Friday, December 19, 2008

Hobbit Wisdom

Procrastinators such as myself would do well to take this to heart:
"It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish."
- Sam's old gaffer

* Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien (p.405, Ballantine Books 1994)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I think I can, I think I can! (50-in-365 update)

lol lotus, originally uploaded by littlemiao.

I've long since abandoned most of my reading goals for the year, but one goal I stubbornly persist with is the 50 in 365 challenge. I could have easily finished it, but for the fact that I have read only three books since the end of August, and one of them was an illustrated children's story.

Now I'm reading book #43. With a careful choice of short, large-print books, I have no doubt that I can finish 7 more books by the end of the month.

Book #44 will be The Laugh-Out-Loud Cats; I've browsed through it many times, but I don't believe that I've read it cover to cover yet.

And book #45 will be the Fellowship of the Ring. The poor hobbits are still stuck in Moria.

Books #46-50 will be some combination of children's literature and Cat Who... mysteries. Short, light books that I could conceivably finish in a day while still doing lots of other fun stuff (and maybe working on my translation job!).

Friday, October 31, 2008

Slow progress

From last night's reading:

There was no sound but the sound of their own feet; the dull stump of Gimli's dwarf-boots; the heavy tread of Boromir; the light step of Legolas; the soft, scarce-heard patter of hobbit-feet; and in the rear the slow firm footfalls of Aragorn with his long stride... Yet Frodo began to hear, or to imagine that he heard, something else: like the faint fall of soft bare feet.
Yes, that's right. The Fellowship is still making its way through the Mines of Moria.

* Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien (p.350, Ballantine Books 1994)

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Thanks to a hip injury that just won't go away, I have more time to read.  I used to jog quite regularly, but I have been advised by several knowledgable people that I really ought to give it a rest.  For a while.  Nothing has been said about biking, though, and so far I haven't noticed any connection between my hip and biking (either in real life or on my exercise bike).  My hip aches regardless of what I do and the biking doesn't exacerbate it.  Still, I try to take it easily, and having a book in hand helps (while on my exercise bike - somehow I don't think that multitasking while biking on the road is such a good idea).  Thanks to my stationary excursion this weekend, the hobbits are safely in Rivendell and Frodo is reunited with Bilbo.  I anticipate that they will make even more progress this weekend.

Here is a delightful saying from the early part of the book:

"Go not to Elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes."*

And that is exactly the kind of answer you can expect from an anthropologist, if you are ever compelled to ask one a question.

Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien (p.94, Ballantine Books 1994)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Planning as a form of procrastination

If I don't plan ahead, I won't end up finishing the books I've been meaning to read for ages. Some of these books have been on my reading list for years. It happens every year - I read a nice big stack of books (usually detective stories and mysteries), but only manage a couple of the books actually on my to-read list. The latter books may be more time consuming and less suited to midnight sessions when my brain is already 2/3rds asleep, but they're so much more satisfying.

Now, I've read about seven books for the Decades Challenge but have only written mewsings on two of them. And while seven might seem like only one less than the minimum of eight, I actually have to read three more books (from the 1920s, 1900s, 1890s, and 1860s, respectively). Wait, that's four. I managed this little feat of mathematics (8-7=4) by spreading my decades out too far and reading two books from the 1930s. I wanted to read The Jungle and Winnie-the-Pooh, but alas can't find my copies, so they'll have to wait until I have time to excavate my dusty corner of the Miao Library.

The first four books on the list are for the decades challenge. 13 books in about 15 weeks isn't necessarily promising, given my record of late. But several of these books are light and should melt on my tongue as soon as I begin. Others might be more plodding, but all in all it should balance out.
  1. Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
  2. Silas Marner by George Eliot
  3. Young Men in Spats by P.G. Wodehouse
  4. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  5. King Arthur by Norma Lorre Goodrich (I began it this summer and have read about 100 pages)
  6. The House of Thirty Cats by Mary Calhoun (a lovely book - also begun this summer)
  7. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (I love mice!)
  8. The Question of Hu by Jonathan D. Spence (I've read parts of it and I've been meaing to read it through for ages)
  9. The Winter's Tale by William Shakespeare
  10. The Underneath by Kathi Appelt
  11. The Two Towers (if I don't get through the entire triology this year, I think I'll manage...)
  12. Chinese: A collection of short stories by Bing Xin
  13. Chinese: Cao yang nian hua by Sun Rui (a contemporary novel of university life)
Now what I need is more reading and less planning.

Who are you, alone, yourself and nameless?

Tom Bombadil's answer to Frodo's question: Who are you?: "Don't you know my name yet? That's the only answer. Tell me, who are you, alone, yourself and nameless?"*

Perhaps only a name can capture the transcendent kernel of identity that makes someone who they are. All their qualities, experiences, emotions, potentialities, captured in a single phrase that bears no necessary relationship to what it represents. Yet, Tom continues, "But you are young and I am old. Eldest, that's what I am. Mark my words, my friends: Tom was here before the river and the trees; Tom remembers the first raindrop and the first acorn..." So then Tom's identity is relative, relative to everything because he preceded everything. His cheerful, inexplicable magic cannot be expressed by any name. But "Tom Bombadil" comes closest - simple, elemental, and (at least in part) nonsensical.

Tom Bombadil is one of the most intriguing characters in the Lord of the Rings, and that's saying a lot. He was left out of the movies, perhaps because his significance could only be understood in the context of a detailed history of Middle Earth and the other rings of power.

Another quotation I enjoy: "The night was railing against the morning of which it was bereaved, and the cold was cursing the warmth for which it hungered."**

Slowly, ever so slowly, the hobbits are preceding on their quest. They've only just arrived at Bree, their journey through the Old Forest and the Barrow-downs having taken about five times as long in my reading as it did in real life.

* Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien (p.148, Ballantine Books 1994)
** p.160

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A new cat book

The UnderneathWhile making an order of books for school, I decided to toss in a book that I have had my eye on for a while: The Underneath by Kathi Appelt. It is about an abandoned calico cat whose is about to have kittens and her unlikely friendship with a hound deep in the bayous. Reviews said that the style was lyrical and the descriptions poignant. Originally, I wasn't going to purchase any more books until I had gotten through my new books from the spring, but... one can only go for so long without acquiring a new book.

I haven't been reading much since school began. I need to get back in the habit of reading more (for my own mental health), but that would involve going to bed significantly earlier and I just can't seem to manage such a feat at this point. I'm re-reading The Fellowship of the Ring (I began back in August and the hobbits are still in the Old Forest). For variety, I'll probably stagger the rest of the LOTR with non-LOTR books.

mani's book-pillow

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome is a delightful story about the children of an English family and their sailing adventures. Set in the interwar period, the story is suffused with an innocent charm that would be impossible after the beginning of WWII. With their little dinghy, Swallow, the four Walker children explore the lake where they are vacationing. Having received permission to camp out on a small island, they embark on an expedition as explorers (armed with the references to cannibalism that seem obligatory in literature about British children who fancy themselves explorers*). The grown-ups who live on shore become the "natives", and the charcoal-burners in the forest become (appropriately, in a way) the "savages". The Walker children soon encounter a pair of self-styled pirates, the Blackett girls, who are ruthless in a friendly sort of way. There ensues a competition to capture the other side's boat and attain flagship status. Explorers and pirates join forces against the Blackett girls' uncle, a friendly pirate gone sour. When they are witness to a burglary, the children become embroiled in "native" affairs and end up saving the day. The book is refreshingly free of mean-spiritedness and small-mindedness. It is a delight to follow the children's colorful imaginations as they transform corned beef into pemmican, lemonade into grog, pikes into sharks, and themselves into explorers and pirates. The book should evoke nostalgia in anyone whose childhood games were shaped by strong imaginations, whether they be seasoned sailors or landlubbers.

This book is the first in a series of twelve books by Arthur Ransome, originally published in 1930.

* See p.136 of the 1985 Godine edition. "'This is where the savages have had a corroboree,' said Titty. 'They cooked their prisoners on the fire and danced round them.' 'Yelling like mad,' said Roger."

Summer books, continued

9. My Babysitter Is a Vampire by Ann Hodgman
10. My Babysitter Has Fangs by Ann Hodgman
11. My Babysitter Bites Again by Ann Hodgman
12. The Mother Hunt (Nero Wolfe) by Rex Stout
13. Where There's a Will (Nero Wolfe) by Rex Stout
14. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
15. Might As Well Be Dead (Nero Wolfe) by Rex Stout

I'm currently reading yet another Nero Wolfe mystery, and there is a non-fiction book about the history of smallpox vaccination that I could have added to the list weeks ago, if only I had finished with the endnotes.

Gratuitous Miao Photo for Caturday:

Kemi in the sun(Kemi bear in black and white)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Reading Update, May - July

My reading lately has been... slow. I only read two books in May - two short detective stories at that. I'm starting to read more again, and hopefully more substantive posting here will follow. I'm making a little headway in my goal to read Newberry books (Calico Bush being a Newberry Honor book, I believe), and my goal to make it through Papa Miao's treasure trove of detective fiction. I'm also inching through the Decades Challenge - though (horrifyingly) I've only posted about one of those books, back in early March.

Here's a list of the books I've read in the past three months, followed by a little update on the Decades Challenge.

Books read
  1. Murder Makes the Wheels Go 'Round by Emma Lathen
  2. The Golden Spiders (Nero Wolfe) by Rex Stout
  3. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  4. Calico Bush by Rachel Field
  5. The Silent Speaker (Nero Wolfe) by Rex Stout
  6. The Endless Steppe by Esther Hautzig
  7. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
  8. Nineteen Eighty-four by George Orwell
1850 The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
(Read in June)
1870 An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott (Read in April)
1880 Washington Square by Henry James (Read in March)
1917 Anne's House of Dreams by L. M. Montgomery (Read in March)
1931 Calico Bush by Rachel Field (Read in June)
1984 by George Orwell
(Read in July)

More later!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

No May Mews-ings

New books, originally uploaded by littlemiao.

Not a single post for May! I've only finished two books - two short murder mysteries. I'm working on a third (not a murder mystery and not quite as short), The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, but I have only just emerged from the "Custom House" to the narrative proper.

I didn't mean to abandon the Book Mews for nearly a month. I have such a backlog of books to reflect on, and a sprinkling of little thoughts that I'd like to jot down as I'm reading. In the future, I will have to compel myself to write a "mewsing" on each book within two days after completing it.

In the photo are the books I ordered in May - four Shakespeare plays and Orwell's 1984.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Cat Quote - The Rule of Four

The delicious futility of impossible tasks is the catnip of overachievers.
from The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason (p. 264)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Jeremy Visick by David Wiseman

Twelve year-old Matthew Clemens, who cares more for rugby than history, gives little thought to his school project on mining accidents. That is, until he becomes drawn to a lichen-covered tombstone hidden in the corner of the village churchyard. Three Visick men, a father and two sons, are buried there. But there is a fourth whose death is memorialized on the tombstone in eroded lettering that only Matthew can decipher:

and to Jeremy Visick, his son,
aged 12 years, whose body still lies
in Wheal Maid.

"Wheal" is the Cornish word for mine*, and in this book, Matthew and the reader are led on a tour of mid-nineteenth century Cornish copper mines that is equal parts realist and spectral. Matthew realizes that, had he been born a few generations earlier, Jeremy Visick's fate would have been his own. To the consternation of his mother, the usually rowdy Matthew becomes withdrawn and loses his appetite. He starts sleepwalking - to the little cottage shared by the Visick family before tragedy struck, to their tombstone, and later, to the long-abandoned mine-shaft where Jeremy Visick is still interred.

