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Archive for August, 2010

Cherry_blossom_by_VforVieslav (1)IMAGE: Taken from VforVieslav at Deviant Art

First of all, you are probably wondering what on earth the title of my blog today actually means. Well, Grasshopper you seem to have found me on a generous information sharing day. Whilst reading one of the many Japanese history books I have assigned myself lately I came across this beautiful sentiment.

Mono no aware

It is a Japanese expression which is usually expressed through symbolism of nature (like a haiku), it represents a view that life is beautiful but ephemeral. It translates literally as ‘the sadness of things’1

I don’t know about you, but I rather like a perpetual state of melancholia, so that screamed out to me.

I’ve noticed that I am a really slack blogger.  Especially when I said to myself this time last year ‘ooo I should do BEDA’ which as you can notice I haven’t.  I apologise.

I have been reading an awful lot this last couple of weeks.    See below.

The Secret Garden

One of my favourite parts from The Secret Garden, this excerpt just paints a vivid image of my Secret Garden.  It’s divine.  This excerpt gives me hope.  I think it also fits with my ‘Mono no aware’ theme.

I think It has been left alone so long – that it has grown all into a lovely tangle.  I think the roses have climbed and climbed until they hang from the branches and walls and creep over the ground – almost like a strange grey mist.  Some of them have died, but many – are alive, and when the summer comes there will be curtains and fountains of roses.  I think the ground is full of daffodils and snowdrops and lilies and iris working their way out of the dark.  Now the spring has begun – perhaps – perhaps – perhaps –‘

‘Perhaps they are coming up through the grass – perhaps there are clusters of purple crocuses and gold ones – even now.  Perhaps the leaves are beginning to break out and uncurl – and perhaps – the greay is changing and a green gauze veil is creeping – and creeping over – everything.  And the birds are coming to look at it – because it is – so safe and still.  And perhaps – perhaps – perhaps –‘ … ‘the robin has found a mate – and is building a nest.’2

I’d never read The Secret Garden before, but I had watched this version of the film at least a million times in my life and absolutely adored the story.  So it was funny reading it thinking Dickon was going to die.  Every page I was thinking ‘Oh no, it must be soon’, because Dickon was my favourite.  (In the movie he died and Mary and Colin fell in love.)  So much to my happiness, Dickon does not die.  Mary and Colin do not make out when the ending credits begin to roll.  Talk about a much more satisfying ending.

All in all it was rather nostalgic and inspiring and filled with joy and sentiment and overcoming issues, which I did adore.

The Lightning Thief The Sea of Monsters The Titan's Curse

The Battle of the LabyrinthPercy Jackson and the Last Olympian

Now This series (pictured above) was also extremely satisfying.  I’ve always loved and been fascinated by Greek Mythology.  Way back in the day, I think my primary school days to be precise, my mother gave me a book.  A book that she bought from the school book club when she was a child.  It was an Encyclopaedia of Greek Gods, Demigods and Demons.  I used to flip through it all the time reading about all the different heroes and Gods.

I thought the idea of having more than one god was awesome.  I thought it was Christianity was rather boring with just the ONE god and then Satan.  But Greek Mythology was so much cooler because there was a trillion Gods to choose from.  I remember pretending the Greek Gods were real and praying to Athena to help me pass a maths test.

So for this series of books to exist – blows my inner-child’s mind.  For an adventure series written in a post Harry Potter world this book is all kinds of awesome (once I got past the whole eww as if Olympus is at the top of the Empire State building and my aversion to all things where Americans always saving the day and being the hero i.e. Independence Day, Deep Impact, Armageddon, the list just goes on and on).

I always loved the story of Hades and Persephone. I like Rick Riordan’s spin on it.  I always imagined it differently.  Maybe I’ll write it down in length one day (taking consideration of ‘Mono no aware’).

If you have a little boy, who can not bring himself to read anything who wont read Harry Potter, get him this series.  It’s got swords and monsters and battles and puzzles and and and… everything a little boy could ever want to imagine.

The writing is sometimes very clunky but it works because you have to remind yourself that it’s Percy’s point of view and he is 13 and his descriptions of things will be very 13 year old boy-like, so it works.  And fabulously.

There is a movie adaptation of the first book, but I do not recommend seeing it ever.  Talk about TERRIBLE.  I liked it for the first 20mins and then it was just spoiled.  Destroyed.  Crap.

Across the Nightingale Floor 'The Sword of The Warrior'
Episode One of the Tales of the Otori: Across the Nightingale Floor. This was really interesting, but there isn’t much I can say about how it goes.  But I promise when I finish the series I’ll fill in all the gaps.  I can say this though, after reading this I was inspired to make my main historical study this year on Japanese history, well and because I have a massive crush on everything Japanese at the moment it would seem.  I’m even considering a Haiku challenge.  Maybe a Haiku every day type thing.  I’ll keep you posted.  Or not, we’ll see how my work load increases.

Shiver

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, what can I even say.  I cried. Profusely.  I tweeted her and she offered me a tissue.  See. (Below)  I have just started reading Linger and I really don’t know if I have to gumption just now to persist.  I feel like it’s doomed.  I’m thinking Shakespearian tragedy type damnation.  Which also fits nicely with my ‘Mono no aware’ theme.  Sometimes it’s all just too much, especially when it mirrors your view on the real world.

Maggie Stiefvater

Some questions I put forth to you, the reader.

1. What gives you hope?

2. What inspires you?

3. What makes you think of ‘Mono no aware’?


I’m hungry now.

Until next time lovelies.

Live Long and Prosper.

1. Henshall, Kenneth 2004, A History Of Japan From Stone Age to Superpower, Palgrave Macmillan, New York

2. Hodgson Burnett, Frances, 1911 (this edition 2008), The Secret Garden, Puffin, UK

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