?

Log in

Lemmings tossed monthly for literature
 
[Most Recent Entries] [Calendar View] [Friends]

Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Flying Lemmings Book Group's LiveJournal:

[ << Previous 20 ]
Wednesday, March 5th, 2008
2:31 am
[puffbird]
Stephanie Meyer: Twilight, New Moon & Eclipse
This is a long time coming, because I keep getting distracted by real life... and now it's been a couple months since I read the books, so it is a little filtered by time. Still, it is done... and this is my general impression of the books.

Rating: 5 lemmings! (but your mileage may vary!)

Cut for spoilersCollapse )

I am anxious to see what a male reader thinks of the books. I knew from the first chapter of Twilight that my husband wouldn't make it through the series. (I was right, too... he got through about five pages before he gave up. It's just not his thing.)

Current Mood: chipper
Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008
11:27 am
[puffbird]
Wanna discuss a book?
ECHO!! (Echo! Echo! echo... echo...)

Man, it's empty in here.

Hey! Anyone want to discuss a book with me? I'm reading Stephanie Meyer's books, Twilight and New Moon (I have Eclipse on hold at the library, so I haven't read it yet; our library has 500 COPIES and they are ALL CHECKED OUT with 70 HOLDS) and my husband is not likely to read them, and I want to chat about them with someone who's interested.

So far, I've enthusiastically tossed five lemmings each for both Twilight and New Moon. I'm willing to post a more comprehensive review if anyone's interested. :)

Current Mood: chipper
Wednesday, March 14th, 2007
1:58 pm
[spunkylizard]
When to stop reading a book.
I have recently started reading two books that I thought about not finishing. I will definitely not finish the first one, but the second one I may still complete. I read the introduction to both of these books, and I wondered if they would be worth reading for different reasons. I feel that while the first reason is a definite indication to stop reading, but I am not so sure on the second reason. I will describe both books based on the introduction and the reasons for my contemplating not finishing the books.

The First Book: Don't Sweat the Small Stuff... and it's all small stuff. by Richard Carlson, PhD. is about not worrying about everything so much. In the introduction, Carlson says that people are often too worried about things they cannot control, which is true, and they need to stop worrying so much. He points out that some people worry themselves into inaction, which will prevent accomplishing anything. His point is that people should not worry, and he cites a few examples of successful people he knows who are not high stress individuals. While not worrying so much is a good idea in general, saying that ambitious people should never worry is obscene. These people become successful because they take care of details, and that frequently involves stressing about the small stuff. As a low key type of person, I still have to disagree with Dr. Carlson. There are times when people should stress. The whole book is filled with short high school-style 5 paragraph essays about why people shouldn't stress in a variety of situations, and 2 of the first 3 I read were simply inane. I stopped reading this book partly because it is poorly written, but mainly because the whole premise is asinine. Stress in proper proportions can elevate achievement and increase success. Knowing when stress is important is the key, not completely eliminating stress. I couldn't read anymore, and I don't intend to.

The Second Book: Fear of Knowledge by Paul Boghossian is a philosophical treatise on relativism and constructionism. I was interested because I have wondered many times about the concept of ethical and intellectual relativism. Included in this are a number of seminars recently about when and how to perform medical research in third world countries. Protections for the rights of the subjects need to incorporate both the norms of the community and the norms of the country hosting the research, but there are a lot of grey areas in those protections when the norms of the two countries directly clash. In reading the introduction, Boghossian sets up the definitions, as all good philosophers do, and the book is well written and thoughtful. However, I have serious doubts about whether I am interested n completing the book. I don't mind the philosophical nature of the book, but I do not see how it could persuade a constructionist that they are wrong. Defining how constructionist theory fails is the goal of the book, so it must be written in a persuasive manner. However, based on the definitions given, the book has no chance of succeeding. This is entirely due to the definition of constructionism given. Constructionsim says that facts are different based on the background and goals of the observer, and they can be influenced by beliefs and goals. The main example given is the belief of the Zulu nation that man emerged from a volcano to populate Africa. In reading this book, a constructionist would rightly point out the Boghossian has a career to advance which is partly based on his nonconstructinist views. Also, as a philosopher, he has an interest in defending the nonconstructionist view since philosophy in general objects to the precepts it is founded on. Thus, while the argument he presents in the book could be very persuasive and generally valid, a constructionism could define a situation in which the reasoning would be taken in a different tack and come up with the opposite conclusion. Why should I read a book that I know will fail to be convincing to the opposing party?

