Archive for Books


Historical Language vs. “Historical” Language

My first day of Book in a Week went pretty well, with a little more than 6,000 words for the day. I’m going to try to top that today.

Meanwhile, in reading, I suppose I’ve been on a Regency kick, reading Jane Austen and other books set during that period. There was Sorcerer to the Crown, then I read a modern author’s sequel to Sense and Sensibility (about Margaret when she’s grown up), and now I’m reading a Georgette Heyer book from the To Be Read shelf.

One thing I’m finding interesting is that the actual Austen was easier to get through than the modern books set in that time. The language is more florid than in most of our modern literature, but it’s still simpler and more straightforward than the modern books that are trying to imitate that style. I suspect it’s because the more modern authors are attempting “worldbuilding” in re-creating a time and place they aren’t actually experienced with. They’re trying to mimic the style of the time. Austen was just writing contemporary books without trying to build anything. She was writing about her own time and place, using the language she used in everyday life.

I think another difference with the Heyer may be that she’s writing about a different kind of people. Austen focused on the country gentry while Heyer tends to deal with the titled nobility, those who go to London for the Season, and all that. She’s trying to use the flash slang of the upper class. In the book I’m reading (Cousin Kate) she’s also dealing with a heroine who’s the daughter of a soldier and who grew up around the military, so she’s picked up a lot of that slang. And then there are the lower-class characters who use their slang. I’m having to practically translate as I read. I can’t help but wonder quite how accurate her use of language is — does it really come from the period, or is she making up something to give an impression?

The straightforward language may be one reason Austen is still so widely read today. It’s a bit more difficult than reading modern books, but it’s not as though it’s almost a foreign language.

When I write in historical-type settings (whether alternate history or another world in a period similar to our history), I try to do just enough to give a sense of flavor without making it hard to decipher. I don’t want my language to throw anyone out of the story.


If Jane Austen Wrote Fantasy

I’ve been on a Jane Austen kick lately — not just reading Austen (though I have, since one of my friends started a Jane Austen book club), but reading biographies and things about that era. The one thing her books are missing is magic, and I’ve recently discovered a series that takes care of that. Well, with books like you might imagine Jane Austen might have written if she’d been writing fantasy, not those mash-ups like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

The first book in the series is Sorcerer to the Crown, by Zen Cho. A young man has recently taken the role of Royal Sorcerer after the death of the previous one, his mentor, and he’s got a number of crises on his hands. For one thing, the other sorcerers aren’t too keen on him, given that he’s an African former slave bought, freed, and adopted by his mentor, and they’re just looking for an excuse to strip him of his office. For another thing, amounts of magic in England have slowed to a trickle, and if he can’t figure out and resolve the problem, that will give his enemies ammunition against him. And then there are the magical assassination attempts. Things get even crazier when he goes to speak at a girls’ school and realizes that the conventional wisdom about women being incapable of handling magic is all wrong. The school is supposed to be teaching girls how to suppress their magic so it won’t harm them, but there are some powerful magicians there — especially one girl who’s sort of a teacher, sort of household staff, the orphaned daughter of a friend of the headmistress. She’s powerful enough that she has to be taught. But insisting on teaching women isn’t going to make him any more popular. Meanwhile, she’s just starting to uncover her own startling legacy and doesn’t have a lot of interest in boring lessons. She does, however, want to find a husband who can support her endeavors.

This is such a fun book that I’d recommend to fans of Jane Austen or those who loved Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. It’s written in a very Austen-like style. The characters fairly jump off the page. The dialogue is witty and vivid and at times is laugh-out-loud funny. There’s action, magical battles, drawing room intrigue, and a dash of romance. The second book in the series was in my goody bag at the Nebulas Conference, so I found the first book, and I’m about to break my rule about not reading a series back-to-back since this is exactly the sort of thing I’m in the mood for.

In other news, I’ll be taking a break from blogging next week because I’m volunteering for Vacation Bible School, and that will eat up my mornings. See you the week after that!


Questioning Sense and Sensibility

I recently re-read Sense and Sensibility (I’m in a Jane Austen book club, and that’s our next book), and as much as I love dear Jane, I had some serious issues with this book.

