jaebility: (arch // books window)
One of the listservs I belong to is dedicated to rare books, covering all sorts of topics from new catalogs, advice, and events in book-related fields. Late last week a new member submitted a question about a recent purchase of his. I actually read the responses first, then had to go through to find the original post: He had bought a book (wouldn't say what book) from a reputable dealer (wouldn't say who) and according to his research (wouldn't say what research he did), believed that it was worth far more (wouldn't say how much) than he had paid for it. He wanted to know how to care for it until he was ready to sell, and how to go about selling said book.

The list EXPLODED. The first 10 or so replies were all indignant, some snarky. Like: "The odds of you (a neophyte) buying a book from a recognized, established dealer and 'turning' it in a short time, and making a profit, are doubtful at best. Investment has been proven over the ages to be a very poor reason to buy a book. Most of your questions like "Should I open the package?", and "Where do I keep it?" are simplistic in the extreme. Silly. And choices you can make on your own. How old are you? Ten."

More got involved, some condoning the early replies, like: "I think most of us would, and do, bend over backward to encourage genuine bibliophily. Why we should facilitate ignorant financial speculation in the world of books is beyond me." Others condemned the tone of some of the posters. And them some people started arguing if one should sell (or buy) books to make money, then a debate erupted over semantics, if "investment" is the same as "speculation."

It's like an episode of Fandom Wank. And they're still battling it out.

I've learned a lot from it though; some posted resources for beginner collectors, and I've found some helpful blogs and associations. I don't buy books with the intention of selling them later, and certainly don't expect to turn a profit. I do consider them investments however. My library is my kingdom, etc etc. I've been buying books since I first got an allowance, but I don't I really started collecting until a few years ago. And that's "collecting" in a very loose, very informal usage.
jaebility: (random // persona 3)
We've been hauling in books by the bagful - Not only did we raid the bankrupt Borders, but when we were in Connecticut last week, the cheapo bookstore in town was closing and we managed to find some good tomes among the crap.

And I bought Borders' ebook reader, the Kobo! Got it at a huge discount. I figured that as a librarian-in-training, I needed some experience playing with an ebook. ...So uploading and reading fanfic is totally like homework. Totes. What I like about it: I dunno... That I can read fanfic on it? What I don't like: It doesn't really turn off, at least not as "off" as I'd like. Also, sometimes the "ink" of the previous page doesn't fade all the way. Also turning the "page" takes about half a second too long. not a big deal, but I'm used to being in control of my book and don't like having these limitations.

What I've been reading
Heartless by Gail Carriger - I'm only half-way in, but so far it's not as enjoyable as the earlier books. Too much Alexia being pregnant, not enough of her kicking ass. And she can certainly do both, by it seems like every piece of dialog, every description... She's so fat! She eats so much! Babies everywhere!

The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald - Adorable. I love this genre. MacDonald inspired Tolkien and Lewis, among other. Just downloaded the sequel.

Hushed Voices - A collection of essays on human rights violations. There's so much shit in the world that goes on unnoticed.

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Kowal - Not as good as Jonathan Strange, but I burned through this books. Main character Jane was a sweetheart, if a bit of a milquetoast.

Rosie Winter series by Kathryn Miller Haines - Love love love love. Rosie Winter is a frewuently out of work actor living in NYC in the 1940s. She's smart and hilarious, but also a flawed and believable character. Fights crime, dances poorly in choruses, drinks up a storm. I've devoured the series and can't wait for the next book.
jaebility: (arch // books window)
Studying for my cataloging final and just got to the section about the foundation of the Library of Congress subject headings, and my irritation over the system went through a glorious rebirth. It's time to whine.

