I also love Second Story Books and Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe, both in Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.
I’m a sucker for inspirational quotes, books, cups, t-shirts, shoes, hats, anything. If it has words of encouragement, I want to buy it. If it’s meant to cheer you up and get started on creating something, I want to get it. If it’s to help build your creative confidence, I want to read it. So it should be no surprise that I bought and read Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon. I think I first read of this book in one of the many posts on Maria Popova’s website, Brain Pickings (I love that website! It’s a source of inspiration for creativity). After looking up the book on Amazon, I decided that I must get it.
The first thing I love about this book is the presentation. I don’t know what the cover is made of but it’s that smooth but thick, jacket-like cover that I find on most YA novels. I like the texture so I keep touching it. I also like that it’s made to look like a blackboard with the writings in chalk. There are doodles by the author throughout its pages to give it a fun appeal, which is certain to tickle the creative spot.
“You can never overestimate how empowering it is to see someone who looks like you—only older and more successful. That, much more than well-meaning advice and encouragement, tells you that you can make it.”
—Apoorva Mandavilli, from her article, “Alone in a Room Full of Science Writers,” on Medium.com. Mandavilli is a science journalist and adjunct professor at New York University. Her article discusses her experience as a minority in the field of science journalism.
A quick summary:
On her first adventure as a knight, Alanna and Coram visit the Great Southern Desert, where she runs into one of the Bazhir tribes called the Bloody Hawk. After a tense meeting, where she was shunned by the Bloody Hawk’s shaman, she and Coram are inducted into the tribe. They call her “Woman Who Rides Like a Man” since she goes unveiled, wear breeches, carry a sword, and literally rides a horse like a man. While residing with the tribe, Alanna and Faithful, her cat, are adopted by three children—Ishak, Kara, and Kourrem—, who were made outcasts of the village by the shaman because they have the Gift (magic). After the shaman dies due to his own stupidity, Alanna begins to train the three children to become shaman of the village.
Prince Jonathan and Myles also visit Alanna while she resides with the tribe. George sent his spies. After winning their acceptance, both Jonathan and Myles were inducted into the tribe. Myles uses the opportunity to adopt Alanna—both magically and legally—as his heir. Jonathan and Alanna rekindle their romance and there is talk of marriage, which leads Alanna to again ponder what it is that she wants. She yearns for adventure but she also loves Jonathan. However, committing to Jonathan carries responsibilities such as marriage and producing an heir for the kingdom as soon as possible. Still, she does enjoy George’s company. She hardly has much time to ponder this since she helps to train her young shamans as well as others who visit the Bloody Hawk, which marks the budding of a new school of magic. Also, she tends to the Voice of the Tribes, a spiritual figurehead, who is frail and sick. The main reason for Jonathan’s visit is to become the new Voice of the Tribes. It’s a controversial move since the Bazhir tribes and the king of Tortall are at odds but the Voice of the Tribes believes that by making the prince the Voice, the rift between the king and the tribes will mend.
The Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce was a great read. I completed the books a couple weeks ago but I am behind on my posts. I decided to re-read the series because I wanted to once again experience reading a favorite book for the first time. Of course, this was a silly plan doomed to fail since I am no longer the person I was when I first read these books and, obviously, this is neither the first, second, or third time that I’m reading them. I first read Alanna’s story when I was a freshman in high school and her story resonated with me. Alanna is a headstrong girl who defies the ethics of her land by posing as a boy so she could become a knight. She does not allow her circumstances to dictate who she should be. She decides that for herself.
The younger me and the present me both admire this trait. Back then, it stood out to me because I was at the point in life where a child’s family begins to prep and prod her in the direction they believe it best for her to go. My family had great intentions and their prepping and prodding were positively beneficial but I wanted to decide for myself. Now, as I try to assimilate to adulthood, I still find it alluring because I realize that it takes a lot of guts to go against the norm and do something unexpected. It takes guts to chase your goals and not allow circumstances or anything, rather, to hinder you from attaining it. Therefore, it took guts for Alanna to continue with her plans to become a lady-knight at a time when such an idea was not easily accepted. She must really have madness in her family, as she often mutters whenever she does something crazy.