Sunday, June 30, 2013

We're going to England!

I invite you, dear reader, to accompany me across the pond for three weeks. We leave for the airport tomorrow, so pack your bags and prepare for three week travel coverage on this blog!

I have been preparing for the last two weeks (technically, since March) to embark on a trip to England. The purpose of this trip is a two week course in Cambridge, entitled Darwin's Discoveries, where we will examine how Darwin's observations and his contemporaries influenced him in formulating his pivotal theory of natural selection. I am going a week in advance to experience London, and I intend to keep a careful record of my time in the UK. 

During the next three weeks, the coverage on this blog will change from its regularly scheduled programming of books, poems and movie reviews, so sit tight. This blog is not intended to become a travel blog. That said, please enjoy the ride!


fleeting insight

image via wikicommons

 insight is trembling dew
(a tenuous teardrop)
lingers on the stem
until sunbeams
turn it to vapor

insight is pain
scuffed knee warning you
(louder than your parents ever could)
that sliding down the stairs
on a trashcan lid was a bad idea

insight is the butterfly
that alights upon your
shoulder to reveal
th(idden)e marrow of your thoughts

but if you try to fasten your fingers round it
insight flees, frighted.

Favorite childhood books: age nine

So again the 12 of June has passed, leaving me a year older (perhaps wiser, but one can only hope, really). As always, my birthday list was made up of books, namely titles by Ursula K. Le Guin and Charles de Lint this year.Every year, my favorites fluctuate, so I decided to start a series about past favorites of mine, looking back ten years. Ranked in no particular order, three of my favorite reads when I was nine years old are featured here.


image via Goodreads
I like to think that this book marks the beginning of my interest in contemporary fantasy and magical realism, as I believe it was the first fantasy book I read that was set in the present, and not some misty pseudo-medieval world. Starring a genius heroine who has telekinetic powers as a result of her stifled mental capacities, this book was also my first foray into Roald Dahl's oeuvre. Matilda uses her powers primarily to play practical jokes as a way to punish her nasty parents, and then to punish her wicked schoolmistress, a plotline that I found both hilarious and engaging as a nine-year-old.

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

image via Goodreads

A story of Dickensian proportions, this book's protagonists are orphans Bonnie and Sylvia, who must outlast and outwit an evil governess and her assorted henchmen. I was obsessed with the London of the nineteenth century as a child, and this historical-fiction book marks the subject of my reading at an early age. I read this book twice in one week the first time I had it out from the library, and still enjoy it now and again.

Island of the Blue Dolphins

image via Goodreads
This book is a realistic story of survival. Karana must use her resources as she lives alone on an island, taming some animals, and hunting others. One scene that captured my imagination as a child was the scene in which she hunts and kills an octopus- the tension in that scene as she struggles to avoid both its tentacles and its sharp beak captured my attention as a child.

In this post, I've covered only a few of my favorite books of the past. If you liked these books as a child (or adult) or want to share your own, please leave your thoughts below!