|Circle of Magic quartet, Tamora Pierce|
I don't need to tell you that the planet Earth is currently a garbage fire. It is hectic, polarized, stressful, and ever-changing. I wake up and wonder if my friends and family are OK, when I'll be able to leave the house. I am pulled in so many directions and am finding that I only have so much bandwidth between working remotely, the pandemic, interpersonal relationships, safety... Social media has only heightened my stress and anxiety, so I have decided to take a step back from the screen in order to focus on personal and professional development as well as mindfulness.
If we are pals, you know that I always have a book on hand. I love talking about literature in all forms, especially comics and Sci-Fi/Fantasy works. Typically I upload my current reads to Instagram, posting them into a "Jay Reads" highlight. It was a great way to share work and interact with my community, but I found it lacking, such as works being missed due to congested feeds. Although away from social media, I have made the return to the blog, to not only share my current reads, but also my mindfulness practice and artistic explorations without a character count or fear of an online attack.
Can I recount what I've read since January? I could potentially take the time to track down my pre-pandemic library texts, Powell's purchases, works from the courses I teach, and e-versions, but I'd rather be present and focus on what's at hand. For some reason I feel the need to give this disclaimer, a way to virtually shout that I have been reading before June!
Tamora Pierce. Tammy. I've been reading and re-reading her work since I was a pre-teen, specifically the Tortall series, and have finally decided to transition to the realm of Magic. The first quartet (Tammy is fond of quartets), the Circle of Magic follows four young mages as they discover their abilities and strength as a group. Although each book is titled with one of the four's name, each character has an equal role per book. The first, Sandry's Book, took me awhile to adjust to the narrative structure, with Sandry, Tris, Daja, and Briar all acting as narrator simultaneously, at times changing from paragraph to paragraph versus distinct chapters. I thought that this approach detracted from character building, and perhaps it does in a sense, but I was approaching it all wrong. These characters from very different backgrounds are individuals, but they find strength in working together, and as a unit I feel that the four combined create a unified whole, a character made of four. It took me until the third of the quartet, Daja's Book, to come to that conclusion, and in shifting my mindset I have forged a deeper connection with the cast of mages.