Philip Pullman: Count Karlstein

Count KarlsteinThis is a romp – I can think of no other word to describe it. I love ‘His Dark Materials’, and I think it needs to be made very clear that Count Karlstein is a completely different kind of book. It has none of the moral depth, the complex world-building or the deep philosophical underpinning. It was written for fun, and it is fun to read.

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Chapter XIV: Galumphing

“The Swallows were back in real life…”

Enough of this escapist charcoal burning. Serious stuff is afoot, and it’s time to get real. Actually, this bit is hyper real: there’s an acknowledgement that this isn’t, in fact, virgin territory if the Amazons got there first. Next, we’ll work on how it wasn’t empty anyway if the natives / savages / tribal charcoal burning witches were there…

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Girl, you’ll be a woman soon

@kraken_syllabub has just posted a Twitter essay about gender and the ways in which the notion of masculinity continues to privilege cis-male existence.

A lot of the writing is about the experience of being transgender, and the fact that cis men are allowed to explore and experiment with masculine identities in ways which other people are not. The tweet which stood out to me as summing this up beautifully was this one:

I found the essay fascinating and thought-provoking, and I’m also acutely aware that the experience of being trans is not mine to discuss. It is very much my area to listen and learn and try to understand, and I would recommend that anyone with similar interests follow the link above. In the meantime, one little tangent in the middle did resonate with me, and set my mind a-pondering, and it was this:

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Welcome to my blog!

The idea of starting a blog reemerged a couple of weeks ago, leading Imposter Syndrome to cry: “Who do you think you are? You’re not a blogger! Why would you think you could be a blogger?”

Fortunately, my Inner Hermione likes to joust with Imposter Syndrome for sport, so here we are.

My first plan – don’t start a website without any content, my partner keeps telling me – is to re-read one of the most influential books of my childhood and share my thoughts as I go along. I have greatly enjoyed reading some “deconstructions” of various texts, including the Chronicles of NarniaLittle Women, and (not safe for work!) Fifty Shades of Grey. Nowhere have I been able to find an online reading of “Swallows and Amazons”, though, so I look forward to exploring that world again here.

I’m not promising to do the whole series, mind you. It is immense. If this thing carries on, I will at least do “Winter Holiday” next because it’s the best. I used to think it was “Swallowdale”, but nope, definitely “Winter Holiday”.