I’ve always kind of thought that Elinor and Colonel Brandon would have been a better match than Brandon and Marianne, but I thought that was mostly because of the movie, since Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman have played a couple elsewhere. I was really surprised on this re-read to find that the impression is even stronger in the book. In fact, I got the impression that Jane (we’re professional peers, so we’re on a first-name basis) kind of felt that way, too.

All the other characters seem to think Col. Brandon and Elinor are an item, especially after the truth comes out about Edward’s engagement. People are always assuming they’ll end up together, and Elinor has to keep correcting them. There’s even this whole bit where Mrs. Jennings overhears part of their conversation about him giving a living to Edward and misinterprets it to think he was proposing to her, with it taking some effort to untangle the confusion. There are far more scenes of Elinor and Brandon interacting than there are of Brandon and Marianne or Elinor and Edward. There’s even a line about how Brandon talks to Elinor and looks at Marianne. Jane really seems to like writing their relationship and their interactions. All the evidence cited for him being in love with Marianne is really just evidence that he’s a good and decent man, not anything specific to his feelings for Marianne. It’s more that their mother thinks he’d be good for Marianne than that there’s any real affinity between them. If I didn’t know the outcome, I would have assumed for much of the book that the happy ending would be Elinor realizing that Edward’s a bit of a twit and Brandon getting over his infatuation with Marianne and realizing that Elinor’s right there and far more stable and sensible.

Which makes me wonder about Jane’s process. Was she a plotter? Did she plan out the book with the outcome she wanted, but then the characters kept trying to go their own way and she fought it through the whole book before forcing them into the outcome she wanted at the end? Or, since she was often a rather caustic satirist, was it all deliberate? Was she making some kind of point rather than being sincere about this being the best outcome for the characters?

And Edward really is a bit of a twit. You don’t notice so much in the movie because he’s Hugh Grant, and Emma Thompson’s screenplay expands his role and makes him far more charming (and in the more recent TV version he’s Dan Stevens, and the screenplay has him doing manly stuff like chopping wood), but he’s a rather dull, lifeless character in the book. Even Jane doesn’t seem that interested in him because she keeps him almost entirely offstage. He’s someone they talk about, but he’s seldom actually there, and even when he is there, he doesn’t do much.

I know the whole deal with his secret engagement is a cultural issue that’s hard for us to understand. In that era, he really would have been considered brave and honorable for sticking to an engagement even after he realized he wasn’t really in love with the woman and even in the face of family disapproval, while we think he’s a wimp for not being able to break it off. But there’s still plenty about his behavior to raise eyebrows about. In the book, when he’s explaining himself to Elinor at the end, he even makes excuses, saying he never would have become engaged if his sister’s brother had given him a job after he finished school and before he went to Oxford because then he’d have been distracted and he’d have forgotten his infatuation. So, it’s someone else’s fault for not giving him a job, rather than his own fault for not finding a job and for taking a gap year to be idle rather than going straight on to Oxford or doing something worthwhile? And then there’s the fact that he’s attentive enough to Elinor that everyone who observes them assumes they’re as good as engaged while he’s actually engaged to someone else. That’s actually worse than Willoughby, who isn’t attached while he’s involved with Marianne. Not to mention that he strung his engagement along for four years rather than facing his mother about it. And this is the guy the heroine ends up with? (In the book, he’s not nearly as attractive as Hugh Grant or Dan Stevens, either.)

That’s what makes me wonder if there’s some satire going on. Are we supposed to think everything worked out right, or are we supposed to be smirking about all the things that are silly about society to lead to this outcome?

This is possibly the least timeless of Austen’s novels because there’s no good way to update the main plot. You can do the flighty emotional sister and the calm, rational one, but the Edward and Elinor plot doesn’t work in a modern setting. The key things are that he’s in a relationship he can’t get out of honorably even though he wishes he could because he’d rather be with Elinor and that this relationship is a secret, so Elinor has to suffer heartbreak in silence while her sister is having histrionics and acting as though she’s the only one ever to have her heart broken. In today’s world, Edward would have just given Lucy the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech and broken up when he wised up. You’d probably have to make them actually be married, so that ending the relationship is much more serious, but then there’s the secret part. You’d have to contrive a reason for them to have to keep their marriage a secret so that Elinor can’t even tell her sister that she’s heartbroken and can never be with the man she loves. If you move it into the modern world, Edward becomes almost as bad a villain as Willoughby since he’s leading on one woman while involved with another woman he has no plans to split up with, and about the only reasons I can think of for him maintaining a relationship he doesn’t want and keeping it secret involve money, which doesn’t make him look good (then again, that’s why he’s keeping it secret in the book, since he knows he’ll be disinherited if his mother knows).

