Thursday, December 29, 2011

favourites of 2011

Chime by Franny Billingsley

This was one of those books where I read the very last page, breathed in deep, and then flipped back to page one and read it through again. I’ve never quite met a narrator as unreliable as Briony, nor a place as dark and magical as Swampsea, nor creatures as mysterious and realistic as the Old Ones. There is darkness and danger here, but also light and love. My favourite line in the book is this one: “If you say a word, it leaps out and becomes the truth… How can something as fragile as a word build a whole world?” I think it sums up Briony’s struggle with herself, and what has happened in the past. It sums up (for me) why stories are so valuable. But I also think it sums up the world around us. So much of how we see things (ourselves, others, the situations we find ourselves in) depends on how those things have been named for us. And sometimes, in order to make things better, some renaming is in order.

Feed by M.T. Anderson

I resisted this book for a long time. I'm not really sure why. But then, one day, I found it staring at me from the shelf of my favourite used bookstore. I grabbed it, flipped it open to page one, and… couldn’t. stop. reading. I loved the voice. I loved the dialogue. I loved the fact that it was poetic and satirical, and the descriptions were sparse, forcing my imagination to do a lot of work. And I loved the fact that the whole time I had this sense of foreboding, that Titus was going to do something I didn’t want him to do, that I was going to ball my eyes out… and while all that did happen, I thought that the way Anderson did it all, the way that everything came together, the way that it ended… it was perfect. After I finished it, I let it sit. Then I re-read the last chapter. And then re-read it again. Rarely do I find a book that ends perfectly, but Feed definitely does.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

Let me just say, first off, that I will happily spend all my money on books by Shaun Tan. As someone who grew up raised by immigrant grandparents, I really resonated with this book, and the hospitality of the characters found within its pages. There are no words, only illustrations. Hundreds and hundreds of illustrations. It’s a story told only in images, and Shaun Tan does it so, so well. I found it magical and moving and, as with every other piece of work by Tan, it cast a spell over me.

Friday, December 23, 2011

so, yesterday, this happened

Meet Harvey - my Christmas present to myself.

(I'm in love.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

you guys! you guys!

Middle-earth! Really good-looking dwarves! Galadriel fixing Gandalf's hair!

*flails arms and jumps around*

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

this is what a book addiction looks like

A few weeks ago I decided to ban myself from entering a bookstore until I finished reading all the unread books on my shelf. Because, seriously. My shelf is getting out of control. I was doing sooo well... and then today happened.

I walked in.  

I walked out.

I came home with four new books. 

FOUR NEW BOOKS! I think I have a problem.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Eowyn, heroine of my heart

Tonight, after watching a movie (which shall not be named) where the only female character not only dies, but dies twice (and is so incredibly annoying), I'm trying to think of all the fictional girls that have made an impression on me in my life.

Since I've recently mentioned LOTR and the importance of finding myself in the stories I read as a girl, I thought I'd bring up Eowyn. Though she's not in the story for long, and is one of only three girls to make an appearance in LOTR (not the best track record, John, but I'm overlooking it), this lady made a HUGE impression on me growing up. 

So here's to you, Eowyn. Thanks for being so darn brave.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Okay, seriously, this.

Adorable, no? Not to mention Hanneke's song... beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

la la la lists

A short list of things I did this week when I really should have been getting ready for shows...

1. Discovered the blog Hitting on Girls in Bookstores and spent the afternoon reading all the back-posts. My two favs: this one and this one.
2. Tried to decide between which movie to see first: Hugo or The Muppets. This is a very tough decision.

3. Spent the entire day reading City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare. Bought the next book (City of Glass) because I need DISTRACTIONS while I wait for Clockwork Prince to come out (four more days). Will is my literary crush of the year. (Is it weird that he's, like, seventeen? Actually, don't answer that.)

4. Went to the farm, hung out with my grandmother, worked on revisions, ate lots of strudel.

5. Listened to Basia Bulat. Non-stop. For the past three days.

And now I actually have to get back to work, and get ready for THIS: