Posted in Liked It, Memoir

Waterwalk: A Passage of Ghosts

Finally I finished this book. I have been recovering from my four day deposition last week. I have felt unusually lazy when it comes to reading. It’s a pity too, especially since my “To Read” pile seems to be growing exponentially.

I am going to break tradition and review a non-fiction book. I usually don’t read non-fiction. Being a lawyer destroyed that for me. After dealing with the ills of the world, a little escape is quite the necessity.

It was a trip to salvage a relationship. Steven Faulkner felt that he was losing touch with his sixteen year old son, Justin. As the father of seven children who was working round the clock and simultaneously putting himself through college, masters, and Ph.d., he had precious little time to devote to his son. Their relationship had drifted to the point where they really didn’t speak to one another.

Faulkner’s solution to the problem: he and his son would take a canoe and re-discover the Mississippi River following in the footsteps of French explorers Marquette and Joliet. The father and son work for weeks at roofing jobs to purchase the necessary equipment.

Finally, his wife and younger children drop them off at the Great Lakes. Father and son shove off knowing that they will not see the rest of their family for 9 long weeks until they reach St. Louis. The time they spend together seems to improve their relationship somewhat. It is unusual in the sense that there really isn’t much dialogue between the pair. Or maybe that seems unusual to me because I am a female and that is not typically not how mother and daughters bond. They do make it to St. Louis. Along the way, Faulkner does recount bits of the history of the discovery of the Mississippi.

The one thing that struck me about this book was that it was “powerfully wet.” It reminded me of the phrase, “Water, water everywhere.” For one thing they were on the water forever. The other thing is that it always seemed to be raining. They spent a great deal of time drying out. The second thing that struck me was that it was dangerous. Throughout the nine weeks, they camped in random places along the shore. There was wild life i.e. wolves. Then of course there was Nature itself. These rainstorms in which they were caught made visibility nearly impossible; the canoe did fill with water. All it would have taken is one overturn, and they would have been goners. Then there were the dams and other boats. The other boats caused wakes that nearly flipped them over. As for the dams, they caused a lot of turbulence. In one instance both of them nearly drowned. As the approached a dam the water became very turbulent and they tried to foolishly hold onto a water marker. They ended up over turning their canoe and losing most of their possessions.

What was truly amazing was that both father and son met some truly amazing people. Complete strangers gave them ride to town, took them into their house, and really came to the rescue when they overturned the canoe.

Finally it was an interesting method of storytelling. It was told in the first person, which is no surprise. But it also had these flash forward scenes that took place 3 years into the future. It was quite intriguing. In fact the book started with one of these scenes. Justin gets into a car accident that gets worse as the sequence unfolds. The reader is given little tid bits throughout the story, but it isn’t until the end that the reader discovers whether or not Justin survives.

Anyway, this book is available in bookstores now. And as Fan of Steve commented last post, Mr. Faulkner does have an upcoming travel schedule for anyone who wants to get a glimpse of the intrepid traveler.

Return to the July Bookworms Carnival

Posted in Loved It, Mystery

And Then There Were None

Ten Little Soldiers

Ten little Soldier boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self and then there were Nine.
Nine little Soldier boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were Eight.
Eight little Soldier boys traveling in Devon;
One said he’d stay there and then there were Seven.
Seven little Soldier boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in halves and then there were Six.
Six little Soldier boys playing with a hive;
A bumblebee stung one and then there were Five.
Five little Soldier boys going in for law;
One got into Chancery and then there were Four.
Four little Soldier boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one and then there were Three.
Three little Soldier boys walking in the Zoo;
A big bear hugged one and then there were Two.
Two little Soldier boys were out in the sun;
One got all frizzled up and then there was one.
One little Soldier boy left all alone;
He went out and hanged himself and then there were none.