What unfolds is a standard ghost story. The ghost of a boy, trapped at the site of his tragic death for more than a hundred years, reaches out to his modern day counterpart so that his remains might be finally reunited with those of his family. But if the plot is standard, the telling is nothing short of excellent. The author David Wiseman, a native of Cornwall, uses the Cornish setting to full advantage. Against the backdrop of Matthew's routine schoolboy existence, each intrusion of the supernatural sends chills down one's spine. The landscape Matthew wanders through, trancelike, is at once bucolic and foreboding, for concealed beneath its surface are not only veins of precious ore but the crushed bones of fallen youth. A nicely-conceived ghost story, well worth reading.
* A glossary of Cornish mining terms. Not necessary for following Jeremy Visick, but useful for elucidating the occasional mining term.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Greenwitch by Susan Cooper

The third book of Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising sequence brings together the Drew children from Over Sea, Under Stone and Will Stanton from The Dark Is Rising. The grail, which the Drews unearthed after so much difficulty, has been stolen by a representative of the Dark. In order to regain it, the Drews reconvene at the Cornish fishing village of Trewissick along with their Great Uncle Merriman and Will Stanton. With the exception of kindly Jane, they distrust Will Stanton and see him as a hindrance in their quest to regain the grail. This is ironic, since Will is an "Old One" and understands the battle between Light and Dark more deeply and commands magic that they cannot even imagine.

Like in Over Sea, Under Stone, the Drews are asked to help the Light (represented by Merriman) without understanding the larger battle between Light and Dark that they are part of. Paralleling what he told them before their first adventure, Merriman says:
But it is part of something very much larger as well, something which I may not explain. I can only ask you to trust me, as you all trusted me once before, in another part of the long battle between the Light and the Dark. And to help, if you are sure you feel able to give help, without perhaps ever
being able fully to understand what you are about. (p.4)

In essence, they are asked to proceed on faith. The difference between this and their earlier adventure is that, paralleling their quest is the quest of a child who possesses ageless wisdom and near-perfect knowledge of the circumstances bringing them to Trewissick. The reader, like Will, has full knowledge. The contrast between Will and the Drews makes the enforced ignorance of the Drews less palatable than it was in Over Sea, Under Stone, though it also bothered me in that book. The Drew children cannot help but appear immature, and though I know they are Susan Cooper's creation, I feel she has done them a disservice.

Merriman and the other adult Old Ones actively enforce the ignorance of the Drew children by erasing from their memories episodes that are scary and/or raise too many questions about the Old Ones' magic. They do it for the children's good, but to me it seems sinister, manipulative, and disempowering. Cannot the children be given the chance to demonstrate their maturity and understanding? Did they not prove in their previous adventures their ability to distinguish between Dark and Light and to withstand the trickery of the Dark? Perhaps Susan Cooper deliberately put the Light in such an ambiguous position, but it seems ironic to me that the Drews should be kept "in the dark" by the Light.

To end on a more positive note, my ambivalence about Cooper's portrayal of the Drew children didn't prevent me from appreciating the novel. Parts of it are imbued with the dreamlike atmosphere from The Dark Is Rising that I enjoyed so much. The character of the Greenwitch itself is thought-provoking and adds complexity to Cooper's world. From The Dark Is Rising, we know that water is neutral, neither Light nor Dark but a thoroughfare for both. The Greenwitch is of this "Wild Magic" that is older even than the magic of the Old Ones. It will be interesting to see if Wild Magic has a role to play as the battle between Light and Dark concludes in the last two books of the sequence.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Caturday Catch-up

My spring break has officially begun, and I'm back home with my kitty brothers. I remembered to bring my signed copy of the Laugh-Out-Loud Cats book, and Ping gave it a floofy hug of approval.

I have finished several (short) books over the last few weeks, and I'm behind in blogging about them. It's not for lack of anything to say, it's just been hard to find enough time to sit down and gather my thoughts.

Here's a possibly incomplete list of books I have neglected "mewsing" about. I hope to make it through the list by the end of Spring Break, and if not, at least blog about the Decades Challenge books and not get behind any further in my other books. Ideally, I want to write about books when they're freshest in my mind, but I'm a ways from that goal.
  1. Greenwitch by Susan Cooper, finished yesterday. I didn't enjoy it as much as The Dark Is Rising, but it is still a lovely book, woven richly with mythology
  2. On the same vein, I don't think I ever blogged about The Dark Is Rising, which I finished sometime last month
  3. Two books for the Decades Challenge: An Old Fashioned Girl by L.M.A. and
  4. Washington Square by Henry James. Very interesting when read together, but that's the topic for another post perhaps.
  5. A short novella (I'd call it a short story if it wasn't bound as a book) called Earth and Ashes by Atiq Rahimi
  6. An audiobook, Casino Royale by Ian Fleming - the first James Bond I've ever "read"... I got it on a whim and it was a surprise in some respects...
  7. The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis - I just finished that today. A quick read, written very simply but all the more powerful for its directness.
  8. I think that's it, but there are a few books from January I never wrote about either...

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Reading a cat

Floofy Elephant & Floofy Ping, originally uploaded by littlemiao.

Some of us read books. My floofy elephant enjoys reading cats (and he's much wiser for it).

Friday, April 4, 2008

There is no such thing as too many books

Merlin napping among the books, originally uploaded by littlemiao.

I told myself that I wouldn't buy more books until I had read at least four of the books I bought earlier this year. I'm nearly finished with two of them, but I've already placed another book order.

I was inspired to place the order now by a 10% discount on the Norton Critical Edition of The Scarlet Letter. I have a special fondness for Norton Critical Editions even though they tend to be more expensive - they include relevant writings by the same author as well as early and recent critical commentaries.

