Monday, July 24, 2017

Getting to Know Me

I'm borrowing this tag from AJ at Read All the Things!, because it was fun to read hers, and I kind of adore personality quizzes.  These are all 100% for entertainment only, except Myers-Briggs, which I have some faith in,  and my blood type, which is SCIENCE.  I just googled random quizzes for most of these.

What's the meaning of your name?

There are two schools of thoughts on this.  The first known Wendy is James Barrie's Wendy of Peter Pan fame.  I'd heard at one point that it came from a neighbor toddler calling him her "fwendy" (e.g. friend).  Cringe.  I've also heard it's a diminutive of Gwendolyn, meaning white-browed.  Mmkay.

My dad used to call me Wendolyn, and if anyone asked, "Oh, is Wendy short for that?" he's say, "No, Wendolyn is long for Wendy." My parents considered naming me Nelly, after my grandma.  Since I grew up in the height of the Little House TV show, in which Nelly was a huge beyotch, I was always glad they changed their minds.

What's your Myers-Briggs personality type?

INFP. Definitely an introvert in that I recharge from being alone and get drained by other people, even though I love spending time with friends and family.  Intuitive (as opposed to sensing) means I'm more big picture than detail oriented; more future plans than present reality focused.  I'm not as sure about that one.  Feeling means I make decision based on my emotions rather than on logic, and that I value mercy over justice.  This one's super valid, and (as these things often are) is both a huge weakness and a major strength in my life.  I can always see the exception to the rule, which makes it hard to be a consistent disciplinarian at home and school.  But I would also never vote to cut health care for others, even if it was a money saving plan.  Ahem.  And Perceiving instead of Judging goes right along with that.  Perceivers like to look at all the options and consider all points of view, and put off making the final decision.  

What's your Zodiac sign?

Heck if I know.  My birthday is just over the cusp between Cancer and Leo, but I cannot relate to anything Leo-ish.  When I was a kid, I claimed Leo because lions are cooler than crabs, right?  But once I read about the associations of each, I had to admit I'm more of the peace-seeking homebody than the attention-seeking leader.

What's your Hogwarts house?

I tested once into Griffindor and once into Hufflepuff.  My patronus, if you're curious, is the Scops Owl.

Are you left-brained or right-brained?

Well, according to this test, I am almost perfectly balanced. But in terms of "organized, mathematically inclined, and logical" vs "spontaneous, humanities inclined, and emotional" I am definitely a right brain person.  

What's your blood type?

I should know this.  I used to donate blood fairly regularly, until I kept being denied for mild anemia.  Um, AB negative?  Maybe?  I'm not even sure what it means to be of one blood type or another.  

What career are you meant to be in?

The online quiz I just took tells me I should be a teacher, which is kind of a relief, since I am.  I remember doing one of those quizzes in school and being told I should be an astronaut, a forester, or an orchestra conductor.  WHAT?!?  I think it had something to do with wanting to work independently and wanting to do something different from day to day.  Guess what?  That's true of teaching as well.

What's your Divergent faction?

Abnegation.  Sigh.  They weren't exactly the heroes of the series.  But yes, I can definitely see myself letting things slide in order to get along and not make waves.

What does your birth order say about you?

I'm the youngest of four, with an 11 year gap between me and my nearest sisters, who are twins, and 13 years between me and our oldest sister.  So in some ways I'm the typical baby of the family and in other ways, I'm like an only child.  Case in point?  I am perfectly willing to let people help me.  I try not to expect it or rely on it, but if someone offers, sure, why not?  That's definitely a youngest child thing.  One of my sisters was over today.  She worked this morning, then had a difficult doctor's appointment.  I've been off all summer and was making dinner.  I offered her a glass of water and she said, "That would be nice, but I'll get it.  Don't you worry about it."  I almost took her at her word, then I was like--wait, what?  I'm too lazy to pour her a glass of water?  She would move mountains for me.  But I almost made her get her own water.  Classy.

On the other hand, I was good at being around adults from a young age, because I was often the only child present.  I also had a really close relationship to my parents that had a different flavor than that of my sisters'.  I have always been comfortable being alone and entertaining myself.

Well, that was fun, if not at all book-related.  Feel free to play along!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Mid-Year Book Freak-Out Tag 2017

I traditionally do this in mid-July despite the year being WEEKS past the mid-point.  I'm a non-conformist; what can I say?  (Kidding.  Mostly.)

