I had an awesome experience on the subway as I read this book when a woman noticed the cover and said “I have a friend in there!” Turns out, her frienI had an awesome experience on the subway as I read this book when a woman noticed the cover and said “I have a friend in there!” Turns out, her friend was author Cat Valente, and this girl (Veronica? Victoria? It was a “V” name, and we sadly didn’t exchange info or anything) was a huge Doctor Who fan. We ended up talking about fandom all the way to the end of the line, which was where we both were going, and it was really nice! It was nice to be able to talk to a complete stranger about something that, on the surface, seems incredibly silly, but means more to you than you even realize. Chicks Dig Time Lords is the first non-fiction book I read this year and has to do with women in Doctor Who fandom! I am so glad this book exists. Each of the essays about Doctor Who – by academics, fans, sci-fi writers, etc – analyzed a different aspect of fandom from a feminine perspective. From treatment at conventions to representation on Doctor Who itself, to involvement in fandom via fanfic or cosplay, they all reveal very personal connections to fandom, sometimes criticizing aspects of it, but more often than not celebrating its existence and celebrating the fact that women have always played a role in fandom, even if it hasn’t always been acknowledged specifically. Our numbers are growing every day, and books like this are a way for us to all come together, look each other in the eye and say, “I knew I wasn’t the only one!”...more
I'm marking this book as "read" even though I haven't finished it, because it's more of a reference book than a book that you read straight through. FI'm marking this book as "read" even though I haven't finished it, because it's more of a reference book than a book that you read straight through. For my "official" review of it, check out the write-up I did over at Tor.com:
I have been preaching the gospel of The Hunger Games since I started reading the series recently, recommending it to everyone I know (even one personI have been preaching the gospel of The Hunger Games since I started reading the series recently, recommending it to everyone I know (even one person I didn’t know!). Catching Fire is the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy, and I bought it while I was still reading the first book, because I knew I’d want it immediately. However, after The Hunger Games, I read My Sister’s Keeper first, because I didn’t want to rush the series. Now, I’m down to one book left, and I already miss it. It’s been a long while since a book has affected me like this.
Catching Fire focuses on Katniss Everdeen’s post-Hunger Games life, and the changing political climate in Panem. The “catching fire” of the title refers to Katniss having been a spark for revolution in the first book, and the idea for revolution now spreading like a brush fire across the country. Catching Fire was a slower, but more thoughtful read than the first. Whereas The Hunger Games sped along, because there was suspense in whether or not Katniss and her friends/family would survive, Catching Fire was more about exploring ideas and fleshing out relationships. It also raised the political stakes, and forces you to ask yourself what you would do in Katniss’ place. Would you stand up against oppression, or would you keep your head down and worry only about your own survival? The answers aren’t simple, and Katniss isn’t a cookie-cutter heroine who is a paragon of activism. She’s a strong girl, but she is also scared and more experienced with taking care of herself than she is with worrying about the larger picture. She is learning to think beyond day-to-day survivial to the kind of world she’d like to grow old in and raise children in.
I also love what Collins has done with Peeta, who matches Katniss in complexity. Honestly, I don’t understand the appeal with Gale. I sort of imagine him as Katniss’ Jordan Catalano – like, yeah he looks great leaning up against a locker…but he can’t read, you know? Granted, he’s a bit more than that, and they’ve been best friends forever, but still. I’m Team Peeta.
There are also some wonderful new characters in this book. Finnick Odair and Johanna Mason are both deceptively shallow at first, but stick with them. They are intriguing additions to the world of the Hunger Games.
The world of this trilogy gets more complex and mature in this book, and the slow simmer of most of the book gives way to a huge boil at the end when the stakes are raised even higher for everyone.
