My Goodreads Quotes

Allison’s quotes

"Don't you think it's rather nice to think that we're in a book that God's writing? If I were writing a book, I might make mistakes. But God knows how to make the story end just right--in the way that's best for us."
Do you really believe that, Mother?" Peter asked quietly.
Yes," she said, "I do believe it--almost always--except when I'm so sad that I can't believe anything. But even when I don't believe it, I know it's true--and I try to believe it."— E. Nesbit

Monday, September 28, 2015

Review: I Will Praise You in the Storm, by Danny L Deaubé

"I Will Praise You in the Storm," by Danny L Deaubé

This book covers a period from 1966 to 2008. It is an account of the lives of Stephen and Holly Deaubé and their family, beginning at birth and ending in glory. Each was born with the same rare but fatal liver disease. Honest and sometimes graphic, it deals with the everyday joys, heartaches, and struggles that accompany children with liver disease. The landscape is constantly changing, covering a large spectrum of emotions. This story describes in detail the trials and struggles as they occurred, with an honest assessment of their thoughts as they responded to pain, suffering, and death. The book chronicles a journey of faith, beginning from infancy to its final conclusion in God's sovereign will.
 Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is a sad story.

I know that sounds trite and obvious.  If you’ve read the synopsis, you can see it coming.  But I’ll warn you anyway: this is a sad, sad story.

It is the story of Holly and Stephen Deaubé, who, while very young, were diagnosed with the same fatal liver disease.  I Will Praise You in the Storm follows their lives through diagnosis to their eventual death.

I find that I’m really struggling to review this one.  If I measure its value by the number of tissues I used during it, this one would merit a full five stars.  I would say something to the effect of the quality of the writing, but I actually didn’t notice the writing at all in the course of reading it.

Suffice it to say that this is a book about loss.  And it is, throughout, a book about how we can praise God in the worst times of our lives.

Before I read this, I was fairly certain that I liked sad stories.  After all, I counted Les Miserables and Hamlet among my favorites, and those hardly end well, do they?  These stories all have something in common, though.  They’re fictional.  They’re not, in the traditional sense, real.

Real sad stories are harder.  I’m not sure I like them as much.  But stories about someone who goes through a sad, heart-wrenching time, and comes through, and finds a meaning for that sadness?  Yes.  I like those, too.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Happy Birthday, Art of Storytelling!

*blows noisemaker*

Happy birthday, little blog!  It has been exactly one year since the first post.  Between then and now, I've learned so much about writing, and also a little about blog design, which is why the Art of Storytelling has a brand new look!  Shout-out to Hannah Williams for artistically critiquing the header.  It looks much better after her advice.

For those of you who are from the year 2035, when I'm a famous author, and are stalking my childhood blog, don't fear.  It always bothers me when a blogger announces that they've changed their look, but you can't remember what their old look was.  Here, for reference, is an old picture:

I think it looks much better now.

My first year of blogging has been made wonderful by so many different people.  I would like to thank Hannah Williams, Ghost Ryter, and Clara Diane Thompson for helping out so much.  And I would like to thank all of you, dear readers!  You are what make writing worthwhile.

And on that topic...

The 2015 Blogger Awards are just around the corner!  I hope to expand the event this year, so we're looking for more judges.  If anyone with a functional blog who can commit to the series wants to participate, please e-mail me at

I think I'll eat cake now to celebrate.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Praying Mantis and the Spider

Look, Mom!  Two posts in one week.


This evening, I was sitting at my desk, working away at my current work-in-progress.  It is my second entry for Rooglewood Press's Five Enchanted Roses, and it is giving me no little grief.  It's about a magic herb that grows in mountain caves and sends people to sleep... except that the herb never quite found its way into the plot, and seeing as it was the key Sleeping Beauty element, my retelling is progressing slowly.  So far I have a castle-full of people exacting halfhearted political revenge and not much else.  So I was reasonably open to the possibility of being completely distracted from it.