I will probably finish the second book because I can learn about the arguments from both sides, and it should only take about 90 minutes to complete. The first book will never be read again.
Sunday, January 21st, 2007
11:56 am
[puffbird]
Book Review: Elantris
I haven't seen anyone tossing lemmings here in a while... and since I proposed the last book (in October?? How embarrassing...) I figured I should post a review and prod the community to see if anyone's watching.

I sometimes have these reading dry spells that go on for weeks. I don't really know what causes them (stress may be a factor)... but I think part of the problem is I can't find books that hold my interest. I've become more... selective? demanding?... about my reading material lately. If a book doesn't hold my interest, I don't have the desire to invest the time. I'm still reading Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation, but I set it aside because I just haven't had a lot of reading time. And when I did have time, I wanted fiction.

So instead I thought I would post a review of my latest read:

Title: Elantris
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Score: 4 Lemmings

This book has been on my shelf for a while... we bought it for me to read at the hospital this summer, but I was in no condition to concentrate on a book. I finally picked it up a couple weeks ago. It was slow going at first, but I read the last half of the book in a day.

Elantris is a city of immortals. Beautiful, luminous, powerful. And anyone in the surrounding lands had a chance to become one. A person would just wake up changed one day, and then would move to wonderful Elantris. Then something happened, and Elantris turned dark, and all its people fell into misery. They were still immortal, but no longer beautiful; all their powers were gone, and their existence was full of pain. People would still succumb to the Shaod (as they call it) and become Elantrians, but now it was a falling and a curse.

The book starts when the crown prince wakes up one morning -- just before he is to meet and marry his betrothed -- and finds that overnight he has undergone the change. He is thrown without ceremony into Elantris, city of the fallen.

His betrothed arrives from overseas to meet and marry her new husband... only to find that he is dead, and she is already a widow (by provision of her betrothal/marriage contract)... and the details of his death are sketchy at best. She suspects assassination, and starts investigating what really happened to her husband... and also starts political battle with a newly-arrived monk from a violent sect bent on world domination.

A heroine who is willful, opinionated, intelligent, intimidating, politically savvy... and a hero, who, though he has fallen to the lowest of the low, only wants to make life better for the people around him. I fell in love with them both.

Many of the story's elements were predictable, but there were many surprises as well. They say there's no new plot under the sun, and they're right... it's how the writer uses the tropes that makes it interesting. So even though I was expecting certain plot points, it didn't bother me at all. The ending wrapped up enough of the story to be satisfying, though it definitely left it open for sequels. I won't spoil things by explaining... but let's just say that it raised a couple MAJOR questions for which I'm very interested in seeing resolutions.

For a first novel, this impressed me. Very much. Four lemmings.

Current Mood: satisfied
Friday, October 20th, 2006
10:16 am
[puffbird]
Mid-October Book
I offered to introduce a book for August and then I disappeared. :) Sorry!

My suggestion for this month's book (and perhaps it should be the book for November, since I'm introducing it so late in October) is Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell. Vowell has done humorous essays for NPR's "This American Life" program, and has written editorials for The New York Times. Sarah is a history buff, more particularly of assassinated presidents and their assassins, and Assassination Vacation is a humorous account of a series of vacations she took, visiting places related to the assassination of presidents, and their attackers.

(Sarah Vowell voiced young Violet in The Incredibles, so whenever I read something she's written, I hear that voice reading it. :) )

Current Mood: chipper
Monday, July 17th, 2006
10:46 am
[spunkylizard]
Augusts Book
I need a favor for August. I am currently at a meeting in Wisconsin, and when i get home I am leaving for vacation. I need someone else to choose a book for August. Any volunteers?
10:45 am
[spunkylizard]
Book for June
Sorry this one is late. i ahve gotten into a bad habit again.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver is a book
about Africa, so it is filled with pain and suffering. A
painful trip and a painful acceptance.

