osprey_archer: (cheers)
Eloise Jarvis McGraw's The Moorchild is dedicated "To all children who have ever felt different." I don't believe I read this dedication the first time round - I was not in the habit of reading dedications when I was eleven - and it is perhaps just as well, because I already identified with the book so hard that I might very well have picked it as my desert island book if anyone had asked me at the time.

At the center of this of course is Saaski herself, the moorchild of the title: a member of the fairy Folk who is exchanged for a human child because she's half-human herself, and therefore can never fit in the Mound. And yet she doesn't fit with the humans either, with her dark skin and dandelion fluff of hair and overlong fingers (I latched onto this finger detail so hard that I gave it to my OC at the time) and her habit of forever running away to the Moors. "Freaky odd," the village children call her, and her only friend is the tinker's boy Tam, who comes sometimes to the moors with his pipes.

Saaski's journey to find - not a place she belongs, but a person she belongs with - resonated with me terribly. The book still hits me emotionally when I reread it now. I'm even more conscious of the pervasive sense of loneliness in this book: not just Saaski's but Tam's, Old Bess's, even Saaski's parents Anwara and Yanno, who love their child but can't understand her.

But I have enough distance from it now to admire the beautiful craft of the book too, not least of which is the marvelous grasp of historical detail. Saaski's daily chores (milking the cow, setting the bread), and the yearly chores of a small village farm - swarming the bees, retting the flax - are woven into the narrative with perfect naturalness, as are the thick swarms of herb names that dance across the narrative as Saaski brings them to her grandmother, Old Bess.

I loved (and still love) Old Bess almost as much as Saaski: a tough, tart-tongued village healer, who holds her peace and keeps her counsel and watches over Saaski, and loves her even though she knows from the start that Saaski is a changeling child - perhaps because she sees something of herself in Saaski. Old Bess is not one of the Folk herself (in fact, the Folk have written runes on her door to warn each other of danger: even they know Old Bess is a force to be reckoned with!), but she's an outsider too, and yet has built up a life in the village despite that.

There's also a lot of beautiful, beautiful description in this book, as vivid and absolutely unobtrusive as the historical detail: the simple images of the moor as "broom-gilded" (broom being a yellow flower), or the scene where Saaski and her one friend Tam play their pipes together and Saaski's bagpipes sing "over and under his little pipe's shrill melody like a bramble vine twining a sapling."

And the metaphors McGraw uses to describe mental states, too, are beautiful vivid and apt. After a bad start to the day, Saaski rushes up to the moors to "let the music mend the jagged edges of the morning"; or Saaski's struggles with her mostly-submerged memories of her time with the Folk, which she strives to push away and yet sometimes yearns to remember, so that when someone mentions a familiar name, it "streaked across her memory like a shooting star and vanished into the general dark."

God, what I would give to write a metaphor like that. There are a lot of books I admire without wanting to have written them, but this one - I would give anything to write a story that means as much for other people as this has meant for me.
osprey_archer: (books)
”A woman’s work is something fine and noble to grow up to, and it is just as important as a man’s. But no man could ever do it so well. I don’t want you to be the silly, affected person with fine clothes and manners whom folks sometimes call a lady. No, that is not what I want for you, my little girl. I want you to be a woman with a wise and understanding heart, healthy in body and honest in mind. Do you think you would like to be growing up into that woman now? How about it, Caddie, have we run with the colts long enough?”...

Suddenly Caddie flung herself into Mr. Woodlawn’s arms.

“Father! Father!”

When I was a little girl, I was convinced I was a tomboy, despite the fact that I didn’t like sports, physical exertion, boys, or pretty much any of the other things that young tomboys are supposed to love. Mostly I just wanted to sit around and read all the time, but in between the Little House books and Caddie Woodlawn, my reading led to the conclusion that girls were supposed to be tomboys.

I should perhaps put “supposed” in quotes, because these are books at war with their own subtext. On the one hand, the explicit message - and this is especially clear in Caddie Woodlawn, which spells its message out the passage I quoted above (which is one of the few parts of the book I remembered all these years later) - is that tomboys have to grow up, and put aside childish things, and become good quiet housekeepers who learn all those girly things they’ve scorned.

But on the other hand, and all words about “fine and noble” callings aside, man does Caddie Woodlawn make proper ladyhood look unattractive. Caddie’s older sister Clara has been so subsumed by ladyhood that she barely has a personality. She’s the only one in the family who votes to go to England when her father inherits an estate, because only she is blinded by the glitz of the English peerage to the true beauty of the rough frontiers of America.

(Clara does not lose her entire family to a train accident, but nonetheless I think she and Susan Pevensie have something in common.)

Who wouldn’t rather be a tomboy? Tomboys are honest and brave and true and have their own opinions about things rather than just parroting out of the Godey’s Lady’s Book.

I loved Caddie Woodlawn as a girl, and I still love lots of it - there’s a marvelous scene where Caddie tries to fix a clock, for instance, and ends up getting taken under her father’s wing as his clock-fixing apprentice. The nature descriptions are marvelous. (The Indian plotlines are of their time - neither particularly noxious nor particularly progressive for the the thirties, but uncomfortable reading today. I’m sure someone has written about this at length elsewhere.)

But reading it now, what it really draws out for me is how two-faced our cultural vision of how girls are supposed to be is. For a long time, the explicit message - the conduct-book message, one might call it - was that girls should be quiet and polite and thoughtful and ladylike, while the message in books (Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Caddie Woodlawn) was that ladylike girls are the most boring thing to ever bore, and girls ought to be exciting and sprightly and tomboyish.

And at some point (gradually, although it was quite common in books I read growing in the nineties), that implicit message became explicit. Girls should be tomboys. They should be fearless! and feisty! and loud! and able to keep up with the boys.

Or - if it’s a story that isn’t specifically aimed at girls - maybe only almost able to keep up. Not too fearless. Not too loud. Not so set in their opinions that it’s annoying, and God forbid not right.

Pretty much the only thing on which there is cultural consensus is that girls had damn well better be pretty.
osprey_archer: (books)
In lieu of the Wednesday reading meme (because I accomplished basically no reading this past week, except a reread of Pamela Dean's Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary), I'm going to answer [livejournal.com profile] lycoris's December meme question: Tell me about your favourite book that you think I might not have heard of.

