Review — The Curse Workers Trilogy by Holly Black

Synopsis

White Cat — Cassel Sharpe uncovers a plot planned by his brothers that involve him, the head of a mob family, and Lila, the girl he killed three years ago.

Red Glove — Cassel Sharpe returns to Wallingford as a normal student . . . until the Feds show up with some disturbing news involving his brother Philip.

Black Heart — Cassel Sharpe, having caught the interest of both the mob and the government, must choose which side he wants to spend his life working for.

Thoughts

There are several things I love about this series, and I will discuss each of them in full here. Starting with Cassel.

Cassel Sharpe
This kid. This kid. I love this kid. As his grandfather said, “Clever as the devil and twice as pretty.” He’s got a crooked smile for that crooked soul of his– he should know, he practices in the mirror.

His simplistic narration drives the story forward in a way the reader won’t notice. The mood of the scene is dependent on his word choice, and it is so carefully crafted that the reader feels his stress, their stomach curls with Cassel’s, their body temperature rises when he’s making out with his love interest. I love how he’s conscious of his dumb decisions and he makes them anyway. But most of all, I love how he is neither strictly good or strictly bad.

In the third book, Cassel struggles with this good vs. bad duality as seen with the book’s Big Choice. Should Cassel turn on his family, who had been involved with the mob for generations, to go straight and work for the Feds? Or should he work for the mob where he would be treated like royalty? If you pay attention, you can see him struggle with the same ideals throughout the books.

Holly Black gets kudos for making Cassel non-white. This isn’t an explicit detail in Cassel’s description, but he describes his skin color as fairly dark without saying where his family is originally from. In fact, his family’s origins are up in the air–his great-grandfather who had immigrated to the United States told a lot of stories.

World Building
There are two things I love about this: the actual world and it’s portrayal.

I didn’t make it clear in my synopses, but the Curse Workers Trilogy is an urban fantasy mob story. The fantasy aspect comes from workers, select individuals with power in one of seven areas: dream, emotion, physical, memory, luck, death, and transformation. With a single touch, a memory worker can make you forget the exact sum you owe them; a dream worker can give you regular nightmares, an emotion worker can make you fall in love with anyone. Not all of these are fatal, but they can be. A dream worker can make you sleepwalk off the edge of a building, for instance. Working is a dangerous pastime in this world, which is why workers are typically involved with the mob. In the story, gloves are the protection against working–everyone is required to wear them and people flip out you walk around in public with bare hands.

Cassel does a fantastic job immersing the reader into this world. He talks about his family doesn’t wear gloves in their homes because “families should be able to trust each other.” When he’s sitting in an interrogation room with a couple federal agents, he feels vulnerable despite being gloveless. The reader is subtly reminded about gloves throughout the story when Cassel describes the color of his friend’s gloves or draws attention to amulets that protect against working.

There is also a lot of background noise that portrays the world and gives it a more real edge. The biggest instance is the political drama happening behind-the-scenes regarding a certain proposition in New Jersey. We’re given most of this information through Daneca, Cassel’s friend who comes from a privileged family but fights for the rights of those who live otherwise.

Characterization
Awesome characterization isn’t limited to Cassel. We can all name someone in our lives similar to Daneca mentioned earlier. The same goes for Sam, Cassel’s roommate who loves slasher films and special effects. We don’t see much of Philip after the first book, but we do see a lot of Barron and how he changes from following orders in Book 1 to accepting the life his little brother conned him into in Book 3. Nothing is directly stated, and I love that about this series.

Final Thoughts

The Curse Workers Trilogy is fantastic. Seriously, go read it. You won’t be disappointed.

MEDIUM: Books
SHELF: Library

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To Watch List – Summer Blockbusters

Posting on a non-Saturday because May starts off Summer Blockbuster season. The following is a list of the movies I WANT to see this summer. I can plan for a list of summer blockbusters I actually saw in movies, but don’t count on it. This list is kind of long so I’ll explain why I want to see each movie in three sentences or less.

Iron Man 3 (May 3)
Tony Stark copes with a terrorist after the events in New York City with The Avengers. Major hints on the introduction of Rescue.

The Great Gatsby (May 10)
The book of the same name done in the film style of Moulin Rouge. I cannot tell you how right that feels.

Star Trek Into Darkness (May 17)
A mysterious foe threatens the Federation and Captain Kirk of the Enterprise is the only one who can stop it. Benedict Cumberbatch may or may not be Khan.