In the beginning the Price family grew up in Alabama. Since
Father Price was a preacher, they had to preach the Good
Word to everyone. Father Price also served in WWII, where
he escaped being killed and felt guilty about it for the
rest of his life. It is kind of like original sin because
all of his children suffered for it, too.

Then came the exodus to Africa. This is where they would be
tested to see how faithful they would be. At least that is
what dear old dad thought. They tried to adjust to the lack
of food, general dearth of convieniences, and the abundance
of superstition. Orleana, the mother, started to adjust.

When their first year was up and they decided to stay
following the liberation of the Congo, the girls thought
this was just too much. They started to figure out that dad
was a little off his rocker, and they all reacted
differently to it. Mom became beligerant, often talking
back to her husband. Rachel, the oldest, threatened to do
whatever it took to get off the continent and back to
America. Leah took up hunting and other manly adventures.
Adah tried to stay alive. Ruth May got bitten by a snake
and died.

That is when everything fell apart. After giving away all
of her stuff, Orleana took all of the girls and left town.
They all went different directions and preached their own
gospel to everyone they met. Rachel preached greed. Leah
preached compasion and not enforcing your own will on
others. Adah preached acceptance and the rule of nature.
They all ended up as prophets of some kind.

It was interesting seeing how the girls changed through the
book. Orleana seemed to have a single moment of chagne that
highlighed her life. Two at the most. The first when they
were forced to stay in the Congo following independence.
The second when Ruth May died. Other than that, she was a
fairly static character that merely commented on what was
happening.

Rachel was bitter throughout the book. Her refusal to
consider the needs of others was quite remarkable, and her
selfishness was highlighted. She was naive, but she was
supposed to be. That is what made her vital to the story.
Suffering can change people if they let it. Rachel simply
wouldn't let it change her more than necessary.

Leah accepted challenges as they came, and that is why she
took up hunting. The village needed more hunters, and she
volunteered despite custom and tradition. She came to see
the imporatnce of people and what needs to be done to
survive. As a mother and wife, she was torn between
returning to America to be comfortable and supporting her
husband who needed to help his people. She didn't feel
welcomed in America because of her husband and children, and
she didn't want to live without them. She wasn't welcomed
in Africa because of the color of her skin. It is racism
both ways.

Adah was more difficult. She was persecuted growing up
because of her disability. Yet her disability made her
successful later, and she regretted overcoming her
disability. She felt like she lost part of herself. She
really wanted to be loved and accepted. She felt betrayed
by her mother when she was abandoned, but when she was
chosen later and learned why she was able to accept that it
was all based on age and who needed the most help. She
became a very bitter person.

Overall, I thought the book was too long. There was too
much set up time before the action, and I just wanted about
200 pages in the middle to disappear. The foreshadowing was
well done, and there were surprises in the book (I thought
more of the children would die) that kept me going, but I
still wanted it to move a little faster.

Three lemmings.
Monday, June 26th, 2006
4:43 pm
[spunkylizard]
July's book
In July, we will read Kingdom of Shadows by Alan Furst. It is a spy novel set in Europe just before World War II. I enjoyed it, but see the warning below.

Warning!!!
This book contains nudity and implied sex. Not just once, but many times. The sex is never described, unlike the other book I tried to read this month. I stopped that one after about 70 pages. If you are offended by nudity in novels, you have been warned.
Thursday, June 1st, 2006
2:59 pm
[spunkylizard]
May's book
The Trigger by Arthur C. Clarke and Michael Kube-McDowell is about losing power. Specifically the power of guns. The right to bear arms was placed in the Bill of Rights to give ordinary citizens the power to defend themselves as well as their own liberty. The founding fathers had just finished fighting a war with guns, and they believed that having guns gave the people the power to defend themselves from tyranny. However, the power of guns has changed since that time, and limits have been placed on what guns can be owned and who can carry them.