I actually have a tag that is partially devoted to this question: one of the things I used the 100 books tag for is to write reviews of tragically overlooked books that no one else knows even though I love them. Past reviews in this category include The Secret Voice of Gina Zhang, Nekomah Creek, Mummy, and Becoming Rosemary.

But this time I'm going to write about Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary, because I did just reread it and because I think it's an absolute tragedy that I didn't hear about it to read it earlier. I don't know that I would have loved it more - I don't think it's a book you need to read at a certain age to love - but I would have loved having it as part of the leafmold of my mind when I was a teenager.

What I love about this book - one of the things I love about this book - is that it's so wide-ranging in its interests. The main characters talk about science and religion (and how science and religion fit together, or don't), feminism, philosophy, vocations, the meaning of friendship and the permutations of friendship, and the way that families work or don't work, and books and literature. This takes up a huge amount of the book: it's all urgently important to Gentian and her friends, and therefore provides the main plot of the book.

For instance, there are couple sections where the narrative absolutely stops while Gentian reads an act of Julius Caesar with her family. I feel like this is doing some sort of thematic work, the way that the Hamlet performance does thematic work in Dean's Tam Lin, but I'm not sure what it is and it's possible that Dean was just like "I feel like talking about Shakespeare."

This is not, suffice it to say, a book with a strongly propulsive plot. In fact, calling the story meandering doesn't really do justice to the way that their conversations loop back on themselves, covering the same ground from different angles, and then shooting off in new and strange directions.

I have heard Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary criticized because Gentian and her friends seem unrealistically precocious, and there is perhaps something to this - they're not only very bright, but also extraordinarily well read and capable of having precise and philosophically sophisticated arguments - but IMO it misses the point. That's not something that would have bothered me if I had read the book as a teenager, any more than it bothered me in Tamora Pierce's First Test that fifteen-year-old Neal apparently found a bunch of ten-year-olds completely suitable companions.

The other problem with the book is that the ending doesn't really come together (I wrote about this at greater length in my original review); endings don't generally seem to be Dean's strong suit - Tam Lin's ending seemed quite abrupt to me. But the book is a dialogue as much as a novel; it's interesting because of the explorations it takes through issues, and those explorations are not discounted because none of them tie up nicely at the end.


Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary has also led to some musing on my part about friendship novels - that is, novels where the friendship is the force that pushes the narrative, the way a romance pushes a romance novel, rather than novels where the friendship is important but the actual plot comes from something else (like The Eagle of the Ninth, say, where Marcus and Esca's friendship is absolutely integral but the story comes from the search for the eagle).

I think it's rather hard to structure a book around a friendship, because unlike a romance,
a friendship doesn't usually have an arc: there isn't a moment of consummation. It chugs along steadily unless things go south, and even the going south is often not dramatic. Drift kills friendship as much as anything else.

Perhaps having a non-standard structure is an important part of telling friendship stories? Zilpha Keatley Snyder's The Changeling, my touchstone book about friendship, also has a distinctive structure. I must think about this.
osprey_archer: (window)
I haven’t seen The Giver movie and don’t really intend to - the poster strongly suggests to me that its producers don’t actually understand the book - but its existence has gotten me thinking about The Giver again, so in that sense I’m rather beholden to it.

One of the things that makes the book so powerful, I think, is that - at least to me, at age twelve - the society it depicts seems very seductive at the start. Everyone has plenty to eat and a pleasant house to live in. All the children are wanted and well-cared for in stable family units, with a whole raft of thoughtful child-care professionals who work hard to discover their natural abilities. Gender roles are clearly quite forgotten: Jonas’s mother is a Judge and his father is a Nurturer (that is, he looks after babies), and no one thinks anything of it.

In many ways, Jonas’s society looks like a better version of our own. It positions the reader differently than many dystopian novels do. Rather than looking down on an obviously flawed society and waiting (im)patiently for the hero to get with the program and start learning life lessons about Freedom, the reader (at least the young reader who is not genre-savvy about how dystopian novels) just like Jonas, starts out charmed by this society and lives, with Jonas, the journey from enchantment to disillusionment.

In a way, the society in The Giver is a totalitarian’s realized vision: not as it looks from the outside, or in hindsight, when the terrible parts are all too clear, but as it looks from the inside, to believers. And it’s easy to see how a vision that seductive can go so horribly wrong. After all, what price isn’t worth paying for a world where all children are loved and wanted and well-fed? It’s easy to see why so many ordinary people would find that dream seductive.

An orderly society where everyone has a place and knows it - not, in The Giver, because of anything as reactionary as right of bloodline, but because everyone has been assigned a place based on their carefully observed merits. Who can argue that their place in society is too low, when they’ve been placed there by their own genes? Everyone is placed, and everyone is efficient, productive, well-behaved, and content.

And in the end, the world will be so orderly that even love and death will lose their terror: they will be organized in neat ritualized boxes, just like everything else. They will be under human control.


Also, the memory-transmitting power is just super cool. I mean really, it's like reading except made flesh. The scene where Jonas gets the transmitted sled memory and he's all WHAT IS EVERYTHING is one of my favorite scenes ever.
osprey_archer: (books)
My freshman year of college, I took an immeasurably dull class about the History of the Middle East: the kind of class where I could have read the textbook and achieved more entertainment and information retention. It was worth it, however, because one of the books we read was Elizabeth Warnock Fernea’s Guests of the Sheik: An Ethnography of an Iraqi Village.

Despite the title, Fernea’s book is really a memoir more than an ethnography. In fact, before it is anything else, a delightful and well-written fish out of water story: in the 1950s, Fernea spent the first two years of her marriage accompanying her husband on his research trip in El Nahra, a village in Iraq, even though neither of them spoke much Arabic at the beginning.

Fernea finds it hard to adjust. Although she's in El Nahra with her husband, their social lives are quite separate, and her limited Arabic makes her seem weird and kind of hilarious to the local women. “They did not find me sympathetic or interesting or even human, but only amusing as a performing member of another species. I tried to feel tragic, superior, ironic, above it all - but failed utterly and wept again.”

Fernea's breakdown when she realizes how utterly she has failed to connect with the local women is the great crisis of the memoir. As her Arabic gets better and one of the local girls becomes her best friend and her sponsor, Fernea becomes a small part of an interlocking web of women in El Nahra.

