Review: The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
Completed Reading: 5/27/2016
Format: Paperback, St. Martin’s Paperbacks, June 1989

Let me begin by saying that for ten years of my life, my brother had me convinced Hannibal Lector was a real person. It took me a while to decide, once I learned he was not, that I was going to attempt to read the books.

It took me a while to find them.

Then this one sat for three years on my shelf, in my Currently Reading section, and I dared not pick it up until earlier this month. I’m glad I did.

I went into this book with a certain level of expectation. I expected horror and skin-crawling uncomfortableness, tinged with creepy.

What I got was very well written and actually extremely entertaining. There’s enough detail in here to keep me interested and paint a picture without it being overly gory. Obviously the plot is full of Terrible, with the primary villain of the story being a serial killer named Buffalo Bill. Dr Lector plays a small but important and weirdly entertaining role, and I found myself rooting for him despite everything. He presents an intelligent character, and forces those around him to be likewise; pushes them, in fact, to grow on the scale.

But The Silence of the Lambs isn’t really about Dr Lector. It’s about Clarice Starling, a young FBI trainee who’s at top of her class, cutting her teeth on a world no one else in her family has ever had the chance to be in. She’s intelligent and determined, and when she gets the chance to talk to Dr Lector, it starts the whirlwind that leads her to help hunt for Buffalo Bill.

I confess I have so much I could say about this book, except all of it would be my gushing about potential spoilers, and I wont spoil this. Tiny little details lead to shifts in perception.

I can tell you this though: I want to read more books by Thomas Harris. I want to read more books in the Hannibal venue.

And if you’ve ever hesitated to read The Silence of the Lambs, don’t. I don’t know how the rest of them work, but this is a good piece, and deserves at least a read through.

(As an aside, I finally know what my brother is talking about when he spouts “it puts the lotion on it’s skin or it gets the hose again.” Go figure.)

–Natasha

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Love by Any Other Name

The folks over at Red Lettering wrote a very, very good post about romantic choices in literature, and why some of them are bad, and some of them can be good.

Even if you’re like me and don’t really read or write romance, the whole article is worth a read.

 

As a child, I read frequently, various books and of various genres (as a slightly older child, I still read various books, but my genres tend less toward slightly realistic fiction for seven-year-olds). Of some of the oldest memories I have regarding reading, I recall there was one series I read multiple books in—I can’t […]

via The Spontaneous Kiss (and other poor romantic decisions) — Red Lettering

Quilting: Initial Quilt ICB

Recently my mother presented a challenge. Joy of joys, indeed. A friend of hers at work is due to have a son. This is amazing and we’re all super thrilled for her.

Now, as you know, I quilt. My mother also quilts. I’m not… the best at it, really, but I’m a dab hand. Usually we use a soft but relatively tight-knit material, not prone to stretching. Front and back are made of this, and there’s batting in the middle, because it’s a quilt, it’s supposed to be warm.

My mother had a bright idea and I love it. Fleece backing, fleece front. It is, however, hard to sew. One direction stretches and the other doesn’t. Super warm, though, and relatively easy to pull seams if you sew the wrong direction.

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This Initial Quilt is custom made for the little guy. It made it to be 47″ x 56″ and is colored dark blue/navy, red, and yellow, white white for the letters proper. The backing is sports balls and stars, mostly blue. It’s tied with three colored string to hold front and back together, done in red, blue and yellow, stitched at the corner of four by four square blocks. Each square on the front started a little over two inches, I think, though it would take measuring my extra to know for sure.

My first part of the job was just to sew the front together into strips, make sure it didn’t get tangled up. It took me weeks. Fleece doesn’t really like to sew into small squares, especially if you plan to line them up accurately at the seams.

Still, we managed to get this whole thing done. Top sewed together, attached to the bottom. Then came the arduous job of tying. Comparatively, that flew by like nobody’s business.

The intended recipient for this quilt is yet unborn. It was given in care to his parents, who positively adored it. Because they do indeed already have their hands on it, I can post this up at last.

It was worth it.

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About Me: Writing

One of the most impressive things about this year is that I’m sticking to my guns.

My new years resolution, one of them at least, was to write a thousand words every day for a year. So far, I haven’t failed this. I’ve skated the line pretty close, but I’ve always climbed over it.

Some days are harder than others. Some days I crawl and claw my way to my goal. A thousand words isn’t as easy for me as it is for others; I can’t crack it out in twenty minutes. Sometimes I can’t hit that number in ten hours. It’s hard. Some days I find myself positively miserable for it. Some days I want to quit. But you know what? I can’t.

When I was little, my father told me I had a hard time sticking to my commitments. A few years later, my horoscope said the same thing: I couldn’t handle long-term goals. (That was once-upon-a-time land, back before I decided, quite stubbornly, to use 13 Zodiacs instead of 12, because what is that nonsense? But that is another post for another time.)

During NaNo I got some new friends. That usually happens in November, when I survive off carbonated soda and snacks, watch a movie for every ten thousand words, and attempt to remember that exercise is not an elective I can skip out on. Some of them are Accountabilibuddies. Some of them are not.