In the book, Jeffery Horton discovered a way to make nitrates explode within a given radius of a machine that he developed. The immediate use of this technology appeared to be disarmament. The technology was shared with the government, and then politics broke loose. Different groups wanted to use the discovery in different ways. Some said the technology was unconstitutional since it disarmed the citizenry. Some wanted to use it as a weapon to destroy enemy forces. Some wanted to maintain the status quo and try to cover up the discovery. The scientists won on the last one, pointing out that someone else would probably discover the same thing soon and the science could not simply be covered up.

But this book is really about power. When I was in south-central Los Angeles, I knew that most of the people I met were either carrying a gun or could get one pretty quickly. Growing up in Idaho, most trucks had gun racks on in the window. I got different feelings from these two situations. In LA, I felt decidedly unsafe. Any offence could be an excuse to pull out a gun and finish an argument. At least until the other people in the neighborhood figured out who killed their brother. Then the next round would begin. I was fairly safe, protected by what I was doing, but many of the people who lived in the neighborhood had constant fear for themselves and their loved ones. In Idaho, people expected to carry their riffles, but they rarely used them except for hunting or shooting street signs after drinking too much. I felt perfectly safe around these guns.

The difference is in the attitude. Some people carry guns as sport, while others carry it as power. Guns should not give power, but they do. We see this in politics, crime, and in some neighborhoods. They can be a great equalizer (why they got put in the constitution) or the ultimate unequalizer (when criminals use them on those who don’t have them).

What would we do if we got rid of them all? If no one would be able to hold up a convenience store or a bank with a gun or a bomb, would you feel safer? What if the police and the army couldn’t stop a crime or an invasion because they lacked the firepower? What if someone stronger than you started to attack? It makes for interesting thinking.

For myself, I would choose to be without them. I never really cared for hunting, and guns provide more of a threat than the safety they bring. Without guns, many criminals would have to resort to different methods to force submission on people, and Clarke mentions group crime as an example. What do you think?

Three lemmings. The ideas were good, but I thought the writing could have been improved.
2:56 pm
[spunkylizard]
April's Book (a month late)
Here is the review for April's book:

Dave Barry should have stuck with newspaper columns. While the one recommended was the best of the four by him I read in April, it still only gets 1 and a half lemmings. They are just not that great. While he was able to get many aspects of office life correct, seeing an episode of "The Office" is probably more current and more funny.
Friday, April 28th, 2006
4:04 pm
[spunkylizard]
I'm Bad, very bad.
I have been working on my evil plans, and my scary laugh for a while, and my plan is now ready to come to fruition thanks to How to be a Villain: Evil Laughs, Secret Lairs, Master Plans and More!!! by Neil Dignan. Thanks puffbird and brozinski!

And just to let you know how evil I am, here is my evil plan. I didn't have time to make one from scratch, so I used the nice template than Dignan provided.

Stage One:
To begin, I must first incinerate a wizard's apprentice.
This will cause the world to sign up for life insurance policies, baffled by my arrival.
Who is this demented madman? Where did he come from? And why does he look so good in an off-center blond wig?

Stage Two:
Next, I must obliterate the opera house in Sydney. This will all be done from my underground secret headquarters of doom, a mysterious place of unrivaled dark glory.
Upon seeing this, the world will die in a way that you just don't want to think about, as countless hordes of demented clownshasten to do my evil bidding.

Stage Three:
Finally, I must tauntingly wave my needlessly big weather machine, bringing about pain, suffering, the usual.
My name shall become synonymous with fuzzy bunnies, and no man will ever again interrupt my sentences. Everyone will bow before my mystical abilities, and the world will have no choice but to restore my credit rating.

You can make your own evil plan. Mine still needs a little work, but it is a good place to start.

Two lemmings. It was funny, but of no literary merit. But still very enjoyable.

