Books!

Mar. 23rd, 2009 09:49 pm
slyvermont: (readingmagic)
I read three books over my vacation. Here are my brief reviews: 

"The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries (P.S.)" by Marilyn Johnson: I love learning about parallel universes, and this is one: people obsessed with obituaries. This book has one of my favorite all-time lines from a book, which came from an obituary of a Mormon: 

“After mentioning that Allred was survived by eight wives, 23 children and more than 200 grandchildren, McKie (the obit writer) referred to one of the wives as ‘his better eighth.’” 

I particularly appreciated the section on the alt.obituaries newsgroup, where people discuss obituaries and lots of other things. 

"White Oleander," by Janet Fitch. I enjoyed this rather sad, depressing book – a condemnation of the foster care system and a study of a messed up mother-daughter relationship. The plot: A woman angry at being ditched kills her boyfriend and is sentenced to life in prison, sending her 12-year-old daughter into foster care where she encounters one bad placement after another. She has a sexual relationship with the boyfriends of two of her foster mothers, is shot by one of them, and witnesses another one commit suicide. It was sad to watch a talented, brilliant young woman be destroyed and not able to fully take advantage of her talents. This was a first novel, and seemed a bit overwritten – too many metaphors and florid descriptions and obvious imagery. But I enjoyed the plot and the characterizations. And I wonder if Fitch realized that she was writing about someone with borderline personality disorder. 

"Fortune’s Rocks," by Anita Shreve. I had read and enjoyed "The Pilot’s Wife," so got this for 50 cents at the library book sale (same for "White Oleander" – although that was just 25 cents). The connection between the two Shreve books is that the house the protagonists live in is the same – and it is a real house on the Maine coast. This book starts in 1899, with a hard-to-stomach romance between a 15-year-old girl and a 41-year-old married man with four children. I have a great deal of trouble accepting this relationship (which the author wants you to believe is the “real thing” – true love). I just can’t accept, under any circumstances, an affair between a teenage girl and a middle-aged married man – their relationship just didn’t work, and the author did not convince me it should and I resent that she tried. I did enjoy the book, and the payoff at the almost-end was worth it. I’d actually call this feminist literature, since the main character eventually fights for a right that few women had 100 years ago. It was a thought-provoking – very disturbing – story.

Twilight

Feb. 1st, 2009 09:20 pm
slyvermont: (readingmagic)
I’m not watching the Superbowl, although I did watch the halftime show. Go Bruce! 

So I’ll talk about what could be the polar opposite of football: “Twilight.” 

A week or so ago I finally got my hands on “Twilight” and read it. I just don’t get it the appeal. 

The writing is horrendous – and I tend to be pretty lenient when it comes to bad writing (within reason – but in general if there is a good plot and reasonable dialogue, I can overlook bad writing). What bothered me most is that I was totally unable to buy into the Edward-Bella relationship – and if you can’t fall in love with that, the whole book falls apart. 

So Bella and Edward see each other across the lunchroom and immediately fall in love – or should I say, in lust. Because there is no foundation to this relationship. There is no connection of the minds, no interest in the same things, no genuine friendship – nothing that most couples build lasting relationships on. There are couples that fall in lust first and go on to have successful relationships. But I saw none of that here. 

My second problem was with the pace of the book. It was so damn slow that I read quickly just to finish. The minutia the book focuses on – like what Bella eats for meals, every meal, every single day – and what happens, minute by minute in school – omg, so boring. It read like my high school diary. Back when I was in high school, I’m sure my diary was fascinating to me. But when I read it now, I realize what a drab, boring life I led. Bella is starting a relationship with a vampire, yet her life is as boring as could be. 

And may I say that for someone in lust with a vampire, she is way too casual about the whole thing. I can deal with her not freaking out about it, but a little show of emotion when she discovers his secret would have been nice. 

Not to mention that the whole idea of being in lust with someone who is cold as granite is very unappealing. 

