Sunday, September 30, 2012

Liebster Award

I was recently tagged for the Liebster Award by Laura Morrigan over at Roses and Vellum. Here are my answers to the questions!

1. What book, movie or real life person most influences or inspires you? How?

Depending on what is going on in my life currently, my inspiration varies. Right now, it's Lirael, a Third Assistant Librarian, from Garth Nix's Old Kingdom series. She has a lot of trouble finding her place in the world, but her response is usually to find solace in study.
2. What is your favourite wild animal? (Not dog, cat, etc.) and why.


My favourite wild animal would have to be a white Bengal tiger, not only because they are simultaneously beautiful and dangerous, a balance that fascinates me, their coloration arises from a mutant condition that's so rare that only one in 15,000 Bengal tigers born in the wild will be white.

3. If you had to choose between not sleeping ever again or not using the internet ever again (not even for research, email or assignments) which would you choose?

I would probably choose never to use the internet again...if you don't sleep, you can't dream, and that's one thing in which the internet is singularly unhelpful. And after all, I've got the library and regular mail!

4. What is your favourite outfit? Put a picture here or describe it.


Currently, my favourite outfit consists of a black draped top, a white linen skirt with thin black stripes, roses embroidered on the hem, and a black lace underskirt with black sandals. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of myself in it! 

5. What is the best book you ever read and why?


This question is probably the hardest one here, because I love many books. If I had to pick one, it would be either The Lord of the Rings and The Complete Works of T.S. Eliot, because they have marked my life and writing in ways that no other book has.  

6. If you could live in any era  (past and present only) what would it be and why?

I would choose to live in the 1920s, because then I could meet my favorite authors and get advice from them, while still enjoying most of the freedom I do today.

7. Do you have a hobby? What is it?

I love to write stories and poetry, and I try to get at least one chapter of my book and one poem written every week. I also love to play the violin.

8. Do you prefer skirts or pants?

I wear pants more often, just because they tend to be more versatile and  hard-wearing than skirts, and I do a lot of walking every day, so they fit my needs better, but I enjoy wearing skirts too.

9. You are given a ticket to go to one city in the world. Which one would it be and why?


I would go to London, because I'd love to visit the British museum, as well as visit the stomping-grounds of many of my favourite authors.

10. You fall down a hole in the pavement and end up in Wonderland. What do you do?


I'd go visit the Mad Hatter, and then go on a walk with my eyes wide open- in Wonderland, there are always new things to discover!

11. Who is your favourite blogger and why? (I don't expect you to say me :P I am interested in discovering interesting blogs!)

I enjoy reading many blogs, but my favorite would have to be Girls Underground.

I decided not to tag anyone, but to instead post a few of my favorite blogs to read:

Banned Books Week #1: Brave New World

Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit

Everyone in the world seems to be contented- no crime, no violence exists in their world, and no unrest- except for Bernard Marx. He sees nothing but hollowness in the way that everyone in their utopia is encouraged to have sexual relationships without love or even emotional investment. To assuage his worries, he and his friend Lenina Crowe visit a reservation where the people retain old-world customs. There, they meet John, whose mother used to live in their world. He returns with them, and hails their city as a "brave new world," (a reference to The Tempest, which is included in a book he owns, The Complete Works of Shakespeare). This "brave new world" dubs him John the Savage, and sees his view of love and family as at best quaint and at worst, obscene.

Why I think it was challenged:
This book was actually challenged in 2011, which surprises me, since the book was actually published in 1932. Since it depicts a society where sex without emotional investment or real relationship as the norm, I suppose it's considered somewhat subversive in any era. The elitist attitudes that some of the characters hold toward any culture other than theirs must be the reason racism, religious viewpoint and insensitivity are listed as reasons for this book to be challenged.
        What I find ironic about the charges of racism, insensitivity, and religious viewpoint is that the characters that hold such elitist views are not presented as sympathetic characters- instead, they're shown for the hypocritical, misled people that they are, and their denouncement of love is shown in a similar light. John, the most sympathetic character in the story, is horrified by the inhabitants of this utopia whose values are so skewed.
Even the title, Brave New World, is indicated to be an ironic statement. In The Tempest, Miranda, who has been in exile her whole life, regards the drunken, loudmouthed sailors who have been shipwrecked on her island and declares:
"O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't."
 The inhabitants of such a brave new world are not intended to be looked upon with admiration, but with horror and distrust.

creative decay

image source

the empty shells of leaves
shimmer through the ether and
crumple beneath the maple
to disintegrate underfoot
leaving a miasma of decay

another crow seems to leap, (really,
she's falling) rises into the blue air
trusting in her wings
to catch the fair
breezes from the highway

captured in an artist's brushstrokes
on an easel (set up in the park)
this morsel of life is flattened on canvas
and a hungry crowd gathers around the
girl with the long-handled brushes

their eyes consume the creative process
of chemical paints,
the color of sky and land
that caress the canvas
and cover the hand 

of the short serious-faced girl
who dips her brush again and
again into the dull paints
her eyes reflecting the
trees and painful blue sky.

Banned Books Week: Sept 30 - October 6

Today is the first day of Banned Books Week, a US-wide event that celebrates the freedom to read. This year is the thirtieth anniversary of the event, and in honor of Banned Books week, I'll be posting a different banned book every day this week, with a short summary of the book, my thoughts on it, and why it has been challenged.

The list of books for this week is courtesy of the American Library Association, and are all from 2000-2011, a current list of frequently challenged books. I will be covering seven of them this week, selected from the website.

 Hope you enjoy it!