Epic (May 17)
A young girl discovers a tiny people in the forest surrounding her father’s home. From the creators of Rio.

After Earth (May 31)
A father and son crash land on Earth and must survive a planet that has adapted to kill humans. Starring Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith.

Now You See Me (May 31)
A group of magicians pull off impossible bank heists during performances. The trailer made it sound epic.

Man of Steel (June 14)
The origin story of Superman written by Christoner Nolan of The Dark Knight Trilogy and Inception fame. Featuring Amy Adams as Lois Lane.

This is the End (June 14)
Celebrities making fun of themselves during the apocalypse. Sounds hilarious.

Monsters University (June 21)
How Mike and Sulley met in college. Part of Pixar’s attempt to follow its audience as they grow. Nathan Fillion stars as a jock.

World War Z (June 21)
Based on the book which is a government agent’s documented account of his involvement in the zombie apocalypse. I guess the movie itself is less about the zombies.

The Lone Ranger (July 5)
Johnny Depp gets to be in another odd character in a Jerry Bruckheimer/Disney movie. Vaguely steampunk-y. Possibly racist.

Pacific Rim (July 12)
Giant robots fight deep-sea monsters without attempting to look like a Japanese movie. Paraphrasing a former co-worker “Hollywood is making a movie of my childhood.”

The Wolverine (July 26)
Wolverine goes to Japan and muddles the X-Men movie mythos more than it already is.

Elysium (August 9)
The director of District 9 returns with another awesome sci-fi movie that provides another social commentary, this time on economic class.

The Mortal Instruments: The City of Bones (August 23)
Based on the book of the same name featuring Shadowhunters, angels, demons, and other paranormal characters. My main concern is whether Clary keeps her fiery red locks and how stiff the dialogue seems.

The World’s End (August 23)
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost make another movie that may or may not reference Shaun of the Dead while simultaneously saving the world.

Review – The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress

Released Dec. 6, 2012 by Dial

SYNOPSIS

Cora Bell is the assistant of Lord White of the House of Parliament who likes to secretly invent things in his spare time.

Nellie Harrison is the assistant of The Great Raheem, a popular magician in London’s high and low societies.

Michiko is the assistant of Callum, a self-defense instructor who works in London’s high society.

On one fateful night after a gala, all three girls meet over a murder. They band together to not just solve the murder that brought them together, but to save London.

MY THOUGHTS

I read a post by Adrienne Kress on John Scalzi’s The Big Idea segment featuring this book, and what Ms. Kress had to say intrigued me. Girls who can kick butt without giving up their femininity? I’m on board. When I finally read the book, the tropes felt very familiar. The best I can phrase this is by using the Powerpuff Girls. Cora is Blossom, the leader and smart one who holds the trio together. Nellie is Bubbles, prone to smiling and much more than a pretty face. Michiko is Buttercup, direct and more likely to use a fist to solve things.

Now take these tropes and put them into a London steampunk setting, add a little 90’s Girl Power flair, and you have this book. It is a fantastically fun book to read. The prose and dialogue are very modern, which I don’t mind. I feel writing this book in Victorian-era jargon would have not only been lost on today’s teenaged audience but felt like the book was hitting you in the head with feminism.

Although the book is littered with 90’s tropes, I still found The Friday Society very entertaining. There’s some witty dialogue, some romance on the side (though it wasn’t overpowering, thank goodness), and the hint that there could be more adventures in the future. In a way, it’s almost a blast to the past, paying homage to the wave of feminism where a woman can kick your butt then fix her lipstick and replace the stiletto heel she lodged in your chest. The book does not dismiss femininity in order to have kick-ass female characters, and I really appreciate that.

In the end, I only managed to predict one plot twist (out of two). That makes me happy.

This is a very fun read; I wouldn’t recommend it if you are looking for something heavy or in-depth. The Friday Society is a book to read in the small pieces of time you get throughout your life–waiting for the bus, on break at work, while you eat a meal, waiting for your henchmen to laugh at your jokes, etc.

