December 31st, 2013

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2014 Thinks To Do

Okay, so big plans for 2014 include:

- rewatching the Ron Perlman/Linda Hamilton Beauty and the Beast as part of a year-long thing with Stephen Aryan and Liz de Jager. We might even have a weekly Discussion Blog about that week’s show. Anybody who wants to can join in!

- (re)reading all the Guy Gavriel Kay novels, of which there are now 12, one a month in publication order, again with weekly discussion. We’ll be starting with THE SUMMER TREE in January, with a goal of reading 4 chapters a week. The first discussion post will be here on January 7!

- perhaps (re)reading the Barbara Hambly Benjamin January series, of which I now have all the books (in hardback no less! squee!) and which are among some of the best books I’ve ever read. I don’t know if I’ll start this in January, but I think I’ll do it.

- working my way through the To Be Read Shelf, with the goal of reducing it by about 70% before buying any new books.

Of course, I have no idea when I’ll write, with all that stuff to read and watch… :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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Recent Reads: A Stranger at Green Knowe

I admit that I have stayed up slightly too late tonight so I could add one more book onto my “books read in 2013″ list, which I believe has capped out at about 65 books. Not quite as good as last year, when I think I managed around 75, but a lot better than my nadir of 15. @.@

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I re-read all of the Green Knowe books repeatedly as a child, but reading them again as an adult has been a revelation. The descriptions and the ability to reveal the world the way a child sees it are unparalleled throughout, even in RIVER, which is less a novel than a series of vignettes strung together on the back of a river.

STRANGER is the most powerful and heartbreaking of the four I’ve re-read so far; it’s the story of Hanno the gorilla, captured in the Congo as a baby, and Ping, an orphan who befriends him. The first fifty or so pages are entirely from Hanno’s viewpoint and are simply magnificent. When we return to Green Knowe and Ping’s story, we’re brought back to the delight and charm and simplicity of youthful storytelling, which is maintained all the way up through the relentless and inevitable end. It’s masterfully done.

And, in counterpoint, there are also moments of dreadful racism, made all the worse by the utter beauty they’re surrounded by. In this, they’re a product of their time, which is not to forgive the flaw, but to acknowledge what may be the only aspect of the books that (thankfully) isn’t timeless.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)