Saturday, May 30, 2009

What is wrong with me?

You know how people talk about how one scene in a particular movie—be it Bambi or Pride and Prejudice—that made them cry? (Granted, almost entirely females.) And if not a movie, then a play, piece of music, literature, or something of the like?

Never happened to me.


It's not like I'm an overly dry-eyed individual in other respects. So why don't I? Am I not drawn into the story the same way? Is my heart a dramatic chunk of ice when it comes to fictional characters?

So a big fat prize goes to whomever can find/create something that will make me cry. (Out of grief for something in the story, not something it reminded me of, or out of happiness (good luck with that one, though; it's taken marriage and birth of immediate family members to do that in real life), or beauty, I suppose, and the like. No cheating.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Margaret wins at the game of Library.

I went to the library yesterday, and
  1. I brought my bike lock!
  2. I brought my books to return!
  3. it was open!
  4. no assassins!
I had a lovely time browsing books, and I even was brave and talked to three librarians. I asked one about looking up what prize I'd won in the bookmark contest (I didn't go to the ceremony), but he had to do something else so I talked to a perky lady. After that I asked the perky lady about volunteering, and she got perkier and gave me an application and a list of things I might be asked to do. A few minutes after she left, the third librarian approached me with a hopeful look on her face and said, "Are you volunteering? I have a special craft that you could help with, and even if it was just a few hours for a few weeks, it would be a big help."

And then I sat on a couch for a while and half read, half watched a boy (about one and a half, I'd guess) playing with his parents. (Or his kidnappers, I suppose, but I hope not. He was cute.) His mother was expecting and looked quite far along.

Anyway. Success! I am happy with this library.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The books I got from the library:

  1. Do androids dream of electric sheep? by Philip K. Dick
  2. A clockwork orange by Anthony Burgess
  3. Interview with the vampire : a novel by Anne Rice
  4. Chalice by Robin McKinley
  5. Empire by Orson Scott Card
  6. The Host by Stephanie Meyer
  7. The Graveyard Book by Niel Gaiman
  8. Anne Frank : the diary of a young girl translated from the Dutch by B.M. Mooyaart-Doubleday ; with an introduction by Eleanor Roosevelt
1, 2, 3, and 8 are classics. 4, 5, and 7 are by authors whose other books I've enjoyed. 6 has been recommended to me by several.

There is no doubt that The Host is better than the Twilight saga in many ways, but Stephanie Meyer has not learned from her mistakes. (Perhaps they need to be pointed out to her.) There was a plot point in Eclipse that I could not believe actually got published, and I dearly hoped never to see anything like it again, but lo and behold! It was in The Host, just different enough that you could pretend it was not the same.

If it was only that I would still like the book very, very much, but there was another large flaw I couldn't get past: Mary Sue-ism. Are you all familiar with the term? If a character is labeled a 'Mary Sue,' (or 'Gary Stu' or 'Marty Stu' or whatever variant you like) that means the character is unrealistic.

A 'Mary Sue' (sometimes just 'Sue'), in literary criticism and particularly in fanfiction, is a fictional character with overly idealized and hackneyed mannerisms, lacking noteworthy flaws, and primarily functioning as wish-fulfillment fantasies for their authors or readers. Perhaps the single underlying feature of all characters described as "Mary Sues" is that they are too ostentatious for the audience's taste, or that the author seems to favor the character too highly. The author may seem to push how exceptional and wonderful the "Mary Sue" character is on his or her audience, sometimes leading the audience to dislike or even resent the character fairly quickly; such a character could be described as an "author's pet".
I made bold the one phrase because that is where The Host's main character 'Wanderer' falls most short. I won't go into detail, but if you've read it I'm sure you can see what I'm talking about. If not, maybe I need to read it again, or maybe we should compare notes.

Anyway, other than that, it's a good book.

Less than success with the library again.

I was going to pick up one more book to replace the one I'd returned, so I prepared for another little bike trip. I had everything: the bike lock/chain, a sweater, a water bottle, my library card, my helmet, shoes worthy of biking, the whole thing.


The library is not open on Saturdays.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Maggie went on a trip to the library.

On Tuesday after Oly's and Tinny's piano lessons Anna came over and we biked to the library. (River Park Branch, the roundtrip of which is just under five miles, I think.) I didn't know that library was within biking distance; I kind of got carried away and got eight books. (One of them Anna had checked out before and was lending to me because most of the copies are checked out all the time.)

On Wednesday I decided to do something silly, so on Thursday I biked back to return one book.

I forgot my bike lock. Again.

So I handed the library's book to a lady that was going in with a plea for her to return it for me, and I went home again without much of a rest, which got me a little more tired than I would have liked, but it was fine. As soon as I got home I put a chain and a lock on my bike so I wouldn't forget next time.

I wasn't going to blog about this, but Monica practically begged me. (Are you happy, Potato Head?)