So, just so not there.

slyvermont: (Default)
I was intrigued enough by the bizarre list of 106 most unread books that I decided to do some google searching. 106 seemed like such an arbitrary number, and too many great books that no one has read were missing (I mean, nothing by Faulkner? Melville? Proust?)

So I found the source, www.librarything.com/tag/unread&more=1, with 200 books, plus the authors’ names.

I’ve bolded what I’ve read, (to lazy to figure out the difference between what I read for me and for school) and italicized what I started and never finished, or only read parts of. I’ll underline what I want to read. It's a good list to help me figure out what to get out of the library next.

slyvermont: (ritaskeeter)
On Wednesday, I covered my second funeral for The Times Argus. Here it is.

I realized as I sat in the pews that covering funerals is not something I learned in journalism school. What is appropriate? Do I wear black? Do I interview people? Do I sit up front, or toward the back?

This particularly troubled me when I went to the reception afterwards. I mean, do I interview people – or just write about the memorial service?

The couple that died – what a sad story. They died last week. Their house caught on fire, they were in the basement, and couldn’t get out. The stairs were burning. There was no outside door.

The guy I had met a few times – we both took a Hebrew class through the synagogue. It turns out that he was a really interesting person. He was the state auditor of accounts in the early 60s, the first Jew to win a statewide office in Vermont. He was also a Democrat who won, which was very rare in Vermont back in those days. He served on a ton of statewide organizations, and was a professor at a local college.

In the end, I did interview people at the reception. I stuck to either people I knew, or people I was introduced to by people I knew. And politicians – I knew that former Vermont Gov. Phil Hoff would talk. (There were 2 governors at the funeral). But I didn’t interview any family members.

The rabbi left a message on my voice mail this morning saying my story was good, and well-received by the family. Whew.

In other article news, here’s another story I wrote recently, a book review and interview with Julia Alvarez. I loved this book, so if you’re looking for a fun read, consider it.

And I am not, repeat, not, looking forward to the nor’easter coming on Sunday and the 10 to 20 inches of snow it will bring.
slyvermont: (typewriter girl)
I don’t know how people who travel a lot keep sane. I’ve been away three weekends in a row, four out of five, and I feel like the threads of my life are unraveling.

I was supposed to be home this weekend, but ended up being away for a lot of it. Rich was involved in a project in Burlington, which led to a free hotel room on Saturday night. So Saturday afternoon I drove to Burlington, we saw a movie and had dinner. Sunday, after Rich went off to his meeting, I met my friend Abby for shopping and lunch. By the time I got home and took a walk, the day had disappeared.

The movie we saw was “Across the Universe,” which didn’t get great reviews (according to Rotten Tomatoes) but I thought it was absolutely brilliant. I guess I’m a sucker for the Beatles and love stories. I can’t wait to see it again, and then buy the DVD so I can watch it again and again and again. I highly recommend it, even if a lot of reviewers don't.





No travel expected this month. Maybe I can finish the book and move onto the month’s worth of New York Times’ piled up in my dining room.

Finally, for the MHS graduates: The girls soccer team won the state championship!
slyvermont: (Default)
Books: After reading "The Sleeping Beauty Proposal" (and then writing this review of it in the Times Argus), I decided to read all of Sarah Strohmeyer’s books. She’s a local author who writes chick lit. I’ve never read chick lit before, but decided to make an exception since she’s local, (and a really good interview). I had read the first two Bubbles books before writing the review, and last week tackled the remaining four. They are mysteries, the sleuth is a hair dresser/journalist/floozy named Bubbles Yablonsky. Then I read her "The Cinderella Pact." All good fun – good books if you want to do anything but challenge your mind.

On Sunday, after dropping Rich off at the airport in the pouring rain, I went to Barnes & Noble, found "Sacrifice," curled up in a chair and read the entire book at the bookstore (OK, skimmed or skipped all the Fett/Mandalorian stuff and some of the politics). Came home and finally read the endless emails on the “big event” on the CJ list. It’s nice to finally be au courant.

I’ll avoid spoilers, and just say I thought the book was well-done and tastefully written, and I was much less upset than I thought I would be.

