10 most recent
Fri, Jun. 13th, 2008, 05:30 pm
|What American accent do you have? |
Your Result: Boston
|The Inland North|
|What American accent do you have?|
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz
Hey! Here is my LJ posting for the end of the year, "What I read, and did not." (In order, and now with asterisks.)
-What I read in '07-
"Journey to the Center of the Earth" by Jules Verne
I think my interest in this book began when I was twelve, and we had just moved into our 'new' house. I had just got it. The picture on the cover was very cool, and is still cool. But back then I only read the 'Clashing Monsters' excerpt my copy had (about the same Icthyosaurus and Plesiosaurus shown on the cover), and don't think I could have gotten through it at that age anyway. I had always wanted to read it one day, but when a sci-fi special came on tv talking about the rivalry between Verne, and HG Wells, I knew I had to be a part of those formative years of science fiction for myself. The book, as a whole looking back, is really an adventure I was glad to be a part of. It took a very long time for much of anything to get started, and I'm not sure if I have the unabridged or an abridged version. The writing technique is a lot different than what we have today. The characterization and emotion of the story really left a lot to be desired. But, that was Verne's approach for the most part. At least, it was in this book. He set out to offer an incredible idea about something unknown, and set everything else aside. This idea to my knowledge had not been done, and that's something about Verne that I think is amazing--so often, in these early times, being the first to think of some truly wild, sweeping ideas. There are other of his stories I plan to read because of the ideas. The one fleshed out emotion that is present in his story--apart from the excitement you'd expect--is deperation. In this, you really get the feeling of being hungry, or trapped, or like you're just going to run out of time. That, and not knowing what strange things you will find next are what I remember from this book. You know, since I mentioned it, my thoughts turn back to the rivalry of these two sci-fi founders. I read a book each from Verne and Wells respectively this year (Haven't done Mary Shelley), and while I love Verne's ideas, and sympathize with the uphill struggle he faced from Wells, there were elements of Wells' writing that lasted in a meaningful way, and it was for a reason. Wells explored the emotions of people, and I'm finding more and more that is what I lean toward. It's kind of ironical, but I think the story of Jules Verne, the man, may be more a sensation for me than any wild adventure, no matter how fun, he told.
"Halo: the Fall of Reach" by Eric Nylund
A kid I used to work with was such a fan of this video game. He'd come in every day telling me how he played Halo right after school, and I think he entered a Halo tournament at Game-Spot. I figured I needed an easier read after Verne, and he was into the novel series of this game too. He let me borrow this first prequil. I was surprised that I really did enjoy it. While it is a complete commercial for the video game, and certainly has its share of cliches, the mythology of the game is cool, and the plot was really exciting. Thanks, Blake.
"Squeeze" by Elen Steiber
This is a book, like Journey to the Center of the Earth, that I got as a kid, and never read. I got it at one of those Scholastic book fairs. It's part of a [looks up on Wikipedia] 'juvenile series (middle grade.)' I read it in a night or two, and I quite liked revisiting Moulder and Scully long after the show had been cancelled. They have to stop an ancient supernatural murderer who's stayed alive so long by eating human livers. Yep, that was the X-files.
"The Invisible Man" By H.G. Wells
This really was awesome, and stood out among a couple other books I read this year. It had comedy, and was really lighthearted in the beginning, but the strongest (and best) aspect of the novel was its turn into a dark human catastrophe. That's what I will remember. That's not what I expected when I thought to read the original story of a character that became popularized in horror films. That aspect came so naturally, and without restraint that I really respected...just the way it was written. Wells is totally different from Verne. He is not the 'science' in science-fiction--he's the fiction that must be rooted in fact. I don't know if the idea of being turned completely invisible from drinking a potion had been done earlier. But the strength of this story is that invisiblity is meaningful on different levels. I personally think this just beats up on "War of the Worlds". That story might have frightened people with Martians, but this story was about human isolation. Sinking away to depths. The invisible man of the story was a character--the villain--but he was also each of us, and I cared about him.
