A girl and her cat take on the world with nothing more than a cup of tea and a good book and enough dreams to fill the universe.

Meditations of a Critic

I have begun to notice that I am a natural born critic. I am having trouble just reading anything and taking it at face value. Constantly am I weighing its pros and cons, its characters and their believability, etc. I worry that this makes it sound a bit as though I haven’t enjoyed the book. (I do the same thing with movies to the point where my sister refuses to go see any fun light-hearted movie with me.) I do enjoy what I read, but I also have a strange fascination and sick enjoyment in tearing it apart bit by bit to examine it. Perhaps I chose the wrong profession or I am going to be that teacher who grades incredibly hard. I just thought I should explain this before it seemed like I was a hater of all things literary.


How I sometimes feel I appear inside my head; I even have the voice of Peter O’ Toole.

Anyway, just this last week, I finished Clive Barker’s Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War. It is the second book in a series of five books. The last two have yet to be published and I am beginning to wonder if they ever will since Abarat has been out for such a long time. It takes place in an alternate world connected to ours. Our world is the Hereafter, a world without magic, and we are connected to the world of Abarat where there are twenty five islands and each island is an hour of the day. Time is a place. (The twenty fifth hour is just the crazy mystical, you’ll be nuts before you leave it island.) Our heroine, Candy Quackenbush, gets swept up in this grand adventure where she learns that she has her own power. She is a heroine I can truly believe in and support. She is a strong woman who doesn’t take nonsense from anybody. She meets several characters and has her fair share of traveling companions (all male) and DOES NOT FALL IN LOVE WITH A SINGLE ONE! A young adult book with a female heroine who DOES NOT FALL IN LOVE!? What is the world coming to? I find this aspect of the book entirely refreshing. I have not read a lot of adolescent literature directed at teenage boys, but I assume that every main character is not super obsessed with girls and always has the most wonderful girlfriend imaginable. I wish there were more books for girls like this because while I am a romantic and I want my sparkly vampire too, it’s nice to get to see a kick-ass girl who doesn’t give a damn.


One of her many traveling companions, John Mischief and his brothers.


Tabby Cats because Clive Barker is an amazing illustrator as well.

In the last few chapters of this book, everyone is trying to kill my favorite character, the villainous Prince of Midnight, Christopher Carrion, who really just needs to be given a chance to see the light. His grandmother is awful and should be killed soon in the series, but all Christopher Carrion ever did was kill his fiancee after she ran off with another man and he’s looking for redemption in his own way ever since. I have such a soft spot for villains; it’s ridiculous. (Captain Hook is another one of my favorites.) I feel a lot of them are just misunderstood and all the conflict could be avoided easily, but then there wouldn’t be a story.


The Prince of Midnight himself. The things inside his collar are nightmares. Yep, nightmares.

On another note, I almost stopped this middle school age boy heading to the public library this morning. I wanted to ask him what he was reading and what he recommended, but I figured that it would have been a highly unorthodox sort of situation since I had just finished my morning run and you’re not supposed to talk to strangers when your that age anyway. I really wanted to know though. I want to ask that question of everyone. I ask it at work and all I get is “I’ll just wait until the movie comes out.” It’s kind of disheartening. Maybe I should start asking “What killed reading for you?” so that I can avoid the answer like the plague in the future.


If you don’t look at the keyboard, this looks like your average book nerd wanting to know what you’re reading because it’s fascinating.

All I do is read and write now days with the occasional side of botany homework. I am going to take a day to myself and to finish my Sarah Dessen book, so I’ll see you all again on Monday.

And congratulations to those of you who made it to the end. Here is your reward:

Henri also has a twitter: HenriLeChatNoir


One comment on “Meditations of a Critic

  1. Elisabeth
    January 22, 2013

    Henri!!!! Plus, Henri tweets?! Seriously? This is the best news I’ve had all day. And the fact that you want to analyze everything is a sign that you’ve picked exactly the right major–though it may be a sign that you’re meant to be an academic. That PhD is something to consider, though there aren’t really any jobs. I want to ask the same question to every kid I see at the library, though honestly, it seems like most are only going there to use the computers. I’m almost always the only person in the stacks looking at books.

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This entry was posted on January 19, 2013 by .

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