Booking Through Thursday: e-books

Booking Through Thursday
Do you read e-Books?
f so, how? On your computer, or a PDA?
Or are you a paper purist? Why?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

The only e-book I've read was The House of Mirth. It was a re-read for my book club. I have the book- somewhere- but with the move I'm lucky if I can find my head. Anyway... I read it on my computer through Sparknotes. House of Mirth is in the public domain and can found for free on the web. I found it difficult to read on the computer- the bright white background and I could never find my place.
I'm old fashioned when it comes to books. I like it to be a tactile experience, feel the book in my hands. I like to turn pages and use bookmarks. I like to carry a book around with me, put it in my purse, take it outside, that kind of thing. It's kind of hard to do that with a laptop.
I'm even new to audiobooks. I've only tried one, The Elements of Style, this year. It does have it's advantages and I wouldn't say no to an audiobook in the future.
So, while I'm not completely resistant to new book technology, I prefer the printed word to be on paper. Sorry trees.

Wordless Wednesday: Old Tree

A New Blog Game

Dewey at The Hidden Side of a Leaf has a fun new blog game called the Blogroll Game. It's a way to get to know other bloggers. It's pretty easy too!

A Reading Challenge Recap

Here's where I stand with the challenges I've joined.

TBR Challenge

The Lady of the Sea Rosalind Miles
The Handmaid's Tale Margaret Atwood
Mill on the Floss George Eliot
Tess of d'Uberville Thomas Hardy
The House of the Seven Gables Nathaniel Hawthorne
Adam Bede George Eliot
Shopaholic Ties the Knot Sophie Kinsella
Time Traveler's Wife Audrey Niffenegger
Mists of Avalon Marion Zimmer Bradley
O Pioneers Willa Cather
Howards End E.M. Forster
Seven Daughters of Eve Bryan Sykes

The Thirteenth Tale Diane Setterfield
Mansfield Park Jane Austen
In the Name of the Rose Umberto Echo
A Passage to India E.M. Forster
The Colony of Unrequited Dreams

Spring Reading Thing Challenge

Lolita (Vladimir Nabokov)- Classic Book Club Selection
Oryx and Crake (Margaret Atwood)
Unless (Carol Shields)
My Antonia (Willa Cather)

Dystopian Challenge

Oryx and Crake
Brave New World

The Something About Me Challenge starts in August. I have read many of the choices already. Those I'll list here:

  • East of Eden (Vasilly)
  • Pride & Prejudice (Bookworm, Pattie)
  • Gone With the Wind (Bookworm)
  • The Poisonwood Bible (Bookworm)
  • The Time Traveler's Wife (Dewey)
  • Angry Housewives Eating Bon-Bons (Tiny Librarian)
  • Anne of Green Gables (Tiny Librarian)
  • Bridget Jones' Diary (Tiny Librarian)
  • The Historian (A Book in the Life, Maryanne, Heidijane)
  • The Mayor of Casterbridge (A Book in the Life)
  • Anna Karenina (Athena)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird (Stephanie)
  • Wuthering Heights (Suey)
  • The Amateur Marriage (Nattie)
  • Lolita (Heather)
  • The Awakening (Pattie)
  • Charlotte's Web (3M)- I sort of remember reading it.
  • Evening Class (raidergirl)
  • The Eyre Affair (Heidijane)
  • Heidi (Heidijane)

I'm still deciding on my list for this challenge. I have some definite yeses but a lot of maybes. Check back for that.

For Fans of Anne

Many of the readers of this blog have said how much they enjoy the Anne of Green Gables series. While web surfing, I found some Anne related items. Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of Anne of Green Gables. The L.M. Montgomery Institute has a great website here with information on what they have planned for 2008. I recommend checking this site out, it's full of Anne related items. Penguin books plans on releasing 3 new Anne books in 2008: 100th anniversary edition of Anne of Green Gables, Before Green Gables and Imagining Anne: the Scrapbooks of L.M. Montgomery. Read all about these by following the link on the Institute site.

