South of the Border, West of the Sun- Book Review

South of the Border, West of the Sun is a short novel by Haruki Murakami.

Growing up in the suburbs of post-war Japan, it seemed to Hajime that everyone but him had brothers and sisters. His sole companion was Shimamoto, also an only child. Together they spent long afternoons listening to her father’s record collection. But when his family moved away, the two lost touch. Now Hajime is in his thirties. After a decade of drifting he has found happiness with his loving wife and two daughters, and success running a jazz bar. Then Shimamoto reappears. She is beautiful, intense, enveloped in mystery. Hajime is catapulted into the past, putting at risk all he has in the present.

~

This book put me under a spell. I read it in a day, with the constant sound of the engine speeding me through the pages as a car drove me to a far off location. Haruki Murakami is known for the dream-like quality in his works, much like the endless stretch of the road that expanded in front of me, something I failed to see in the surrealist narrative of Kafka on the Shore and instead saw in this much more realistic novel.

Honestly, reading this book was such a smooth experience. The language was simple, the story was too, and the characters were so real. I didn’t even notice that I liked them, since they were so natural, like everyday people I would see on the street and how the things that would be revealed about them came in such a seamless way.

First of all, Hajime is a only child, a trait I share. I think this trait defines him well, as he dwells on how people may think he is entitled and he does end up being selfish throughout his life by cheating on women he is in relationships with. He first does this with a lover he had in high school, Izumi with her own cousin, then circles back around to cheating with Yukiko (his wife) with his childhood best friend. He laments that this inner selfishness can’t be changed.

I know. How the hell do I like a dolt who cheats on women?

Well, in my defense, the book spends numerous chapters building up on the nuances of this character, of how, with his restaurant business he has the ability of the seeking out the most passionate people in their jobs. Or how he still keeps on swimming laps after high school every morning because he is dedicated to his health. Or how he cares for his family over business, only keeping two bars as to not forget about them. So, I don’t only like a dolt who cheats on women; I like Hajime.

Shimamoto’s character development is opposite to Hajime’s and instead of building up her life story too, the author shrouds her life with smoke, so the only glimmer we can see is the lit end of her cigarette. We barely know anything about her- only how she displays herself in conversation. She keeps herself secret.

And intends to set that secret aflame.

So, Hajime seeks to illuminate the rest of her, to find the light at the end of the tunnel, to dive back into the past when they both shared their childhood, South of the Border and West of the Sun. The metaphors of the title are perfect; haunting even, South of the Border being from a song by Nat King Cole they both listened to when they were younger and the West of the Sun referring to a disease that Siberian farmers get with the repetitive seasons- when they get tired of life. It is the equation of Hajime’s mid-life crisis, in how he tries to run back to the times before and makes ripples through the life he has now.

The other characters serve as examples to Hajime, as signs of where he can stay or go. Yukiko is practical- someone who is a signal of stability and of the present day. Izumi is a broken girl who cannot move on from her heartbreak, who warns Hajime just by her wretched appearance in a taxi not to pursue Shimamoto once she’s gone.

I don’t like how Izumi’s cousin was written though; she seemed to be there just to push the plot forward. She is just a woman who has a lot of sex with Hajime during his years at college and is a minor character.

One gripe I do have with Haruki Murakami’s writing in general is that he does this weird thing where like in maybe two pages into a female character getting introduced he writes about their breasts. It makes me question his respect for women and his reasons for characterizing women this way. Why would he write them around the male character like that?

Despite his reasons, I received the women as being important people influencing Hajime, independent in their own lives, lost in their own circles of the past and future. It is just Hajime’s fatal flaw- his selfishness- that ropes them all together and his need for the past that makes him remember them again.

“The sad truth is that certain types of things can’t go backward. Once they start going forward, no matter what you do, they can’t go back the way they were. If even one little thing goes awry, then that’s how it will stay forever.”

Even if that message isn’t very uplifting, Hajime still has hope for the future of himself and his daughters, visualizing rain on the deep blue sea at the end. This book is whirlpool of different realities throughout time and how they culminate in one’s mind, how when they become overwhelming it is best to focus on the present time and day, and just keep swimming.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Butterfly Effect

Warnings: mental illness, animal and child abuse, graphic gore

~

I examine the butterfly pinned on the table: stained glass window membranes, mushy eggplant guts and midnight seaweed skin. Its legs still writhe. My fingernails sear the edges of its wings, cuts them fresh off. Its legs still writhe. I pluck the antennas like eyelashes, squish the eyes like globs of ink-oil, and tear the body segments apart onto the rough-soft paper towel. Disseminated. Dead. Its legs are still. 

One day, I’ll do the same to you.

~

I am a mother. I live in a cottage. There are rolling hills of sweet grass, hair dried willow trees, and kids whose imaginations have run far away. Schizophrenics- that’s what the doctors call them, but I call them the Lost Boys. Perhaps, that makes me Peter Pan, to lead them through their fantasies, or Wendy to sing their delusions to sleep. 

I don’t know. I’m not familiar with fairytales. Can you tell me one? 

~

I asked you that on the morning you arrived on my doorstep. 

You were a pale faced child who took on the spirit of a butterfly- the same ink-oil eyes, delicate antenna lashes and a mosaic of a mind behind the flapping six-year old arms. You have your hair pulled in a tight blonde braid and you wear a sky blue dress as you prance about. Your lips flutter with teensy giggles. I want to catch them in the air. 

