timeripple: (i said nothing)
I approve of all the Beethoven that’s going around the internet airways like an epidemic. An epidemic of AWESOME AND STRING QUARTETS.

Tonight in Korean class 선생님 corrected a future tense conjugation I’d done, explaining “you’ve got the rule right, but actually we don’t use it here because we don’t like to say the sound twice.” Guys, this is a language that breaks its own rules because it sounds better that way. I finally gave up all pretense at scholarly interest and scrawled “OH KOREA” in the margin of my workbook.

Since it’s again apartment-hunting time, here is a poem:


From my rented attic with no earth
To call my own except the air-motes,
I malign the leaden perspective
Of identical gray brick houses,
Orange roof-tiles, orange chimney pots,
And see that first house, as if between
Mirrors, engendering a spectral
Corridor of inane replicas,
Flimsily peopled.
                           But landowners
Own their cabbage roots, a space of stars,
Indigenous peace. Such substance makes
My eyeful of reflections a ghost’s
Eyeful, which, envious, would define
Death as striking root on one land-tract;
Life, its own vaporous wayfarings.

(Sylvia Plath, 1956. p. 53 in The Collected Poems, ed. Ted Hughes, Harper Perennial Modern Classics, New York: 2008.)
timeripple: (intellectual dilettante)
I'd really like to write a long, thoughtful post about how Nobunaga no Chef is amazing and full of historical figures bursting into song and cape-swishing. But I've got a lot of reading to do tonight, so have a poem instead.

"On Finding a Bird Skull"

If she wants
to say bird
not finch
not starling
not snipe

let her

They all have
rough tongues
hollow bones
made mostly

of eye

(Rebecca Farivar, from Correct Animal, Octopus Books, 2011).
timeripple: (fyeah curly redheaded heroines)
I’ve been meaning to write for weeks, but, you know, things happened: I read a picturebook about a highway-rat, complete with coat of claret velvet and lace at his little rat chin. I started reading I, Claudius because I picked it up off a dollar cart and got twenty percent off for identifying that week’s guess-the-quote (the Aeneid, Arma virumque cano etc). I finished watching Flower Boy Next Door and King of Dramas, and I was going to write last night, but then I thought, no, I’ll just check out the first episode of Answer Me, 1997, I probably won’t like it because I won’t get the ‘90s k-pop references but we’ll just see.

In retrospect, I should have known better. JUST TAKE MY HEART, I WASN’T USING IT ANYWAY.

Mind you, I said the same thing three days ago when I read Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. (It’s Big News now that John Green reviewed it in the New York Times, and that review and my reaction are an excellent example of vastly differing reader communities. We both loved it, but wow, it’s like we read entirely different books. You should read it too: there’s an awkward, magnificent, Romeo-&-Juliet-hating curly redhead, an eyeliner-wearing comic-reading half-Korean, epic explosions of adorableness and angst, all set to a soundtrack of terrible parenting and the Smiths.)

Actually these two stories are very similar in certain ways: they so perfectly embody the awkwardness, the intensity of being a teenager in a not-so-long-ago age (Eleanor & Park takes place in 1986; Answer Me, 1997 takes place in, obviously, 1997). Both stories are about growing up—that long liminal moment between dependence and independence. They’re about family, first love (true love?), and—of course—music.

They’re about a time in life that—if we’ve had the privilege of experiencing it (and so many young people haven’t, or experience it differently than I did and the characters in these stories do)—we’re expected to leave behind. But that shouldn’t mean we ignore it completely, and I think a lot of people read YA partly because, on some level, teenagerhood informs the rest of our lives, and the things we start working through then don’t just disappear because we hit twenty. This doesn’t mean adult readers of YA are immature or incapable of handling adulthood. It means, perhaps, that we’re still in touch with our younger selves in a way that demands some level of engagement. That questions about identity, family, love, one’s place in the world—that these are universal and ageless, in narrative just as much as in non-narrative philosophy; in living YA just as much as in anything written by dead white dudes.

That’s not the only reason for adults to read or write or edit YA, of course. But it is one that I think deserves a little more credit than it generally gets. It’s more usually phrased as the self-deprecatory “Well, I guess I’m still a teenager at heart”—but I think it demands (and deserves) more examination than that.
timeripple: (fyeah curly redheaded heroines)
So it turns out that reading an incredibly terrifying novel the afternoon before a rainstorm is a really terrible idea. I got soaked on the way back from class and now I’m in my cold room with the wind and rain and garden things scratching and bumping against the porch, and I can hear everything because my walls are mostly windows and basically wahhhh.