"The Count of Monte Cristo" by Alexandre Dumas
Never have I read a story that so builds up characters and lays groundwork for plots to explode. I can see why it is maybe Stephanie's favorite book. I read the abridged version, but it's really long anyways, and that was the only used copy they had at the comic book store, over the summer. (Since, That's Entertainment has moved out of the plaza, and getting used books at my usual rate is tricky!) But, talk about revenge. And recurring characters--whoa! I loved it. It's a masterpiece, and discovered it was about halfway through. You have to read this romantic classic for yourself. It was a great experience.
"Riding the Bullet" by Stephen King *
* = audio.
I listened to this story. I listened to it while falling to sleep in bed a couple times, which can be a pleasantly weird thing, but really is just a dumb idea because I realized I'd actually like to know what is going on. So, replaying them, I realized I did like it. I am wary of reading Stephen King books, because I feel all writings after his accident are about himself, and about his accident, which is disappointing. The movie "IT" scared the shit out of me when I was a little kid, and I think "Cat's Eye" is one of the greatest movies on earth. I grew up, and my mother was a huge fan. In any event, this story was not of his new stuff. It's about a college kid hitchiking to see his hospitalized mother. On one of the rides, he makes a deal with the driver who says either he can live or his mother can. Somebody's got to die. I just loved that he chose for himself to live on, and had to live with it, even if her death was not for some years. Oh yes, "I rode the bullet at Thrill Village, Laconia."
"Odd John" by Olaf Stapledon
This is a story that frustrated me in the way it was written. The paragraph-after-paragraph style. Though it was interesting, there was so much explanation. But I guess I have to remember it was written as a 'mere mortal journalist's' account of what went on when he met one of the most squirelly superintelligent beings the world will ever know. I think the ideas of the book are stunning. The idea of youth being a revolution. The idea of the superhumans being interpreted as a metaphor for teenage idealism. The colony John and his followers start is exciting, and their collective suicide is deeply sad, but you are made to believe it was the right thing to do. They were scared they would be discovered, and split up, and altered by the neanderthal-type regular humans. Us. You? Of course the reader could identify with John. That a Utopia just might be able to work if you are commited to it. That is the beauty of this story. You could be seeing a smartmouth kid, or an uptight rest-of-the-world. I love that. I love that it was written as a true account that the 'not wide awake' beings in our time would deem as fiction. Characterization? In my opinion, the deepest single 'character' in the story is Jacqueline. She's a superintelligent woman who was a combination prostitute and counselor. Before there was life-coaching. Her character was brief, but was so irreverant, and touched upon so much that must have been dicey in 1935. But, all told, society is the character. The technique is not mind-blowing, but this is one of my all-time favorite reads.
"Blaze" by Richard Bachman
Okay, Richard Bachman is not Richard Bach, or even Richard Bachman. It is actually Stephen King's pseudonym. This is the only King book I've actually 'read' in it's entirety. This was typical Stephen King, I thought, in style and entertainment value. The horror aspect was that Blaze--a criminal with diminished capacity--is talking throughout the novel to his dead accomplice. It's not bad. I get attached to Blaze and his New England childhood stories. I was pulling for him to get away from the cops with that kidnapped infant he grew to love, but it was not to be. Oh yeah--there's a short story in the back of this book which I'm positive must be his new stuff. What does it deal with? A man's accident, and his resulting anger. I didn't get through it, so maybe this one should go in my 'did not' section?
"Stargate: Rebellion" by Bill McKay
(Hooray for Chy book #1!) I'm very glad I decided to read this when I did. At the time, I was having surging science-fiction-y feelings, from trying to write the high moments of "The Variant Star." Reading this came at the right time. The writing itself is not superb, nor was the plot sensationally paced (but solid), and the characters are not all unique or magnetic. Ah, but it is geared to young adults. Ah, but it's Stargate. The official novel sequel to Stargate. I for one was glad to have something clarified that I thought to be completely unrelated to Egyptology. The goddess of love or violence (or both) Hathor--is the Egyptian cat goddess. I ripped off that deity's name a while ago for a comic story villain. And I had no idea she was a cat. The most endearing aspect to her character in this story is that, when she is revived from a long sleep by the remnants of Ra's empire, she is worried that she will have 'an overblown reputation.' That still makes me laugh aloud. All in all it held true to much of what the movie offered, and was a fun adventure, and featured a giant flying pyramid--made cooler by the fact that it made me pop in the movie again. Daniel Jackson, of course, is again the best character in both stories.
