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santa filled my stocking with books (:


My Reading List 2006
1. 金田一:鬼火岛之迷
2. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
3. 改造野猪 - 白岩玄
4. lighthousekeeping - Jeanette Winterson
5. Ten Nights of Dreams/Hearing Things/Heredity of Taste - Soseki Natsume
6. The Beggar's Opera - John Gay
7. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
8. Princess Diaries 6 - Meg Cabot
9. Princess Diaries 7 - Meg Cabot
10. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
11. The Knight's Tale - Geoffrey Chaucer
12. Fortune's Slave - Fidelis Morgan
13. The Little Prince (re-read) - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
14. Charlotte's Web - E.B. White
15. The Fellowship of the Ring (re-read) - J.R.R.Tolkien
16. Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen

It has been a most unsatisfying year for movies but a rather satisfying one for books. :) I don't read much, but I greatly enjoyed what I've read this year. And I shamelessly tell you that I cried after The Little Prince and Charlotte's Web. The most page-turning books were Fortune's Slave and Northanger Abbey.

Surprise, surprise! I just said that a Jane Austen novel was page-turning! I mean, yes, I love her novels, but at the start, whenPersuasion was my very first Austen novel, I didn't appreciate as much as I do now, and to me it had been a bore. But only after studying it with a little more depth did I realise how amusing Austen's novels are.

I finished Northanger Abbey last night (past midnight, rather). It wasn't exactly a romantic book, ("...though Henry was now sincerely attached to her, though he felt and delighted in all the excellencies of her character and truly loved her society, I must confess that his affection originated in nothing better than gratitude, or, in other words, that a persuasion of her partiality for him had been the only cause of giving her a serious thought." -Northanger Abbey) but it was certainly an amusing one, filled with Austen's usual sarcasm, irony and anti-climatic sentences added to the end of paragraphs. I caught myself smiling to myself quite a few times while reading, and totally enjoyed that feeling. (:

It wasn't as easy for me to sympathise with the heroine in this novel as compared to Anne in Persuasion, and....I don't remember why. But only after she was removed from Bath and gone to Northanger Abbey did I subconsciously sympathise with her quite suddenly.

Northanger Abbey holds a very different overall tone as compared to Persuasion or maybe even Pride and Prejudice. Maybe it's because the heroine is pretty young, at 17 years of age, but the writing style seems to be faster, more forceful, more "openly" energetic and more "directly" opinionated. (I mean, of course Austen shows pretty strong opinions in her novels but she wrote it more openly here, without needing to read between the lines sometimes.)

It's not my favourite plot (to which, the back of the book cover had a description not exactly more than half true) but it's still a good read. I nearly picked up Sense and Sensibilty or Emma, the seemingly more heard-of titles among Austen's novels but Northanger caught my eye and after I read the description of it I decided to buy it. I felt cheated by the description! BUT still, I liked it. It's funny. Really.

And then I read Charlotte's Web, for the first time, when I'm past childhood. While I was watching the movie, there came a point when Templeton told Wilbur that he was to be killed and eaten in Winter, and this little boy wailed VERY loudly in the cinema, crying out, "NOOOOOOO!" until his mum had to carry him out of the theater. It was a very..."broken" film, as though they were just visually translating the book, (whatever the book said,they just put it up, without a good enough flow or a nice, constant pace) but the part which saved it all was when Charlotte was about to die, and when Wilbur went home and they all looked up at the corner of the door where shreds of Charlotte's web still remained. I was about to cry, but from the corner of my eye I saw my dad looking at me (and I later found out he really was trying to catch me crying! ) so I decided to hold it. Grrr. That was one of the two things which saved the movie. The other was its soundtrack and credits. IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL SOUNDTRACK. The movie was only an hour plus long. They didn't really focus on the issues which would strike older readers/viewers more - like the part about the Queensborough Bridge (something like that) and the thing about spiders' web being miracles themselves, so I guess the target audience was KIDS. They really just visually translated the whole thing! Without any emphasis on any scene except when Charlotte was dying!

"Why did you do all this for me?" he asked. "I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you."

"You have been my friend," replied Charlotte. "That in itself is a tremendous thing."

-Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White


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and my poor fool is hanged;


You are The High Priestess

Science, Wisdom, Knowledge, Education.

The High Priestess is the card of knowledge, instinctual, supernatural, secret knowledge. She holds scrolls of arcane information that she might, or might not reveal to you. The moon crown on her head as well as the crescent by her foot indicates her willingness to illuminate what you otherwise might not see, reveal the secrets you need to know. The High Priestess is also associated with the moon however and can also indicate change or fluxuation, particularily when it comes to your moods.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

...the whole quiz was only on the Majjor Arcana cards...? Anyway, I got this from Kelly's blog. xP OMG I miss sis-in-law!