My desk, for the record, is planted firmly in front of a window so I can look outside at the twenty-foot myrtle tree in our garden while I work.  But why this exposition is necessary... well, you'll see.

So my heroine had the missing prince locked in her root cellar, and she was trying to explain precisely why her family kidnapped him.  And I was bored.  And as I glanced out the window, I noticed movement in the myrtle tree.  Something large was half-hidden by the last deep-pink blossoms... and for all that I searched, I could not see what it was!

My heroine and the missing prince continued squabbling endearingly, but my attention was caught up in the mysterious movement in the myrtle tree.  As the hero and heroine resolved their argument, something half-fell out of the myrtle tree and writhed, dangling, in its branches.

And I couldn't see what it was, because I was twenty feet away.  So, naturally, I abandoned my heroine and the missing prince to their argument and fetched a pair of binoculars.  I gazed out the window... and it was a praying mantis!

Like such
Unlike this noble specimen, however, this praying mantis was half-tangled in a spider's web.  Suspended over a treacherous twenty-foot gulf, the praying mantis struggled and struggled, but he could not free himself from the web!

It was heartbreaking.  So naturally, I called for my dad to come see it.  What followed were several minutes of him fiddling with the binoculars and me saying, "If you look at the tallest branch and go down a bit, then to the right some, then sort of up, around that one flower, you should be able to see it."  I shan't recount it all here.  Suffice it to say that he couldn't see it.

Dissatisfied, I returned to my work-in-progress and managed a good minute and a half of solid work before my mom came in.  I screeched for her to come see it, and she, mercifully, could interpret my directions and actually saw the the praying mantis's struggle.

"But I don't know how to save it!" I said.  "It's right at the top of the tree."

"Well, we have a wiffle ball in the garage," she said.

"But what if I kill it?"

My sister pragmatically said, "It'll die anyway if you don't."

Well.  We can't have that, now, can we?

Armed with a wiffle ball and a camera, I sallied forth to my side yard in the dying light.  I noticed that the myrtle tree was a lot taller than it was from my window.  Definitely more like thirty feet.

And it was crawling with big, brown, hairy spiders.

The myrtle tree in my side yard
I should mention something at this point.  I'm funny about spiders.  Like-- near phobic funny about spiders.  So I was very unwilling to approach the myrtle tree.

But the praying mantis was in much worse condition than I!  Who knew how long his struggles could last before the spiders feasted upon him?

So I worked up my courage and threw the wiffle ball.

This is a wiffle ball, by the way.
It missed the tree completely.  Dodging spiderwebs, I fetched it back and threw it again.

It missed.  Again.  But-- and this is important!-- it missed on the other side of the tree!  That, dear reader, is progress.

The next attempt wasn't quite so good.  The wiffle ball got stuck in the tree.

The wiffle ball

A close-up of the wiffle ball.  (No, I don't have shaky hands.)
It was getting dark. So I appealed to a higher authority and went to get my mom.

I have an awesome mom.  She came out with the branch cutter.

It's pretty much a machete on a stick.  It does not, to the best of my knowledge, glow blue in the presence of orcs.  But hey, still works.
She reached vainly for the web locking the praying mantis in place.  But alas, my petite mother was too short to reach it.  So she went to get a chair, because she's great that way.

We returned ready to rescue.  But the praying mantis was gone.

I have no idea what happened to it.  I can only assume that our rescue attempts provided so much entertainment for the spiders that it gave the praying mantis time to escape.  I don't know that we can exactly take credit.  We knocked the wiffle ball down and came back inside.

I didn't finish my work-in-progress.  Instead, I wrote this down for you.

 And then I finished my work-in-progress*, because some things you just have to do.

*Not finished-finished.  Just finished the part I was working on today.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Fall Fun!

The thermometer hit 50 degrees last night.

I am a happy camper.  Fall is easily my favorite season, for the following reasons:

1. It's cool outside.  So much cooler than summer.  Crisp in the shade, warm in the sun.  What more can I ask?

1a. It's cool outside.

