Thursday, 1 October 2015

Monkalong Week 1: Early Matilda Stanning

Welcome to week one of The Monk Readalong, where we talk about chapters 1 and 2 of The Monk, by Matthew Lewis.

Not that one. (I almost used the tighty-whitey pic,
but it makes me too uncomfortable I can't bear it.
Neville Longbottom, put your trousers on.)

TO NOTE, this Matthew Lewis wrote The Monk in 10 weeks, before he turned 20. What a show off.

Alice is acting as our host and already killing it, which is a surprise to a total of zero people (THANKS, ALICE). I'll be reading the Oxford World's Classics paperback edition, so any page numbers noted relate to that. Also, my name is Kayleigh, if we haven't inter-met. (Hello!) Final bit of admin: spoilers reside below. And so, to monking: 

Aunt Leonella introduces a general tone for The Monk in the first chapter, by blaspheming at every opportunity immediately upon setting foot in a church. Actual "Christ!"s and "Jesus!"es -- would this not be hugely shocking language for the time? Or am I making the past more innocent than it ever was? This is a thing, I understand, that we present-ers are prone to do.

Also introduced in Chapter 1, something we can assume we'll see again: gender-burns.
She was wise enough to hold her tongue. As this is the only instance known of a Woman's ever having done so, it was judged worthy to be recorded here. (p 34)

Then we get a fortune-teller who tells us the fortunes of Leonella and Antonia (of the full and beautiful throat), and Antonia hears of her doom with trepidation and then immediately brushes it off. What does she have to worry about with a throat like that, anyhow.

Chapter 2 makes me super excited for the rest of the book. Ambrosio is hilarious. "God, I'm the best. No one is as pious and humble as me. Suck it, Saints." 

The scene between Ambrosio and Rosario in the grotto starts out really rather gay, does it not? But, as we are meant to garner -- according to the endnote in my edition -- from Ambrosio's asking "You have a sister," Rosario is a lady in disguise, a la Billy Shakes' Viola. Rosario, gentle reader, is actually Matilda.

Side-note: We have some social commentary happening regarding women being seen (by men) as temptation merely by existing. As if any action a woman takes, even if that action is something so innocuous as responding when spoken to, is an act of seduction (bringing to mind that panel from Persepolis 


[which I still haven't read {kicks self}]).

So we meet Matilda, and friends, I love her. Matilda is working it. Firstly, she is definitely a witch. 

Secondly, she plays Ambrosio like that harp-or-whatever she plays by his bedside. My two favourite moves thus far: her wording, later on in that grotto scene, of the situation so that, if Ambrosio does force her out, he's admitting he is as base and susceptible as other mortals; and her planting of a portrait of Madonna in her likeness. Yow, Matilda.

What is her game? Is all this to get some saintly sexytimes? Does she want to bring down Ambrosio for some reason (any speculations on what that reason might be?)? Also, really, the setup for the poison and the sucking out thereof, really. Really. And the way Matilda phrased how she might be cured of this poison? It's a setup for porn, buds. Porn or a demonic ritual and really.

His kisses vied with Matilda's in warmth and passion. (pg 90)

And lo, the ancestor of the line "their tongues battled for dominance." Mark your fanfic bingo cards accordingly. 

I likely won't be able to make the reading-rounds until Friday/Saturday, but rest assured I am breathless with anticipation to see which Matthew Lewis pictures you've chosen.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

The Monk - readalooming

Guess the flippidy flopping heck what? It's readalong time:

As in ye olden days, I am participating in a readalong lead by Our Historically Delightful Reading Rambo. IT'LL BE GREAT! Sign up, if you like, because you can read it for free here and also 

*Please note that, while the execution is poor,
the concept of the meme stands.

The first post will cover Chapters 1 and 2 and go live on Thursday, October 1. GET MONKING, INTERNETS.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Mini in ways but mega in more

It is, my ducks, time for another minithon, where the snacks and books are "mini" but the piles thereof are not. Also excitement and stuff is large. Usually I write these posts the night before so, you know, pardon ... words.


  • Night Shift, by Stephen King. Mini (short) stories. In every readathon pile, mini or otherwise, I've ever created. I'll finish you yet, Night Shift
  • Annie on my Mind, by Nancy Garden. Young adult (mini humans) and small in size
  • The Tattooed Map, by Barbara Hodgson. Small in size 
  • The Cuckoo's Calling, by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling). It was for a mini amount of time that people believed the author was named Robert Galbraith. (Cormoran Strike, JK? We're on to you.) Also I'm currently reading this, so it's going in the pile

  • Mini tortilla chips to go with the mini pods of guacamole
  • Mini muffins (natch)
  • Mini eggs and M&Ms (also natch)
  • Mini cheese wheel because look at it 
  • Mini tortillas for mini quesadillas
  • Mini quiches that, currently, have a mini amount of time left to bake
Not featured: all the coffee.

Reading companion for the day is still pretty mini at six-months old:

8:25 and still not reading! Ah, minithon, my favourite. Thank you Tika, friend-artiste, for bringing us together this fine May day.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Hour well past - surprise naps and creaky houses

Well! That's that then.