It might be fun to do an update that fixes all these things. Have both Elinor and Brandon wise up and end up together.


The Leaning Tower of Books

I’ve been working on an ongoing project to get my house in order, and a big part of that is dealing with my books. I have a lot of books. So many books. I purged my bookcases of the books I know I’m not going to want to read again, so there’s a little space there. The real problem is the rather epic To Be Read pile.

Most of these are books I get at conferences. When I first started going to writing conferences, I was so excited to get a bag stuffed with books at registration. Then there were the booksignings where the publishers gave away books. There were books set out on the seats at the banquets and luncheons. Free books!

Except I found I was less likely to read the free books. They weren’t necessarily books I’d have chosen for myself. I did occasionally find a new author and would go on to read the rest of their books (the whole point of them giving away the freebies), but otherwise those books sat there. It didn’t help that most of these were from romance conferences, and I finally admitted to myself that while I like a good love story, I don’t really like romance novels all that much. However, I don’t seem to do much better in other genres. I got an advance copy of A Game of Thrones at, oddly enough, one of the romance conferences and didn’t finish reading it until after the series was on TV. I have books from the Nebulas and the World Fantasy Convention from more than a decade ago that I haven’t gotten around to.

I’ve been purging the TBR stack, getting rid of everything I know I’m not likely to read. I’m trying to focus my reading on these books for the time being, just to get more of them out of the house. If I don’t get into a book, I’m letting myself get rid of it. One thing I’ve done to help matters is devote the small bookcase in my bedroom to the TBR pile. That means the books are right there and visible in the place where I’m likely to be reading, so I’m more likely to choose a book from there.

I did another purge yesterday and have the stash down to the small bookcase plus a few small boxes. As I remove a book from the bookcase, I’ll move one from the boxes.

I did find that there are a few books I bought in all that stash. I’m not sure why I haven’t gotten around to reading them. Some are books written by friends I bought to support them but that I might not have bought otherwise. Some are remainders, so they were cheap books that tempted me. A few seem to be things I bought when I had a bonus coupon at a bookstore or when I needed to buy something else to get free shipping on an order.

If I actually read all these books (rather than getting a few chapters in and deciding they’re not for me), at my current rate of reading I have enough books to last me at least three years — and that’s without getting new books or going to the library. And it doesn’t count the e-books I have on my tablet.

I’m being a lot more selective about the books I take home from conferences now, so the stack shouldn’t get much worse.


Unbelievable True Stories

I’ve been on a nonfiction reading kick lately, reading a lot of history and biographies, and some of them are as gripping as any novel.

The one I just read was something I stumbled on in the library when I was looking for something else, and it reads like the kind of historical fiction in which the author’s fictional main character somehow manages to be present for every major historical event in that time period and meets all the major historical figures. Except, this is all true and it’s very well-documented.

The book was Dancing to the Precipice by Caroline Moorhead, and it’s about a woman named Lucie de la Tour du Pin. She’s not famous and she didn’t do anything to alter history, but she lived during interesting times and was in a position to interact with a lot of the major players. She wrote a memoir of living through this time, which was discovered and published by a descendant about fifty years after she died, but there are also extensive letters between her and other people, letters about her, and there’s a lot of documentation relating to her husband’s position, so it’s pretty certain that she didn’t make it all up in her memoir.

She grew up during the Enlightenment in France and as a child went to the various Paris salons where the great thinkers shared their views. As a teenager she was a lady-in-waiting to Marie Antoinette. She was at Versailles the day the “fishwives” raided the palace. She was in a rather awkward position for the French Revolution because she was an aristocrat with ties to the royals, but her husband and father had both fought in the American Revolution and had what were considered radical ideas about democracy. That made all the factions hate them. She and her family ended up having to flee to America during the Terror, and lived on a farm near Albany, where they became good friends with Alexander Hamilton and his family. Later, when they returned to France, her husband ended up as a prefect for Napoleon, and her half-sister married Napoleon’s aide de camp, so she interacted with Napoleon quite a bit (and once even bullied him into giving her husband a better position). When the royalty was restored, she ended up in that circle. They had to flee to Belgium when Napoleon returned from exile, and she was at the infamous ball the night before the battle of Waterloo. Oh, and she also knew the Duke of Wellington from when he was an ambassador in Paris when she was a child and he attended those salons.