And pin them to the wall. 

~

Junonia almana

The peacock pansy, with fuzzy mustard wings and those cocoa hue owl eyes that watch me through the glass. It is framed on the basement drywall, in a new place, rearranged with the others for a new blank space- approximately 50 by 150 square inches in area. There are larger pins. Bolts. And rope. 

Just like your pretty little braids.

~

I comb your frayed locks, free from those little ginger roots. You gaze into the mirror, bite your nails and curl up in your seat so your knees pillow your chin. A cocoon. I tug on your longest lock, what you think is a silkworm shaving.  

“Don’t-” I say, “we’ll go to bed soon.” 

You water your eyes at me, lips in a red larvae pout.

I yank the hair from your head. The wailing takes a while to settle.

~

I sew your silk back on the next morning. Your glass eyes are beading with crystal, and your nose blushes with rosy sniffles as you wince at every prick of the needle. In, out, in, out- skin and blood and dandruff and tousles of rope thread hair. 

“It hurts,” your tears pool on your cheeks, “Can you stop, Miss?” 

“No,” My lips thin into a straight line. 

I can’t let the doctors know. 

~

The doctors flood into the cottage. They take the lost boys one by one, cultivating caterpillars into their nests. Some are bribed with leaves, others simply slink in, and all of them leave slimy paths behind. Good riddance. 

I only think of the white coat, white mask doctors, and their syringe slits of eyes that scan us with pinpoint precision. I clench your hand tight. 

I’ll never let them have you. 

~

We run down the dark stairway, slipper flats and baby bare feet tip-tap against the ashwood. We spill out into the basement- the clothes I scrimmied off you splayed on the tile floor. You shiver under my touch, as my cuticles indicate lines upon your back. 

I drag out my butterfly canopies from the closet. Layered blankets: monarchs, swallowtails, painted ladies, buckeyes, blue sulphurs all weaved together. 

Remember the fairytale you told me? What if I said I could make it come true?

~

“Miss, I-” 

“Hush.” 

I sew the quilts onto your back, stitching them to the skin with black thread. In, out, in, out. My needle is diligent, but my eyes are disorderly. They look at places they shouldn’t. They linger as I work. In, out, in, out- eggplant mush and seaweed skin and a set of prismatic wings, spread before me like Neverland. 

~

My butterfly.

I’m Back! (Again)

Greetings, dear nonexistent readers! It’s been a minute. Or several minutes.

School is quite a time-suck. I’m pretty sure I haven’t had time to breathe or sleep in the last *checks watch* nine months. That was quite a roller coaster. Well, now it’s two days into summer, I’ve graduated high school (*terror*), and I’m very bored without school (it’s a love-hate relationship). Hopefully I’ve retained some of my blog-writing ability after so long.

A lot’s happened in the last year that I’ve been missing from the blogosphere.

  • I wrote a lot, but I wrote no fiction or fun things. Just pages and pages and pages of college essays. So much writing and editing.
  • I got rejected from all of my top choice colleges and my self-esteem left the college application process quite battered.
  • Instead, I’m going to a college I hadn’t really considered, but with quite a bit of scholarship money (Wooo!!). The campus is gorgeous and I’m excited for this fall. (But wow did making a college decision make me nauseous for two months.)
  • EXAMS (So glad they’re over). The way I had seven this year (well six so far, I still have one left in a week) and I studied less than previous years.
  • I got a summer job I’m really excited for!
  • I did not read many books *cries*
  • I’m going to become an adult in a few days (*TERROR*)

So yeah, just some general life updates. I’m hoping that I can blog more this summer (but, unfortunately, I’m probably going to drop off the face of the Earth again when college starts).

What I’ve Been Reading

Long time no see, readers. School has been [INSERT TORNADO MADE OF PAPER]. But AP exams are over! (They went mostly well, if I pretend the English exam never existed.) And that means blog-time.

While I haven’t been writing much for the past many months… I haven’t been reading that much either. I’m reading Gideon the Ninth right now, which is an absolutely epic book that should’ve taken me a week to read, but I’ve been plugging away at it for a month and twenty days because of exams *groans*. I’ve read more in the past day-and-a-half than the three weeks before that.

There is a bright side to not reading much though (look at me, being an optimist). It’s super easy to review all of the books I’ve read this year in one post! (I mean review in its loosest sense. It’s been a while since I’ve read these so I can’t do in-depth reviews.)


The Poppy War and The Dragon Republic by RF Kuang

This is a super fun book. I love that it’s based on Chinese history and it’s really well written. I love Kitay and Rin’s friendship.

Five stars for both. I’m so excited for book 3.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Crucible by Arthur Miller

I read this one for school, and I appreciate the writing and the satire and all that, but I didn’t really like it. I felt more sympathy for the antagonist than the protagonist, so I couldn’t really get behind the protagonist. I thought it was weird that John Proctor the thirty-year-old slept with Abby the sixteen-year-old and then she was blamed for seducing him.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

It was okay. Too much romance for my taste. I didn’t care that much.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

This is currently my favorite book. I reread it two months ago and now I want to read it again. The plot is mindbending and the writing is beautiful, but I love this book for its characters. I love Dodger. I want to read it again. 💚

Rating: 5 out of 5.

There are actually six stars for this book.


Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

This series is written like a fairytale and I adore the writing style. It’s the definition of “whimsy”. 💜

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

This is the prequel to Every Heart a Doorway, although you could read it by itself. The writing style makes me swoon. This one’s even better than Every Heart a Doorway. I love the way it explores family relationships.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Okay, so I’ve read seven books these past five months, and three of them are by Seanan McGuire. In conclusion, read Seanan McGuire.

I joined Twitter!

Greetings, multiple humans and single armadillo!

In the words of the great Pinocchio, I have become a real teenager. Three days ago, I acquired a Twitter account. (I mean, I still have to try coffee, so I’m not totally a teenager yet, but we’re getting there.) I even have one follower! (Thanks, Sophia Ismaa.)

So if you guys want more of my characteristic wit and charm in short, digestible tweets, hop on over to the Twitter @arachnid_weaver. Also because I’m lonely and I don’t want to feel like I’m writing into a void.

*Proudly shows off my three tweets*

Print them out and hang them up, if you’d like!


Photo by Tina Nord from Pexels

The Garden of (American) Dreams

Greetings, humans. I’m going to steal another post from English class because it’s just so easy. I will most likely continue to do this. Therefore, expect uncharacteristic, serious topics like this because that’s what we do in English, though I will attempt to make them lighthearted and entertaining because that’s what I do always.

This week’s topic was the American Dream. (We’re reading The Great Gatsby.) Background: The American Dream is the idea that in America is the land of opportunity, that anyone can achieve their dreams no matter where they start if they work hard. However, the American Dream appears to be an ideal that’s not real for many.


Let us imagine a garden. This garden is imaginary because as we established in the last post, I am a terrible gardener and any real garden of mine would surely turn to either a field of gravel or a luscious plastic paradise. This imaginary garden is actually where my last remaining cactus now lives.

So let us imagine this garden together. There’s a fence. In fact, it is a white picket fence. The garden is a predictable and neat rectangle. As this garden is imaginary, there are many different microbiomes and the plants are semi-sentient. Predictably, every fresh-faced, dewy young plant has the exact same dream: to grow in the sun-warmed soil, to spread their leaves, to photosynthesize, to exist, to be. But often to be the greenest, to outgrow and outcompete all the other plants, to spread their roots the widest and spread their seeds the farthest, to be the most beautiful plant, the most useful, to live in luxury, to be glorious, to have more.

In the center of the garden, we have the prime spot. There’s a tree that provides shade for those snobbish plants that need something like three hours of full sun and an hour and thirty-eight minutes of partial shade. The center of the garden has the most fertile soil. It’s a deep chocolate, like crumbled, moist brownies. It’s imported from an earth-like exoplanet that has far superior soil, untouched by human pollution. The center plants require vintage wine and hand-fed grapes every six hours. In addition to exquisite wine, the plants are fed melted ice water only from the purest snow of the Arctic. It’s a lovely place to be, but it’s rather small and exclusive. All the plants there have been there for generations, and when they die and rot in the chocolate soil, their seeds take root and grow where they died. As they will always grow and die in the center patch. Life is good in the center; sure, they have their problems, like everyone else, but it’s hard not to envy the center. The center patch of the garden is what all the other plants want, what we work towards, but the plants in the center just had the luck to grow there, I suppose, just like any other plant had the luck to grow where they grew. And we can’t really blame the center plants for being center plants; they didn’t choose for their seeds to be there, just like the plants in the desert didn’t choose to be there. But that doesn’t stop us from hating them, or at least the idea of them, a little bit. Their vintage wine and Arctic snow-melt and imported dirt…. Jealousy and a sense of entitlement are a bitter mix.
Most of the plants grow in the area encircling the center. Life’s pretty good for us. We don’t have the purest water, but it’s still clean, human-grade drinking water that rains down on us like clockwork from the sprinklers. Sometimes we’re thirsty, but most of the time we’re not. There are no shade plants, and the sun sometimes burns, but most of the time it’s warm. The dirt isn’t great, but it’s good. We don’t have imported soil, but we do get store-bought, eutrophying nitrogen fertilizer occasionally. Life’s pretty amazing actually, and yet we moan and envy the center patch. It’s only natural. After a plant’s grown some, reached its old plant dreams, it isn’t usually satisfied. It makes new dreams. It doesn’t stop growing, it wants more. It’s only plant nature. We can’t really blame ourselves for wanting, but we can’t help but be a little disgusted.

There are also other areas in which plants struggle but where it’s not quite so bad as the desert, such as the bog and the mud pits and the marsh and the patch of eternal darkness in the corner. However, we will only mention them in passing because this is already far too long and there’s still much more gardening to be done.

