Sunday, August 15, 2010

Yay, new book time!

I have two things keeping me busy right now.
1. The X-Files. All seasons are available on Netflix instant watch, so I've been plowing through them. I really don't get what was SO amazing about the show... But it is fairly entertaining.


2. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. At first I was really excited to start it. It got amazing reviews and looked incredibly interesting. Then I started reading and it was kind of hard to get in to, so I got a slow start. But now that I've gotten in to it I'm really starting to like it. It's the sort of science fiction book that really sets up the whole story beforehand. You know the author spent hours and hours creating a world to set his story even before he started writing.

Also there is one passage that I read and just sat dumbstruck at the beauty and power of it. I can maybe count on one hand the number of times that's happened. I'm only a little over a hundred pages in and I'm thinking NEW FAVORITE BOOK!
The passage is about the Windup girl who is forced to work in a brothel-type place. She is a genetically engineered person, and so she has no rights and is treated like property or a religious abomination.

"In the privacy of the open air and the setting sun, she bathes. It is a ritual process, a careful cleansing. The bucket of water, a fingerling of soap. She squats beside the bucket and ladels the warm water over herself. It is a precise thing, a scripted act as deliberate as Jo No Mai, each move choreographed, a worship of scarcity.
She pours a ladleful over her head. Water courses down her face, runs over breasts and ribs and thighs, trickles onto hot concrete. Another ladleful, soaking her black hair, coursing down her spine and curling around her buttocks. Again a ladle of water, sheeting over her skin like mercury. And then the soap, rubbing it into her hair and then her skin, scouring herself of the previous night's insults until she wears a pale sheen of suds. And again the bucket and ladle, rinsing herself as carefully as with the first wetting.
Water sluices away soap and grime, even some of the shame comes with it. If she were to scrub for a thousand years she would not be clean, she she is too tired to care and she has grown accustomed to scars she cannot scour away. The sweat, the alcohol, the humid salt of semen and degradation, these she can cleanse. It is enough. She is too tired to scrub harder. Too hot and too tired, always.
At the end of her rinsing, she is happy to find a little water left in the bucket. She dips one ladleful and drinks it, gulping. And then in a wasteful, unrestrained gesture, she upends the bucket over her head in one glorious cathartic rush. In that moment, between the touch of the water and the spash as it pools around her toes, she is clean."
(The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, 102-103)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

It's Throwdown Time...and movies are gonna pwn books!


Inspired by my reading of Jane Slayre I decided to watch Jane Eyre on Netflix...the 1983 BBC version. Oh yes. It is as horrible as you might imagine. But it does have 2 saving graces.

1. Mr. Timothy "I'm the picture of rugged good looks/ brooding guy handsome" Dalton.
2. It stays remarkably close to the book. Like, exactly the same. A bit like the BBC Pride and Prejudice.

Now this leads into the subject of.....................................................
BOOK VS. MOVIE!!!
Obviously, books are always better than the movie. Subject closed.

Lawlsauce. For some reason whenever people say, "Oh, the book was so much better," it really grates me Swiss cheese. Of course the book was better! Why is there ever a question of this. You get like, 10 times the information from a book than you do with the movie! But in a few cases I would say that I enjoyed the movie a bit more than the book. These would be:

1. Twilight Series: Young adult books with not a WHOLE lot of intense character development, interesting writing techniques, or very original plot, I found that reading them was a quick, fairly enjoyable experience. Now the movies on the other hand I could watch for days for scenery and soundtrack alone. You just don't get that in the books.

2. Lord of the Rings Series: Don't get me wrong, these are some of my favorite books and I LOVED reading them. But sometimes, I could have handled a little less descriptive paragraphs. The movies are some of the greatest movies of all time, perfectly fitting to the books. So much was left out, but amazing cinematography, acting and special effects definitely made up for this. And there was the love of my life through high school: Cutie Blonde Elf Legolas. You don't get the sexiness in the books. *Cue long intense stare into the distance.

3. Fight Club: Was Brad Pitt in the book? No? Then why is there a debate on this one?



Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer is the greatest, no seriously, it is.

So, I had to be gone for a little while because of a bit of stress at work... read: I was too tired to think/write/be conscious after 8 hours with the little ones.