Really, if you made all this up, people would roll their eyes and not believe it. It’s fascinating reading. But when someone is born in 1770 in Paris and lives to be 83, she’s going to have experienced a lot. There were multiple revolutions in her lifetime. And her husband was basically Ned Stark (for the Game of Thrones fans), who was utterly incapable of playing games and who said what he thought and did what he believed was right, which meant he was often trusted to be put in positions of responsibility, but he also got into a lot of trouble when people schemed against him and he was incapable of dealing with it or when he spoke his mind at a bad time, and his wife often had to step in and fix things, including one time rushing to Paris to browbeat Napoleon.

This book is more of a biography, using the memoirs as a basis but also bringing in a lot of other sources, so it’s rather objective, but apparently the actual memoir is available on Project Gutenberg, and I may have to read it. Someone needs to make a movie or miniseries about this lady. Basically, it really is Cat and Ned Stark in the French Revolution and Napoleonic era.


Different Kinds of Fantasies

When I gave up on reading the book I posted about yesterday, I decided to switch to something completely different as a palate cleanser and found an old “chick lit” type women’s fiction book by a favorite author on my to-be-read bookcase (it looks like I found a British publication at a used bookstore, and I must have been hoarding it because that genre had become scarce in the US). This one wasn’t so much the shopping and dating in the city kind of book, but rather fits into that subgenre that I think of as “my husband/boyfriend dumped me, so now I’m moving somewhere else to start over, and I’ll finally carry out my lifelong dream of opening a bookstore/bakery/cafe.” (Or restoring old houses, restoring antiques, becoming an artist/photographer, gardening, etc.)

It seems like a huge switch from fantasy, but I suspect the “I’ll just open a business” thing is as much of a fantasy as “I’ll become a wizard,” at least, the way it tends to happen in these books, where the heroines seldom have any money to start with and they just happen to fall into finding exactly the things and people they need, and the village where they’ve moved totally embraces the new business so that it becomes a success (funny, the books usually don’t cover the months later when the new has worn off, the new business is no longer a novelty, and the people go back to their old habits). Still, it’s a fun fantasy to read, to think about starting fresh and making a business out of a talent or interest you’ve always had.

In these books, the heroines always find new love along the way, of course. It may be my current phase of life or my particular interests, but I tend to groan when the guy shows up because it distracts from the interesting part of the book, the setting up the business and meeting the townspeople. Fortunately, most of these don’t follow the romance genre formula in which the main conflict has to be between the hero and heroine. There may or may not be any actual conflict with the guy, other than her having to decide if she’s ready for another relationship or willing to trust another man after the way the last one treated her. There’s not a lot of bickering, and she doesn’t have to choose whether to pursue love or her new business. But I’m still more interested in the baking and the other interactions.

I have at times thought it would be fun to run a bakery, restaurant, or bookshop, but I know there’s so much that goes into anything dealing with food, and a bookshop would be a real challenge in the era of Amazon. It’s fun to read about, but I don’t think I’d want to dive in. Still, reading about people going after their dreams is rather inspiring. I guess it might be fun to be paid to bake. I just don’t want to open an actual bakery.

Then again, there are bookstores with coffee shops. Why not one with a bakery? Or a tea shop with baked goods (I think tea goes better with books, but bookstores always seem to have coffee shops instead).


Stories of Russian Winters

In the midst of all the research reading I’ve been doing, I have managed to read a few novels for fun. I read the trilogy by Katherine Arden that began with The Bear and the Nightingale. I’d read that a few years ago when it came out, then somehow missed the second book. The third book came out recently, so I reread the first to refresh myself before reading the whole series.

