Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Geeky Valentine

If there a certain nerd girl or guy you wish you were cozied up with this Valentine's Day? Or perhaps you've already landed the geek of your dreams, but you don't know how to express your feelings properly? Well, here are a few tools to make your nerdy love's glasses fog up.

Helpful Links: 

Na’vi, Klingon and Elvish Valentines: Heart Talk for Geeks- Live long and prosper with your nerd honey after sending him/her Valentine's Day greetings in Na'vi, Klingon or Elvish. 

Lord of the Rings Pick-up Lines- Not sure what it takes to get your One Ring on your sweetie's finger? Start with these Lord of the Rings-inspired pick-up lines!

100 Geeky Valentine's Day Gifts, Geeky Valentine's Day Gift IdeasThink Geek: Geek Love- From a Bat-bra to Star Trek cologne, these sites are your guide to presents for your preciousssss.

Geek Candy- Though this article was intended to provide Halloween candy suggestions, I suspect any geek would be your sweetie for a chocolate Vader pop! However, if these aren't the treats you were looking for, perhaps you'd prefer a light-up candy light saber, a Legend of Zelda tin of mints, or a Limited Edition Star Trek Pez set from ThinkGeek?

And Now For Some Randomness:

Today, I was sending out Tweets to the sweet, showering my Twitter followers with nerdy sentiments. I've included my favorites here. 

The Empire is watching. Get some Valentines love today or be Force-choked.

Original image found here.

With great vest comes great responsibility... to spread the love and 
not let bun-head hoard the goods!

Original image found here.

Don't mind if I R2...

Original image found here.

If his tree palace is a-rocking, don't come a-knocking...

Original image found here.

Because you can't hurry love... Or wizards, apparently.

Original image found here.

Here's hoping you have someone to make sweet music with...

Original image found here.

And because I love Daryl Dixon like a fat kid loves cake, 
I looked up some cool images of him and made these: 

Because the other guy 'bowed out.

If you feel like chasing tail this Valentine's Day...

The Thrilling Conclusion: 

So there's your dose of Valentine's Day nerdiness. Until next time, remember to be...

Original image found here.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Book Review: Snow in Summer

I've always heard fantastic things about Jane Yolen's writing. She's just one of those authors you come to feel backwards for not having read if you're an avid reader of children's books and young adult novels. So recently, I decided it was time to  acquaint myself with the talented Ms. Yolen and her oft-praised works. While I'd been given particularly strong recommendations for The Devil's Arithmetic, I decided to start with Snow in Summer for the simple reason that I really dig clever retellings of fairy tales.

The premise alone knocked my socks off. Snow in Summer is a Snow White story set in post-Depression era West Virginia. Our Snow White is a sweet backwoods girl from a tiny town and our evil stepmother is a sinister yet elegant sorceress who also happens to be a snake handler.  The bones of the fairy tale are still there: young girl loses her mother, her grief-stricken father is hoodwinked into marrying the evil stepmother, and the stepmother proceeds to circle our heroine in a predatory fashion. But layered over this classic framework is a tangible, relatable setting and more modern characters without any loss of the magical essence that the tale requires. This skillful combination of elements make the premise feel authentic and not just like a gimmick.

The quality of Ms. Yolen's writing also did not disappoint. There was a sad dreaminess to the novel that drew me in and kept me up past my bedtime. "Just one more page," I would mutter to myself under my breath. And it was never just one more page. Her descriptions had an ease and a grace that made her world seem vividly real to me.

The heroine, Summer, was likewise engaging. Her voice was filled with sensitivity and compassion as she narrated the circumstances of her mother's death in childbirth and her father's slide into distant grief. Yet despite her tenderness of spirit, Summer also had that spark of practicality and fight that makes for a well-rounded female character. She didn't just pine artfully, she employed spunk, cleverness, and strength to navigate the perils in her life. It also didn't hurt that she was a bookworm with her head in the clouds, which yours truly could relate to something fierce.

However, while the premise was inventive and imaginative, the writing was lovely, and the heroine's voice was strong, the pace left something to be desired. The book languished in backstory and spent half its pages just setting the stage. Admittedly, it was backstory beautifully told. The story of Summer's father, with his magical green thumbs and his music, and Summer's lovely mother, who so loved wildflowers that she named her daughter for them, was so rich and captivating it deserved its own novel. 

The problem is that so much time was spent on Summer's tragic past and on building up the ominous nature of her stepmother's presence that the rest of the story was glossed over in a rush. In a sudden tumble of events, the huntsman was introduced, then the dwarves, and then Summer's ill-fated brush with her stepmother and the resolution. So long had we strolled languidly through the story that the sudden lurch left me blinking and trying to figure out what just happened. 

The heartbreak in this is that some marvelous potential was left unexplored. The huntsman was an intriguingly churlish character, and I was curious about his motives, his relationship to the stepmother, and his feelings about Summer. But he was there and gone again so quickly in the story, I scarcely got the chance to notice him. The dwarves were also hilarious and clever characters, tiny German miners who speak so fondly of their departed mama. Again, though, they were given scant development before the denouement brought all further depiction of lovable dwarves to an end. And the twist about our Prince Charming's identity was also quite clever. But we never really get properly introduced to him, nor do we get to see the romance blossom. And though I applaud Yolen for making the story more about the heroine's struggle and less about her waiting to be rescued, the romance is still a huge part of what makes the fairy tale worth reading. Being deprived of that sigh-inducing moment of love at first sight makes a Snow White story seem less complete somehow.

In the end, I still found the book magical, beautifully written, and quite clever, but the disappointment of the missed opportunities continues to haunt me. I would still highly recommend it to those who have my passion for fairy tales, just with the caveat that this is an adventure you go on for the beauty of the journey, not the thrill of the ending. If you can accept that, you will still find yourself well-pleased by Snow in Summer.