Now, it's important to note that in the early 1800s, when the country was emerging from is pupa stage, books were a rare and expensive commodity. Most books were being created in Europe, with only a few publishers in Boston and New York. The early leaders of the United States wanted to develop an intellectual community and discussions of a national library began; what eventually came from this was the Library of Congress, set in the country's capital. Which was then burned to the ground by the British in 1812. A new collection was started with Jefferson's books, which the government bought to replace what they had lost. I can't stress enough how important books were to the foundation fathers - books and libraries are the symbols for as well as result of democracy; America wasn't always so opposed to knowledge and intellectualism. Having a national library, having a research collection, was not only validation that the country was succeeding, but the fruition of the ideologies held so highly by men like Jefferson.

Anyway, onto the Library of Congress. At the end of the 19th century, it became obvious that the traditional organizational schemas were no longer appropriate for the size of the collection. So the librarians adapted the list of terms published by the American Library Association; Library of Congress Subject Headings were born. Two head librarians, Haykin (1941-52) and Angell (1954-66) turned the LCSH into what it is today.

So what is it? Honestly, unless you're a library student or researcher, most people don't really use - or even know - LCSH. Basically it's a long, long, long, and complicated list of terms that describe subject content. Back in the days of yore, a librarian named Charles Cutter developed a method of organization called Cutter numbers - these allowed books to be searched for in a catalog by title, author, and subject. ...Ok, ok, less history. I could go on forever. The point is, being able to search like this was revolutionary. LCSH expanded on the subjects to a massive extent.

I mean massive. And that's why I hate studying it.

Because it's government funded, it has no money. There is no pattern, no rhyme or reason to the terms - each head librarian has changed it to fit his/her needs and the lack of funds mean that new policies aren't applied retroactively - it would cost to much to change everything. Sometimes terms are inverted, sometimes in natural order; sometimes with commas, sometimes with dashes. Coding the headings is just as bad. There are tons of fields you can use: 650, 651, 655... the subfileds $a, $v, $x...

It's a huge, sprawling monster of a library; it's complex history is what makes it so fascinating, but it's also what makes it a bitch to study.
jaebility: (random // old spice)
Books! Everywhere! Sometimes I think being a librarian is only going to enable my bibliomania. I haven't done a post of links in a while, so here's a dose of bookorama. All links can also be found at my delicious account.

Deciphering Old Texts, One Woozy, Curvy Word at a Time - "Captchas ensure that robots do not hack secure Web sites. What Web readers do not know, however, is that they have also been enlisted in a project to transform an old book, magazine, newspaper or pamphlet into an accurate, searchable and easily sortable computer text file."

Rare Book Room - High-quality scans of rare books. My favorite is Poissons, ecrevisses et crabes, de diverses couleurs et figures
extraordinaires
and its Yellow Submarine-esque illustrations.

Lafcadio Hearn begs "Don't disgust me, please --" - For Christmas, one of Pete's friends got him a second printing of Hearn's Japan: An Attempt at Interpretation, since we had seen Kwaidan and loved it; since then, I've been using that copy of the book in my cataloging projects. Anyway, this is a letter from Hearn to a woman who apparently had sent him a picture of her in a low-cut dress. "You are a fine woman in regard to health and strength; you are not a handsome or even a tolerably good looking woman physically, and your picture is simply horrible, horrible, horrible."

16th-Century Friend Books as Social Networking, or, At Least, Status-Gathering - People don't change much, not really. Here are some example of autograph/message books from the 16th century. I wish I could read German!

Legacy Libraries at LibraryThing - A project to add the libraries of famous people to LibraryThing. You can learn so much about a person by viewing their book collections. Yeah, I'm one of those types that judges you based on what you're reading. Anyway, a fascinating look into a personal side of some of history's most interesting characters. And who knew that Jeff Buckley was so into the beat movement?

28 Vintage Book Club Mailers - Oh man. I loved these things. I'd mark the ones I wanted (basically all of them) and then haggle with my mother as to which one or two she'd actually let me get.