Oh -- I've successfully re-read all the Harry Potter books.

Speaking of HP:  I MUST stop reading Harry Potter stuff. I’ve been trying very hard to avoid everything, but then something will catch my eye – in the newspaper or on the wires – and I’ll read it. And then feel like hitting myself, like Dobby. Like I just read in the NY Times what Rowling said about the book’s last word. I didn’t need to know that. I do not want to be spoiled for this book. I want to get it at 12:01 and then hibernate (with friends) in my house and read, read, read.

Today I went shopping with my friend Abby, again in the pouring rain. Bought stuff I didn’t need -- mainly shoes. Had fun.

Last week I had a dexoscan, which is an X-ray of the spine and hip bones. Unfortunately – although not surprisingly – the doctor’s office called to tell me I have had some bone density loss. I’m seeing the doctor tomorrow, and so will learn more.

This is scary. For the last five years, I’ve been trying hard to eat calcium, started lift weights, stopped swimming and instead walk/run. Other than eating more calcium, I’m not sure what else I can do. I don’t know how bad it is; I assume I will learn all about the various drugs I could start taking. I started reading about osteoporosis online, and stopped when I saw the statistic that 50% of women over 50 have a bone break because of osteoporosis. It was just too darn depressing. (On the positive side, all my other annual tests showed nothing wrong.)

Movies: We’ve joined the rest of the civilized world and now have Netflix. In the last few weeks I’ve seen Citizen Kane, About a Boy, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and others I can’t think of. Even after watching Citizen Kane with two different commentary tracks, I’m still not sure I get why it’s the best movie ever.

Fourth of July: I had to work, so no parade or fireworks.

Articles: Caroline had this front-page feature on Saturday, and this one on "Geek Week" a couple weeks ago.

Life really is dull. The big excitement a couple Saturdays ago was helping Caroline pick courses. The new online Brown course selection process is like Amazon, where you browse the courses and put the ones you like in your shopping cart. Instead of prices, it creates a cool graphic that shows you when each class meets. Caroline had said she had signed up for too many, which I thought meant 10. Nope, she really meant too many – she must have had 50 in there. We first suggested she eliminate any classes meeting before 10 a.m. and anything meeting after 3 p.m. on Friday. That eliminated a few. Then she got rid of ones needing prerequisites and the upper level graduate courses. She zeroed in on two courses (one was a prereq for about five other classes she wants to take and the other the prereq for Environmental Studies), and will figure out the rest of her schedule when she learns which freshmen seminar she gets. It was fun browsing all the classes I'll never take. The bill came today ... gulp.

Book Meme!

Apr. 14th, 2007 05:40 pm
slyvermont: (readingmagic)
Since I love books:

slyvermont: (typewriter girl)
This past week must have been very boring, because I can’t think of a single thing that happened. I watched Project Runway and mourned Kayne’s auf’ing. I watched Survivor. I worked. I felt yucky and so didn’t go to the health club. I discovered the project rungay blog (thanks to CJ chat, which amazingly focussed almost entirely on Project Runway).

Yesterday was senior portrait day at our house. The weather was good, I didn’t snoop that much, and Stefan the photographer took 550+ photos of five girls in two hours. Then we went to Jessie’s house, ate Chinese food that her dad made (amazing stuff) and sat around and talked for several hours. I got to know Flaminia, the Italian exchange student, a little better.

I finally finished “The Book Thief,” which Kelly had recommended. Very good, if extremely strange because the narrator is “Death.”

And I had an essay run in Sunday’s paper. I'm not sure I like the final edit, but in the end just decided to go with it.
slyvermont: (readingmagic)
I'm back from Cape Cod. I first wanted to recount the books I read, since your recommendations were helpful.

