I would give this book 3 - 3.5 stars, but given the audio here, I have to give it at least one more. Usually author read books suck salty balls, but t...moreI would give this book 3 - 3.5 stars, but given the audio here, I have to give it at least one more. Usually author read books suck salty balls, but this was certainly one of the best audiobooks I've ever heard, beaten out only by the Harry Potter series. It would have been a real shame to miss out on Caitlin's accent, ridiculous impersonations, and tone shifts. I was wandering around running errands while listening to this, likely appearing completely mad with my facial expressions, audible laughter, and snickering.
Material-wise, I think this is an excellent starting point for anybody unfamiliar with modern feminism. It certainly isn't a manual to live by, but it is a point from which to start if humour is your drug of choice. Although I do feel she makes overwhelming generalisations (all women dream about relationships with blokes they barely know! All women feel the need to go into debt for a pair of Jimmy Choos!), the anecdotal nature does bring you back to the realisation that this is Caitlin's (retrospectively hilarious) experience of be(com)ing a woman, and we women of the West are obviously not all meant to have had the same experience(s). I think the problem I really had stemmed from her propensity to say 'you' rather than 'I' on points where it really was just her own preference. On some points I completely agree with her (i.e., abortion) or completely disagree (i.e., what to call your vagina), but at the end of the day, nobody is forcing you to adopt her point of view just as she ultimately rejected many statements of Germaine Greer's. The idea is to realise where behaviours and proclivities germinate from, and then make an informed decision on what seems like the right choice in your own life. I think she provides some good insights in an accessible way.
Overall, I found this highly enjoyable while also lacking in some areas. Please give us a caveat, Caitlin! (1) Not all women fall victim to every trapping of the patriarchy, and (2) not all women are programmed in the same way. That said, there are some true gems in here, and I would recommend it to pretty well anybody.(less)
I feel a bit bad giving this only two stars, because frankly, the prose is fairly solid (there are a few stand-out horrible similes, but forgivable),...moreI feel a bit bad giving this only two stars, because frankly, the prose is fairly solid (there are a few stand-out horrible similes, but forgivable), and the concept is good. Compared to other books I've given two stars to, this was really a lot better on both accounts. Sadly, once put together, the two elements should make for a decent read, but the voice and the story felt like two separate entities attempting to coexist while failing to do so.
Maybe I've read too much dystopia/post-acopalyptic fiction lately, but I found this story to be lacking in several areas:
1) The world was underdeveloped. Having the story told from the perspective of an 11/12-year-old was probably meant to limit the scope, but we had no real sense of what was going on elsewhere. Also, the telescope as a method for expanding the world was cliché, and frankly annoying.
2) The characters were uninteresting. In fairness, most people are very dull and live banal lives, but these are supposed to be extraordinary times. Be extraordinary, or move aside and let me read somebody else's interpretation of events.
3) There was no cheek! Hell, I was a loser/loner in school who didn't get invited places and was bullied. I was also a fairly serious kid, but I still had a sense of humour. You have to, or you kill yourself. Dystopias need to be very tongue-in-cheek, and there was simply nothing funny about this book. People do not take you seriously when you are only ever serious, because you are boring and they stop listening. Lighten the mood, please. It's the end of the world. Can't we at least laugh about it?
4) The dystopia is not actually a dystopia. Dystopia/post-apocalyptic fiction as a genre is meant to be social commentary, and this does not comment on anything going on in our time (someone please point out what I've missed). In this book, they don't know what brought about the end, and perhaps this is a more realistic and less self-serving end to the world than to always assume human actions will cause cataclysm, but it means that the book serves no real purpose. I am exhausted by books in this genre failing to understand the genre. Enough.
(As an aside, I guess in some sense this could be considered "apocalyptic" as it occurs at the beginning of an apocalypse, but I think the same rules apply. This also needs to be read as a coming-of-age story more than as a telling of the apocalypse, but if that is all that it is, then why have an apocalypse in the first place? There must be a reason for it. I suspect it's meant to be a paradox: Julia is starting as the world starts its ending... Potentially clever with better plotting and a wider story arc. As a coming-of-age story, this fails to actually have Julia come into herself. The ending does not tie anything up or leave you with any sense of who she became or why it is important.)
5) They are in California. I have no issues with California. One of my favourite books was set in California. However, when we are talking about the end of the world and the protagonist lives within walking distance to the beach and her house is still standing over a decade after the tides have shifted, I cannot suspend belief any further. I am just laughing at the sheer idiocy. That humans could subsist off of mushrooms for a decade is hilarious enough in and of itself (I guess without all of the livestock the increased rate of human flatulence that would occur due to this diet might not actually kill us all, but I doubt it... I mean, they are spending hour upon hour in bomb shelters... METHANE POISONING!), especially considering that (presumably) every other species have died. But that California has not either (a) fallen into the ocean; or (b) been covered by rising tides is frankly absurd, especially when earthquakes are happening EVERYWHERE ELSE (i.e., Kansas). Perhaps her parents house was moved by a Kansas twister and that is how it is still standing?
6) The ending stank. There was no ending, and while I am a fan of the ending-less book, film, etc., it still needs to be self-contained and give you some closure. What will happen to Julia? What will happen to California? WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE WORLD??!! I guess we'll just live through 200-hour-long days and eat more mushrooms until the moon finally plummets to the earth, obliterating the (oh so profound) words in the pavement.