This little children’s poem becomes the plot in an ingenious murder plot. Ten people are invited to Soldier Island. Each receives different reasons for being invited to the Island. The letters are signed U. N. Owen. The cast of character is as follows:
Anthony James Marston, an amoral playboy.
Mrs. Ethel Rodgers, the nervous yet efficient housekeeper.
Mr. Thomas Rodgers, an efficient hard working butler.
General John Macarthur, a retired WWI hero.
Emily Brent, a spinster who is a religious zealot.
Justice Lawrence Wargrave, a retired stringent criminal judge.
Dr. Edward Armstong, a fashionable doctor.
William Blore, a retired investigator.
Philip Lombard, a fortune hunter.
Vera Claythorne, a former governess.

After the characters arrive at the Island, they start comparing notes as to their hosts. None of the stories match up. The story becomes stranger still when during dinner a gramophone plays the list of “murders” for which each guest is responsible. It seems everyone has a very dirty little secret in their past. It also appears that all ten have gotten away with murder. The “guests” notice that in the center of the table there are ten little soldier figurines. The more clever “guests” realize that U.N. Owen is a clever way of saying UNKNOWN.

That night before dinner is completely over, the first “guest” dies having “choked to death.” One by one each of the guest dies in accordance with the poem. Paranoia mounts as the survivors realize that the murderer is among them. Foes become friends who become foes. Within a few days, all the “guests” are dead. The police are at a loss. The coroner is unable to determine a time of death for any of the ten. They know roughly that certain people had to have survived certain people. But they have no idea Why any of this has happened. But then the crime is solved when the megalomaniac murdered sends a letter to the police. It seems he cannot bear to have people not realize or appreciate what he pulled off. It is jaw dropping!!!

This book reminded me greatly of A Pocket Full of Rye because the murders followed the nursery rhyme pattern. In hindsight the murdered was easy to spot. I’m not sure why I didn’t see it before. It was quite a psychological thriller, because the characters really start going crazy due to guilt and fear. Well, be sure your sins will find you out!!!

Posted in author bio

The Bluestocking Guide Introduces: Steven Faulkner

Steven Faulkner is a first time author. His book is being published by none other than RDR Books. I have searched the internet desperately for a biography on this man. Alas! The only biography I could find was the one in the back of his book, which I received as a review copy from RDR books. So I will copy it here. Hopefully this weekend I will get to read it. I’ll have to squeeze it in between the three depositions for which I am preparing. 

Steven Faulkner teaches Creative Writing at Longwood University, a beautiful school in the forested hills of southern Virginia. He has published essays in DoubleTake, Wisconsin Trails magazine, Southern Humanities Review, Dos Passos Review, and other journals. One essay was anthologized in Beacon’s Best of 1999.

He was for many years a truck driver, roofer, grave vault make, newspaper and doughnut delivery driver, and for fourteen years, a carpenter. He returned to college, working nights to support his wife and seven children, and acquired the necessary degrees from the University of Kansas. He has been married to his wife Joy for 34 years. His oldest son, David, designed the maps for this book, and his second son, Seth, designed the cover. Both are art directors and graphic designers in Kansas City. This is Steven Faulkner’s first book.

Posted in Uncategorized

Books v. Movies

Books and films both tell stories, but what we want from a book can be different from what we want from a movie. Is this true for you? If so, what’s the difference between a book and a movie?

I definitely prefer books to the movie. One thing movies can’t capture is what is actually going on in the character’s head. Movies can only show internal processes by external actions. Sometimes those actions don’t adequately cover it. In addition, with books you can use your own imagination as to people and places. Movies make things look way too glamorous. Even the ugly people in the books are attractive on screen. 

I like movies when I’m being to lazy to read!!!!

Posted in Uncategorized

Advanced Review: The Matters at Mansfield (Or, the Crawford Affair)

Saturday while I was getting dressed, my mother called up to me that the mail had arrived. She said, “There’s something for the Bluestocking Guide.” Immediately my mind flashed to the publish with whom I had had a conversation a couple days before. I thought, “that was quick.” Wonder of wonders the package was not from Michigan as I had thought. It was from New York. As I tore the package open, I saw the words Advance Uncorrected Proof. Then I saw the title The Matters at Mansfield. I was stunned. A few months ago, I had contacted Ms. Bebris and asked for an advance review copy of her book. I thought I would get it close to the release date, which is in September. Needless to say, I was absolutely giddy!!!!

