Friday, April 24, 2015

A peak into Castle Hangnail and Circling the Midnight Sun

Sigh. Still drowning in work. I haven't been able to much fun reading at all in the past couple of weeks. It has all been nonfiction on global climate change and water issues.

BUT - two days ago something cool showed up in my mailbox. Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon (creator extraordinaire of Digger and the excellent Dragonbreath series). Squeeeee!

So, for Book Beginnings on Friday, hosted by Rose City Reader, here is the beginning ...

It was a marvelously dark and dour twilight at the castle. Clouds the color of bruises lay across the hills. Rooks and ravens flapped into the battlements and were met by bats leaving for the evening. True, there were only three ravens, but there were plenty of bats, so the overall impression was of a small cloud of winged smoke hanging over the highest tower. The castle guardian was pleased. 

For non-fiction, I just got a copy of Circling the Midnight Sun: Culture and Change in the Invisible Arctic by James Raffan. It starts like this ... 

It was not the Arctic you might expect. It was lush and warm and greener than Greenland. There were blue poppies here the size of dinner plates. And the last polar bear to arrive here was shot dead as an undesirable. It was sad, really. There was a time when sea ice would last thorough the summer months in the Denmark Strait. Bears would use these rafts for loafing between spring and fall. But with global warming, that option was gone. 

Blue Poppies at a Botanical Gardens in Iceland! 

For The Friday 56 hosted at Freda's Voice here is a bit from page 56 of Castle Hangnail  ...

Just as writing an easy-to-follow recipe requires an orderly sort of mind, so too does writing a good spell. Unfortunately, many Wizards and Witches and Sorcerers and so forth do not have orderly minds. Reading their spellbooks is rather like reading the recipe cards for a gifted but erratic cook – lots of scribbled notes to themselves and not much use to other people. 
Invisbul Spell
      sprinkle fern seed – try speenwort,
                        A. platyneurion?

Tuesday night
      use thread from black scarf Mom sent me?
      Build wall of Octroi in hexagon
recite words from William's Spell of Unseeing,
        FIRST syllable, not second !!!
send Igor to store for green chalk

(Okay - I have to confess, I have people ask me for recipes all the time and I have to duck and dodge. This is actually in better shape then the notes I have. Half the time, I pull out a particular recipe in a cookbook so that I can specifically ignore it in order to remember how I cooked something once. If I am lucky there is something scribbled in the margin that says "large egg, milk, and oil to make two cups total" next to a recipe for something else entirely. So I found this bit hysterical.)

And from page 57 of Circling the Midnight Sun (page 56 is the end of the last chapter) ...

After the initial excitement of stumbling across the flotsam of the Terra Madre event, we met quite a number of Swedes and Sami in the shops and museums who were only too happy to confirm peaceful coexistence among the peoples of Laponia – but less so between traffic and the free-roaming reindeer. The main roads were fenced to some extent, but on the secondary and lesser road, extreme caution was advised. Where there was one reindeer, there were always several or several dozens, and not one of them the slightest bit cowed by traffic.


  1. What's the age-range for Castle Hangnail? That looks like a fun read! - Louise

    1. It is listed as Age Level: 8 - 12 and Grade Level: 3 - 7. So far I am quite enjoying it. I have started reading it out loud to my 7 year old and she likes it so far too.

  2. Beautiful blue poppies! WOW!
    Both books look good for different reasons. I like the fun nature of the first one, but think the non-fiction would be more exciting for me.
    Happy weekend!


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