1b. It's cool outside.

1c. Can you tell that I love it being cool outside?

2. Fall has, quite frankly, the best holidays (except for Easter): Halloween and Thanksgiving.  For these holidays, my crazy relatives come visit, and we have a wonderful time.

And finally, 3: Fall is a time for new starts, and I've decided to try something new.  For November 2015, I'm doing Nanowrimo.  I'm participating under the name ARuvidich; please add me as your NaNo buddy!

I've chosen to write an idea that's been floating in my mind for a while now.  At least, I thought it was only a while; when I checked my notebook, it's been two years since I first conceived the idea.  It's time this got written.  So far it has the working title The Winter Court.  It's your average tale about the farmer who realizes he's a prince, and his uncle has stolen the throne.  But in the middle of a terrible war, is it morally acceptable to steal the throne back?  Although I've had the idea forever, it took a lot of its shape and themes from my philosophy class this summer.  I'm ready to write.

There was going to be more to this post, but it'll have to wait, because it's late, I'm tired, and I get to read out loud to my mom for a while before bed.  I'll conclude by saying that something special is happening in five days!  I won't say too much... but there's excitement ahead!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Catch for Me a Falling Star

Hello, readers!  I was going through some of my old work, and I found a short story I wrote last winter for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.  The prompt was to write a fantastical short story that was three thousand words or fewer.  I'm terribly fond of this short story, which draws on a lot of the fantasy I read as a youngster, so I am pleased to present it to you!

“Catch for Me a Falling Star,” by Allison Ruvidich

Everyone in the village came to see Levram the Magnificent and his Stupendous Display of Awesome Power—for the Low Price of Two Pennies for Adults and One for Children under Waist Height.  They sat on hay bales and leaned forward eagerly to watch the small man in garish clothes conjure balls, bells, and once, the word bellicose on a slip of paper in a locked box.  No one knew what bellicose meant, but it was impressive.
            “Behold!” Levram cried, pointing.  “My next assistant!  Your name, my dear boy?”
            “And where are you from, Master Terrence?”
            “Don’t know where you’re from, you’ll never get home!”
            “Sandershire,” the boy said quickly.
            “Lovely place!  All right, Terrence, because you’re from Sandershire, I’ll explain slowly.  Pass—ahem—PASS ME THE—“
            He pulled streams of silk from the rags of beggars.  A flock of doves fluttered from the rafters to alight on his outspread arms.  He juggled blazing torches and apologized prettily when one missed and landed on Goodwife Lettie’s skirt.
            As the shadows in the barn deepened and the torches throbbed with scarlet light, he readied his last trick: the Disappearance of Levram the Magnificent.
            “I only do this for you, ladies and gentlemen!” he cried.  “Only for the village of… of Lastershire!”
            While the crowd leaned forward on their bales, he screwed up his face in concentration.  A bang of smoke—he was gone.  Then hearty laughter all around when the audience turned to see him leaning in the doorway, smiling innocently.
            “And remember,” Levram cried, thrusting his hat out to accept pennies, “if anyone solves my tricks, they win all the pennies in the hat!”
            They guessed, of course.  But they knew the barn had no trapdoor, and it was unlikely he had an identical twin.  The idea that they had all dozed off briefly was proposed and discarded.  So they clapped one last time and shuffled off to their homes to sleep until dawn.
            When the last farmer rustled out, the manic gaiety drained from Levram’s face until he was a scrawny, underfed man in a ragged cloak.  Slowly, he stooped to gather up the balls and bells.
            “I know how you did it.”
            Levram glanced up, forcing the smile back to his face.  It was the small, freckled lad with dirty hands and dirtier hair.  He had bright, dark eyes that watched Levram carefully.
            “Terrence from Sandershire!” Levram exclaimed grandly.  “How are you, my dear boy?  Staying up late?”
            “I know how you did it,” Terrence said again.
            Levram’s eyes flickered.  “Did what—this?”  He held up his hand, and a smooth, faded wooden ball filled it.
            Terrence nodded.  “That and others.  The ball started in your left inside pocket.  When I first said I knew how you did it, you transferred it to your left outside pocket, I suspect through a secret flap.  Then, covering it with a cough, you moved it…”