"Bark of the Dogwood: A Tour of Southern Homes and Gardens," by Jackson Tippet McCrae. This book reminded me a little of John Irving’s books – crazy situations abound, that almost break the rule of fact is stranger than fiction. (Interesting interview with the author here.) This book can be read on several levels – it’s very layered and dense. The main character is named after Truman Capote, whose middle name is Strekfus; references to Capote are scattered throughout the book. In many ways this is a very troubling book – it is about child abuse and deeply disturbed individuals, so it is not for everyone. Yet in the end, it is an uplifting story. It is also very very funny – laugh out loud funny in many places.

I know I want to read it again, and when I started to search for commentary on it, I uncovered some interesting reviews on amazon. I learned that many of the character names are anagrams; there are puzzles, metaphors, literary references, etc., galore. Fascinating. A great read – long, involved, intriguing plot, page turner, great memorable characters, etc. I highly recommend it, but be prepared that it can be emotionally wrenching. (I passed it along to Caroline's friend, [profile] jirina, who couldn't put it down and finished it in record time.)

"The Shadow of the Wind," by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. (Recommended by [personal profile] madlori -- thanks!) Another page turner – this one kept me up to the wee hours of the morning because I wanted to finish it. This book – a bestseller in Spain (it’s translated from the Spanish) – was very mystical – it combined romance and a mystery. It opens with a 10-year-old’s visit to a “cemetery of books;” he becomes intrigued with the novel he takes from there, because the author has disappeared along with every copy of every book he’s ever written.

And one not so wonderful: "Saving the World," by Julia Alvarez.  I have to write a book review of this one for the paper, and it is unfortunate that this was my least favorite book of the week.

Interestingly (and not intentionally) all of these books are about books, about writing, and two even have a similar book-within-a-book structure.

I did start Aaron’s "Betrayal," which I’ll discuss if I ever finish it (now that I’m home and have stacks of newspapers to read and gobs of other things to do). And I also started "The Book Thief," (thanks to [personal profile] raykel) which looks very promising. I will probably bring that to Gen Con to read on the plane and in airport waiting rooms.
slyvermont: (readingmagic)
I go on vacation in two weeks. Since it will probably rain the entire time, given the weather these days, I really need to stock up on books. I have to buy Betrayal. But other than that, I have absolutely no idea what to read.

Suggestions, anyone? Preferably thick books that are totally engrossing but take a long time to get through. I'd love to find another one like Time Travelor's Wife.
slyvermont: (readingmagic)
I haven’t been reading books lately, which is very odd for me. I’m not sure why. In the last six months, aside from rereading Harry Potter, I have read just two books – “Pride and Prejudice” (which I enjoyed), and “Imagined London : A Tour of the World's Greatest Fictional City,” by Anna Quindlen. This was the first travelogue-type writing I’ve read, but I love Quindlen so I’ll read almost anything by her. This was right up my alley – she talked about London from the perspective of her favorite British authors. Since that was how I liked to tour England (we made detours to visit Lambourne to see Dick Francis territory and the moors described by Thomas Hardy) – I totally related to almost everything she wrote. The book had some problems – too many of the novels she described I hadn’t read, and I wish there had been more description of London’s sites. However, I did learn that there is a Montpelier Square in London, which I’ll obviously have to discover the next time I visit (and there will be a next time).
slyvermont: (chocolate)
Yesterday’s adventure: Six months ago, I missed my dentist appointment because I thought it was on a Wednesday when it really was the day before. So what happens yesterday? I go to the dentist and learn that the appointment is for today. Since the dentist is a 45-minute 40-mile drive – I have to make the drive twice in two days. Grrr. Plus, it’s the dentist.

Book news: I'm writing an article about a Vermont author who wrote a book about Mark Twain. Which means I have to read the biography and some of Twain's works. I reread Huck Finn. But this biography is taking me much much too long to read. It’s very dense and is just taking forever. (As in, I’m lucky if I get through 15 pages in an hour.) Perhaps Mark Twain was funny to readers in the 1800s, but I just don’t get it now.

Here’s an example of what I’m reading. Some of these words are so esoteric, I don’t even think they can be classified as SAT words.

A beautiful eidolon of regret and longing.

For the hermeneutically inclined, there is the Comstock lode of possible meanings embedded in Twain.

