The Wander Society by Keri Smith

The Wander Society by Keri SmithThe Wander Society
by Keri Smith
Published by Penguin Books
on March 29, 2016
Genres: Nonfiction
Pages: 208
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
Amazon
five-stars
wan·der
verb  \ˈwän-dər\
to walk/explore/amble in an unplanned or aimless way with a complete openness to the unknown

Several years ago when Keri Smith, bestselling author of Wreck This Journal, discovered cryptic handwritten notations in a worn copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, her interest was piqued. Little did she know at the time that those simple markings would become the basis of a years-long, life-changing exploration into a mysterious group known only as The Wander Society, as well as the subject of this book.

Within these pages, you’ll find the results of Smith’s research: A guide to the Wander Society, a secretive group that holds up the act of wandering, or unplanned exploring, as a way of life. You’ll learn about the group’s mysterious origins, meet fellow wanderers through time, discover how wandering feeds the creative mind, and learn how to best practice the art of wandering, should you choose to accept the mission.
Clicking the above affiliate link, will provide me with a small sum of money, which is used to fund my blog and my book habit.

The Wanderers are Everywhere. 

Do you like to wander? Do you like to disconnect; from life, your phone, from everything – even just temporarily? Do you feel like you’ve lost touch with nature, yourself, with the world?

Then this book, this SOCIETY, may be for you.

It’s easy to do:

wanderprecepts

When we constantly fill up all our “empty” time with stimulation in the form of electronic devices, games, and distractions, our brains become disengaged and the thinking process is effectively halted. We never get to hear our own inner voice-we don’t develop a relationship with ourselves and our minds. We don’t get to know who we are because we’re not listening.

I find that I am too connected. I have to have my phone with me. I can get lost on the computer, for hours at a time. I do not want to be this way. I have started wandering. And I will wander more.

Join me?

Bite Size Reviews: Comics from February

BITE SIZE REVIEWS

Bitch Planet Volume 1 – I have decided Kelly Sue Deconnick can do no wrong. Think Margaret Atwood meets Inglourious Basterds.¹ I feel like this is the best description possible. Besides the story, there is so many great things going on here; commentary on body image, race, sexuality, politics, and just about anything noncompliant can get you arrested and sent to Bitch Planet, a horrible prison where terrible things happen. That makes it sound terrible, but it really isn’t. It’s empowering, it’s outspoken in all the right ways, and it never apologizes. Great stuff.

Captain Marvel Volume 2: Stay Fly – Again with the Kelly Sue Deconnick! Seriously, you can’t go wrong with her. Captain Marvel is great fun. Carol Danvers’ space adventure continues, with her cat Chewie and her stowaway Tic in tow. Guest appearance by Rocket Raccoon is much appreciated (because I like that crazy raccoon) and the storylines are just fun. Carol is my favorite Avenger.

Captain Marvel Volume 3: Alis Volat Propriis – Last Kelly Sue Deconnick. Really. It’s the last of her arc with Carol Danvers and I’m sorry to see her go! This did feel the weakest of the series and I didn’t appreciate the random issue from another series, but the ending was beautiful and I am interested to see where Marvel takes the character next.

Jem and the Holograms Volume 1: Showtime! – OMG YOU GUYS. I am a total 80s kid and I watched Jem RELIGIOUSLY. Jerrica and the girls were so cool and so fun and so COLORFUL. And they still are. This reboot is just as fun, just as cool, and just as colorful. I found it to be a great reboot. It takes what made the cartoon as success and builds on it while making it feel modern and fresh. There is still a lot of pink glitter involved, but also brings in new diversity in race, sex, and body type. The girls are back, and better than ever.

Morning Glories Volume 1: For a Better Future – A prep school. For truly…exceptional…children. All the students are brilliant. They were all born on the same day. And they all have no idea what they are getting themselves into here at Morning Glory Academy. Next volume please!

