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Archive for February, 2008

D is for…


Dready 001, originally uploaded by Soasa Designs.

Dreadlocks! I’ve been been nurturing these guys for about two and a half years, and we’ve been through a lot together! I’ve learned patience and dedication, I’ve learned to embrace the process, to allow things to develop as they will. I’ve learned to be more open with people, because I can’t blend into the furniture anymore. I’ve learned that stereotypes are lame, that a lot of people are looking to buy pot, and that people are sometimes very stupid. (Do you wash your hair? How long does it take for you to make your hair like that every day? Yo, wanna smoke? So you like, hug trees and stuff? You’re stealing black people’s culture! You wish you were black! [I should note that it’s only the white folks who say this to me]) I’ve also learned that people are often curious, they want to touch my hair, and they want to learn more.

As a point of reference, here is where my locks were at in February 2006:

Photobucket

I say, DAMN.

For the Flickr ABC-Along

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Book: The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
Pages: 380
Entertainment Rating: 5/5
Snooty Rating: 5/5
Total Rating: 10/10
Books Read Total: 16/50
Pages Read Total: 3188/15,000

From Amazon.com:
“Fields of white opium poppies stretch away over the hills, and uniformed workers bend over the rows, harvesting the juice. This is the empire of Matteo Alacran, a feudal drug lord in the country of Opium, which lies between the United States and Aztlan, formerly Mexico. Field work, or any menial tasks, are done by “eejits,” humans in whose brains computer chips have been installed to insure docility. Alacran, or El Patron, has lived 140 years with the help of transplants from a series of clones, a common practice among rich men in this world. The intelligence of clones is usually destroyed at birth, but Matt, the latest of Alacran’s doubles, has been spared because he belongs to El Patron…[Spoilers]”

Goodness this woman is great! It’s extremely rare that I keep reading books from the same author unless they’re in a series. (Tom Robbins and John Steinbeck are exceptions) Nancy Farmer has my undivided attention! While her books are technically “Young Adult” I’m finding that I don’t feel the least bit guilty reading them instead of the work required for my various GE courses. I took this book out of the library on Tuesday, and I finished it last night, despite attending all my classes and spending a great deal of time in the studio. I couldn’t put it down! I carried it (hardcover) around in my bag all week, catching bits here and there when I had a free moment. The characters and the plot are captivating and exquisitely crafted, though the ending leaves room for another book. I just discovered that there’s a sequel to Sea of Trolls called Land of the Silver Apples that must have just been released, so maybe that’s where she’s headed with this one!

LOVED IT!

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For the YA Challenge.

Book: The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer
Pages: 455
Entertainment Rating: 5/5
Snooty Rating: 5/5
Total Rating: 10/10
Books Read Total: 15/50
Pages Read Total: 2808/15,000

“The Sea of Trolls is a historical fantasy novel set in a fictional version of 793 C.E. in Anglo-Saxon England, Scandinavia, and Jotunheim. It begins when Jack, a young Saxon boy and the protagonist, is accepted as the village bard’s apprentice. Jack loves learning from the bard who teaches him to better see, hear, and sense the world around him. Jack is content until Northmen invade his village…” Wikiplot

I absolutely cannot say enough good things about this book! I read the first 100 pages or so last night and the rest of it today. All 350 pages or so. I had to make myself put it down when my body demanded that I eat something (that may also be because I can’t taste anything so I don’t want to eat). This book was just so…tight. Well constructed. Engaging. I’m amazed I hadn’t heard of it before, because it could kick Harry Potter’s ass. Rich in mythology and magic, the author does a beautiful job of addressing all the many beliefs existing at the time and it seems to me she remains unbiased about them all (though I think we all know Norse gods were a lot more fun). I was impressed by the appendix in the back, as I hadn’t realized just how much research went into this book. In retrospect it makes perfect sense.

GREAT BOOK!

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What I do when the flu’s got me? I read, and read, and knit, and watch movies, and read. And drink more tea than I thought humanly possible. I should also mention that the flu is a great diet plan, I can’t taste, so I don’t eat!

For the YA Challenge.

Book: The King of Ireland’s Son by Padriac Colum
Pages: 275
Entertainment Rating: 5/5
Snooty Rating: 4/5
Total Rating: 9/10
Books Read Total: 14/50
Pages Read Total: 2353/15,000

I remember being completely obsessed with this book when I was very young. My babysitter would read it to me and to her youngest children on rainy days. This book wasn’t exactly as I remembered it, for some reason I’ve jumbled it in my head with another book that has Baba Yaga in it. (In retrospect that’s silly of me because Baba Yaga is Russian and this is a book of tales from Ireland) Never the less it’s a great book of classic folktales from Ireland constructed in a creative manner, a story of a story within a story, rather than just listed one after the other. Really a great book, I recommend it to anyone with children, looking to entertain children, or who simply enjoys children’s books!

I’m currently reading Nancy Farmer’s The Sea of Trolls and I love it!

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Sick!

And I mean that in the sore throat, no breathing, pounding headache sort of way, not as a synonym for “awesome”.

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I wonder…

I think I’m missing something in these audiobooks. I don’t know if it’s just that my interaction with books in print is so much more intimate, turning each page, reading each word and smelling the musty smell of paper and ink and libraries. I come away from these audiobooks feeling like I do after I watch a movie. I’ve been entertained but I’m not sure how much of it I’ve really retained. Perhaps it’s these short books that are making me feel that way. I literally listened to Of Mice and Men and Fahrenheit 451 straight through without stopping. Maybe I need time to stop and absorbs going on at points that are particularly challenging, or maybe I’m more distracted than I think when I’m working on other projects. I’m not sure what’s up but I think I’m going to stick to more light “reading” for in the studio and save the heavier stuff for the gym and the car and knitting.

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Book: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Pages: Audiobook
Entertainment Rating: 4.5/5
Snooty Rating: 4/5
Total Rating: 8.5/10
Books Read Total: 13/50
Pages Read Total: 2410/15,000

I listened to this book in the studio yesterday and I have to comment on the way that the book I’m listening to effects my work. Saturday was bleak. Of Mice and Men had this feeling of doom that never lifted. At times there was a feeling of hope, but it was always overshadowed with fear.

Actually, even as I wrote the above my opinion changed. Both books are really very similar! Each is about a man (or two or three) realizing that they’re trapped in a cycle they aren’t happy in. Each is striving to find a way out, George and Lennie with their farm, Guy Montag with his interactions with Clarisse. The emotional rollar coaster pretty much follows the same track. What changed the way I was feeling was the endings. I’m not going to say what happens, but Steinbeck definitely left me feeling deflated, while Bradbury gave me some hope.

All that said, this was a very interesting book. I think it’s a great example of a heavily constructed story that actually works. Everything about it seems very intentional, and in my eyes at least it all holds up.

Given the fact that I’m supposed to be writing an essay today I would hope I could find better words with which to express myself, but I’m feeling sick and my brain is mush. Damn it. In short, I quite enjoyed this book!

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