At the same time, the L.M. Montgomery Institute is finding itself in financial trouble according to this CBC News article.

This year's L.M. Montgomery Festival is scheduled for July 13-15 in Cavendish, PEI of course. This would be a great time to plan a trip to Prince Edward Island.

Finally, if you can't make it to the Island to see the sites you can take a virtual tour of Green Gables on the Prince Edward Island tourism page. The Green Gables House is based on the descriptions from the series. But that's nothing compared to seeing the real thing!

My Antonia: Review

"Last summer, in a season of heat, Jim Burden and I happened to be crossing Iowa on the same train."

Willa Cather wrote several novels set in the pioneering times of early Nebraska. Earlier this year, I read my first Cather novel O Pioneers! which raised my expectations for My Antonia. I don’t think I could ever recapture the emotions I had while reading O Pioneers! It was such a wonderful surprise to find a writer I hadn’t really heard much about with such talent. Both novels are very similar not only in setting but in voice. If you’ve never read Cather before, I’d recommend either one.

My Antonia is about the recollections of Jim Burden, a man who came to Nebraska from Virginia as a boy. After his parents’ death, he goes to live with his grandparents on their farm. At the same time, Antonia Shimerda and her Bohemian family have come from Europe to begin their lives as farmers. Antonia is a lively young girl, the apple of her father’s eye, and very intelligent. Jim can’t help but admire her. However, the Shimerdas are not prepared for the harshness of the prairie environment. They rely heavily on the Burden’s help to get them through the first year.

The Burdens eventually move to the town of Black Hawk. Jim’s grandmother is afraid that Antonia, who she has come to love, will be ruined by the hard work on the farm. She convinces her family to let her come work in the town as a ‘hired girl’ or maid for another family, the Harlings. They come to care for her but the townsfolk look down upon the hired girls who are immigrant girls from farms. The hired girls are free spirits where the town girls are ‘refined.’ Jim continues his admiration for Antonia and is disgusted with the men of the town ("these white-handed, high-collared clerks and bookkeepers"), who court the hired girls but marry the Black Hawk girls.

After Antonia has a falling-out with the Harlings over the rowdy dances she attends, she becomes a housekeeper for the hated Cutters. Jim inadvertently saves Antonia from disaster while she’s working there. Antonia then moves back to the farm and Jim goes off to college. As time goes by, Jim loses contact with Antonia and only hears about her through third-hand information. In the end, Jim finds his Antonia "battered but not diminished."

My Antonia is more of a collection of stories about the people who shaped the prairies than about one girl, although her experiences are woven throughout. Some of these recollections take an unexpectedly violent turn that I found rather jarring, but such is life I suppose; we go about our day to day business in blissful ignorance when tragedy finds us. There are also great success stories, like the hired girl Lena who goes on to do so well in the city.

Like in O Pioneers!, Cather paints with her words. The prairie comes to life on the page.

"On some upland farm, a plough had been left standing in the field. The sun was setting just behind it. Magnified across the distance by the horizontal light, it stood out against the sun, was exactly contained within the circle of the disk; the handles, the tongue, the share- black against the molten red. There it was, heroic in size, a picture writing on the sun."

One thing I should mention, this isn’t in the usual form a novel generally takes. It’s more like a journal and sometimes seems disjointed. Jim says, "I didn’t have time to arrange it; I simply wrote down all that her name recalls to me." Don’t let that discourage you though, it’s a lovely read.

Spring Reading Challenge

Also Reviewed By: Puss Reboots

Booking Through Thursday: Parlez-Vous?

Booking Through Thursday

Here’s an idea from Julie:

I had an idea for a BTT question when I was taking a peek at one of my bookcases yesterday and spotted my old copy of the Aeneid in Latin sitting there. Maybe this question has already been done—but if not… Do you have any foreign language books and if so can you (still) read them?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

At first I was going to say no, but then I remembered a book I have called Cape Breton Book of Night. It has a couple of stories in Gaelic and one in Mi'kmaq and French. The stories are in English as well. And no I cannot read them; I might half understand the French, if I really, really tried. There is also an old French school book around here somewhere. Oh, and a cross-stitch book in Danish.