MEDIUM: Book
BOOKSHELF: Library

Defining Yourself with Penelope

Released in 2006 by Summit Entertainment

Penelope (2006, USA) was produced by Summit Entertainment and directed by Mark Palansky. It tells the story of a young woman named Penelope of blue blood descent who is cursed with the nose and ears of a pig,. To break the curse, Penelope (Christina Ricci) must find someone who can accept her as she is ’til death do they part. Her mother has been the driving force behind finding Penelope a husband, hiring a matchmaker and inviting blue blooded sons to speak with Penelope before seeing her. Penelope, meanwhile, is growing tired of the life and doesn’t develop the courage to try something different until she meets Max Campion (James McAvoy)–the only young man who didn’t run at the sight of her face.

Penelope is a story about growing out of the legacy given to you and finding your own person. Your name and your appearance don’t define who you are; you do. This theme of defining yourself outside your name and appearance is embodied in the characters of Penelope and Max/Johnny.

(spoilers ahead)

For Penelope, her lesson comes through growing out of her appearance and learning to like herself for who she is–a lesson that everyone who watches this movie should walk away with. At the start, Penelope relies on others to bring the power to break the curse. After several interactions with Max/Johnny, she gets the courage to take charge of her own life and venture around the city she lives in but has never seen. In the end, she defies the wishes of her mother, declares that she likes the way she is, and breaks the curse herself. During the resolution, Penelope leaves home, not to find herself again, but to grow into the person she’s been all along.

Meanwhile, for Max/Johnny, the lesson isn’t about liking yourself, it’s about you staying the same no matter your name. When we first meet Max/Johnny, we believe he is Max Campion, a blue blood who has previously gambled away the family fortune. Towards the end of the movie, we learn his real name is actually Johnny Martin, not a blue blood but still struggles with a gambling problem. Penelope inspires him to stop gambling and start leading an honest life again, even if it means starting from the bottom. Even though the audience believes his name is Max for most of the movie, Johnny doesn’t change his persona to fit into a fake name. He’s still remains a man with a gambling problem either way.

To bring gender issues into the mix, it would make sense that Penelope, the young woman, would be the one to embody the lesson of liking who you are. With impressionable young girls seeing contorted images of beauty all over visual media, learning to like yourself for who you are despite appearances is a powerful lesson. No matter what you look like–tall, short, broad-shoulders, awkward nose, small toes, huge hands, impressive chin hair–you should like yourself. There’s power in liking yourself.

Penelope also faces the demands of others attempting to impose their impression on her. For starters, we have Edward. At first, he’s convinced Penelope will attack him solely based on her ungainly appearance. Over the course of the movie, he does not grow out of that. He’s unable to look Penelope in the face on their wedding, and he openly admits to gagging at the thought of kissing her. Penelope leaves him at the alter. Then we have Penelope’s mother, shrilly pushing Penelope into what is not necessarily best for her. Even when her daughter has a normal nose, she has something to say about Penelope’s appearance. Penelope deals with this by moving out.

Penelope is a timeless movie with a modern-day lesson. Recommended for children and adults aged 8 and up.

Bookshelf Wish List

This is a list of the books (in alphabetical order by author last name) that are mysteriously missing from my shelf given that I love them so much. Feel free to send them my way if you happen to have a spare lying somewhere.

Fullmetal Alchemist (volumes 19-end) by Hiromu Arakawa
I started collecting these after college when I had a full-time job for a few months. I then stopped for reasons I care not to indulge, but I really want the rest of the series. Nothing can rub my feels the right way quite like Fullmetal Alchemist. Bonus: Hiromu Arakawa’s humor in the extras restores my faith in humanity mostly because she pokes fun at her own story and characters.

The Keisha’ra Omnibus by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
My favorites are Snakesharm and Wolfcry, and thematically the series as a whole is somewhat of a letdown, but I still want it because I love the concept of the world and teenaged nostalgia. I suppose I can write a whole post about this series, so keep a lookout for that.

Chime by Franny Billinsley
A young woman who thinks she’s a witch finds herself in an adventure that includes a magical swamp, a trial, a twin sister with secrets, and fanciful prose. It’s a wonder this isn’t on my shelves just yet. I think I swooned at the magical creatures, not because they’re overly romantic, but mostly because they’re so magical and clever.

Sailor Moon (volumes 8-end) by Naoko Takeuchi
Although I’m collecting these mostly for childhood nostalgia (Sailor Moon introduced me to anime), I am also anticipating the release of the new anime series coming out this summer. This is why the manga is being re-released, after all. Anyone else excited for the new anime series? Because I’m literally bouncing on my couch in excitement.