But, now that my 11 month engagement with AmeriCorps is drawing a close (I've only about 50 hours left that I need to log) I'm feeling the draw of writing and having more time for my reading! As I just mentioned in the previous post I'm working on a new, lovely book. I'm also trying to make my way through The Plains of Passage, by Jean Auel. She is better known for The Clan of the Cave Bear, one of my all time favorite books.

Plains of Passage is the 4th in the series, and to be quite honest, it's very dry. I'm having the darndest time getting into it. So, while I was at Borders, because that is my place to go when I've some spare time laying around, I picked up two new books, the aforementioned Jane Slayre and also The Windup Girl, by
Paolo Bacigalupi.

Also, since Oregon has finally decided to welcome the sun back into our lives, I'm starting to enjoy summer and have started to frequent the Saturday Farmer's Market. I have been in a heaven of delicious fresh fruit, veggies, cheeses, bread, meat, flowers and CREPES! Just yum. Last time I picked up broccoli, pea pods, sweet red peppers, green onions, and red cabbage and I then created a delicious stir fry with Jasmine rice. I am now on the hunt for recipes where I will be able to use all this wonderful fresh food!

Oh, and I can't forget the most delicious... There were berries of every sort one could dream up...well, maybe except for schnozberries...but you get the idea. Millions of the most beautiful sweet, tart, juicy, stain-your-mouth-blue-and-red-forever berries! I shall be making berry recipes until I'm quite literally blue in the face.

Have I sunk so low?

I love books.

Could this be more obvious? But, sometimes I'm embarrassed of the book I'm reading. You know what it reminds me of? When my boyfriend and I started dating.

On Facebook I refused to say I was "in a relationship" with him until he changed his profile picture. In my defense, he looked like a 15 year old boy. A crazy fifteen year old boy...that may have been on illicit drugs...and had bad hair. Anyway, back to my point. Sometimes even though you really love something, you just might not be ready to share it with the rest of the world.

I remember the first time I experienced this with a book. It was the middle of summer, before 7th grade. I had run out of books to read. Oh god! The agony. Luckily, my father had a secret cache that I knew nothing of. A cache of wondrous, deliciously musty, old booky smelling Western books! Oh, dear Louis L'Amour, I am forever indebted to you, though I will never admit it irl (as the kids say). From these lovely little books I learned what a left jab was, how women should be supple and sassy, and what made a good horse.

Of course, once the school year started back up again, I was still addicted to my Westerns. So I sat on the bus reading my book, trying desperately to keep it low and the cover covered. Eventually the anxiety of trying to keep my love affair with Louis hidden drove us apart.

Nowadays I am cheerfully defiant, showing the cover of any book I'm reading to anyone who asks. But, for some reason, my latest novel has me cringing when someone asks what I'm reading. Perhaps because the idea of it is unbearably cheesy, much too pop culture, just plain silly...

I'm reading Jane Slayre. Yes, that's right. It's Jane Eyre, but with vampires, werewolves and zombies. And now I say what I should have said all those years ago when my nervousness of what other people think made me deny Louis: I LOVE IT!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

With passion now!

Well okay then. I’ve finished Endymion Spring it fits perfectly into the “totally forgettable but fun for a brief moment” genre. I didn’t realize this when I got it because it was a present, but I think it was a young adult book. Which, I’ve nothing against young adult books, “Hi…Harry Potter lover here.” But as a rule they just don’t have the character development and sophistication of books aimed at older audiences. A lot of the time the plots are so obvious it becomes painful; I find a lot of authors all but punch you in the face with “I’m going to surprise and shock you, I SWEAR!!!” Yeah, okay, I get it.

So now I’m slowly, s l o w l y working on a new book: My Dream of You by Nuala O’Faolain, an Irish author. I’m still trying to figure exactly what it’s about and I’m about a quarter to third of the way in. A depressed travel writer in her late forties heads back to Ireland for the first time in many, many years to research a possible book on a mid-nineteenth century scandal involving the wife of an English landlord and her Irish servant. Kathleen (main character) is fascinated by the question of PASSION, because she has none of it in her life. What makes people throw everything away for someone else, how do some people find it in their jobs and ways of living?

I think this is a very interesting question as well. Everyone wants to have passion in their lives in one form or another, but how many people really do? I think very few. I wonder if I even have it with my boyfriend (who I’m crazy about). Many relationships and jobs just become a comfortable simmer instead of the all consuming fire. I wonder if in giving yourself over to the daily life of a relationship you lose some of that passion. We are so completely at ease with each other and it is so comforting and golden. Do you have to pick one: passion or the complete knowing of another? Maybe this book will let me know…

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Lovely!