I also have a fondness for Penguin Classics editions, as their critical essay is usually well worth reading. I bought the Penguin edition of Voltaire's Candide, one of my favorite little novels. I wonder if I will still enjoy it now as much as I did in high school.

Additionally, (because there was 4 for the price of 3 sale, and I had to choose three more books), I got The Life of Pi by Yann Martel, which has been highly recommended to me by several people.

To balance out the order, I bought two young adult novels: The Tale of Despereaux by Kate Dicamillo and The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis. The first features a mouse, which is attraction enough for me (though now I'm afraid Papa Miao might already have it, since he has mentioned it to me before). The second is the first in a triology about an Afghan girl under the Taliban, which I saw reviewed over on Maw's Book Blog.

I'm nearing the end of Louisa May Alcott's An Old Fashioned Girl, and I still have to catch up on a few of my book reflections. Washington Square, most especially - I finished it a while ago, and the longer I wait to write about it, the dimmer my reflections will get.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Too sleepy for a bedtime story?

Bedtime for Sleepy Lotus
Originally uploaded by littlemiao

Baby Lotus is never too sleepy for a bedtime story... zzzzz...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander (Book 13/50)

Lloyd Alexander's Time Cat is a (mostly) delightful little book chronicling the nine adventures of a young boy and his cat through different times and places. Jason, the boy, learns from Gareth, the cat, that cats do not have nine lives as is popularly believed. Even more fantastically, they they have the ability to travel to nine different times and places. Upon revealing his secret, Gareth takes his person with him to visit Old Kingdom Egypt, Caesar's Rome, the Ireland of Saint Patrick's day, Heian period Japan, Renaissance Italy, Peru beset by Spanish conquistadors, the Isle of Man at the time of the Spanish Armada, Germany during the witch hunts, and revolutionary America. The episodes are only loosely connected by occasional references. Each one has didactic value - a little insight into the character of cats as well as of humans.

I don't mean to dismiss the book by stating that the episodes weren't historically accurate or believable. In many respects they aren't. The chapters on Ireland, for example, portrayed the island as benighted and superstitious until Saint Patrick came to drive out the "snakes". Perhaps a biased interpretation...

To be honest, I don't think I would have liked the book if I had read it when I was younger. There is no sustained plot - it is episodic, and it makes little sense that Gareth and Jason should have all of their nine adventures at once, rather than taking them gradually over the course of years. Jason is a normal little boy - there is nothing special or noteworthy about him, apart from the fact that he understands cats fairly well. The historical inaccuracies are somewhat annoying - when I was younger, I was much less forgiving of perceived slights to different cultures or people. I'm not any more forgiving now, but I try to consider them within the larger context of the book. Time Cat was published in 1963, after all, and it merely reflects the popular biases of the time. And the book is no worse for the lack of an overarching plot - it just makes better bedtime reading this way. (Unless one decides to finish the book in a single night, as I did.)

Time Cat sat untouched (by me) on the shelf for years... more than a decade. I usually devour cat-themed books very quickly, but perhaps the cover just didn't draw me. I think the boy's expression annoyed me. I remember looking at the book, but always passing it over for something else. If it had been published in one of the new covers, no doubt I would have read it when I was ten or so.

As my ramblings may indicate, I feel generally ambivalent about this book. I like it out of loyalty to Lloyd Alexander, a cat lover, and because it conveys insight into felinity.

I loved the way Alexander described the Time Cat:
Gareth was a black cat with orange eyes. Sometimes, when he hunched his shoulders and put down his ears, he looked like an owl. When he stretched, he looked like a trickle of oil or a pair of black silk pajamas. When he sat on a window ledge, his eyes half-shut and his tail curled around him, he looked like a secret.
It contains undeniable wisdom, such as, "A cat can belong to you, but you can't own him". Or, "any bed is soft to a cat" - an axiom even the pampered Prince Tantra proves almost daily. "You can say some of the loveliest things in the world - without words." And finally, something to remember when you feel overwhelmed by everything that needs to get done: "The only thing to worry about is what's happening right now. As we tell the kittens, you can only wash one paw at a time."

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Devil's Feather by Minette Walters

Last night, I finished listening to The Devil's Feather by Minette Walters, narrated by Josephine Bailey. It's always a gamble to choose an audiobook by an author I'm unfamiliar with, but I wasn't disappointed this time.

The Devil's Feather is a psychological suspense story about a journalist's confrontation with a sadistic serial killer who had held her captive for three days. After her torturous experience and inexplicable release, she retreats to a country house in England to nurse her wounds and hide from the world. The house holds its own secrets, which she discovers in due course. The level of tension is high throughout the novel, because the omnipresent threat of the psychopath's return. The denouement is neatly crafted and satisfying.

The aubiobook narration was quite well done. Josephine Bailey was able to project the main character's anxieties, terror, and anger into her voice. She was also able to distinguish between the narration of documents (emails, news articles, etc) and the main narrative by her tone and pitch - something which seems elementary in audiobook narration, but which I have found wanting in several audiobooks. They have left me wondering if particular passages were intended to be excerpts of documents or part of the narrative flow, and since I don't have the book in print to consult, it is quite frustrating.

Apparently Minette Walters is a fairly popular British suspense author with twelve titles under her belt. I wish had more of her books available. I'm in the mood for more suspense - it makes an excellent accompaniment as I wash my dishes and scrub the toilet.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A lazy morning

I got up at a respectably early hour (6am), and (having no pressing assignments or exams to work on at the moment) I finished reading Washington Square. I'll write my reflections on it later, after I have read the critical essay in the Penguin edition. It's a worthwhile read, and I'm glad I saw it in scb's Decades list, or else I would never have thought to read it myself.