Current Mood: devious
3:24 pm
[spunkylizard]
Short book
Van Helsing's Night Off by Nicolas Mahler is a small collection of comics about monsters and heros. The comics are in French, but there are no words, so you can read it just fine. Mahler seems to have a somewhat twisted sense of humor, as is shown in "Van Helsing, Ladies Man." Van Helsing goes around a party, driving stakes through the hearts of all of the vampires there, until the only people left are Van Helsing and the women. The Mummy, wolfman, and Frankenstein all make appearances and have various quirks. The whole thing was entertaining and very short. I finished in less than twenty minutes, and it was well worth it. Three lemmings.
1:55 pm
[spunkylizard]
Book for May, and a couple of changes.
As the title says, I will give you a book for May and also give a couple of changes to the group. I can see that no one is reading anything that I suggest, so this has in many ways become something I do for myself. As such, along with the monthly books, I will be posting reviews for other books that I read. Two will be coming shortly. Most monthly books will be books that I have read before hand, but sometimes I will include some that I have not if they come as recommendations from other people, such as the book for June, which will also be included below.

The book for May will be The Trigger by Arthur C. Clarke and Michael Kube-McDowell. This book is about guns and what people would do if they were faced with losing their guns. Clarke is a science fiction writer, and this book focuses on the development of technology that destroys all nitrate based explosives, including those found in firing caps for bullets. While the science is mostly glossed over (and its a good thing), the ideological and political ramifications are what the book is focused on. Pay attention to those. Focus on a couple of questions: Do you feel safer knowing that other people, including police officers and criminals, have guns? How would removing all guns change your life?

The book for June will be The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. This has been recommended by Dot as well as my mother. It discusses what happens to a family that goes to the Congo as missionaries between the two world wars. It discusses their struggles and what changes their lives. Kingsolver points to a few books which influenced her, including Things Fall Apart by Achebe and The Bible by a bunch of people. Things Fall Apart is a very interesting book about how things changed in Africa when the missionaries came in to convert the natives. It was a very good read, but it has been a few years since I read it. I am looking forward to this one.

Current Mood: disgruntled
Monday, April 3rd, 2006
4:00 pm
[spunkylizard]
March recap
State of Fear by Michael Crichton is a thriller. I warned everyone at the beginning of the year that I would choose one this year, and I got it out early. As I said at the beginning of the month, I chose this because I have always enjoyed reading Crichton, and this is one of his newer books. The novels generally present interesting views of new developments in science or new takes on old themes. This book is from the latter group.

State of Fear focuses on the environment. In many ways it is more than just a thriller. It is a political statement about global warming. Crichton isn't completely sold. If you doubt even after reading the book, he clearly outlines his views in Appendix I.

The plot revolves around the foiling of ecoterrorism attempts by an environmental group known as ELF. A know it all leads a lawyer and a personal assistant on a world tour to stop the creation of a huge iceberg, flooding in a national park, and a massive tsunami striking the Pacific rim. The book was published before the actual tsunami from 2004. They succeed, and all of the group is converted to the anti-global warming group. Well, not quite completely converted, but they are no longer completely sold on the idea.

If you want more details on the plot, read the book. Don’t let the 600 pages put you off. It is a fast read. The more interesting discussion is in our own views of the scientific literature. Scientific literature is full of debate about many issues. Global warming is one of those issues. I have seen and heard about many of the charts that were shown in the book, and they are all accurate depending on the methods used to generate them.

On of the main points of the book is the focus on scientific literature. Competing ideas often end up in scientific literature. In fact, I recently read an editorial about discussion in the scientific literature and censorship here. Over the course of time, the real facts get straightened out, and spurious ideas are left behind, held only by a few proponents that won’t let them die. Crichton does a great job of pointing out inconsistencies in the literature about climate change. Authors of scientific research will publish data along with their interpretation of the data, and good scientist will publish data that contradicts their previously held views.

His point on models is very good. Models often reflect what the model was designed to see. If one model doesn't work for what is desired, another model can be made that shows what you want. This happens far too often.