One of the reasons the book stays with me so strongly, I think, is that it is one of the first nonfiction books I read where relationships between women - the relationships of mothers and daughters, sisters, friends, co-wives, teachers and their pupils at the local girls' school - are central to the book. They are peripherally involved at best in the great movements of history. But for Fernea, they're important and interesting because they are there: their existence is justification enough.

The other reason the book has stayed with me is because it remains one of the best models I have read for writing about difference. How do you write about people from a culture very different than your own without making them seem totally alien - or, conversely, without eliding the differences in order to make the foreign seem to be just like us?

The book's great strength lies ultimately in its modesty. Fernea makes no sweeping statements about the nature of Iraq or Islam or the relationship between East and West; she simply writes about her experiences as a young woman spending the first two years of her married life in El Nahra with her husband.

Don't make sweeping generalizations, and don't make the people you meet into mere examplars of your generalizations. They are not just Representative #1 through 10 of the local culture; they are individuals with individual personalities. Tell specific stories about specific people, and let patterns emerge from that. Admit it when you don't understand something rather than speculating fancifully about what it might mean. And don't pass judgment.

Near the end of the book, Fernea writes of a conversation she had with her husband not long before they left Iraq. “We admitted to each other that we had both had somewhat irrational and idealistic notions of being examples, of bridging the gap between one set of attitudes and another. Now, of course, we knew we had not basically changed anyone’s attitude, except perhaps our own. With our friends in El Nahra we had established personal ties, as individual human beings. This was all we should have hoped for, and perhaps it was enough.”
osprey_archer: (books)
Although the supposed theme of this 100 books list is "100 books that influenced me," it's not always easy or even possible to pinpoint any measurable influence from a particular book. But Jeanine Basinger's Silent Stars is an exception: it had a clear and concrete influence on my life and my movie-going habits.

Before I get to that, however, let me sing the praises of Silent Stars, which is one of the most exuberant, enthusiastic, but nonetheless measured and thoughtful nonfiction books I've ever read. Each chapter is the profile of a different star (or occasionally thematically grouped stars) from the silent movie era. In her introduction, Basinger explains that her choices were "influenced by pleasure, by surprise and delight." That delight shines through in all her profiles.

In short, this is the book of a fan. The style isn't internet-fannish (not enough capslock, not enough exclamation point), but the feeling behind it, the willingness to watch and rewatch movie after flickering, poorly preserved movie - this is a labor of love. The melodrama of silent movie plots, the terse and snarky title cards, the sometimes ridiculous costumes: it would be easy to mock silent movies for their excesses, but instead these things fill Basinger with glee.

Her chapter about Mary Pickford encapsulates this beautifully: critics today often see the immensely popular Pickford's films as sentimental sexist twaddle, but Basinger notes instead the immense toughness of Pickford's characters. She was sweet and also an unholy hoyden: as one critic observed, "Good may have prevailed in Mary Pickford's movies, but the set of her tough little jaw told you it damn well better."

Forgiving is not quite the right word for this attitude. There's an element of focus to it: Basinger sees and notes what is bad about these movies, but the parts that she holds onto and internalizes are the parts that are good and useful to her. It's a nuanced and generous approach to criticism.

And generous, I think, is the word that I'm looking for to describe Basinger's attitude. She is generous in her love for these movies, generous in sharing it so enthusiastically with her readers, and generous to herself by focusing on what she likes best, without ignoring what is bad.

Silent Stars is the reason that I branched out beyond recent Hollywood movies. If Jeanine Basinger could get such joy out of Rudolf Valentino flaring his nostrils at the camera, then who knows what kinds of cinema might surprise and delight me? Golden age Hollywood, anime, French films, Bollywood - you never know until you try.

Oddly, given that Silent Stars is the book that started it all, the one kind of movie I've had trouble getting into are...silents. But I live in hope.
osprey_archer: (cheers)
Bill Bryson was once my secret authorial love. I adore his books and await each new one eagerly, but until this year I didn’t have anyone to share them with. This year, however! This year, I lent Bill Bryson’s I’m a Stranger Here Myself to Emma, who lent it to Rick, who lent it to Caitlin, who lent it to her mother, at which circuitous point the book wended its way back to me, with a clamor from all parties to borrow the rest of my Bill Bryson books.

Many of Bryson’s books are travelogues (I’m awfully fond of In a Sunburned Country, his book about Australia). I’m a Stranger Here Myself is a bit different: it’s a collection of, I believe, newspaper articles that Bryson wrote after he returned to the United States after twenty years in England.

One of the things I’m a Stranger Here Myself captures is the differences between places: not just big obvious differences, but the little ones that accrue and, cumulatively, create those big differences between places. And between times, as well; Bryson writes not only about the differences between the US and England, but between the US in the 1970s and the US in the 1990s.

These are themes that have been important in my own writing. I wouldn’t swear that I’m a Stranger Here Myself is the first place I read about them, but it’s the first book I read that held this up to the light and said, “Hey, you guys, this is interesting.”

But I’m a Stranger Here Myself had an even more basic impact on me than that. It was the first non-fiction book I read that showed me that nonfiction could actually be good: not only could it tell you interesting information, but it could be fun to read at the same time, as well. And not just fun, but funny! Many of his early books, in particular, are right up there with Terry Pratchett, Mindy Kaling, and Sarah Vowell.
osprey_archer: (books)
Did anyone else read Jill Barklem’s Brambly Hedge books at a tender age? I loved them. I liked the characters, and the stories were okay, but beyond everything else I adored the illustrations. They’re so intricately detailed, cluttered even, storerooms with masses of stuff on shelves all the way to the ceilings - and then clusters of mushrooms hanging off the ceilings, too!

I used to stare at these illustrations for hours. They had a rather unfortunate effect on my early attempts to describe settings: I tended to spiral off into lengthy lists of all the things, under the impression that the clutter I found so charming in illustration would translate to the written word.

Although I was awfully fond of Sea Story, because it includes a description of how anthropomorphic mice extract salt from the sea - I’ve always been fond of fiction about “how to make stuff” - my favorite is The Secret Staircase, the story about how Primrose Woodmouse and her friend Wilfred stumble upon a long-hidden staircase in Primrose’s tree palace (built inside an oak tree! with cutaway maps showing all the rooms).

They discover an entire wing of the palace that has been lost for years. There’s a medieval throne room! A vaguely Tudor nursery! And also...a Victorian bathtub?