Arata: The Legend (volumes 3-end) by Yuu Watase
I only have the first two volumes on my shelves, but I read up to volume 10 from the library, and they’re fantastic.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
This book is mysteriously missing from my shelves as well since it pretty much embodies the epitome of everything I want to write. But telling you what I want to write means spoiling the story which I don’t want to do because this book is amazing and should be enjoyed spoiler-free. In fact, it’s best to go into it knowing very few details about it. All you need to know is it is set during World War II and is about two best friends, one is a pilot and the other is a spy.

10 Favorite Books on my Shelf

Just for fun, I made a list of my ten favorite books/graphic novels on my shelves (in alphabetical order by author last name) and why these are my absolute favorites. If you ask for a book recommendation, I will most likely recommend one or more of these. Otherwise, you can totally judge my reading habits by this list.

The Curse Workers Trilogy by Holly Black
Follows the adventures of young Cassel Sharpe as he discovers his family has been keeping a Really Awesome Secret from him most of his life. Features mob connections, lots of gloves, an east coast boarding school, and a main character who knows he makes dumb decisions but makes them anyway. This book is totally my thing.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Businessman Richard Mayhew does a kind act and finds himself wandering London Below with a girl named Door, a bodyguard named Hunter, sometimes with a man named the Marquee de Carabas, and the fantastical representation of parts of London. First read this when I was studying abroad in that very city, so it was very exciting to me when I first read it. Recently listened to the BBC radio adaption starring James McAvoy and Benedict Cumberbatch. Love both book and radio drama.

Hawkeye by Matt Fraction and David Aja
I’m collecting the issues, and they’re always fun to read. Drawn in a vaguely 60’s James Bond-style (David Aja) with lots of purple and sardonic humor (Matt Fraction). The issues are episodic, so it’s easy to follow along even if you miss a month. The adventures are more misadventures when Hawkeye isn’t being an Avenger. Trying to get my older brother to read it, but he’s not biting.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
There’s a lot in this book, but it’s essentially how a young teenager exceeds the expectations the people around her impose on her because she’s a pretty girl. She reveals at the beginning of the book that she is the criminal mastermind behind various socio-political pranks executed by a boys-only “secret” club. It’s been a while since I actually read it, but I still aspire to be that awesome when I grow up.

The Realm of Tortall Books by Tamora Pierce
I don’t have a completed series by Tamora Pierce, as I’m collecting all her books from second-hand stores. The world is essentially medieval European-esque with modern day views on human rights and sexuality. I’m a huge fan. My favorite series are The Protector of the Small (own 3/4) and Terrier (own 2/3).

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
I have the rest of the Harry Potter series as well (even have Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone — the British version with the adult cover because they have different covers for adults and children over there). However, this is the book that really got me reading. My fourth grade teacher read the first three Harry Potter books to us at the end of the day. At first, we were all kind of meh about it, but by the time we got through the first book, we were all hooked. I read Prisoner of Azkaban before my teacher read it aloud to us, and I followed Harry on his journey ever since.

Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
An old man joins the army and speculates about all the science that goes into his life, which is now a military space opera. He finds his should-be-dead wife in the third act. One of the first adult science fiction books I read, and one of the best I’ve read so far.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone/Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Laini Taylor essentially took dark myths about fairy tales, angels, and demons and made it her own in a modern-day urban fantasy. I love the magic system and the idea of Angels running on a dystopian government and the imagination behind all the chimeras. Most of all, I love the prose. I wrote down all the titles of the chapters of put them on the bulletin board above my desk because I couldn’t put the entire book up there. Ms. Taylor has also written two books for children (about faeries, they’re awesome, read them) and a collection of short stories called Lips Touch: Three Times (read that one too).

Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra
This is pretty much the graphic novel that got my interested in graphic novels. This is also the graphic novel that demonstrates that graphic novels do not have to be about superheroes. Obvious feminist/equal rights messages aside, this book is fantastic and funny and everything I want in a story about a post-apocalyptic road trip. People look at me weird for reading it, but they do not know the joys of Yorick Brown.

***note: I was torn between Saga and Y: The Last Man for Brian K. Vaughan because I love his graphic novels so. Given that Y: The Last Man is a completed series and my introduction into the land of graphic novels, I decided to go with that. But know that Saga is fantastic and imaginative and go read it right now because I think my heart just burst at the end of that last issue.

