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Saturday, May 23, 2009

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Friday, May 22, 2009

'scuse the silence

Sorry for leaving you in the lurch there when I was supposed to post my next Tamora Pierce review - 


morris and son Melbourne

...but first I got distracted when I got an email from Morris and Sons (aka Tapestry Craft) saying the new Melbourne store was open - so I just had to dash into the city. Unfortunately, the announcement was a little premature, but the love shop assistants let me in to have a look around - the Morris and Son yarns are divine. The should be open next week, just in time for the yearly May/June sale. For a better sneak peak at the store check out my flickr page (after they so graciously let me have a peek I took photos from outside the shop with my new super duper telephoto lens) 
The store is at 234 Collins st (right above Dymocks mecca) and the will be having weekly s'n'bs on Thursdays from 7-9pm (tho I am assuming they will start after the sale finishes)

...then due to parental units being in town I was out and about and busy busy busy for a couple of days

...and I got stuck down by some lurgy (not to worry, no curly tail a la Dudley, so it mustn't be swine flu. If I start oinking I'll let you know so you can disinfect your computers, because with all this panic about swine flu I am sure it must be contagious via the interwebs)

...but the best news - I got me a new macbook :) oh yay! Quick Q for all you mac pushers users out there - anyone used google chrome? It's now my preferred browser, but I am not sure how well it will work on the mac.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll be back into it with the Pierce book reviews.... for now I am curling up in bed and catching up on my blogs :)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Song of the Lioness Quartet


The Song of the Lioness was originally published in 4 books (hence quartet), however, I believe it has been published as a single edition omnibus in both the US and UK.


The four books, in reading order are:-

1. Alanna, the first adventure
2. In the hands of the Goddess
3. Woman who rides like a man
4. Lioness Rampant

This series in a nutshell?

10-year-old tomboy Alanna doesn't want to waste her life by being a 'Lady', whilst her wimpy twin brother, Thom, really doesn't have the mettle to undergo 8 years of gruelling training to become a Knight. Solution? Alanna cuts her hair and assumes the identity 'Alan' (because girls can't become knights) and heads off to the Capital to start service and training as a page and Thom heads off to learn sorcery (no, he doesn't have to dress in drag to do this.)

Despite having enough trouble just completing the exhausting page timetable (a half day of classes behind desks, followed by a half day of physical training, and then pages are required to wait upon a senior noble and serve dinner) Alanna also has to keep her sex a secret - until she hit puberty all she had to do was not bathe or swim with the other pages, but once breasts start growing she has to come up with slightly more creative ways of hiding her real identity. And then if that isn't enough, Alanna and her colleagues also face a mystical illness that plagues the capital, evil spirits from before the time of man, and - what is quite possibly the hardest thing for young adolescents, an overgrown bully.

Along the way she picks up a few allies - her manservant Corum, Crown Prince Jonathon, fellow pages and squires Raoul, Gary and Alex, elderly scholar and knight Miles, and the King of Thieves, the Rogue aka George. 

The first installment of the quartet, Alanna is doing everything in her power to forget she is a girl and to be taken as a equal to a man. A few people are in on her secret, but for the most part she is happy she doesn't have to learn how to be an 'insipid girl'. 

However, after she has matured a few years in the second installment, she becomes intrigued by the interactions with her friends and the females around court. Being heterosexual herself, she cannot grasp at the way her friends are taken by such 'useless creatures' and decides she needs to learn what being a girl is really about. This idea is built upon in the third and fourth books of the series. 

In the third book, Alanna is taken in by a nomadic desert tribe whose customs place more restrictions upon women that her own culture. With her magical ability she becomes Shaman and forces the tribe to accept changes she instills when she selects two girls as apprentice Shaman. However, from these girls Alanna begins to see the value of 'female work' such as weaving. 

It is not until the fourth book that Alanna befriends females her own age - and when these new friends mock and laugh at Alanna's lack of skills with looking after a baby, Alanna begins to realise that females are in fact quite skilled human beings, and it is the men who are ignorant for not realising it. 

Of course, while Alanna is growing and learning all this, she is still having great adventures. The threat of treason and possible regicide looms over the kingdom - and Alanna believe she knows who the traitor is but no-one will hear her out. She also has a few other internal struggles - such as how to handle relationships with men including an unexpected marriage proposal, and whether or not she could have both a family and still maintain her Independence as a knight. 

As a protagonist, Alanna would certainly fit in well with (first/second?? wave) feminists who believed that to fit into a 'Man's World' you needed to act like a Man, whilst acting like a Woman made you weak and insignificant (yes, I am making a huge generalisation about the feminist movement here. I believe that as Pierce is writing more novels her ideologies are becoming more in line with neo-feminist or third wave feminist thinking.)

The dominant ideology within this series is that you do not have to accept the place you are given in society. Although Alanna had to resort to subterfuge in order to be in control of her own destiny, she ended up proving that she was able and worthy to continue down the path she, and not society, had chosen for her. 