How was it lost? This question has burned in my soul for over two decades. Did Primrose’s ancestors abandon it on purpose? Did they close it up in despair after losing the kingship to the mice of some other oak tree? Why are so many time periods mixed in this one suite of rooms? Maybe it simply accrued more modern rooms as it grew, without the old ones ever being updated... And most pressing of all: if this place has been lost for so long, why is it so sparkling clean?

I mean, obviously the answer to this last is “because illustrations look nicer when all the pretty things are not buried in snowdrifts of dust.” But I prefer the explanation that involves a bunch of Beauty and the Beast-like inanimate objects keeping the forgotten palace clean, waiting loyally for their mouse king who will never come home.
osprey_archer: (books)
For years after I read Jerry Spinelli’s Stargirl, I liked to drop small change on the ground in emulation of the heroine. Stargirl is always doing little acts of kindness: she drops change, leaves anonymous cards, keeps all her trimmed hair for birds to make nests with. Whenever one her classmates has a birthday, she sings “Happy birthday” to them on her ukelele in the crowded lunchroom.

Aside from dropping change, I haven’t copied most of Stargirl’s specific actions (certainly not the ukelele interludes!) but it’s hard to overstate how much impact the Stargirl approach had on my conception of “nice things to do.” One of the reasons the note in Untold charmed me so much is that it seemed like very Stargirl.

But rereading Stargirl this break, what strikes me is how hands-off Stargirl’s approach is. All her kindness is anonymous and from a distance. The narrator, Leo, considers this a sign of her saintliness, the fact that she has no interest in taking credit, and in a way it is - but it’s also a way of putting distance between herself and other people: of not getting involved in the nitty-gritty. When Stargirl and Leo come across an advertisement asking for a companion, Stargirl considers sending an anonymous card.

She does not, however, consider volunteering as a companion. Random acts of kindness are nice, but it’s relationships that make people truly happy, and relationships are hard.

One of the things that so appealed to me about Stargirl, I think, is that the vision of kindness it offers is very low-risk: although Stargirl has made it a full-time job, these are all things that you could do in little snippets of time. They require little emotional investment, and because they’re anonymous, they can’t be rejected. You’re unlikely to see an actual person react: you envision a little kid finding a dime or another reader seeing your note in a book, and in your mind, the other person is always pleased.

The big exception to this, of course, is Stargirl’s behavior at school: singing “Happy birthday” on the ukelele, becoming a cheerleader and then cheering for both teams. This is very loud and public and hence high-risk, and it ends badly: it alienates her classmates (because, Spinelli suggests, they have been trained for years in conformity) to the point that they shun her.

Now, on the one hand, shunning is clearly a cruel overreaction to Stargirl’s harmless quirkiness. But on the other hand, if a lot of people are disturbed and alienated by an act of kindness you are trying to commit - are, in short, not experiencing it as an act of kindness, but even as a kind of attack - then maybe it’s time to ask yourself if you don’t have an ulterior motive for the public ukelele playing. Maybe it should make them happy, but clearly it doesn’t.

For a character who is defined by her kindness, Stargirl is strangely tone deaf to other people’s feelings. I didn’t notice this when I first read the book, and it’s a little distressing to reread and see it now.
osprey_archer: (books)
On the ask me questions meme, [livejournal.com profile] nagasasu asked for a review of Sylvia Louise Engdahl’s The Far Side of Evil, which is technically the sequel the Enchantress from the Stars. However, the two books tell quite different stories with quite different tones and are tied together only because they share a heroine: Elana, a member of the Federation’s Anthropological Service.

In The Far Side of Evil, Elana is on the planet Toris to study a people that has just reached its Critical Stage: its inhabitants have the nuclear weapons to kill all life on their home planet, but have not yet started the space exploration that will eventually channel their energies in more construction directions.

But Elana has more pressing problems than the dim possibility of nuclear annihilation. When we catch up with her on Toris, she’s imprisoned and under intensive interrogation. She spends the first half of the book unfolding for us the reasons for her imprisonment - much the same way, it occurs to me, that Julie does in Code Name Verity.

In fact, I might recommend The Far Side of Evil to Code Name Verity fans. The similarity between them is more than just structural. Both focus on a heroine in an increasingly desperate situation who must keep her secrets in order to protect others, who begins to tell her story in order to keep herself together. Moreover, while Elana’s friendship with her roommate Kari is not quite as intense as Maddie and Julie’s, it is in its own way very satisfying.

Elana and Kari are always talking about the big ideas: the nature of bravery and hope and humanity, which seem separate but become braided together here. The Neo-Statists invaded Kari’s home when she was a little girl, and although she despises them and their belief in the primacy of the state over the individual (their prescribed greeting is “Hail to the glory of the state, citizen”), she doesn’t dare to oppose them directly. Her uncle Dirk joined the resistance after the invasion. They caught him, they shot him, and Kari is terrified.

Kari is convinced that she’s weak and cowardly. This is not quite fair: even at the beginning she shows flickers of strength at the beginning, like wearing a yellow ribbon to mark a forbidden holiday. But at the same time, her assessment of herself is far from wrong, and it’s one of the book’s great strengths that Kari is never condemned for her fear or her weakness.

Elana’s response to Kari’s weakness is not scorn, but sympathy. Kari would be a happier and a better person if she could that weakness and stand up for what she knows is right - and signs like the yellow ribbon show Elana that Kari does know what is right, and even wants to express it, even if she doesn’t dare say it directly at first. But living in dystopia saps her strength. She can’t get stronger without encouragement.

Elana (and her fellow agent Randil) provide that encouragement. They don’t discuss philosophy with Kari simply to strengthen her - they are interested in these topics for their own sakes - but simply expressing that thoughts she’s kept hidden so long strengthens Kari.

Strength in The Far Side of Evil rests in honesty and compassion. It’s a book about good people who care about ideas, but never to the exclusion of people: who sometimes make terrible mistakes, but strive to do better.
osprey_archer: (books)
I have been trying to write a post about the Baby-Sitter’s Club book Claudia and the New Girl for basically forever, but it’s hard to get started because I have so many FEELINGS because CLAUDIA and ASHLEY and ART, OH MY FEELINGS OMG OMG OMG.

I first read this book when I was not quite eleven (I actually recorded it in my diary, so I have an exact date: June 8, 1999), so the feelings have had a lot of time to build up.