On the plus side, I've been procrastinating with Sporcle literary quizzes (as you do) and damn it, Shakespeare, I don't even like Romeo & Juliet, but

Come, night; come, Romeo; come, thou day in night
For thou wilt lie upon the wings of night
Whiter than new snow on a raven’s back
...and every tongue that speaks
But Romeo’s name speaks heavenly eloquence.

timeripple: (fake texting (it's super important))
Yesterday I had Ravel’s Bolero stuck in my head and hummed it at work all afternoon.

The day before that, someone in my Korean class suggested watching dramas with Korean subs to practice reading. I decided to watch an episode of something I had already seen and thus did not need to actually watch again. While searching for something entirely different, I came across Big Bang re-enacting Coffee Prince. Well, that was an entertaining ten minutes, but a total failure for subtitle reading. Then I decided I just had to find something I had already seen and had absolutely no interest in re-watching.

Two episodes of Boys Before Flowers later... I’m not allowed to subtitle-watch anything with Lee Min-ho’s face in it. XD

In other news, now that I have a brand new stack of galleys, it’s time to post some reviews of old galleys!Murder! And more murder!: Grave Mercy, Paper Valentine, and Quintana of Charyn )

What’re you reading these days?
timeripple: (nodame nom nom)
Happy Valentine’s Day! Or Happy Pan-Universal Be Who You Are Day (thanks, Kristin Cashore!). I don’t have particularly strong feelings about Valentine’s Day one way or another, except that it is inevitably followed by the Second-Greatest Candy Sale Day of the Year (the Greatest Candy Sale Day of the Year being Nov. 1), about which I do have strong feelings. I compromised by wearing black and eyeliner to work, but also wearing pink tights and inexpertly painting my fingernails sparkly pink with black and silver details.

Speaking of work, I’m settling in pretty well, though it’s very different from my last job. But nice too. Clearly I still have a lot to learn about bookselling, though, and should remember not to say “awesomesauce” to little old ladies. I found the world’s best-organized comics store last week and bought Fionna & Cake #1.

FIONA: I was going to ask if you had this, but clearly… you do!
FIONA: I don’t read nearly enough comics, but I have friends who work for Comic Book Resources, and they said I should read it.
COMICSELLER: Your friends are totally right!
FIONA & COMICSELLER: *mutual approval*

So there you have it. The comics store is right next to a sff/mystery bookstore that has nearly every single Diana Wynne Jones book, and pretty much everything else. *cries from happiness*

In other news, I’m getting used to my housemates and mustering the discipline to work on my paper and taking Korean. I’m eating far too much sourdough bread, which is probably why I haven’t noticeably lost any weight, despite the fact that I walk everywhere and desperately need new shoes. The other day, I got partway up one of the trails behind the house before I got nauseated and decided to turn around and come back down. But I got pretty far, especially for being as out of shape as I am. And the views are spectacular from pretty much anywhere on the trail I picked, as it zigzags up the western face of the hill. (I’m pretty sure that hill counts as a mountain in New England.) Next time I’ll get further. I could see downtown Oakland and San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin County, and the bay shining silver, and a little haze creeping in.

I miss you all, and not everything is perfect, but I haven’t felt this good in a long time. Some days I can’t believe this place is real.

Some days I can.
timeripple: (fyeah curly redheaded heroines)
Tonight here am I, amid my few bags of stuff and pitifully small stacks of books, in my new room in Berkeley. My housemates are Danish, German, New Zealander, and Afghan-American, and they have all been most welcoming. The southern wall of my room is all windows that look onto the little back garden. And in the garden there are stars. My new sheets are inviting, and I can see my Hark! A Vagrant calendar hanging beside the door.

Home sweet home.
timeripple: (fyeah curly redheaded heroines)
I’m finally starting to do things I should have done three months ago (namely, apartment-hunt, think about whether I need to get a car, make plans. Yunno, the small things). In celebration, it is time for a book post! As previously mentioned, my Christmas present to myself was a stack of galleys purloined (with permission) from my former place of employment.

Without further ado! Scarlet by Marissa Meyer )

I have commandeered my dad’s car (and also my dad) for a trip to hunt wild apartments in Berkeley tomorrow. Wish me luck!
timeripple: (attir'd with stars)
"The Thought Fox" by Ted Hughes

I imagine this midnight moment's forest:
Something else is alive
Beside the clock's loneliness
And this blank page where my fingers move.