Suddenly feel like reading up on Greek mythology again. It's fascinating :DDD But I don't know what books there are on it, and I don't exactly like the jumbled up information online. The Illiad is still untouched in my cupboard. ...because I'm reading LotR now. And hey I want to read the original fairy tales too.. after Louisa told me that they were never meant to be so beautiful and bright in actual but were modified for children. Wow.

(on the Fool tarot card)

The conventional explanations say that the Fool signifies the flesh, the sensitive life, and by a peculiar satire its subsidiary name was at one time the alchemist, as depicting folly at the most insensate stage. When The Fool appears in a spread, he would be a signal to strip down to the irreducible core, and interrogate whether The Querant’s self vision is obscured. It may also be a warning that significant change is coming.

Some comparisons can be made in universal literature, the Fool would be considered the youngest son or daughter who accomplishes great feats despite the older siblings apparent better position. Cinderella, Psyche, Cordelia (from King Lear), all the third sons of kings in fairy tales who succeed when their older brothers do not; the Grail Knight who may be destined to locate the Holy Cup, where greater and wiser men have tried and failed; the one teetering at the edge of Nietzsche’s abyss, at the cusp of dreadful knowledge that will pull him or her out of the cave or even Hamlet before he decides to embrace his destiny.

There is a dog who appears in most versions of the card. The dog, for example, would symbolize the natural world, one path to knowledge and a valuable ally.

Although it cannot be seen in all modern cards, The Fool is often walking off a cliff. This raises the question "Is The Fool making a mistake, or is The Fool making a leap of faith?"

A quote: Gandhi said once, “If you would swim on the bosom of the ocean of Truth, you must reduce yourself to a zero.” The Fool can be seen as that Zero who can swim in the deeper waters up mentioned.

Another issue surrounding the fool is "Who is calling him The Fool?"

Lol, I scrolled down and read the last 3 paragraphs and was thinking of King Lear immediately. Then I read back on the previous few paragraphs and caught King Lear' and Cordelia's names there. x) Ever since I started studying Literature and getting to know Shakespeare's works (shamefully, I have ever only read three of his works and have seen none on the stage itself, but only of videos), my admiration for fools grew. (:

But my favourite character in King Lear would have to be EDGAR! <3 At the start I didn't have a good impression of him, because he was gullible, and did what he was told to do. At that point, my favourite character was Cordelia. But as Quanmin said, throughout the whole Lear experience, Cordelia has appeared just a bit too perfect. Still, I love Cordelia. One of the scenes which moved me to tears even just from reading the script was when a gentleman came in to report Cordelia's response to the letter to Kent. Even though we do not hear and see the action from Cordelia herself, just from the gentleman's speech, we can see Cordelia trying to suppress her feelings and the immense pain she felt at that moment.

I grew to like Edgar more during the A Levels. LOL. Queer timing. But what touched me was when I did the context question, out of not wanting to attempt the essay questions, I analysed and re-analysed Edgar's speech, and I wish I could have time to weep. (Darn I sound so emo.)

Come on, sir, here's the place. Stand still. How fearful
And dizzy 'tis to cast one's eyes so low!
The crows and choughs that wing the midway air
Show scarce so gross as beetles. Halfway down
Hangs one that gathers samphire, dreadful trade!
Methinks he seems no bigger than his head.
The fishermen that walk upon the beach
Appear like mice, and yon tall anchoring barque
Diminished to her cock, her cock a buoy
Almost too small for sight. The murmuring surge
That on the unnumbered iddle pebble chafes
Cannot be head, it's so high. I'll look no more,
Let my brain turn and the deficient sight
Topple down headlong.

Edgar takes such great pains to describe the non-existent cliff to Gloucester! (I could have read into it too much, but as Mrs. Gan says, reading itself is a creative process. =x) It's as though while he is supposed to sound scared, we can hear this tinge of pain in his voice. While he describes the cliff, it sounds so far down, "so high", but yet so near because of the references to "beetles" and "mice", which are small not because they are far away, but because they are in comparison to humans small. This seems to parallel the distance and relationship between Gloucester and Edgar, because Edgar is so near yet so far, as he is right beside his father, but he cannot reveal his identity to his father.

While Edgar speaks, his speech gradually changes into verse form, and it makes him sound much softer when in his father's presence, and we can see that he has gone through a learning journey of self-discovery, which he is trying to help Gloucester get through as well.

Although Edmund is really charismatic, by the end, Edgar is better loved and more attractive (in my opinion) because he needs no pretense to conjure up those magnificently beautiful and impactful words -- they come from his heart, whereas Edmund plays his charisma to his advantage to gain power.

So far, this is my favourite Shakespearean play, and the language is so powerful, the images so vivid, that they could make me cry any moment even when I am in the best of spirits.

...hmm why did I suddenly plunge into a discussion on King Lear?

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-painting by William Hogarth, from Scene III, Act XI of The Beggar's Opera by John Gay.

"But I promsed the wench marriage.-- What signifies a promise to a woman? Does not man in marriage itself promise a hundred things that he never means to perform? Do all we can, women will believe us; for they look upon a promise as an excuse for following their own inclinations." - Macheath

-ACT II Scene VIII, The Beggar's Opera by John Gay.

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Yet better thus and known to be contemned
Than still contemned and flattered. To be worst,
The low'st and most dejected thing of fortune,
Stands still in esperance, lives not in fear.
The lamentable change is from the best;
The worst returns to laughter.

-King Lear by William Shakespeare.

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Zeroing In


"I am a landscape," he said.
"a landscape and a person walking in that landscape.
There are daunting cliffs there,
And plains glad in their way
of brown monotony. But especially
there are sinkholes, places
of sudden terror, of small circumference
and malevolent depths."
"I know," she said. "When I set forth
to walk in myself, as it might be
on a fine afternoon, forgetting,
sooner or later I come to where sedge
and clumps of white flowers, rue perhaps,
mark the bogland, and I know
there are quagmires there that can pull you
down, and sink you in bubbling mud."
"We had an old dog," he told her, "when I was a boy,
a good dog, friendly. But there was an injured spot
on his head, if you happened
just to touch it he'd jump up yelping
and bite you. He bit a young child,
they had to take him down to the vet's and destroy him."
"No one knows where it is," she said,
"and even by accident no one touches it.
It's inside my landscape, and only I, making my way
preoccupied through my life, crossing my hills,
sleeping on green moss of my own woods,
I myself without warning touch it,
and leap up at myself -"
"- or flinch back
just in time."
"Yes, we learn that.
It's not a terror, it's pain we're talking about:
those places in us, like your dog's bruised head,
that are bruised forever, that time
never assuages, never."

-Denise Levertov

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The Heredity of Taste;

Literally read, "Banzai" simply means "ten thousand years"; but a battle-cry is different in kind from ordinary verbalization. Any battle-cry says nothing more than "Wah"; which unlike Banzai, has no meaning whatsoever. But just because it has no meaning, the sound of "Wah" is pregnant with inexpressibly deep feeling.

...While one still retains sufficient rationality to use words that have a meaning, one cannot be said to have reached the point of whole- or single-heartedness. No such rational element remains in a battle-cry. A battle-cry says "Wah." And in that "Wah" there is neither bad taste nor good sense. There is neither reality nor irreality. There is neither falsehood nor compromise. There's "Wah" and nothing else.

-Soseki Natsume.

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"who knows if the moon's a balloon"


-Photo from gettyimages

who knows if the moon's
a balloon,coming out of a keen city
in the sky--filled with pretty people?
(and if you and i should

get into it,if they
should take me and take you into their balloon,
why then
we'd go up higher with all the pretty people

than houses and steeples and clouds:
go sailing
away and away sailing into a keen
city which nobody's ever visited,where

______Spring)and everyone's
in love and flowers pick themselves

-by E.E. Cummings.

So pretty. (:

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past the end.

Tell me a story, Pew.

What kind of story, child?
A story with a happy ending.
There's no such thing in all the world.
As a happy ending?
As an ending.

-lighthousekeeping by Jeanette Winterson

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Persuasion - Jane Austen

...though not perfectly well spelt praise, as 'a fine dashing felow, only two perticular about the school-master,'...

A nice representation of Dick Musgrove's horrible spelling! XD I actually laughed at this while reading. Persuasion isn't that bad after all. I didn't fall asleep, you know.

'Spelt' seems to have two meanings here -- that Dick did praise Captain Wentworth to a large full extent (since he minds Wentworth being concerned on the area of Education; but if he can't even grasp his dominant language, of course... questioning his education is perfectly fine since it's important to his profession) and also that funny thing about Dick's spelling errors. XDDDDD Wheeee Jane Austen is sarcastic.

But why is she so much against Dick Musgrove anyway?

...those extraordinary bursts of mind, which do sometimes occur..

Haha... Austen is sarcastic ya... =P About Mrs. Musgrove not having to grieve over 'poor Richard' so much.

Yesh. And my new category in this blog is 'Literature'. It's kinda fun to note down what I read in these books. Hopefully it'll help me in my Lit too.

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