Showing posts from March, 2013

Wasteland, Aristotle + Dante, Splendors and Glooms

These are quick reviews; they have to be done now so that we can return these library books and leave for an international spring break adventure!  Very exciting.  So here are some books I read during the last few weeks: Wasteland by Francesca Lia Block I heard about this at the ALISE conference, when my fellow professors were talking about the kind of YA fiction that would really push some buttons and provoke conversation.  In Block's signature poetic style, she dances over and around the complexities of incest between a sister and a brother.  The scene itself is never shown, and the lead-up to this one sexual encounter is intertwined with tales of its aftermath.  Specifically (BIG spoiler) the aftermath of the sister's experience is overwhelming grief and loss, because now her brother is dead.  In the end, the two "siblings" turn out not to have been related, and, while it's easier to stomach their attraction that way, the revelation comes so late in the boo

once upon the natural world

I've mentioned it before, but it's worth saying again:  this blog is not about promoting books or authors or attempting to break into the blogosphere in some public way.  It's not particularly about my academic life, although what I read certainly fuels my academic life.  It's also not about my life or sharing news, except those friends who are devoted readers themselves and understand that what we read often is the news of our lives.* This blog is about what I read.  That's all.   I'm not fishing for merchandise or debates.  It's a record that I keep for mostly personal reasons, but I'm always glad when my reviews of particular books lead someone to a reading discovery, for themselves or for their libraries.  Who I am is so tied up with libraries and the ideals of librarianship, from intellectual freedom to public service, that it is inevitably relevant to almost any aspect of my way of reading that I'm thinking about to whom a book might appeal a

The Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima

I learned in late high school that the way for me to survive long, stressful days of testing was to read fantasy novels.  During the two-week period when I and my classmates were subjected to AP and IB exams--oral as well as written--I read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, and to this day I think having that parallel fantasy world through which I was imagining traveling allowed me to do better on those tests. Being up for tenure this year is a similar test, only with a much longer period of endurance.  I have passed the test of documenting my accomplishments effectively, with the help of a supportive committee (October).  I have passed through the second gate, the test of school-level approval (December).  I await the final test, approval or denial by the campus-level tenure committee that looks at all tenure cases in the university, results to be announced on May 15. As I wait, I read fantasy, and over this winter I was looking for a really long and hearty fantasy series to c