Confessions of a Book Hoarder - I can relate. "The word hoard means “treasure” and evolves from “a thing hidden.” I have six bookcases in my office. That should be enough, but I have eight auxiliary stashes. These are in my night table, and in my husband’s night table, hidden in my children’s rooms, in my husband’s office, under the coffee table, in the kitchen, and behind a door in the living room" - Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer. Right now, we're keeping a stash of books in the freezer. Don't ask.

Caring for a Book Collection - Advice for protecting and preserving our precious babies from Nancy Bass Wyden, co-owner of the Strand Bookstore.

Find the Future at The New York Public Library - So, so cool. Win a chance to spend all night in the NYPL, uncovering its secrets.

book per diem - One used book a day for sale. Some lovely choices, like The Hearthstone and The Swarm.
jaebility: (random // key)
Stole this from someone in my network list. Happy World Book Day, everyone! Support your local library by borrowing a bagful of books today.

The book I am reading:
The Death of Achilles by Boris Akunin. It's the fourth in a detective series set in turn-of-the-century Russia. I am loving this series; hero Erast Fandorin is part Sherlock Holmes and part Poirot, and now apparently in this book, part ninja. Interspersed among the crimes are great bits of humor; Akunin has a light, witty touch that brightens the characters and the sometimes dark plots.

The book I am writing:
Heh. Still working on TTBtM, my 2009 nano. I'm in the process of re-writing the opening again, which is probably the worst thing I could do at this point. I really need to finish a draft, not constantly re-start one.

The book I love most:
That's impossible to say. There are so many books that I love: The Last Unicorn, The Orphan Tales, Winter Rose, Wuthering Heights, Lady Audley's Secret...

The last book I received as a gift:
China Mieville's Kraken, from Pete. Haven't read it, but am planning to start it soon.

The last book I gave as a gift:
I think that was Murakami Haruki's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which I gave to my mom for Christmas.

The nearest book on my desk:
Two books for school: Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management and HTML, XHTML & CSS.

The last book I bought for myself:
Last week was the annual used book sale at the church on 6th, so I came home with two bags of books. One of the cool ones I found among the piles was Love Intrigues of Royal Courts by Thorton Hall, circa 1910.
jaebility: (tutu // krahe & tutu)
The Alientist, Angel of Darkness, and The Italian Secretary by Caleb Carr - I burned through The Alienist on the train. It wasn't high lit, but the crime and the setting were so different and so interesting that I couldn't put it down. I picked up the other two books, but apparently The Alienist was a fluke. Angel of Darkness featured the cast of Alienist, only instead of being a hard-boiled, experienced group of super sleuths, they spent the entire book being idiotic. Italian Secretary is a Sherlock Holmes novel. And again, the characters - the unflappable Holmes and the capable Watson - rolled around in hysterics. Big disappointments.

Used and Rare by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone - A quaint, charming book by two rich assholes. This is a good foray into the book collecting world and mindset. As learners themselves, they explained the crazy vocabulary, the strange habits, and the undeniable appeal of book collections. They start small, buying books for $10, which as a perpetually poor student is usually my budget, and eventually work up to putting down hundreds of dollars on rare editions. I read the whole thing in one afternoon, and when I finished I flipped to the back cover to read about the authors. They're two yuppies living in Westport, Connecticut - one of the richest, whitest towns in one of the richest, whitest states. So worrying about costs, being intimidated by snobby auctioneers, all that was bull. The book was enjoyable, even if the authors are obnoxious.

Ash by Malinda Lo - It wasn't as much of a disappointment as Silver Phoenix, which was the last YA I read, but I still found Ash lacking. Aisling, the main character, was more milquetoast than heroine. And the lesbian romance felt tacked on and rather pointless. Meh. It was a meh sort of book.
jaebility: (tutu // bad writing)
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler - Dark and depressing and incredibly awesome. Butler's view of America's future hits hard, and as I walking through the hot, damp, crowded subways yesterday morning, I started worrying the accuracy of her foresight. This book cracks you down before it beings to tentatively build you back up. This is what The Road wishes it could be.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte - It's interesting how many Anne Bronte shares with her sisters, and just as interesting is how much they differ. Helen could get preachy, but her determination and strength made her a fascinating - and feminist - character.