Arata: The Legend by Yuu Watase
I have to admit, the only reason I have the first two volumes of this series is because the back of the first volume mentioned a boy disguising himself as a girl to save his life. It’s usually a girl disguising herself as a boy to do something badass, but it’s the other way around for this. The story is much more engaging beyond this, but I love the reversal of this trope. It disappears for a while after volume 1, but it totally comes back in the best way possible. We also have two characters switching worlds, the Chosen One and His Epic Quest, and two main characters who are supposed to look alike but their hair color is totally different (why don’t people notice that?).

~

In the comments, tell me your favorite book(s) and why they are so.

The Blue Spirit of Avatar: The Last Airbender

Blue_Spirit_Zuko by Unodu via DeviantArt

Avatar: The Last Airbender aired on Nickelodeon from February 2005 to July 2008. The story follows the return of the Avatar, a young airbender named Aang, and his year-long quest to master all four elements before the Fire Nation’s final invasion of the world. He teams up with Katara, a waterbender of the Southern Water Tribe, her older brother and warrior Sokka, and the blind earthbender Toph. Along the way, he is pursued by Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation and later Zuko’s younger sister Azula.

In my humble opinion, one of the more notable characters in Avatar: the Last Airbender is  Zuko. Zuko’s arc is the most interesting because he starts as a spoiled exiled prince, becomes a wanted prince in hiding, and is finally a traitor of his home country, all the while dealing with some serious inner conflict regarding his issues with his family. His journey includes an alter ego known as the Blue Spirit, a masked ninja that appears whenever it is convenient. I have come to the conclusion that the Blue Spirit is more than just Zuko’s alter ego–it is a symbol. A symbol of what, though? So I took a look at some of the Blue Spirit’s more notable appearances to see what I can discover.

***spoilers ahead.***  Continue reading

Review – Fullmetal Alchemist

When I first heard of Fullmetal Alchemist (FMA) in high school, I was kind of skeptical. A year later, it was one of the best things on Adult Swim. While I can’t remember what initially got me interested, I can talk about the FMA anime series. Although this is just one of many forms a consumer can take in the FMA universe, this post will be limited to the series released in 2003. (In addition to the manga, a second anime series titled Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood was released in 2009.)

Warning: Minor Spoilers Ahead

Synopsis

Edward (right) and Alphonse (armor) Elric

FMA is based on the manga of the same name by Hiromu Arakawa. The first anime adaption, produced by Bones, aired October 2003 until October 2004 and totals 51 episodes.

Set in a world modeled after Industrial Revolution-era Europe where alchemy is the major science, brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric break the ultimate law and use alchemy to resurrect their dead mother. Their attempt fails, and as a result Alphonse loses his body, becoming a soul trapped in a suit of armor. Edward, meanwhile, loses his left leg and right arm, replacing them with automail, or mechanical prosthetic limbs. Acknowledging their mistake, the boys set out to find a way to restore their original bodies–focusing their efforts on finding the legendary Philosopher’s Stone, which can break the fundamental laws of alchemy.

Under the advice and guidance of Roy Mustang, Edward passes the certification exam to become the youngest State Alchemist in Amestris, earning the title of Fullmetal due to his automail limbs. With Ed as a State Alchemist, the Elric Brothers have access to the best resources their country can offer to help their search. However, State Alchemist certification comes with a price as Edward is now required to follow military orders, even when he doesn’t agree with them. Colonel Roy Mustang, Ed’s superior, often protects the brothers from the interest of high-ranking military officials and sends Ed on missions that might prove useful to his search.

The Elrics eventually realize something is happening in the higher ranks of the military, and it involves the Philosopher’s Stone and the mysterious Ishbalan War of Extermination that tore up the east several years ago.

Reaction

That’s Maes Hughes in the corner. This image embodies his character.

I can’t help but compare this series with the second anime. Although this first anime remains true to the source material until about halfway, it takes the time to develop several relationships before their Impactful Moments, most notably Nina Tucker and Maes Hughes. Nina is the daughter of an alchemist the Elrics study under for several episodes, and I appreciate seeing more of her in the original series. She calls the Elrics “big brother” and waits outside the government building when they take their certification exam. This last scene, I feel, spoke wonders to their relationship. Additionally, we see a lot more of Maes Hughes, and we could all use more Maes Hughes in our lives.

The relationship between Ed and Roy I find a bit more realistic in this series. Roy is more omnipotent than he appears in the other series, and he often blackmails Ed whenever Ed shows reluctance in accepting a mission. Ed is open about his dislike of Roy, but his attitude also shows that he accepts Roy as the best superior to have, despite his smugness. The power play between them is really entertaining.

