What If Mary Russell Met Flavia de Luce?

I had just finished reading “The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag” by Alan Bradley, and started on “The Moor” by Laurie R. King.

The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag by Alan BradlyFor some reason, I thought, what if Flavia de Luce bumped into Mary Russell on a hill like how Mary met Holmes? Would Flavia find Mary an old and strange person?

Since no one else in Flavia’s life seemed to be interested in her “elemental explorations” and otherwise, Mary’s presence would be a great comfort to her, like Holmes was to Mary.

I believe Mary can see through Flavia’s innocent act and perhaps stop Flavia from all her attempts to poison her sisters. And may be Flavia would come to see Mary as a mother/grand mother and a teacher.

the moor by Laurie R. KingAnd because of their brilliant minds and adventurous spirit, they will get a long well. Flavia won’t think Mary is stupid and Mary won’t get frustrated waiting for Flavia to catch on. And although they both are strong-willed, with a 40-year age difference, Mary would have the wisdom to tame Flavia’s rebellious nature.

I hope they will meet someday, with Flavia on her bike and Mary on her walk, on a green hill somewhere outside of London, some time in the past.

When You Reach me

By Rebecca Stead

when you reach me by Rebecca SteadA few chapter into this book, the main character, Miranda, talked about her favorite book “A Wrinkle in Time.” And by divine intervention or serendipity, I had just read it. Should’ve known it was a hint about what was happening to Miranda early in the book though.

Though the mysterious notes held the biggest surprise in the story, I like the way Rebecca brought in many aspects of a 6 grader’s life. Her friendships with new and old people, her relationship with her mom and her mom’s boyfriend.

And the way she showed what Miranda think of herself brought out something that I am still struggling with sometimes, things like I am not smart enough, not pretty enough.

Although “When You Reach Me” was written for children, I think adults will be intrigue by it as well.

A Wrinkle in Time

by Madeleine L’Engle

It’s incredible how A Wrinkle in Time, a sci-fi/fantasy published in 1962, is still fresh and relevant.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'EngleThe first time “IT” was mentioned in the book, I read it as “I”, “T”, like the department you call when your network or computer died at work.

Near the end of the story, we found it IT is a powerful brain, a tyrant, that imposes logical yet unreasonable rule in the name of equality. And the reason IT is so is because no one loves IT. What I got from the book is that having a brain without a heart will lead to darkness.

As Information Technology develops, people seems to be more distant. You often see a group of people sitting together but they are all on the computer or their cell. Granted you can connect with people far away but if you are not more aware, you might become disconnected to yourself.

The other thing I liked was how Mag Murry (the heroine) realizes that she expects other people to do what she thinks is needed because she avoids fixing it herself. And when it didn’t work out, she blames people and complains that nothing is being done.

Luckily, I have learned a few years ago that if you want things/people to change, you have to change yourself first. And the funny thing is, once you change yourself, it didn’t matter if those things/people changed or not.

Madeleine L’Engle wrote with a brain and a heart. As I go on and write my own stories, I am inspired to carry the same sensibility between my words.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

A Flavia de Luce Mystery
by Alan Bradley

Flavia de Luce is a 11-year-old year who knows her poisons. Her love of chemistry and her unstoppable curiosity brought me back to my childhood.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce MysteryShe is a typical girl who hates her older sisters but she is unique because she applies what she knows to all the problems she encounters. In The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, her quest for answers helped her understand her father as a human and solve two murder cases at once.

Although I admire her spunkiness and intelligence, I find it a little difficult to like her since there is darkness in her personality. She reminds me of Dr. Temperance Brennan from the TV series, Bones. And to see the same traits in a young girl reminds me to consider each child as a individual.

I enjoyed going on the detective adventure with Flavia and hope she will grow into a well-rounded lady who chooses to use her power for good.

The City & The City

by China Mieville

The City & The City by China MievilleI found this book hard to read, mostly because I don’t know if the words I don’t understand are made up or not. (Brought back painful memories of reading The Lord of The Rings before my English was good enough for it.)

The concept of two cities occupying the same location where people from one city has to UNSEE the people from the other was interesting but if I didn’t remember Nancy Pearl’s intro to the book, I’d think I need to retake all of my English classes.

Other things that bothered me about this concept is that drivers have to avoid cars from the other city and unsee them at the same time. Perhaps I missed the explanation/description somewhere…

The story itself was slow at first but once it brought in the BREACH (power that is higher than both cities) it flowed better. However, since I have to guess about how the cities work and how the murder happened at the same time, it took me a long time to finish the book.

The overall idea is original and intriguing just wish I was able to catch up with the language. For fantasy/sci-fi readers, this is a good one to try.

“If” + Verb, Which Tense?

I am always confused about what verb tense to use with “if.” So, I am taking notes as I go. These are examples from Essentials of English.

Example: If she were to go, there might be trouble.
Expresses a future possibility. Unexpected past tense form is used.

Example: If he were talented, he could make money.
Meaning he is not talented now. Expressed an unreality, a contrary-to-fact situation.

Grammar and Tense Edited

Learning from my mistakes, one at the time.

Misplaced modifier
Clauses modify the noun closest to the comma. In this sentence, he is confued not “the comforting smell.”

  • Though confused at first, the comforting smell of the dungeon and coolness of the air settled his nerves.
    Though confused at first, he found that the comforting smell of the dungeon and coolness of the air settled his nerves.

In this one, the vegetables can’t scratch his head

  • He eyed her plate of stir-fried vegetables, scratching his head.
    Scratching his head, he eyed her plate of stir-fried vegetables.

Verbs and Tenses

  • She watched him inhaled…
    She watched him inhale
  • He heard someone came running.
    He heard someone come running

Bad spelling

  • snake is not a good snack
  • a steak tastes better than a stake

Tend to use too many “then”
Replace it with “and” or to start a sentence. (might a habit from the old programming days)

  • Then from his nightstand…
  • From his nightstand…

Dialogue Punctuation Edited

Just got the edited story back from my instructor and I still have a lot of problem with dialogue punctuation. Here are a few notes to remind myself of the rules.

Use a period and capital letter if it’s a separate sentence.

  • “Not you again,” he stumbled back, “disgusting.”
    “Not you again.He stumbled back.Disgusting.”
  • “You’re delusional,” she pushed pass him.
    “You’re delusional.She pushed past him.

Use a comma before the quote mark if what follows is a dialogue tag (such as He said.)

  • “Sure, if that’s how you want to take it.” She said.
    “Sure, if that’s how you want to take it,she said.

Other things I noticed but not in a conversation.

  • Why “Miss Ugly?” He contemplated.
    Why “Miss Ugly?” he contemplated.
  • Gotta get back to the lab and make sure. He decided.
    Gotta get back to the lab and make sure, he decided.