"Jonathan Livingston Seagull" by Richard Bach
(Hooray for Chy book #2!) In order to properly say in words what this story made me feel, I must share a personal story. Five days before I decided I was ready to read this, my cat Grim went outside, around the time of a severe snow and ice storm. We did not hear from him, he did not return to the house in several days. Conventional wisdom made us assume the worst, and my mother was really broken up because of it, and because he would have been the second cat we lost in about a year. The night I read Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and felt the feelings of open-mindedness, freedom, learning beyond your 'limits,' and elevating the world through your own practice, I had the sense that I had to get to know me better. Just like Fletcher Lynd Seagull had to know himself. While reading, I was so into the story that I did not realize I was leaning on my wrist for a very long time. It was painful and numb. The couple of hours I read it were truly a changing experience. The most fluid wisdom I found in the story was the idea of heaven being your own effort at something that makes you happy. I did not expect to find seagulls transferring their physical forms. Fletcher Lynd 'died,' may have disappeared, and came back because that's just how it works, and what he chose. A few hours after I finished the book, set it down, and put the jacket back on it--I shit you not--my cat came back. There were jokes and whispers about a certain Christmas miracle that night, but I know it wasn't that, or even the power of the gull. I know, even in this small instance, that it's just how life works. It was really something.
"Writers of the Future: Volume Twenty-Two", various authors
I mentioned a couple of the books on this whole list before, and I know a whole entry was centered around one story, "Games on the Children's Ward" by Michail Velichansky. It was the best short story of this writing anthology, in my opinion, and I knew there would not be another one quite like it. About death and irrational childhood fears, you could tell it was written from real emotion and experience. This story was in the middle of the book, and when I finished it, I just didn't feel like finishing the entire anthology at the time. I love knowing what other 'new' writers (and winners) are turning out, so I probably will go back to it sometime.
"The Dead Zone" by Stephen King
Wow, this guy's kind of a recurring theme! I know this is one of his best, and probably that I would like it very much, but the truth is I never had the devotion to it early on to read it cover to cover. Perhaps I felt it was slow, or perhaps it required a lot of groundworking, but I only got about 3 chapters. I guess "The Invisible Man" was the other classic I became interested in around this time.
"The Key to Psychic Money" by the Norvell*
* = the title. I don't know what it actually is. The 'author' could be wrong too. I could go upstairs and check, but it really isn't worth it. I was in a desperate frame of mind when I picked this up over the summer, and all you need to know of this book, is my rough quote: "Chant like this to release your full cosmic energy: I want money-money-power!" [laughs] (This whole attempt at reading was an asterisk.) Although, like L. Ron Hubbard, the author had--at one time anyways--a serious following, and I think he was more of a magician than a writer, or shaman.
"Finding Moon" by Tony Hillerman
I'm kind of laughing at myself right now because this is one of the people I listed in my book 4's as an author I would 'read and read again.' I don't nececarilly think that was a premature statement, but I admit it was an opinon formed on the movie "Skinwalkers" which was a film based on one of his Navajo tales. This story interested me, and "Finding Moon" was another straight-up fiction book I 'needed' to read. (Mainly because it was straight-up fiction and not science-fiction.) It was hard to ease into this particular story. I do not like the cliches in the main character, how's he's a former football star, and how he's the responsible older brother. I like the overall idea of trying to find his lost niece in the latter days of the Vietnam War. It will be a good mystery and dose of history when I finally do get into it.
Wow. And that's 2007. I have a couple of good 'classes' of stories since I began keeping track of all this. It is interesting to see how what I'm reading sometimes reflects what I'm going through myself. Okay, time to sign off for '07. It's been cool, my LJ friends. Oh. This is somewhat off-beat, but I'd just like to say that I really like the smell of Chy's books. [inhales deeply] O' cigarette smokes and love...
You're Cat's Cradle!
by Kurt Vonnegut
You believe quite firmly that free will deserted you long ago and far
away. As a result, it's hard to take responsibility for anything. Even though you show
great potential as a leader of a small 3rd world country, the choices are all made ahead
of time. You're rather fond of games involving string. Your fear of nuclear weaponry is
trumped only by your fear of ice.
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.