Required Reading – The Raves: Shelley and Dickens

required reading the raves, required reading, fictional ferrets, rabid rainbow ferret society, classic books, book recommendation, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, Rebekah Loper

My introduction to the classics was completely voluntary. I was homeschooled, and my mother decided not to require a literature course from me at all to graduate high school. (To be fair, the course teaching me how to balance a checkbook was probably far more useful, and a skill I am very grateful for now.)

There were a few reasons to her decision about literature. First, I read a lot on my own. I read encyclopedias for fun, even, and it was clear even at a young age that my critical thinking skills were not lacking. Until puberty hit, at least. Second, there was a lot going on in my home life as a child, much of it not good (though not horrendously bad, compared to many other people). We learned the important things, and sometimes there wasn’t time or energy left for anything else. Third, I don’t think my mother had a good introduction or experience with literature during her own school days – either grade school, or college – and she probably was at a loss of how to teach it to me or my siblings. I know one of her most memorable moments was in one of her literature classes in college, when she had to read The Two Towers. But she hadn’t read The Fellowship of the Ring, and so I’m sure you can imagine that was more than a little… confusing.

I read a few classics in my school days (The Scarlet Letter, and several of Jane Austen’s works, for the most part) but didn’t start branching out into the ones that had always caught my eye (the ones I sometimes set back because I didn’t know if my mom would let me read them because she might think they were too scary) until I was in college.

My ‘rave’ for today is one of those.  Continue reading

The Magic of Xanth

X is for Xanth

X is for Xanth

The Xanth books (The Magic of Xanth series) hold a special place in my heart for a number of reasons – among them, that the world was my first foray into grown-up fantasy.

I say it that way because I was seven years old and had read through apparently everything of interest in the young adult fantasy section at my library at the time, and had thus wandered off into the adult fantasy section. The Xanth books often tend towards brightly colourful covers, and one caught my attention quickly. I took it back to my mother, told her where I’d found it, and after a bit of deliberation, it was approved to be taken home.

I would say I never looked back, from that first jaunt into the adult fantasy section, but that would be a lie – I often read YA fantasy even now. It is certainly true that Xanth only deepened my love for fantasy, however, and did so in the form of a book that introduced me to a world with so many more books and stories to discover. It was probably one of the best things from the adult fantasy section that my wee self could have chosen that day, years and years ago.
Continue reading

Sexuality in Fiction from the Perspective of an Asexual

This post will get a little personal, simply because I don’t know any other way to explain what I am attempting to share here.

S is for Sexuality

S is for Sexuality

So. . . This topic may seem a little bit strange – after all, an asexual’s insights on sexuality in fiction? Fair enough. I have to say, though, I have come to realise over the past few years that the way I read sexuality (and sex) in stories can be very distinct from the way, well, almost everyone I know reads the same things.

Before I show you my perspective on sexuality in fiction, let me tell you where that perspective is coming from – I am grey-asexual, which, in my case, means that I do experience attraction (though never purely on aesthetic appeal) and I do have a sex drive, which can focus on other people, not purely hormonal.

That said, while on some levels I can understand the views and impressions and attraction discussed by other people, by characters, easily enough, there are some ways in which I am simply left baffled.

Continue reading

Martin–as in George R.R.

M is for Martin

M is for Martin

Before I even begin, I just want to say that I have not finished reading the books (I am in the middle of A Storm of Swords), nor have I seen any of the new episodes of Season 4 on HBO. So no spoilers, please.

Okay! Ready? Game of Thrones.

It’s no lie that I’m pretty much in love with this series. So as soon as I saw that I had the letter ‘M’ for our A-Z Challenge, I immediately knew I was going to do a post about the creator, George R.R. Martin. It was like, destiny.

As much some people complain about the many, many characters in the series, I actually quite like it. The world is large and lush with details as it is, and the story that Martin is telling can’t be summed up with just a few characters. If he had left out even half of the voices that he has in his novels, there’s a good possibility that we wouldn’t even be able to follow the politics of the story. Political war like the one in A Song of Ice and Fire isn’t created in a vacuum–there are many, many people that contributed to its creation. Continue reading

The Ferrets Do the Alphabet

Have we got a treat in store for all of you!

The A-Z Challenge starts tomorrow, and the theme the Ferrets have chosen for the month is “The World of Books”.

Books by shutterhacks

Books by shutterhacks

We’ve got an interesting selection of posts on this topic – everything from the writing of books to our favorite authors to quirky terms to poetry.

You’re really going to see what it’s like in the mind of the Ferrets – because we were able to think up all the posts for this theme in about an hour. Yes, we really are that diverse.

Or, rather, spin the wheel of ‘what the flapjack/fudge/fer-de-lance/fraggle-rock/monkey is coming up next?!’

So settle in, fetch some tea, and get ready to learn some interesting things!

Posts will be made Monday through Saturday, as Sunday is an ‘off’ day for the A-Z Challenge. Michelle will be kicking it off tomorrow with “A”, so be sure to check in!

Within the Wood, a Ferret: Jessica

Jessica Fontaine Jones - FerretsName: Jessica Fontaine Jones

ENFP (Champion-Idealist)
(Extrovert, Intuitive, Feeling, Perciever)

Favorite Beverage:
Tea! I have a goal to try 100 teas this year. Green with coconut and ginger is my current favorite.

I also enjoy snipping fresh fresh spearmint from my garden. Great for tea, and mint has long been a favorite flavor of mine. Also love clear, clean water (even without plants in it).

Favorite Genre(s) to Read:
Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Romance, Children’s, How-To, Humor.

Favorite Place to Read:
In a tree. Feeling the branches rocking in the wind is the best.
Second favorite: Anywhere. 🙂

Things you do when you’re not writing:
Running a business with my hubby.
Escaping into the woods for rock climbing or yoga (also with hubby).
Cooking for friends and loved ones.
Talking to my herbs, trees, and flowers.
Playing Minecraft with my little niece.
Talking with my grandmother about herbs, trees, and flowers.
Volunteering with Rotary.
Pondering the meaning of life.

Favorite Genre(s) to Write:
Children’s, How-to, Interviews, Romance.

Writing Tool You Can’t Live Without:
Uniball signo micro 207 pen. It is my sonic screwdriver.
Used in conjunction with various notebooks, and an iPad with USB keyboard.

Question from Rebekah :: What are your 5 favorite trees? Continue reading