Far From the Maddening Crowd by Thomas Hardy - Another book with an interesting female lead. Aaaand another book from the 1800s. Maybe it was the setting - an idyllic countryside - but this book was almost like reading poetry. Loved it. Also loved the ending. Hardy's treatment of Blackwood was an interesting twist on stereotypically feminine passions.

Behold! A Mystery by Joan Smith - Meh. It had all the makings of a succesful novel. Set in Victorian times? Tradition manor-house murder? Female narrator? All checks. But somehow things fell apart. Jess was smart and brave in the face of the crime, but the novel kept undermining her. Also: Punishing kisses. HATE HATE HATE.

The Duke Returns by Eloisa James - Another meh. James' is a competent writer, but I'm not as into romances about nobility as I was as a teen. In fact, I actively dislike the genre. Wah wah I'm filthy rich and have lots of sex. I'd rather read about the maids or the blacksmith. The most interesting part in this book was when the hero had to deal with the sewer system. If shit's more fun than sex, then you're doing it wrong.
jaebility: (knt // sparklez)
Last year at some point, I went to a con and came home with a free big selection of upcoming comics published by Yen. I flipped through most of the comics unimpressed until I found One Fine Day. Fast forward to last week; I had a coupon from Borders and happened to pass by their manga/anime section as I looked for a book. Volume one of One Fine Day! That coupon went to a good use.

When I say that OFD is cute, I mean it. This comic is adorable and sweet from start to finish. Magician No-Ah has inherited an old house, and the comic follows the daily life of the house's inhabitants - Not just No-Ah, but also kitten Guru, puppy Nanai, and baby mouse Rang. Characters switch from human to animal forms without explanation; each form is adorable. Sirial gives no explanation to this nor draws attention to the change, which was fine with me. The art style is perfect for the stories - breezy and loose. Some scenes are simplistic, but the sketchy design fits with the gentle feel of the stories.

My only complaint is the quality of the physical book. Del Ray and Toyko Pop's graphic novels have spoiled me; the paper and the cover are flimsy and already showing signs of wear. There no are extras, no notes from the translators or sneak-peeks of the upcoming volumes.

But that's the only flaw, and the quality of the art and the stories make up for this imperfection. Sometimes I just need a break from it all - OFD is like a breath of spring air. Sweet without becoming saccharine. I haven't found much on Sirial on Google, but I hope s/he continues to produce comics. I'll definitely get the third book when it comes out in September.
jaebility: (random // rebel without a cause)
My internal clock is borked, so I've been up since five this morning. Rather than do anything productive before work, I've been playing around with my account at LibraryThing. I look organizing things, and I love organizing books more than anything else, so this is pretty much heaven in a webpage for me. What can I say, I'm a librarian at heart. Pete says it's a good way to prepare for school. He's a sweetheart; he could have told me I was dorky and obsessive, which I feel is closer to the truth.

I used my purchases from Amazon.com as a starting point, but those books only make up a small portion of my collection. It's hard deciding which books are mine, which are Pete's. For the most part, there's no distinguish between our books, since we read basically the same things and share bookshelves, but there are some books in our apartment that I've no interest in reading and I'm sure he feels the same.

Apparently there's a way to add a LibraryThing widget to DW - I'd love to have that on my journal.

Edit: Grrr. I had the widget working for, like, two minutes but now it's not pulling up my information. Damn you, technology!

Edit II: Well, I'm lost. Not only will the widget for my LibraryThing not load, but when I copied the code for [personal profile] suncat's widget, who was helping me, that one won't load either. This leads me to believe that my DW is interfering somehow, though I'll be damned if I can figure out how. So now I'm sad.

books!