The story opens with Darcy and Elizabeth visiting the home of Darcy’s cousin Roger Fitzwilliam, the Earl of Southwell for his prenuptial celebration.  Readers will remember that Colonel James Fitzwilliam was the younger son of the late Earl.  It is a family affair complete with the presence of Lady Catherine and her daughter Anne.  At the ball, Elizabeth and Darcy, seeing Anne’s wistfulness at the dancing, distract Lady Catherine long enough for Anne to be able to have a dance with Colonel Fitzwilliam.  During the intricacies of the dance, Anne meets Henry Crawford.  Later on that night, she and Henry travel to Gretna Green and elope.  This, of course throws, quite a monkey wrench into Lady Catherine’s plans to marry Anne to the Honorable Neville Sennex, the heir of the viscount, Lord Sennex.  Darcy and Fitzwilliam give chase but arrive too late.  The marriage has been finalized in every sense of the word.  However, it seems Henry Crawford is a changed man and has acted in this reckless manner solely to protect Anne.  It further appears that Anne and Mr. Crawford met indirectly as a result of Darcy and Elizabeth’s last adventure a year before.  As the couple returns to face Lady Catherine’s wrath, Anne is injured in the small village of Mansfield.  As one can imagine, the whole town turns out to see the infamous Mr. Crawford and his most unfortunate wife, including the Mansfield favorites: Mrs. Norris, Maria Rushworth, and Edmund.  Just when things seem to die down, who should appear but a Meg Garrick who also claims to have been seduced.  It appears Mr. Crawford is a rakehell of the worst sort; his seduction of Maria Rushworth is one of many bombshells dropped.  Mr. Crawford disappears that night to be found dead several days later in a grove on Mansfield Park of either suicide or murder most foul.  As Darcy and Elizabeth try to determine how Mr. Crawford died, they encounter more twist and turns and surprises than the legendary labyrinth.  The list of suspects runs from the father of a seduced daughter to close family members.  It appears not everyone is who and what they seem- including the dead. 
 
This book is the best of the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mysteries.  Ms. Bebris has truly grown into her craft.  Of the novels she has written this is the first that can be truly described as a detective novel.  Her thorough research into arms, dancing, English estate laws, and horses make the book entertaining as well as realistic.  Not only does she do a superb job with the science behind the crime, she does an excellent job developing her cast of characters, particularly Anne de Bourgh of whom we know next to nothing.  This book is more in the style of the Jane Austen Mysteries in that the crime is solved by understanding the character and motivations of the suspects and their families.  This book is an engaging read.  Pride and Prejudice fans will greatly enjoy seeing their favorite husband and wife duo in action again.  

This book is available for sale September 2, 2008!!

Posted in Fantasy

Prince Caspian

This story takes place a year after the events in the Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe. Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy as summoned to Narnia by Caspian who blows Susan’s magical horn. Readers will remember that Susan was wearing the horn on their last day in Narnia. The horn had been lost for ages. Their job was to help Prince Caspian reclaim his throne. 

After the Pevensie children returned to our world, Narnia was conquered by a race of men known as Telmarines. These men feared the mythical creatures of Narnia as well as the sea. As a result, Narnians went into hiding. The woods grew till Cair Paravel was cut off from the rest of Narnia. Approximately 1300 years have passed when they returned. 

Prince Caspian is the crown prince of Narnia. His uncle Miraz is his Regent as his father, Caspian the IX was dead. Prince Caspian’s nurse taught him about Old Narnia. However, she was sent away when Caspian inadvertently told his uncle of the stories. At this point Caspian was taught the skills necessary to become a warrior. His tutor was Doctor Cornelius, who was part dwarf. Dr. Cornelius also taught him about old Narnia. However, Caspian was now smart enough to realize that he should keep his lessons quiet. Several years past, before Miraz was able to produce an heir. At this point, Caspian’s life was in danger. So Dr. Cornelius sent him from the castle one night with Susan’s horn. During his flight, Caspian fell off his horse. He woke up in the company of Trufflehunter, Trumpkin, Nikabrik- Old Narnians. The trio took Caspian around with them to meet all the true inhabitants of Narnia. After meet Glenstorm, the Centaur, they realize that the time of war is upon Narnia- and Caspian must lead them. In their counsel of war, they decide to use the horn. They believe (Dr. Cornelius has joined them at this point) that the horn will summon the Pevensie four. However, Dr. Cornelius believes that the four will be summoned to their castle at Cair Paravel. Trumpkin is dispatched to bring them back. He is captured along the way, but the four rescue him. 

