How lovely it is to be home and smelling like oneself again! After two weeks of showering at my parents’ place, indulging in my favourite products from The Body Shop is a joy. My skin is an utter wreck from travel and the dry, polluted air around southern California but hopefully a few days of my skincare regimen and all will be well again.
I think in the past month I’ve cycled from Writing Muse to Webdesign Muse to Drawing Muse to Arts & Crafts Muse. Why can’t I call upon the ones I need at will? Right now I need to be revising (working on that 2009 resolution to send out Elijah’s Chariot) but instead I am contemplating more crafty things. Like knitting.
Katranna once said to me of skydiving, “My other friends have hobbies like knitting. You jump out of planes.” Well, as it’s too cold to be jumping out into the open right now and the season doesn’t start up again until May, I’ve decided knitting was a good alternative. You know…stabby…pointy…needles. And fluffy yarn. Nice combination, right? I have the idea to recreate this scarf from ModCloth, except with a felt White-Harp appliqué. Should be fairly simple (I hope); I know how to knit a scarf anyhow. I ordered a set of knitting and crochet needles of different gauges as well as Stitch ‘n’ Bitch: A Knitter’s Handbook to get me started. I haven’t decided on what yarn and what colours I want to use for the scarf though.
Other resolutions broken within the first week: the South Beach Diet and going to the gym regularly. Oh well. At least I did yoga for twenty minutes this evening, even if I didn’t get up early to go the gym. I am extraordinarily out of shape; it’s rather embarrassing. Also, I feel bloated and gross. Being back in New York in my own apartment and falling back into my normal routine is helping some. I’m eating the foods I ordinarily eat and returning to my normal eating habits, which is picking lightly at things all day instead of three square meals with unhealthy snacks loaded in between. And lots of water. I think I spent most of my time in LA severely dehydrated (I normally drink a lot of fluids) and I’m hoping some of this bloated feeling is excess water. Ugh, I can’t wait until I feel like myself again.
On a random New York note, surely holding The Annual No-Pants Subway Ride in January is a terrible idea? Pantlessness should be reserved for warm summer months in the northeast.
Other bits of pretty: I’ve been browsing a lot of lifestyle and design blogs lately and I came across this lovely photoshoot of a wedding. There’s something so very romantic about eloping and I especially love the vintage 40s look the bride is channeling. It hearkens back to images of gals sending off their boys to war and getting married beforehand.
Also, as promised, a more in-depth review of The Knife of Never Letting Go.
Review of The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
I almost couldn’t read the damn thing fast enough. On New World (a colony on a planet far from the Old World–that is, Earth), a boy becomes a man at 13. But a girl never becomes a woman because there are no women in Prentisstown. They were all killed by a virus unleashed during germ warfare between the humans and the planet’s native life form the Spacks.
Or so Todd Hewitt thinks.
The virus has unusual effects: aside from killing the women of Prentisstown, it gave animals the power of speech and men the ability to hear the thoughts of everyone and everything around them. It’s just as awful as it sounds and the entire world in which Todd lives is filled with Noise. Until one day he finds a single spot in the swamp beyond Prentisstown where there is utter silence and uncovers a terrible secret about the world in which he grew up.
As I mentioned before, I practically tore through this book trying to figure out what the secret of Prentisstown is. While I felt that the secret didn’t quite live up to the suspense building up to it, The Knife of Never Letting Go was cracktastic nonetheless. If I don’t think too hard about the logistics of a virus that allows animals the power of human speech and humans the power of telepathy, the world Ness has created is fascinatingly different from most other science-fiction/fantasy novels I’ve read. The technology is backward and outdated because the original settlers were religious folk looking to create a simple life on another planet. I reveled in the little details about this place and it makes for an extremely compelling read.
However, I had a few problems with it. The title, for one. I feel as though the title is a bit misleading because it seems to imply (to me anyway) that the knife is something of great significance to the narrative. Well, the knife is certainly of some significance, but not enough to warrant naming the entire book after it. The second, of course, is finding out that this is the first of a series. ARGH. Serves me right; I should read covers more closely. This is Book One of the Chaos Walking (appropriate title) series.
The last is something that wouldn’t ordinarily bother me, but its inclusion in the text was unexpectedly irksome. Wicked Cool Riley once said that she hated when authors did “clever things with text if it serves no point.” I don’t mind it; in fact, I sort of love it. I love metafictional elements in books like the intentional typographic errors in the “Penelope” chapter of Ulysses or the breaking of the “fourth wall” in The City of Dreaming Books. But in each of those instances, I believe there is a reason for typographical cleverness: in the case of “Penelope” it’s there to call attention to the fact that text will never ever fully encapsulate the process of thought (I wrote an entire paper on this for my Joyce colloquium at university) and in The City of Dreaming Books, it provides a huge fucking scare. (Or so I thought anyhow.)
In The Knife of Never Letting Go, there are font changes to indicate different types of Noise, including entire sections of pages devoted to the layering of everyone’s Noise to provide a visual reference to the mind-aural cacophony Todd has to deal with everyday. Except it really adds nothing to the experience of reading, the text in the blocks of overlaid Noise is unimportant, and only distracted me. I ended up skipping over those chunks of overlaid text entirely and didn’t miss a single bit of it. Insignificant in the narrative and useless. It could have gone.
Regardless, this is one of the few YA books I’ve read lately that didn’t leave me wanting something more. I’m not sure why that is, why certain books in this genre seem full and satisfying whereas others do not. Of the new books I read this past vacation, I would rate Flora Segunda by Ysabeau Wilce as the most satisfying, followed by The Knife of Never Letting Go. The others were good but somehow lacking. I hate to say that because they are good books. Just…not enough, I suppose.