the more he saw, the less he spoke
I was planning to write about The Quincunx tonight, but the book is like 847 million chapters long and if I do them one at a time I'll die of old age before I finish them all. But! There are five parts to the novel that are named after the five families of the title, and I’ll cover the first part, 'The Huffams,' next Sunday instead (I think the Huffams are first) (or is it the Mompessons?) (I am such a name-dropper) (I promise The Quincunx is not an insufferable mess suitable for cinematic adaptation into one of Julian Fellowes’s increasingly cringeworthy mash-notes to the English aristocracy).
In other news, I just started reading The Owl Service. It’s looking pretty good; I’ve already read Garner’s Thusbitch, and except for the fact that I don’t understand it at all I absolutely love it and would recommend it highly. When I was young I was also really fond of another of his YA books, Elidor (it had a picture of a unicorn on the cover, and I think some orphans?) (when I was little, I believed that the world was held together day-to-day only by the hard work of magical English orphan-children). The Owl Service seems to be, in part, about assimilated City people transgressing against the autonomy of uneducated Country people without any regard for their humanity. I find this disturbing, for reasons. *British fantasy fiction is definitely my most favorite thing ever, but occasionally I do get tired of its constant reliance on blunt-force lessons about classicism for plot structure. Sometimes it really seems like deep-seated class-hatred defines the shape of every possible British narrative. I can sort of understand how horrible it is, I guess, but it’s not my mess — not that we don’t have a problem with grotesquely vicious classicism in the US — so I suppose I see it as more a story-telling device than a thing that millions of people face and are defeated by on a daily basis. And, you know, I’m sure British readers/viewers get sick of everything from this country boiling down to problem-solving via colorblind teamwork. Oh, god, they think, not another book about how all men are brothers.
I’d forgotten how weird it is to talk to yourself in a blog post. Other forms of social media are scarier but more immediate.
I’m doing the Japanese Rosetta Stone program. I wanted to go to Japan this year, but it turns out: 1.) It’s really expensive unless you’re making use of a short-term vacation package with a bunch of other people, and 2.) It is virtually impossible to make your way in a foreign country outside the bounds of teaching English, working for a multinational corporation, or employment in other "official" areas likewise and suchlike. So while I’m waiting for Contingency Plan #3 to work itself out (develop an online romance with a rich and hot but very introverted Japanese person who moves me in with the fam and supports me until I can speak Japanese fluently enough to get a job), I figured I might as well try to deal with my stumbling, heavily-accented grasp of the spoken language. It is going middlingly. Obviously I can’t tell how well the program works yet, but my biggest problem with it is that you can’t pause the lessons in the middle without skipping to the next exercise. Do not the programmers who wrote it ever have to pee? Also the voice recognition software strongly disapproves of my pronunciation of the "お."
So. I am getting a red flashy Severe Thunderstorm Warning in my weather station right now, so I'd better turn my computer off. The last thing I need is to be murdered by Thor after talking shit about his movie on Tumblr.
* "British fantasy fiction" is the default setting for English-language literature, and it is the among the greatest writing in the world, so don’t let anybody try to shame you out of it because of Harry Potter. (Not that Harry Potter was any worse than, you know, The Fault in Our Stars or whatever — but there’s something about large numbers of dumb people showing up to the theater dressed like the characters in the movie that does seem to rile the critics. I don’t know why.)