Through the window I see no star:
Something more near
Though deeper within darkness
Is entering the loneliness:

Cold, delicately as the dark snow
A fox's nose touches twig, leaf;
Two eyes serve a movement, that now
And again now, and now, and now

Sets neat prints into the snow
Between trees, and warily a lame
Shadow lags by stump and in hollow
Of a body that is bold to come

Across clearings, an eye,
A widening deepening greenness,
Brilliantly, concentratedly,
Coming about its own business

Till, with a sudden sharp hot stink of fox
It enters the dark hole of the head.
The window is starless still; the clock ticks,
The page is printed.
timeripple: (anenome)
Alas, I have been delinquent from this journal as usual by the twin causes of travel and sloth. A few weeks ago I traipsed about New York City with [livejournal.com profile] mousapelli, eating everything in sight, getting stuck in a human traffic jam, and inflicting much merry butchery upon the ears of the Karaoke Duet staff. (I maintain that KAT-TUN songs as rendered by your resident hoarse Disney Princess are hilarious.) The next day it was my honor to attend my dear [livejournal.com profile] a4yroldfaerie’s wedding in a shocking fuschia dress and sparkly black nail polish. Many the portions of mac’n’cheese that were consumed at the reception, and many the cranberry vodkas too; many the tales that flew about the table.

Thence to Boston to see more old friends and do a little holiday helping at the bookstore. Many lines of Tiny Homer were set and printed! More mac’n’cheese was consumed! Also dumplings. (Look, I promise I did some actual bookselling on this trip; I didn’t just sit around eating. Not entirely anyway. Ahem. Right. I, uh, also drank some chai.)

I do love bookselling during the holidays. Everything is happy chaos. It was totally not my idea to goad J. into playing four-part harmony carols over the loudspeaker… in Korean. Nuh-uh.

I managed not to burst into uncontrollable sobbing until my return plane was about half an hour out from landing. Which I guess is an improvement? Last time I only made it about as far as Jamaica Plain. XD

So I’ve been trying to think about how to sum up this year, philosophize about it, and really that isn’t working out so well. So instead, have a list of all the books I read for the first time this year, chronologically organized. (I’m, uh, leaving out most of the picturebooks and re-reads, because that would make this even more ridiculously long. I’ve included release dates for any that aren’t out yet and also those that came out in 2012 for nefarious purposes of my own. Yes, my present to myself was a giant stack of galleys purloined from the buying office.)

The Year in Review )

Currently reading: Antigonick by Sophocles and Anne Carson. "Footsteps pass so perilously soft across the sea in marble winter." There are no page numbers but the quote is from a choral speech pretty early on.

So there you have it. Happy New Year, all.
timeripple: (nodame nom nom)
Well, and here we are on 12/12/12. We have just finished setting up the small tree that I tramped down the hillside out back to saw down with my own hands. It is unusually seasonal around here and no mistake. I think it will snow tonight.

Last week I took a very nice business-and-pleasure trip to San Francisco. It was totally unproductive on the job-getting front, it turns out, but I did see old friends and meet wonderful new people. I ate French toast in a sparkly, sparkly diner and had some really fantastic green curry and a really terrible cream puff. (Not all at the same time.) Half the UC Berkeley population randomly smiled at me in a not-particularly-creepy way. There was chai.

I had just enough time to visit The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. AMAZING. I cannot recommend it enough. The Snowy Day was a landmark picturebook, and the original art pieces are stunning—so rich and vivid. The exhibit had art from many of Keats’s other books as well, and also a little room dedicated to his friendship with a Japanese puppet theatre troupe. Their letters show a mutual artistic appreciation and frank, honest affection that I found very touching.

Then it was time to wait for the Amtrak bus home, and I stood on a footbridge looking across at a conference center with a carousel on top. Oh, SF. ♥
timeripple: (nodame nom nom)
I have been a total failure at posting this month, mostly out of sheer laziness and also from feeling like a cat being cuddled and then squeezed too tight. But! Happy Thanksgiving (or Colonial Oppression Day with Food, as we say in my parents’ household). I am so very thankful for my family and my friends, those whom I see often and not-so-often and never, and for the opportunity to travel and see new places, and for music, and books, and chai, and all the wonderful things that I have and have the chance to do.

My friends have been on my mind a lot lately. The beginning of the month was full of travel and madness, first to Atlanta for a wedding and thence to the wilds of North Carolina for hangout times. I got to experience four new airports (apparently I collect them now?) and see a lot of people I haven’t seen in a long time.