On a subtext scale from one to ten, Claudia and the New Girl is about an eleven. It’s not just that Claudia and Ashley become inseparable best buddies and art brain twins within days of meeting, but that there’s a physical awareness of each other in their actions. Claudia is a visually oriented character anyway, being an artist, and her narration usually includes a bunch of detail about what her friends are wearing, but with Ashley that goes into overdrive.

They first meet when Ashley, the new girl, shows up in Claudia’s English class. She looks, Claudia notes, “fragile and delicate” as she faces her new classmates. Then Ashley sits next to Claudia; and for the rest of the class, Claudia can’t stop glancing at her. On the fourth glance (Claudia’s counting, not me!) Ashley is looking at Claudia, too; and they both snap their eyes back to their papers; but then Claudia looks again, and Ashley is also looking at her.

And this is all before Ashley knows that Claudia is an artist. Ashley, also, is an artist, and it’s a plot point that she’s really only interested in Claudia because of their shared art interest - but no, it started before then; it just goes into overdrive when Ashley shows up in Claudia’s art class.

And she asks to see Claudia’s portfolio! Claudia: “On our first date?”

No, I’m making that up. But Claudia is more or less freaking out of her skin because what if Ashley doesn’t like her work and then Ashley says,“You’re very talented. I hope you know that” and Claudia is all “OMG OMG OMG.”

Claudia gets bad grades and can’t spell, and also has a sister who is a genius, and therefore has an overall pretty low opinion of her IQ. (I can’t remember if this is actually addressed in BSC, but I think you could make a good case that Claudia has dyslexia.) And the people in Claudia’s life tend to reflect this self-assessment; it’s not that Claudia’s BSC friends thinks she’s stupid, but they tend to take her at face value.

Whereas Ashley sees beyond that. She understands that Claudia is actually really smart despite her bad grades, and so when Claudia and Ashley talk, Claudia says things that she would never think to say otherwise - things that strike her as alarmingly smart. And also Ashley really understands about art, which no one else in Claudia’s life really does…

And so Claudia starts blowing off her friends to hang out with Ashley. Her friends are super mad about this, and pro-Ashley though I am, they have a point: Ashley is super intense, and she wants Claudia to commit herself totally to Ashley art - and she just doesn’t get it when Claudia tries to explain that she’s interested in lots of things, her life is very big, and she doesn’t want to give that up.

Ashley: “You’re ruining your career, you know!”

I love Ashley’s intensity. She’s so serious and dedicated, and she seems to be really unable to joke around or make small talk. I think part of it is shyness, but it’s also arrogance: talking to people makes her anxious in part because she thinks (with some justification) that people her age won’t understand her or take her seriously.

And Ashley can’t stand not being taken serious. And finally she meets Claudia, who can talk to her on her level - and then the friendship falls apart...I don’t blame Claudia; Ashley demanded too much. But still, it must have been incredibly hard for Ashley.

So there are good reasons why this didn’t work out when they were thirteen. But I like to think if they met again - maybe in college - if they could get over their knotty history; if Ashley had mellowed a little, insofar as she's capable of mellowing, and Claudia became a little more focused…

They could light up the sky.
osprey_archer: (books)
E. L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler has but one flaw: she told the story of two runaway children living in a museum so well that no one since has dared to touch the topic. I want a whole genre of stories about children living in museums, damn it!

But this unfortunate side effect of its flawlessness is the only thing I can criticize about the book, because otherwise it is 100% pure distilled awesome. Claudia and her little brother Jamie run away from home to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

(Have I mentioned before that I think there is a children’s book conspiracy designed to teach young readers that high culture is totally awesome? I’m pretty sure there is. Blue Balliett may be the newest member.)

On that note: how much do I love that Claudia runs away from home in search of educational opportunity? She’s like, “We’re living in a museum! We’re going to use this time wisely and learn things!” Jamie is at first appalled, but eventually he gets as much into the museum as Claudia does - especially after they team up to figure out whether the Met’s new sculpture really is a Michelangelo.

I love the friendship that grows between Claudia and Jamie. At the beginning of the book, they’ve always taken each other for granted - they’re siblings, the other is just always there, and they’ve never been close. But once they run away together, and especially once they’ve got a project, they become a team.

And how cool is Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the crotchety yet awesome old lady who narrates the book? Her voice only intrudes occasionally, as we’re mostly focusing on the adventures of Claudia and Jamie, but she’s always incisive and hilarious. She’s the first amazing old lady that I remember reading about, and I’ve loved that sort of character ever since.
osprey_archer: (books)
[livejournal.com profile] asakiyume sent me a beautiful card with a drawing of a squirrel in a strange little room in a tree, which reminded me so much of Jill Barklem’s Brambly Hedge that I ransacked our old picture book shelves looking for my favorite Brambly Hedge book, The Secret Staircase. Alas, it was nowhere to be found!

But while I was looking for it I found a number of other childhood favorites. Emily Arnold McCully’s Mirette on the High Wire, which I got just a little too late for it to work its way into my DNA - I was too old to demand it read to me hundreds of times - but love nonetheless for tightrope walking and Mirette and France. Tasha Tudor’s Corgiville Fair, which means I still find corgis automatically interesting.

And most of all, Roxaboxen, written by Alice McLerran and illustrated by Barbara Cooney. I was not, in my picture book years, aware of such things as favorite authors or illustrators, but if I was, Barbara Cooney would have headed my list. I’ve already posted about Miss Rumphius, who vows to travel to far away places, live by the sea, and make the world more beautiful, and Hattie and the Wild Waves, who grows up to become an artist.

Creation - making pictures, making the world more beautiful - is central to Cooney’s books, and central as well to Roxaboxen. But Roxaboxen is not about pictures or flowers or things you can hold in your hand, but a group of friends who create an imaginary town: Roxaboxen, which grows out of the greasewood and thorny ocotillo of a desert across the road.

The desert is mostly full of broken crates and bits of white stone, and the kids gather up this seeming junk and make their imaginary town out of it: stones lining the streets, crates for bits of furniture. Frances branches out into desert glass, old broken bottles that become, in her mind, “amber, amethyst, and sea green: a house of jewels.”

Eventually, of course, they all grow up and go away and leave Roxaboxen behind to slowly melt back into the desert. But that’s not the end of things: “Because none of them ever forgot Roxaboxen. Not one of them ever forgot.” The echoes of stories in life - this is one of my favorite things.

