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On books and boys
cap, captain miss america
The below cut is specifically about Chrestomanci, and I think it's pretty much spoiler-free.

I read Conrad's Fate this week.

Now, Diana Wynne Jones is a great case study for me. I really like her characters. Howl Jenkins and Christopher Chant in particular are just really well-rounded characters, and she does an excellent job of tempering characters who are so powerful that they could be twinky with personality traits that keep them grounded and realistic. Christopher Chant, in particular, is one of my favorite characters, and she's done a great job of creating someone whose aging process makes perfect sense. You can see how he grows up into the person he is in Charmed Life, and reading about his sense of humor and vainness early on add a whole new dimension to how you read him as an adult.

Diana Wynne Jones is also really, really good at constructing believable fantasy worlds that aren't run of the mill. Her worlds make sense in a modern context; they're not fairy tale worlds but simply real worlds where magic exists. And one thing I really like about her books is that she handles the politics and laws of magic a great deal-- which is what loans itself to making the world realistic. I think she does this much more effectively than JK Rowling does it.

However, the one fault that I consistently find with Jones' books is the last two chapters. Howl's Moving Castle is the one that is pretty much the worst in terms of story wrap-up. And I absolutely love that book up until the end. Some of the books-- most of the Chrestomanci ones-- do have decent endings, but I always feel as if she never gets around to explaining herself until the end-- she's too judicious with giving out hints-- except about the things that should be surprises, in which case they're usually too easy to figure out. Conrad's Fate suffered tremendously from last-two-chapters exposition-- if only the last two chapers had been four or five chapters and she had drawn everything out and shown it to me, rather than had it all spill out very quickly and haphazardly, I think I would have enjoyed the book a lot more.

And this one is about my current living situation.

It is interesting how differently people eat when they are a member of a family that is comprised of five men and one woman, rather than two men and two women.

First of all, Vickey buys almost all food in bulk. This is because everyone here has an appetite that's about five times mine. Last night, Vickey, Dan, Amy, Dave, and I had pizza for dinner. That's five people. We ordered four pizzas-- one for Dan, one for Dave, and two for the three women to split. The boys each finished theirs; about half of a pizza was left from ours.

A half gallon of ice cream, which would probably last a month in my family, lasts less than a week. The size of the bowls of ice cream they serve is about four times the amount of ice cream I can stomach in one sitting.

And they're not fat. The boys are all big boys, but none of them are that chubby. They just eat like you can't believe.

There is no juice in this house. There's just loads of Pepsi, which is doing a number on my skin-- I know I get acne when I eat more sugar. There's also milk, so I've just been drinking a lot of milk now, which is better for me.

A week and a half ago, I went grocery shopping. Vickey told me to get fruit, so I bought about 12 apples. So far, I've eaten seven of them, and no one else has touched them, even though apples are apparently one of the fruits the boys like.

There are bags and bags of potato chips, and probably about fifteen pounds of ground beef in the freezer. The main staple foods in this house are beef, frozen chicken cutlets, jalapeno jack cheese, tostitos, pepsi, and strawberry ice cream.

There are also very few sweet snacks, and almost no chocolate. Dan is the only male in the house who likes chocolate at all. Now, for me, personally, when I want a snack, I'll usually opt for something sweet because salty snacks make me bloaty. But there aren't any. Just loads of chips and cheese and salty crackers and things like that.

They also eat a lot of hot dogs and pizza.

In my house, we eat a lot of salad and pasta with olive oil and veggies.

There are rarely veggies in this house, other than, say, tomato sauce.

I'm not sure what conclusion I'm drawing, exactly, but it's interesting to see what other people's diets are comprised of.

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I don't think it's the number of boys... but the sheer size. There were two women and two men in my family and my brother out ate us ALL. He'd get a pizza and a half to himself, mom bought everything in bulk at Sam's. Especially when Drew was doing football... he STILL eats a ton of food now, although he's trying to watch his weight. He used to work out for football, but he doesn't so much now, so he had to cut down on fatty foods. We always had a lot of fresh vegi's though because my grandparents had huge gardens. We had more lettuce than we knew what to do with. o___o With dave... he works out a LOT, but really we don't keep a lot of food in the house unless I buy it. I like pretzels best as a snack- but dave tends to just sit down and finish stuff off in one sitting. TT_TT so no snacks for us.

I think the type of food has to do with the ratio of boys to girls. Vickey and my mom were pretty much raised together, so the two of them eat the same foods if they have their way. All the junk food is definitely because of the boys, and the preference for salty over sweet is a result of the boys, too, I think.

Maybe... i think it's also culture. We often had dried squid as snacks. Other than an asian grocery I don't know WHO would have that stuff... it stinks. :X But we also always drank sweet tea... Now that you mention it I can't remember what sort of snacks prevailed. Drew inhaled whatever came in the house so fast! MAN I want pretzels now! XD;;;

I really liked her Dalemark quartet. Very good.

I haven't read Dalemark yet; I haven't been able to find the first one in a bookstore and I always forget them when I'm on Amazon.

Ooh, yes, the Dalemark Quartet was lovely, though I did get a little confused at the *sigh* end. But not much.

Can't remember the name of the third Chrestomanci one (Witch Week?) but I found it really exciting to then come to England and discover that Guy Fawkes etc. were real. But that's just me being an ignorant American again.

I really disliked that one about the ghost (In The Time of The Ghost?) and there was another one like it, with the Hands and the Balance and all, where nothing makes sense till the end and then you have to reread the whole thing. I hated that feeling of knowing absolutely nothing about what was going on.

And that's as much critical appreciation as you're going to get out of me at this time of night.

Oh,I hated In the Time of the Ghost. It was just so confusing. She's really, really not good at explaining her plots, even if she is great at describing her worlds. It's kind of an odd problem.

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