I've just finished The Lovely Bones. It was a very...sweet? It seems like the oddest adjective to put in front of a book like this, but that was the first thing I could think of.
Susie Salmon is the narrator and in the first sentence or so you learn she is dead. I thought, from the movie previews, that the story would be about her helping her family find her killer, body, justice...etc. In fact I found it to be a lot more about how little control you have in your life. That some things you must just accept, like Susie realizes finally that for her family to be able to move on with their lives she must move on with her death. The story weaves through many years, Susie remembering times of her life growing up and also watching her little sister and brother grow older than her. One of the more poignant parts was when Susie's little sister falls in love and it's something that Susie should have experienced first, but would never have the beauty of in her life. Not really what I was expecting but it was really a beautifully written, lyrical book.
So the new book I'm starting was given to me by my mother for Christmas. I immediately was intrigued by the name Endymion Spring. I thought it may be about the Greek myth of the shepherd Endymion who the moon goddess Selene fell in love with and put a spell on him to have him sleep forever so he would never grow old. No, it's not about that. It's about a book called Endymion Spring that a boy in Oxford in modern times finds. It's a blank book but is obviously very old and veiled in magic... I think, I'm not too far in yet. Gutenberg and Faust make appearances in the 1400s part of. Should be interesting...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A new love

Who has odd reading habits?

Whenever I start a new book I always read the last sentence or even page sometimes. I try to read just enough to get an idea of the writer’s style and the feeling of the book. I don’t want to know what happens but I want to know if there is going to be reflection, cliffhanging, or perfectly wrapping up at the end of the story. On occasion I’ve “accidently” found out someone died and I chastise myself for ruining some of the story.

In magazines I always read them from back to front. The last page in magazines is usually a fun, frivolous thing to read and then I go from there. I hate weeding through pages upon pages of ads at the beginning!

So I’ve found a new author I’m nuts over. Last time I wrote I was just getting into Titan by Ben Bova. I’ve finished that. It was good, I’d give it 3.5 stars. He gives very strong, wonderful science to his stories, but the characters fall a little short. They come across as very 2-dimensional and obvious. So I moved on to another of his Grand Tour books called Jupiter.

I have found another new favorite book. Again the characters and relationships were a bit lacking. But Oh God, the science fiction left my heart swelled and my eyes glazed. The main character, Grant, has just finished college and is going into the mandatory public service. He is assigned to the science station at Jupiter. There he finds out that a select group of scientists are planning trips down into Jupiter. They have recordings of what may be intelligent life, far below the gassy surface. For a person that thinks the greatest scientific discovery would be intelligent aliens, this was a book I would clasp to my bosom and sigh and swoon over for hours.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Latest Quick Reads

I really (really) want to make this blog nice and interesting and updated. So do you know how I am working on doing this? I am writing posts on Word while I’m at work and then e-mailing them to myself and posting them later. Is this bad that I'm doing it when I should be working? I don’t know. I’ll choose no.

I’ve been siiiiiiick. The Honey was really sick with a fever, etc and then I got it from him. Imagine that, I work in a school with disgusting little monsters spewing disease at me for 8.5 hours a day and I get sick from the person who hardly goes anywhere. Hmph. So over this last weekend I was living off Gatorade, the blue kind of course. The Honey came home and showed me the three different shades of blue Gatorade he found for me: light blue, medium blue and dark blue. I give him many hearts.

The current book I am reading is Titan by Ben Bova. So far I’m very much enjoying it. As may have become apparent, I’m a SciFi aficionado. Basically I love it more than anything in the world. I feel SciFi is the perfect art form. What could be more true and telling of a person than what they think, in their wildest imaginings, of the future, of what just might happen? Every time I read a new science fiction novel I get a little thrill because someone has thought of something else interesting and plausible for the path that the human race is following. What could be more epic? And because it’s the future it is all possible, anything could happen. Just thinking about the unlimited(ness) of it makes my head throb.

So this new story, Titan, is part of Bova’s Grand Tour series. This series is about human colonization of our solar system in the late 21st century. From what I’ve heard it deals a lot with sociology and politics, how even as humans leave Earth they will bring with them their old prejudices and ways of living. Interesting… We shall see.