The desert is the worst of the worst place to be, Supreme Cactus help those who end up there. It only gets water when the fickle clouds feel like it, and even then it falls from the gutter. The only other source of water is when a stray cat bothers to urinate on it. The sun burns, an inescapable oppression; the “soil” is cracked and dry, indistinguishable from the rock of the moon, where no plant dares grow. Contrary to expectations, there are plants in these inhospitable wastelands, where the days are brutal and the nights are brutal and where no plant belongs. There are a few plants, my cactus, for instance, who grew up in the desert and thrived. We point at these exceptions and exclaim, “Look! It is possible to reach the dream, even from the desert with nothing to begin. The other desert plants must not be trying hard enough. They must be irresponsible or unintelligent to not have beaten the impossible odds. In this garden, all you need is hard work to reach the dream, not luck or good soil or anything else. Those other plants must have gotten what they deserve.” The desert is spreading, you know, mingling with the middle patch as we erode our lands with unsustainable agriculture. This terrifies us. It makes our soil all the more precious. Oh, we care. We sympathize. We toss the desert our excess water, some fertilizer, to soothe our consciences. We worry and talk and read and write stupid articles about gardening, but at the same time, we clutch our soil all the tighter because Can you imagine living in the desert? and watch the center patch like hungry cats. We shrug and think, “Well, there isn’t enough space here for everyone. Someone needs to live in the desert.” But most of the time we don’t think about the desert at all. It’s only at the fringes of the garden. We can barely even see it. And the plants in the desert? They can barely see us. The desert is infinite, all-consuming, inescapable. The “dream” belongs in quotation marks for the desert. It is a joke. A whisper of a possibility you’d need a microscope to see. As Langston Hughes, an eloquent shrub, put it, “America never was America to me.” (To make this quote work, we’re going to pretend I named my garden “America,” even though I would never name a garden, let alone such an idyllic name, the pessimist that I am. Note that I don’t like metaphors and that this is absolutely not a metaphor for anything. It is simply an imaginary garden that I have to replace the real garden I failed to sustain.)

We must also mention the weeds: the dandelion seeds that float over the fence, the clover that crops up from nowhere. We see them as ugly. We spray them with weed-killer (poisoning nature). We call them “foreign,” “invaders,” “aliens,” like the little green imposters from Mars who plant themselves among us. We think they’re taking our space, that we somehow deserve the garden more because we were here first, like petulant children claiming toys (The native grasses were here first anyway. Kentucky Bluegrass is actually from Europe). We believe our dreams of glorious plant life are somehow worth more than theirs, even though we all dream the same dreams at night. We will correct this error here: dandelion and clover are beautiful and these “weeds” are flowers, actually.

That is all I have to say. I have no profound conclusion. But I am a mere semi-sentient plant and can therefore barely have thoughts, let alone profound ones. Goodbye, humans. Dream of gardens tonight.

Note: Maybe I won’t kill this garden. Since it’s not real, it shouldn’t die unless I want it too, right?

Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

The Kite Runner || A Book Review

“It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime.” 

Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara, a despised and impoverished caste. Their uncommon bond is torn by Amir’s choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, wrenching them far apart. But so strong is the bond between the two boys that Amir journeys back to a distant world, to try to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had.

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.


I had ridiculously high expectations for The Kite Runner because the librarian and my English teachers said that it is life-changing. My life has not been changed. Nevertheless, it’s a lovely book.

I don’t love the writing style, but it’s okay. There are a lot of words in Farsi that are defined the first time they are used. This is fine for the ones that are used a lot, but for the less common words, I often forgot the definition and it led to confusion later.

My favorite parts of the book are the characters and the plot. The main character has a lovely arc and I like seeing him grow up. The plot is beautiful and I like the parallelism. However, I wasn’t really absorbed into the story. I read the book like you’d read one in an English class. I was noting literary devices and appreciating foreshadowing and I wasn’t in the story.

I also loved how the book included Afghan culture. There seem to be many similarities between Afghan and Bangladeshi culture and I got super excited whenever I read something familiar, especially with the food.

Overall, I would recommend The Kite Runner, but it’s not a must-read.

5/5

Middlegame || Spectacular Sci-Fi

Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story.

Meet Dodger, his twin. Numbers are her world, her obsession, her everything. All she understands, she does so through the power of math.

Roger and Dodger aren’t exactly human, though they don’t realise it. They aren’t exactly gods, either. Not entirely. Not yet.

Meet Reed, skilled in the alchemical arts like his progenitor before him. Reed created Dodger and her brother. He’s not their father. Not quite. But he has a plan: to raise the twins to the highest power, to ascend with them and claim their authority as his own.

Godhood is attainable. Pray it isn’t attained.


I loved this book. So much. It’s a new favorite. It would be good for fans of Vicious by V.E. Schwab.

The writing is gorgeous, but it is heavy on metaphor and imagery. It’s a little hard to read, and I was rereading a lot of passages, trying to figure out what was going on. After a while, I got used to the writing and it went a lot smoother. I’m a little suspicious of the writing, though. I’m prone to drooling over beautiful writing and ignoring what is actually being said.

The plot is intricate and brilliant, but it’s confusing. The story jumps right in without much background information, so it was especially confusing in the beginning. It was also confusing at the end with the time travel. You could say that the plot is layered like an onion, but you could also say that it’s stingy with information. The reader and the characters spend much of the book in the dark.

Middlegame is a long book, and the pacing is slow, especially for the first half. However, I enjoyed the first half more than the faster-paced second half and it was very compelling. I couldn’t put it down.

The characters were lovely, and I especially adored Dodger. Usually, the characters are my favorite part of a book, but in Middlegame, the characters seemed less important than the plot. However, they did have wonderful arcs and I loved seeing them grow up. They were very relatable.

The atmosphere of Middlegame is amazing. It’s mysterious and by the end, it feels like the book has revealed the secrets of the universe.

Rating: 5/5

Why Writing and Marriage Are Pretty Much the Same Thing

As someone who has never been married (and has conducted only minimal research), I can definitively conclude that writing is just like marriage.

