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The Power of the Mind

In Starhawk’s Truth or Dare, the concept of Magic is described as “the art of changing consciousness at will.” To me, magic doesn’t have to be witchcraft, but can easily be explained as the power of the mind. Many talk about how visualization and imagination is such a powerful tool.

In music, visualization is often used for practicing purposes. If you can’t hear what the music should sound like, there is little chance you will be able to play it.

This also links to power of religion as well. You may not be able to see all entities at all times, but the power is there invisible to the senses.

Another Roadside Attraction pokes fun at religion, referring to a great entity as the Infinite Goof. Yet, the tone that Robbins inflicts is somewhat ambiguous due to authorial intrusions. On page 12 itself, the text takes an abrupt turn and includes many philosophical thoughts.

“Happiness is a learned condition.”

“It is content, or rather the consciousness of content, that fills the void.”

It is somewhat unusual that Robbins seems to show philosophy as the preferred belief system rather than religion. The other content in the text is somewhat surrealist and bizarre. This sudden turn into the formality and logic of philosophy makes a departure for the generally casual and seemingly random occurrences.

Page 16 makes an allusion to the style of Biblical text: “On the tenth day, in the midst of a late communal breakfast…” Again, this kind of authorial intrusion is obvious because of the clear mismatch between the style of writing and the much more casual (and modern) content.

Page 180 has another fairly obvious authorial intrusion in the Horoscope added onto the page. Particularly interesting is the phrase: “Another Roadside Attraction is also a Sagittarian. But don’t jump to any conclusion.” Like any good reader, I don’t like doing what books tell me to do. I think this phrase might be referring to the idea that Sagittarians are honest, even brutally so.

I think the even bigger question is whether that is really true. We don’t really know how honest this text is, only how explicit and negative the narrator’s view of Amanda is.

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Posted by on October 3, 2017 in Book Updates

 

Another Roadside Attraction

Another Roadside Attraction is the least subtle satire. However, Tom Robbins is a storyteller that is slightly arrogant, but very skilled. In 2002, Tom Robbins said “I’m descended from a long line of preachers and policemen. Now, it’s common knowledge that cops are congenital liars, and evangelists spend their lives telling fantastic tales in such a way as to convince otherwise rational people that they’re factual. So, I guess I come by my narrative inclinations naturally.”

In Burke’s Literature as Equipment for Living, proverbs are a way of foretelling. The referenced proverb, “Think with the wise, but talk with the vulgar”, seems to fit this novel best. (Or at least I hope…)

The vulgarity of the novel shocks the reader, makes them uncomfortable. Yet, that may precisely be the reason why they should read it. There is no subtlety with the satire.

This lack of subtlety links to Burke’s idea that “Proverbs are strategies [later clarified as attitudes] for dealing with situations” (296). The issues that Another Roadside Attraction deals with are misogynism, drugs and sex/promiscuity. Due to the lack of subtlety, I think as the novel progresses, proverbs will be introduced within the text.

For this novel, I decided to research the author and use that lens to look at the text. I found it interesting that Tom Robbins’ writing style has been described as follows (by Michael Dare): “When he starts a novel, it works like this. First he writes a sentence. Then he rewrites it again and again, examining each word, making sure of its perfection, finely honing each phrase until it reverberates with the subtle texture of the infinite. Sometimes it takes hours. Sometimes an entire day is devoted to one sentence, which gets marked on and expanded upon in every possible direction until he is satisfied. Then, and only then, does he add a period.”

The novel is written in a very disjunct style, kind of like pieces of a puzzle. The way his craft is described is different than other authors due to the popular use of the God-author idea – that ideas and stories just “arrive in authors’ heads”.

 

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2017 in Book Updates

 

The Final Reveal

The end of God’s Country has appeared and seemingly there has been even more authorial intrusion than when it began.

Booth discussed the difference between the implied author and the author himself (or herself). It has become ever more evident that Percival Everett has created a kind of persona around the implied author.