They reach Caspian before the battle begins. But they have to fight off a werewolf and hag Nikabrik has brought into their counsel in order to resurrect the White Witch. Peter and Edmund stop that but Caspian is injured. In order to give the weary Narnia troops some time to rest, Peter decides to challenge Miraz to personal combat. Meanwhile Lucy and Susan, who are with Aslan, go to wake up Old Narnia. During the combat, Miraz is killed by his own treacherous men, and the battle starts in ernest. Alsan, Lucy, Susan, and the rest of the Old Narnians come to the rescue. Caspian is made the High King of Narnia. Peter and Susan reveal that they will not be coming back to Narnia as they are too old. 

Now the interesting question is how is Caspian. The only reason I bring it up is because Ben Barnes, the character who plays Caspian in the movie is older than the little boy who played Caspian in the BBC version. The clue can be found in a review of the process by which a boy became a knight. There is speculation that Caspian was 13 when the Pevensies returned. I’m thinking he may have been a bit older. A boy began his training as a knight when he was 8 years old. As we see in the beginning of his story, Caspian’s made some dumb comments to his uncle. The type of comments that a small child would make. Soon after his begins his training. The book says some years past before Queen Prunaprismia has her baby. During this time he we are told he learned heraldry, archery as well as sword fighting. Now from what I’ve read, although swordsmanship was taught to pages, the training did not begin for real until they reached the squire level which is when they would have received their first set of armor. This was around 15 or 16 years of age. This would have put him closer to Peter’s age. In fact in chapter entitled Sorcery and Sudden Vengeance, Peter notes that Caspian is about his own age. We know from the Voyage of the Dawn Treader that Peter was taking exams and being tutored by Professor Kirk. I believe in the English school system (Litlove correct me if I’m wrong) there is a set of exams taken when students are around 17 years of age. So Peter was probably 17 in Voyage of the Dawn Treader which would have made him 16 in Prince Caspian. We also know from this same book that a year had passed on Earth since Prince Caspian while 3 years passed in Narnia. We know that at the end of Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Caspian marries Ramandu’s daughter prior to returning to Narnia. Which would make more sense if Caspian was 18 or 19 years old rather than sixteen. In addition, we are told by Caspian that he had waged a major battle against the giants a year before his voyage. I think that’s a bit much for a 15 year old to accomplish. So no, I’m fairly confident that Caspian was probably 15 or 16 when Prince Caspian takes place.

Posted in Advanced Review, Mystery, Rated E, Regency

The Matters at Mansfield

Saturday while I was getting dressed, my mother called up to me that the mail had arrived. She said, “There’s something for the Bluestocking Guide.” Immediately my mind flashed to the publish with whom I had had a conversation a couple days before. I thought, “that was quick.” Wonder of wonders the package was not from Michigan as I had thought. It was from New York. As I tore the package open, I saw the words Advance Uncorrected Proof. Then I saw the title The Matters at Mansfield. I was stunned. A few months ago, I had contacted Ms. Bebris and asked for an advance review copy of her book. I thought I would get it close to the release date, which is in September. Needless to say, I was absolutely giddy!!!!

