Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Man....this book made me angry.  Tess gets raped, has a baby that subsequently dies.  Tries to live a quiet life, knowing that Victorian standards have made her an undesireable marriage partner.  Then, a dood totally crushes on her, she resists and resists, tries to tell him her terrible past, which he does not allow, and then after they are finally married, she has the opportunity to tell him, and does, and he shuns her.

So flipping angry at this  book.

I won't give away the ending, but it is not a happy one.  Granted, the prose was extremely pretty.  Thomas Hardy had his way around a sentence, and he did know lots of 50 cent words, but still, this book hacked me off.

But, I'm still glad I read it.  I am very happy with this project.  I feel like I am learning a lot, and that is exactly what I wanted to happen.

So, I picked yet another random number, and I am reading The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine.

"These are the times that try men's souls."  Powerful.  People just don't talk like that anymore.  We are losing creativity whilst delving deeper and deeper into social comfort and convenience.   And I am writing that sentence on a blog.  We have come full circle.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Babar - the author was a freak

So, my second book was The Story of Babar.  As it is a children's book,  this was the very first time I had to go into the children's department in the library.

All of the shelves were waist high, so I had to stoop to find the book.

I must have looked like a sight.  Anyhoo, I found the book, and read it.  I have come to the conclusion that there is a very good reason that this book was not in the adult section.  You need to possess a certain quality called suspension of disbelief, which children seem to have in abundance and adults, who are used to the cold, hard reality of things, have a hard time with.

My first problem with the book was in the very beginning, Babar's mom gets shot.  This is the reason that I only watched Bambi once y'all.  ONCE.  I do not dig seeing dead animals, especially in something geared towards children.  Strike one against the book.

Then, Babar decides to walk to France, from Africa no less, where he befriends an old lady, who proceeds to put him in a pair of pants.  What is so wrong with being an elephant.  It is lame and racist of the old biddy.  Strike two.

Further into the story, he marries his  cousin Celeste.  Um hello?  YOUR COUSIN?  Do they want babies with two tails or something.  Freaks.  Strike three.

So there you have it, I read a children's book that I should have just read as a child, but as a child I probably would have not liked it, since I do not dig dead animals in books.

Once I finished Babar,  I picked my next number, which was 39.  I am currently reading Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy.

Monday, March 14, 2011

And done!

I have read The Origin of Species cover to cover.  It feels like such an accomplishment getting through that book!  I present you with my thoughts on the work.

Darwin was passionate about his work, and that certainly comes through in the writing.  It is certainly not a book meant for pleasure reading, as it is extremely academic.  I did learn some fascinating things about animals, and I am glad for that knowledge. My problem with the book is that Darwin tried to be way to mathematical and scientific about nature.  If nature has proven anything to us, it is that nature is crazy, complicated, beautiful and tragic at the same time.  How can nature be presented in a neat little scientific package?  It can't be, and that is why this book is such a polarizing topic to this day.

Once I was done with the book, I went to my computerized random number generator, and asked for another number.  I was given the number 45, and scanned my reading list in great anticipation, all the time hoping I did not have to read War and Peace quite yet.

I got Babar, by Jean de Brunhoff.  I laughed out loud when I saw that I would be reading a much loved children's book, and one that I cannot recall ever reading.  Since my reading list just said "Babar," and there are quite a few Babar books, I decided that I should read the very first book, The Story of Babar, published first in 1931.

And then I went to Outback with my husband and had beer and steak.

So, since my beloved main branch of the public library is closed today, tomorrow I will visit the children's department and pick up the book.  It is tempting to get another book from my reading list out at the same time, but I will wait until I finish Babar first.  It's a whole 47 pages long, plus illustrations!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Chapter 13

Looks like I have 100 pages to go.  So close to the end.  Man, this is a hard book to digest, but I'm getting there.  I'm tempted to plow through, and perhaps finish the book today.  It is tempting, because I'd really like to know what my next book will be, and I've told myself that I will not get to pick the next book until I finish my current book.

So you don't think I'm a glutton for punishment when it comes to reading, I do have two other books that I am currently reading for pleasure.  I usually have a book on CD in my car.  The radio bores me, and I find books interesting and relaxing during my commute to and from work.  Currently I am listening to Charleston by John Jakes.   This was an easy pick for me.  First, I love history.  Second, I love Charleston.  Third, I love historical fiction.  Easy choice.

My choice for lunchtime/bedtime reading is The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  I'm about a dozen chapters in, and it is a fascinating read.  I can hardly wait to see where the story goes next.  Excellent book, and I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Sad Day for Jackalope Lovers

I am onto the chapter about hybrids, and it is interesting.  Did you know that hybrids are for the most part infertile?  For example, a mule cannot mate with another mule and produce a mule.  Mules are created by the union of a horse and a donkey. 

Alas, I don't see how the famed jackalope can exist from reading this chapter.  A sad day indeed.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

He who tickled the aphid

And so I am on Chapter 7, which is about instinct and animals that do things for the exclusive good of others.  A very noble concept to say the least. 

Of course Darwin did many studies to back up his theories.  One of these studies involved getting aphids to excrete a sweet juice that the ants like to feed on, without the ants present.  He tried to get them to excrete said juice by tickling the aphids with a single hair.  Talk about devotion to his project!  I of course was cracking up as I read this paragraph.  Alas, the aphid would only excrete the juice when the ant was present.  

Woo almost halfway through!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Chapter 7

Slow slow going.  I am extremely tempted to read the summary paragraph at the end of each chapter, but that feels rather like cheating .... as if I was reading the Cliff's Notes guide on the book.  I am determined not to do that, although the book is extremely academic and mostly boring to my non-scientific mind.

There are fifteen chapters in this book.  When I read it, I like to read a chapter at a time, interrupted.  I dare not read more than that a day.  It feels like a great accomplishment to get through a chapter, and knowing that I am almost half way through this first book gives me a great feeling of accomplishment.

But, as is the case with whatever I tend to read, I am learning interesting things.  I am learning little factoids about animals, and that is interesting.  I'm sure these facts will eventually come out in random dinner conversation, and people will look at me with a quizzical brow.  "Oh wow...the pretty lady knows something other than what was on TV last night?"  Imagine that.   

I am the queen of unfinished projects, many in the creative realm.  I was very pleased with myself that I finished one of those projects during our very rainy Saturday this past weekend:  a beaded bracelet.  Not only did I finish it, but I created a necklace, bracelet and earrings out of some very pretty left-over beads, and wore them out that night.  Happy happy.  I still have a large needlepoint, a painting and my novel to finish.  I think I shall work on a bit of the needlepoint tonight.