Quick Takes for a New Year

Let me wish you all a much belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! If I was a proper blogger, you’d have heard from me twice ere now and November (NaBloPoMo) would have been filled to the brim with posts–instead of just the last one. My New Year’s resolutions include writing a post once a week–here or on another blog. The causes for me slipping in regard to post output were a greater workload and too much concern for prosaic matters (money, work, health, etc.).

Another cause lay in me suffering from acedia, which is defined as sorrow in regard to spiritual goods. Prayer, the Holy Mass, and reading Catholic books became so difficult that I started cutting corners, which of course only increased my spiritual sloth. This spirit of acedia oppressed me such that I prayed a deliverance prayer found in Fr. Chad Ripperger’s book Deliverance Prayers: For Use by the Laity. You know what? All of the spiritual works above became easier and produced more joy afterwards. Having been delivered from acedia, I hope to engage myself more in writing and other things I have neglected.

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The Tipsy Pelican Tavern Series

The Tipsy Pelican Tavern series is an English fantasy series in the tradition of Japan’s light novels. I happened upon the series quite by accident while searching for a new light novel to read on Kindle. The alluring blonde on the cover drew me in and, for $3 (I think that’s what I paid then, it’s $5 now), it seemed worth a shot. The premise of the series starts with the legendary hero Archibold Stormblood faking his death in order to live in obscurity as a tavern owner. In this world, people gain extraordinary powers by opening “gates” within themselves. These gates give the user additional awareness, strength, stamina, speed, and magical powers. The number of gates someone has opened is apparent to any individual capable of using magic, so Stormblood closed all of his gates. (Stormblood had opened nine. To put that in perspective, an individual with three gates open is very rare.) A tavern keeper with even one gate open is unheard of, and its existence would blow his cover.

Although Archie would love to lead a quiet life of crafting new brews and pleasing his patrons along with his longtime servant Charm his new employee Elsa, trouble seeks him out in the form of the Templar Cassia. (In true light novel fashion, Archie attracts more nubile women to his acquaintance over the course of these two novels.) Cassia realizes Archie’s true identity and tries to enlist him in a quest to defeat an elder dragon. Archie refuses, but Cassia persists–even taking a job at the Tipsy Pelican Tavern in order to stay close to him.

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Spice and Wolf’s Author Supporting Medieval Studies

I found this pretty interesting.  Isuna Hasekura has contributed to a new Medieval European Studies journal published during autumn of last year.  The acknowledgements read: “We gratefully acknowledge a generous donation from Mr. Isuna Hasekura and Mr. Nobuo Matsuki which made the launching of Spicilegium possible.”  Cytrus, a dear reader and fellow blogger, once sent me a reading list of what Hasekura studied in order to write Spice and Wolf, but I had no idea that his passion for the Middle Ages was great enough for him to sponsor a historical journal!  Spicilegium is run by the Japan Society for Medieval European Studies, and I hope to read their first issue soon.  As of now, it only contains three articles, but I hope that the journal will grow in the future.

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On another note, I hope to be publishing blogs more regularly in the near future, so look forward to that!

Examining Light Novels: Medieval and Modern Castes

Here is the latest post in my Examining Light Novels column.  I talk about the medieval caste system with a focus on executioners, who would have been considered untouchables at the time, and try to compare that to how one’s social status in modern society causes people to view one.  What makes for a favored class of persons changes in every age, but people’s desire to measure others by their particular situations doesn’t.  Click the link below!

Examining Light Novels: Medieval and Modern Castes

I’ve had a lot of fun talking about Spice and Wolf and how accurately the author portrays the medieval era or the medieval Church.  But, it’s time for me to move onto greener pastures.  My next post for the column will be gleaned from the light novel series Slayers.  Unlike Spice and Wolf, I’ll be reading this one from the original Japanese, which–though more verbose–is actually a little easier than many popular manga.

Reblog: Examining Light Novels: On Female Deacons

“Examining Light Novels” has returned to Beneath the Tangles!  I decided to write it on a somewhat contentious topic–at least, in Catholic circles.  The idea was mentioned in volume thirteen of Spice and Wolf.  I wonder what religious ideas the next volume will present the reader?

Click on the link below!

Examining Light Novels: On Female Deacons

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Examining Light Novels: Latin in the Middle Ages

My latest article on Beneath the Tangles talks about why Latin became the Franca lingua of the Middle Ages, and about how the Catholic Church preferred–and indeed, still prefers–this language above all the rest.  This topic and the last one I wrote about, monastic contributions to European economics, Isuna Hasekura gets very right.

Examining Light Novels: Latin in the Middle Ages

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