The story opens with Darcy and Elizabeth visiting the home of Darcy’s cousin Roger Fitzwilliam, the Earl of Southwell for his prenuptial celebration.  Readers will remember that Colonel James Fitzwilliam was the younger son of the late Earl.  It is a family affair complete with the presence of Lady Catherine and her daughter Anne.  At the ball, Elizabeth and Darcy, seeing Anne’s wistfulness at the dancing, distract Lady Catherine long enough for Anne to be able to have a dance with Colonel Fitzwilliam.  During the intricacies of the dance, Anne meets Henry Crawford.  Later on that night, she and Henry travel to Gretna Green and elope.  This, of course throws, quite a monkey wrench into Lady Catherine’s plans to marry Anne to the Honorable Neville Sennex, the heir of the viscount, Lord Sennex.  Darcy and Fitzwilliam give chase but arrive too late.  The marriage has been finalized in every sense of the word.  However, it seems Henry Crawford is a changed man and has acted in this reckless manner solely to protect Anne.  It further appears that Anne and Mr. Crawford met indirectly as a result of Darcy and Elizabeth’s last adventure a year before.  As the couple returns to face Lady Catherine’s wrath, Anne is injured in the small village of Mansfield.  As one can imagine, the whole town turns out to see the infamous Mr. Crawford and his most unfortunate wife, including the Mansfield favorites: Mrs. Norris, Maria Rushworth, and Edmund.  Just when things seem to die down, who should appear but a Meg Garrick who also claims to have been seduced.  It appears Mr. Crawford is a rakehell of the worst sort; his seduction of Maria Rushworth is one of many bombshells dropped.  Mr. Crawford disappears that night to be found dead several days later in a grove on Mansfield Park of either suicide or murder most foul.  As Darcy and Elizabeth try to determine how Mr. Crawford died, they encounter more twist and turns and surprises than the legendary labyrinth.  The list of suspects runs from the father of a seduced daughter to close family members.  It appears not everyone is who and what they seem- including the dead. 
 
This book is the best of the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mysteries.  Ms. Bebris has truly grown into her craft.  Of the novels she has written this is the first that can be truly described as a detective novel.  Her thorough research into arms, dancing, English estate laws, and horses make the book entertaining as well as realistic.  Not only does she do a superb job with the science behind the crime, she does an excellent job developing her cast of characters, particularly Anne de Bourgh of whom we know next to nothing.  This book is more in the style of the Jane Austen Mysteries in that the crime is solved by understanding the character and motivations of the suspects and their families.  This book is an engaging read.  Pride and Prejudice fans will greatly enjoy seeing their favorite husband and wife duo in action again.  

This book is available for sale September 2, 2008!!

Posted in Children, Christian, Classic, Fantasy, Liked It

Prince Caspian

This story takes place a year after the events in the Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe. Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy as summoned to Narnia by Caspian who blows Susan’s magical horn. Readers will remember that Susan was wearing the horn on their last day in Narnia. The horn had been lost for ages. Their job was to help Prince Caspian reclaim his throne. 
After the Pevensie children returned to our world, Narnia was conquered by a race of men known as Telmarines. These men feared the mythical creatures of Narnia as well as the sea. As a result, Narnians went into hiding. The woods grew till Cair Paravel was cut off from the rest of Narnia. Approximately 1300 years have passed when they returned. 

Prince Caspian is the crown prince of Narnia. His uncle Miraz is his Regent as his father, Caspian the IX was dead. Prince Caspian’s nurse taught him about Old Narnia. However, she was sent away when Caspian inadvertently told his uncle of the stories. At this point Caspian was taught the skills necessary to become a warrior. His tutor was Doctor Cornelius, who was part dwarf. Dr. Cornelius also taught him about old Narnia. However, Caspian was now smart enough to realize that he should keep his lessons quiet. Several years past, before Miraz was able to produce an heir. At this point, Caspian’s life was in danger. So Dr. Cornelius sent him from the castle one night with Susan’s horn. During his flight, Caspian fell off his horse. He woke up in the company of Trufflehunter, Trumpkin, Nikabrik- Old Narnians. The trio took Caspian around with them to meet all the true inhabitants of Narnia. After meet Glenstorm, the Centaur, they realize that the time of war is upon Narnia- and Caspian must lead them. In their counsel of war, they decide to use the horn. They believe (Dr. Cornelius has joined them at this point) that the horn will summon the Pevensie four. However, Dr. Cornelius believes that the four will be summoned to their castle at Cair Paravel. Trumpkin is dispatched to bring them back. He is captured along the way, but the four rescue him. 
They reach Caspian before the battle begins. But they have to fight off a werewolf and hag Nikabrik has brought into their counsel in order to resurrect the White Witch. Peter and Edmund stop that but Caspian is injured. In order to give the weary Narnia troops some time to rest, Peter decides to challenge Miraz to personal combat. Meanwhile Lucy and Susan, who are with Aslan, go to wake up Old Narnia. During the combat, Miraz is killed by his own treacherous men, and the battle starts in ernest. Alsan, Lucy, Susan, and the rest of the Old Narnians come to the rescue. Caspian is made the High King of Narnia. Peter and Susan reveal that they will not be coming back to Narnia as they are too old. 