Collins has amazed me once again with Catching Fire, and I can’t get Panem and its inhabitants out of my head. I’ll be reading another book before reading the final installment, Mockingjay, because I’m just not ready for this story to end!...more
I enjoyed this one both as the second half of the Persepolis story, and as a story in its own right. While Satrapi did an amazing job capturing a chilI enjoyed this one both as the second half of the Persepolis story, and as a story in its own right. While Satrapi did an amazing job capturing a child's voice and conveying the story of the turmoil in Iran with a candid innocence, Persepolis 2 was much more interesting to me, because she was so honest about things in her life that made her much less sympathetic and heroic. She was a young woman with problems, and she didn't try to soften her image for her memoir. Perhaps I also related to her cultural conflict...the trying to be true to one's family, while also trying to be true to oneself and the modern world. I appreciated how she reflected that - it felt true....more
How does one review published diaries? According to literary merit? Though Anais Nin is a beautiful, insightful writer, I feel strange talking about hHow does one review published diaries? According to literary merit? Though Anais Nin is a beautiful, insightful writer, I feel strange talking about her "writing style" when discussing a section of her journal. What I will talk about instead is the way that books often come into your life at a time when you need them. It happened to me once with 1984 (when I needed to crystalize exactly why writing was so important to me), then again with Everything is Illuminated (when I needed to be encouraged back into writing after I'd stopped for a long time).
I was inspired to walk into a bookstore and purchase Henry and June a week or two ago, because I've been doing a lot of self-examination recently, and having heard a lot about Anais Nin I thought her journals would be the best thing to accompany me on the beginning of my journey. Originally, I'd wanted a full volume of her journals, but everything was sold out, so I ended up buying Henry and June...and since I'd never read her before, I thought it would be a good introduction.
I am so grateful that this book came into my life when it did. All I knew about Nin before reading it had to do with the sex she had. People love to sensationalize, and so when one hears the name, Anais Nin, one automatically thinks "sexual awakening", "deviance", "erotica." What amazed me was how much we had in common outside of that - the insecurities, the way in which we see men and the world, the positive and negative aspects of a Catholic upbringing, and most importantly: the ongoing battle between loving submission and intellectual assertiveness; how difficult it is to be a strong woman while still holding on to one's emotional vulnerability. I learned so much from her insights...and while I won't be having three or four lovers any time soon (heh), I appreciate the spirit of adventure with which she tried to live her life. It's something I hope to emulate in my own way. I cried (wept) as I read the last paragraph of Henry and June, because it magically captured exactly where I am at this moment in my life:
"Last night, I wept. I wept because the process by which I have become woman was painful. I wept because I was no longer a child with a child's blind faith. I wept because my eyes were opened to reality - to Henry's selfishness, June's love of power, my insatiable creativity which must concern itself with others and cannot be sufficient to itself. I wept because I could not believe anymore and I love to believe. I can still love passionately without believing. That means I love humanly. I wept because from now on I will weep less. I wept because I have lost my pain and I am not yet accustomed to its absence."
Last night, Adam read me the third and final chapter of Legends of the Fall. A beautiful, beautiful story...and again, I will attest to how wonderfulLast night, Adam read me the third and final chapter of Legends of the Fall. A beautiful, beautiful story...and again, I will attest to how wonderful it is to have a story read to you by someone who loves it. There's really something magical about that. However, Harrison's prose really calls to be read aloud - he's one of those writers who really can paint pictures with words. Normally, I hate description - it bores me, and I usually skip it over - but Harrison does it not using many words, just the right ones. The characters pulled at me, too. I really felt Susannah's pain over Tristan (though I have to admit, I brought my own baggage into that....but who doesn't?)...I was close to tears when Two was killed...and poor, poor Tristan.
Adam and I discussed the ending, and I brought up a quote from Everything is Illuminated: "It wasn't wrong, but worse. Close." That's what the ending of Legends of the Fall felt like to me. Sure, it was a "happy" ending - Tristan lived a long life, Ludlow killed the Irish guy, the children would grow up safe....it wasn't wrong, but worse, close. Adam liked the line - and he PROMISED that he would FINALLY read "Everything Is Illuminated" today. We'll see....
Going back to the idea of the "baggage" we bring to books - that's the wonderful thing about art in general to me. That millions of people can regard the same work of art in ENTIRELY different ways, becuase of their own personal experiences, which are as different as snowflakes. Legends of the Fall (as well as anything by Simon & Garfunkel or Richard Linklater) will now always remind me of Adam. For better or worse....more