Monday, November 18, 2013

Class and Equality in the Bartimaeus Series

I'm shocked that I've never told you about the Bartimaeus series.* I've read them three times, I think, and am selectively reading through book 2 (The Golem's Eye) again. Here's a short list of things I love about this young adult fantasy series. Things that I have rarely found in any other book, especially in fantasy (though I'm not a heavy reader of fantasy).

SPOILER WARNING: don't read on if you plan to read these books and don't want to know details. I've avoided spoilers for how the series ends though. Also, a tip, if you're buying these books, buy the paper version. I suspect all the footnotes will make the Kindle version difficult to read.

LONG POST WARNING. I haven't been writing long posts for a while, so brace yourselves.

What is probably my favorite thing about these books (1 through 3, not counting the prequel, which was hilarious but isn't really part of the story) is that they explore and subvert the existing order of things. The world is very like ours, with some crucial differences: magicians are the ruling class, the rich and powerful, and they use "demons" -- beings like imps and djinns -- as "servants" (actually, slaves, since such a being, properly summoned, has to obey its "master").

So broadly, there are three classes (though I suppose one is a race/species, not a class):

Monday, November 11, 2013

Review: The Four Fountains Spa (Koregaon Park, Pune)

I got a free massage, and you get to read all about it!

The Four Fountains Spa offered me a free massage and asked me to write a review on the blog. So here you are.
This was my first massage. I admit that with a tiny bit of embarrassment. But I have two good reasons for this. First, I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of getting naked (or nearly so) in front of a stranger. Second, I don’t much like being touched, especially by people I don’t know. I like being hugged by friends and being kissed by the Guy, but sometimes when the Guy touches me without warning, I grunt or shake his hand away.

So while I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a massage many times, I’d never actually got one. Pay strangers to touch me all over while I lie naked and powerless with my face down? The situation sets off all my panic buttons.
But I did this, reader. And I’m grateful to Four Fountains spa for helping me get over it and I’m proud of myself for going through with it. You’re witnessing personal growth here, people.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The Guy's Food Blog and Other News

Sorry for neglecting you all so long. The last few weeks have been busy and full of happenings. Among other things, I conducted my first webinar and was very nervous about it, but it went off quite smoothly. I had my first spa visit -- sponsored by the spa, courtesy of this blog, so thank you all! I'll post a review soon. We also had a nice Diwali day, brightened by visits from friends and candlesticks gifted by other friends.