Another readathon finished, another bookpile toppled, another belly really very confused by questionable snack choices and over-caffeination. I think this readathon may have been my best (hours awake) and worst (pages read). I had so, so much fun doing it. It turns out not stressing about page numbers is the key: helps with not panicking when the people and animals you live with vie for your attention.

Not an appropriate response

Also, posting more to social media and less to here during the actual hours was a good call, for me. Will do that again in the future. To the meme!

1) Which hour was most daunting for you? Hour 24, when I took an accidental nap after my on-purpose nap during hour 23. That or hour 21, when I was still reading Stephen King even though everyone had gone to bed.

2) Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Dark Places by Gillian Flynn was keeping me turning the pages, even though I didn't finish it. Oh, Locke & Key, get Locke & Key, but make sure you have all the volumes, because I finished Volume 4 without having Volume 5 on hand and panicked.

3) Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? I had a supremely excellent time, but I'd suggest, if another readathon readalong is to be held, posting when any readalongish activities are going to take place before the readathon actually starts, if at all possible.

4) What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? I loved how encouraging all the hosts were about participating at any level and on any platform that suits you.

5) How many books did you read? 1.5 novels, 1 audiobook, 1 comic, and 3 short stories, which added up to 553 pages and about 3 hours of audiobooking. 

6) What were the names of the books you read? 

  • Heartburn by Nora Ephron
  • Half of Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
  • "I Am the Doorway" and "The Mangler" from Night Shift by Stephen King
  • "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • Locke & Key, Vol. 4 by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Vol. 1 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (audiobook) ("The Adventure of the Empty House," "The Adventure of the Devil's Foot," and "The Adventure of the Abbey Grange")

7) Which book did you enjoy most? "The Yellow Wallpaper" is forever and always my favourite short story, but I think I enjoyed Locke & Key most.

8) Which did you enjoy least? Nora and I had some words about Heartburn. DANG-IT, NORA.

9) If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? I was a reader because I am selfish and also grateful. Thank you, cheerleaders! Your presence on blog posts as well as social media is so, so appreciated.

10) How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? 100% likely. Probably still a reader because I am a bum but THANK YOU, selfless cheerleaders who are unfailingly wonderful!

At the risk of making this post ridiculously long, here are the things I did while I wasn't here:

And now for my second favourite part of the readathon: the day after. (Wherein leftover snacks and leftover books are consumed with relish.) Thank you, organizers, for an excellent weekend.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Hour 8 - shock and strawberries

It's been 8 hours already. How.

So far, I've listened to about 40 minutes of my audiobook (while making breakfast) and read Heartburn by Nora Ephron (178 pages). 

Heartburn was so great and then, suddenly, there was a rash of homophobic slurs that really did not feel lighthearted or jokey or inclusive in any kind of way that would convince the reader to even remotely forgive their use. I mean, I'd hope it's pretty well understood you can't use terms like that unless it's a term that's weaponized against you, personally, and even then not in a derogatory attitude, but ... I really don't know. I'm trying to find a way to rationalize this because Nora Ephron! but I'm really just confused and disappointed. I don't know what to do with these feelings. I'm in a reading and shock induced haze, is what's happening. 

I mean, justifiably, but still true.

Hey, look at these updates I updated while I wasn't here!

Now, do I coffee and actually read Dark Places or do I coffee and audiobook and make chocolate chip cookies? Best read a bit of Dark Places first -- wouldn't want to lie on Instagram.

How are you all holding up? 

Hour 1 - optimism and excitement


Good morning, jackets! This is readathon: hour 1 (read: it's so early I'm not entirely convinced I'm not dreaming this).

Hour 1 means completing the opening meme while the coffee brews (you're so wonderful at planning things, O readathon overlords of ours).

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Fort St. John in northeastern BC, where it's been very confused of late about the fact that it's nearly May. Stop snowing.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Hollow City by Ransom Riggs. I read Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children during the last readathon I took part in (October 2013) and loved the socks right off of it.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? These bacon wrapped jalapeno popper things oh my gooooosh.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself! My name is Kayleigh and I'm 27 and married to a wonderful guy who will be looking after our puppy today (she just got spayed yesterday). (THANKS, NEIL. You may have some of my snacks. Some of them nonotthatone.) I'm only just starting to recover from a massive reading and blogging slump and apparently I'm also really into using italics for emphasis.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? I didn't participate in the last 'thon, but I have 'thonned before and my new strategy is this: naps. I'mma have them.

First step for me is audiobooking while I make a breakfast casserole thing. 'Thon on, you crazy diamonds.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Tomorrow, tomorrow


Tomorrow, my friends, is the readathon. To that end, here are some books I have arranged into a pile:

Choices: gotta have 'em. Top to bottom, that's

  • Annie on my Mind, Nancy Garden
  • The Tattoo Map, Barbara Hodgson
  • Aquarium David Vann
  • The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays, Oscar Wilde
  • Heartburn, Nora Ephron
  • Night Shift, Stephen King
  • Dark Places, Gillian Flynn
  • The Kept Man, Jami Attenberg
  • Hollow City, Ransom Riggs
  • Locke & Key Vol. 4, by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez

And leaning there is my iPad, on which I'll read "The Yellow Wallpaper." Not featured above is my phone and its Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Volume 1 (ft. "The Adventure of the Empty House," "The Adventure of the Devil's Foot," and "The Adventure of the Abbey Grange") audiobook. 