“… and when I blinked, you dropped it into your hand,” Terrence finished.
            “Goodness,” Levram said, impressed.  “It might actually work.  How do you explain my disappearance?”
            Terrence barely hesitated.  “I can’t explain that yet, but—“
            Levram returned to packing his trunk, grunting as he went.
            Terrence scrambled after him.  “The ball was in your sleeve!  You fed the doves earlier, and they’re actually pigeons!  Bellicose means warlike, from the Roman goddess of war, Bellona, and it was written on the other side of the paper that you didn’t show us!”
            Levram chuckled and ruffled Terrence’s hair.  “Nice try, lad.  From your mucky palm, I predict you’ll do great things.  Just remember where you live next time.”  He hefted the trunk and was almost gone when Terrence said, “I’m not from anywhere.  And I can’t go home.”
            Levram looked back.  The boy’s face was so screwed up with misery that it turned to stone.
            “Please tell me how you did it,” he whispered.  “I have to know.”
            “I can summon balls, flames, and words,” Levram said gently.  “I can make people laugh, which is even greater than those.  But no magic can make you happy, Terrence.  You have to do that yourself.”
            He turned to go but hesitated.
            “I shouldn’t say this,” he said, embarrassed.  “But those tricks … I can do them because I’m a wizard.”

“And now, my last trick!” Levram cried, flinging out his arms so his tawdry cloak glittered.  “I shall make my apprentice, Terrence the Competent, disappear!  I do not perform this often, ladies and gentlemen, only for the village of…”
            “Anishire,” Terrence the Competent supplied.
            “Anishire, exactly!  First I shall cover him with a cloak—duck, boy—then I shall wave my hands—thrice—and he disappears!”
            Beneath the cloak, Terrence closed his eyes.  The wool scratched his face, but he ignored it.
            “It might take a moment!”
            Terrence reached out to grasp the possibilities, blindly searching through the darkness behind his eyes.  Some didn’t budge beneath his hands, like the ones for births and deaths.  He shoved aside the threads of fate like Levram had taught him, feeling about for one in which he’d stepped out for a breath of air and was only now coming back in—through the doorway.
            “He’s taking his sweet time about it, but he’ll be gone soon, ladies and gentlemen!”
            He couldn’t find the right thread—
            “Terrence.”  Levram’s voice was soft.  “Grasp the thread.”
            Instinctively, his fingers curled around something invisible and caught it firmly.  Levram smiled as the cloak wafted to the ground and Terrence stumbled into the doorway.
            “Terrence the Competent!” he thundered.  Then, softly: “Nice job, boy.”