There are several aspects of the world development that I like. For instance, alchemy seems more of a science. We see people studying it and not being good at it and struggling to understand concepts or theories. It also helps to see more objects associated with science and chemistry, such as beakers and bunsen burnders. Additionally, the absence of Father gives this series a more secular feel. Instead of the Ishbalan War being the whim of a wannabe-deity, the war was the result of a cultural conflict between the people of Ishbal and the people of Amestris. It makes that whole aspect of the story much more terrifying.

I also think the homunculi are handled better. They all have goals that they’re working towards, which makes them more believable as characters. How a homunculus is created is more interesting with them being the byproduct of failed human transmutation. So things get interesting toward the end when the Elrics encounter their mother’s likeness and are, in a sense, forced to face their mistake all over again.

From Left: Alphonse and Edward Elric, Roy Mustang, Riza Hawkeye

Despite these good qualities, I do have a few critiques, most notably in the second half. While I like how some things are handled, I do feel the second half gets a little confusing and fails to develop a few points introduced in the first half. For instance, Ed and Al’s father is referenced in the first half as being a great alchemist who studied with several other alchemists and helped to further their research. This suggests he was a big name in the alchemy field and contributed a fair amount to research. I was disappointed when we finally met him. His contribution to the story itself was quite minimal, and I was disappointed about that.

My biggest issue is probably the introduction of parallel worlds. The last ten episodes introduce the idea that our world (set in WWII) exists as a parallel with the world in the story. If you so choose, you can cross between the worlds through human transmutation. Personally, I think that if you’re going to introduce parallel worlds into your story, you need to plant the seed in the audience’s mind sooner and more often than what this series did. Images of atom bombs in the second episode is not enough of a seed for me. The audience should be able to anticipate something larger is going on.

Finally, I take issue with the creation of the Philosopher’s Stone. During the first half, the series suggests that it takes a LOT of materials and advanced alchemy to create the Stone, which is created in steps and requires a lot of research to get to the final points. When a stone is finally created, most of these materials are missing. Additionally, the power of the Stone decreases as the series progresses. This coincides with the series debunking the theory of Equivalent Exchange, which I feel shatters all the effort put into world building.

Final Thoughts

Would I recommend Fullmetal Alchemist to others? Yes, absolutely. Japanese-style storytelling coupled with an alternate Industrial Revolution-era setting make for an engaging experience. The anime balances the darkness of the story’s themes with comedic moments and well-done action sequences. Whether you choose to watch with English subtitles or with English dubbing, you’re in for a real treat.

Bookshelf – Netflix Instant

Redirection and Reorganization

So I’ve been doing some thinking about this blog and I’ve come to the decision that, given that this is called “Overcrowded Bookshelves,” I don’t talk a lot about the books on my shelves.

On another note, I find myself in need of some mental stimulation in the form of: writing essays. Believe it or not, I think I miss writing essays. The difference between writing essays for school and writing essays for myself, apart from them not being officially graded, is that I can choose the subject material. I will not be limited to Neo-Victorian poetry or Shakespearean sonnets or, somebody help me, Postmodern pre-Depression-era novels. Instead, I can write about something cool like mental disorders in Neon Genesis Evangelion and/or folk epic tropes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. This leads me to the following announcement:

For the next several months, the posts on this blog will be about the various media and titles that can be found on my shelves: books, ebooks, movies, video games, television shows, and graphic novels (foreign and domestic). This is my blog and I can do what I will with it.

“I’m aware that I’m mixing my metaphors horribly . . . But I don’t care. It’s my story and I get to make the rules.”
-Chime, Franny Billinsley

I hold the right to drop lame jokes and long stories with puny punchlines at random intervals, as well as post anything else I feel like on a day that is not Saturday. I say this so you’re not blindsided by a lame literary joke right after I pop some deep thoughts about Assassin’s Creed, or I’ve suddenly interviewed/written an article about a certain topic that only vaguely relates to literary analysis. Stuffy essays can only go so far, right?

In the meantime, I will also be fussing with the blog’s appearance until it’s something that I like and can be shown to an employer. This means that I will be fussing with the tagging and category systems as well. I might also play around with the archives, so if posts randomly disappear, I already know they’re gone. Don’t worry about it.

Any suggestions for the look or possible future essays? Let me know in the comments!