||[May. 2nd, 2006|09:01 pm]
The reading has seriously slowed, what with all the homework. Here's April's books:
23 - Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. I read this book on the recommendation of a friend, as a contrast with The Handmaid's Tale, which is the book group book for June. A different look at women living within a strictured society, but one that is presented not as a new-bred horror. Instead, it is the life of every generation in memory, and the women who find small ways to rebel against it. The descriptions of footbinding are vivid and horrifying, and in their own way make the book worth reading all on their own. The rest of the story is compelling as well. I finished it on the bus, and it's embarrassing to cry in public.
24 - Perfume by Patrick Suskind. Another recommended reading, this one sent to me by an lj person, but I cannot for the life of me remember who! I had no idea what to expect from this book, but it's somewhere on the edge of the feel of Spanish magical fiction without ever crossing completely into that territory. It is the tale of an orphan in pre-revolutionary France who is born with a gift for scent but no humanity. Again, an excellent read.
25 - The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (re-read). I first read this feminist 1984 during the Clinton years, and smiled that it was quaint. It doesn't feel quaint anymore.
26 - V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. Yes, I said I wasn't counting comics, but this graphic novel is dense enough, long enough, and physically difficult enough to read that, hell yeah I'm counting it. On the whole, I think it's a bit overrated. The story is self-indulgent and wanders, the point that people are pretty much too stupid to live a bit depressing. I think I needed a happier book by this point....
27 - Native Tongue by Suzette Haden Elgin. I had no idea that the author of The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense was also a novelist, but this book fits her philosophy quite well. It was recommended by the librarian when I checked out The Handmaid's Tale and is the first in a trilogy set a couple centuries in the future. Women have long been stripped of any responsibility or authority, and are subject to the will of men. The main characters are linguists, who are essential to society for their ability to learn the many alien languages that our explorations have encountered, but who are considered social pariahs. Though their women are allowed to work as interpreters, the men of the Lines (as the linguist houses are known) do not regard them as much more than well-trained dogs. Ah, but the women are making up their own language, and language changes the world. Dystopian/utopian lit is a tough field to do well, but I found the book fascinating enough that I checked out the other two in the trilogy today.
A bit over halfway in four months, so I'm doing okay. Summer will be slow going, though....