One of the Roxaboxenites told the story to her daughter, Alice McClerran; and McClerran wrote Roxaboxen; and the hill in Yuma where Roxaboxen was, is now preserved forever by the Friends of Roxaboxen.
osprey_archer: (friends)
I love Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s books for a lot of reasons, but chief among them is the fact that she captures the magic of imaginative games. The Changeling does this beautifully too, but her finest book on this score has to be The Egypt Game, which follows new friends April Hall and Melanie Ross as they build a complicated game based on - though swiftly spiraling out from - ancient Egypt.

I love the descriptions of the game, and the book gives them their full due: it describes the backyard of the local antique store that they slowly take over as a stage set for Egypt, the household items that they manage to spruce up into Egypt wear, the way that the game slowly adds new subplots, new characters - and new players - and evolves over the course of its run.

I also love April and Melanie's friendship, which evolves from prickly beginnings into a steadfast thing. April can be difficult and prickly and not so much attention-seeking as attention-demanding; when she and Melanie first meet, April is wearing a massive feather boa, even larger fake eyebrows, and a "I'm from Hollywood and know everything" attitude. She's putting on a front: her feckless mother has just sent her to live with her grandmother, and April feels insecure and unwanted and damned if she's going to show it.

But she and Melanie manage to work past that through their mutual love of story-telling and ancient Egypt. (I suspect that taking care of her little brother Marshall, who is also a rather odd kettle of fish, has given Melanie some extra maturity for her age.)

Another thing I appreciate about Snyder's writing, more now that I'm older and rereading, is how gracefully she incorporates diversity and changing social mores into her stories. Melanie and her little brother Marshall are black, April is white, their neighbor Elizabeth Chung is Chinese-American - and also a lot younger than Melanie and April; I like how the book has a mix of ages - Ken Kamata is Japanese-American (and also kind of a dumb jock type: he can never lose himself in the game but retains always an awareness of how kookie they all look, walking around casting ashes on their heads), and Toby Alvillar is...complicated?

And it all seems very natural. Snyder introduces this diversity so gracefully that it just seems like the way things are in the Casa Rosada, where April and Melanie live, and not at all as if she's teaching a lesson or making a point.


This gracefulness is part of why The Egypt Game's belated sequel, The Gypsy Game, so disappointing: where The Egypt Game is light-handed, The Gypsy Game is as subtle as a brick. It would be bad even if it weren't a sequel, but the comparison makes its faults especially glaring. Clearly at some point Snyder realized that making a game about gypsies would be just as bad as making, say, the Jewish Game.

Which is true, but unfortunately social insight alone does not a good novel make. The book becomes not so much a novel as a PSA: a very dull PSA where nothing imaginative happens at all. And when I first read it, in 1997 when the book came out, I was too busy being bitter about its failure as a novel to retain any of its social messages.
osprey_archer: (castle)
Clockwork! Much as I love The Golden Compass, Clockwork is probably my favorite of Philip Pullman’s work: it is not spoiled by later books that go off the rails, but is complete and satisfying in itself.

This, even though its a very short book: barely more than a hundred pages, with wide-spaced type interspersed with wonderful, shadowy illustrations. But all its pieces fit together perfectly, exactly like clockwork: each cog in the plot turning and ticking inexorably toward the end, which is - despite the sense of inevitability - a surprise when it comes.

And clockwork is not only the perfect metaphor for the way the disparate pieces of the story come together, but also at the center of the story itself. It is set in a German town that centers on a clock tower, near the beginning of the 19th century; one imagines it occurring even as the Brothers Grimm are out collecting, because the story is a melange of fairy tale and clockwork and Doctor Faustus.

Clockwork often seems to be folded into the general steampunk aesthetic (let’s throw some cogs on it!) - and I think, actually, that this is one of the reasons why steampunk often seems to work better as a clothing aesthetic than as a backdrop to stories: you can throw all the cool things together and make something snazzy out of it for a costume, but stories need the pieces of a setting to fit together.

It’s not that clockwork is not Victorian - the Victorians were after all obsessed with time keeping; Around the World in Eighty Days is basically a thriller about railway timetables. But it’s not the clocks they were obsessed with: clocks were old hat by then. The first great clocks were late medieval, and they came into their own in the Renaissance and Reformation. Clockwork is not propelled by electricity or steam but seems to go of itself. It is the technology of fairy tales.

The railway timetables are exciting because they reflected the all-conquering power of steam: steam power that made transportation run to human specification, rather than at the whim of the elements. Steam seems to conquer time and chance, to bend nature to our will; clockwork only counts, remorselessly, and reminds us that time and chance happen to us all.
osprey_archer: (books)
Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted was my first fairy tale retelling: Cinderella with a twist. Well, a number of twists, but the main one is this: when the heroine, Ella, was born, the foolish fairy Lucinda gave her a gift. But it was a gift that was really a curse: Ella must always be obedient.

One of the reasons this book remains so fresh in my mind is that this curse provides endless fruit for speculation. We know that Ella will obey any order given to her, even if it threatens her life, and we know that she obeys orders even in languages that she doesn’t speak. But what are the exact parameters of her obedience?

If, for instance, she came to a stop sign in the middle of nowhere, and there was no one around to tell her to move, would she just have to stay there forever? What about orders that aren’t directed at her, but at someone else? “Go save little Timmy from the well!” barked Lassie. How could poor Ella even try to obey that? And must she obey orders even from animals? I am pretty sure sheepdogs consider it an order when they try to herd you, after all...

In short, this is not a very workable curse, but it’s a great literary device. It ratchets up the tension in any scene - and this means most scenes - where someone might give Ella an order. Will the ogres order Ella to let them eat her? Will her father order her to marry someone horrid? What awful new orders will Ella’s stepsister Hattie think of?

Hattie eventually hits on the idea of ordering Ella to give up her friendship with Areida. (Another one of the twists in the retelling is that Levine adds a couple of fun female characters to offset the stepmother and stepsisters: Ella’s fairy godmother, Mandy, a no-nonsense cook with crinkly gray hair who offers more mentorship than magical aid, and Areida, their boarding-school classmate from Ayortha who teaches Ella her language and jokes with her about the finishing school regimen.)