Even though I haven't technically finished Washington Square yet, I'm already debating what book to read next. Should I read Lloyd Alexander's Time Cat, a children's book about a boy who time travels with his cat? Or should I read Earth and Ashes by Atiq Rahimi, which promises to be a sad sad story of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan? Both books are very short and have been sitting on my to-read shelf for ages. Or, should I continue with the decades theme and read An Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott? The heroine of Washington Square was old-fashioned in her own way, so perhaps the two books would make an interesting comparison.

Since I allowed myself such an indulgence this morning, I must prove myself worthy by being extraordinarily productive for the rest of the day.

*gratuitous kitteh image courtesy of some random Chinese website

Saturday, March 22, 2008

My Caturday Surprise

The Miao Brothers very own Laugh-Out-Loud Cats book
Originally uploaded by littlemiao

I received a book in the mail today. An autographed book of my favorite comics in the whole wide world, for my Miao Brothers. They'll get to read it (and pose for pictures with it) when I go home in April.

I took a long walk in the snow this morning. I love the springtime snow showers when the temperature isn't bitterly freezing and the birds are chirping about. It makes driving inconvenient, I'll admit. I walked to the closer grocery store (at times I felt I should have brought snowshoes along) to get a few things I wanted, since I'm running low on supplies. Well, mainly I went for frozen strawberries, green tea, and whole wheat bread.

I'm still reading Washington Square. I didn't make much progress yesterday. If I get enough studying done today, I'll reward myself with a nice reading time this evening. It's almost noon, and because of my walk this morning (and maybe a little voxing), I haven't opened my textbooks yet.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A week of reading (and studying)

Reflective Lotus
Originally uploaded by littlemiao
I finally finished reading The Dark Is Rising on Tuesday - I have a few reflections I want to jot down sometime. I also finished listening to an audiobook last week. I haven't been listening to audio books as much as usual - I've only finished one this month, and it wasn't even very long. It's probably because 1) I haven't exercised as much as usual and 2) I've been listening to a lot more news podcasts, in an attempt to stay semi-informed of world events. Anyway, I have a few reflections on the audio book (The Commoner by John Burnham Schwartz), and I want to write them down before they evaporate.

Since I'm in such a rambling mood, I may as well continue and say that, in spite of exams and such, I've still managed to get a bit of reading done. It helps that I have such a hard time falling asleep at night - another opportunity to finish one more chapter. That's exactly what I did last night - another chapter of Washington Square by Henry James. The chapters are admittedly short. It's a good read, but I'll save my reflections for a separate post once I'm finished. I decided to put my reading of The Picture of Dorian Gray on hold for a while because it was making me think too much... too much about anthropology. Not necessarily a bad thing, but my brain is currently on sabbatical from thinking about anthropology.

I don't plan to do much studying tonight, but instead of curling up and finishing Washington Square (it's barely 200 pages long), I think perhaps I should clean my room. And the kitchen. And the bathroom.

Hmmm, maybe I should study instead...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Caturday story-time for Mani

Waiting for story-time, originally uploaded by littlemiao.

Mani wants someone to read him a Caturday story.

Friday, March 14, 2008

To Suspend Time

Nap in Purrfection, originally uploaded by littlemiao.

Lately, I haven't had nearly as much time to read as I would like. I'm still not done with The Dark Is Rising. The book sits on the shelf right in my line of vision when I'm at my desk - a constant reminder of the suspenseful, fast-paced story that I'm inching through page by interrupted page. I've been studying all day - I didn't even go outside for a walk today, even though the sky is beautiful and blue. I gave myself that luxury yesterday. I don't like being cooped up in my little basement. I feel like a prisoner glancing longingly at the little patch of blue. I even have a crick on my neck from glancing up too much.

Enough complaining.

In The Dark Is Rising, the main character, Will Stanton is given a book of ancient knowledge to read and absorb. Through reading that book, he experiences the entire universe, from the farthest stars to the deepest crevices under the ocean. It is "the Gift of Gramarye: a long lifetime of discovery and wisdom, given to him in a moment of suspended time." As an "Old One", Will exists in a different time-scale. He can stretch time out as he wishes, "to make it go fast, or slow..."* As petty as it sounds, I'm envious. Very very envious.

* Quotations from pages 123 and 109, respectively, of the 1973 Macmillian edition.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Over Sea, Under Stone (Book 10/50)

I finished reading Over Sea, Under Stone on Wednesday, nearly a week ago now. I began to write a post, but I never got around to finishing it... now I'll give it another go.

I used my annoying cold as an excuse to neglect my academic studies and do more reading for pleasure. I've finished three books in the past week - which isn't quite as impressive when one realizes that I've done little else but go to class, sleep, eat, and read. (Now I've almost recovered from my cold, but I've still not done much else but eat and sleep).

Today (which was actually several todays ago) I finished Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper. I read this book when I was around 11 years old, but I never read the rest of the Dark Is Rising sequence. When I was young, I frequently got strange notions in my head about reading. Somehow, the thought that the next installment of the series didn't feature the Drew children put me off from reading more. This year, I decided to read the entire series, and where better to start than from the first book?

Over Sea, Under Stone chronicles the quest of the Drew children to find King Arthur's Grail before the enemies of Light get to it first. They are aided by their mysterious Great-Uncle Merry (Gumerry), who hints at but never fully explains the history and importance of the grail. They know only that
... it stands for something, somehow. And that's why Gumerry wants to find it as well. It's like two armies fighting in history. You're never quite sure what they're actually fighting about, but only that one wants to beat the other. (p. 158, Macmillan 1989)
The children were satisfied despite the lack of information. A grail quest is inherently exciting, after all, and since the children instinctively see the line between Light and Dark, they know they are on the "good" side. Perhaps it was the simplicity of the quest, or the children's superficial eagerness, that discouraged me from continuing with the series when I was younger. Then and now, I found it a likable story, but not deeply compelling.

