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Oh, allergies...

Today's a little cooler than yesterday, even though I heard it was going to be warmer. I'm going to have to do some yard work--I'm having a hard time shooting pictures around the weeds! I know it seems like I'm just a lazy ass, but I'm living in a small split-level ranch house on almost an acre of land. I love having a yard like a small park, but sometimes I really envy people with tiny, manageable lots that they can plan meticulously and create romantic, themed gardens. We just have to find plants that grow wild and let them take over. Also, our yard has so many nooks and crannies that we always have a resident groundhog. ;_;

So, I watched almost all of What's the Matter With Helen? last night. For a horror movie, it's only slightly scary, with only enough gore to qualify it for a PG-13 rating. Still, it gave me a nightmare last night. I suppose it's the better movie in the double-feature, but it lacks the god-awful hilarity of Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?. Still, five dollars for two movies is pretty good!

I've been re-reading Jane Yolen's Sister Light, Sister Dark this weekend. I like the book a little less with the second reading. I'm always ambivalent about books centering on a strong political theme (this one, like many of Yolen's books, being feminism). Regardless of whether or not I agree with the author's views, I find that books written specifically to push an ideal usually sacrifice character development. As I read, I keep thinking, well, if you're sure you have all the answers and you just want to share them, what's the point of writing this as a novel? I guess every writer has their reason for writing. Jane Yolen is a feminist scholar and folklorist--almost all her books are either about exploring set traditions and putting a feminist spin on common tales. I know there's nothing wrong with that, but as a reader and writer more interested in the workings of the human psyche and how people relate to each other, I find her writing to be kind of dry...

I tried a pastry from a French-Austrian bakery in New Haven called Marjolaine; it was a free-form berry tart with a surprising amount of vanilla custard filling. It was probably the best thing I've ever eaten in my life. I am very picky. I think I should give up on dessert-making and leave it to the professionals!



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 17th, 2010 03:45 am (UTC)
Interesting. . .
Sorry you didn't like the book on second reading. But I have long ago learned that I can't please everyone. Still, I read your brief review with interest.

For the record, I don't consider myself a feminist scholar (anyone who is would hoot at that) but rather a humanist. A secular humanist at that, with delusions of snark.

Honestly, I just write to tell a story. Obviously for you I missed the mark. I really am sorry about that.

Jane Yolen

May. 17th, 2010 03:52 pm (UTC)
Re: Interesting. . .
I'm probably the last person who should be assigning labels to authors without thinking! If I offended you, I'm very sorry!

I wasn't really expecting my criticism to reach the author's eyes. I'm a little flattered but I'm also very nervous...

Maybe it's because I'm frustrated by my own ability to form my thoughts into words, but sometimes I expect the books I read to give me everything I want in one package. This is probably an immature attitude. Don't get me wrong--I think that Great Alta Saga is wonderful, especially the presence of the Hames--the idea of a place for women who can't and won't be shoehorned into traditional female roles is fascinating and honestly, gives me a lot of hope for the future.

I think my problem is expecting a fantasy novel to be as intimate as a memoir. Obviously they aren't the same animal. Maybe it's because I think that The Devil's Arithmetic, my favorite of your novels, has so much heartbreaking emotion that I thought "Hey, if you put book A and book B together, it would be perfect!"

I really hope you didn't take this criticism to heart. Sister Light, Sister Dark is a very tight work and I hope that someday I can write something that's so mature!
May. 17th, 2010 01:11 pm (UTC)
I don't think you are being a lazy ass! I rather admire what you can do outside, it is not always easy to lay there under the sun, as you are trying to do the work. Most people don't even have the stamina to have more than a few things on your case done. I avoid books that have any politics out interest
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )