September, Starting Up Again

First of all, a new layout/design! The orgiami animals are from a textile I saw in Ikea that I may still go back for. I can’t sew (ah, well, I can, but badly), but…I know people who can, and that’s what matters!

So, school has started, and I’m now a second-year Fiction student. I’m taking two classes (a literature class on the media, and workshop), teaching two, and meeting my thesis adviser for thesis hours. Teaching two classes is hard. And that’s all I have to say on that, haha.

I submitted the first part (“chapter” would be an overstatement) of a novel to workshop already (was unlucky enough to be up at bat first), and I was really surprised by the positive response to the weird, magical element in those pages, and questions/suggestions of how I could tease that into the other sections. It was hugely encouraging, and one of the reasons why is because the scenes of strangeness were parts I had written on an inspired whim. The rest of it was more or less forced. So it was interesting to see that people definitely responded more to the part where there was more heart and blood going to it, I guess.

I’m reading Lisel and Po by Lauren Oliver for fun (and for Figment), and Falling Man by Don DeLillo for class.

But I also have The Night Circus and The Shadow of the Wind on my nightstand. Too many books! I think those are next on my reading list, though…or maybe Divergent, which a friend characterized as “Hunger Games-enjoyment level.” Which is huge.

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

From the back: What if you knew exactly when you would die? Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden’s genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden’s eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

I read a lot of dystopia fiction in 2010, and Wither by Lauren DeStefano is one of the most memorable books in that genre. So I’m just going to put this out there: Wither blew my mind. This is the book you can’t put down, the book you want to linger over even as you’re crazily flipping the pages, the book that gets you quietly screaming “AHHHHHHHH” on the inside. The characters and their lives gripped me by the throat and heart.

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