Thursday, 16 April 2015

I am readathon and so can you

The next readathon is coming up on April 25, and I am going to be here and I am going to READ DURING IT.

I'm going in not expecting to make it the full 24 hours (I have a history of pooping out at hour 19), but I am totally going to make it the full 24 hours. Don't listen to parenthetical-Kayleigh. She's a doubter. 

You can sign up to read here, if you like, and you really should because LOOK LOOK LOOK:

A readalong for the best and absolute terribly worst short story of all time. (Only "worst" in that it's so scary in such a specific way that it has carved it's own horrifying burrow in my brain, from which it emerges periodically to scare me anew.) That's one way to keep us all awake.

I've got a bookpile going,

and I'm dedicating this weekend to snack-planning. I guess I'm sort of looking forward to it. 

Sunday, 12 April 2015

On Charlotte Lucas and my undying affection

[cries forever]

Charlotte. Charlotte Lucas. My Charlotte.

I was cast as Charlotte in my local theatre group's production of Pride and Prejudice, which wrapped in February. I'd seen the miniseries and movie, and after I was cast, I read the book. Now, after reading it and spending months thinking about the character, I'm feeling feelings and I CAN'T STOP and I need to talk it out with you all.

The set up: In Pride and Prejudice, Charlotte Lucas is a relief of level-headed pragmatism amid the drama that is Elizabeth in particular and the Bennets in general. I like Elizabeth's passion and her snark, but what I like most about her is how much affection Charlotte clearly has for her (am I biased? Absolutely). Next to Elizabeth, Charlotte's indifferent view of love in its relation to marriage is made all the more pronounced. Marriage is simply a socioeconomic necessity, not something from which she can expect to derive any happiness, other than happiness in not, you know, starving. She works at this pragmatism, emphasizing what of it she has naturally until it envelopes here, becoming armour. "I am not romantic, you know; I never was," she says in Chapter 22. 

What I'm getting at: I think she's a giant liar.

From Chapter 22,
Without thinking highly either of men or matrimony, marriage had always been her object; it was the only provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want. [...] The least agreeable circumstance in the business was the surprise it must occasion to Elizabeth Bennet, whose friendship she valued beyond that of any other person.
She is not romantic, she says. But look how she cares about Elizabeth Bennet. Though Charlotte's affection for Elizabeth may be platonic, though she may be aromantic, from what she says about love earlier in the book, how she tells Elizabeth of her engagement to Mr. Collins, and the way she seems to pine after Elizabeth after moving to Hunsford, well, I call shenanigans. 

What she says about love: (from Chapter 6) "there are very few of us who have heart enough to be really in love without encouragement." Does she include herself in those few? Is she trying to convince herself that whatever she feels for Elizabeth isn't truly love, since it's not returned in the same fashion?

Our director, who adapted the book into our script herself, fleshed out the proposal reveal a bit when compared to the book. Instead of the (delightfully) awkward and abrupt end we see in Austen, here's how our scene read:
CHARLOTTE: [...] Given Mr. Collin's character, connections, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chances of happiness with him are as fair as most people can boast upon getting married.
ELIZABETH: Is that all you hope for in a marriage? 
CHARLOTTE: It will be enough, Lizzy. It needs to be enough. I do not have the luxury of waiting for love to sweep me off my feet. Indeed, nor do I wish for it. I am quite a few years older than you, and not nearly as pretty. I am in danger of being a burden, first to my parents, and then, when they die, to whichever of my relations will take me in. Please do not pity me or disparage my choices. This marriage will bring me security and, with that, peace. It is more than I thought possible.
Is that all she hopes for in a marriage? That's a resounding NOPE. But it's all she'll get, all that's possible for her. At least she has her security. Her chickens and her good roads. It will be enough; it needs to be enough.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Living it up (North): Mud Season

Greetings from dirt town! I am dirt, you are dirt, we are dirt, all is dirt.

And this from driving down mainstreet.
No offroading necessary.

If the West is wild, then the North is dirty. You can tell the season by the consistency of said dirt.

Summer: dust
Defining attribute: quantity of dirt in eyes

Fall: does not exist
Defining attribute: non-existence 

Winter: frozen dirt
Defining attribute: quantity of immovable dirt that you need to chip out with your boot or windshield scraper thing in that bit of the car behind your tires. Back of the wheel well? You know

Spring: mud
Defining attribute: ubiquity

In mud season, you can't step out of your door without getting covered in mud speckles and/or swaths to at least mid-calf. It's more noticeable with a puppy, who comes back from walks an entirely different colour. 

Not the best example, but lookit those feets!

On the plus side, it takes me so long to post things that we're now in the mud/dust transition season, so. Progress.

Also, have another puppy picture. Because cute.