These are fantasy novels set in medieval Russia, built around some traditional Russian fairy tales and incorporated into bits of actual history. I’ve read some of the tales used in the story, but I’m not familiar enough with them to be able to say how much of these books are a fairy tale retelling and how much they’re something entirely new. At any rate, the result is a fleshed-out world and characters. The look at medieval Russia, which is apparently fairly factual, is almost like seeing something out of another world. It’s a very different place with an unusual (to modern eyes) culture, and their coping mechanisms for winter are interesting. It’s hard for me, a southerner, to imagine a winter so harsh that insulating your home with snow and ice keeps it warmer and the family would sleep on top of the stove. Then imagine traveling in these conditions, and putting coals from the fire in a trench, then building a pallet of branches on top of that to sleep on.

The story follows a girl/young woman growing up in a small village north of Moscow, the daughter of a nobleman. There are stories/rumors about her mother and grandmother and the fact that they might not have been entirely human. Our heroine, Vasya, seems to take after them. She sees all the little spirits who occupy the land and their homes — the ones who care for the oven, for the home, for the stable, the trees, the waterways. But there are darker spirits out there, as well, and they’ve noticed her. Whether she can protect her people from them depends on whether she’ll be allowed to by her stepmother, who’s fallen under the spell of a vain and paranoid priest.

Whether you want to read these in the winter and enjoy the atmosphere as you huddle under a blanket with a warm beverage or in the summer so that the trip to an icy land helps take you away from the heat is up to your own inclinations. I found them the perfect reading for a cold winter day. I put some Rachmaninov on the stereo, made some tea, and settled down for some vicarious traveling.

The pacing of these books is rather leisurely, especially the first one. There’s a lot of time spent establishing the world and the characters and hinting at the looming threat before the action kicks into high gear. I enjoyed playing in that world before the action started, but if you like a fast pace and non-stop action, these might not be to your taste. If you like wallowing in an interesting setting, they may be more to your taste. The later books in the series do kick up the intensity and the stakes. These are definitely recommended to those who want something different from most of what’s been published as mainstream fantasy, or if you liked Spinning Silver and the Russian setting of that.

Books, movies

Jane Austen Sick Days

I suppose I should be making some kind of Oscars commentary this morning, but I didn’t watch the ceremony, and I hadn’t seen any of the nominated movies. I think I saw three movies last year. Instead, I was watching the miniseries of War and Peace from a few years ago, mostly to laugh at the costumes (it’s set in the early 1800s in Russia, but a lot of the women’s dresses were more 1930s movie star or 1990s bridesmaid).

I guess I fell into that because I was out of Jane Austen stuff to watch. When you’re sick, as I’ve been for the past few days, Jane Austen is the perfect source for things to read or watch. You don’t have to worry about characters dying, unless it’s a troublesome elderly relative dying offscreen to leave someone a fortune. You don’t have to worry about someone suffering more than a broken heart or the cold they get from getting caught in the rain. If someone we like gets jilted, we can rest assured that the jilter will be smacked upside the head with karma. The people we like and want to end up together will come out well and end up together, while the people we don’t like will get what’s coming to them.

And all of this will happen in lovely dresses on nice, sunny days (unless the weather is needed for a plot point, like that rain to make someone sick). They may talk about needing money, but no one starves, and there are plenty of rich friends and relatives around to help ease the way.

I’m reading a biography of Jane Austen right now, and it seems like a lot of that was wish fulfillment on her part because life was hard and bad things did happen. In her books, she was smoothing over the rough edges, even as she was unleashing the snark and using her pen to create karma that the real world didn’t provide.

Now that I’ve made it through all that Amazon Prime has to offer, I need to get the hoopla app on my Roku up and running because I get that service through my library, and they seem to have the latest Northanger Abbey, which might be even more fun now, since Cathy is played by a young Felicity Jones, and after seeing her in Rogue One, that means I’ll be wanting Cathy to blow stuff up. But that may have to wait until the next time I’m sick. I’m on the mend now and less in need of comfort viewing.

By the way, War and Peace isn’t good comfort viewing if you’re actually paying attention and not just snarking at the clothes or admiring the men’s uniforms. Way too much emotional turmoil, though there is some satisfying karma.


Another Trope I Can’t Resist

I’ve been thinking more about tropes that call to me, and after my discussion of recent reading from earlier this week, I’ve got one to add: framing stories. That’s when the bulk of the novel is framed as a story being told or discovered in a separate story at the beginning and end (with maybe some in-between stuff) of the book.