However, I have determined to continue on with the series this time. I'm only a few chapters into The Dark Is Rising, and the atmosphere is already palpably different. The first chapter was so spooky I was afraid to turn my light out at night. The situations are more complicated, and while Light and Dark have not changed in nature from the first book, a murkiness has formed around them. I look forward to venturing deeper into the world that Cooper hinted at in her first book. I'm also beginning to suspect that Over Sea, Under Stone has a deeper subtext that I didn't see on my first reading.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

An hour of catnaps lost...

I exiled myself from Vox for the weekend in order to be more productive, but I don't suppose this is cheating, since I didn't say "no Blogger". I finished reading Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper a few days ago, but I still haven't posted about it. It was enjoyable to re-read it - I actually enjoyed it more this time than the first time I read it. Now I'm reading The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Dark Is Rising - alternately, depending on my mood. (When I'm not studying, that it.)

Anyway... We lose an hour of catnaps tonight because of the silliness that is Daylight Savings Time, which makes me very very sad.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Newberry Medal Winners in the Miao Library

I was recently inspired to make a list of all the Newberry Medal Winners in the Miao Family Library. Many of these books my parents bought for us to read in China, since there was no English-language library at our disposal there. I've read a good number of these, but not all. I'm sure my brother has read all of them.

This list includes some of my all-time favorites (most notably Island of the Blue Dolphins and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH). When I finish (re)reading these, I'll move on to ones not (yet) in the Miao Library.

Please excuse any mistakes and mistypings on this list - I complied it quite quickly and haven't revised it yet. I may also have inadvertently left out one or two books.

In no particular order:

1. The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting
2. The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly
3. The Cat Who Went to Heaven Elizabeth Coatsworth
4. Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
5. Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
6. Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski
7. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
8. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
9. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
10. The High King by Lloyd Alexander
11. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
12. The Grey King by Susan Cooper
13. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
14. A Gathering of Days by Joan W. Blos
15. Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson
16. Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
17. The Giver by Lois Lowry
18. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
19. A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
20. Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt
21. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien

Click here for the complete ALA list of Newberry books.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Anne's House of Dreams

Anne's house of dreams is not Green Gables. I figured that out years ago from reading the book's synopsis, and I was reluctant to begin the book for that very reason. For me, Green Gables was Anne's essence. I didn't want her to get "older" than me. I didn't want her start a home elsewhere than Green Gables. She was my childhood heroine, and my vision of her was etched in stone. So, over the past few years, I've reread Anne of Green Gables but I've never gotten beyond Anne of Windy Poplars. I finally decided to put an end to that irrational nonsense, and I'm glad I did.

Anne's House of Dreams is the saddest of the Anne books I've read so far, but it is nonetheless a rewarding and life-affirming read. The book follows the tales of the tragic Leslie Moore and the delightful Captain Jim almost more than it follows Anne herself. Anne marries and sets up her new home with her beloved Gilbert in Four Winds, a harbor town miles from Avonlea. She finds great pleasure in domesticity, and suffers great sorrow with the loss of her firstborn. Through the character of Leslie Moore, L.M. Montgomery suggests that only by experiencing personal tragedy can one understand another's tragedy. Anne's loss is her initiation into this sisterhood of suffering.

I couldn't help but feel disappointed that Anne had abandoned teaching and writing, even though I understand the conventions of the times. I agreed with Gilbert when he half-jokingly said:
And some people might think that a Redmond B.A., whom editors were beginning to honour, was 'wasted' as the wife of a struggling country doctor in the rural community of Four Winds. (p.88 Bantam Classic Edition, 1987)
But is my attitude fair to Anne? Is my idea of (academic or literary) success the only road to a life well lived? Certainly not. I struggled to silence my prejudices and allow Anne's contentment to speak for itself. While puzzling over why Lucy Maud Montgomery did not make her Anne a successful, married writer (like herself), it crossed my mind that Montgomery might have wanted to give Anne something more, something that she herself did not have, rather than make Anne a mere clone. Montgomery's life had its share of stresses - a depressed husband, a dead child, her own depression and illness, difficulties with publishers... etc.* Reading Anne's House of Dreams has helped me to appreciate how immature my own dreams and measures of success still are.

Anne's House of Dreams was full of endearing (and eccentric) characters and descriptions of the scenery of Four Winds. There is one man who vowed not to shave or cut his hair until the Conservatives were out of power, and as a consequence had become a "perambulating haystack" (p. 211). My favorite, is of course First Mate the orange cat:
A gorgeous beastie, with a face as round as a full moon, vivid green eyes, and immense, white, double paws. (p.58)
And the breathtaking views of Prince Edward Island... Possibly my favorite passage, capturing the eye-blinding clarity of winter so well:
The last day of the old year was one of those bright, cold dazzling winter days, which bombard us with their brilliancy, and command our admiration but never our love. The sky was sharp and blue; the snow diamonds sparkled insistently; the stark trees were bare and shameless, with a kind of brazen beauty; the hills shot assaulting lances of crystal. (p.97)

* A short biography of L.M. Montgomery, with links to additional resources

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Make Caturday Nap-on-a-Book Day

Kemi naps on a book, originally uploaded by littlemiao.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Book 8/50: The Amber Spyglass

I finally finished The Amber Spyglass yesterday afternoon. I thoroughly enjoyed the world that Philip Pullman invented, and I was sad to leave it. No doubt I will return to these books in the future.

The conclusion left me sad and heavy-hearted. But it was a fitting conclusion, and anything else would have seemed contrived (no spoilers here...). To be honest, the book was so emotionally draining that I don't have much to say. Nothing pulls at my heartstrings quite like acts of self-sacrifice, and The Amber Spyglass was full of them.

If I had a daemon, I think it would be a squirrel. A squirrel who liked napping with kitties.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Books versus audio books

I'm making a separate list of the audio books I have listened to in 2008. I'm separating them from the books I've read in print in order to acknowledge the difference in the reading versus listening experience. I only started listening to audio books last year. I usually listen while I'm exercising, jogging, washing dishes, or doing other household chores. That doesn't diminish the experience of the book for me; I don't get any less out of listening to a book than reading one. Still, even though reading and listening are equally active processes, they are not identical. The audio book narrator can add luster to a mediocre book or make a good book dull. There are also the visual and tactile dimensions of reading that are lost in audio books. With my iPod shuffle, I can't easily turn back to the beginning of a chapter to refresh some fact, or puzzle over some unlikely word choice or turn of events, because the story flows on. I can't take notes or bookmark passages to return to later or jot down quotations.

I tend to choose audio books where these won't become issues - fast-paced dramas, mysteries, and the like - light reading that doesn't require too much thought and reflection in the first place.

My 2008 Audiobooks

Why I list my audio books separately

1. The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen
2. The Race by Richard North Patterson
3. Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult

4. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
5. The Appeal by John Grisham
6. The Ritual Bath by Faye Kellerman
7. Sacred and Profane by Faye Kellerman
8. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

9. The Commoner by John Burnham Schwartz
10. The Devil's Feather by Minette Walters

11. Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
12. The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult
13. One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus

14. The Chameleon's Shadow by Minette Walters
15. Open and Shut (Andy Carpenter) by David Rosenfelt
16. A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
17. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

17. Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult
18. The Pillars of Earth by Ken Follett

19. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

20. The Broken Window (Lincoln Rhyme) by Jeffery Deaver
21. The Mercedes Coffin (Peter Decker) by Faye Kellerman

22. Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
23. Cold Case (Barbara Holloway) by Kate Wilhelm
24. A Density of Souls by Christopher Rice
25. Blind Fall by Christopher Rice

26. Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody) by Elizabeth Peters
27. Bones (Alex Delaware) by Jonathan Kellerman

Books Read in 2008

Last updated: 10 May 2008

1. 5000 Nights at the Opera by Sir Rudolph Bing
2. Necklace and Calabash (A Judge Dee mystery) by Robert van Gulick
3. The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman
4. Black Orchids (A Nero Wolfe mystery) by Rex Stout

5. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
6. Mending the Web of Life by Elizabeth Call
7. Over My Dead Body (A Nero Wolfe mystery) by Rex Stout
8. The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

9. Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery
10. Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper (re-read)
11. The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper
12. Washington Square by Henry James
13. Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander
14. Earth and Ashes by Atiq Rahimi

15. An Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott
16. Greenwitch by Susan Cooper
17. The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis
18. Jeremy Visick by David Wiseman
19. The Novel by James Michener
20. Until Whatever by Martha Humphreys
21. The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett
22. The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason

23. Murder Makes the Wheels Go 'Round by Emma Lathen
24. The Golden Spiders (Nero Wolfe) by Rex Stout

25. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
26. Calico Bush by Rachel Field

27. The Silent Speaker (Nero Wolfe) by Rex Stout
28. The Endless Steppe by Esther Hautzig (re-read)
29. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
30. Nineteen Eighty-four by George Orwell

31. My Babysitter is a Vampire by Ann Hodgman (re-read)
32. My Babysitter Has Fangs by Ann Hodgman (re-read)
33. My Babysitter Bites Again by Ann Hodgman (re-read)
34. The Mother Hunt (Nero Wolfe) by Rex Stout
35. Where There's a Will (Nero Wolfe) by Rex Stout
36. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome (re-read)
37. Might As Well Be Dead (Nero Wolfe) by Rex Stout
38. The Second Confession (Nero Wolfe) by Rex Sout
39. The Speckled Monster: A Historical Tale of Battling Smallpox by Jennifer Lee Carrell

40. Compulsion (Alex Delaware) by Jonathan Kellerman

41. Lost in the Snow by Linda Jennngs and Alison Edgson

42. Godblog by Laurie Channer
43. The Facts and Fictions of Minna Pratt by Patricia MacLachlan
44. Meet the Laugh-Out-Loud Cats by Adam Koford
45. The Cat Who Dropped a Bombshell by Lilian Jackson Braun
46. Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe (re-read)
47. Anastasia's Chosen Career by Lois Lowry (re-read)
48. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
49. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien (re-read)
50. The Cat Who Moved a Mountain by Lilian Jackson Braun
51. Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England by William Cronon
52. The Littlest Book of Kittens (re-read)

Total page count: 12065

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

As predicted, The Amber Spyglass has me in tears

I'm reading the final chapters of The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman. Books don't usually bring me to tears, but some passages in this triology, especially this last installment, have had me dabbing continuously at my eyes (and blowing my nose). At first, I thought I was coming down with a cold, but I think it's just the book.

I hope to finish the book tonight, but unfortunately I have class to go to now. The book will have to wait...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Gathering my book posts in one place

I think I will copy and paste (and post-date) my book posts from The Miao Chronicles here so I have them all in one place. Blogger doesn't have a post-importing function that I can find, so it might take me a while to finish this little task.

And, a word from Mani: Books are yummy.

Decades '08 Challenge

I was inspired to join the Decades '08 Challenge:

The rules are simple:

1. Read a minimum of 8 books in 8 consecutive decades in ‘08.

2. Books published in the 2000’s do not count.

3. Titles may be cross-posted with any other challenge.

4. You may change your list at any time.

I am also doing the "50 in 365" challenge. The decades '08 challenge will help me to focus my reading so I have a more varied reading list (rather than a bunch of murder mysteries from the same three decades). Choosing a reading list was so very exciting. Of course, it is subject to change, but here is the tentative list. A lot of the books are already in my library or my parents' library - I just needed a little push of motivation to read them.