Now the interesting question is how is Caspian. The only reason I bring it up is because Ben Barnes, the character who plays Caspian in the movie is older than the little boy who played Caspian in the BBC version. The clue can be found in a review of the process by which a boy became a knight. There is speculation that Caspian was 13 when the Pevensies returned. I’m thinking he may have been a bit older. A boy began his training as a knight when he was 8 years old. As we see in the beginning of his story, Caspian’s made some dumb comments to his uncle. The type of comments that a small child would make. Soon after his begins his training. The book says some years past before Queen Prunaprismia has her baby. During this time he we are told he learned heraldry, archery as well as sword fighting. Now from what I’ve read, although swordsmanship was taught to pages, the training did not begin for real until they reached the squire level which is when they would have received their first set of armor. This was around 15 or 16 years of age. This would have put him closer to Peter’s age. In fact in chapter entitled Sorcery and Sudden Vengeance, Peter notes that Caspian is about his own age. We know from the Voyage of the Dawn Treader that Peter was taking exams and being tutored by Professor Kirk. I believe in the English school system (Litlove correct me if I’m wrong) there is a set of exams taken when students are around 17 years of age. So Peter was probably 17 in Voyage of the Dawn Treader which would have made him 16 in Prince Caspian. We also know from this same book that a year had passed on Earth since Prince Caspian while 3 years passed in Narnia. We know that at the end of Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Caspian marries Ramandu’s daughter prior to returning to Narnia. Which would make more sense if Caspian was 18 or 19 years old rather than sixteen. In addition, we are told by Caspian that he had waged a major battle against the giants a year before his voyage. I think that’s a bit much for a 15 year old to accomplish. So no, I’m fairly confident that Caspian was probably 15 or 16 when Prince Caspian takes place.

Posted in Contests

Contest No. 3 Austenian Charades

Riddles come from Old English and Norse writing. Riddles were a form of showing wit, which is unfortunately not something they bother teaching these days. It’s a pity too! It would make life a lot more interesting. The oldest set of riddles known as the Exeter book which was bound around 800 A.D. One of the most know riddles from the book was the following:

A moth ate words. I thought that was a marvelous fate, that the worm, a thief in the dark, should eat a man’s words, his brilliant language and its sturdy foundation. Not a whit the wiser was he for having fattened himself on those words.

The answer is bookworm. Don’t get me wrong, riddles were around prior to this point. I mean who can forget the riddle of the Sphinx or the riddle Samson posed. But we aren’t going to deal with riddles. We are going to deal with charades which originated in the 18th century. Various sources cite the origination as being in France. It probably did. I mean Voltaire and enlightened reason were big in France. So it probably did. Be that as it may, charades spread like wild fire aroud Europe.

Typically the form of the riddle was that of a poem. Each line of the poem gave a clue to either a syllable or letter of the word. Typically the last line gives a description of the whole word. The following example is a riddle that Jane Austen composed. 

When my first is a task to a young girl of spirit,
And my second confines her to finish the piece,
How hard is her fate! but how great is her merit
If by taking my whole she effects her release!

The answer to this riddle is “hemlock.”

