What I’m Reading: “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”, by Neil Gaiman

I have dreamed of that song, of the strange words to that simple rhyme-song, and on several occasions I have understood what she was saying, in my dreams. In those dreams I spoke that language too, the first language, and I had dominion over the nature of all that was real. In my dream, it was the tongue of what is, and anything spoken in it becomes real, because nothing said in that language can be a lie. It is the most basic building brick of everything. In my dreams I have used that language to heal the sick and to fly; once I dreamed I kept a perfect little bed-and-breakfast by the seaside, and to everyone who came to stay with me I would say, in that tongue, “Be whole,” and they would become whole, not be broken people, not any longer, because I had spoken the language of shaping.

A beautiful story. I read it all in just under a day, and now that it’s over, these are my thoughts: that I want a little black kitten with a spot of white on her ear; I want Shephard’s pie and raisin pudding with custard; I want to dip my feet into the ocean; and I want to have a friend like Lettie.

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What I’m Reading: Divergent, by Veronica Roth

I aim an uppercut low, below her bellybutton. My fist sinks into her flesh, forcing a heavy breath from her mouth that I feel against my ear. As she gasps, I sweep-kick her legs out from under her, and she falls hard on the ground, sending dust into the air. I pull my foot back and kick as hard as I can at her ribs.

My mother and father would not approve of my kicking someone when she’s down.

I don’t care.

She curls into a ball to protect her side, and I kick again, this time hitting her in the stomach. Like a child. I kick again, this time hitting her in the face. Blood springs from her nose and spreads over her face. Look at her. Another kick hits her in the chest.

I pull my foot back again, but Four’s hands clamp around my arms, and he pulls me away from her with irresistable force. I breathe through gritted teeth, staring at Molly’s blood-covered face, the color deep and rich and beautiful, in a way.

I’m interested to hear what other people thought of this book. It’s supposed to be the next The Hunger Games; a movie is coming out next year.

I enjoyed it. I’m about 30 pages from finishing, and I don’t bother finishing books that I’m not enjoying. There’s just so much that I want to pick apart, though. And the excerpt I posted above, where Tris, the main character, relishes brutalizing a girl she’s set up against to fight? You might think that’s a momentary lapse, or a character flaw she will be forced to confront and reconcile later, but no: the book glorifies violence and mindless bravado throughout. There is more to come from this series, with hints at evolution to come (of both Tris and the dystopian society she inhabits), so I’ll reserve judgment for now. But like I said: so much I want to pick apart.

What I’ve Read: “Adaptation” by Malinda Lo

Meant to get to this while I was actually reading it, but time is running away from me. Here is a passage I marked to share:

Reese pulled Amber closer. She couldn’t get close enough. It was extraordinary: the feel of Amber’s skin on hers, the places their bodies fitted together, the way she felt like she would melt if Amber didn’t touch her, and maybe even if she did —

But when Amber’s fingers slid beneath the waistband of Reese’s jeans, she froze. An unexpected panic raced through her, and before she knew what she was doing, she grabbed Amber’s hand and pulled it away, whispering, “Not yet.”

Amber stopped. She laid her head on the pillow, facing Reese, and smoothed back Reese’s hair from her flushed cheeks. “Okay,” Amber said, and kissed her gently on the corner of her mouth. “Okay.”

A sweet and sexy scene between the two teenagers, and an excellent example of how your partner should react when you want to slow down.