Terrence packed up the balls and bells while the crowd shuffled out, as he always did.  Levram rinsed the chalk from the floor, blotting out the precise, even beautiful patterns.
            “Not bad,” he said, whisking the pennies into a purse he kept hidden in the southern jungles.  “Not perfect, either.  What could have gone better?”
            “Juggling,” Terrence said ruefully.  “We’re lucky Goodman Foster has sharp reflexes or I might’ve burned down the barn.”
            “Yes, your juggling’s terrible,” Levram conceded.  “Besides that.”
            “I slipped in the Thousand Eels trick,” Terrence said, examining tiny teeth marks at the base of his thumb.  “More like Thousand Earthworms, too.”
            “Besides that.”
            Terrence sighed.  “I couldn’t grasp the thread.”
            “You’ve had nearly six months of training now.  You’re bright, you’re quick—so why are the threads giving you so much trouble?”
            “I don’t know,” Terrence said mulishly.  “I reach for them, and I think—this is silly, then they’re gone.  When I take my time, they’re always there, but—I can’t believe in them when I can’t see them.”
            “Terrence, my lad,” Levram said, not unkindly.  “One of these days you’ll have to realize that things don’t always make sense.  Sometimes the ball isn’t up the sleeve, but you have to trust that it’s there somewhere.”
            Terrence nodded guardedly.
            Dissatisfied, Levram said, “What we do is magic, Terrence.  You can’t have magic without belief.”  He smiled.  “But I shouldn’t keep you when you have a full night ahead of you.”
            Terrence almost groaned.  He’d been Levram’s apprentice for months before Levram first mentioned a wizard school.
            “Of course there’s a school for wizards!” he said.  “And a union, and a board of, but they’re quite useless.  I’m only training you so you’re good enough to go where they can teach you properly.”
            “When can I go?” Terrence asked eagerly.
            “Whenever you like, provided you write an essay on the wizard that most inspires your work—me, for example—and we have to scrape together fifty coppers for admission, then they have to accept you, which usually takes six to twelve business months.  Also, you have to be fourteen.”
            “But that’s ages away!” Terrence cried.  “I’ll grow old and die before then!”
            “No, but I might, if you keep harping on like this.”  Levram hesitated.  “There is one other way.”
            Levram leaned forward.  “You could catch a falling star.”
Terrence snorted.  “Falling stars are only bits of space that catch fire flying through the atmosphere.  They rarely land on earth, and they’d shear your hand off if you caught them.”
            “Have a little faith!” Levram protested.  “You can always wait until you’re fourteen.  It’s supposed to be a divine symbol of favor from the heavens.  Really it just means you want it badly enough to stand in fields for days, waiting.  And it means you’re lucky, too.  Luck is important for wizards.”
            “It’s impossible,” Terrence said stubbornly.
            “No, it’s not.”  Levram drew a package from his inner mid-left pocket.  Reverently, he unwrapped it to reveal a small, ugly rock.  It was smooth but pocked with bubbles of the faintest, oiliest shade of silver-grey.
            “This is the shooting star I caught that let me go to the academy when I was thirteen years old.”
            “No way you caught that.”
            “I did.”
            “In your hand?”
            “The very one you see before you.  And if I could do it, then so can you.”
            So Terrence set out to catch a falling star.  Which was not, he reflected, nearly as interesting as he’d thought.
            The night was bitterly cold and clear.  The stars were so crisp and bright in their dark settings that Terrence almost fancied he could count them.  He settled on the boundary between fields and waited for the astronomically small chance that a meteor might land in this cornfield and that he, Terrence the orphan, might somehow contrive to catch it.

“This last trick I only do for the village of Lessenshire because you have been such a wonderful audience,” Terrence said.  “It is the Disappearance of Terrence the Profound!”
            He waited, as he had all evening, for thunderous applause, but the audience only watched him restlessly.  It set him on edge, but then, everything did when Levram was gone.
            He’d announced his departure a week ago.
            “I won’t be gone long,” he said, smothering a smile at Terrence’s dismay.  “Just a few days to buy some supplies, check up on some friends, drop a few names in the right company.  It’s only two years until you’re at the academy!  It’s never too early to start smoothing your way!”
            “Unless I catch a falling star,” Terrence reminded him.  He spent hours each night alone in the fields, watching the frustratingly stable heavens.
            “Unless you catch a falling star.”  Levram smiled.  “I’ll be back in a few days with money to get you out of the stocks if necessary.”  He’d ruffled Terrence’s hair and left.
            Now Terrence reached for the strands of fate just beyond his grasp and felt sweat break out on this brow.  It shouldn’t be this hard!  Levram could pluck them like harp strings, tweaking the world into a shape he desired through small changes, like cooking breakfast or waterproofing a tent.  But Terrence couldn’t do something simple like vanishing and reappearing without major effort.
            After painful moments, his fingers hooked around a strand, and he barely caught it.  He gave it a firm tug and opened his eyes to see the empty stage and the backs of the villagers’ heads.
            “Thank you very much,” he said grandly, but no one clapped.  He dropped his hands to his sides.  “This is usually where I stifle the overwhelming applause.”
            At last that coaxed a reaction from them.  But not the one he’d wanted or expected.
            A pale, trembling woman with wild eyes pointed at him and said, “Witchcraft.”