Like marriage, stories start in the honeymoon phase: the idea. Your new idea outshines all your previous ideas combined. This is the best idea you’ve ever had, the best story you’ll ever write. You start planning excitedly, the opportunities infinite. The words and the characters and everything will work this time, you just feel it. The honeymoon phase is the glory of the initial idea, the sloppy love of the first draft, the adoration of words without the struggle. You immediately drop whatever you were working on last, in varying states of incompletion, and start working on your new story.

The inevitable fall happens when the illusion of the idea fails under your subpar abilities to capture your imagination. You see the story for what it really is: a dumpster fire. You read your first draft—which had seemed worthy of your favorite authors before—and cold dread makes its way through you. The plot holes, the awkward sentences, the grammar errors are circled in an imaginary red felt-tip pen, each glaring mistake a strike to your ego. The story did not go as you planned, and not in a good way. Was the idea too weak, or was it your writing abilities? Who’s to blame? This phase of the writing process is characterized by hopelessness. The story will never get better and you are a horrible writer. You don’t even deserve to try. The story gets locked away deep in a drawer where it will never see the light of day again. You move on to other loves. Maybe you’ll take up piano or art.

After a few weeks or months, after you’ve cleared your head, tried other things, you come back to the story and see it with fresh eyes. It isn’t quite as horrible as you remembered. It’s definitely not good; in fact, it’s still pretty terrible, but you think it could go somewhere with a lot of work. This phase is the most difficult as you systematically destroy and rebuild everything. You try to make the story at least vaguely presentable. You coax the words with cream and pretty ribbons to get them to work for you and align in a lovely way. It’s exhausting. It’s full of long nights critically analyzing every word, deleting huge swaths of text you’d spent hours writing the day before. For every step you take forward, it seems as though your taking a thousand back. Every patched plot hole introduces hundreds of cracks.

Eventually, your story becomes adequate, and you’re finally pleased with yourself. You’ve grown as a writer. You’ve created something better than anything you’ve ever written before, even if it’s not as good as you wanted it to be. It’s when you allow yourself to read the story for the first time as a reader instead of as a writer and you get to praise the lovely phrases, the characters, the plot, instead of looking for what’s broken. This is when the story is finally put away and it stops lingering in your mind every waking moment. The story is closed and filed away and you’re content, and you get to look forward to the next honeymoon phase with the next story.

It’d be lovely if that were the last phase, but for me, at least, it’s not. The stage of being happy with my story is uncomfortably short. It usually lasts a few days and then I’m back to hating the story. Which means that, yes, I say that I love writing, but I spend most of my time hating what I write. Maybe I should take up piano or art.

I’ve Returned!

Greetings, nonexistent peoples of the blogosphere! (I suppose you really are nonexistent now, after my little disappearing act.) I’ve returned from my unannounced, unplanned hiatus. You must’ve thought that I’d gone to the Alaskan wilderness to meet the narwhals, and I’m flattered that you thought I was such an adventurous person, but alas, it’s been far more mundane. I’ve actually been only two feet from my laptop and unable to blog because school. Blech.

It’s been a touch more insane than I expected. However, it’s summer now! Well, until Tuesday. I have to go to summer school, BUT I should still have more time, so I can blog again! Hopefully. *Confetti*

So this is where I tell you that I’ve decided that my course load was far too much this year, so I’ll take easier classes next year. And while that’s the sensible thing to do, I’ve decided to take three AP classes, which is three times more than I took this year, and I’m now on the board of the one club I’m a part of. Plus SATs. (Which is, like, nothing compared to what some people do. These magic humans do not sleep.) So, as I had no time to blog this year, I probably won’t next year, either.

So what’s my plan to keep the blog from crashing and burning again? Because I really don’t want to disappear again. I really missed you, nonexistent readers, and I missed writing, too. So, my plan: I’m going to cut back on the frequency of posts to one a week (I know, how sad) and I’m going to try and schedule an entire school year’s worth of posts this summer. Will this work out? Who knows. *Shrugs*

Quality vs. Quantity

I was thinking the other day, as I occasionally do, about the phrase “quality over quantity.” This saying is useful when describing friends or hours spent studying or blog posts, but it is not always true. Sometimes quantity can be more important than quality.

For example, let’s consider Fred. Fred wants to start a sock business. He has scoured the globe for the perfect sheep with the softest, most unscratchy wool. He’s searched oceans and galaxies, talked to wise wizards and wise librarians, searched under rocks and inside the bellies of various beasts. After many years of humiliating fruitless searching and exhaustion, Fred finally did it. He found the perfect sheep.

He spent months in isolation, knitting away as the clock’s hands spun until he had created the most perfect, wonderful sock. It was the softest, the most breathable, the comfiest sock in existence. The quality was brilliant.

However, Fred only had enough wool to create one sock. Only a sad half of a complete pair. There simply weren’t enough socks to start a business. As there was only one magic sock in existence, Fred could sell it at an outrageously high price if he so wished, but he did not so wish. Through the years spent devoted to the creation of this sock, Fred had grown quite attached to it and he couldn’t bear to sell the love of his life to be worn on some random geezer’s stinky foot.

And so Fred had wonderful quality, but his lack of quantity led to a failed sock business.

Fred did, however, have a business-minded younger sister, Bethy. Bethy and Fred were always competing as children for their parents’ love. So while Fred spent years failing to find a sheep, Bethy took the opportunity to be better than her brother. She was going to start a successful sock business that would make her brother look even more incompetent in comparison.