The Sculptor – I have never read a book by Scott McCloud and I now consider this a travesty. This book appears to be quite divisive, especially in regard to the ending, and for me, it was perfect. I loved every panel. The art, the story, the ideas. I loved it all. I don’t even know how to describe it. The protagonist, David, is lonely, conflicted, and ambitious. He’s an artist. An artist that no one will work with. All he wants to do is share his art, to make people feel, and he just can’t make it happen. He’s at the point where he might just give up, when he meets his Uncle Harry, his Dead Uncle Harry, who gives him an offer he can’t refuse: the ability to mold anything out of anything with his bare hands, but only for 200 days. Then David’s life is forfeit to Harry. All is fine and dandy until he meets Meg. Ugh. I can’t do this books justice.

This isn’t all the comics I read in February! A few may get their own reviews. Stay tuned!

ps: all links go to Amazon, where, if you should buy a book, I’ll get a small cut

In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri

In Other Words by Jhumpa LahiriIn Other Words
Published by Random House Audio
on February 9, 2016
Genres: Memoir
Pages: 256
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars
From the Pulitzer Prize winner, a surprising, powerful, and eloquent nonfiction debut

In Other Words is at heart a love story—of a long and sometimes difficult courtship, and a passion that verges on obsession: that of a writer for another language. For Jhumpa Lahiri, that love was for Italian, which first captivated and capsized her during a trip to Florence after college. And although Lahiri studied Italian for many years afterward, true mastery had always eluded her. So in 2012, seeking full immersion, she decided to move to Rome with her family, for “a trial by fire, a sort of baptism” into a new language and world.

In Rome, Lahiri began to read, and to write—initially in her journal—solely in Italian. In Other Words, an autobiographical work written in Italian, investigates the process of learning to express oneself in another language, and describes the journey of a writer seeking a new voice. Presented in a dual-language format, it is a book about exile, linguistic and otherwise, written with an intensity and clarity not seen since Nabokov. A startling act of self-reflection and a provocative exploration of belonging and reinvention.

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

-----

I want you to just take a minute to click on the underlined more… up there and read what this book is about. Read it carefully.

There. Did you do it?

So you realize that Lahiri, a woman born in London, raised in Rhode Island, and raised in her mother’s Bengali heritage, sought to learn to read and write Italian AND THEN DID IT. And then she wrote a book about it IN ITALIAN.

Go ahead. Just sit back and think about that. And realize she is THE WOMAN. I’ll wait.

Are you impressed? Because I am. Not surprised, no, cause we all know Lahiri is a brilliant woman, a fantastic writer, and, obviously, brave — but I can’t help but be impressed. Mainly because, while I have often wanted to learn another language beyond the high school French I remember, I would never have the ambition to do what she did to reach her goal. And then to just do it – DO IT – so damn well. Truly, this book is a wonder. And the audio? Y’all. Lahiri reads this book. In English. Then in Italian.

It is amazing and I highly recommend listening to it.

Thoughts on Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt

Thoughts on Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha HuntMr. Splitfood
by Samantha Hunt
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
on January 5, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy, Horror
Pages: 336
Format: eBook
Source: Friend
Goodreads
Amazon
five-stars
A contemporary gothic from an author in the company of Kelly Link and Aimee Bender, Mr. Splitfoot tracks two women in two times as they march toward a mysterious reckoning.

Ruth and Nat are orphans, packed into a house full of abandoned children run by a religious fanatic. To entertain their siblings, they channel the dead. Decades later, Ruth’s niece, Cora, finds herself accidentally pregnant. After years of absence, Aunt Ruth appears, mute and full of intention. She is on a mysterious mission, leading Cora on an odyssey across the entire state of New York on foot. Where is Ruth taking them? Where has she been? And who — or what — has she hidden in the woods at the end of the road?

In an ingeniously structured dual narrative, two separate timelines move toward the same point of crisis. Their merging will upend and reinvent the whole. A subversive ghost story that is carefully plotted and elegantly constructed, Mr. Splitfoot will set your heart racing and your brain churning. Mysteries abound, criminals roam free, utopian communities show their age, the mundane world intrudes on the supernatural and vice versa.