Sam’s absquatulation drew the curtain of clarity over the wildest, most irresponsible and dangerous period of his life.

A Self set loose from old pietistic constraints.

… and to the nonesuch neighborhood that encompassed the 20 happiest years of his life.

... and in lampooning them, further obliterate the proscenium between common reader and rarefied writer.

Despite these luxuries, dyspepsia permeates Mark Twaini’s reportage

… sinks obligingly into the desuetude and death that is the fate of all fallen Victorian women

Still, shipping Howells the amanuensis copy brought its rewards

My favorite so far is "absquatulation." I searched for it on Google, and found it on a Web page called "weird words."

I'll be so impressed if anyone out there actually knows the meaning of some of those words without looking up the definitions. Any takers?
slyvermont: (Default)
A web site called "Human Events Online" had an article a few months ago
on the 10 most harmful books of the 19th and 20th centuries.



First off, it’s scary to imagine books being harmful. It brings back
memories of Nazi Germany and book burning. But I suppose books can do
more harm than good sometimes.



According to leading Conservatives, these are the 10 most harmful books (full article here)



Communist Manifesto

Mein Kampf

Quotations from Chairman Mao

    (OK, I get these three.)

The Kinsey Report. I could see why some people might have put this on
the list, but that it would rank the fourth most harmful book in the
last 200 years seems like overkill to me. If conservatism is a
political movement, then why should leading conservatives care about a
book on sexual practices?

Democracy and Education (by John Dewey. What? Oh, apparently he helped nurture the "Clinton generation.")

Das Kapital

The Feminine Mystique

The Course of Positive Philosophy by Auguste Comte (I’ve never heard of this one)

Beyond Good and Evil by Freidrich Nietzsche

General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by John Maynard Keynes
(No surprise here, but of course, without Keynes the Great Depression
might never have ended)



Included in the honorable mention list are:



On Liberty by John Stuart Mill

Beyond Freedom and Dignity by B.F. Skinner

The Origin of Species and Descent of Man by Charles Darwin (I’m surprised these didn’t rank higher)

Coming of Age in Samoa by Margaret Mead

Unsafe at Any Speed by Ralph Nader (no reason to ever unveil corporate malfeisance, right?)

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson – why on earth is this harmful? Because we realized that man affects our environment?










slyvermont: (Default)
Unrelated comment first: My body has decided that 2 a.m. is my bedtime.
Which would be fine if I didn’t have things to do in the morning. I
need to get out of this cycle, soon.



I haven't done that much book reading lately, mainly because keeping up
with Katrina coverage in the New York Times takes hours each day. But
here's a couple of books I've read recently:



I finished Jane Fonda’s autobiography a few weeks ago, and really
enjoyed it. The end got a little mushy and boring, but the early part
was fascinating. She’s been involved in so much – Hollywood, politics,
protesting, baseball, fitness – and done some innovative and courageous
things, yet she was so full of self-doubt almost all the time.



I also just finished The Joiner King, a Star Wars novel. It took me a
very long time to read this – I started before GenCon, so that’s about
a month. Since I usually speed through SW novels, that should say
something about my opinion on this one.



Major spoilers here )
slyvermont: (anti-war)
This weekend was just glorious. The weather was ideal – blue sky, no clouds, not too hot.

On Saturday, Rich and I drove again to Burlington to bike along the lakefront. When we did this two weeks ago, we biked right past Howard Dean, former Vt. governor. This time, when we were sitting enjoying the view, a woman walks up to us, takes off her sunglasses, and says something like – for you I can take off my disguise. It’s Madeleine Kunin, another former governor of Vermont, also a former boss of Rich’s, and one of my role models. An awesome woman. We chatted for a few minutes, and then as she walked off with her dog, Rich and I speculated on which politician we’d run into next time. None of the other former governors are spry enough to walk the bike path, so we concluded that Bernie Sanders, our socialist Congressman who lives in Burlington, might be the best bet.

This time I brought my camera, and took a bunch of pictures.