Apr. 23rd, 2010 03:42 pm
jaebility: (random // hunka cheese)
Recently Read
The Scar - China Mieville
Iron Council - China Mieville
A Great and Terrible Beauty - Libba Bray
Cotillion - Georgette Heyer
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larrson
The Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton
The Book of Tongues - Gemma Files

Currently Reading
The Stepsister Scheme - Jim Hines

Reading Next
The Girl Who Played With Fire - Stieg Larrson
Kafka on the Shore - Haruki Murakami
The Gaslight Dogs - Karin Lowachee
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms - N.K. Jemisin

Stoked About Reading, Once They're Released
Kraken - China Mieville
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest - Stieg Larrson
Stealing Fire - Jo Graham

I'm usually reading a couple, if not a few, books at one time. I've got Slaughterhouse Five next to the bed and I pick it up from time to time to read through my favorite parts. I think I'm going to take a break from Larrson, even though he's fucking awesome, and maybe Mieville, too, because goddamn can they get depressing.
jaebility: (arch // books window)
Pete and I saw The Secret of Kells last week. It's an absolutely breath-taking movie - It surpasses anything by Pixar and Disney.

I read a review - unfortunately can't remember by whom - which bemoaned the lack of female protagonists, particularly in children's media. I agree completely; girls have to identify with the male characters, sometimes against the female ones. However, the reviewer used Kells as an example, how it's about Brendan, the young monk-in-training, or whatever Catholics call that role, and not about the female spirit Aisling. Pete and I were talking about this on the subway ride home: the movie's not really about Brendan. It's about the book.

Finished The Club Dumas by Arturo Pérez-Reverte last week, too, and I felt the same way. The books take precedence; the characters exist almost in a passive sense in regards to the books. In Club the main character, a "book hunter" named Lucas Corso, is hired to locate two copies of a rare and old book The Book of the Nine Doors. As he fulfils his mission, he realizes his life is following the plot of The Three Musketeers; he later ruminates how fictional his quest and the people in his life seem to be. They exist to progress the plot; they are pages in the book.

And that's what I think about Kells, too. The characters don't really matter. We don't learn much about them, they don't really grow or change over the plot's progression, and there's not even much of a plot. They exist to protect the book. It's not a story about their maturation, it's about how the book expands.

It's all very meta. Wish I were more articulate.

Steampunk

Mar. 23rd, 2010 11:32 am
jaebility: (nature // maple)
Steampunk is probably one of my favorite genres (micro-genre, maybe?). I've always been a big fan of fantasy, and magic combined with my second love of the 1800s makes me a gleeful reader. The wiliness of steampunk is another thing that makes it so enjoyable - that is, the story doesn't have to be set in the 1800s or an 1800s-inspired world. Steampunk cheerfully sits itself in almost all settings and all periods of history. It's devious like that; it's impossible to confine.

Deviant. Yeah, I think that word sums up steampunk best. It takes tropes and plays with them. Women in corsets? Hot! Now, imagine that instead of a flesh-and-blood woman, the character is an automaton, and her corset is built into her. Alchemy of Stone, where that example is from, explores intimacy and gender roles in ways that aren't possible in other genres.

[personal profile] coffeeandink posted about The Gaslight Dogs by Karin Lowachee, a steampunk novel whose main character is a young Inuit-esque woman. Stoked! It seems to me that steampunk novels often featured female protagonists, though maybe I have a predisposition toward finding books that fill those requisites.

At the moment I'm on a classics streak (reading The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton today), but for a while I was reading only steampunk. Once Pete finishes The Scar, I'm going to dive back in.

Damn good steampunk/ish novels
Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia
Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (sequel in the works!)
Palimpsest by Catherynne M Valente (one of my favorite authors)
Perdita Street Station by China Mieville (he's got a new book coming out in June, too)
Soulless by Gail Carriger
jaebility: (coraline // other world)
I'm trying read more fantasy, especially ones not set in the typical Europeanesque worlds. The Drowning City takes place in an Asian-inspired setting, lush and flush with rain and spirits. The main character is a necromancer from a foreign empire, sent to nudge the civil unrest into full rebellion.