One of them told me she was going to challenge herself. She invited me to do it with her.

I said yes, on the condition that she make me stick to it.

She has.

Every once in a while I catch a two-thousand day. Once in a blue moon, I hit three. Some days, I only manage a thousand and one. But she’s never let me slip.

Some days we write together. Sometimes, I get my words out early in the morning and I don’t worry about them again for the rest of the day. Some days I crack them ten minutes to midnight. We make a point to ask if we got our words. We share our numbers.

Life does not occur in a vacuum. It can’t. At the same time, writing cannot occur at all without taking in information, bouncing ideas off walls (and some people,) and sitting down to do the writing.

Some days I don’t feel like it. The words move like molasses. I have to slough through it. They’re not always good words. But every once in a while? I can look back at them and say, those are the best words I’ve written all week.

We’re in month five, and I’ve made it so far. I’m not done. I’ve a long way to go. But I’m not giving up. I’ll make it.

–Natasha

I’m Okay: Cutting People Out

I have a confession.

I’ve cut people out of my life before.

Now, this in itself is not a bad confession. I’ve done it. You might have, you might not. Sometimes it’s necessary, sometime’s it’s not. It happens. It’s part of life. Remember why you cut them out, and think real hard before you ever cut someone free. Bridges are harder to build than they are to burn down.

But, I’ve cut people from my life. It’s almost too easy, sometimes. I know I’m not the most emotionally stable or even the most emotionally aware person in the world. Trust me, I’ve been called heartless, and I’m never entirely sure if they’re right or wrong.

Sometimes I wonder if I did the right thing. I always think real hard about it, but you can never be entirely sure, once time has passed, and you look back on your choices. But if it’s the right course of action at the time– not the easy one, necessarily, but the right one– then you’re okay.

I’m okay.

Recently I’ve been thinking about some of the people I’ve cut myself from. I wonder how they’re doing, if they’re okay, what they’re up to. I consider trying to talk to them. Seeing what they’re up to. Trying to be friends. Then I remember why I cut them from me in the first place. I consider how emotionally and mentally healthy I was before I did it compared to where I am now. I review my memories real carefully. I build a careful hypothesis, testable, of what would happen if I contacted them.

I do not test it.

You don’t have to, either, unless it feels like the right thing to do. It’s hard for me to not do it, sometimes. I don’t let myself feel guilt over the fact that me and these people don’t talk anymore, even though it was definitely my fault, my choice. I’m not as young and fragile as people would have me believe. I’m growing into myself, and that’s important, too.

If you want a tree to grow bigger, better, stronger– you put it in a larger pot. You let it’s roots run deep. You let it grow.

I’m growing. I can feel it. And maybe one day I’ll be strong enough to reach out to the things that poisoned me and the people I had to cut away. Right now, I don’t think I can survive it. But one day?

One day I’ll be strong enough. Until then, the silence is my bulwark in the wind.

-Natasha

News: 5/4/16

 

Okay so. You know how a lot of stories begin with “Once upon a time”? This one’s going to begin with “a few days ago.”

A few days ago, I was supposed to do a blog post. Well, nearly a week ago, now. The last Friday of April. Camp NaNoWriMo. I had been doing pretty good at consistency, a post once a week at least, every Friday during camp. I hadn’t missed a day!

Well. I missed April 29th. I finished Camp early last month, and I got distracted writing other things and relaxing, playing video games. Not so secret secret? Video games are my weakness. Especially ones with interesting plot and characters. I have been not so secretly devouring decent story lines and arcs for the last few weeks, while still managing to crack out my word count. (Incidentally, this is counting in today’s first 1k. Whoops.)

But last Friday I slipped up. I wrote my words, I played my games, and… I didn’t want to write my blog. I didn’t have any ideas for it, but that’s not a real excuse. I should have, even if the only thing on it was “Almost there!”

I told myself I’d write it “Tomorrow,” on the 30th. I would let everyone know it was the last day of camp. Then the 30th happened, and the post didn’t. “Okay,” I said, “No big deal. I’ll do it on the first and congratulate people for surviving camp.”

Here’s what I didn’t do: Blog post on the first. I couldn’t feel it. I had no gumption for it. But although I didn’t do it then, I started crafting a theme for it, so I could write it the next day and get it done and posted.

Yeah, that didn’t happen.

I had a good reason for it.

Life started throwing rocks at me.

We got it worked out. It’s throwing slightly smaller rocks. But for the past few days, I haven’t felt like doing much of anything. Well, except crying and being frustrated. Obviously when I’m frustrated I feel like killing things, so that’s what I went and did. I’m pretty good at it.

Today my friend sporked me and we decided we should both really write blog posts. She’s an accountabilibuddy. It’s not a word, but roll with it.

So I’m writing a post. Even though it’s nothing but telling you what I did and didn’t do– mostly what I didn’t.

I’ll try to do better. I can’t say I will– but I will certainly try, and that’s the important part. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to do it right every time. It doesn’t matter if you screw up, if you fall off the horse, as long as you get up and get on it again.

Keep trying. It’s important. Like breathing.

–Natasha