You guys. I am so gullible; I mean; it really doesn’t take much to talk me into trying out a book. I tried this book because:

  1. Andi told me to
  2. It’s compared to Kelly Link in the first line of the book description
  3. There are orphans. And a road trip. And religious fanatics.
  4. But basically because Andi told me to.

Do you ever read a book that you just totally loved, even though you know you didn’t totally GET IT? This is me with Mr. Splitfoot and it’s also why I know I’ll be rereading it in a year or so. I just know there is so much I missed. Yet I loved it. Basically, all I can say is that. I loved this book and I don’t know what else to say. Andi said that was perfect, so, there you go.

I loved it and I just don’t even know. It’s just so goooood. Read it.

The Dead Ladies Project + a personal challenge

The Dead Ladies Project + a personal challengeThe Dead Ladies Project: Exiles, Expats, and Ex-Countries
by Jessa Crispin
Published by University of Chicago Press
on September 22, 2015
Genres: Nonfiction
Pages: 248
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
five-stars
When Jessa Crispin was thirty, she burned her settled Chicago life to the ground and took off for Berlin with a pair of suitcases and no plan beyond leaving. Half a decade later, she’s still on the road, in search not so much of a home as of understanding, a way of being in the world that demands neither constant struggle nor complete surrender.

The Dead Ladies Project is an account of that journey—but it’s also much, much more. Fascinated by exile, Crispin travels an itinerary of key locations in its literary map, of places that have drawn writers who needed to break free from their origins and start afresh. As she reflects on William James struggling through despair in Berlin, Nora Barnacle dependant on and dependable for James Joyce in Trieste, Maud Gonne fomenting revolution and fostering myth in Dublin, or Igor Stravinsky starting over from nothing in Switzerland, Crispin interweaves biography, incisive literary analysis, and personal experience into a rich meditation on the complicated interactions of place, personality, and society that can make escape and reinvention such an attractive, even intoxicating proposition.

Personal and profane, funny and fervent, The Dead Ladies Project ranges from the nineteenth century to the present, from historical figures to brand-new hangovers, in search, ultimately, of an answer to a bedrock question: How does a person decide how to live their life?

Earlier this year, I read The Dead Ladies Project by Jessa Crispin (thanks to Kerri from Etymology of a Book Worm!). Crispin’s story has been stewing in my head and my heart ever since. Who hasn’t, at some point in their life, wanted to just burn it all down and start all over? Or, perhaps, end it all? What do you do? How do you survive that panic, that fear, that panic? If you’re Jessa Crispin, you turn it all in and go off, in search of – something. Just go off and find something else to do with your life. And, you know, sometimes…just sometimes…I get that feeling. That if I wasn’t tied down…if I wasn’t tied down by family and job and bills and had just a modicum of gumption – it is exactly the type of thing I would want to do. This idea, of selling of my life, breaking all ties, and roaming the world in search of the places where expats go to work, to live, to find themselves; is fascinating. What’s more:

“It was the dead I wanted to talk to. The writers and the artists and composers who kept me company in the late hours of the night: I needed to know how they did it. I’d always been attracted to the unloosed, the wandering souls who were willing to scrape their lives clean and start again elsewhere.”

Some small part of me is attracted to this too. That is attracted and wonders, fleetingly, what it’s like. To start all over.

I would never do it. But I’ll never stop wondering either.

And this idea, of picking someone, immersing myself in his or her life and ideas, his or her struggles and successes…. It just sounds fascinating.

I really want to do it.

So I am.

Don’t mistake me, I’ll be doing it in a very limited way. I’m going to pick someone, most likely dead, not necessarily an ex-pat, and learn about her (or perhaps him). I already have a list. I have books. I’m lining things up. And I’m super excited. I’m going on an adventure. And I can’t wait.

I have a long list of (mostly) ladies I want to learn more about, and I’m starting off with Beryl Markham. I plan to reread West with the Night, Markham’s memoir and Paula McLain’s Circling the Sun, a fictionalization of Markham’s life in Africa has a horse trainer and pilot.

Anyone you suggest for my list? 

That Time When a Book was More Than I Thought….

