Happy Halloween

(from Trixie)

Trixie_halloween

Top Ten Characters I’d Dress as for Halloween

This is a rendition of Top Ten Tuesday (and a Day) by the thebrokeandthebookish.wordpress.com. This week was the top 10 literary characters I’d want to dress up as for Halloween. This took a lot of pondering as a lot of my favorite characters don’t have any distinguishing costumes…So, here I go:

Top Ten Characters I’d Be for Halloween:

1. Millie Chant from “The Chrestomanci Chronicles” by Diana Wynne Jones
-Extra set of arms, magic, cats, count me in. I’d have to go around explaining who I was and a lot of people wouldn’t know her, but Millie’d be worth it.

christopher-chant

2. Christopher Chant from “The Chrestomanci Chronicles” by Diana Wynne Jones
-This is mainly so I can swan around in his fantastic robes. I need some of those robes in my life.

3. Tiffany Aching from “Wee Free Men” etc., by Terry Pratchett
-I long to wear a green dress and wield a frying pan and measuring tape while eating excellent cheese and feeling witchy. This is also kindof a life goal.

4. The White Witch from “Narnia” by C.S. Lewis
-This just feels like the perfect costume for both eating/distributing sweets and celebrating approaching winter. It also gives the coming season a “This time shall be mine!” spin, which I always like.

5. Inigo Montoya from “The Princess Bride” by William Goldman
-I go around quoting him anyway, this character would be a piece of cake. Of sharp, on-point, delicious cake. And if they didn’t recognize this outfit with a girl in them, there’s the easiest fix in the world.

6. The Mad Hatter from “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carol
-I like hats, I like tea, and I like him. Another character I go around quoting, I feel this would be best for a sit-down costume party.

7. Dorothy from “Wizard of Oz” by Frank L. Baum

-Feels perfect for the night of ghouls to run around going “lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my!!” Plus, this is probably the easiest and most recognizable of my choices.

8. Calcifer from “Howl’s Moving Castle” etc., by Diana Wynne Jones
-He is the best and I’m sure whatever costume one could come up with would keep you warm.

9. Jane from “Ironskin”
Ironskin-cover
-She has so many striking looks and one could go around muttering outrageous ragey thoughts whenever taking off your mask…She has a built-in mask!

10. But my ultimate costume, if I could pull this off, would be to go as Baba Yaga in her house on chicken-feet from Russian folklore. Or just the house. Skull fence, chicken-feet, in-character tricks and turns, and getting to cackle all night while demanding payment/food…it would be glorious. Glorious, I say! (If anyone has seen this done or pulled it off themselves, I need pictures.)
babayaga

And that’s me! What costumes appeal to you from the literary world?

“Spinning Straws”

“Spinning Straws”

Afraid my Here’s just a pile of straw,
The flimsiest place of all to hide,
And I see a wolf pacing outside
With dollar-sign eyes and a gaping maw.

Just here spinning dreams of gold,
But can’t know what is real
Or let fears start to heal,
Til the man says one dream’s taken hold.

I entered this space to win more,
Yet what I own is depleted,
And I feel defeated,
So many wisps scatter over the floor.

Maybe I promised my future away,
For what I can’t guess
And now I feel less,
Grasping straws at a name I can’t say.

What name will finally fit?
It seems I have tried-
I know I have sighed,
But still I have failed to find it.

Have I been spinning false gold?
Tossing in my straw bed,
May be losing my head,
I’m not sure I want to be told.

Perhaps there is a one who knows,
Who wants my labors to bear fruit,
And sees the future’s my strong suit,
Where my gold dream is so real it glows…

I’m trying to spin this straw to gold,
As the wolf paces to inspire dread,
And my mind races to ask what’s ahead,
Which name will describe what I hold-

Straw?….Or is it gold?

Bring Me….a Fairy Tale Shrubbery!

So, I was thinking about fairy tales, as you do, and something occurred to me: on a surface, practical level, the lesson of an awful lot of them seems to be that the better gardener will win. Check this out:

1. Beauty and the Beast-The Beast gets the girl because he has the garden with the best roses. If Beauty’s family were better at gardening, she wouldn’t have had to ask for a rose and they wouldn’t have found themselves in that problem in the first place.
beautybeastrose

2. Twelve Dancing Princesses-The gardener just is the one who gets the princess, because she would rather marry a gardener.
kn_12dancing

3. Rapunzel-If the young couple could have just grown their own garden, they never would have had to deal with the witch.

4. Red Riding Hood-If her family had a pretty flower garden, she wouldn’t have needed to wander about the woods for a bouquet or admiring the floral scenery and the wolf’s trick wouldn’t have worked.
Little-Red-Riding-Hood-Final_small_hr

5. Cinderella-how did she manage to get to the ball so quickly and snazzily, AND run away in time for the prince not to see her transformation back to rags while wearing just one flimsy glass shoe? They had a thriving pumpkin patch.

6. Snow White-If the dwarves or Snow White could grow their own fruit they wouldn’t bother with apple-sellers, would they? (Clothing items like combs and ribbons are a different matter of course, but then those were absurdly easy to undo in any case.)

7. The Princess and the Frog-The only positive thing about the princess in most portrayals is that her family had a wonderful garden for the prince-turned-frog to live in, and that is clearly the underlying reason why she manages to marry well. Also, when you’re a frog beautiful gardens are clearly what you look for when you need a princess to kiss you, so that garden lies at the base of the happiness of both title characters.

