Monthly Archives: June 2009

Book Snobbery

Someone I know asked how I liked this YA book she knew I’d been reading.  When I shrugged and said that the plot had sounded really good, but the book hadn’t lived up to my hopes for it, she said:  “I bet you wish someone would re-write it for adults.”

At the time I let it go, but the more I think about it, the more this sort of “adult book snobbery” is starting to offend me.  I see examples of it all the time, people who come into the library and ask for a specific book, but when I lead them to the Young Adult section, say “Oh, I didn’t know it was a kid’s book” and leave without it, automatically assuming (like the woman in the first example) that books written with children in mind are somehow below par.   And sometimes they are, of course; there are sub-standard books written for children every day and an unfortunate number of them are published.  But there are also plenty of sub-standard books written for adults. A good, well-written story cannot be predicted by which side of the library it’s shelved on.

Thankfully, but gradually, this perception is beginning to change.  Look at the success of Harry Potter; whole families (including grandparents) all reading and loving the same series of books.  Lest the adults who shy away from “children’s fiction” be embarrassed to be caught reading them, the publishers even came out with an “adult version” of Harry Potter – the same book, only with a less childish cover!  And now there’s the success of The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman.  When he turned the manuscript in to his publishers, they didn’t know what to do with it; was it for children?  For adults?  Which side of the Great Divide was it to shelved on?  Finally, they came out with multiple versions of the exact same book, ones to be shelved with the adult books, and ones to be shelved with the children’s fiction.

One of my favorite quotes by C.S. Lewis states: “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest,” and this is absolutely true.  No, I don’t wish that YA book I didn’t enjoy was ‘re-written for adults’.  I wish it had been written well, period.

“You have to write the book that wants to be written.  And if the book will be too difficult for grownups, then you write it for children.”

– Madeleine L’Engle

“Writing for children is bloody difficult; books for children are as complex as their adult counterparts, and they should therefore be accorded the same respect.”

– Mark Haddon

“You must write for children in the same way as you do for adults.  Only better.”

– Maxim Gorky

“There are good books which are only for adults, because their comprehension presupposes adult experiences, but there are no good books which are only for children.”

– W. H. Auden

Rose

Went out in the garden this afternoon and discovered this rose:

apricotrose

If Buffy met Edward….

I like it.  I’d like to see it happen, actually.  (I’m a Jacob-girl, can you tell?)

Hilarious, and pin-points exactly a few of the issues I have with Edward.

http://blip.tv/file/2261825/

Brandon Sanderson

Interview with Brandon Sanderson about his latest novel: Warbreaker.  If you’re a fantasy fan and you haven’t read any of his books, what the heck are you waiting for?

In the interview, he calls his forthcoming book The Way of Kings “the project of his heart”, and judging by the way he lights up as he speaks about it, this one is going to be something spectacular!  I’m getting chills just thinking about it!

The Old Bailey

This is fascinating.  The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, the main law court in London from 1674 to 1834 are now online.  You can search by sentence, crime, keywords, age of perpetrator, by name, or by year.  You can even see the scans of the actual documents.  Rich with detail, this is an incredible resource!

www.oldbaileyonline.org/

Bpal

So I’ve worn four of my new perfume oil samples so far, and I have to say I did a much better job choosing them this time.  There are none so far I absolutely hate.  🙂

Snake Oil.  It’s a nice smell.  I like it, but it’s very muted.  I put some on my wrists and behind my ears, and normally when I do this with perfume, I can catch whiffs of it whenever I turn my head.  I couldn’t smell Snake Oil unless I sniffed my wrist.  Maybe I just have to put alot more on?  I don’t know, this one requires more wearing.

Lyonesse.  I really quite like this one, enough so that I may consider buying a bottle, if I’m still loving it by the time my sample runs out.  I don’t normally care for floral scents, but this one is mixed with some darker notes.

Blood Countess.   This one is kind of odd.  Fruity-floral, with incense.  I have to wear it again.  Not what I was expecting at all, based on the description.  (Countess Bathory smelled of…fruit?)

Antikythera Mechanism.  This one is the “steampunk” one, and so I was really hoping to love it.  It would have been nice to wear with my steampunk costume this October.  Wet and in the bottle, it’s pretty…strident.  As soon as I put it on, I sneezed twice!  Hmmm.  It seems to be mellowing down as I type this, but it’s definitely on probation at this point!

BPAL!!!

So it’s that time again…when I could resist no longer ordering a new sample set of six new fragrances.  And also, I had to order an entire bottle of “Hollywood Babylon”, because I ran out of my sample some days ago, and was fairly much in a wicked withdrawal.

So here’s the samples I ordered:

THE ANTIKYTHERA MECHANISM
Bronze gears spin inside a polished wooden case, and an entire universe dances within.
Teakwood, oak, black vanilla, and tobacco.

Steampunk, yay!!!

VENICE A complex, voluptuous scent that captures the robust beauty and of the Italian Renaissance: lemon, red currant, wisteria, red rose petals, heady jasmine, Florentine orris root, waterlily, red sandalwood, violet plum, and violet leaf.

LYONESSE
Then rose the King and moved his host by night
And ever pushed Sir Mordred, league by league,
Back to the sunset bound of Lyonesse —
A land of old upheaven from the abyss
By fire, to sink into the abyss again;
Where fragments of forgotten peoples dwelt,
And the long mountains ended in a coast
Of ever-shifting sand, and far away
The phantom circle of a moaning sea.

Golden vanilla and gilded musk, stargazer lily, white sandalwood, grey amber, elemi, orris root, ambergris and sea moss.

The vanilla and stargazer lily hooked me with this one.  I love those scents.

MOROCCO
The intoxicating perfume of exotic incenses wafting on warm desert breezes. Arabian spices wind through a blend of warm musk, carnation, red sandalwood and cassia.

BLOOD COUNTESS
Elizabeth Báthory, also called Erzsébet Báthory in Hungarian and Alžbeta Bátoriová-Nádašdy in Slovak, was the Bloody Lady of Hungary. In order to preserve her youth and loveliness, the brutal and incomparably savage countess captured, tortured and slaughtered innumerable young women and bathed in their blood as part of her beauty regimen. Ah, vanity. Corrupted black plum, smoky opium and crumbling dead roses covered by a deceptive veil of Hungarian lilac, white gardenia and wild berry.

Gardenia.  Lilac.  Black plum.  Yum.

SNAKE OIL
By far, our most popular scent! Magnetic, mysterious, and exceedingly sexual in nature. A blend of exotic Indonesian oils sugared with vanilla.

And then, they were kind enough to send me four free samples!!! I’m thrilled.  Here’s what they sent:

MAD HATTER
A gentlemen’s lavender-citron cologne unhinged by the feral pungence of black musk and a paroxysm of pennyroyal.

BLOOD PEARL
Lustrous, sanguine, soft and lavish: soft orris, blood musk, and coconut.

DREAM FORMULA V: SOMNUS
Named after the Roman God of Sleep. This blend helps bring on deep, restful, natural sleep.

And then one called “Hi’iaka”, which I can’t seem to find anywhere on their site.  A true mystery scent, I guess.  If I like this one, I may have just a bit of trouble re-ordering!

The scent tests begin.  First off, I’m wearing “Snake Oil”.  Everyone raves about this one, but in the bottle, I wasn’t too sure.  Kind of woody and sharp.  Not at all what comes to my mind when I consider the name.  However, once I put it on, the sharpness fades immediately to a soft vanilla, candy smell with a hint of something deeper and muskier that I can’t identify.  Still not at all what I would have imagined, based on the name, but nice.  It just may be too sugary for me, though.