Terrence lay very still in the darkness and breathed shallowly, because everything hurt.  The jutting edge of a brick served him as a pillow, but it only agitated the rolling throb in the depths of his brain.  He lay still and didn’t move or think, because thinking provided no more comfort than opening his eyes.
            He should never have performed without Levram.  And he should never have done another trick after his first received such a lukewarm reaction.  What had Levram said about laughter being the hardest magic?  But that counted as thinking, and he wasn’t ready for that yet.
            The metal grate creaked open.  A voice that sounded neither nice nor helpful said, “Get up, wizard.”
            “I would,” Terrence said.  “But I can’t stand because, to recap, you hit my legs after you hit my arms but before you hit my face.”
            Hands grabbed his shoulders and pulled him to his feet.  He investigated the possibilities of collapsing, but they carried him away from the hard ground.  When he managed to raise his head, he saw they’d come to a study that might have been warm and comfortable if the pale, wild-eyed woman hadn’t been crying so loudly over something he couldn’t see.
            “Wizard,” said the well-dressed mayor behind the desk.  He might’ve been nice-looking if fear and grief hadn’t stamped his face into a permanent scowl.  “Come see what your mischief caused.”
            The men holding Terrence pulled him forward until he could see what the woman was crying over.
            It was, or had been quite recently, a little girl.  She had the sweet, good-tempered face adults favored, but it was blank, and her fair hair was green and grimy with pondweed.  Her lips were slightly parted like she breathed, except she didn’t.
            “We found her after you came,” the mayor said.  His voice shook, and Terrence wondered distantly if she was his daughter.  “We’ll give you one chance to reverse your crime.  Bring her back.”
            Terrence didn’t reach for the threads.
            “I’m sorry,” he said, his voice breaking.  “But magic can’t stop people from dying.  Otherwise everyone would be wizards.”
            The pale woman wailed, “I told you!  They’re evil!  Drown him like he did h-h-her!”
            Terrence started to gasp, but they were already binding his wrists and ankles.  They pulled him from the study and out into air that threatened snow.  The sky was fading to twilight, and he wildly thought that if this took much longer, they would prevent him from catching his star.
            He saw a rush of green, and water closed over his head.

His clothes were winter-heavy, and they dragged him down to the soft silt.  Great, Terrence thought.  When they fish out my body, they’ll be able to tell I was innocent.  He sealed his lips and closed his eyes, but water filled his nose and ears.  His lungs creaked.
            Dimly, he stretched out for the threads, but they eluded him as always.  Not now! he thought desperately, and his mind cried out for Levram.  I trust you, I promise, but please save me now.  He struggled to move his limbs, but he was buried in the muck at the bottom of the millpond.
            The threads…  Distantly, he reached for them, and they trembled beneath his fingers.  This one would sour the villagers’ milk, and that one would put out every candle within a mile.  Neither could help him.  He despaired, sinking deeper into the mud.
            Then, clearly, he heard an amused voice say, “You can’t have magic without belief, Terrence.”
            Levram! he screamed.  I need you now!
            “So believe.”
            Terrence let go.  He let the threads spiral freely beneath his fingertips, and he swept his hand out in a glimmering arc that struck all of them at once in a jangling, melodious stream.  And because Levram was only a moment away, he opened his mouth and took a deep breath.
            “Hasty,” Levram said when he pulled him, choking, from the millpond.  “We’re creating magic, Terrence.  You can’t rush magic.”
            Terrence sobbed.  “Levram!  You’re back!”
            Levram smiled.  “It’s the oddest thing.  I was chatting with one of the professors when I remembered that the mule threw a shoe last week so I couldn’t have gone to the capital if I tried.”
            Terrence threw his head back and laughed until he cried.