It has its flaws, to be sure. There are multiple characters and multiple POVs, and the plot gets convoluted quickly. At one point, the characters fight off an assassin and when the identity is revealed, it's a huge shock. Or at least I imagine it was supposed to be shocking; I couldn't remember who the character was. The inclusions of so many minor characters gets ridiculous, the plot is drowning in them. This is Downing's first published novel; I'm sure she'll improve and iron out the wrinkles as she progresses.

So the prose is meh. The magic, however, is fascinating. The necromancer Isyllt has a specific method of magic that functions in a completely different manner than the magic that Zhirin uses. Downing does an excellent job at making the characters and their abilities distinct.

The interesting setting and the variety of strong, competent female characters made it a good read. This is book one of a trilogy and I'll definitely be getting the second part when it's released.
jaebility: (hark! // franklin)
TERRIBLE.

I'm tempted to leave it at that, but hell, I got time. I'll try to explain.

There's no murder in this novel! What the hell, Sayers? And the main crime is pathetic. The criminal is ridiculous, the motive stupid.

This isn't a detective novel; it's ten thousand pages of Sayers' self-insert gallivanting around with younger men who fall all over her. There's no conversation, just blocks and blocks of "dialog" where the characters are just verbose mouth-pieces for Sayers to loudly proclaim how smart she is.

If this had been the first Sayers' novel I'd read, it would have put me off her permanently. As it is, I'm going to take a break and return to the comforting and bloody arms of Agatha Christie.
jaebility: (nature // winter)
This seems pretty damn cool: The Sci-Fi Romance Blitz! A bunch of blogs are giving away free - yes, you heard me, free - books; all you need to do is post a comment on the threads.

I do love me some free books.
jaebility: (pw // lawyercest kissy)
When I went to the library on Saturday, I had no idea what was ins tore for me. I picked up some mysteries, a couple of Discworld paperbacks, and then wandered into the sci fi/fantasy section to look for any new Patricia McKillip novels. Pickings were slim, so when I passed a series of book with Dragon in the titles, I decided to grab them. I love me some cheesy fantasy novels and covers with dragons on them are a sure buy (or sure borrow, in this case).

On Sunday morning, I woke up before The Boy and so decided to read a bit. I pulled Touched by Venom from my bag o' books and started to read.

OH MY GOD.

The first paragraph was terrible. Author Cross sprinkles Call a Rabbit a Smeerps like salt - there's enough in there to kill a colony of slugs. I flipped through the first few pages to see if it got better.

And that was then I discovered it. This was no ordinary crappy fantasy novel. Oh no. This was something much worse.

This was the VENOM COCK.

AHAHAHA I can't believe I picked up this book! What're the odds? I wonder if I subconciously remembered reading about it on Fandom Wank and that prompted me to borrow it. But my god is it terrible - Beyond terrible. Everything about it is brain-bleachingly bad. I need to exorcise my book bag. When Pete, who knows all about the history of revering the venom cock, woke up, I read him choice selections. We laughed, we cried, I threw it back into the depths of my bag.
jaebility: (yum)
Meh.

I didn't like it. I really wanted to - Pete loved it, Catherynne M Valente raved about it, and I devoured Perdido Street Station, but I just wasn't impressed with Mieville here.

I don't think this is really a spoilerific review, but just in case. )
jaebility: (yum)
Bookstove has a list of Five Good Books About Genre Writing by Actual Authors, which includes The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in the Wild West: From 1840-1900 by Candy Moulton.

MUST GET THIS BOOK TO WRITE MORE REALISTIC 3:10 TO YUMA PORN.

Next time I have an Amazon gift certificate, I'm getting the hell outta that book.

I did a fair amount of research for TTBtM, which takes place around the same time period as Yuma, last year and then a little more when I started work on the second draft. Medical care and fashion were my main topics of study, since my main characters are most interested in those subjects. I think I avoided any major anachronisms or snafus in general; we'll see what my writers group has to say.

