another poem of the gifts

A Thanksgiving-themed scribble modeled after a poem of the same name by Jorge Luis Borges.

Praise to the Lord, our loving and creating Abba,

For songs that paint the air
with blossoms of colors no earthly eye has seen
but the heart feels as tangibly as a bouquet--

For languages unfamiliar to our ears and tongues
and the smiles that transcend them
rendering words useless or unnecessary--

For solitude, for silence,
a spider's thread-width connection to the Divine
strengthened by a moment's pondering of the soul...


Songs of Willow Frost

by Jamie Ford

from the back cover
Seattle, 1934: Twelve-year-old William Eng, a Chinese American boy, has lived at Sacred Heart Orphanage ever since his mother was carried away from their small apartment five years ago. But now William, in a rare visit to the movies, has glimpsed an actress on the silver screen who goes by the name of Willow Frost. Struck by her features, William is convinced that she is his mother. Determined to find her, William escapes from Sacred Heart with his friend Charlotte. The pair navigate the streets of Seattle, where they must not only survive but confront the mysteries of William's past and his connection to Willow Frost...a woman whose story is far more complicated than any fantasy portrayed onscreen.

my rating

my review
This book will tear your heart into tiny little pieces and then toss them in the air, one at a time, like rose petals, so that each time you think, "but I still have the rest of the pieces here, so it can't be all bad..." until there's nothing left but the tiniest shred of hope, and somehow that's still enough.

While I wasn't a huge fan of the structuring of the novel (not to mention the shredding of my heart), I gained from Songs of Willow Frost a fictional story of a very real place with very real people who may very well have lived parallel lives to those in the book. And that, I think, is very important (apparently I like the word "very" today).

To borrow words from myself in my review of Because We AreThere was no pity, no place for it, only a strong sense of what it is to be human and to live on this earth.

Songs of Willow Frost: A Novel


Fancy Pants

by Cathy Marie Hake

from the back cover
When "Big Tim" Creighton spies the mincing fop headed toward Forsaken Ranch, he is appalled. Thankful his boss isn't around to witness the arrival of his kin, Tim decides he'll turn "Fancy Pants" Hathwell into a man worthy of respect.

Lady Sydney Hathwell never intended to don men's attire, but when her uncle mistakenly assumed she was a male, the answer to her problems seemed clear. Her disguise as "Syd" was meant to be temporary...but the arranged marriage she's fleeing, her uncle's attitude toward the fairer sex--and her own pride--compel her to continue the guise far longer than she had planned.

my rating

my review
If Mulan were re-written as a Christian historical western romance, it would look something like Fancy Pants. For me, this really is a hit-or-miss genre--if it's one of your favorites, I think you'll really enjoy this book. I'll be frank, though: I didn't like it.

To its credit, Fancy Pants is a light, entertaining read, and I often didn't want to put it down. But the book-review-blog side of my brain constantly fought to tear the poor novel apart, even as the cheesy romantic portion (however tiny it may be) devoured it hungrily. So you'll have to excuse me while I humor my analytical self, since this is, after all, a book review blog (with the occasional poem. or photo. or... ok, let's be honest, I'm not really sure what to call this little corner of the Internet).

The one detail I cannot get over: Sydney cuts her hair to just-below-shoulder length, then six inches are chopped off her remaining ponytail, and finally, her hair is curled and tied back in a ribbon. All within about three weeks. I've decided that either a) she is part giraffe, or b) her superhuman power is fast-growing hair.

Ok, ok, I'll sum up the rest of my long-winded tirade in one tidy little paragraph. This book has an unrealistic and overly cheesy conversion scene (when I stopped thinking too hard I saw a tiny spark of beauty in it...), it's far too predictable, and the farm hands acted like puppies. Or sheep. But definitely not free-thinking human individuals. (ta-da! One paragraph. I'm done now.)

Fancy Pants (Only in Gooding, #1)


The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1)

by Patrick Rothfuss

from the back cover
My name is Kvothe. I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during the day. I have talked to gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.

You may have heard of me.

So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature--the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man's search for meaning in this universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.

my rating

my review
This book is so many things, packed full of action, emotion, and just pure raw humanity, with a heavy dose of wit throughout. And although Kvothe seems at times (ok, most of the time) obnoxiously haughty, his excessive pride and blind self-assurance leaves him flat on his back on multiple occasions. Granted, he is only 15 for most of this 722-page behemoth (and this is book one!).

I avoided this novel despite its many raving reviews for quite some time for fear that it would be too dark--the story of a hero of questionable, perhaps villainous, character. But it's far too scintillating and witty for that, and Kvothe is most certainly not villainous. Of course it does have its full share of sorrowful, fearful, vengeful--dark--moments, they just don't hopelessly overwhelm the plot.

Despite Kvothe's wry, independent spirit, he does have a few close friends who bring even more color to the story. Simmon and Wilem are always there to lean on--and to give terrible advice only teenaged boys could imagine useful--mysterious Denna provides a thread of hopeful romance, and the wisp that is Auri holds an all-important joyfully innocent perspective.

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1)