Infinites: A Poem

When the world speaks of infinities,

they speak of vast distances and gaping heights.

They speak of endless oceans filled with the salt

of fossilized stones crushed over eons of years.

They speak of mountains that rise so high,

no single human-dead or alive- can claim to see the peak.

They speak of numbers so large and limitless

that the mind boggles trying to find a matching word.

 

But when I speak of infinities I speak of little miracles,

humble though they may sound as they roll off my tongue.

I count in seconds, minutes and hours. Because they’re precious.

I have plans. Oh Darling, if only you could hear my plans!

They span years and decades and centuries and lifetimes,

but, let’s not talk about those infinities, Darling.

Let’s not speak about the impossible and the unreachable.

 

Just think of my hand holding yours for the next moment or two.

Think of my eyes staring boldly into yours for a few seconds.

And now stretch all those magical moments and seconds

for as long as you could possibly imagine, no end in sight.

And that,  Darling… that is true infinity.  

 

My love for you is not a burning fire that consumes with passion.

If my love for you is like a flower blooming sweet in a midnight garden,

you are the rich, earthy soil. Mysterious and pungent and heady.

Your love nourishes me and I bloom as your love surrounds me.

Later, I will wither and spindle into tiny, tiny fragments of flower

And then I too shall nourish you, truly become a part of you.

 

We speak of infinities and we speak of magic as if they’re beautiful,

impossibly foolish dreams children chase after like faeries in the dark.

And is there anything more beautiful, more foolish, more innocent than love?

The world shall speak of endless deserts with orange sands,

and leave magic to charming gypsies who murmur cants under breath.

But Darling, you are my magic. You are my infinite.


There, that is my attempt at a romantic poem. Although, I fear I put in  more over-dramatization and forbidden love than I intended to in this piece.

But s

Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover: A Book Review

“When given the opportunity, Society will happily cannibalize itself.”

Book: Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover (The Rules for Scoundrels #4)

Author: Sarah MacLean

Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover (The Rules of Scoundrels, #4)

Blurb:

She is the most powerful woman in Britain,
A queen of the London Underworld …
But no one can ever know.

He is the only man smart enough to uncover the truth,
Putting all she has at risk . . .
Including her heart.

The fourth book in New York Times bestselling author Sarah MacLean’s incredible Rule of Scoundrels/Fallen Angels series. These four dark heroes will steal the hearts of their heroines and the readers alike! This is the last in the Rules of Scoundrels series—Chase’s story

By day, she is Lady Georgiana, sister to a Duke, ruined before her first season in the worst kind of scandal. But the truth is far more shocking—in London’s darkest corners, she is Chase, the mysterious, unknown founder of the city’s most legendary gaming hell. For years, her double identity has gone undiscovered . . . until now.

Brilliant, driven, handsome-as-sin Duncan West is intrigued by the beautiful, ruined woman who is somehow connected to a world of darkness and sin. He knows she is more than she seems and he vows to uncover all of Georgiana’s secrets, laying bare her past, threatening her present, and risking all she holds dear . . . including her heart.

My thoughts:

See, when I think of Regency Era books (Or Victorian or Lady-and-Lord books or whatever you call them), it’s hard for me to think about women empowerment and girl power. It’s not like the times were conducive to women’s rights: Women belonged to their husbands and fathers; they had no legal recourse if their ‘guardians’ were abusive. Furthermore, Pride and Prejudice captured an important truth about society’s expectations for the fairer half of nobility: One, they would marry well and two, they would stay pure (read: chaste) until they married. Any women who didn’t comply with their rigid expectations of morality and frigidness were marked as “loose women” and “whores”.

“But it was Eve who was vilified, never the serpent. Just as it was the lady who was ruined, never the man.”

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre- the books we consider classics for the time- don’t tell us what happens to the girls who fall through the cracks. Sure, they allude to all the Lydia Bennet’s who were not married to Wickham, but only briefly and never in very much detail. The heroines of the classics are always modest and chaste with pristine reputations. We are told they deserve love and happy-ever-afters with rich, titled husbands. Not much has changed in the world of literature since then;  we (by we I mean society) still have a morbid fascination with virginity in our leading female characters.