Here's another interesting link about writing: Villains vs. antagonists by Marie Brennan.
jaebility: (digimon // daiken tree)
So I'm reading The Athenian Murders by José Carlos Somoza. And. It's. Awesome.

I usually read very quickly; I've mastered the art of skimming. But I'm deliberately reading this slowly, forcing myself to read every damn word on the page. Because? It's awesome.

There are two storylines occurring simultaneously: A murder that occurred in ancient Greece and then the translation of that story by a modern-day scholar who talks to the audience through footnotes. But! That's not even the coolest thing. The translator notices that the text makes use of eidesis, a literary device used by the Greeks in which words and phrases are repeated in order to "evoke a particular image or idea."

SO COOL.

I don't know if eidesis is a real literary device or if Somoza created it for the book; I've never come across it in my literature courses or the few classes I took on the classics, and a Google didn't turn up much. But the idea of it, that you can subtly tell another story within a story, is so freaking cool. Makes me want to dig out all the plays I read in college and pick through them. I decided on the train that I was going to try it in my crappy fantasy story that I've been working on, so today I tried adding bits about beaks, teeth, and birds, which are images that'll be imperative to the finale. Eeeee so cool.

EDIT: Well played, The Athenian Murders, well played.
jaebility: (pw // lawyercest kissy)
"When you're a teenager it's true: Life is hard. You're beginning to see how profoundly you can be disappointed or disappoint others yourself; you can be taken aback by cruelty, both that of others and, shockingly, that of yourself; you feel the pressure of the future as you're pressed about colleges, about majors, about extracurriculars; you begin to keep secrets about your thoughts, about what you do; and sex! my god, sex is so confusing." Shining Light on the Demons of Adolescence by jdeguzman

Thought a lot about Coraline this weekend, as per usual. In the book and movie, she's twelve, maybe eleven - But not a teenager, and certainly not 16 or 17, when concerns about college and sex grow prominent.

I like thinking and writing about Coraline as a kid or as an early teenager, but shit gets real when she's a bit older.

Ok, tangent: I was talking to The Boy the other day about how I don't like the "oops I fell onto you" trope that pops up in (or "oops I fell into" hur hur hur) fiction. Crappy romance novels love this: the heroine accidentally trips and lands on the hero, tee hee hee, and they realize how physically attractive the other is. I don't like how it strips the characters of choice. Characters, especially adult characters, shouldn't have interaction forced upon them because they're too immature to initiate something themselves.

I think Coraline has a clear image of what she wants. She thinks she's independent because she's often alone - her parents are too busy to attend to her. It's only at the end that she realizes how she can be truly independent. Coraline's an instigator, too.

Tangent again: In my mind, Wybie's mother was a single parent. I like the idea that Wybie's always been around independent women, that all his role models are strong and female. He's more than content to follow Coraline - He learns to trust her (even though she's batshit insane as far as he's concerned) and willingly puts himself in danger because he so strongly believes in her (and his Other version even SPOILER! diesfor her).

What I like about her (and Yuffie, too, actually; in my mind they share a lot of characteristics) is that Coraline is bold and confident in her actions and decisions. There's a scene in the movie where she runs up a flight of stairs with (Other) Wybie behind her. He holds onto the railings; she doesn't. Coraline's movements are certain, unlike Wybie's, which needs support. (Coraline could totally be a meme like Chuck Norris. Coraline doesn't run up stairs, stairs run from her! ...Let's pretend that made sense.) That's a very telling scene.

Where was I going with this...

The quote is taken from a post about YA literature and teenagers' experiences in general. And hell yeah do I agree. Those years were hard and confusing and painful - I still am baffled by a lot of what happened, by a lot of what I did. I read YA novels as a kid and teenage, though I don't think I actively searched for them or even realized that I was reading in the YA genre. When I got older and started to differentiate between YA and adult novels, I moved away from the former. But now I think I'm becoming enamored with them.

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