One of the things that Crichton did not display prominently is the possibility that global warming is actually occurring. If climate change is caused by man and can have an overall negative impact on the planet, it should be controlled. However, the data are inconclusive and will continue to be so until it is too late to do much about it. That is one of the greatest concerns that environmentalist have going for them. By the time we have conclusive data, it will be too late to change the near future. I am in favor of controlling emissions, and I think government regulation is the best way to protect the environment. But large changes that do very little, like the Kyoto protocol, are not called for because they are very expensive and will have minimal impact on the environment. That was my view before reading this book, and it hasn't changed now.

Three lemmings. It was a good book, but not one of his best. It was still very interesting, but I don’t think it will change the minds of many people.
Thursday, March 30th, 2006
2:50 pm
[spunkylizard]
April's book
The selection of this book is a combination of things. First, it is tax time, and that makes me think of money. Second, the Enron trial is just finishing up. It was much more interesting to me since I read Conspiracy of Fools last summer and knew the story behind the trail.

So for April, we will read Claw Your Way to the Top: How to Become the Head of a Major Corporation in Roughly a Week by Dave Barry. Enjoy.
Thursday, March 2nd, 2006
7:19 am
[spunkylizard]
Late for March
Here is the book for March. I know, it's late. I have used this group to expand my reading selections, but this month we are going back to something that I have loved for a long time. We will be reading Micheal Crichton's State of Fear. Enjoy.
7:19 am
[spunkylizard]
Snow
Surprisingly, this is a love story couched in politics and poverty. Orhan Pamuk places himself as the narrator of the story, but he only pops up in a few chapters describing Ka after he left Kars. I thought this book was great, but I guess everyone gets to decide on their own.

Ka is a poet who returns to his roots, a small town in Turkey named Kars, following an unsuccessful stint in Germany. When he arrives in Kars, he discovers that he has returned to find himself a wife, someone he has secretly loved for years, and to start writing poetry again. He quickly becomes enchanted with snow, writing poems about it and applying its structure to his life. In the meantime, a coup occurs, he gets pulled into Islamic plots and revolutionary schemes. He falls in love and asks Ipek, the woman of his dreams, to return to Frankfurt. He betrays her lover to the police. Ipek, discovering his treachery, decides not to go with him. Orhan goes to Kars under the guise of getting Ka's poems, but he is really trying to get Ipek to marry him. She refuses, and the story ends with everyone dead or unhappy.

The book is wonderful, despite the terrible summary above. It is filled with a number of themes that are very relevant today, including the contrast between secularism and religious fundamentalism. Can they coexist? The search for the perfect mate: what are we willing to do to get them to love us, and if they already do, what will our jealousy drive us to?

The last question is what has driven me since finishing the book. Ipek is portrayed as the perfect woman. She is modern and beautiful. She was with a husband she did not love and eventually left, but her lover was the perfect antithesis to Ka. Ka spends a lot of time pining after his love, as all poets seem to do, but when he discovers her love affair with Blue, he becomes supremely jealous, another characteristic of poets. He betrayed Blue to the authorities to have him killed as a sort of revenge on Blue. Somewhere inside of him, he knew this would alienate Ipek, but he could not stop himself. Blue had some control over the women in his life due to his charm and character, something Ka would never have. But the really interesting part came from Orhan. He traveled to Kars to find love, just like Ka. When he found his love, the same one Ka found, Orhan was quickly dismissed because Ipek could no longer love another. A great tale of unrequited love.

Also interesting was the balance between religion and secularism. Necip and Kadife, both deeply religious, found themselves going in opposite directions for much of the book. Necip was becoming an atheist when he died in the revolution. Kadife had begun as a secularist, switched to religion, and then removed her scarf, a symbol of her religion, in the ned to show her independence. She proved to be a very strong woman follow the death of her lover, which was Blue. Ka was a vacillating wimp. While he was an atheist, he seemed to believe whatever was convenient for the situation. This was in contrast to Blue, who always stood for what he believed despite the consequences. This endeared Blue to people, and made enemies for Ka. As a result of his weakness, Ka was used by the revolutionaries to find and kill Blue.

