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April Books - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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April Books [May. 2nd, 2006|09:01 pm]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |blahblah]

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.

Books read:
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
27 / 50
(54.0%)


Pages read:
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
8,892 / 15,000
(59.3%)


A bit over halfway in four months, so I'm doing okay. Summer will be slow going, though....
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: lyssabard
2006-05-03 01:33 am (UTC)
Wow, all of these look great! Please keep posting your books, so I get an idea of what to read this summer, too! I'll try to join you on the 50...but I do not have clue one what I read since January! Terrible, eh?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-05-03 01:35 am (UTC)
This is the first time I've kept track. I'm rather enjoying doing it!
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[User Picture]From: mamaursula
2006-05-03 01:40 am (UTC)
I've been meaning to pick up The Handmaiden's Tale and I'm going to be finishing my latest book here, so I will send my bookstore employee husband off to pick it up for me!
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[User Picture]From: conuly
2006-05-03 03:35 am (UTC)
You might be interested in reading Suzanne Haden Elgin's journal, ozarque
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-05-03 10:56 am (UTC)
Wow. Everyone has an LJ!
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[User Picture]From: scouseboy
2006-05-03 04:35 am (UTC)
Perfume... Ha! That was my recommendation. Glad you liked it.

They're doing a film of it at the moment. Starring Alan Rickman and Dustin Hoffman. Ben Wilshaw plays the lead... he's a little-known british actor, who played Pingu in the black comedy Nathan Barley. I'm very excited by this.
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[User Picture]From: guttaperk
2006-05-03 07:39 am (UTC)
I loved it as well.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-05-03 11:10 am (UTC)
That's right - thank you!!

It is a very filmable book. I hope they don't "happy" it up, though.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-05-03 11:01 am (UTC)
Riding the bus to and from work. And working out on the NordicTrack. Which is why reading slows in the summer- if I'm biking to work, both of those reading times disappear!
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[User Picture]From: cathubodva
2006-05-03 02:54 pm (UTC)
The Handmaid's Tale is one of my favorites, and one of the most frightening books I've ever read.
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[User Picture]From: jeanniemac
2006-05-03 05:00 pm (UTC)
I first read the Handmaid's Tale in highschool and it is one of the few books I think all women should read. I didn't realize that you hadn't read the Elgin. I've had the series on my bookshelf for many years. If you like the Native Tongue books, you should also read The Gate to Women's Country by Sherri Terper.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-05-03 05:08 pm (UTC)
I will keep that in mind - or remember to ask you again who it was you recommended....

Re-reading Handmaid's Tale in the midst of faith-based-initiative America is just plain scary.
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[User Picture]From: gieves
2006-05-04 01:40 pm (UTC)
Somewhere (almost certainly in a box, though possibly still at my parents' house), I have a copy of The Gate to Women's Country. After the school year ends for us both, I can go rummaging and lend it to you if you'd like.

After your comments, I've gone and ordered Native Tongue to read along with The Handmaid's Tale for all kinds of dystopian fun. If I fit Snow Flower in before book club, that'll be a bonus :-)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-05-04 01:53 pm (UTC)
I hope you do - I would love to be able to talk about it at book group.

My reading right now is limited to study guides for Corporations. I don't know how I'm gonna get through this one, but somehow I will....
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[User Picture]From: gieves
2006-05-04 02:18 pm (UTC)
Oh, I understand. With the exception of two romance novels (brain candy), I've been exclusively reading books on the history of physics for the last month, and for the last two weeks, it's been nothing but Thomas Young, all the time.

(Are you going to be present at Apple Fest tonight? We're going to come, but I probably can't stay too late because of the damn paper that's still miles from done.)
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[User Picture]From: gieves
2006-05-04 02:19 pm (UTC)
Oh! I erased the sentence that said, re: Corporations,

"I'm sure that you'll be fine."

*shakes cheerleading pom-poms encouragingly*
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-05-04 02:27 pm (UTC)
LOL! Thanks. I would actually be flying casual if it weren't for the paper still hanging out there over my head.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-05-04 02:27 pm (UTC)
YAY! I will be around, as much as I can spare. I am having serious hate with the end of this semester.
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[User Picture]From: suzieboz
2006-05-03 05:59 pm (UTC)

Handmaid's Tale

Funny you should mention this; I was thinking about it the other night (you know, one of those pregnancy thoughts) and was tempted to either find my video tape off of HBO or Netflix it.

I agree with you. Totally scary now.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-05-03 07:18 pm (UTC)

Re: Handmaid's Tale

I don't like the movie that well. Too much of an upbeat ending....
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[User Picture]From: suzieboz
2006-05-03 08:43 pm (UTC)

Re: Handmaid's Tale

Two words.

Aidan Quinn.

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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-05-03 11:39 pm (UTC)

Re: Handmaid's Tale

[smirk]
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[User Picture]From: suzieboz
2006-05-04 01:06 am (UTC)

Re: Handmaid's Tale

Uh huh.

Blessed be the fruit.
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