It's What's Inside that Counts...

Ever get turned off by a book cover? Do you wonder what the marketing people were thinking? The first thing a reader sees is the cover and sometimes we just can't help it, we make a snap judgement about the book, the author, the genre, etc.

Well, the author of the blog Judge a Book By It's Cover created a place to vent about those terrible covers that make us cringe. While working as a librarian, this blogger has seen it all, bad YA covers and, the most snarkable of all, romance.

If you're not allergic to sarcasm (there's loooooaaaads of it), then go take a peek.

Wordless Wednesday: Louisbourg

I was inspired by Kailana's Thursday Thirteen last week and Kailani's An Island Life Vacation Photo Contest and decided to use this favorite photo from last year's visit to the Fortress Louisbourg, Nova Scotia. I just love how the man's red coat stands out on this foggy day.

More Wordless Wednesday

Victoria Day

"We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat. They do not exist."

Today, in Canada anyway, it's Victoria Day. I had no idea why we celebrate Victoria Day, so of course I did the logical thing and Googled it. It was first celebrated in honour of Queen Victoria's birthday, then:

After the death of Queen Victoria, an Act was passed by the Parliament of Canada establishing a legal holiday on May 24 in each year (or May 25 if May 24 fell on a Sunday) under the name Victoria Day. An amendment to the Statutes of Canada in 1952 established the celebration of Victoria Day on the Monday preceding May 25, making it the first long weekend of the summer season.

I still don't really get it. I'm not a monarchist by any means, although I have Loyalist ancestors, but anything that makes a long weekend is ok by me.

So, while the barbecues are being fired up, grab a good book about Her Majesty, put your feet up and relax.

Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre (2006): DVD

"Jane, I want a wife. I want a wife, not a nursemaid to look after me. I want a wife to share my bed every night. All day if we wish. If I can't have that, I'd rather die. We're not the platonic sort, Jane." -Edward Rochester (Toby Stephens, 2006)

I loved, loved, loved, LOVED this adaptation of Jane Eyre. Can't say it enough. This 2006 Masterpiece Theatre version stars Ruth Wilson as Jane and Toby Stephens as Edward Rochester. Originally, a mini-series on the BBC, it was recently released here in Canada on DVD.

Jane Eyre is a poor girl neglected and abused by her Aunt Reed who sends her to the Lowood School for girls. Here Jane must survive cold and starvation. She makes the most of her education and becomes a teacher at the school. Jane longs for more, however. She wishes to be a free, independent woman. To accomplish this she advertises for a position as a governess. She gains employment as governess to Adele, ward of Edward Rochester of Thornfield Hall.

At first, she is quite satisfied with her position. It is all that she could have hoped for, Adele is charming and the housekeeper, Mrs Fairfax, a warm and caring friend. Then the long absent Master returns and challenges Jane's idea of happiness. They fall passionately in love. Disaster befalls them, when a secret from Rochester's past is revealed. Jane finds herself again alone, only this time heartbroken, having known real love for such a brief time.

I think I've seen just about every film version of Jane Eyre. Many of those versions leave out important parts of the plot or characters. Of course, they also didn't have 228 minutes to fit it all in. Toby Stephens played Mr Rochester's grumpy, tortured character to perfection. Ruth, a little too pretty for Jane, was excellent as the innocent and moral girl. Even though Jane is a 'good girl,' her passion for her boss is apparent. And the temptation is great. When Rochester begs her to stay, wooo-eeeee- she's a stronger girl than I! That was a hot interpretation and a nice touch. The chemistry between Wilson and Stephens was right on.
If you're a Jane Eyre fan, I think you'd enjoy this film version.