Photos, and other stuff )

Book Meme

May. 9th, 2005 11:45 pm
slyvermont: (Monet)
Prose or Poetry?
Prose!

Book(s) you're reading now:
Revenge of the Sith by Matt Stover.

Last book you've read:
It feels like all Star Wars, all the time, here. The Last of the Jedi, by Jude Watson, and Labyrinth of Evil by James Luceno. Before Ep III took over my life: that book about Little Red Riding Hood, and Einstein’s Dreams.

Next book you're going to buy/read:
Not sure of the very next book, but I do know that come July 16, I will be devouring Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

Book you've read the most times:
“Good” book: To Kill a Mockingbird. As comfort food: Calico Palace, Christy and assorted mysteries by Agatha Christie and Dick Francis. My absolute favorite Agatha Christie is The Secret of Chimneys. I probably should read it again soon to unwind from the intensity of ROTS.

Longest book you've read:
Count of Monte Cristo, Gone with the Wind, or …And Ladies of the Club.

Book you've read in the shortest time (relative to the number of pages):
I have no idea.

One book you wanted to read that disappointed you:
Books by Tom Wolfe. Nothing else comes to mind.

Have you read books in a language different from yours?
No.

Writer you've read the most books from:
Dick Frances, Agatha Christie and Rex Stout. Nonmystery: Leon Uris, F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Some books you like (not necessarily your faves):
See earlier entry when I listed first lines from my favorite books.

3 books you don't like:
Anything by Annie Proux
slyvermont: (Monet)
What now seems like ages ago, I posted first lines from some of my favorite books. Here are the lines, with the book titles:

1. When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.
To Kill a Mockingbird

2. Three gulls wheel above the broken boxes, orangerinds, spoiled cabbage heads that heave between the splintered plank walls, the green waves spume under the round bow as the ferry, skidding on the tide, crashes, gulps the broken water, slides, settles slowly into the slip.
Manhatten Transfer, by John Dos Passos. Wrote my college thesis on him

3. I went back to the Devon School not long ago, and found it looking oddly newer than when I was a student there fifteen years before.
A Separate Peace, which got its name from a phrase in the book below

4. In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains.
Farewell to Arms, Hemingway

5. In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.
The Great Gatsby

6. It was a dark and stormy night.
A Wrinkle in Time. Honest.

7. Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.
Rebecca

8. For the first fifteen years of our lives, Danny and I lived within five blocks of each other and neither of us knew of the other’s existence.
The Chosen, by Chaim Potok

9. The airline plip plopped down the runway to a halt before the big sign: Welcome to Cyprus.
Exodus, by Leon Uris
slyvermont: (Monet)
I managed to read two books despite going to CIII and then the busy schedule upon return.

I read Labrynth of Evil by James Luceno, the SW book that directly precedes the movie. I did like the interaction between Obi Wan and Anakin, and hope that their camaraderie is conveyed in the movie.

As an aside: the line in the trailer, when Ewan shouts – But you were the chosen one – keeps echoing in my mind. Those few words, and the way he says them, seem to convey a heartache of emotion – frustration, disappointment, disbelief. If the rest of the movie lives up to that one line … wow.

Anyway, I enjoyed Labrynth, although I thought the plot was a bit weak. It seemed like a filler story – this is what happens to get us from here to here. It serves more as a segue to the movie, as opposed to a narrative that can stand on its own.

The second book I read is by Catherine Orenstein, called "Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality, and the Evolution of a Fairy Tale." In a word, Orenstein is brilliant. Her analysis of this fairy tale, which incorporates scrutiny of human interaction, history, gender relations, gender roles and gender politics, changing societal norms, and much more, takes this fairy tale and all fairy tales to a whole new level. This is not your kid’s fairy tale.

Read more... )

Fairy tales all have morals, and this one’s message has changed with the times. Don’t have sex, little girls, or you’ll suffer. Obey your mom, don’t talk to strangers or stray from the path, or bad things will happen. A man will save you in the end. A woman’s rightful place is in the home. While we think of fairy tales as timeless and constant, in fact they change as our cultural mores change.

