DeMisty's status updates without so much noise. Still, I'm on twitter and google+.
I am a: writer, academic, lecturer of English in a public university.
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I went into it knowing that the Wicked Witch of the West will be presented in a more sympathetic light. And she was. She was complicated in that she couldn’t definitively understand herself, her self, her universe, et cetera. She, sometimes, seemed the true existentialist. At other times, too stupid to examine anything, but I think that was Maguire’s pandering to the audience. That is, something along the lines of, “You’re too stupid to understand, Elphaba [the witch’s name], so here, let me explain it to you,” a character would say, which is really Maguire saying, “audience, you may not be getting this, so let me explain clearly.”
So, a little world examining, self examining, and religion examining, souls and whether they exist, evil and its genesis, etc. A sort of philosophical exploration in a fantasy novel—and it is fantasy, don’t doubt that. So expect all the trappings of that genre, replete with heavy exposition and two-page spread map of the fantasy world within. And of course, the seed(s?) for future works in a series.
One thing I found odd was how British the whole thing seemed, given that Oz is over the rainbow in Kansas. The school system, the villages, even a little bit of the language seemed so across the pond that I had to look up Maguire to see from whence he hails. He’s from Albany! Though, he has lived abroad in Dublin and London.
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A Complete Guide to Writing for Publication by Susan Titus Osborne
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This is a Christian book. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I was not aware that this is a book written by books (Susan Titus Osborne is the editor) for Christians. Obviously, I felt misled. Nothing in the title, on the cover, or on the back (blurb and description) led me to see that is a Christ-centered, valued book. Maybe if I knew the writers, I would have been wise to the publisher’s ruse, but as it were—and is—I have never heard of these people before. I felt like one of the many non-Ugandans responding to the Invisible Children campaign, only later to learn that the group is headed by a bunch of Evangelicals. Sigh. It’s fine that they’re Christians and religious and are trying to indoctrinate people, just make it explicit.
I picked up this book from my university’s library in prep for one of my classes, magazine writing and editing, next semester. I wanted to put a group of books on reserve for my students. This won’t be joining the list because I teach at a public school. Also, the essays are almost all just common sense.
Had I read the TOC before adding the book to my stacks while I was in the stacks, I would have replaced it to its slot on the shelf. And I probably read the first few chapter titles, like “Edit Yourself before Someone Else Does It for You” and “Making the Most of Writers’ Conferences” (which is actually a pretty good chapter, save for the info regarding Christian conferences and for God to lead you in the right way, unless you’re into that, then it’s fine, I’m sure), which sound innocent enough. But if I made it down to chapter eight, “Writing Daily Devotionals,” or the nine, “A Different Kind of Mission Field: Writing for the Secular Market,” I would have known.
This is not to say that none of the info in the text is useful—again, I liked the chapter on writers’ conferences—but know that this is a Christian book!
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