Bethy’s socks didn’t have nearly as much care put into them as Fred’s sock did. Bethy business plan was to sell her socks at an absurdly low, low price so people would compulsively purchase them. In order to make them at such a low price, Bethy had to be clever. Instead of using wool, she used dandelion fluff. People paid her to weed their lawns and then she used those same dandelions to make her socks, which the same people later purchased. She also hired highly trained mice instead of people to make her socks because mice accepted cheese as payment.

Bethy’s socks weren’t of the highest quality. Her customers often complained of the socks being too fragile to wear and smelling oddly like rodent. But her customers’ contentment didn’t particularly concern her as long as they continued to purchase her socks.

And so Bethy had poor quality, but she did have quantity and a successful sock business, unlike Fred.

Now the question is, was there a point to this whole rambling story? No, not particularly. But it was fun to write.

Cleaning Out My Spam Box

If you suddenly found yourself in possession of a genie’s lamp and you had three wishes, what would you wish for? Would you wish for the chance to reply to all those spam comments you get? Me neither.


The Liebster Award

music containing substantive, educational
messages to maximise their child. I suspect how the
clue to this particular thinking lay behind the tattoo right across
his forehead which simply read: “Mind the Gap”. Your other legitimate source on your NY Giants tickets could be the many licensed New
York ticket brokers, who walk out the way to arrange your tickets for you.

Maximizing a child sounds like a scary process. It’s like you’re viewing your child as a robot that needs to reach maximum efficiency. Also, the forehead is an interesting location for a tattoo. What does Mind the Gap mean? What gap?


On Surviving a Social Gathering

I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I don’t know who you are but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already   Cheers!

Thanks! Cheers to you, too.


On My Sense of Smell

Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say great blog!

Now I’m curious. What was the super long comment? Did it ever exist in the first place?


On Harry Potter Book Tag

By following the following tips and asking
the contractors some quick questions you’ll be in the better position to select
a qualified cardpet installer. The installation service mightt be more expensive than doing it
yourself but worth every penny all in the long
run. Less Maikntenance – The madket comes with a wide variety of carpets that
are stain-resistant.

Unfortunately, I’m not in the market for new cardpet at the moment. Just had mine replaced a year ago. It’s very lovely. Plush and gray and cardpet-like. I’m happy with it. Maybe you’d find more interest in your cardpet installation service if you knew how to spell the name of your own business?


On The Forgotten Blog Ideas

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The account aided me a accеptable ԁeal. I had bee a little bit
acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear idea

You think I could write songs from my blog posts? They’d all have excellent beats for sure. I’m flattered that’d you want to be my apprentice, but I’m unfortunately not accepting apprentices at the moment as I’m not amending my web site. To subscribe for a blog site, you click the subscribe button, I believe. I’m glad my account aided you acceptably, but I was hoping for spectacularly, so I’m a bit disappointed. You think I could make a radio show from my blog posts?

The Upside of Unrequited || A Book Review

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli || 3/5

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back. 

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?


  • The writing style was lovely.
  • I appreciate the pacing.
  • I like that it takes place in the Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda universe and that we get to see some of our favorite characters, but it seemed somewhat awkward to force them to show up. But it made me happy, so *shrugs*.
  • Aside from Molly, our main character, the other characters weren’t developed at all.
  • I wasn’t attached to Molly or any of the other characters. I didn’t find Molly relatable.
  • Molly was constantly thinking about dating and boys and etc. etc. It got repetitive.
  • There’s not much of a plot.
  • Overall, it’s a decent book, though somewhat boring. I’d recommend it if you enjoyed Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda.

Read More

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda || A Book Review

Leah on the Offbeat || A Book Review

What If It’s Us || A Book Review

What if the Day Were Eight Hours Longer?

Time is, unfortunately, limited. There is only so much you can have. It is also elusive. The slippery thing always seems to slip through your slippery fingers, doesn’t it? There never seems to be enough to go around.

They say you can make time, but can you, really? You can only rearrange time, redistribute it. Imagine that time is a carrot cake. You can give adequate slices to some, slivers to the undesirables, and crumbs to the vermin, but you still only have one cake, or twenty-four hours, to give away. If you need more time for something, you have to cut the time from something else. And unfortunately, things must be prioritized and it’s usually the things you enjoy that you find yourself having no time for.

But what if you could make more time? What if you could bake another cake? What if some gifted magician out there concentrated really hard and snapped his fingers and the day was suddenly, magically, twelve hours longer?

I was listening to a podcast, Ear Biscuits, the other day that posed this question. What if the day had an extra twelve hours? There are some stipulations: You wouldn’t need to sleep any longer and you wouldn’t have to work more. So if you truly had extra time, what would you do?

First of all, even though we don’t have to, I’d sleep more. Because couldn’t we all use some more sleep? The world would be a much happier place if only we weren’t all sleep deprived.

Second, though, I have no idea. There’s a difference between what I’d probably do and what I want to do.

In all honesty, if I had extra time, I’d most likely just work more. I’m like a goldfish, the amount of work I do expands with available time. (Note: The things about goldfish expanding with available space is a myth, but let’s just go with it because I like the analogy.) Even if I ran out of work, I’d probably find more. There’s an endless list of things I could do in order to be more productive. I could double-check my assignments, I could do the next day’s homework, I could study for the test in three weeks, I could read ahead, etc. That’s just how I roll.

