Rainy days are wonderful--perfect for naps, reading, and working in my studio creating all kinds of steampunk jewelry while watching a frightening amount of sci-fi movies & television. Suffice it to say--rainy days are something I look forward to. I just finished reading the last book in Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments trilogy--Clockwork Princess. I rarely review the books that I read for fun on my blog (I save that for my academic life) but I will make an exception for this last book because I want to encourage you all to read it. I won't spoil Clare's carefully thought out and brilliantly executed plot--so do not fear reading this modest review any further. As an ardent bibliophile, the epigraphs to chapters & the poetry & fiction quoted fervently by the characters creates a story informed by a kind of meta-narrative. Though anyone can enjoy Clare's exciting trilogy--it is the well-read person of Victorian literature that is rewarded (for it helps clue in the reader as to characters' true feelings and establishes another layer of Clare's already vivid world--a literary one in which she situates two of her main characters, Will and Tessa). Not only are Will and Tessa voracious readers--but literature becomes for them a language, or shorthand in communicating with one another. Literature is also a coping mechanism for both characters--when faced with moral ambiguity or great challenges both imagine themselves as other characters and then pose the same obstacles & questions to the characters they imagine so that Will and Tessa may arrive at answer/action.
Literature also offers comedic relief. Here is one of my favorite passages from a Clockwork Princess (which pokes fun at a very strange, and often overlooked, instance in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre):
"Mr. Rochester never courted Jane Eyre," Tessa pointed out.
"No, he dressed up as a woman and terrified the poor girl out of her wits. Is that what you want?"
"You would make a very ugly woman."
I laughed out loud when I read that. Not only did I enjoy the book's humor and literary play but also its subtle feminism. Tessa is a sturdy, complex character who is not defined by the love triangle in which she finds herself (and also might I add--there is no obvious choice--as a reader I was rooting both for Jem & Will). Tessa does not stand idly by while others fight and indeed she rescues herself throughout the series. More importantly, on a more miniscule level Clare's writing does not undermine the strength of her character--despite at times when Tessa falls into the role of damsel or love-interest because, in the words of her suitors, "She did not belong to Will--she was too much herself to belong to anyone, even Jem--but she belonged with them" instead. The novel vilifies the objectification of women (represented by the villain & his thoughts and actions toward Tessa) and champions gender equality & love based first and foremost on friendship and respect. Besides all that--it is one of those trilogies that will keep you up until the wee hours of the morning reading.
As a result of this fantastic story--and vivid steampunk world--I have been so inspired and been creating all kinds of new pieces. Here's a little of what Clare's book inspired & what I've been making this rainy Saturday.
And here's a pair of gearrings--for that sweet bookish someone in your life! I've also been working on some new displays (will reveal more in my next blog post so stay tuned--until then here's a sneak preview)!
What have you been reading? What do you do on your rainy days?