1840s Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë

1850s The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

1860s Silas Marner by George Eliot

1870s An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott

1880s Washington Square by Henry James

1890s Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

1900s The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

1910s Anne's House of Dreams by L. M. Montgomery

1920s Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne

1930s Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

1940s 1984 by George Orwell

Alternates that I've been wanting to read for a while, and hope to fit in somewhere:
  • The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas (1840s)
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (1840s)
  • Villette by Charlotte Brontë (1850s)
  • The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850s)
  • Eight Cousins and Little Men by Louisa May Alcott (1870s)
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (1870s)
  • Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (1900s)
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1930s)
  • And others...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Over My Dead Body - Nero Wolfe

I'm two books behind behind in my 50 in 365 posts. On 15 Feb, I finished my second Nero Wolfe mystery of the year. Papa Miao recently sent me a box of goodies (i.e., books), and I was in the mood for more Nero Wolfe, so I chose Over My Dead Body (published in 1939). It was a great read - I can always rely on Archie Goodwin to tell an entertaining detective story. This one featured Nero Wolfe's(adopted) daughter from Montenegro, international intrigue, fencing, and, of course, murder.

Prince Tantra found a new favorite word to describe Lotus Batcat - "bughouse". Lotus likes (to eat) buggies, so he doesn't mind.

I have three other Nero Wolfe mysteries to read before I have to beg Papa Miao to send me more. But he also sent me several other books, including The Amber Spyglass, which I am currently reading.

Over My Dead Body

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

All Creatures Great and Small

(Originally posted at Vox)

I actually finished reading All Creatures Great and Small a week ago, but I'm only just posting about it. I've read several Herriot stories in the past, but always individually (as children's books or magazine articles). This is my second non-fiction book of the year (the other being Sir Rudolph Bing's memoirs). It is 499 pages long, but it felt much shorter because Herriot is such an excellent storyteller. The references to veterinary history were fascinating. I thoroughly enjoyed the setting in the Yorkshire Dales, perhaps because Herriot's own love of the region and its people was palpable on the pages. Some of the stories were sad and brought tears to my eyes, but they were nonetheless a pleasure to read. Herriot's compassion to his animal patients was equaled by his sensitivity to people. The story of his courtship with his future wife was humorous and sweet - though he passed over the wedding so quickly I almost missed it. My favorite story arch was probably of the pampered Pekingese Tricki Woo and his person Mrs. Pumphrey.

It was a delightful, uplifting book and I look forward to reading the next books in the series.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Reflections on The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife
The Time Traveler's Wife
Today, I finished listening to the audiobook version of The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (2004, Harvest Books). I had seen it mentioned somewhere as a worthy book, and I guess it is being made into a movie. When I choose audiobooks, I often select books that I wouldn't otherwise read. I might choose an audiobook on a whim, or get it because its length makes it cost effective (more hours for the same price). So for whatever reason, I chose The Time Traveler's Wife, and I was fairly disappointed. It could be that I am less inclined to like books I listen to than books I actually read - I'll have to see if this develops into a pattern.

The Time Traveler's Wife chronicles the trials and tribulations of Henry, who has a genetic mutation that makes him time travel involuntarily, and his wife Clare. I won't bother to summarize the plot here, since I'm sure summaries and reviews abound. Just a few thoughts, then...

Henry and Clare's romance is the focus of the novel, but I find it unsatisfying and unconvincing. Clare is only eight (or so) years younger than Henry, but as an adult he time travels to her throughout her childhood. Why Clare, starting at age six, should devote her life to Henry is a mystery to me. For starters, I didn't find Henry to be a particularly likable character. He is basically an intellectual snob, which shouldn't be damning in and of itself, but it becomes a problem when it's the only defining feature of someone's personality. The only opportunity he has for character development comes when he first meets Clare in "real time". At that point, he is a dissolute alcoholic/drug user/womanizer. But as soon as he meets Clare, he abandons his former lifestyle with little or no conflict. Clare herself has no opportunity for character development whatsoever (I should amend that to say she does have one opportunity toward the end of the book, but she refuses to take it). She is eternally defined by her relation to Henry - as in the book's title. She is constantly waiting, always for Henry - the epitome of a passive wife with little ambition other than to be with her husband. Her relationship with him was in effect predetermined, which is perhaps one reason it lacks depth.

The novel wasn't entirely unsatisfying, though it was tedious and had the occasional unsubtle plot device. The narrative is non-linear, yet it flows well and is not confusing (the narration was well done). I must say it tends to melodrama, which does nothing to add to the depth of the characters' emotions. The time-travel concepts are convincing enough, and they touch on interesting issues, such as the nature of time and determinism/free will. Yet, I didn't find the book's exploration of these issues satisfying enough to counterbalance the unsatisfying character development.

On a more positive note, I think the book has the potential to make a good movie.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Black Orchids - Nero Wolfe

Book #7. Black Orchids (A Nero Wolfe mystery) by Rex Stout

I finished reading this book last night. Two novellas in one, for a total of 190 pages. It was an easy and enjoyable read. If I had 50 Nero Wolfe mysteries with me, no doubt I'd achieve my "50 in 365" goal within weeks.

I learned a new word: chitlins:

the intestines of a pig that have been prepared as food. They are a type of offal.

The pictures on the wiki don't look particularly appetizing to me, but apparently it was the secret ingredient to the perfect corned beef hash.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Subtle Knife

Last night, I finished The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman. My reaction upon reading was, how on earth could I have forgotten the third book (The Amber Spyglass) back home? Argh. I can see it on the shelf in my mind, just waiting for me to pick it up. If I'm nice enough, maybe Papa Miao will send it to me.

It was sad, so sad I cried at least three times at the end of the book. Papa Miao tells me that the third book is even sadder...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Memoirs of Sir Rudolph Bing

(Originally published on Vox)