That Time When a Book was More Than I Thought….The Penguin Lessons: What I Learned from a Remarkable Bird
Narrator: Bill Nighy
Length: 6 hours 6 minutes
Published by Random House Audio
on October 27, 2015
Genres: Memoir
Pages: 240
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Goodreads
five-stars
I was hoping against hope that the penguin would survive because as of that instant he had a name, and with his name came the beginning of a bond which would last a life-time.'

Tom Michell is in his roaring twenties: single, free-spirited and seeking adventure. He has a plane ticket to South America, a teaching position in a prestigious Argentine boarding school, and endless summer holidays. He even has a motorbike, Che Guevara style. What he doesn't need is a pet. What he really doesn't need is a pet penguin. Set against Argentina's turbulent years following the collapse of the corrupt Perónist regime, this is the heart-warming story of Juan Salvador the penguin, rescued by Tom from an oil slick in Uruguay just days before a new term. When the bird refuses to leave Tom's side, the young teacher has no choice but to smuggle it across the border, through customs, and back to school.

Whether it's as the rugby team's mascot, the housekeeper's confidant, the host at Tom's parties or the most flamboyant swimming coach in world history, Juan Salvador transforms the lives of all he meets - in particular one homesick school boy. And as for Tom, he discovers in Juan Salvador a compadre like no other... The Penguin Lessons is a unique and moving true story which has captured imaginations around the globe - for all those who dreamed as a child they might one day talk to the animals.

Okay, I admit it. I picked this book for the cover. So sue me. In my defense, LOOK at that cover. Is there anything cuter than a penguin wearing a long scarf? Okay, I could probably go for an owl or a fox wearing a long scarf, or a Doctor (wink), but not many animals, or people, can pull off this look.

Judging by the cover, I was expecting a sweet, slightly whimsical, and completely charming story of a man and his penguin. I got all of that. But I also got so much more, for during the time Michell owned his pet penguin, he lived in Argentina and it was an Argentina in turmoil. It is the post-Perón years and it is a time period I absolutely knew nothing about. So, intermingled with adorable stories of a penguin who rules a boarding school in Argentina are stories of coups and all the problems of living in an impoverished country where violence, deprivation, and uncertainty run rampant.

Now really. Is there a better way to learn some history about a time period and place you know little about? Surround any history lesson with stories of a cute penguin (or an owl, fox, or octopus to name a few others) and I think one could teach anybody anything.

The absolutely icing on the cake, for me, was Bill Nighy’s narration. Yes, ole Davy Jones himself reads the book and he reads it masterfully. He can read to me, anything, anytime. Loved it.

That Feeling When One of Your Favorite Authors…Disappoints You?

That Feeling When One of Your Favorite Authors…Disappoints You?The Rest of Us Just Live Here
by Patrick Ness
Published by Walker Books
on August 27, 2015
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads
three-half-stars
What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.

Award-winning writer Patrick Ness’s bold and irreverent novel powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

-----

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

YOU GUYS. MY HEART IS CRUSHED.

Okay, no, not crushed, but I am at a loss for words because…I didn’t love this book. I was….I was…I was all…

bored

I DID LIKE IT. Do not get me wrong. I did like it. But I have become accustomed to a certain level of…complete and absolute adoration…when it comes to Patrick Ness’s work that, when I don’t feel it, I’m left feeling confused, bereft, and severely lacking in my mental acumen. In other words, I am at a loss for words. I’m left wondering what is wrong with ME, that I don’t like this like I should? It had all the usual Ness-excellent writing. The characters were fun. I liked the story-within-a-story aspect. The INDIE kids and how the world was ending for them (again) and how the normal, regular kids, were worried about love, and school, and graduating before the high school blew up (again).

Or, well, yeah. It DID feel a little gimmicky, I’ll give you that. And no, I didn’t really feel engaged with any of the characters. I never felt…connected…. Despite their being “normal” and “not the Chosen ones,” I didn’t identify with them at all. And I don’t feel like that’s because they are all teenagers and I am most assuredly not a teenager any more. Still, I was a teenager once. I remember what it was like. It has not prevented me from identifying with teenagers in other books.