I think I first developed a fondness for this with all the Jack Higgins WWII thrillers I read in my teens. His usual pattern was that a nameless first-person narrator (implied to be the author) was in some place researching some element of history for a book he was working on, and then a mysterious stranger would approach him and offer to tell the real story that no one has heard. The novel would then be that story (told in standard narrative format). At the end, the mysterious stranger would finish his story, the author would be left pondering whether it could possibly be true, and then he’d find some piece of evidence that supported the story, and his mind would be blown. I think I liked this structure because it gave the illusion that the story might possibly be true, that it was secret history rather than just a novel.

I like it even better when there’s an actual plot in the “present” part of the story, so that it’s parallel stories rather than just a frame. There’s something going on in the present as someone researches the past, and meanwhile we get the story of what happened in the past. One good example of this is Possession, by A.S. Byatt. Or there are things like The Thirteenth Tale or The Historian.

One other thing that I like about this structure is that it’s a way to let readers know the long-term outcome of the characters after the end of the action — not just did they survive those events, but how did the rest of their lives go? The person in the present usually learns some of this information. You wouldn’t really be able to put that in a normal novel structure, but you can if part of the story is the person in the present researching it. It then becomes part of the resolution for the present-day character to learn that the characters in the past got married, had three children, started a successful business, and died peacefully in their sleep of old age.

And, yes, something like this is on my literary bucket list. I have a plot idea that’s perfect for it, but it’s going to take a lot of research and some travel before I can write it.


Introvert Love Stories

I read an article recently on why writers of all genres could benefit from reading romance novels, mostly because romance writers are experts at conveying emotion. Conveying emotion is something I struggle with (and possibly a reason why my romance writing career sputtered), and it’s been a long time since I read a genre romance novel (as opposed to a romantic novel or novel with romantic elements published in another genre), so I picked one up at the library.

I seem to have found the book aimed directly at me. After a long day at work, the heroine doesn’t want to hang out with her friends. She just wants to go to the sanctuary of her home and read a book. She comes in the door, takes her glasses off, changes into comfortable clothes, and curls up with a book. I felt so represented.

Alas, this is a romance novel, so the whole point of it is to get her together with someone, so by the end of the book she’ll have realized she was wrong and it’s better to come home to someone. And it looks like she’s not treating her home as a sanctuary because she’s truly an introvert and is happy that way but rather because she’s been hurt before and is afraid of intimacy. It would be nice if someone ever wrote a true introvert love story, where the heroine finds the person who fits into her solitude without being an energy drain and who enhances a life that was already good rather than her learning that her life is wrong and empty. But then there wouldn’t be any emotional conflict and drama, so you wouldn’t have much of a romance novel, and that may be why I drifted away from the genre. You can depict that kind of relationship if there’s some other kind of conflict going on, like a mystery or a battle against dark magical forces, but it makes for a pretty lame romance novel.

Anyway, one of the signs early in the book that she’s damaged and wrong rather than just an introvert who’s figured out what works for her is that the guy comes to her place while she’s at home reading and figures out that she doesn’t actually need her glasses because she’s not wearing them at home. They aren’t near her book, so she doesn’t need them to read, but he asks her about a book on her shelf, and she can tell him the title from across the room. Aha! She’s using the glasses to make herself less attractive and to hide from the world.

That was when I felt like I ought to speak up on the heroine’s behalf (except the book said he was right). I need glasses. I even have the corrective lenses restriction on my driver’s license to prove it. But I don’t wear glasses at home. I do just like the heroine in the book does. I come home, put down my keys, and take my glasses off. They live next to my keys. I have an older pair of glasses that lives on the coffee table for when I’m watching something on TV that has a lot of letters or numbers (like the weather report) or that I really want to focus on. I could probably tell you the titles of most of the books on my shelves from across the room because they’re my books and I know what I have, even if I can’t read the words on the spine from a distance. So that whole thing was bogus.

I’m not far enough into the book to really have all the emotional stuff I’m reading it for, other than the heroine’s intense embarrassment when the guy pointed out his realization about her glasses. I’m afraid, though, that I’m not in his corner. That’s another one of the reasons I stopped reading genre romance. I seldom wanted the guy to get together with the girl because I usually didn’t like at least one of them and I thought the other one could probably find a healthier relationship somewhere else. I guess the whole point of this exercise, though, is that I need to turn off the analytical part of my brain and just surrender to the emotions, then figure out how the author does it.