Inner Jedi Notebook: Week 12

Week 12 of my Inner Jedi Notebook journey.

The prompt:

Rey learns much from the sacred Jedi texts that were once housed on Ach-To. What are some books that are important to you, and why?

My answer:

  1. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. Jane Eyre is the first “classic” book that I fell in love with. I first read it in the ninth grade and loved it. I learned that not all the classics are boring; my love of gothic literature began here, and my interest in women’s writers; I loved Jane, the poor, plain orphan girl who nevertheless charts her own course, stays true to herself, and finds love. (Mr. Rochester is another matter, lol).
  2. The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley. This book, read when I was in my 20s (geez, 30 years ago now), introduced me to not only Arthurian fantasy (an obsession of mine for awhile) but women’s fiction, specifically stories that were traditionally told through male eyes but were now told by the women in the story. Also, the Goddess (another brief obsession, but necessary for my young womanhood).
  3. The Fionovar Tapestry, by Guy Gavriel Kay. Okay, these are three books, but tell one long story in a trilogy. It’s my favorite fantasy series, ever. I love all of Kay’s books (especially Tigana and A Song for Arbonne), but this trilogy, his first, remains close to my heart. It showed me what fantasy could be, and the characters live forever in my heart. The trilogy consists of The Summer Tree, The Wandering Fire, and The Darkest Road.
  4. Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg. This is the book that set me upon my writing journey all those years ago. I loved her method, I loved her and her personal stories, and it got me to fill countless notebooks with words. She was my writing guru and still is, even though I haven’t done much writing lately.
  5. You Are A Badass, by Jen Sincero. This book kind of changed my life, in that I learned to perceive myself, the world–the Universe–in a different way. Basically, the mind is a very powerful thing and you can use it to manifest whatever you want. Kind of like Jedi powers and the Force! Unfortunately, I haven’t quite reached a state of badassery yet, because it involves taking risks and getting very uncomfy, and all that hard stuff I don’t like to do, lol. But at least I’m aware of what it takes and what limiting beliefs I’m still stuck in! Baby steps.

So that’s my list. There have been many, many other books in my life that I have loved, but these seem to stick out to me. Have you read any of these (admittedly “old” books, except Badass, lol)?

What books are important to you and why? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about them!

My Entertainment Weekend Update

Hello friends, and happy weekend!

So my book club picked our new novel to read and I read it all in three days, lol. It’s called The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. It’s about a British woman named Nora Seed who is at a low point in her life and decides to end it. After she overdoses, she finds herself in a place called The Midnight Library, where there are endless shelves of books that represent an infinite number of possible lives she has led, depending on the decisions she’s made. The “librarian” there, Mrs. Elm, encourages her to choose books based on different decisions she might have made, in the hope of finding her “perfect” life. She then goes on an odyssey of possible lives, including ones in which she is an Olympic swimmer, a rock star, a country inn owner with a husband, a philosophy professor, a glaciologist, and many other things.

Rather predictably, most of these lives are most definitely NOT perfect, and she despairs of ever finding a life she’d like to live. But she learns many life lessons along the way. There’s nothing really revelatory here, at least not to me, but Nora’s story is riveting anyway. I love these kinds of stories, ones that deal with a multiverse (with phrases like quantum physics, string theory, and Schrodinger’s cat thrown around, the precise meaning of which is a little fuzzy to me but fascinating anyway). Cool book.

In Star Wars books, I’m still getting through Kenobi and Smuggler’s Run, but I’d put them aside while I raced through The Midnight Library. I’ll probably finish both by next week.

In Marvel, I watched Hawkeye Episode 4, and I’m continuing to enjoy this show. There were a few tender, teary moments when Clint opened up to Kate about Natasha, and being The Ronin. I have to admit I’m a little confused about what’s actually going on, lol, but I’m just rolling with it and going along for the ride. There seems to be a lot of disparate parts to the mystery that ostensibly will come together at the end, including the Track Suits and Echo, the Rolex from the Avenger’s compound, and Kate’s mother’s boyfriend Jack (her mother is giving off strong sus vibes, as well). And then at the end of the episode Yelena Romanov shows up, and sh*t gets real. Real confusing, but I don’t mind. Once it’s over I’ll probably rewatch it with hindsight and it’ll make more sense. I hope.

Last week I mentioned that I rewatched A New Hope, so of course I had to follow up with ESB and ROTJ. It further whetted my appetite for Star Wars, so I decided on a Clone Wars rewatch. I wasn’t up for watching every single episode, however, so I went with the Disney+ listing of “Essential Episodes,” which is more manageable right now. This is such great, quintessential Star Wars; I urge every fan who hasn’t watched yet to let go of any preconceived notions about animated series, because you’re missing wonderful content. I like how they’re quick, half hour episodes that I can fit in at the end of the night. I’m about four episodes in, and can’t wait to see what’s next on the list.

In coming attractions, I’ve heard that Shang Chi 2 is in the works, and I couldn’t be more happy about it; also, Eternals is coming to D+ on January 12th, and I’ll be tuning in since I didn’t get to the theater to see it. This is why I love D+; as a busy working mom, I can watch stuff on my schedule (which tends to be late at night when everyone else is in bed, lol). I don’t get to the movie theater much these days and I miss it, but D+ is the next best thing.