No, upon closer examination, it was determined, by me, that my standards are set impossibly high. Certainly I can’t expect this brilliant, impossibly engaging man, to hit them all out of the park. Can I? No. I cannot.

And, just to prove that the writing is still awesome:

Not everyone has to be the Chosen One. Not everyone has to be the guy who saves the world. Most people just have to live their lives the best they can, doing things that are great for them, having great friends, trying to make their lives better, loving people properly. All the while knowing that the world makes no sense but trying to find a way to be happy anyway.

Feelings don’t try to kill you, even the painful ones. Anxiety is a feeling grown too large. A feeling grown aggressive and dangerous. You’re responsible for it’s consequences, you’re responsible for treating it. But Michael, you’re not responsible for causing it. You’re not morally at fault for it. No more than you would be for a tumour.

Have you read this book? What did you think? What was I missing????

A More Diverse Universe – Mare’s War by Tanita S. Davis

A More Diverse Universe – Mare’s War by Tanita S. DavisMare's War
Series: diversiverse, mare's war, tanita s. davis
Published by Random House Children's
on June 2009
Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Source: Library
five-stars

There are a great many things I find fascinating.  Family history.  WWII history.  Teenagers.  (No really, they are!) And road trips, for a start.

Mare’s War features all of these, so there was no way I wasn’t going to love this book.  And I did, I sooooo did.

Going on a road trip with their… unusual grandmother Mare is the last thing teens Tali and Octavia want to do with their summer.  At the insistence of their mother, the girls reluctantly get in the car and take off to a mysterious family reunion on the other side of the country, in Alabama.

The girls, like most teenagers, don’t know how they will survive the trip with Mare.  Before they have even left the driveway, their grandmother is getting on their nerves with her smoking and Mare is annoying with Tali constantly listening to music on her MP3 player.  The two make a pact; Mare will not smoke if Tali will give up the music.

To make the time go faster, Mare begins telling the girls stories, stories of her younger years.  The girls are astonished to hear about Mare’s youth in Alabama, about how she grew up during the Great Depression, the lengths she went to to protect her own sister and her differences with her mother.  The biggest surprise of all is learning how Mare ran away from home to join the WAC (Women’s Army Corp) and served during World War II.  Mare’s struggles at home with her mother and her mother’s abusive man make joining the army feel like a piece of cake.  It gives her a safe place to live, three meals and day and gives her strength and a belief in herself that could never be bought.

Yet, even though the WAC gave immeasurable help to their country while fighting the Nazi’s in Europe, the segregation that Mare and all the other colored soldiers in the 6888th Battalion, Company C, face is much harder to defeat.  Mare’s tough spirit and pride in her Company and all the women she served with  remain with her and become a huge part of who she is. After all she’s been through, is it any wonder she thinks Tali and Octavia are a little bit spoiled?

The girls are fascinated.  Who knew their grandmother had done such amazing things?  Mare’s stories are eye-opening to say the least.  By the end of their trip, the three have grown closer and the girls have a new respect for Mare – and Mare for them.

Tanita S. Davis has written a thoughtful, powerful tale about women, African-Americans, and the struggles they have faced in, not only the racist past, but in the still racist present we live in now.  Not only that, but it fills in a blank part of all American’s history of World War II, the brave way the women of the 6888th Battalion, Company C, helped end World War II.  And it’s powerful message of family, of history, of knowing your place in the world and the sacrifices of those who came before us, help shape every reader’s perception of themselves.  I hate to admit that I knew next to nothing about the 6888th Battalion, Company C, so I was so happy to learn more about these amazing women.  It’s a shame that their story has been so hugely lost to history and many props to Ms. Davis for bringing their story back to the light.  This is a book everyone woman, no matter their color, should read.

As for whether a teenager will sit through a book about history, I love what Liz B at A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy has to say about that:

Oh, and if you have teens who you know will like this book but may be turned off by the history, because some teenagers eyes glaze over when you say “and it’s about women soldiers in World War II!” Simply say, “and then Mare went after her mother’s boyfriend with a hatchet.” Imagine hearing THAT about your grandma.