But Lady Georgiana is not a virgin. She’s beautiful, young, the daughter of a Duke- and she goes and ruins it all when she ‘ruins’ herself. at age 16. 10 years later, she realizes she can give her daughter respectability (and more chances to be happy) by marrying a peer. Although, she may be irreparably damaged in the eyes of some of the ‘Ton’, she still has her family, a large dowry, the goodwill of a man who owns 5 major newspapers and influence which she brandishes in the form of her alter-egos.

“Violence and sex were two sides of the same coin, were they not?”

Over the years , Lady Georgiana has cultivated a notorious alter-identity as an infamous London courtesan, Anna. The next part is what I like most about the story: She also happens to be Chase,the owner of an important London club. Thus, she has access to information about the gentry’s vices and she’s not afraid to blackmail them.

That is the concept of the book and I’m willing to like this book just based on it, but it does have its weak points.

For one, I am disappointed that Georgiana is a courtesan only in name. Since she’s only had sex once and it resulted in her daughter Caroline, she’s able to use the “I’m a moral woman who’s a fierce tiger when protecting my child” shield. It’s a very obvious manipulation of modern-day reader sensibilities and I kind of resent it. Georgiana is an exemplary example of the “virgin who made a mistake, but paid for it and bettered herself” trope and sometimes, I think that trope is more slut-shaming than “I’m a virgin so I’m better than you”one.

Secondly, the romance in this book was tepid. The major flaw was the characterisation of the love interest. Duncan West is not the kind of alpha-male I expect from this genre. That’s not to say I disliked him; he seemed genuinely concerned for his sister and Georgiana. He was a moderate, untempremental man who respected the choice his lady love made. However, when the author tried to make him a’nice guy’ and ‘practical’, he often came across as ‘passive’ and ‘easy to guilt trip’.  He does have the secrets and sob-story background that seems to be a pre-requisite in the romance genre. As a reader, I am so fucking glad we didn’t spend too much time waiting for him to “conquer his demons”.

This is not the kind of book that I can easily put into a bad box or a good box. I liked Georgiana and the concept so when I closed the book I was happy.  I liked the fact that the story was comprehensible even though I hadn’t read the previous books. If I had gone into the book expecting a great work of literature or an epic romance, I would have been bitterly disappointed. This book is one that will cleanse your palate after something heavy and serious. It has enough material for contemplation that it won’t make you feel completely frivolous. At the same time, it’s a historical romance- which by definition, is light and breezy.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

Mornings: A Collection of Poems

What do mornings and New Years have in common? Both are over-used poetic metaphors for new beginnings. However, it is (weirdly enough) my favorite time of days. Here are a collection of poetry drabbles about Mornings.


 

Stone hilled statues

With sleepy, mossy eyes.

Dream

Of chiseled eternities,

Time measured

Not in days or years

But in the smooth

Trickle of water

Against rough rock.

Faster than seconds,

Lasting longer

than an era of kings.

The stones watch

slow, sedentary lives

all seeing.


 

In a purple-gray mist,

hardy goats leap

their cloven feet

clinging to crevices

cleverly embedded

in sheets of stone.

Dawn rises

Slowly with a yawn,

Her orange hair

Glowing like a messy

Halo

Around her

And the goats.


 

Birds repeat the same

morning songs

over and over again.

The chirp of their

repetition.

A red-frocked, ribbon plaited

Innocence the world

heralds every morning.

Smelling of talcum powder

and rosy red cheeks.

It’s like the day

is new once more.


 

In a warm blanket embrace,

I fumble in the mornings.

To relentless cheer

I hear in my ears

But do not feel in my heart.

Underneath my neck

I can feel the softness

Of pillows still dreaming.

Yet further ‘neath

Is the insistent vibration

which won’t let me

close my eyes. Back

to another reality.

It tells me it’s time to leave

the blankets and their heat,

face the crisp cold

face the music

and the real world.


