August 16th, 2005

spenser

(no subject)

The CBC "labour disruptions" are causing all kinds of
weirdness in my world. Last night's news was a BBC International
broadcast, and I was awakened this morning to the strains of
Radiohead... followed by Aretha Franklin. I think they've replaced
their regular programming with selections from someone's CD collection.
Oh, and there's suddenly advertising on their web site.
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Book Blogging

26) Reading Lolita in Tehran (Azar Nafisi)
This was a very well-written, fascinating memoir. It's being promoted as the story of a women's "book club," and although that's certainly part of the story it tells, it's not the book's primary focus. It is, more accurately, the story of a western-educated woman living in an increasingly repressive Iran, and trying to come to terms with it. Nafisi refers frequently to her books as a sort of "security blanket" for her, and that's the function they serve in her story as well -- they're touchstones, jumping-off points for her own experience. The way the books are treated reflects the way she feels herself to be treated. It's a very academic way of seeing the world, really, but one that many avid readers/academic types can surely relate to. This is a great book, but it's not what it pretends to be. I'm not surprised that many of the Amazon reviewers were disappointed. ****

27) Y: the Last Man, volume 5: Ring of Truth (Brian Vaughn et al)
I liked this volume much more than voume 4; I felt that the story was getting back on track, going somewhere. There were actual developments (Dr. Mann finally figures out how Yorick survived, for one), and a set-up that I am very interested to see how they will follow through. Interestingly, fairplaythings really liked volume 4 (he felt that it finally cleared up some problems he'd been having with Yorick's character) and was much less impressed with this installment. I suppose that says something about our reading styles, doesn't it? ****

28) A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L'Engle)
Isn't it great to go back to your old childhood favorites and realize they're still good? The religion aspect seemed much more obvious to me this time around (how did I miss it as a kid?), but at least it's thoroughly non-denominational. I can handle that. *****

29) Fatherland (Robert Harris)
This book is set in an alternate world in which Germany won WWII. It's pretty darn good. The world-building is well thought out (with things like a colour-coded terror alert system seeming rather creepy in this day and age!), and propels the story without overwhelming is too much (although there is a little bit of over-explaining from time to time, and putting the protagonist on a tour bus is a bit of a contrived way to get a description of the city in). ****

30) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (J.K. Rowling)
Yes, I know. I'm such a follower. This is, in my opinion, an improvement over the last installment. There's still a tension between the light children's fare of the earlier books and the dark battle between good and evil stuff, but it seems to be resolving itself in the darker direction. There's something off about the pacing, too -- it's rather too breakneck to really absorb the impact of events. Still, a fun read. It was just the thing for lying on the couch being sick yesterday. ***

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