Not to mention Tali and Octavia do a lot of growing up during the course of their road-trip.  Octavia especially, a quiet, shy girl, learns to find courage within herself and that is always fun to read. And the dynamic between the two girls, typical sisters, friends and fighters, is well written and felt true to life.

Mare is one tough grandma and I couldn’t help but come to adore her (and the girls!) over the course of this book and is definitely why this was one of my favorite reads ever.

Reading Notes: On Reading an Author’s Final Work

Reading Notes: On Reading an Author’s Final WorkThe Shepherd's Crown
by terry pratchett
Narrator: stephen briggs
Length: 7 hours 49 minutes
Published by Harper Audio
on 9.1.15
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Goodreads
Deep in the Chalk, something is stirring. ¬The owls and the foxes can sense it, and Tiffany Aching feels it in her boots. An old enemy is gathering strength.

This is a time of endings and beginnings, old friends and new, a blurring of edges and a shifting of power. Now Tiffany stands between the light and the dark, the good and the bad.

As the fairy horde prepares for invasion, Tiffany must summon all the witches to stand with her. To protect the land. Her land.

There will be a reckoning. . .

THE FINAL DISCWORLD NOVEL

NO, THERE ISN’T, I’M AFRAID. WE ARE ALL FLOATING IN THE WINDS OF TIME. BUT YOUR CANDLE, MISTRESS WEATHERWAX, WILL FLICKER FOR SOME TIME BEFORE IT GOES OUT – A LITTLE REWARD FOR A LIFE WELL LIVED. FOR I CAN SEE THE BALANCE AND YOU HAVE LEFT THE WORLD MUCH BETTER THAN YOU FOUND IT, AND IF YOU ASK ME, said Death, NOBODY COULD DO ANY BETTER THAN THAT . . .

For your information, I’m not really going to write a review of The Shepherd’s Crown. If you’ve read Terry Pratchett, or at least the Tiffany Aching series, you’re going to read this book. If you haven’t even read the Tiffany Aching series, you won’t read this book, at least not yet. This is going to be more of a discussion of the experience of reading this book, for me anyway. It’s going to be hard for me to write, it’s probably going to be disjointed, and emotional, yes, there may be some tears, and run-on sentences, and maybe even a touch of hysterics(!) but you know what? I don’t care. I have some things I need to get, this is my forum for getting things out and so, it is going to happen.

The Shepherd’s Crown tore my heart to pieces. And then, it put all back together again in the most beautiful way….

On March 12, 2015, the beloved author Terry Pratchett died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. I came late to his work, when, after getting several recommendations as to where exactly to start, I started with Nation. That, as they say, was that. There was no looking back. While I still haven’t come close to reading all his books, I became a die-hard fan. When he died, I cried just as hard as his longtime fans had, and, begrudgingly began to look forward to what was suddenly his last book; The Shepherd’s Crown. It is not impossible to read an author’s last book. Thousands of writers have lived, and died, and left behind a last work. I think perhaps a last book is seldom written by an author who has stared death in the face for years and knows, beyond a shadow of doubt, that He is near. Terry Pratchett knew.

And it glows throughout his last book.

Death has always been a prominent figure in Pratchett’s books. He has appeared several times to usher a character into the next world. He appears early on in this book, and, while he is speaking to another character, one can’t help but feel that the author is “breaking the fourth wall” so to speak and using Death to speak directly to the reader.