However, since this is a purely hypothetical situation that can’t actually happen, let’s talk about the things I’d want to do. I’d probably just do more of the things I already do in my (rare) free time. Ergo, I’d read, write, blog, and draw more. I might even spend time with actual, real-life human beings instead of conversing with my textbooks. (I wouldn’t recommend them as partners in conversation. They’re very dull, very dry, they have poor taste in humor, and they only talk obsessively about one topic.) I might take up a new hobby, go on an adventure, who knows? I’d really like to have time to just sit and think (aka daydream) and people watch. (People can be really entertaining.)

So, in conclusion, this year, I’m going to try to be more efficient at doing my homework and I’m going to attempt to not go overboard with the amount I work, all in order to create free time. Think of it like I’m concentrating my work into a smaller sliver of time, without diluting the quality, somehow. (Except it’s not really true that it’s my New Year’s Resolution. I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. I think if you have a goal or some plan for self-improvement, you shouldn’t wait for the New Year as an excuse to start. That seems a bit like procrastinating. Make your goal happen now. And besides, New Year’s Resolutions are notorious for never being kept anyway. My goal isn’t really a New Year’s Resolution. It’s a goal I’ve had since October, but one I’ve utterly failed at. I just thought I should tie in this post to the New Year somehow because I didn’t want yet another holiday to pass by without acknowledgement.)

And what would you do, dear nonexistent reader, if you suddenly found twelve extra hours plopped into your hands?

I’ll Give You the Sun || A Book Review

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson || All the stars and then some

“We were all heading for each other on a collision course, no matter what. Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story.” At first, Jude and her twin brother Noah, are inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them. Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways . . . but then Jude meets an intriguing, irresistible boy and a mysterious new mentor. The early years are Noah’s to tell; the later years are Jude’s. But they each have only half the story, and if they can only find their way back to one another, they’ll have a chance to remake their world. This radiant, award-winning novel from the acclaimed author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once. Printz Award Winner Stonewall Honor Book.


  • This is a new favorite.
  • From the first page, the writing style pulled me in. The writing makes this book. It’s full of gorgeous artistic metaphors that I can’t properly describe. You’ll just have to see for yourself.
  • I’ll Give You the Sun is explosive.
  • It made me feel things. It made me turn pages. It made my imagination explode with color. It made me want to create.
  • I’ve always loved to draw, but I’ve had a dry spell recently. This book inspired me to make art again, and for that I’m grateful.
  • I love the characters. I fell in love with them. They’re all unique and complex with stories and secrets.
  • I love that the characters aren’t goody-two-shoes. They don’t always make the right choice on the first go. They’re selfish and they’re jealous. They make rash decisions because of their emotions, and they regret it, and they apologize. In short, they’re human.
  • I love the complex, cyclic plot. I love how everything was interconnected and played larger roles you didn’t see at first.
  • I was completely absorbed in the book. I usually read before class starts, and I stop when the teacher starts talking, but while I was reading this book, I was unaware of everything around me and I may have accidentally read partway into class. (Totally worth it though.)
  • Overall, I HIGHLY recommend this book and I have to reread it soon.

Where did you go?

Greetings, peoples of the blogosphere!

It’s been a rather long while, hasn’t it? But don’t worry about me; I haven’t spontaneously combusted or anything, in case you were wondering. Instead, I’ve been slowly drowning in an expansive ocean of homework, from which I couldn’t reach my laptop in order to ensure you that I was, in fact, alive. I did, however, possess an abundance of paper and various writing utensils, so I attempted to write you a letter notifying you that I remained in existence, as I’d hate to worry you. But you know the unreliability of leaving notes in bottles. *Shrugs*.

But while you need not worry about the state of my aliveness, I’m afraid you must fear for my humanity, as recently I’ve felt as though I’m simply a homework robot.

With the semester ending, school has gotten very intense, and unfortunately, when you never seem to have enough time, it’s the things you enjoy doing that must be cut out. I’m afraid that school will not be getting any mellower with midterms approaching, so expect sporadic, unpredictable, and unanticipatable blogging. (Apologies for using three adjectives in a row that mean the same thing. It usually annoys me, but I couldn’t help but highlight the delightful contradiction of expecting the unexpected. It makes me simply giddy.)

I’m planning to post once a week for a while. Probably until mid-January. Most likely on Mondays.

So, that’s it for this mishmash of a post summarizing the last 27 days without you peeps (A Summary of a Summary: homework.).

In conclusion, abrupt goodbyes.

Bridge of Clay || A Book Review

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak || 3.5/5

The breathtaking story of five brothers who bring each other up in a world run by their own rules. As the Dunbar boys love and fight and learn to reckon with the adult world, they discover the moving secret behind their father’s disappearance. 

At the center of the Dunbar family is Clay, a boy who will build a bridge—for his family, for his past, for greatness, for his sins, for a miracle. 

The question is, how far is Clay willing to go? And how much can he overcome?


  • It’s beautifully written.
  • The characters are developed and complex.
  • I love the story.
  • But it’s very slow. It drags and meanders quite a bit.
  • I spent the majority of the book very confused.
  • I finished, and I was still confused.
  • And it didn’t make me feel anything.
  • The shocking moments weren’t very shocking. I kept thinking, That’s it?
  • I love how conclusive the ending is.
  • While the writing is very beautiful, I had to read almost two hundred pages before I got used to it. During those two hundred pages, I kept having to reread portions to understand what was happening.
  • A lot of seemingly unimportant details turned out to be important much later. Because I’d initially thought they were unimportant, I struggled to remember them later, which added to the confusion.
  • The book struggled to hold my attention. It wasn’t captivating.

