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text 2017-12-31 14:23
16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Square #9 - Winter Solstice
Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype - Clarissa Pinkola Estés

I am completely lost.  This may have something to do with waking up at 2:15 a.m. after barely three hours' sleep.  I tried for almost four additional hours to go back to sleep, but it didn't work, so here I am trying to sort through my notes to bring my Festive Season activities up to date.

 

For Square #9, a task for the Winter Solstice is to ask a question, then open a book to page 40, line 9. 

 

My question was broad and vague, but it is also the reason I have lost so much sleep lately:  How am I going to get through the next year, financially as well as mentally?

 

I pondered and pondered which book to pick and finally, after taking the dogs outside, settled on Women Who Run with the Wolves.  I bought the book when it was first published in 1992 -- it even says "First Edition" whoo hoo! -- and have read most of it in segments, but have never sat down and read the whole thing through first page to last.

 

Page 40, line 9, is the middle of a thought:

 

". . .severs the woman from her intuitive nature.  When its cutting work is done . . . "

 

The passage refers to patriarchal control of women, in particular the "predatory potentate" archetype who does the cutting that severs the woman from her intuitive nature.  Gee, is that relevant to this particular Solstice, or what?

 

I've felt for most of the past 20 years or so that I've been cut off from my "intuitive nature," and the past dozen years or so that I've been in little more than survival mode.  Last year, 2016, was the first time I felt more at ease emotionally than I have in a long time, and I know very well that the reason for that was my writing.  After writing and publishing The Looking-Glass Portrait, I tried to get into another writing project right away, but too many external factors kept intruding.  Those external factors dominated my 2017 attempts to write, as well as virtually everything else.

 

Whatever I do to address these issues in 2018, I'm going to try my best not to be cut off from the person I really am.  I can't be someone else, and especially not for someone else.  I have to be me, for me.

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2017-10-29 10:26
Grip
Grip: A SciFi Dystopian Thriller (The Slip Trilogy Book 2) - David Estes

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

Keeping on catching up with my NetGalley readings. I finished the first book earlier this week, now on to book 2, which was also a good one in its own way, and not the dread ‘second book syndrome sufferer’ I usually fear in such cases.

It does pave up the way to the ‘grand finale’ of book 3, of course, among other things by introducing new developments and therefore a third way, so to speak. It’s not about the hunt for Slips only, not anymore; the Lifers are also involved, and no party is all black or all white. The action is not only about running away/reacting this time, although the book does have its share of such scenes since they’re part of its premise, however the characters also start making moves of their own, instead of only the villains setting plans in motion. And even if said moves are a little on the clunky side, the characters are clearly proactive and taking on their enemies now.

The story has its share of twists. Like in the first book, they are partly predictable (e.g. the one where only the audio part is played), yet at the same time some of them are of the gritty kind, that I wouldn’t necessarily have expected in a YA story (this is not YA for 12-year-old, for sure). And as far as I can tell, there’s one major twist that is a definitive one, there’s not going to be any ‘surprise, I’m back’ scene (I hope there won’t be because it was a sad moment, and retconning it would cheapen it).

The ads and propaganda inserts are interesting, too. At first I didn’t care much for them, but little by little they’re helping draw a more comprehensive picture of the world (the technology people have at hand, the comments—both published and deleted—on newspaper articles

The characters keep evolving, Harrison especially is going on a path I like: at first he felt to me like he was ‘just there’, some kind of afterthought patched onto Benson’s story, yet here he takes action, initiates moves that have their own ethical backlashes, gets to go through ordeals as well, discovers betrayal... At the same time, while he does resent his father and seems to unconsciously prevent himself from properly grieving, he’s also accepted his brother like, well, a brother. He’s an interesting counterpoint to Domino: both children had very similar backgrounds (a Slip sibling, one parent being constantly away to take care of the Slip), but Harrison is going a completely different path. On the other hand, I don’t care that much for the Destroyer, perhaps because at this point he’s so broken that even his fighting against his leash doesn’t look like there’ll be much development her, apart from ‘yay I get to be a psychopath 100% of the time now’.

A few new characters get introduced, like Destiny (another Slip, who goes through her own dark moments because of the mistakes she made, and has to learn to outgrow this—all the while showing her inner strength and resourcefulness in terms of survival techniques, -she- didn’t have a Michael Kelly to craft a false ID for her after all!). Or the Agriculturists, more in the background for now but with an agenda of their own.

Conclusion: A solid second book that furthers the overarching plot.

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review 2017-10-26 19:34
Slip
Slip (The Slip Trilogy Book 1) - David Estes

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

I hadn’t read anything by David Estes in quite a while, and when I saw this series on NetGalley, I thought, well, time to address this state of affairs. I shall also confess that nowadays, I do have a bit of a love-hate relationship with YA dystopias in general, for various reasons, and I was glad that this book, while it is a bit predictable and uses expected tropes, avoids what are the usual pitfalls of the genre for me.

The main characters in general were likeable. Benson is a good mix of resourcefulness, emotions and inner strength. Luce is the obvious ‘love interest’, but without falling in his arms, and with a past that makes it possible (while awful for her) to develop this relationship more slowly and believably than what usually happens in YA novels; she’s also resourceful, daring, and doesn’t hesitate to stand by her friends (well, OK, I guess her decision to face danger with Benson who lied to her was kind of stupid, but...). Michael Kelly as well is an interesting man, torn between his job and his mission of killing unauthorised babies and children, and his desire to protect his son. I didn’t care much for Harrison, though, perhaps because of his ‘perfect athlete and student’ record, and I thought that his mid-book decision came a little out of nowhere, considering he wasn’t seen pondering much about it (and his feelings) before. And I’m on the fence about the Destroyer, in his case I believe I -would- have want to see more of him before he became a Hunter, for his evolution into a psychopath to be better pitched against him as a child (in a way, I love to hate him for his appalling personality, but he’s too one-sided as a villain).

The world in which these characters evolve was also better rounded up than usual in dystopian YA novels (where I often get the feeling of a ‘pocket world’, totally isolated from the rest of Earth, which always makes me wonder where are the other countries and why they’re not poking their noses in). The population control method in those new USA is harsh, however the situation that led to it makes sense: climatic change, rising water levels, drowned coasts, less resources left to feed all the people, and it is logical to expect that the rest of the world has met a similar fate, hence if everybody stays in their corner and develop their own policies, it’s not unbelievable. This world is all the more creepy because it’s not such an impossible future, all in all.

Minor pet peeve: I really have a hard time with the name ‘Pop Con’, that just looks so much like ‘pop corn’ to me. XD (But I do see the naming convention roots à la 1984.)

I found the beginning a little slow, possibly because it devoted quite a few chapters to a part of Benson’s life that I felt I didn’t need so many details about—the story becomes more interesting after the boy grows up and we meet his friends. After that were more action scenes, especially once ‘the chase’ gets into motion (that’s no spoiler, of course at some point people would realise who the Slip is!). There was a bit of a plot hole/flimsy explanation, though, regarding the Wire/Jumpers/Lifers connection; it would’ve demanded some more preparation to be more logical, I think.

Conclusion: 3.5, not perfect but definitely enjoyable, especially its second half.

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review 2017-09-05 07:27
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes & Louis Slobodkin (Artwork)

Child me and adult me agree, this is a wonderful book. It holds up with time and I really love it. The artwork by Louis Slobodkin is beautiful. There is a powerful message of forgiveness in this story. It is also a story that might help young and old alike to learn to accept each others differences. It is a quick paced book, with a lovely writing style.

 



--

 

This is a nostalgic read, so here is what I believe I would have rated this as a child and what I rate it now as an adult.

 

Child me: 5 stars
Adult me: 5 stars

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review 2017-07-30 08:00
Sixteen
Sixteen - Jen Estes

Fifteen, the first book in the Dreamwalker Diaries, gave Ash a view of the future. Sixteen, the long awaited second book, will give her a view of the past. It's been six months, but the pain has remained as strong as before. Not knowing where to find relief, Ash settles for what must be the most stupid thing people have tried to (but try nevertheless), to go back in time in order to change the past!

However, before she can even start on this scheme she must be able to dreamwalk again, which ends her up doing community service for trying to buy drugs. And here Sixteen starts. All the characters from the original cast will make an appearance, but I won't go into the specifics in order to not spoil people who might want to read Fifteen first (which is what I would recommend).

Since it was about two years since I read Fifteen, I was a bit hazy on the details before I started Sixteen, and what surprised me most was how teenager-y it was. Of course Ash is just fifteen years old and when she's not fending of the demons, she is a normal teenager, but it somehow still took some getting used to it from my side. The story was still interesting, although it was a bit more of the same after a while. What I most certainly didn't like what the super sweet ending where

it turned out that Nadine was only such an annoying person because the Jumlin was near. I would have much preferred to see her being not a likable person, but still not evil. Now it made the whole, we shouldn't kill you stuff way too easy.

(spoiler show)


Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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