Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bored Out of Mind

As of last Tuesday, the teachers of our school district have been on strike. This means that since last Tuesday, we have had no school. This means that since last Tuesday, I've been stranded at the house with my younger siblings and recently-moved-in Grandma. This means that since last Tuesday, I have had NOTHING. TO. DO.

You would assume that the natural thing for a bibliofreak like me to do is read, right? I did, but it just didn't go so well. After a long search for a new mystery series to get obsessed over, I attempted to fall in love with Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series, by way of its sixth installment, Blood and Circuses. While I did find the book pretty interesting, mainly because of the impressive early 20th century speech patterns and slang, it just wasn't what I was looking for (and was also a little too graphic in some parts). I guess you just can't force love. It's going to take a lot more to find a series that can stand up to the ones I already care about.

After that, I got a little restless. I also managed to acquire a pretty darn-awful cold, to the point where it got really hard for me to talk. Deciding to make the most of my newfound silence, I picked another book off of my shelf, one that I have always heard nothing but good things about: The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger. This is the favorite book of so many people I know, I feel bad about wondering whether they even read it after I was done. Could it REALLY be such a well-liked book? Was Holden Caulfield REALLY such a source of, well, not inspiration, hopefully, but of identifiable understanding? If so, I really worry about my friends.

I didn't hate it or anything. I very rarely hate anything, and even then I change my opinions later on. I liked the interesting portrayal of New York night life, and the post-war emotion, and the speech and slang of the '40s. I liked Phoebe. I had a lot of mixed emotions about Holden. As I described it to my Dad, "I sort of hated him. Like, a lot of the time." He was an overly emotional, spoiled brat, who decided to ruin all good things that came to him. He could have been any of the number of emo, cynical hipster jerks who goes to my high school. He had such a hateful, unhappy personality that I couldn't help but feel like he would end up getting the worst in life, simply because he expected it. Heck, with his reckless behavior, he encouraged bad endings to join up with him.

And yet, he was easy to relate to. How many people feel like him, like they're surrounded by "phonies", like they don't know what's worth living for, like they want to take a gamble with the universe for the sake of finding a better existence? He provided miserable company, which I, in my sorry state of stuffy nose and throbbing throat, welcomed. And while I was glad our time together was short, he did provide interesting conversation. I hope he doesn't choose to visit again soon.

I also hope our school district and teachers resolve their matters quickly, because despite the lingering Summer weather, I am managing to depress the hell out of myself with poor book choices. I know this could be set right with an AP Calc assignment or something.

#3. Kerry Greenwood's Blood and Circuses (of the Phryne Fisher series). High society noblewoman Phryne Fisher temporarily ditches a life of luxury to take up the post of a horse rider, in an attempt to find out who is sabotaging a traveling circus.

#4. J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. Unhappy and lonely, Holden Caulfield behaves badly in 1940s New York after getting kicked out of yet another boarding school.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."

God bless all of those killed in the attacks on September 11th, 2001, and may their families and friends find solace in the fact that their burden of loss will never be something they have to bear alone. Our country will forever be standing behind them, and their memories will never be forgotten.

May the enduring American spirit keep us strong through trying times to come, as well as find cause for hope in those we've lost in the past.

Please think of those whose lives were unfairly stolen in this act of violence, and their loved ones, today.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Beginning of the End

Long time, no see, right? However, I refuse to regret the lost time, for in the space of these couple of weeks, I have finished my summer reading (Wuthering Heights was slightly less insufferable the second time); went on a beautiful, wonderful, blissful, all together way-too-short vacation to Central Oregon (SunRiver Resort=heaven); and started my senior year in high school.

While I do mourn the loss of my beautiful and fantastic AP English class of yesteryear, I do think that this new one is going to be crazy fun, as well, even if it is my first period of the day. It'll just have to wake me up then. :) And while it is rather large, as opposed to my intimately acquainted Junior English class, that is because it is the ONLY class currently offering AP Senior English, so we're all stuffed in. How lovely is that? It's only a matter of time before we start seeing ideas bouncing around the classroom and smacking people in the brain. And my new English teacher is pretty cool, too. After the sudden departure of our now-retired AP Senior English teacher in June, I am happy to see that we have found someone just as qualified as she was to fill her place. :)

Anyways, want to hear what I've been reading? Mainly just rereading, because it's nice to be able to come back to those few that you love so dearly. For me, it was Tamora Pierce's Trickster's Duo: Trickster's Choice and Trickster's Queen. Out of her magnificent fantasy canon, this is my second favorite series, the first being the adventures of the Beka Cooper trilogy (the last book of which comes out on October 25th, ten days after my bday). I also read the newest Alex Flinn fantasy, Cloaked, which I found entertaining, and, after many recommendations from my best friend's Mom, I read Janet Evanovich's One for the Money, which I didn't find interesting at all (In truth, I found it kind of gross. But I felt obligated, so I finished it).

So, that's what I've been up to in my extended absence. Don't worry, I'm back now, and more ready than ever to start blogging, big-time. I find beginnings are one of the best places to set a challenge, so here's a challenge to myself, for which you may hold me accountable: By the end of this school year, I shall have read at least 50 books. Hopefully, this will force me to update more frequently, so I'm setting the bar at one blogpost a week as well. So, with the start of the school year, I start my 50. Let's go!

#1. Alex Flinn's Cloaked. Utilizing her talents for transforming traditional fairy tales into teen fantasy, Flinn brings some of the Brothers Grimm's not-so-famous stories into the light of a modern romance.

#2. Janet Evanovich's One for the Money. Out-of-work Stephanie Plum attempts to make some fast cash by catching court-date evaders for her cousin's bail-bond business, but this proves difficult due to a possibly-innocent old flame, and a dangerous stalker.