I would highly recommend Song of the Lioness as an excellent starting point if you are new to Tamora Pierce's work. I still love to reread these novels every so often - and don't think that just because the marketing is not aimed at you that you will not enjoy them. Pierce has mentioned that she originally wrote Alanna's tale for an adult audience, but after a suggestion from a friend rewrote and edited it for a younger audience (which possibly helped it along it's way to getting published usually publishers are begging for books written for this age group)

Anyway, below are a few of the different covers of the Alanna books that have been issued around the world. 

Hope you enjoyed this review (without me giving away too much, like the ending) and you'll come back tomorrow when I review The Immortals

song of the lioness covers

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

This is for the Disco Knitter...

Happy Birthday Lara - and if you haven't seen this yet, you should get a kick out of it...


Kingsford Goes to the Beach

I wonder how Pierre will cope with one running round the house...

Did you know that 80% of childrens’ books published today feature male heros?*

*Fact from http://www.sheroescentral.com/


Way back when I was an angst-ridden pre-teen, I stumbled across a series of fantasy books where the main protagonist was a short, stocky, redheaded female who was disguising herself as a boy so she could complete training to become a knight. She yelled insults at bullies, got into fights, could perform magic and had an affair with the crown prince before she turned 18. I was completely captivated and devoured all the books in the series. 

For those of you not in the know, the author is Tamora Pierce... and to this day she is still one of my favourite authors.

One of the reasons her books resonate so well with me, is because she generally writes fantasy with a female hero or shero (as opposed to an heroine - a shero is a female of decision and action, rather than an heroine who is characterised by her indecision and inaction and is basically just an object for the real hero to save)

Anyway, I am mentioning this because I just finished reading Bloodhound- Pierce's latest novel. And I thought I would do a mini-series of blogging this week where I can introduce to Pierce's work, and hopefully you can share it with the adolescents in your life. (Particularly the girls, but I see no reason why boys wouldn't enjoy the adventures too)

I'd personally love to see Pierce offered a deal where she simplified some of her tales down to picture book level, and had a couple of action figure tie-ins in order to give younger children an alternative to Barbie and Bratz dolls 
(Imagine it - child one "my Aryan big-boobed dolly is in a wedding dress..." child two "well... my dolly is shorter than yours and has small boobies, but she comes with armour and a sword and has the temper of a redhead and can cut your silly plastic fake in half with a single stroke....)

Anyway - tomorrow I shall start with my review of that first series I read, Song of the Lioness. 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Scarf Festival Update: Workshop Program


Forwarded to me by the lovely Gillian - http://leafygal.blogs.com/

Dear Scarf Maker
 
I am pleased to announce the festival program for Transformation: Scarf Festival 2009. I hope you will find an activity that suits your skills and interests with nearly 40 different classes on offer by 22 professional and amateur craft practioners from across Australia!
 
Bookings for the workshops open on Monday 18th May at all venues across Geelong and Melbourne. Please note the venue of the workshop and contact that venue directly to make a booking, Monday - Fridays during business hours. Bookings and prepayment are required for ALL workshops regardless of the venue.
 
Please note the special offer for the NWM membership which is open to all participants and attendees. NWM Membership attracts a 15% discount for scarves entered into the Transformation Showcase and workshop fees and free entry into the Museum for 12 months.
 
We hope you will join us in transforming your winter this year!
 
Kind Regards
Lynette
 
Lynette Nilaweera (Christie)
Scarf Festival Coordinator
National Wool Museum
PO Box 104
Geelong VIC 3220
T: 03 5272 4864
F: 03 5222 1118
 
The Workshop program is available in google documents here:

Friday, May 08, 2009

Fwd: Llama looking for a loving home (Mornington Peninsula based)

Sent to me by the big hearted Lara:)

Anybody want a Llama?



Amy is a 5 year old desexed female Llama who's looking for a loving home, due to a change in her owner's circumstances.
 
She's a very friendly girl who will eat out your hand, but only once she trusts you.
 
Amy is fine with other gentle animals. She would suit a property with other Llamas or Alpacas as, being a "pack" animal, she needs the company.
 
If interested, please contact Robyn on 5979 4509 or brookfieldfarm@bigpond.com (Mornington Peninsula based)


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

boo to cadbury

I am rather vexed that Cadbury have repackaged the 'family sized' block of chocolate so it looks the same size but is in fact now only 200g. 


And that Safeway is merchandising these new carboard covered blocks at the end of aisles with the $3.99 in big numbers and bright pink 'new' signs in the candy aisle so people think they are getting something for a good price. 

Of course - I wondered what happened to the old 250g blocks. I found them hanging from a special display in the soft drink aisle on clearance for a dollar less than the new smaller blocks. 

Well done Cadbury - thinking your clientelle such fools that they won't realise that they are getting less of a product for the same price.

Of course - I only buy the Cadbury chocolate when it is on special* - I much rather prefer the Green & Blacks or Lindor Lindt chocolate.

*Me as a chocoholic is like a wino to metholated spirits... when I get desperate just about any cocoa will do...

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

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