 

Mornings are quiet affairs.

With the world still dreaming

And you sipping your tea.

Pursing through papers

As you absent-mindedly

Note that much has changed

Since you woke and did

the Same thing Yesterday.


 

You too

I know I’ve said it before a million times: You too.

“Have a good evening.”
“You too.”

“Take care of yourself.”
“Stay safe.”

Somehow, “You too” with a smile seems like a better alternative than repeating “Have a good evening” or “Take care of yourself”. Instead of sounding like a repetitive, insincere pop-song, “You too” is shorter, more sincere and -even if it doesn’t sound that way- more original.

you too

I’ve used the phrase so much it’s pretty much become automatic.

“Good luck.”
“You too.”

“Hope you enjoy the holidays.”
“You too.”

“Nobody wants you here.”
“You too.”

“Merry Christmas.”
“You too.”

And while it’s a little dubious whether “You too” is an adequate response for the last two, most of the time, “You too” is pretty convenient.

Except for when it’s not…

A friend told me about the time someone told her “Happy Birthday” and she said “You too” back. I almost choked myself on my laughter. I think I remember thinking something across the lines of “I’m so glad I’ve never done that.”

But then, a couple of days ago someone texted me “I love you.”
Guess what I replied?
Yep, I said, “You too.”

I was so mortified; I didn’t know what to say. I wondered if there was any way to make what I replied more acceptable sounding, but I really couldn’t think of anything.

On a scale of “I know” to “I love you too”, “You too” is closer to the “I know “side of the spectrum in how not to respond when someone declares their love.

So while, “You too” is convenient, simple, beautiful and friendly- I think I’m going to abstain for a while.

On that note, happy holidays. If you celebrate, I hope your Christmas was merry.  For the rest of you, Happy New Year.

Top 5 of 2015

2015 was a great year for YA lit. There were a lot of fresh debuts. Several established YA authors like Leigh Bardugo started new series. I’m trying to think up a good cliche for how happy we readers were. Clams? Pigs in mud? I don’t think I have a good analogy for this…

At the beginning of July, I posted my half-way through 2015 list.  I found it interesting to look back at it. Some of the books have been replaced, some remained. This time, I didn’t sort my books into categories. I just chose the 5 books I thought were best overall. I tried putting it into order, but honestly- it was so painful, I gave up.  The only order it’s in right now is by colour of cover (feel free to laugh) .My list is fantasy-heavy this year. I don’t know if I have a slight bias, or if young adult fantasy this year was exceptional.

My list is fantasy-heavy this year. I don’t know if I have a slight bias, or if young adult fantasy this year was exceptional.

But here’s my list:

  1. Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)
  2. The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2)
  3. The Fixer
  4. The Start of Me and YouA Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)

Click on the covers to read my reviews. What was your favorite book this year?

Margaret Atwood Quotables

I love that wonderful rhetorical device, “a male friend of mine.” It’s often used by female journalists when they want to say something particularly bitchy but don’t want to be held responsible for it themselves. It also lets people know that you do have male friends, that you aren’t one of those fire-breathing mythical monsters, The Radical Feminists, who walk around with little pairs of scissors and kick men in the shins if they open doors for you. “A male friend of mine” also gives—let us admit it—a certain weight to the opinions expressed.

It’s been two years since I began this blog. At that point, it was supposed to be about Young Adult Dystopian books and although I’ve stuck to the young-adult theme, I’ve moved past the dystopian part.

Maragret Atwood is most notable for her book, the Handmaiden’s tale. It’s a very creepy dystopia where women are sold to rich men for reproductive purposes. In the Handmaiden’s Tale world, women have no function other than to serve as concubines. (Talk about objectification).

I wouldn’t consider it YA by any stretch of the imagination, but it is the bread of dystopia. Staple literature which is pretty satisfying.

Plus, Margaret Atwood is a pretty interesting person. Besides being a novelist, she’s also a poet, a business-woman and environmental activist. Clearly she’s a Renaissance woman.