In Barthes’ “Death of an Author”, the main concept is “separating the art from the artist”. I have a background in music as many of you presumably know, which this idea is often non-existent. This reading reminded me of another reading I did for a music class called “Schoenberg is Dead” by Pierre Boulez. Possibly since the title includes death, but also how quite literally an artist’s work can be received much differently after it’s in the world and over time. While the context can be very important in music, I believe it is somewhat important in God’s Country as well.

Some of my classmates didn’t research the author before reading a good chunk of the novel and, interestingly enough, many did not feel like it made a difference. Authorial intent in the novel was very evident and obvious.

I think one of the reasons the author’s values in God’s Country are so obvious is the authorial intrusions in the text itself. An example would be when Marder is thinking about the bad feeling he has regarding telling Colonel Custer of Big Elk’s whereabouts. “A case of conscience is a needling and exceedingly useless condition” (Everett 132). This just isn’t something Marder would say or think. He tends to be quite a shallow and superficial character. Not only are these authorial intrusions misplaced, but they are also incredibly needed. As one of my classmates added, it makes Marder seem more human and keeps the reader going and rooting for Marder to finally do something good.

Spoiler: he doesn’t get any better…there is no moment of truth for him, only what could be called the end of an existential journey.

 

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2017 in Book Reviews, Book Updates, Book-related

 

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Types of Narration and God’s Country

This week I read Booth’s Types of Narration and the next section of God’s Country. Beware of the spoilers in this post.
Linked with the Booth reading, the use of first person narration creates a limited perspective. This in mind, I think the perspective is more omniscient than it is on the surface. The main character as well as a majority of the supporting characters have little to no filter and ultimately say what they’re thinking.
A particular moment with a new character, the missionary Phrensie, made me realize this situational omniscience:
“Man has an insufferably cruel god to look up to.”
I looked at the box at his feet. “I don’t need a bible.”
“You say that now.” (Everett 80)
This situation made me think that this may be a foreshadowing of what is to come, but also hints that Phrensie might be aware of what is to come.
The one section of the Booth reading that I was unclear on was the idea of an unreliable narrator. Booth defined reliability as a character who “speaks for or acts in accordance with the norms of the work (which is to say the implied author’s norms), unreliable when he does not” (Booth 158-159). If this is the “true definition”, the main character Marder would be considered an unreliable narrator. The implied author clearly does not have the same values as Marder since all the characters in the novel and the implied author are poking fun at him, his intolerance and his stupidity. However, many consider an unreliable narrator to be a character who deceives and is involved with incidental irony. There is plenty of irony surrounding Marder, but I’m not so sure he would be “unreliable” based on that alone.
In particular, this section of God’s Country reveals that Jake is actually a girl (Everett 89). This may support the idea that Marder is considered an unreliable narrator because his arrogance and bigotry clouds his reality (and thus the reader’s sense of reality). We can’t always take face value for his judgments because his preconceived notions make it hard for him to accept anything else.
Tied in with this concept, Booth discusses “distance” as part of deciphering the reliability of the narrator. I think that in terms of distance, the author is a kind of medium distance from Marder and is closer to the supporting character in God’s Country. There are too many inside jokes, such as the discussion of the town of Cahoots.
In Cahoots

In this book, it is completely possible…

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2017 in Book Updates

 

A New Chapter

A New Chapter

Hello everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here, but I wanted to preface a new chapter of my blog. I am taking a class in rhetoric and fiction and I will be posting analysis and my thoughts here for the next few months.

Anyways, let’s get right into it! Right now, I am reading God’s Country by Percival Everett. Chapters 1-8 give the basis of the plot: Curt Marder (wordplay on Martyr) has everything taken from him by white men looting his property, killing his hound and kidnapping his wife. Marder hires Bubba, a black man, to track down the men and find his wife.

From the very beginning, the reader is meant to hate/dislike the main character because of his many racist comments, sexist comments and general poor decorum. He has the makings of an antihero, despite all actions to further the plot made by anyone else but himself. He has no money, so he can’t gamble until his friend Wide Clyde McBride (love that alliteration…!) gives him money to do so. He can’t stop gambling until Wide drives him to the edge, giving away his land (which he already is giving to Bubba in exchange for his services).