The details, oh so many of them )

Phew. I’m exhausted just from cobbling all that together out of my exhausted-and-chai-high notes. Celebratory pie is in order. Yes. I hope you are all safe and warm and fed, my friends. There are more travels ahead, and I’m looking forward to seeing some of you in a few weeks!
timeripple: (anenome)
Here am I this All Hallows Eve, sitting in the darkened living room with rain overhead and scones in the oven, the dog snoozing on the rug. Before me is the prospect of much packing, for tomorrow I am bound for parts unknown—i.e., Atlanta—first to a dear friend’s wedding and thence to visiting other dear friends. I am bringing to read Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve: How the World Became Modern (concerning the re-discovery of Lucretius) and Fire and Hemlock, the enigmatic seasonally appropriate masterpiece of Diana Wynne Jones.

Once packing is finished there will commence the traditional reading of The Perilous Gard, and then bed.

Happy Halloween.
timeripple: (toma sakura)
“The sun shone so strong and bright, it seemed it would never set. People changed, things happened under that eternal sun. I wasn’t aware of it but autumn was shooting out buds. Then suddenly one morning the wind turned cold and the sky looked so high, a reminder of the passage of time, dashing my hopes that summer would never end.”

(Banana Yoshimoto, N.P. Because in some parts of California--okay, most of them--Gerard Manley Hopkins simply doesn't work. And I love this quote.)

Except I love fall.

Now, if only I knew where my copy of Kitchen was...
timeripple: (anenome)
Dear Diary,

This week I played with power tools and toxic chemicals and set things on fire. It was a good week.

(No, I have not turned into a full-fledged psycho. My dad helped me make some new shelves for my bookcases. And by "helped" I mean "did most of the work while I cackled and learned how to use an orbital sander.")

As if that weren't enough, I’ve entered a translation contest for a 700-word sample of a German novel. This should be hilarious, because my German is not so much rusty as barely existent. We’ll see how it goes? XD It was nice to be sitting on a porch listening to KAT-TUN (what else) and abusing a dictionary again. Of course I had to have chai as well.

Of course.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go check on this pie.
timeripple: (attir'd with stars)
My darlings, I have not dropped off the face of the planet—though it sort of feels like it—no, I am in California, and here I stay for the foreseeable future. Mind you, I can only deal with the future about two weeks in advance, so you see the problem with my life planning skills right here.

I have traveled by train and by car from one end of the country to the other, with lots of detouring in between and a brief stint where my friend M and I seriously considered becoming casino waitresses in Reno and then writing a trashy novel about it. [livejournal.com profile] mousapelli took me to a palace of wonders called Chocolate World and let me sleep on her couch and bond with Datte and watch all her con DVDs.

This has actually backfired, though, because now I’m in a KAT-TUN phase, and somebody needs to take all my music away from me, because I keep listening to 勇気の花 and then sobbing every time it gets to Hittori ja nai yo, nakama ga iru yo.

See, I'm crying again. No, stop. A road trip is more than what you leave behind. I have seen little harbor towns and shining cities and also elephants and a whole lot of sagebrush. I have participated in philosophical conversations about the human condition (lasting most of Kansas) and masqueraded as a German tourist (super useful for thwarting obnoxious panhandlers). I have visited the first coffee shop west of the Mississippi and driven past a mountain forest fire at night and seen the Milky Way.

Of many peoples—their cities he saw, and understood their minds;
Many perils his spirit suffered upon the sea.

Because a loose and selective translation of Homer is always relevant. Always.

More soon--I will try.
timeripple: (pig-rabbit)


timeripple: (i said nothing)
Sometimes I unintentionally (or at least subconsciously) have a reading streak on a particular theme. Has this ever happened to you?

Or am I just now noticing that things have more in common than I think they do? (Does that even make sense? Look, I've been sitting here typing for four hours, nothing much makes sense to me any more.)

Come back past philology and kennings: World War II Novels, Icelandic Sagas, and Seamus Heaney )

fly again

Jul. 29th, 2012 10:36 am
timeripple: (toma clover)
Sitting in my inappropriately pink chair with some edits to do for [livejournal.com profile] mousapelli and a cup of tea. It’s foggy outside, I don’t have to be at work until 2, and I am so happy.

timeripple: (i said nothing)
I have been adventuring and therefore delinquent as usual, I see.

First there was a brief flying visit with [livejournal.com profile] snowqueenofhoth in New York. (UNIQLO, Organic Coffeehouse fro-yo, and karaoke--very fancy, I even wore a dress.) )

The following week I took a tiny tiny plane to visit my friend M. in the Adirondacks. We talked about poetry a lot; a lake tried to devour me; it was great. )

In between trips I caught a magnificent cold and got teary-eyed over the Declaration of Independence and the thought that people used to just WRITE like that. I mean, "When in the Course of human events..." BAM! Cue tears.

What writing gets you all teary at its sheer greatness?


timeripple: (Default)

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