Rachael's Reviews > The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own M... by Catherynne M. Valente
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It began with a dare. "If I read this, you must watch the BBC adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing starring Damian Lewis and Billie Piper."
So, I read this book. In fits and starts, I learned about September, a 12 year old girl born in May in Omaha who, having grown tired of washing pink and yellow tea cups and matching gravy boats at home, where her father has gone to war and her mother works most daylight hours. Here begins her adventure into Fairyland, her discovery that nothing is what it seems and that she is braver than she ever supposed. Read this if you find yourself feeling old or lost or out of sorts. It will almost certainly help you find some youth, your way or more sorts.
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Quotes Rachael Liked

Catherynne M. Valente
“One ought not to judge her: all children are Heartless. They have not grown a heart yet, which is why they can climb high trees and say shocking things and leap so very high grown-up hearts flutter in terror. Hearts weigh quite a lot. That is why it takes so long to grow one. But, as in their reading and arithmetic and drawing, different children proceed at different speeds. (It is well known that reading quickens the growth of a heart like nothing else.) Some small ones are terrible and fey, Utterly Heartless. Some are dear and sweet and Hardly Heartless At All. September stood very generally in the middle on the day the Green Wind took her, Somewhat Heartless, and Somewhat Grown.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“... but as has been said, September read often, and liked it best when words did not pretend to be simple, but put on their full armor and rode out with colors flying.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“There must be blood, the girl thought. There must always be blood. The Green Wind said that, so it must be true. It will be all hard and bloody, but there will be wonders, too, or else why bring me here at all? And it's the wonders I'm after, even if I have to bleed for them.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“She sounds like someone who spends a lot of time in libraries, which are the best sorts of people.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“Readers will always insist on adventures, and though you can have grief without adventures, you cannot have adventures without grief.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“When one is traveling, everything looks brighter and lovelier. That does not mean it IS brighter and lovelier; it just means that sweet, kindly home suffers in comparison to tarted-up foreign places with all their jewels on.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“I wouldn't even consider it if I were you. But then if I were you, I would not be me, and if I were not me, I would not be able to advise you, and if I were unable to advise you, you'd do as you like, so you might as well do as you like and have done with it.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“Such lonely, lost things you find on your way. It would be easier, if you were the only one lost. But lost children always find each other, in the dark, in the cold. It is as though they are magnetized and can only attract their like. How I would like to lead you to brave, stalwart friends who would protect you and play games with dice and teach you delightful songs that have no sad endings. If you would only leave cages locked and turn away from unloved Wyverns, you could stay Heartless.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“Because I’m a cat. A big one, the Panther of Rough Storms, in fact. But still a cat. If there’s a saucer of milk to spill, I’d rather spill it than let it lie. If my mistress grows absent-minded and leaves a ball of yarn about, I’ll bat it between my paws, and unravel it. Because it’s fun. Because it’s what cats do best.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
tags: cats

Catherynne M. Valente
“It is well known that reading quickens the growth of a heart like nothing else.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“She did not want Fairyland to be full of older girls who wanted to be stars.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“It is true that novelists are shameless and obey no decent law, and they are not to be trusted on any account, but some Mysteries even they must honor.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“Stories have a way of changing faces. They are unruly things, undisciplined, given to delinquency and the throwing of erasers. This is why we must close them up into thick, solid books, so they cannot get out and cause trouble.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“I'm not lost, because I haven't any idea where to go that I might get lost on the way to. I'd like to get lost, because then I'd know where I was going, you see.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“That’s what happens to friends, eventually. They leave you. It’s practically what they’re for.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“Shoes are funny beasts. You think they’re just clothes, but really, they’re alive. They want things. Fancy ones with gems want to go to balls, big boots want to go to work, slippers want to dance. Or sleep. Shoes make the path you’re on. Change your shoes, change your path.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“I believe we have an utterly unique specimen on our hands: a child who listens.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“Wishes of one's old life wither and shrivel like old leaves if they are not replaced with new wishes when the world changes. And the world always changes. Wishes get slimy, and their colors fade, and soon they are just mud, like all the rest of the mud, and not wishes at all, but regrets. The trouble is, not everyone can tell when they ought to launder their wishes. Even when one finds oneself in Fairyland and not at home at all, it is not always so easy to remember to catch the world in it's changing and change with it.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“Well, very splendid and very frightening. But splendid things are often frightening. Sometimes, it's the fright that makes them splendid at all.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“All stories must end so, with the next tale winking out of the corners of the last pages, promising more, promising moonlight and dancing and revels, if only you will come back when spring comes again.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“When you are born,” the golem said softly, “your courage is new and clean. You are brave enough for anything: crawling off of staircases, saying your first words without fearing that someone will think you are foolish, putting strange things in your mouth. But as you get older, your courage attracts gunk, and crusty things, and dirt, and fear, and knowing how bad things can get and what pain feels like. By the time you’re half-grown, your courage barely moves at all, it’s so grunged up with living. So every once in awhile, you have to scrub it up and get the works going, or else you’ll never be brave again.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“When the world changes, it stashes us away where we can't make it run the other way again.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
tags: world

Catherynne M. Valente
“Who are you?"

"I am Death," said the creature. "I thought that was obvious."

"But you're so small!"

