
Be thankful that you are here, swallowed with all hope,
where you can rest and wait. Be nostalgic. Think of all
the things you did and could have done. Remember
treading water in the center of the still night sea, your toes
pointing again and again down, down into the black depths.

~Dan Albergotti

***