8. The Juniper Tree-A well-kept tree can even resurrect the dead, in this one!

9. The Wild Swans-If the sister could just have maintained a royal garden once she was queen, she could have slipped some nettles in and not needed to go running around graveyards, getting accused of witchcraft and all the shirts might have been finished!
plucked-nettles-hans-andersens-fairy-tales

10. The Firebird-With no well-grown cherry orchards, this magical creature would not have shown up.

11. Jack and the Beanstalk-If those giants had simply been attentive gardeners, they could have weeded out troublesome beanstalks and kept all their own treasure, at least before a third visit!

As a matter of fact, a lot of fairy tales seem to show that problems arise when people use being in the woods as an excuse not to do their own gardening. It leaves them open to wildflower delays and poisoned fruit. Clearly, we all need to grow our own gardens instead of just hiding behind trees, which is actually quite disappointing since even as a young girl I wanted a yard full of blossoming flowers so I could have that beauty without having to really garden. Yet, look at the evidence! Witches win when they grow thorns. Beautiful gardens attract firebirds, princes, and insightful beauties. Gardening well can get even “villains” new children or keep them out. Maybe I should get one…

Any other fairy tale gardening/shrubberies you can think of? Bring it here and place it here beside this shrubbery, only slightly lower in the comments, so we get the two-level effect…

Snow Queen for Halloween?

Halloween’s fast approaching,
Those ghouls are encroaching,
And if you or yours have chosen
To emulate the queen of Frozen,
Dress-up fit for a Snow Queen,
At Sonshine Smiles Shop can be seen!

Located here: https://www.facebook.com/SonshineSmilesShop

This is my niece as model in this dress:
ad_dressM ad_dressback

And it comes with matching hairclip!
ad_dressclip

She also has an official version of a Snow Queen dress, but this is by far my favorite. And, honestly, looking at this versus the official ones, which dress looks like it could better keep the cold from ever bothering its queen?

Orders must be placed soon for delivery by Halloween!
https://www.facebook.com/SonshineSmilesShop, where custom dresses like this can be ordered for estimated $30-$50, depending on size.

Top Ten Places Books Make Me Want to Visit

This is a rendition of Top Ten Tuesday by the thebrokeandthebookish.wordpress.com. This week was the top 10 places books made you want to visit, whether real or imaginary. I had trouble with this one because I’m a lot more eager to go around meeting people from books rather than places. So, here we go:

1. Phantasmorania from “The Ordinary Princess” by M. M. Kaye
ordinary princess

2. Ireland from “Lion of Ireland” by Morgan Llywelyn
lionofireland

3. Verona from “Master of Verona” by David Blixt
(Full review here: http://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/the-master-of-verona/)

4. Narnia from the series “Narnia” by C.S. Lewis

5. The 100 Acre Wood from all of “Winnie the Pooh” by A.A. Milne
alg_winnie_and_friends_001

6. The Paris Opera House from “Phantom of the Opera” by Gaston LeRoux

7. The cat hills from “Millions of Cats” by Wanda Gág
books_cathills

8. Frell from “Ella Enchanted” by Gail Carson Levine

9. Luster from “Into the Land of the Unicorns” by Bruce Coville
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10. Ingary from “Howl’s Moving Castle” by Diana Wynne Jones
Howl-s-Moving-Castle-howls-moving-castle-913538_1024_768

What about you? Do you want to visit Frell mainly to meet Ella and her friends, or would you just enjoy the scenery? (I’m characters.) Would you love to run amuck in Howl’s house or kingdom alone or do you just want to talk to him? (I’m for the house more than the wizard.) What sort of places intrigue you?

Top Ten Books I Had Trouble Finishing (For Reasons Other than Writing Style)

This is a rendition of Top Ten Tuesday (and a Day) by the thebrokeandthebookish.wordpress.com. This week was the top 10 books you had trouble finishing. This post took me the extra day because I had to figure out how to do this without giving free publicity to the most dreadfully written books I’ve read. In the end, I managed to remember the books that kept me pausing or agitated while finishing them for reasons other than poor writing. Here we go:

Top Ten Books I Had Trouble Finishing (For Reasons Other than Writing Style)

1. “The Virgin’s Lover” by Philippa Gregory
-I hated her characterization of Elizabeth and the motivations she gave certain others never even actually made sense! Agh!

2. “The Wings of a Falcon” by Cynthia Voigt
-After spending hundreds of pages inside the main character’s head suddenly she shunted me into his best friend’s head for the last bit! I am still up set about this. Head-Shunting is uncool!

3. “The Man in the Iron Mask” by Alexandre Dumas
-Nothing had prepared me for this to be the book where his famous musketeers die! No one had told me that! It was deeply upsetting to go in unaware.

4. “Morte D’Arthur” by Sir Thomas Malory
-My issue here is that all of its tales are just jumbled all together without noting that by including similar tales of the same people or slightly different versions of events, when one tries to read it as a story it comes out incredibly contradictory and dense.

5. “Tell me if the Lovers are Losers” by Cynthia Voigt
-This one I did find just too….heavy-toned, I think, and I stopped reading it for about a month before finishing.

6. “Justine” by Lawrence Durrell
-This book is fascinating and I actually love it, but the reading experience was very hard!

7. “The Bible According to Mark Twain” by Mark Twain
-I absolutely adore this, and had to own it, but it takes a lot of brain power and can prove very troubling.

These last three I’m having such trouble with I’ve yet to finish.

8. “Don Quixote” by Cervantes
-It’s just so long. And also angering when thought about too much.

9. The “Temeraire” series by Naomi Novik
-I had to stop after the 5th one because of the disrespect shown in replacing the real Duke of Wellington with a fictional character when other historical personages had been left alone.

10. Proust. Why are you so dense and hard to get into, Proust? Once in the groove you were interesting…

And so ends this week’s reading confessions. Have you any?

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