Oh, and despite the fact that I’m not a gamer, I have to say that the preview of the new Star Wars game Eclipse is awesome! It’s set in the High Republic era, which I’ve been loving in the novels so far, and I’m really hoping that down the line a book version of the story will come out (I’m still waiting for a Fallen Order book–Disney/Lucasfilm? Anything?) Gamers seem to be really excited about this game, and I can’t blame them.

Quantic Dreams Announces Star Wars Eclipse At The Game Awards

There’s one more Star Wars-related item I’d like to mention, and it’s that I very probably will be getting a Star Wars tattoo very soon. I was supposed to do this for my fiftieth birthday this past summer (my first tattoo ever), but I let it get away from me. I’d like to get one before the end of the year. I’ve been in touch with a local tattoo artist (from a shop recommended by a friend), but we don’t quite have an appointment yet. But very soon. What I want is simple: the Jedi Order symbol, somewhere on my right arm. Of course, once it has been inked I will share a pic of it here.

That’s it this week. What’s been entertaining you? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

The Star Wars Reader

I’ve recently started reading the new canon Star Wars books, and I’ve been loving them. I’ve posted a few reviews on this blog: Bloodline, Rebel Rising, and Kenobi. I’ve loved doing them so much, and have gotten so intrigued by the world of Star Wars books, that I decided to create a new blog just for them.

Introducing The Star Wars Reader. My aim is to read one Star Wars book a week and review it on this new blog. My intention is to possibly help Star Wars fans who want to start reading and exploring the books, but maybe don’t know where to start or what they might like.

As a newbie myself, I know the world of Star Wars books can be a bit confusing. Canon? Expanded Universe? Legends? What does it all mean? Hopefully, as I read more books and review them, I can shed a little light on these questions and make it a little less confusing.

I’m really excited to start this new adventure, and I’d love it if you’d join me at The Star Wars Reader. Click the link and hit the follow button or sign up with your email for every new book review.

Upcoming books include Heir to the Jedi, Catalyst, and Phasma, to name just a few.

Hope to see you there!

Book Review: Kenobi

Maybe it’s because I’m excited about the upcoming Kenobi series on Disney+ (although we have to wait until 2022); or maybe it’s because, after 20 years, I’m starting to warm to the prequels. Whatever the reason, I’m really starting to love the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

So in my Star Wars book perusal, I knew I had to read this one. It takes place right after Revenge of the Sith, when Obi-Wan delivers baby Luke to the Lars’ on Tattoine, with the intention of starting his long watch over the boy.

Beyond that, there isn’t much of Luke or Owen and Beru Lars; instead, we get Obi-Wan getting involved in some local drama between moisture farmers and Tusken Raiders. It sounds a bit dull, and it did take a while to get going. But Miller was laying the groundwork for a superb story, in my opinion.

The novel isn’t told from Obi-Wan’s point of view. Rather, we see him as the strange newcomer in the eyes of the locals. After all, we already know who he is and why he’s there, but they don’t. Like any isolated, small community, they’re all over “Ben,” peppering him with questions that he expertly evades, which only makes him more mysterious.

One of the point of view characters is Annileen Calwell, a widow with two teenage children. She runs her late husband’s store, Danner’s Claim; she’s a feisty, capable woman who takes an interest in the new arrival. She runs the store in honor of her late husband, Danner, but once upon a time she dreamed of something more.

Another POV character is Orrin Gault, a moisture farmer and entrepreneur, and a family friend of the Calwells. Orrin has created a defense system called the Settler’s Call, a kind of alarm and rescue organization to help any settlers attacked by the Tusken Raiders. But Orrin has secrets, and he’s willing to do whatever he has to in order to protect them.

The third POV character is a leader of one of the Tusken clans (or “Sand People”, as the locals call them) named A’Yark. It was interesting to get into the mind of one of these beings who I never really thought about before. Through A’Yark, we get a sense of their culture, how they think, and why they do the things they do. A’Yark becomes a principal player in the story thread that is expertly woven by Miller, and I was drawn in completely.

We do get to hear Obi-Wan’s voice in the form of occasional “Meditations” at the end of chapters, where he “speaks” to Qui Gon Jinn, his former master. If you recall, at the end of Revenge of the Sith, Yoda had told Obi-Wan that he would tell him how to contact the Force Ghost of Qui Gon. These meditations are Obi-Wan’s attempts at just that, but Qui Gon never answers. Obi-Wan speaks to him anyway, telling him what’s happened to him since his arrival, and his failure at trying to remain obscure.

Notably, he’s still upset about what happened with Anakin, and obsesses about how he might have prevented Anakin’s fall. But being Obi-Wan, he doesn’t allow himself to wallow too long. He finds himself in the center of a conflict between the settlers and the Tuskens, and applies his Jedi skills (discreetly, of course) to navigate the fallout.

“Kenobi” is labelled as “Legends” rather than the new canon, but no matter. I don’t think it changes or contradicts anything that has come before or may come in the future; it can simply be seen as one of Ben Kenobi’s adventures during his long tenure on Tattoine.

I loved this book; I loved its parallels to a Clint Eastwood kind of spaghetti western; I just love Obi-Wan Kenobi. If you do, too, I recommend this book highly.