7) Science doesn't matter: in dystopias, science should matter, because it is (or should be) what you are basing a lot of your world off of. Our knowledge today informs how we imagine our future. So, my final point is this: science seems to be largely disregarded, and I find that sloppy. If the earth is turning slower, shouldn't something wild have happened to the moon? And if something wild happened to the moon, wouldn't the gravitational orbit of earth be thrown out of whack? I seriously think that we probably would have collided with another planet or the sun by the time the book ended, and that would be before the 10-year-leap. Just saying.
This actually is a pretty easy, quick read, and vaguely enjoyable. But at the end of the day, it just feels very flat. Which is probably the shape of our planet after all of that SLLLOOOOOOWWWW spinning.(less)
Despite some (read “a lot”) of meandering and a great deal of repetition, I still have to rate this book reasonably highly, because JSF has...more 3.5 stars.
Despite some (read “a lot”) of meandering and a great deal of repetition, I still have to rate this book reasonably highly, because JSF has essentially written the book on why I continue to be a vegetarian, and I feel he does so eloquently, and with great sensitivity. I have never, as a vegetarian, believed that everyone should be a vegetarian, or even that it is a better choice than being an ethical omnivore (assuming such a thing exists). I have always believed that when it comes to ethical or moral choices, it is less about what we personally deem to be ethical or moral: that matters to us as individuals, but not as an overall response. It is that certain issues require something of us in form of an investment, both in the time we give when reaching a decision, and then the behaviour that follows decision-making. Whatever answer we come to in regards to the food that we eat needs to matter enough to ask the question, and I think that this is a book that will require readers to do so (and if you don’t ask the question, then that is your failure, not the book’s).
That said, and perhaps because I’ve read other books like this and watched the documentaries, etc., that it didn’t feel like a lot of new information, and frankly, I am so done with watching, reading, hearing about, etc. horrible things happening to animals, and it began to feel gratuitous. (Perhaps not so if this were your first romp through the park, so to speak.) I enjoyed – and found refreshing – the various perspectives. Too often, these texts are so one-sided as to be meaningless. I also enjoyed JSF’s personal feelings, especially because they were framed as such and not as be-all-end-all truths.
I do feel that it is necessary to take off at least half-a-star for the rather hilarious assertion that America is the only country that celebrates Thanksgiving (they are, however, the only ones to celebrate it on the last Thursday of November, so I guess that’s somehow special and relevant… How? I’m not sure). WELL DONE.
I won’t rate the book down for being American-centric, because obviously that is what JSF is writing about (and presumably for), however, for non-Americans, I think this is less relevant as a text. Factory farming regulations differ in various countries, as do percentages, and this book is less useful to non-Americans when gauging the state of your nation’s food and animal ethics policies. I have yet to find any book that actually looks at Canada in any depth, and I am getting pretty frustrated with this lack.(less)
When looking for some Battlestar Galactica soundtracks, I stumbled across this listing at the library and thought, 'What they hey? How bad can it be?'...moreWhen looking for some Battlestar Galactica soundtracks, I stumbled across this listing at the library and thought, 'What they hey? How bad can it be?'
Overall, the Colonial Universe did not translate well into the graphic novel format: the characters did not look enough like the actors, nor different enough from one another to really be able to distinguish when the cylons cropped up (in particular... but I really didn't recognise any of the characters unless they were accompanied by an introduction of some sort); I found that extremely frustrating. The Eights didn't look Asian, and I think the Threes might have had brown hair in an effort to distinguish them from the Sixes (?). All of the blonde characters looked alike. I couldn't tell Six from Carolanne, Starbuck, or anybody else for that matter (when Adama picks up Carolanne at the bar, I actually thought she was a Six until her name appears up a few boxes later... and I was like, holy smokes).
In terms of developing the backgrounds, I thought the storylines were weak and served only to tie all of the characters together in forced and contrived ways. Apparently Laura Roslin accompanied President Adar on a random discussion with Tom Zarek while he was in prison. Say what? Why on the Colonies would the Secretary of Education be meeting a terrorist? The random newspapers and headlines with various characters names throughout (i.e., Anders Wins for the C-Bucs!) felt further contrived and I began to believe that the billions of people who had died in the nuclear onslaught must have been, at worst, imaginary. Or at best, completely irrelevant.
The only story I vaguely enjoyed was Starbuck & Helo's. It was nice to see the origin of their relationship. It felt most true to form in that I could imagine their story playing out on screen as a flashback. Additionally, theirs were the only characters with dialogue I could actually imagine being used by the individual's in question (Baltar's dialogue was particularly bizarre, and I could not imagine James Callis saying any of it. Ever). That said, all of the stories (including theirs) have elements I have compartmentalized out of existence (i.e., Starbuck and Helo having sex - what the frak?!, and Gaius having a brother, because he will forever be an only child in my mind), and that seems an unfortunate way of building a back-story. Fans should not be disappointed or confused by how characters came to be who they are. There are also inconsistencies with the show: Gaius states that he was a 10-year-old boy when he taught himself to speak without his original Arelon accent, but in his back-story, he allegedly moved to Caprica as an 18-year-old. This doesn't gel for me, as I always imagined he had run away as a child, probably on some sort of grain freighter (this is probably far from what the creators had in mind, but still).
Overall, I felt that this was a flat attempt at fleshing out what were already fully-developed characters. We, the fans, already have a fairly clear idea of what brought those characters to the point we find them in when the original attack on the Colonies happens. Therefore, this omnibus adds nothing to the Galactica universe, and is ultimately better passed over.(less)