The sausages snapped and sizzled, flames licking the skillet.  Terrence huddled beneath his blanket, as close to the fire as he dared.
            “Sausages are ready,” he said, but Levram didn’t move.  He sat hunched over, his face lined with thought.  “Levram?”
            “I’ll get them in a minute,” he said.  “That’s the handy thing about magic.  It’s hard to burn food.”  He fumbled in his inner mid-left pocket.
            “What is it?” Terrence asked.  Levram didn’t answer.  Instead, he tossed something shining and grey to Terrence, who barely caught it.
            “It’s your fallen star,” he said, puzzled.  “Why give it to me?”
            “We’ll have to leave early tomorrow if we’re going to get to the capital in time for admissions,” Levram said, ignoring him.  A strange smile bubbled to the surface despite his attempts to smother it.
            “Admissions?  But I’m not fourteen.”
            “You’ve caught a falling star, haven’t you?  Just now in your hand?”
            “Yes, but—you’re joking,” Terrence said, looking hard at Levram.
            “What did I tell you?”  Levram laughed.  “It’s to see if you’re stubborn enough to stand outside at night for hours at a time in the hope of something impossible.  If you can do that, you can be a wizard.  That’s what my mentor did to me, and that’s what they do to every student who earns his way to the academy before he’s fourteen by right of falling star.”
            Terrence stared at the lump of rock in his hand and thought on his hopes and dreams.  “So… you can’t catch a falling star?”
            Levram’s smile faded.  “Of course you can, Terrence.  Maybe not today.  Maybe not yesterday.  But perhaps… perhaps tomorrow.”
            “I’m going to be a wizard,” Terrence whispered.  His hand closed around the lump of star-rock.
            “Probably,” Levram agreed as the boy laughed.  “We still need the fifty coppers.  And if you’re going to write a paper about me, you’d best get to it…”

            But Terrence was too glad to be teased now.  He tossed the rock so it sparkled in the firelight before landing in his hand, and his laugh was so strong and trusting that it shook the stars.

(And at 2,987 words, I barely squeaked it in!)

(For those who are curious, the title is a non-deliberate misquotation of a poem by John Donne.)

Friday, September 4, 2015

Nightstand Books: September

Happy September, readers! I'm wearing a sweater, drinking hot cider, and gazing out my window into a sea of burgundy leaves... no, I'm kidding. It's 85 degrees, and even though I'm still wearing a sweater, it's decidedly less romantic.

Here is this month's Nightstand Books, inspired by Jenelle Schmidt and D J Edwardson.

First we have Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen. For the majority of my adolescence, I staunchly disliked Jane Austen-- then I read Persuasion, and I loved it. Really, I think it's such an easier starting point into her novels than Pride and Prejudice (where I started). I decided to read this book because of this amazing article by Rosamund Hodge.

Next comes Beauty, by Robin McKinley. The theme of this month seems to be books-by-authors-whom-I-vowed-to-dislike. I tried Beauty around the same time I tried Pride and Prejudice and, unlike the rest of the world, could. Not. Stand it. So now, a little older, I'm giving it another try. Don't make me regret it, Beauty...

I'm reading The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck, for school. It's one of my Awesome Dad's favorites, and one that I was quite sure I would not like. I'm still not in love with the style, but it is largely proving me wrong! Happy days.

Going Postal, by Sir Terry Pratchett, is one of my favorite books in the world. I'm reading it aloud to my Wonderful Mother.

The Lives of the Saints, edited by Michael Walsh: I'm being confirmed in the spring, so I need to pick a patron saint. I always assumed that I would choose Saint Thomas Moore, but now I'm not so sure. So I'm frantically skimming this book, trying to find my ideal saint.

And finally, my Bible. My progress is still stubbornly arrested by Wisdom of Solomon. Alas!

That seems to be all this month. What are you reading?