Let's see what the questions are--and, most likely, what my answers are as well.  I'm pulling from a couple of different versions of this tag to try to share a variety of answers without repeating myself.   Unless specified as a new release, the books might have been published at any time in the past, but I read them in 2017. I've read around 125 books so far, so I'm going to give multiple answers for most of these.

Brace yourself for an onslaught of books.  This post took a hellishly long time to put together, so bear with me on typos and errors.  Titles link to Goodreads.

Best Books so Far

Contemporary YA: Ramona Blue, The Upside of Unrequited, All American Boys
Nonfiction: Some Writer!, Most Dangerous, Bubonic Panic, Every Falling Star
Memoir You Don't Have to Say You Love Me, Born a Crime, Hypothetical Future Baby
Speculative Fiction Strange the Dreamer, Denton Little's Deathdate, The Inquisitor's Tale
Historical Fiction: The Smell of Other People's Houses, The War that Saved my Life, Maus I & 2
Literary Fiction (Books for grown-ups?  Adult fiction?): Americanah, A Prayer for Owen Meany
Re-reads: The King of Attolia, The Good Master, The Crossover

Most Anticipated Upcoming 2017 Release

Because I love the authorClick'd by Tamara Ireland Stone, Jane, Unlimited by Kristen Cashore, All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
Because I like the series:  The True Queen, Retribution Rails

(That Jane, Unlimited cover is awful.  I hope it gets fixed.)

Best Sequel so Far

Brave, Thick as ThievesOur Dark Duet

New Release You Haven't Read Yet, But Want To

A Conjuring of Light, They Both Die at the End, Release, Disrupting Thinking, The Inexplicable Logic of My Life

And yes, I own two of these and have another checked out from the library, yet I haven't read them.

Biggest Disappointment

Biggest Surprise

Flying Lessons and Other Stories, because anthologies are usually uneven, but I loved this entire collection.  Most Dangerous because I thought it would be dry and dull, and instead it was thrilling and engaging.  The Encyclopedia of Early Earth, a random library find, because it was lovely and dreamlike and entirely unexpected.

Favorite New Author

Robin Roe, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Barry Lyga, Derek Kirk Kim, I. W. Gregorio

New Favorite Character

The eponymous Ramona Blue, Jane Steele, and Owen Meany; Molly Peskin Suso from The Upside of Unrequited, Pen from Girl Mans Up, Sarai from Strange the Dreamer

Book That Made You Cry

Born a Crime is the only one that made me full-on cry, although Strange the Dreamer, You Don't Have to Say You Love Me, The Crossover, Girl in Pieces, and A List of Cages all made me misty-eyed.

Dude made me laugh out loud too, but I was expecting that.  Hand-down best celebrity memoir I've ever read, probably because it's got nothing to do with his celebrity and instead is a love letter to his mom (not in a creepy way!) and an extremely engaging description of what it was like growing up biracial as apartheid fell apart.  Fascinating.

Book That Made You Happy

The Sun is Also a Star, Princeless, Bandette, Ghost 

I guess it's no surprise that these are some of the most brightly colored covers on this post.

Most Beautiful Book So Far

the illustrated copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets I read to my daughter.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Tuesday Slice of Life: In Which I Try for a Poem

Inspired by by Noemi Shihab Nye's poem "The Words Under the Words" in Nineteen Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East.


My mother's hands recognized the stab of a needle on a calloused finger,
the dirt around the root,
the soft, purring fur of cats.
She'd hold my hand in hers, tracing my smooth thumb with her rough, reddened fingers.
Some days I can picture her hands more clearly than her face.  My own aging hands startle me to pangs of love and absence. 

My mother's days were made of getting things done,
of guaranteeing regular meals to her diabetic husband,
of denying weakness and refusing sloth.
Bread baked,
dishes washed,
patients nursed,
clothes sewn,
daughters taught,
dogs walked,
yards weeded,
coffee drank,
and, after dinner, cookies eaten and stories told.

My mother's voice says
fear and pain are guaranteed in life.
So laugh.  Swim in the lake.  Make a new friend.
Learn something new.  If a heart attack makes mountain climbing impossible
Buy a beach cabin.
God?  Who knows.  The resurrection?  Seems unlikely.  But, oh, the Holy Ghost--that she's seen. 
Love lasts.