I think the most confusing part about this novel thus far is the setting. At first, many of the other characters are accepting of the language Marder uses to describe red men and black men. Yet, later on, Bubba and a young man that Marder meets, Jake, have a discussion with Marder about how he talks to Bubba. Generally, Marder refers to Bubba using the n word and Bubba asks why he doesn’t just call him by his first name (I know, shocking…*sarcasm*). The way Jake and Bubba talk about the way black men are treated suggests a much more modern setting than the American Wild West that it is on the surface. I wonder if perhaps Everett is implying a modern context in the Wild West? Or perhaps a more complex part of the setting than I have read yet?

I’ve looked into some Western stock characters and I think Marder may be a kind of hybrid between a Knight Errant and a Meek Townsman. He, of course, is trying to find his wife, but is such an absolute coward that he is essentially rendered useless in a situation of immediate danger. I’m curious to see where this story goes!

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2017 in Book Updates, Book-related

 

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My Top Three Book Series

Before I start telling you about my top three favorite series, here’s a disclaimer: I love Harry Potter of course, but for the sake of exposing people to other series that don’t get as much attention, I am excluding it.

Okay, here we go!

  1. The Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin

I’ve read this series as the books have been released. I believe I read the first book on what used to be Pulseit.com, which was a website by Simon & Schuster where a free young adult would be released every month or so on the website.

Anyways, this is a psychological thriller-type story, which kind of splits off into some other interesting aspects (don’t want to spoil it!) It’s about a girl who calls herself Mara Dyer at the beginning of the novel to hide her real identity. She recalls her life from the moment she woke up in a hospital after being the only survivor among her friends in an accident. She and her friends were in an abandoned building when it collapsed and miraculously Mara survived. She doesn’t remember everything that happened because of shock and PTSD, but when she finally does…it’s unbelieveable.

  1. The Wake series by Lisa McMann

I have reread these books so many times and it never gets old! I found out about the series after they were released. At a book signing for Cassandra Clare, Lisa McMann was also there. I didn’t know anything about the series, but it sounded intriguing. I ended up buying the whole series right there and getting them all signed.

This one is about Janie Hannagan, a girl who gets sucked into other people’s dreams and experiences them from her own perspective. I don’t want to give too much away because this is a suspenseful read with twists and turns. Basically it’s a supernatural meets mystery-type book.

  1. The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

A fantasy book series. I read this series when I was in elementary school. I don’t remember too much about it, but I really want to reread it soon.

It’s about a boy named Twig who was raised by woodtrolls. The whole series is about him discovering who his parents were and discovering his own identity along the way.

I’m also surprised that I haven’t met many people who know about this series, so check it out!


I don’t know why, but I’ve found myself not wanting to write on my blog for a very long time. I got so tired of posting book reviews, even though I wasn’t reading that much either. I felt like I sounded pretentious in my reviews, so I’m going to try writing something else.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2016 in Book Reviews, Book-related

 

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Camp Nanowrimo April 2016 & Updates

I am so excited for Camp Nanowrimo! I’ve never participated in April before, so it’ll be a bit different. But, I am so excited that I can hardly keep my fingers off the keyboard.

I participated in Nanowrimo last November for the first time and I really liked it. I only got to 16,000 words, but I am hoping to get to 50,000 words this time! (I know I’m a little crazy since I am also an over full time student with work study as well, but we’ll see!)

Next topic: my absence. I’m not just going to say, “I’m so busy, *insert ranting reasons*.” That is not why I’ve been away from blogging. Truth is: I haven’t had anything to say yet. I haven’t been reading much, simply because I’m in a bit of a rut, and I do have a few book crafts that I am working on, but I’m not quite finished.

And that seems like a good transition to my next topic: I just got a Pintrest. So, hopefully I can find some more book craft ideas and adjust them to my liking and share with you!

That’s all for now, but I’m on Spring Break, so I very well may post some more soon!

 

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2016 in nanowrimo, Updates

 

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