Read 10-24-2018 to 11-3-2018

Book Review of I Am The Messenger

The Nightmare of Dentistry

I went to the dentist today. I despise the dentist.

But I have no cavities! Aren’t you so EXCITED that I have no cavities?! *Jazz hands*

I dislike the dentist so much because of the way they put their fingers in your mouth. Yes, they wear gloves, but still.

It’s also really wet. Yes, that drool sliding down your chin is yours, but it’s still spit. And it belongs in your mouth. And what about that suspicious clear liquid on the dentist’s glove? Is it water, or is it SPIT? My spit, but STILL!

Even more than doctorism, dentistry is one job I could never do. Day in and day out, you’re just sticking your hands in people’s mouths. So applause to all the dentists of the world for risking their sanity in order to keep people’s mouths cavity, pain, and dirt-free. *Claps*

ALSO. If there are any dentist out there reading this, please educate me on the rules of dentist-appointment etiquette. What the heck are you supposed to do with your tongue?!

  • Put it at the bottom of your mouth?
  • The roof of your mouth?
  • Follow the fingers/tools? This is what I tend to do. I try not to, but it’s not a conscious thing. Sometimes I remember not to, sometimes I don’t. But if I were the dentist and the patient were doing this…
    • Arachnid the Dentist (screams): AHHH! THE TONGUE IS ATTACKING ME!!! (Runs out of the office, leaving the patient strapped to the chair with multiple sharp objects in their mouth.)
  • Curl it up at the back of your mouth?
  • Lick the dentist’s tools?

When I’m at the dentist, I feel like a puppet. A very stressed puppet. Because here I am at the dentist’s mercy (I mean, if they wanted to, they could stab your mouth with those pointy tools) with sweat dripping down my back and the bright lights glaring at my eyes, masked dentists leaning above me with sharp tools at their disposal, thinking about all the other mouths these tools have touched (It’s the same principle as using a fork a restaurant), while the dentists are conversing with each other like normal human beings, occasionally asking you to tilt your head or open your mouth wider.

Why Diversity is Important in Media

I am an Indian human (technically Bangladeshi—but is that nationality? (Is it even my nationality since I was born in Canada? What IS a nationality? (I think my nationality is either Canadian or American and my ethnicity is Bangladeshi, but that is probably incorrect)). What even is the actual term for my race [I just did some minor Googling and I couldn’t find anything. There are multiple races from Bangladesh] I always just went with Indian (Bangladesh is on the Indian subcontinent) or generic brown).

So I have the average black hair, black eyes, and brown skin combo. But when I was a kid, I thought I was blond with blue eyes.

Seriously.

This wasn’t a color identification issue. If you gave me paint swatches, I could tell you black, brown, yellow, smaragdine, blue, etc.

This was because I had no idea what being blond with blue eyes actually meant. (Or what an Indian person was.) I thought it was a unanimous characteristic for hair and eyes. All hair is stringy, and all hair is blond. All eyeballs are round, and all eyeballs are blue. I watched a LOT of Barbie movies (and Dora the Explorer) and Barbie is blond with blue eyes. Therefore, all humans are blond with blue eyes (or they’re talking animals [thanks Dora]).

Person trying to teach me colors: What color are your hair and eyes?

Mini Arachnid: Blond and blue. (Note that Mini Arachnid has a giant mass of tangled black hair and giant, unblinking black eyes.)

I remember in kindergarten we had to fill out a questionnaire with our eye colors. I don’t quite remember what purpose this served. The options were brown, blue, and green. I chose blue.

When my parents corrected me…

Mini Arachnid (jaw drops): WHAAAAT?

So I asked them what their eye colors are, and they said black. This ensued in another round of dramatic gasping because black wasn’t on the list of options. But their drivers’ licenses listed their eye colors as black. So clearly someone was lying.

So, in conclusion, diversity is important because it prevents confusion among young children.

 

Arachnid Writes a Story

NARRATOR: Arachnid’s fingers dance over the keyboards as he weaves a story. Her fingers struggle to keep up as she records the symphony in her head.

ARACHNID slams her face into the keyboard after staring at a blank document for an embarrassing amount of time.

A lightbulb flashes into existence above her head as an idea comes to her. She furiously types.

She pummels the backspace bar, beating it bloody, then slams her face into the keyboard again. Random letters appear on the screen.

ARACHNID: Ugh! Why is this so hard?

LAPTOP: I’m sure it’s harder for me than it is for you. What with the beating my keys bloody and all that! (Glares)

ARACHNID: If only I chose to like something I was actually good at. Imagine how convenient it would be!

LAPTOP: And if you like something you were actually good at, you wouldn’t beat my keys bloody anymore! (Glares harder)

ARACHNID: Come on, Laptop, you’ve been with me through it all. Essays, stories, disgusting attempts at poetry… You must have some ideas!

LAPTOP (softening a bit): Well, you could try writing short, random pieces before you get back to the hard one. Just write whatever. Flex those writing muscles! Preferably without beating my keys bloody. Practice makes better, as a wise first-grade teacher once said.

ARACHNID: Whatever? As in anything I can think of? Like a scene where you give me writing advice?

LAPTOP: If you must. (Sighs)

ARACHNID: Aww. I love you, too.