Thoughts on ‘Chrestomanci: Vol. 2’ and a poll question

I finished this book some time ago, but figured I might as well give it a brief review, since time with the best-dressed wizard in all fiction is never badly spent. And though I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I did the first set of stories, there’s still quite a lot to like in Chrestomanci: Vol. 2 by Diana Wynne Jones, which consists of two stories: The Magicians of Caprona and Witch Week. Continue reading

The Value of Reading

When I saw this article pop up on my Twitter feed some days ago, the headline “Fear and Literature” seemed promising enough that I checked out the article. The piece opened thus: “Is the novel a space of intense engagement with the world, of risk and adventure? Or is it a place of refuge, of hanging back from life? The answer will be all too easy if we are living in a country that does not allow certain stories to be told. For Solzhenitsyn writing novels was indeed a serious risk. But in the West?” Continue reading

“Let’s see YOU do better!”

Alternative title: Why writers need to have a thick skin and common sense.

“Let’s see YOU do better!” is one of the most common cries among fans of a work, actor, athlete, whatever when the object of their adulation is receiving criticism. The implication is that if you don’t have the same experience as the person in that field, you really have very little room to be criticizing a bad job in that area, especially since that person is doing something that you are incapable of. Continue reading

Thoughts on ‘Divergent’

You have a choice about where you will spend the rest of life. You will devote yourself to a virtue, an ideal, one that is greater than your family or the friends you knew growing up. You can choose to devote yourself to bravery, to honesty, to selflessness, to learning, or to kindness. And whichever one you choose will determine how you live the rest of your life. You will spend it in one of five factions: Dauntless, Candor, Abnegation, Erudite, or Amity. And you choose your faction at 16.

This premise is what drives Veronica Roth’s Divergent. Continue reading