Book Report: The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

IMG_4389I put off reading this for years after it was recommended to me. I think it was the cover that turned me off. I couldn’t relate to that girl on the cover. She looked like the heroine of a sappy romance.

You’d think I would’ve learned by now not to judge books by their covers.

The Goose Girl is full of frank characters and great imagery. I enjoyed it very much. It didn’t matter that I knew the story already since I grew up on Grimms’ fairy tales.

Highly recommended.

Merry Christmas!

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Order All the Books!

I’m not sure why I’m so adverse to taking book recommendations, but I rarely read things other people recommend.

Sometimes I do. Like the other day, when I put a whole slew of books on hold at the library.

The Eight by Katherine Neville

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

The Memory of Earth by Orson Scott Card

Middlemarch by George Eliot

Princess Academy: The Lost Sisters by Shannon Hale

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

An odd assortment? Yes. Also, far too many for me to read before they all come due.

We’ll see how far I get. I do have my bum glued to the couch for several hours a day thanks to a hungry and adorable baby girl, so I ought to make fair progress.

Happy Yarning!

Book Report: Princess Academy: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale

IMG_4096As good or better than the first book. I’d recommend it for girls ages 12 to 99–and especially for one girl I know named Keziah, who hasn’t read it yet.

After the first few chapters, I thought I knew where the story would go and how it would get there, and I felt slightly bored. But as the plot progressed and developed, I enjoyed it far too much to care whether I’d guessed the ending correctly.

Hale’s prose is fun and reads effortlessly. She’s the kind of author who makes me want to work harder on my writing.

One other note (to anyone who’s seen The Princess Bride), this is a kissing book.

Book Report: Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

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A very enjoyable read about magic, home, and the empowerment of education. Quick, too–I read it in one sitting.

It was perhaps a tad heavy on the tongue-tied, lovestruck young girl side of things for my taste, but I really liked the magic system.

I would recommend Princess Academy for girls ages 10 and up, and I’m glad to have it on my shelf for the future, since we found out we’re having a girl!

Happy Yarning.

Writing and Motherhood: Are We There Yet?

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I recently re-read Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1988 essay on mother writers, titled “The Fisherwoman’s Daughter.” It’s been a few years since I read it in a college literary criticism class, but I never forgot it.

Le Guin writes about how society has long preached that women writers are unnatural, and mother writers even more so. Society’s reasoning being that either the children or the books would suffer if a woman attempted to fulfill both callings. Le Guin argues that it can be done, without anyone putting anyone’s head in the oven (a la Sylvia Plath). Exhibit A: Le Guin herself has written books and raised children, quite successfully. The essay a very encouraging read.

As a woman who hopes to both have kids and get published, I started wondering: are we there yet?

As a society, have we stopped marginalizing mother writers?

I think of J. K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyer, Suzanne Collins, and Shannon Hale right off the top of my head. I think of all the women I know personally who are mothers (or plan to be mothers) and who are writing books. I haven’t heard anyone tell them they can’t do it, or they’re not suited for it. I haven’t been told any such thing myself. The only bar I can see today to being both a mother and a writer is the one that has always existed: that pesky limit of only 24 hours in a day.

If anything, society now says it is unnatural to be a mother without some other profession, or for women to hamper (pun intended) their potential by being mothers at all.

I think we can safely say the pendulum has swung. Thanks to Le Guin and others, mothers and other women writers have stepped out of the margins and onto the page where they were always meant to be.

The only downside is that the pendulum may have gone a bit far. Now the fight is for motherhood itself to be an acceptable occupation for women.

Moms, women, writers–your thoughts?

Book Report: Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

IMG_3232Culture!

Culture gives so much texture and flavor to a story. I’d say it’s like embroidery, but it’s more integral, like the texture of the warp and weft itself.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s the first of Shannon Hale’s I’ve read, and now I know why people rave about her. She writes real people, with pasts and futures and spirits and fears and dreams.

I recommend this book to everyone who likes a story you can completely immerse yourself in, from the sky to the mud.

And to all you writers (myself included)–CULTURE!