Oh dear! I can hear everyone shaking with fear. No I’m not going to make you write riddles. I’m going to have you guess a couple. Yes, this is the last contest. The prize is a dark chocolate with almonds and a set of magnetic bookmarks. P.S. I came up with these in a few hours so they aren’t as lyrical as I would like. 

My first refers to Dumbledore’s closet,
My second is the lay of Achilles sung by the goddess,
My third refers to the back end of lettuce.
My first two by JKR have been made upset,
But together her courtroom antics can be described as this.

My first is the first in the Greek name for the Son of God,
Next, a horse or French mother, that’s right we sound the same.
Finally an outburst such as wow, gosh, darn, golly, and egad.
Now tell me what was the name of Bellerophon’s bane?

This describes me when my spirits are low.
It can be used to punish or create a soup.
The suffix represented by the orange ball bouncing up and down.
The second and third are typically found on the foot;
But together a woman usually holding a book. 

I am found in grape but not in grope.
Also in rate but not in race.
The second now double.
I can be found in both toil and trouble.
I turn geek into greek,
And see into seen.
I transform main into mein,
And ski into sky.
I’m this kind of eagle,
I’m one of the few good men.
Heed me not, and you’ll end in hot water again. 

Ok this contest is a bit more tricky so I’ll give you a little more. This one will be due May 28th at 11:59.

Have fun!!!!

Posted in Contests

Contest No. 2- The Sonnet

he term “sonnet” is derived from the Italian word for little song. A sonnet is a poem that typically has fourteen lines. The structure of the poem varies depending upon what type of sonnet it is. 

Sonnets are broken down into two major groups: Petrarchan (Italian) and Shakespearean (English). The Italian sonnet was invented by Giacomo de Lentini. But no one remembers that because he was overshadowed by people like Petrarch and even Michelangelo. The Petrarchan sonnet is made of an octave (two quatrains or four lined segments) which sets out the problem; followed by a sextet (six lined segment) which presents the resolution to the problem. The standard rhyme scheme in a Petrarchan sonnet is a-b-b-a, a-b-b-a for the octave; and for the sextet c-d-e-c-d-e or c-d-c-c-d-c. 

Milton wrote a number of sonnets in the Petrarchan mode. So I’ll use one for illustration as I can’t translate Italian. 
On His Blindness
When I consider how my light is spent (a)


 Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide, (b)
 
And that one talent which is death to hide, (b)
 
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent (a)

To serve therewith my Maker, and present (a)
 
My true account, lest he returning chide; (b)
 
“Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?” (b)
 
I fondly ask; but Patience to prevent (a)

That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need (c)

 Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best (d)
 
Bear his mile yoke, they serve him best. His state (e)

Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed (c)
 
And post o’er land and ocean without rest; (d)
 
They also serve who only stand and wait.” (e)

Shakespearean sonnets are written in iambic pentameter. This means that there are ten syllables per line and every other syllable is accented. (I think meter is a topic I’ll reserve for another day). The rhyme scheme is typically a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f, g-g. So there are three quatrains followed by a couplet. In a Shakespearean sonnet, the third quatrain introduces a thematic turn known as a “volta.” The couplet provides a fresh look at the theme or summarizes it. The example I will give is my favorite poem.

Sonnet 116
Let me not to the marriage of true minds (a)


Admit impediments, love is not love (b)

Which alters when it alteration finds, (a)

Or bends with the remover to remove. (b)

O no, it is an ever fixed mark (c)

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;(d)

It is the star to every wand’ring bark,(c)

Whose worth’s unknown although his height be taken.(d)

Love’s not time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks(e)

Within his bending sickle’s compass come, (f)

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, (e)

But bears it out even to the edge of doom: (f)

If this be error and upon me proved, (g)

I never writ, nor no man ever loved. (g)
So what’s the contest? Write me a sonnet. It can be on any theme that you like any style that you like. Email it to me. When the contest closes I’ll put them on the blog and let everyone vote on their favorite. The winner will receive a literary mug from Barnes & Noble. I’ll give you guys longer for this task. This contest will close on March 23, 2008 at 11:59. Happy writing.