Answers served with a very long list which I expect a lot of people to skip
Kathryn searched: Are you excited for Star Wars?
I saw the new movie last night.
The new main characters are fun.
The new droid has the attitude of a puppy, if puppies could give you an electrical shock when they suspect that you have robbed their master.
It was good to see Chewbacca again.
The Millenium Falcon still hasn’t escaped its reputation as a pile of space trash, and I’m, honestly, very proud of it.
I can get excited with other people who are excited, and I can gather up some complaints if anyone wants to complain. I’m happy to be fairly middle-of-the-road on this one.
BookWormBookNerd searched: Would you rather live in Hogwarts, Narnia, or Middle Earth?
Despite being the perfect age for Harry Potter (I was ten when the first book was published in the United States, eleven when the second came out, which meant that I basically aged with The Boy Who Lived until publication dates started getting delayed), I never wanted to climb into the world. Why? I have no idea. Maybe because they had no Magical Literature Courses at Hogwarts?
I did spend a lot of time crawling to the back of closets and knocking on the back walls, to see if they would open up into a snowy wonderland. But I liked the cozy, quiet feeling of closets, almost as much as I liked the cozy, quiet feeling of snow days. It had nothing to do with fauns or talking beavers. As an adult, I can say that I would appreciate the castles and the ruins, and that Aslan would be infinitely worth meeting.
But I’ll still choose Middle Earth, because at ten years old, all I wanted was to ride horses with the Rohirrim. I wanted to wear the armor. I wanted to swing the swords. I wanted to stand in the face of dangerous things and refuse to go home, because Gondor called for aid.
It’s hard to forget the things that you loved when you were ten years old.
Kathryn searched: When I’m sick and can’t even spell my last name by rote and forget to put the basket back after grocery shopping, how can I tell if something is a poor financial decision? I need a touchstone.
Darling, I’m only going to say this once: if you can’t remember your own name, you are absolutely not to make any permanent decisions. No tattoos, no contracts, no investments. I have followed this rule for twenty-six years, and it has never steered me wrong.
Get a cup of tea. Snuggle with your kitty. Call me in the morning. Don’t argue.
(And, at least in my phone, your name is spelled H-e-r F-r-o-g-g-i-e i-s P-u-r-p-l-e.)
SoWhatImAWerewolf searched: If someone wanted to really understand you, what would they have to read, watch, and listen to?
There’s a strangely intimate feeling in this question.
The Emily Novels by L.M. Montgomery. The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce. The Moorchild by Eloise McGraw. Crown Duel and Court Duel by Sherwood Smith. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. The Sea Hawk by Rafael Sabatini. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. The Protector of the Small Quartet by Tamora Pierce. (All of which I read before the age of thirteen.)
Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice. Homeland, Exile, and Sojourn by R.A. Salvatore. (Which are the only books I remember clearly from being a teenager.)
Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield. Homer’s Iliad. Herodotus’ Histories. Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War. Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Shakespeare’s Loves Labors Lost. Sophocles’ Oedipus Sequence. Plato’s Symposium. The Laws of Evening by Mary Yukari Waters. Bloodchild by Octavia Butler. The Tides of War by Steven Pressfield. The Twelve Houses series by Sharon Shinn. (All of which dominated my college years.)
The Lightning Tree by Patrick Rothfuss. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Paper Towns by John Green. The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss. (Which, if you mash them all together properly, and add just a piece of my soul, will become the story that I desperately want to write.)
And… I don’t know… Watch The Road to El Dorado, The Lord of the Rings, 300, A Knight’s Tale, Supernatural, and Stage Beauty. Then… listen to every song by Hawk Nelson. I guess.
SoWhatImAWerewolf searched: What are the five most influential books in your life?
When I was a junior in college, a professor I loved assigned a paper to our class, which was half bushy-tailed undergrads, and half wizened old grad students. For the exact same topic, the professor asked for ten pages from the undergrads, and five pages from the grads. We each campaigned heartily for the others’ assignment.
Until every undergraduate sat down to write, and realized that trying to answer the question posed in half the space would have been torture. Then we made raspberry noises at the grad students and skipped off to the raging Apartment Parties while the grad students hunched over their laptops all weekend.
I feel as if I have just been tricked into going to grad school.
And I don’t like it.
Emily Climbs by L.M. Montgomery, which, more than any other book I read before the age of ten, made me feel less alone. It is the probably the single reason why I believe good fiction should deliver a sense of belonging and camaraderie.
Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce, which introduced to me to the fantasy genre. And knights. And all my romantic ideals for horses. My first novel was also an exact copy of this book, with all the names changed, and the villain mysteriously a copy of a boy named Joshua, who I believed would benefit from getting his nose broken.
Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith, which changed how I thought about heroes, and changed how I thought about writers. You could talk to them. They could tell you their secrets.
The Sea Hawk by Rafael Sabatini, which I remember very little of now, but sparked my entire obsession with buckled swash and pretty boats.
And The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, which… I sometimes still get mute about. It’s just a story that hit me like a thunderstorm and dared me to dance.
Kathryn searched: Christmas update letters – yes or no?
I don’t understand why this is traditionally done around Christmas time, when the holidays are already hectic. It seems more logical to do it at the end of the summer, to me, when you’ve just about worn yourself out with vacations, and all you want to do is reconnect with your friends who have scattered to their various adventures under the sun over the last few months.
But if you want to.
Have a question for Gwendoogle? Leave it in comments below and I’ll be back next week to answer it.
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