I want someone to discuss the play-within-the-book. Hamlet was alluded to, but this book also contains a play in it. It is an allusion to the deeper themes of the book itself, just like the play in Hamlet. How do these plays enhance the message and plot?

Overall, this book was great. It highlights the debate between Islam and secularism in some countries. Can we ask people to deny their religion when their religion asks them to be governed by its rules rather than the rule of law? It is an interesting question that was not resolved in the book, probably because there is no easy answer. The struggle continues.

A modern day note on this theme: there are varying opinions about how Hamas will govern Palestine. Will they continue as a military and terrorist organization, or will they bow to meet the demands of the people on a governing power? The answers to this question could determine the future of the middle east and how Islamic nations interact with the rest of the world.

Four lemmings, and I'm tempted to throw in another half.
Wednesday, February 1st, 2006
11:03 am
[spunkylizard]
What!?!?!
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll is a novel about nothing. Absolutely nothing. If it were written today, it would be tossed aside as a bunch of trash without getting much of a second glance. But it came up years ago before the modern age of children's books, so it is considered classic literature. I still don't like it.

The book had no plot. In that way, it reminded me of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, except the latter book was funny. This was simply tedious. The stories were outlandish but generally dull. I still see the Cheshire Cat from the Disney movie floating in the trees with that freakish grin. It can scare small children. The book was nothing like that movie.

I read the version including the John Tenniel Illustrations, like the original publication. The pictures have become classics, and many of them are broadly recognized. I thought they were great pen and ink, until I read that they were actually wood cuts that have been preserved since the original publication. That shows how much I know about the history of illustration.

But back to the book. It was crap. Not interesting except after reading the historical perspective at the end of my version. That let some light into why it was important. It was one of the first children's books to tell a nonsensical story without trying to insert morals. There was no moral to the story. After discovering this, I thought the conversation with the Duchess was quite amusing. The Duchess tried to put a moral to everything, even if the moral had nothing to do with the conversation.

This opened the door to the onslaught of children's books that are full of nonsense and just funny stories. They are everywhere today. Senators write children's books. Actors and actresses write children's books. Anyone can now write a children's book, and that is why there are so many bad children's books in the world today. Curses upon Caroll! He brought about the decay of modern literature. Okay, that is probably overstating it a little. But I didn't like the book, probably because I am now grown up.

On a medical note, we learned about the Mad Hatter in our Neuroanatomy class. Before 1941, hatter use mercurous nitrates in processing the fur for many hats. The resulting mercury vapors led to most hatters going mad including tremors and hallucinations. These chemicals were banned in hat production, and the hatting industry was able to rise from the pall of this characterization.

Two lemmings. But only for its historical significance. And this review reminds me of the book: very disjointed and making very little sense.
Thursday, January 19th, 2006
4:32 pm
[spunkylizard]
Look! A book for February early!
In my goal of getting the book chosen and announced in a reasonable manner, here is the book for February:

Snow by Orhan Pamuk

It is about the differences between cultures and the strife and contention that are caused within society. For the literary minded, it is about a poet who seeks for his long lost love. For the politically minded, it is about terrorism and the causes of it. For the people who are interested in a story, it is about a person who returns to his roots to find the area changed and compromises with everyone to try and be happy.

I am going to continue to try and get the book out by the 20th of each month, but more realistically expect the 25th. January was a miserable failure, but the book is short to make up for it. Happy reading!
Friday, January 6th, 2006
3:34 pm
[spunkylizard]
January
I am late in updating both for last month as well as for this month. Here it is.

January is classics. As a result, it is one that many people have probably read, but I ahve not. Tough for those who don't read it.

I will be reading Alice in Wonderland by lewis Caroll. It is new to me even if it isn't to you. I have chosen a book for February as well, but I will wait until next week to let everyone know what it is.

I got one suggestion for this year, so everyone will be stuck with what I choose for most of the year unless you want to make suggestions now. They are always welcome, but don't expect them to come up for a couple of months. Turn around time is not that great.
[ << Previous 20 ]
About LiveJournal.com