I HAVE WATCHED YOUR PROGRESS WITH INTEREST, ESMERELDA WEATHERWAX, said the voice in the dark. He was firm, but oh so polite. But now there was a question in his voice. PRAY TELL ME, WHY WERE YOU CONTENT TO LIVE IN THIS TINY LITTLE COUNTRY WHEN, AS YOU KNOW, YOU COULD HAVE BEEN ANYTHING AND ANYBODY IN THE WORLD? “I don’t know about the world, not much; but in my part of the world I could make little miracles for ordinary people,” Granny replied sharply. “And I never wanted the world—just a part of it, a small part that I could keep safe, that I could keep away from storms. Not the ones of the sky, you understand: there are other kinds.” AND WOULD YOU SAY YOUR LIFE BENEFITED THE PEOPLE OF LANCRE AND ENVIRONS? After a minute the soul of Granny Weatherwax said, “Well, not boasting, your willingness, I think I have done right, for Lancre at least. I’ve never been to Environs.” MISTRESS WEATHERWAX, THE WORD “ENVIRONS” MEANS, WELL, THEREABOUTS. “All right,” said Granny. “I did get about, to be sure.” A VERY GOOD LIFE LIVED INDEED, ESMERELDA. “Thank you,” said Granny. “I did my best.”

He did his best indeed.

Endings figure prominently throughout the book. Yet, most beautifully of all, so does reassurance

Tiffany thought of the little spot in the woods where Granny Weatherwax lay. Remembered.

And knew that You¹ had been right. Granny Weatherwax was indeed here. And there. She was, in fact, and always would be, everywhere.

and change

Why? Why not do things differently? Why should we do things how they have always been done before? And something inside her suddenly thrilled to the challenge.

and comfort

“The end of times?” said Nanny. “Look, Tiff, Esme tol’ me to say, if you want to see Esmerelda Weatherwax, then just you look around. She is here. Us witches don’t mourn for very long. We are satisfied with happy memories – they’re there to be cherished.”

For in the end, Terry is still here. His many books, thoughts, and wisdom live on to be cherished, to be learned from, to be loved. Thank you Terry and mind how you go.

¹sidenote: You is Granny’s cat.

 

Reading Notes: On a Long Walk with Stephen King

Reading Notes: On a Long Walk with Stephen KingThe Long Walk
by Stephen King
Published by Signet
on July 1979
Genres: Horror
Pages: 370
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
four-half-stars
On the first day of May, 100 teenage boys meet for a race known as The Long Walk. If you break the rules, you get three warnings. If you exceed your limit, what happens is absolutely terrifying...

100 boys. 100 boys, assembled on a hill in Maine. They are from all over the country. They don’t know each other, have never even seen each other before. But they are about to embark on a journey, a journey where only one will come out alive, for they are to walk. Walk until there is only one boy left standing. Along the way, profound things will be learned, friendships will be made, and at the end…does anything really change?

I’m so take it or leave it with King. And it’s not because I don’t think he’s a fantastic writer. I do! I looooooved The Stand. I’m so terrified of The Shining that I am 99.9% sure I will never touch it, even with that proverbial 10-foot pole. I thought Misery was tolerable (I was a teen when I read it, so I really barely remember it). I adored his book On Writing. The movie Pet Sematary threatened my relationship with cats for quite some time and I am a cat. lover. In short, I’m never quite sure where I stand on the guy. Basically he warms by belly in anticipation and chills my blood with apprehension.

So, when I read this book was compared to The Hunger Games, I was unsurprisingly interested and wary.

And, as these sorts of comparisons usually go, I found it remarkably different from The Hunger Games and I was completely okay with that. In many ways, The Long Walk isn’t as political. The reader is never told exactly why these boys walk every year. There is no feeling that they are a sacrifice. There is no visible government, other than the Major and the soldiers who follow the boys, and kill them when they fall. There is obviously a winner and the winner does win a prize (seemingly of a large sum of money). The focus of The Long Walk is more on the boys, their thoughts, their feelings, the process of the long walk and what it does to their minds and bodies. I’ve never really thought about it, but walking, without stopping, at a certain speed, for a long period of time would wear on your body and your mind.

In short, I know I would go completely nuts.

This book was more thought-provoking and interesting than I anticipated and I’m actually really glad I read it. I’m glad Uncle Stevie and I are starting to see things the same way. I appreciated that nothing really changed. No governments were overtly challenged, no minds were changed (except those boys), and the reader can imagine that the same thing will happen next year, and the next, and the next. Sometimes things don’t have to be all wrapped up in a bow and I love the occasionally ending that embraces that. Way to go Uncle Stevie!