As Charles Perrault wrote the story, RRH gets eaten by the wolf, which is a metaphor for a man seducing an innocent girl. Thus wolf is a seducer. As the brothers Grimm wrote it, RRH talks to a stranger but is saved by the woodsmen, a Victorian tale of women’s and men’s roles. More recently, feminists take the Perrault moral one step further, as a parable of rape.

But one of the most fascinating parts of the book is when Orenstein studies the character of the wolf, and how it has changed over the years.

What are we to make of the fact that the wolf dresses in female clothes? Wolf as a transvestite? Or that his stomach bulges with grandma and RRH, making him look pregnant – and thus the freeing process is analogous with a caesarian section, a birth.

(In a Gary Larson cartoon, the wolf lies on a psychiatrist’s couch and says, “it was supposed to be just a story about a little kid and a wolf. But off and on I’ve been dressing up as grandmother ever since.”)

RRH is an unusual fairy tale heroine, because unlike Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, she doesn’t marry in the end. Modern versions of the tale, in ads and other media, often portray her as an alluring vixen, the wolf no longer the seducer but the one being seduced – or that RRH tames the wolf. Then there is the feminist perspective of fairy tales, where the passive, often abused and imprisoned woman just waits to be rescued and married by the man.  (In fact, the ones who are proactive don’t get married). Men, meanwhile, seem attracted to living corpses (think of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty).

I know I've rambled a bit here, but I just wanted to throw out some of the more tantalizing bits of this book.

I’ve always been fascinated by fairy tales. Now I’m inspired to find more books like this one.



Books

Apr. 16th, 2005 10:57 pm
slyvermont: (Default)
Stolen from several people.

1. Choose five of your all time favorite books.
2. Take the first sentence of the first chapter and make a list in your journal.
3. Don't reveal the author or the title of the book.
4. Now everyone try and guess.

No way could I limit this to just five. I love looking at first lines. I have a book called "In the beginning" which is a compilation of great first lines from many books. I helped my team in the Brown trivia contest win a bonus question because I knew some first lines (probably the Suicidal Zippers, as [livejournal.com profile] unzeugmatic will recall).

And there's this web site to explore.

OK, here's mine Read more... ) . Some should be pretty easy.

1. When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.

2. Three gulls wheel above the broken boxes, orangerinds, spoiled cabbage heads that heave between the splintered plank walls, the green waves spume under the round bow as the ferry, skidding on the tide, crashes, gulps the broken water, slides, settles slowly into the slip.

3. I went back to the Devon School not long ago, and found it looking oddly newer than when I was a student there fifteen years before.

4. In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains.

5. In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.

6. It was a dark and stormy night.

7. Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.

8. For the first fifteen years of our lives, Danny and I lived within five blocks of each other and neither of us knew of the other’s existence.

9. The airline plip plopped down the runway to a halt before the big sign: Welcome to Cyprus.

slyvermont: (Default)
I just finished Einstein’s Dreams, by Alan Lightman. The author himself is fascinating, since he teaches both writing and physics at MIT – I wonder if [livejournal.com profile] jainamsolo ever encountered him. That someone could combine such disparate fields at a school like MIT is interesting. His book also combines these two areas. The premise: Einstein, 100 years ago, came up with a theory of time that was revolutionary. This book poses the idea that Einstein came up with a multitude of different theories for how time could work, in a series of dreams he had. The book is very short, with numerous short chapters, each one positing a different theory of time. For example, in one world, time moves slower the farther one is from the center of earth, so everyone lives in the mountains, in houses on tall stilts. In another world, different neighborhoods exist in different time frames, because they got “stuck” in a certain time. In each chapter, Lightman describes a different world, and then explores its consequences on humanity, on nature, on individuals, on society. It’s a thought-provoking combination of philosophy and physics – and a really quick read as well. And a nice companion piece to The Time Traveler’s Wife.

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slyvermont

March 2012

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