Ella is so horrified by the idea of hurting Areida that she runs away from boarding school that very night: a neat way of following the order (can’t be Areida’s friend if she’s on the other side of Kyrria, after all!) but also thumbing her nose at Hattie. Ella, as you can see, does not take her curse lying down. As she puts it: “Instead of making me docile, Lucinda’s curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way naturally.” Although she doesn’t know how to break the curse, she hates being ordered around and, though she has to follow the letter of orders, always tries to wriggle out of their spirit.

One of the most chilling sequences in the book is the one where Ella asks Lucinda to take her curse away; and Lucinda, after thinking about it a bit, orders Ella to be happy about being obedient. Oh, it is terrifying! She almost traipses blissfully into marriage with a suitor her father finds for her, nearly forgetting about her love for Princess Charmont (or Char, as he is called) until Mandy saves her.

Ella’s relationship with Char is the last and perhaps greatest of the changes in this retelling. Rather than meeting at the ball, he and Ella meet long before - at her mother’s funeral, in fact, where they soften the awfulness of the day by making each other laugh. Their courtship consists of sliding down banisters, fighting ogres, and sending each other letters when he leaves the country on a diplomatic mission. An epistolary courtship! It is a most satisfactory romance.


In keeping with my “think of ideas for [livejournal.com profile] fic_corner stories!” project, I have given some thought to fic ideas for Ella Enchanted But I can’t actually think of any stories I would want for it. The romance wraps up so satisfactorily, and while I really like Ella and Areida's friendship, I'm not sure where a story would go with it.
osprey_archer: (castle)
I first got my LJ for a single purpose: I wanted to be able to post on [livejournal.com profile] athanarel, the LJ comm about Sherwood Smith’s Crown Duel.

I remain terribly fond of the book. I adore the heroine, Mel, who is brave and plucky and brash to the point of rashness - I could probably throw a few more synonyms for “courageous” in this list of Mel’s virtues. But her courage is often the only thing she has going for her: she’s quite ignorant about the world, and therefore makes enormous mistakes and is forced to seriously reevaluate not just her actions but her basic beliefs about how the world works.

And I love the fact that Mel’s ignorance allows her to learn about the world with her, and that the worldbuilding makes this process worthwhile. There’s a scene I particularly love where Nee, Mel’s friend and Mel’s brother’s fiancee, explains the history of Remalna, touching at intervals on world history, through the changes in court clothing over the centuries. It’s so light and airy and so full of information! Brilliant.

But it’s not just that Remalna is well-developed - the glancing mentions of the outside world in the book make the other countries feel real, like places with stories and characters and histories. (Smith’s other books have amply affirmed this impression, although I think often the worldbuilding in her other books lacks the same lightness of touch.)

Crown Duel was also the first book that introduced me to the idea of a comedy of manners - a very gentle stepping stone toward Jane Austen and E. M. Forster and all those 1930s English authors I love to ramble about.

Plus it has an epistolary romance. Epistolary anythings are one of my favorite literary devices in the world.


As the [livejournal.com profile] fic_corner exchange is coming up, I’ve been thinking about the fic possibilities for many of my favorite old children’s and YA books. Some of them are not very conducive for this sort of thing, but I have ALL SORTS of Crown Duel ideas.

Partly this is another effect of the worldbuilding: I always had the sense that if I could climb into the book, there would be a real place to walk around, and moreover, a place I would want to walk around. But it’s also a result of the wonderful characters in the book.

The love interest of course is first rate (also visible from SPACE, but I will preserve his anonymity for the moment), but I also love Mel’s brother Bran, good-humored and slightly bumbling; Bran’s fiancee Nee, who swiftly becomes one of Mel’s best friends (to the point that Mel must remind herself that she should give Bran and Nee a little alone time), and Nee’s best friend Elenet, who is a very secondary character but fascinating in her shyness, her artistry, her melancholy.

More fic thoughts, which are spoilerrific )
osprey_archer: (art)
“The food in those places wasn’t so much ‘rich’ as deep, dense. Each plat arrived looking mellow and varnished, like an old violin. Each mouthful registered like a fat organ chord in a tall church, hitting you hard and then echoing down the room.”

Adam Gopnik’s Paris to the Moon is a memoir and a travelogue, a mixture of two of my favorite genres; and it is one of the first books that I remember enjoying not only for its narrative pull or its quickly yet memorably sketched characters (although those are quite fine), but for the sheer lushness of the prose. Gopnik’s book, like the French food he describes, resounds like an organ chord.

It’s a hard book to quote. One can’t just pick out punchy one liners; many of the lines are lovely, but they draw their loveliness from the symphony of lines working together to build to something greater than themselves. It’s beautiful writing, but an old fashioned sort of beauty; I think often we don’t let our writing breathe that way anymore.

Of a taxidermist who bemoans the fact that they are no longer allowed to stuff big game animals, even if they die in zoos: “The government is worried, as governments will be, I suppose, that if fallen elephants are turned into merchandise, however lovely, then sooner or later elephants will not just be falling. Elephants will be nudged.”

Elephants will be nudged. The line is so striking to me: the juxtaposition of the enormous elephant and the miniscule force implied in nudged.

Or speaking of the Musee d’Orsay, where the grand, cold Academic paintings of the nineteenth century hang in the main hall, while the Impressionists are relegated to out-of-the-way rooms:

“It is a calculated, venom-filled insult on the part of French official culture against French civilization, revenge on the part of the academy and administration on everyone who escaped them. French official culture, having the upper hand, simply banishes French civilization to the garret, sends it to its room. What one feels, in that awful place, is violent indignation - and then an ever-increased sense of wonder that Manet and Degas and Monet, faced with the same stupidities of those same academic provocations in their own lifetimes, responded not with rage but with precision and grace and contemplative exactitude.”

Possibly Gopnik is the only person to ever accuse the Impressionists of precision. But it suits, in a way: they have precision of attitude, precision of mood. In any case, grace and contemplative exactitude (and, perhaps, a little rage) are the hallmarks of art; and Gopnik's book overflows with both.
osprey_archer: (books)
Sylvia Louise Engdahl’s Enchantress from the Stars is like Star Trek, if the characters in Star Trek took the Prime Directive seriously (and the women got better parts). It is also like Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Lost Prince, in that nary a chapter passes without characters either swearing solemn oaths or going through hell to keep those oaths - except that unlike The Lost Prince, Enchantress from the Stars has a plot that rises to a crescendo that is not merely satisfying but stunning.