Book Meme: A Few of My Favorite Things

Bookfool posted an interesting meme a few days ago, surprisingly about books. It's been around the blogs lately so I thought I'd make it my post for this Friday. It's a long weekend here in Canada, so hopefully I'll get some reading done.
A book that made you cry: Recently, The Time Traveler’s Wife made me cry. I can’t give too much away.

A book that scared you: A Handmaid’s Tale, that scared the be-jezus out of me! I think it would scare women more than men. The thought of what happens to Offred happening to me is what’s scary. A great dystopian novel.

A book that made you laugh: Any of the Shopaholic series. That girl just looks for trouble.

A book that disgusted you: Cape Breton Road. Probably not a book many of you have heard of. The main character annoyed me to no end. He disgusted me. He was so whiny and self-absorbed. I had no feeling for him what-so-ever and I didn’t care what happened to him.

A book you loved in elementary school: Little Women. My first real book. I got it for Christmas when I was about 9 years old and it’s been a favorite ever since.

A book you loved in middle school: I guess that’s junior high. Island of the Blue Dolphins. After reading that book I wanted to live alone on an island. Without the wild dogs, of course.

A book you loved in high school: I hardly remember reading in high school. All that teen angst and ‘does he like me?’ and ‘what am I going to do with my life?’ I’ll have to get back to that one!

A book you hated in high school: Now that’s easy: The Old Man and the Sea. I still don’t know what the fuss is about Hemingway.

A book you loved in college: Frankenstein. I had to write a report on Mary Shelley. She simply fascinated me. What a painful life she had.

A book that challenged your identity: Atlas Shrugged. I didn’t really like this book but it had me looking at the world, and how I fit in it, in a different way.

A series that you love: The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. It’s a great escape and Gabaldon writes so well that you just fall into her books.

Your favorite horror book: I haven’t really read horror in a while. Probably Dracula. A classic horror tale that keeps getting recycled.

Your favorite science fiction book: I don’t read many sci-fi but I think A Handmaid’s Tale would qualify.

Your favorite fantasy: Again not a big reader but The Outlander books fall into that category as well. Gabaldon’s latest won an award for best sci-fi/fantasy.

Your favorite mystery: I used to read Mary Higgins Clark but gave up on them. I haven’t really read a mystery since.

Your favorite biography: I do not read them, but I think I will soon.

Your favorite "coming of age" book: Probably, The Outsiders. I read it in junior high.

Your favorite classic: Jane Eyre. I love how strong Jane is despite being plain and poor.

Your favorite romance book: Pride and Prejudice. No matter how you look at it, P&P is a romance.

Your favorite book not on this list: A favorite new author is Ami McKay, The Birth House. I’m looking forward to her new work, whenever it comes out. Also, how about historical? The Other Boleyn Girl. Poor Anne, no matter what she didn't deserve to lose her head.
So, if any of you are up for it, give this meme a try. If you do, leave a comment so I can find it.

Booking Through Thursday: Reading Slump

Booking Through Thursday

It happens even to the best readers from time to time… you close the cover on the book you’re reading and discover, to your horror, that there’s nothing else to read. Either there’s nothing in the house, or nothing you’re in the mood for. Just, nothing that “clicks.” What do you do?? How do you get the reading wheels turning again?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

In my house, there's always something to read on the shelves, whether or not I want to read what's there is another story. I sometimes get into reading slumps, usually if I've been reading heavy material. My brain just can't take it. So I say....

Yes, something completely different, usually something light and fun. If I don't have it at home, I'll troll the library shelves until I find something. Chicklit is great for preventing literary brain drain, especially anything with 'confessions' in the title.

Then there are the tried but true. If I just don't have it in me, I'll get a favorite off the shelves. I know I won't be disappointed. I already know the characters, they're like friends. That helps to kick start my passion for reading again.

Wordless Wednesday: In the Park

Faking It: Review

Faking It
Jennifer Crusie
Paperback, 412pgs
St Martin's Paperbacks

This isn't my usual read, but after hearing so much about Jennifer Crusie when I saw this at the thrift store, I had to get it. And hey, at $2 how could I go wrong?
I won't confuse you with all the characters in my synopsis, because you will be confused, all you need to know right now is: Tilda Goodnight is an artist and Davy Dempsey is a con man. They run into each other, literally, in a closet of a gold digger and sparks fly. She's there to steal back some faked paintings and he's there to steal back his money.
It took me some time to figure out who everyone is. Not only are there a lot of characters, most of them have more than one name. The Eve/Louise, Tilda/Vilma/Betty thing drove me nuts. Not to mention the Goodnights have some peculiar quirks and inside jokes that had me lost. I realize that writers live in fear of the dreaded info-dump and back story overload, but please let us in on some things!
A quarter way through though I caught on and, like Tilda, once I relaxed I had a really good time. Davy and Tilda are a lot of fun. I also enjoyed that Tilda was a 34 year old, non-supermodel type. She was a real woman. All was good, until the ending which still has me saying, "Huh?"
Still, I don't regret reading this and if you like contemporary romance with a couple of graphic love scenes (*blush*), you'll like it too.

Book Buying: Why I love my husband

The past couple of weeks my husband has been collecting gift certificates by doing surveys. He got $20 for and he gave them to ME! He's a good man and can cook too. So, I'll be getting package in the mail soon. Hurray!

Here's what I ordered:

Jane Eyre DVD: The 2006 BBC version with Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson

Tulip Fever Deborah Moggach:
Seventeenth-century Amsterdam, a city in the grip of tulip mania and basking the wealth it has generated. Cornelis, an ageing merchant, commissions a talented young painter to preserve his status and marriage on canvas. At the sittings, as a collector of beautiful things, Cornelis surrounds himself with symbols of his success, including his young wife, Sophia. But as the portrait grows, so does the passion between Sophia and the artist; and as ambitions, desires and dreams breed an intricate deception, their reckless gamble propels their lives towards a thrilling and tragic conclusion.

Whitethorn Woods Maeve Binchy:
The town of Rossmore is a special place, full of character charm. Nestled beside the Whitethorn Woods, the town has grown since the days when it was small and friendly and everyone knew everyone else; now it has chain stories and traffic problems and housing estates. But still, there are the woods, full of spiky bushes and criss-crossed with paths; and there's St Ann's Well, where generations have come to pray or make wishes or just to look back at the pretty little town. Which is why there is going to be such a fuss about the plans for the new motorway. It's going to by-pass Rossmore, cutting through Whitethorn Woods and endangering the well itself. The new road will bring jobs and relieve traffic in the town; for others, it will destroy businesses and leave the town a backwater. The people of Rossmore are divided. There is a lot of land standing in the way of the great road of progress. Quite by accident the decision rests on Neddy Nolan - the most honest man in Rossmore. A man determined to do the right thing.

Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Classic Book Club selection for summer):
Supreme masterpiece recounts in feverish, compelling tones the story of Raskolnikov, an impoverished student tormented by his own thoughts after he brutally murders an old woman. Overwhelmed afterwards by guilt and terror, Raskolnikov confesses and goes to prison. There he realizes that happiness and redemption can only be achieved through suffering.

Daniel Deronda: DVD

For Mother's Day, I picked up the BBC's production of Daniel Deronda by George Eliot. It's a story of a young man finding himself.

Daniel (Hugh Dancy) was raised by a kind benefactor who gave him the best of everything, including an education, but Daniel hardly knows what to do with himself. Something is missing from his life. Still, he has a good heart and is kind to everyone, especially damsels in distress. He is drawn to the beautiful but selfish Gwendolen Harleth (Romola Garai). She is a woman who craves freedom but is pushed by her family and her own selfishness into a loveless marriage. He also has feelings for Mirah Lapidoth (Jodhi May), a poor opera singer he saves from drowning. She is a Jewish girl on a mission to find what's left of her family. While helping Mirah in her search, he finds himself drawn to the plight of her people and wishes to find his own family.

In typical Eliot fashion, there are unbelievable coincidences and the ending is a happy one. As in Adam Bede, she explores faith and religion, but instead of Methodism it's Judaism. She also questions the traditional roles of women as well. Some women just aren't meant to be wives and mothers. For the late 19th century, this is ground breaking.

I really enjoyed all 210 minutes of the movie, although I thought the ending was rushed. It was beautiful to watch and the acting wonderful (and Hugh wasn't bad to look at either). Definitely worth watching if you're a fan of Eliot. For more information, see the BBC's Daniel Deronda page.

Eight Things About Me

Teabird (Melanie) tagged me for the "8 Random Things About Me" Meme. This one's a toughy- I'm really not that interesting.

So here are the rules:

1: Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
2: People who are tagged, write a blog post about their own 8 random things, and post these rules.
3: At the end of your post you need to tag 8 people and include their names.
4: Don't forget to leave them a comment and tell them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

Here are mine:

  1. I didn't start drinking coffee, couldn't stand it, until after my daughter (4 yrs) was born. Now I'm addicted.
  2. I've never been out of my country (Canada). Never, ever. I'd love to travel but thinking about it makes me slightly agoraphobic.
  3. Speaking of phobias: I get claustrophobic at the mall (go figure).
  4. I straighten my naturally curly hair.
  5. I hate those word verification thingies on blogs, and everybody has them.
  6. I collect sea glass (broken glass polished smooth by the ocean).

  7. I failed my driver's test the first time because I drove too slow. I passed the next time.
  8. I've never had sushi but would like to try it.

So there it is and now I have to torture, I mean, send this out to 8 other people. Hmmm...

Stephanie at Confessions of a Bookaholic
Kristy at Just Another Blogger
Raidergirl at Adventures in Reading
Michelle at Scribbit
Kailana at The Written World
Katrina at Callapider Days
Literary Feline at Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Athena at

Ok, so there they are my victims, um, bloggers. Good Luck!

Booking Through Thursday: Where Not?

Booking Through Thursday

So, judging by last week’s answers, apparently the question I should have been asking was:
Where DON’T you read??

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

Not many places! I don't read in the shower or while driving. ;) I also won't read while I'm visiting friends. I can read for a bit if I'm a passenger in a car, but I don't want to get a headache so not for long. Hmmm... I think that maybe it.

Wordless Wednesday: Gladys

Ok, a few words. When my Grandmother passed away in 1994, I received a bunch of old photos. This one was so overexposed I couldn't see what was in it. A 'quick fix' with a photo editing program revealed this vacation photo of my Grandmother traveling in western Canada when she was a young woman. It's one of my favorite pictures of her.
Happy Mother's Day!

Mr Darcy's Diary

Mr Darcy's Diary,
Amanda Grange
Paperback, 329 pgs
Sourcebooks, Inc, 2007
If you're a fan of Pride and Prejudice then you know the story. When Elizabeth and Darcy meet, they really don't like each other. Then through a series of events they overcome their prejudices and fall in love. This is the same story only from Mr Darcy's view. It's written as Darcy's personal journal (hence the title). It begins shortly before he meets the Bennets and ends a few months after the wedding.

It's a very interesting viewpoint. We see how much he loves his sister, how protective he is of Bingley, and how clueless he is of Caroline's advances. We get a clear picture of how ridiculous he thinks most of the Bennet family are. Still, how he falls for Elizabeth seems natural. It was very funny to read him write, "I will not think of Elizabeth" about a million times. There is quite a bit of dialogue from P&P which always made me smile.
However, there were definitely parts that were what Grange wanted to happen- pretty much the whole ending. Some of the minor characters didn't seem, well, quite right. You can't fault her, she's not Austen. Still, you can tell she has real love for the characters. It's fanfic at it's best and a lot of fun for any P&P fan.

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Twitterlit and the Power of the Hook

As I learn about writing and the writing biz, I often come across references to "The Hook." You have to have one and it has to happen in the first line. The Hook is that somethin'-somethin' that makes the reader (agent, publisher) wonder, "what the heck is going on?" and "man, I have to find out."

I came across something that illustrates this perfectly. It's called Twitterlit. It's a blog (affliated with Amazon, quite clearly declared in the sidebar) that daily posts the first line only of an unnamed book.

For example,

"The human head is of the same approximate size and weight as a roaster chicken."

Makes me want to read, how about you? If you so feel compelled, you click the link which takes you to the book on Amazon. (That one was Stiff by Mary Roach).

It's an interesting idea. I think every reader has a favorite first line. Mine is "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." Anyone know it? What's your favorite?

There are even online quizes dedicated to the first line. Here's a fun one.

Great Things in the Mail

Big thank you to Shaneen from Framed and Booked.
Remember how I was her winner for her "Give a Friend a Book" giveaway? Well, my choice Mr Darcy's Diary came in the mail today. How I love to get something that isn't a bill come in the mail.

Booking Through Thursday: RIP

No, not THAT kind of R.I.P.
Reading. In. Public.
Do you do it? Why or why not?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

Oh yes, I read in public. At the doctor's office, at the kid's dance class, in the park. Pretty much anywhere I can. I don't think I could sit at the doctor's office waiting around without a book in my purse. When you're a Mom, you have to grab all the reading time you can.

Sometimes someone next to me wants to have a conversation and I don't want to be rude but I'm thinking, "Ok can I get back to my book now?"

Oryx and Crake: Review

Oryx and Crake
Margaret Atwood
Paperback, 443 pages
Random House, 2003
Dystopian Challenge and Spring Reading Thing Challenge

Margaret Atwood takes the question, "what if?" and runs with it in Oryx and Crake. What if scientists were allowed to whatever they wanted? What if they could make whatever they wanted? What if? What if?

Atwood just gives us tiny bits of the story at a time, using flashbacks to explain what’s happened. It’s just enough to keep us reading until it’s questionable conclusion. The story opens in a desolated world where the sun and the weather is a killer. Living in a tree is Snowman whose only company is a group of beings he calls the Children of Crake. Snowman barely holds onto his sanity. He wonders how he’s gotten here; how it all went so terribly wrong.

Snowman was once Jimmy, a kid with genius parents. They lived in compound separated from a crumbling society where they are paid by pharmaceutical companies to create bizarre creatures, and diseases, supposedly to help mankind. Jimmy’s only friend is a boy genius named Crake. They spend hours on the internet playing violent games and watching porn. Crake seems to have no conscience and is bothered by nothing.

As they grow older, the two boys go their separate ways. Jimmy is a lonely loser, Crake a top dog in the scientific community. He invites Jimmy to be part of an experiment called the ‘Paradice Project’. While there, Jimmy falls for Oryx, a woman he once saw as a child on a porn website.

A big theme in Oryx and Crake, in my opinion, is ethics. In this not so distant future, there seems to be no respect for ethics and anyone who has them suffers. It’s not just the big stuff, like the creation of the Crakers or the pigoons, but little things as well. Jimmy isn’t bothered by what he sees on the internet until he sees the little girl:

"But for the first time he’d felt what they’d been doing was wrong. Before, it had always been entertainment, or else far beyond his control, but now he felt culpable."

It made me wonder about the students caught cheating in school through technology and it’s ok because "everyone else does it." It’s a small thing but it gets the ball rolling.

The creatures made my stomach turn. I don’t think I’ll ever see chicken the same way again. The wolvdogs freaked me out the most, I don’t know why. As well, there are some disturbing scenes, including gruesome deaths.

I enjoyed Atwood’s style of writing. It’s full of irony and humour. But I felt the story went off the rails at the end. Crake’s motives for what he does, I still don’t fully understand. Plus I didn’t find Snowman/Jimmy a very likeable character. He’s quite anti-social. Really I only sympathized with him because he is the only survivor.
For dystopian novels, I prefer The Handmaid's Tale.


Wordless Wednesday: I can HOPE!

Man, I don't think it will ever stop raining, but here's proof that it will someday. This is a favorite photo from last Spring.