Mixed feelings here. The first half of the book reads like a suspenseful mystery/action flick with some sharp observations about language and culture...moreMixed feelings here. The first half of the book reads like a suspenseful mystery/action flick with some sharp observations about language and culture clashes. And I loved it. The second half deals with whacky religion and uninhibited sex. Public nudity, open marriage, sex used for growing closer - it's all very out there and provocative, especially for 1960s. But since it's 1960 you also get a fair share of sexism. Women are often excluded from male conversations, patronised: "girl", "dearest", "child" - that's apparently the way to talk to a grown woman; and given the roles of caretakers only - cooks, secretaries and nurses. And of course the heights of their ambitions outside the church is marriage, within the church there's no place for ambitions but sex with holy people*.
So yeah, Heinlein made my inner feminist groan a lot. "Nine times out of ten, if a girl gets raped, it's partly her fault." - charming, isn't he? And don't even get me started on his ideas about religion... But the book gives plenty food for thought, technology and gadgets aren't as outdated as you'd think, and the conspiracy plot was truly gripping. So Stranger in a Strange Land - despite being irritating and infuriating at times, was never a waste of time. And I think I grok it.
______________________________________ Does that sound Mormon like to you Gretchen? I know little about Mormons, I doubt they are that extreme, but I kept imagining them as I read. And I guess they do stick with that outdated, little sexist attitude towards women. So your friend's mother definitely has a point. (less)
I find Stephen King repetitive, his characters not all that likable, his endings BAD. But I like silly potboilers featuring vampires. Don't judge me!!...moreI find Stephen King repetitive, his characters not all that likable, his endings BAD. But I like silly potboilers featuring vampires. Don't judge me!! I'm an vampire fanatic, and Salem's Lot is one of the undead classics, I was bound to read it. Ok, I was bound to listen to the audiobook, if I were to be precise. Hiking on a trail in Carpathians (same Carpathians that count Dracula had his monstrous castle in), getting soaked to the bone* (oh how I hate the treacherous mountain weather!), with my ankles notoriously sinking in deep mud (you'd be surprised how quickly that ground on that trail can turn into something with the consistence of butter) with 3 hours of marching left, and scared I would soon go crazy** with cold and exhaustion, as a means of distraction from it all, I pulled out my mp3 player and set it to Salem's Lot.
The story did its job splendidly. I was scared shitless and soon nearly forgot about my drenched socks, clingy, heavy with water jeans and the tortured groans of my taciturn travelling companion. I adore the guy but he has no stamina, easily falls into foul moods and makes a wretched conversationalist, so in this case snubbing him out with an audiobook made perfect sense.
The fact that as all King's stories, and this one too, are repetitive in their nature, worked in my favor, that day. Brown puddles of water and wet twines leaping at my face would require my full attention now and again. The reader would continue on with the story while I dealt with the crisis at hand, and once the unpleasantries were over, jump back into the narrative created no problems. The fact that the mp3 player insisted on playing chapters in random order (must have been all the moisture), seemed to be of little consequence as well. It required some awareness and mental straining as the end of one chapter was reached, and an arbitrary other was selected. But in all honesty, not all that much awareness and not that much straining was necessary. Conclusion: sometimes repetition is not that bad.
Funny how despite the wretched weather, or maybe because of it, and because of randomization of Salem's Lot's chapters that hike turned out to be a memorable experience. The drenched socks and wet itchy hair, were making me groan with displeasure. While the beautiful views around me and the evil tirades of bloodthirsty vampires, were wrinkling my brain in a good way. Such a mind-body dissonance is going to be hard to repeat. Shame, because it sure was fun!
_____________________________________________________________ *I did not pack my rainproof coat that morning, BIG mistake.
**There's no documented history of mental disorders in my family, but you never know, especially when you're dealing the constant cold showers intercepted confusingly with brief moments of sunshine.(less)