Oh, and it has telepathy. And a fairy tale retelling. And one of my favorite heroines of all time, Elana: bright and curious, empathetic, a little impetuous. As the story begins, she’s heading through space to join the Federation’s Anthropological Service, but - entirely against all orders and policy - sneaks onto a landing craft onto a Youngling planet.

(Younglings are people like us who haven’t yet evolved out of wars, greed, etc., and into our full psychic potential.)

Normally, an untrained civilian like Elana would be sent back to the Federation spacecraft sharpish - but because of plot complications, Elana is stuck planetside. So, untrained though she is, she has to take the Service Oath:

And I, Elana, swear that I will hold this responsibility above all other considerations, for as long as I shall live...

This is all we get of the Oath, and yet it becomes a mantra that the characters live by as their situation grows steadily more desperate. The Oath demands not only that you would die for it, but that you would go out of your way to get killed for it if need be. That is why Elana is stuck planetside, in fact: one of the Service agents in the landing party got vaporized distracting the Imperial soldiers who are invading the planet from the Federation landing craft.

This was not, let me be clear, a matter of military necessity. A Federation has no plans to go to war with the Imperials, and in any case a Federation landing craft is as technologically advanced over an Imperial one as an atomic bomb is over a tomahawk. The agent had to prevent disclosure, because if the Imperials discovered that there was a civilization hugely technologically advanced beyond them, it would mess up their cultural development.

This, then, is Elana’s mission: to stop the Imperial invasion of Andrecia (a planet where the inhabitants have a medieval level of technology), without disclosing the Service’s existence.

Elana accepts the anti-disclosure position until she visits a local village. She seems starvation - disease - a beggar who had his hands cut off by the king - and she is so horrified that she storms back to her father, the mission leader, who is up there with Atticus Finch in the Best Fictional Father Ever category. “Why doesn’t the Service do something?” she demands. “Why [can’t we] devise some way to correct obviously unnecessary evils without revealing ourselves?”

“The real issue here is the whole concept of ‘obviously unnecessary evils,’” her father replies. “Who are you to say that human suffering is unnecessary?”

Elana of course finds this answer horrifying. Enchantress from the Stars takes place in an Enlightenment universe, where overcoming human suffering truly does lead to lasting human progress (indeed, for the civilizations that make the Federation, has already led to utopia), so the balance of the evidence is on her father’s side; and yet Elana does not cease to find it horrifying.

One thing I really like about this book is that, while Engdahl has a definite point of view and makes it clear that this is so, she doesn’t try to force the reader to accept it. The reader can, with Elana, reject this answer, without rejecting the book, because there is so much going on in it.

One would think that the nature of good and evil and the ultimate disposition of the universe were quite enough to be getting on with in a single children’s story, but Enchantress from the Stars is endlessly prolific with ideas. It deals - and deals well! - with a myriad of other topics: symbolism, the nature of belief, providence, sacrifice (and the ability to meaningful consent to sacrifice in a situation where one doesn’t have all the information), the meaning of love, imperialism...

It has a great anti-imperialist screed: Jarel, a disillusioned Imperial officer, thinks bitterly, “We are on no higher a level than the natives, and we never will be; progress is a myth! If there are superior peoples in the university, it is pure luck...that they have never found us. For if they ever do, they will surely consider the Empire the worst disease ever to threaten the galaxy and will deal with us accordingly.”

It is, in short, a book that is good food for thinking with - and a real pleasure to read, to boot.
osprey_archer: (books)
Sometimes Rosemary would be alone in the house, and she would walk by the table to see that one of the books had been pulled away from the others and opened. Slowly, very slowly, the pages would turn, as if blown by a breath from far away...

Sometimes, when Rosemary saw those pages turning, she would run into the forest so that she cold find Con and sit and listen. Sometimes she would stand still, close her eyes, and think hard, trying to warn Con that their father was soon coming home. If he knew, he would forbid this kind of reading.

Frances M. Wood's Becoming Rosemary is one of those books that slipped through the cracks in the book market. It's historical fiction with a hint of magic, like Rosemary's older sister Con's ability to read books from afar. I adore it; but I don't believe I've met anyone else who has read it.

It's set in 1790, but far away from the struggles of the new American government: the book is rooted in Rosemary's daily life, picking mushrooms, striking up a friendship with her new neighbor Mrs. DiAngeli, searching for ginseng to sell for sugar. Brown sugar, of course; only the Squire can afford white.

The action drifts through the farming hamlet where Rosemary lives, among neighbors swiftly but memorably sketched. The cast is large enough that it feels like a real place, but not so large that one ever gets confused about who's who.

They are, by and large, good people; but not so good that they would be anything but frightened by Con's powers, and so Con spends most of her time in the forest, which is Rosemary's second home. The nature descriptions are lovely, with just enough detail to seem vivid but not so much as to ever become obtrusive.

Rosemary felt like laughing herself as she ran home - even though it was now very late. The roadside chicory blossoms were closed up tight. All the birdcalls were evening calls: the liquid warble of the wood thrust, the repeated command from the towhee that Rosemary go home and drink her tea-ea-ea.

And there's a third world that the book dips in and out of: the world of art, of the old, old copy of Shakespeare that Con reads (and which inspires Rosemary to imagine herself as Puck, a mischievous spirit who shows her other sister the worthlessness of a suitor), and the carvings that Rosemary's neighbor and new friend Mrs. DiAngeli makes. Beautiful carvings, so real, so lifelike -

Too lifelike, maybe. " 'A devil's plaything, that's my opinion," Mrs. Bathsheba sniffed"; and this is the beginning of the end of Rosemary's carefree childhood in a seemingly friendly world - a world that, eerily, uncertainly, has begun to turn on the DiAngelis. The DiAngelis who are Catholic; Mrs. DiAngeli who carves too well, Mr. DiAngeli who has fits ever since a falling tree struck him on the head.

Rosemary has always known that powers like Con's (or her mother's; I like Rosemary's mother Althea a lot) were not to be spoken of, but it is only now that she begins to feel the danger they can bring down on those who have them.

"So I take it out," said Mrs. DiAngeli, "now and again. And I feel it with my fingers, and I hold it, and I look at it, and I think about what my many-great-grandmother was trying to say. And what she did say. And then I realize that the world is really much bigger than what I know."


osprey_archer: (Default)

September 2017

3 4 5 67 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 1516
17 18 19 20 21 2223


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 23rd, 2017 07:20 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios