Monday, July 30, 2012

Bookish Memories

You probably have noted the title of this post, by now.  I was sitting here, trying to figure out what to call it, when I remembered my post Bookish Nostalgia.  This post being sort of similar, I decided to title this one Bookish Memories, and make it into a sort-of-kind-of-maybe series.

Something interesting about books, is the stories that they tell.  I know what you’re thinking.  “Duh, they’re books.  Of course they tell stories.”

But the stories I’m talking about aren’t those stories.  No.  The stories I’m talking about are the ones that come across your mind when you pick the book up, and look at it.  The stories that you have added to the book.  Take my copy of The Fault in Our Stars, for example.  I remember the day I drove half an hour to go get that book.  We were having dinner at our friend’s house that night, and I remember reading it in the car while my mom went and got tapenade from the store, or something.  And I remember getting sushi on the way home, and eating it in the car and reading the book.  With the book Will Grayson, Will Grayson, I know that I’ll probably associate it with ferry rides, because I was reading it for the first time the other day, when we had to wait in line for a ferry for an hour.

I associate my copy of Airborn by Kenneth Oppel with sitting outside in the sun on a lazy spring evening, picking up the book I had started, and was only four chapters into, and then suddenly realizing just how good it was, and tearing through it in one evening.  The book Looking for Alaska reminds me of plane rides, and the excited feeling you get when you’re going somewhere.   My copy of Goliath by Scott Westerfeld reminds me of sadder things, however.  It makes me think of why I got it.  Yes, I got it at a signing by Scott Westerfeld, when he came to my city, which was amazing and hilarious, but it also makes me sad, because it reminds me of my grandfather’s death.  The reason my mom got it for me was because the day that my grandfather died, I was her buddy, and we ended up going to sign paperwork and stuff.  A week later, she got me Goliath at the signing, as a sort of thank-you.

Something that John Green often says is “Books belong to their readers.”  I didn’t really know what he meant by that, until recently.  I was looking at my bookshelf, and having all these memories come back to me. 

A more unique memory that comes to me, while scanning my bookshelf, is from the book, The King in the Window, by Adam Gopnik.  I read this book (well, my mother read it to me,) shortly before I went to Paris, because it’s set in Paris.  And so, when we went to Paris, we were at the Louvre, and there’s this one scene in The King in the Window, where the main character goes to this one room in the Louvre, which is filled with swords.  And I still have no idea if this room actually exists, but when we were in the Louvre, we went on a sort of quest, looking for this room.  We didn’t find it, but it was fun—though my sister didn’t like it, as it meant she didn’t get to stand and read every single thing about each piece of art.  Though had she done that, she would have been in the Louvre for days and days.  But still.  We ran around the museum, looking for this one room.  I think my mom was just happy that I wasn't complaining bitterly about being in a museum.  (Yes, I realize it was the Louvre, but in my defense, it was in fourth grade, and I had absolutely no interest in museums.  I'm still not a big fan of them, either...)

I remember reading Magyk by Angie Sage on a balcony overlooking the sea while in Italy, and The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall in my bedroom, in a nest made out of stuffed animals and bedding.  I remember sprawling in my backyard reading Only the Good Spy Young, by Ally Carter, and reading Wild Magic, by Tamora Pierce for the first time while I was sailing.  

So yes.  After a long time of not really understanding what John Green meant, I finally do.  Books do belong to their readers.  Readers interpret the stories the way that they see fit, and attach their own memories to books.  At first, it’s just a book.  But then you read it, and become involved in the story.  You take it places, meet people with it in your hand, get it signed by authors you love.  No one will have the exact same story attached to a specific book as you do.  Your story is unique.  And whenever you see the title of that book, you'll remember where you first read it, or your favorite place that you've taken it, or just some memory of reading it.  Books are special.

The Dandy Lioness

{P.S.  Is the spacing weird, or is that just my computer?  It's been acting up recently, so I have no idea.}

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer Is...

(Just want to say hello to everyone!  I'm finally posting again!  And yes, you've already seen both pictures in this post.  I'm too lazy to actually edit any new ones.)

Summer is...

enjoying the sunshine (when there is any!  It's been ridiculously cold this summer.)

spending ridiculous amounts of time on the internet.

getting addicted to new TV shows.

having 8-10 person games of Uno at writing camp, where you threaten to murder anyone who skips/reverses/makes you draw four cards.

writing camp.

wondering where all of summer could have possibly gone, and how it's almost August already.

spending ridiculous amounts of time on Tumblr.

telling yourself you'll read lots, and then not getting around to reading very much at all, because you spend most of your time telling yourself you'll read, and not actually reading.

Shakespeare in the park.

painting your nails different colors every week.

going swimming.

laughing with your friends.

paddle boarding, and then watching your friend jump in the lake.

seeing friends you don't get to see during the school year.

eating ridiculous amounts of ice cream.

dance camp.

wearing shorts, even when it's only in the 60's.

watching Marvel movies.

orange raspberries in your front yard.

reading on the deck.

going to movies with friends.

having your window open.

running around barefoot in the grass.

staying up late every night.

doing late-night doodles... just 'cause.

...or is that just my summer?

The Dandy Lioness

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Today makes the one year anniversary of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part two premier in the U.S.

I’ve said in passing on my blog that Harry Potter is a huge, huge part of my life, and always has been.  I’ve been listening and reading and watching the stories since I was about age three.

I’m fourteen.  I missed a lot of premiers, a lot of waiting, and plotting what could come next.  But for me, Harry Potter was my childhood.  I spent hours and hours and hours playing Harry Potter with my friends, creating stories around our favorite characters, running through the backyard in my homemade cloak, using pencils as wands.

One year ago last night, I was in line, anxiously waiting to enter into my favorite theater.  I was with friends, playing Harry Potter Uno, wearing the cloak my sister made for me when I was in third grade, made ready just before the release of the final book. 

Harry Potter means a lot to me.  It shaped my childhood, and who I became.  I grew up with the idea that love is the greatest power against evil nestled securely in my heart.  I grew up running through the halls of Hogwarts, creating my own special version in my head.  I grew up creating these stories about my favorite characters and telling them to myself.  Harry Potter shaped who I am now, as a person and a writer.

I have a small section of my bedroom wall that is dedicated to Harry Potter quotes.  These are quotes I do my best to follow and to live by, quotes that I have known for years and years, and that have helped shape me into the person I am now.  This particular quote by Sirius Black is one of my favorites:  “Besides, the world isn’t split into good people and death eaters.  We’ve all got both light and dark inside us.  What matters is the part we choose to act on.  That’s who we really are.”

I know I can be mean sometimes, or annoying, or a pain to be around.  I know that.  But I do my best, for the most part, to not.  I try my best to be a good person, who is kind.  I try and act on the light side of me.  It can be hard sometimes, and I know where there are days where that just doesn’t happen.  I’m acting on the dark side of me.  But then I do try and act on the light side.  I try.  Sure, it doesn’t always work, but I try.  I try and be the light side of me.

I’ve tried to write about Harry Potter, and what it means to me, before.  It generally doesn’t work.  But today, I am.  Today, the one year anniversary of the “end of an era”.  But the thing is, how is it the end of an era?  People are still discovering Harry Potter.  Children are still loving the stories, finding their own Hogwarts, just like I did. 

To me, this quote by Nathan Fillion, about the show Firefly, rings very true with the Harry Potter community.  "When Firefly died I thought it was the worst thing that could possibly happen. What I realize now, ten years later, looking out onto this room, is that the worst thing that could have happened is if it’d stayed dead."  Replace Firefly with Harry Potter, and you’ve got the Harry Potter fandom.  Harry Potter may be officially finished.  But the fans are still creating stories, still creating fan art, still watching the movies and reading the books.  There are still people discovering Harry Potter.  So yes, technically Harry Potter is over, and I feel very blessed to have been able to be a part of the fandom as everything was still going, and new books and movies were coming out.  But Harry Potter has not died.  So yes.  Harry Potter is over officially.  But to the fans?  It’s never over.  It’s still there.  It’ll always be there.


The Dandy Lioness

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Miscellaneous Facts

Hey guys!  Look, I’m posting again!

Today is a random post.  Random, because I’m going to tell you ten random facts about me.  Let’s get started.

1.   During the 2011-2012 school year, I wrote 56 reviews of books I read that year in my reading notebook.  I read more than that, I just didn’t bother to review every single book.

2.  I have blonde hair, and brown eyes.  This is a combination you don’t see very often—a lot of blondes have blue eyes.  When I was a baby, my hair was really, really light blonde, and my eyes were really, really dark brown.  According to my parents I was “striking”.

3.  It takes a lot to make me cry during books, movies and TV shows, but when it does happen, it means that I really enjoyed/felt strongly about it.  One example of this is “The Fault in our Stars” by John Green.  A TV show that made me cry was Doctor Who, and a movie that made me cry was "Marley and Me".

4.  The only J.R.R. Tolkien book I’ve ever finished was “The Hobbit or There and Back Again” which I actually just finished yesterday!  Though I am attempting to read as much of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy this summer as I can.  I’m about 240 pages into “The Fellowship of the Ring”, but I can only read it in short little bursts, so I don’t know how far I’ll actually get.

5.  I own approximately 400 books.  (This number is approximate because I counted my Nancy Drew books last time I counted, but they’ve mysteriously disappeared, and were possibly given to the Blind.)  The funny thing is, is that I don’t buy books very often.  I’m much more likely to get books from the library than to buy them.  In fact, I quite rarely buy books.  Though I get a lot of books as hand-me-downs and from the library book sales, so there's that.  (And I'm horrible about giving away books, so I have a ton of books from my childhood I couldn't bear to give away...)

6.  When asked to pick between which words I’d rather hear:  “Yer a wizard,” or “I’m the Doctor,” I was unable to choose.  Harry Potter and Doctor Who are both just such big parts of my life, that I don’t know if I’d be able to choose one world over the other.

7.  My room and shelves are full of random knickknacks, such as a plastic banana that has Doctor Who quotes written on it, a fan from Japan given to my family by a Japanese exchange student, a tiny mask from Venice, a stuffed French the Llama, and Luella the Latin cow, that my sister got me at a Latin convention a few years ago.

8.  My walls are covered in pictures, posters, maps and quotes.  I currently have two Doctor Who posters, three travel posters, five maps, seven photos (though I plan to get more soon), and at least twenty-one quotes.  Also a poster from the Tour de Nerdfighting 2012.

9.  I have a lot of stuffed bears in my room and in my closet.  Currently on my bed I have five bears.  One is from the YMCA, one is from Finland, my sister knit me one, I got one for Christmas, and the other is a red panda bear that I got at the zoo a few years back.  I have at least one more smallish bear that I got at the hospital when I was five or six.  I also have three gigantic stuffed bears—a panda bear that I won at a carnival, a polar bear that my friend gave me for Christmas, and a polar bear that my parents gave me for Christmas.  There’s actually a funny story about the gigantic panda bear.  I went to this big carnival in my state with my friend about two years ago.  We were playing one of those horse racing games, where you try and make your horse get to the finish line first.  I thought I was a completely different horse near the back of the pack, but it turned out that I won, and because there were about ten people playing, I got a gigantic panda bear.  It’s currently sitting on my lap.

10.  This is a weird one but… I hate wearing skirts.  I don’t mind them on other people, in fact I think they’re really pretty.  But personally, I hate wearing skirts and dresses.  I also hate wearing sweat pants, though yoga pants are acceptable as pajama pants.  On that note, I also hate wearing the majority of pajamas, especially pajama tops.  I’ll tolerate pajama bottoms, though I’m happier in yoga pants, or shorts in the summer.  As for pajama tops, I mostly wear t-shirts instead of actual pajama tops.  As for the sweat pants, it’s not for any reason other than this: they make me uncomfortable.  I don’t find them particularly comfy, and personally, I’m much happier in jeans.

{This picture has no relevance to anything, really, and I've already posted it on my blog.  I just really like it.}

The Dandy Lioness

Friday, July 6, 2012

Summer Loves


The sun shining and the weather in the seventies

Doctor Who

{Yes, at the moment my wind-up TARDIS is living on my bookshelf.}

The Avengers


Nail polish

New tank tops

Sitting outside and reading a book

{The current stack of books next to my bed.  Yes, I do have all of these started at the moment.}


Afternoon projects

What are some of your summer loves?

The Dandy Lioness