"Only because you are small. You are young and far from your Death, September, so I seem as anything would seem if you saw it from a long way off-very small, very harmless. But I am always closer than I appear. As you grow, I shall grow with you, until at the end, I shall loom huge and dark over your bed, and you will shut your eyes so as not to see me.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“I will keep it safe for you," Saturday whispered, barely brave enough to say it.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“The trouble was, September didn’t know what sort of story she was in. Was it a merry one or a serious one? How ought she to act? If it was merry, she might dash after a Spoon and it would all be a grand adventure, with funny rhymes and somersaults and a grand party at the end with red lanterns. But if it was a serious tale, she might have to do something important, something involving with snow and arrows and enemies.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“Fierce was her needle, and she wore it like a sword.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“Death is not a checkmate…it is more like a carnival trick. You cannot win, no matter how you move your Queen.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
tags: death

Catherynne M. Valente
“I have terrible nightmares, you know. Every night when I come home from a long day’s dying, I take off my skin and lay it nicely on my armoire. I take off my bones and hang them up on the hatstand. I set my scythe to washing on the old stove. I eat a nice supper of mouse-and-myrrh soup. Some nights I drink off a nice red wine. White does not agree with me. I lay myself down on a bed of lilies and still, I cannot sleep.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“Of course not. No one is chosen. Not ever. Not in the real world. You chose to climb out of your window and ride on a leopard. You chose to get a witch’s Spoon back, and to make friends with a wyvern. You chose to trade your shadow for a child’s life. You chose not to let the Marquess hurt your friend--you chose to smash her cages! You chose to face your own Death, not to balk at a great sea to cross and no ship to cross it in. And twice now you have chosen not to go home when you might have, if only you abandoned your friends. You are not the chosen one, September. Fairyland did not choose you--you chose yourself. You could have had a lovely holiday in Fairyland and never met the Marquess, never worried yourself with local politics, had a romp with a few brownies and gone home with enough memories for a lifetime’s worth of novels. But you didn’t. You chose. You chose it all. Just like you chose your path on the beach: to lose your heart is not a path for the faint and fainting.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“September could see it. She did not know what is was she saw. That is the disadvantage of being a heroine, rather than a narrator. She knew only that a red light glowed and went dark, glowed and went dark.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“True names,” said September wonderingly. “These are all true names. Like, when your parents call you to dinner and you don’t come and they call again but you still don’t come, and they call you by all your names together, and then, of course, you have to come, and right quick. Because true names have power, like Lye said. But I never told anyone my true name. The Green Wind told me not to. I didn’t understand what he meant, but I do now.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
tags: names

Catherynne M. Valente
“One can never be sure,” the Green Wind sighed. “There is always the danger of kisses where sleeping maids are concerned. But you are safe now, and for awhile yet, and why worry about a thing that may never come to pass? Do not ruin today with mourning tomorrow.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“If one did not have at least a little luck, one would never survive childhood. But luck can be spent, like money; and lost, like a memory; and wasted, like a life.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“Why do you need that thing?" September asked. "None of the airports back home have them."
"They do. You just can't see them right," Betsy Basilstalk said with a grin. "All customs agents have them, otherwise, why would people agree to stand in line and be peered at and inspected? We all live inside the terrible engine of authority, and it grinds and shrieks and burns so that no one will say, lines on maps are silly. Where you live, the awful machinery is smaller, harder to see. Less honest, that's all. Whereas Rupert here? He's as honest as they come. Does what it says on the box.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“My mother lived alone in the ruins of the great Library, which was called Compleat, and a very passionate and dashing Library indeed. Under the slightly blackened rafters and more than slightly caved-in walls, my mother lived and read and dreamed, allowing herself to grow closer and closer to Compleat, to notice more and more how fine and straight his shelves remained, despite great structural stress. That sort of moral fortitude is rare in this day and age. By and by, my siblings and I were born and romped on the balconies, raced up and down the splintered ladders, and pored over many encyclopedias and exciting novels. I know just everything about everything—so long as it beings with A through L.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“But luck withered by conservative, tired, riskless living can be plumped up again--after all, it was only a bit thirsty for something to do.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“Will Hilt to hand yet be restored? Take me up, thy mother's sword.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“You and I, being grown-up and having lost our hearts at least twice or thrice along the way, might shut our eyes and cry out: Not that way, child! But
as we have said, September was Somewhat Heartless, and felt herself reasonably safe on that road. Children always do.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“Did you see her?" the Marid said nervously, looking at her with great dark eyes. "Our daughter. Standing on the Gear. Dis you see her?"
"What?" said September—and then she winked out, like someone blowing out a candle, and all the field was still.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“If there are spells, they have a right to weave.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“Once upon a time, a girl named September grew very tired indeed of her parents’ house, where she washed the same pink-and-yellow teacups and matching gravy boats every day, slept on the same embroidered pillow, and played with the same small and amiable dog. Because she had been born in May, and because she had a mole on her left cheek, and because her feet were very large and ungainly, the Green Wind took pity on her and flew to her window one evening just after her twelfth birthday.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“But as you get older, your courage attracts gunk and crusty things and dirt and fear and knowing how bad things can get and what pain feels like. By the time you're half-grown, your courage barely moves at all, it's so grunged up with living. So every once in a while, you have to scrub it up and get the works going or else you'll never be brave again. Unfortunately, there are not so many facilities in the world that proveide the kind of services we do. So most people go around with grimy machinery, when all it would take is a bit of spit and polish to make them paladins once more, bold knights and true.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“As all mothers know, children travel faster than kisses. The speed of kisses is, in fact, what Doctor Fallow would call a cosmic constant. The speed of children has no limits.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“How wonderful is ritual, what comfort in dark times!”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“Autumn has a hungry heart - September is the beginning of death.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Catherynne M. Valente
“You can never know how your clock runs. But it does run - and always faster than you think.”
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making


Reading Progress

07/26/2012 page 50
20.0%
07/19/2013 marked as: to-read
12/10/2013 marked as: currently-reading
01/25/2014 marked as: read
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