However, I’ve also associated her with the word feminism (Although when I looked her up today, I learned that she’s actually said she’s not a feminist writer). It’s probably because of this quote:

Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.

And this one:

We still think of a powerful man as a born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly.

And this one:

A man is just a woman’s strategy for making other women.

I was surprised by some of the quotes that are attributed to her. I mean, I’ve heard of them, but I never realised they were her quotes.  Does anybody recognise this quote?

The Eskimo has fifty-two names for snow because it is important to them; there ought to be as many for love.

And the Gandhian quote, “An eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind” rephrased a bit.

An eye for an eye only leads to more blindness.

I’ll end this post with a quote about young-adults.

I’ve never understood why people consider youth a time of freedom and joy. It’s probably because they have forgotten their own.

Half Wild: A Book Review

“The point of being good is doing it when it’s tough, not when it’s easy.”

Book: Half Wild (Half Bad #2)

Author: Sally Green

Half Wild (The Half Bad Trilogy, #2)

Blurb:

“You will have a powerful Gift, but it’s how you use it that will show you to be good or bad.”

In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, seventeen-year-old Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world’s most powerful and violent witch. Nathan is hunted from all sides: nowhere is safe and no one can be trusted. Now, Nathan has come into his own unique magical Gift, and he’s on the run–but the Hunters are close behind, and they will stop at nothing until they have captured Nathan and destroyed his father.

My Thoughts:

This book is like taffy; It’s a bit tough in the beginning  but it sticks to your teeth.
Weird description, but it holds true. I  promise. 🙂

In the first book, I felt sorry for Nathan. In that book, he was a child. Prosecuted, abused, frightened, eager to make the world like him. Nathan was the child locked away in the attic that you cry for. The poor little kicked puppy trying to so damn hard to be perfect. It was impossible to hate him- I could see why he wanted his family to accept him. But at the same time, it was impossible to be impressed by him.

In this one, he’s evolved. He isn’t a child any more; if I had to put him into an age group, I’d say angry teen who belongs to a gang. He’s come to terms with the fact that there’s a rift between Black witches and White witches. He’s no longer bright-eyed, bushy-tailed- believing that if he’s quiet enough, sweet enough, good enough- the White witches will stop judging him for the deaths that his Father caused. He’s jaded and angsty. He’s violent, less likely to look for ‘painless’ solutions. He’s turned into a serious badass (complete with missing finger) and he’s stopped trying to impress the Whites (well, except for Annalise but I’ll get annoyed about that later).

Now, here’s what I really hated about the book: Annalise and Nathan’s obsessive quest to save her. Oh! Annalise with the soft white skin and blue eyes. Oh! Annalise who’s a helpless, judgemental little twerp. Oh! Annalise- who I just can’t seem to appreciate but Nathan had to spend the first quarter of the book rhapsodising about. Oh! Annalise I am so tired of hearing about you.
<Spoiler> She betrays Nathan to the white witches at the end and I’m almost glad because, finally he realises that he’s idolised her, </spoiler>

One unique thing about this book: I have the feeling that the pretty girl will be replaced  as the love interest by the capable gay guy. That makes the protaganist bi-sexual (and a bit confused in the interim). No, I’m not making up weird slash fanfiction plots; <spoiler> Nathan does kiss Gabriel </spoiler>.  I really hope it ends up this way. I adore Gabriel. I loved the Nathan/ Gabriel dynamics when they were friends and I saw those dynamics shift (the dynamics are still as  beautiful) in this book.

“I can’t not be with you, Nathan. I wanted to leave you in that grave and walk away but I couldn’t. I can’t walk ten paces away from you without it hurting me. I treasure every second with you. Every second. More than you know.”

This was a pretty good middle book for the series. It carried along the plot further, made the relationships more interesting and elaborated on the history of the world.
Obviously, if you haven’t read Half Bad yet, you should start with that one. Also, if you’re wondering if Half Lies is worth springing for, (It’s a short story about Gabriel’s sister. She was a Black Witch who fell in love with a White Witch and when she was captured, the White Witches executed her.)  it definitely is.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5