Posted by: chartroose | July 23, 2009

I Triple Dog Dare You!

I was looking at My Friend Amy’s blog yesterday and ran into a really interesting contest.  Because it seems so fun, I  decided to invite several bloggers to participate in this easy and cheesy event.  Here are the details:

Do you take the Dare?

Maybe your best friend only reads romances or maybe all he watches is
sports.  You think that s/he needs to branch out, but what can you do?
Well, what did you do when you were younger?  You dared people to
do things that they might not normally do.  So, why not dare your
friend to read your 10 favorite books by Stephen King?  Or maybe
your 10 favorite episodes of “The Big Bang Theory.”  Or perhaps
your 10 favorite Bollywood films?  Or whatever else comes to mind.

Here are the rules of this challenge:

1. Snag the snazzy I Dare You to Accept This Challenge Logo and create your dare using the following format:

_________ I dare you to accept this challenge. I dare you to complete at least 5 of the 10 items on the list below (though I triple dog dare you to tackle them all!)

(your list goes here)

This challenge must be completed in: (6 days?, 6 months?, 6 years? its up to you!)

If you fail in this challenge you must __________________

But if you succeed then I will ______________________

If you choose to accept this dare you must follow these rules:

  • Blog about your acceptance and log in with Mr Linky on the correct Acceptance Post here.
  • Blog about your thoughts after completing each item. When you’ve completed the challenge check in with Mr Linky on the correct Completed Challenge Post on the I Dare You to Accept This Challenge Blog!
  • Once you accept (or complete) this challenge then make a list of 10 related items (ie all Bollywood movies, your favorite tv show or book series, favorite genre of books etc) and challenge one of your friends…even the one who challenged you!
  • Need help deciding on a dare? Check out what others are doing here.

2. Once you’ve challenged your friend be sure to stop back here and let everyone know who you’ve challenged. Then sit back and see how they do!
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I have chosen Care, Jill, Lisa, Trish, Heather and Joanne to be my victims, and
I hope they all accept!  I have asked each of them to do the following by
January 1, 2010:

Care — Watch 10 Bergman films
Jill – Watch 10 surfer films
Lisa — Watch 10 musicals
Trish — Watch 10 episodes of Sex & the City
Heather — Watch 10 classic 1970’s era Battlestar Galactica episodes
Joanne – Watch 10 episodes of Monty Python’s Flying Circus
 
Why don’t YOU play along?  Think of someone to challenge and just do it, baby!
Posted by: chartroose | July 17, 2009

Chartroose’s Casting Couch

I don’t know if you’ve been able to sense this lately, but I’m currently without a squeeze, so I’m getting kind of antsy here.  Now, since this is a respectable ( = book blog, and not some trashy, cheesy hormonal teenybopper fanzine, I’ve been wracking my brain about how I can justify displaying mouth-watering pics of delicious men without seeming like a cheesy hormonal teenybopper.  Perhaps if I somehow tie these photos into imaginary movie adaptations of well-known novels, it will seem a bit less lecherous and a bit more socially acceptable.  (Har, who am I trying to fool?  This is all eye-candy, replete with occassional hip dips).  Let the casting begin!
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Les Miserables

The most recent movie adaptation of this novel was released about 10 years ago, and it starred Liam Neeson as Jean Valjean.  I think it’s time for an updated version to be released, don’t you?  I have the perfect actor for the role, and he’s French too!

This is Gaspard Ulliel, and he’s a huge big deal in France.  He may not have the acting chops quite yet, but I don’t think any of his female fans will care.
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Pride and Prejudice

Forget Colin Firth and forget Matthew MacFayden, there’s a new Darcy in town, and he’s going to put all the past Darcy’s to shame.  Here he is:

Don’t you agree?
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Great Expectations

I wasn’t crazy about the 1998 version starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Ethan Hawke.  IMO, Ethan was dreadfully boring and didn’t fit the role of Finnegan at all.  Now, if there were to be a very attractive young man cast in the starring role, and if this very attractive young man were to be shirtless during most of the film, it might be worth a remake.  I’m thinking that this guy would fill the bill very well:

His name is Taylor Kitsch, and he stars in Friday Night Lights, (which I have never seen, and I’m thinkin’ I might have to rent it immediately)!  Don’t you think Taylor would make a fine, fine, FINE Finn?  “Come here, young Mr. Kitsch, and rest on my couch for awhile. Can I get you anything, umm, anything at all?”

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Dracula

How about Kevin Zegers?  I saw this guy in Transamerica and was quite impressed with his performance.  He’s edgy and intense, and it doesn’t hurt that he has killer eyes too.  He’s 25 now, and that’s old enough to play the Prince of Darkness, dont’cha think?

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I have to post pictures of this guy, even though I’m not sure what book-to-movie adaptation he should be in. I don’t think it really matters, as long as he’s semi-clothed in most of the shots. I sometimes wonder how he would have done as Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings franchise.  Could he have performed as well as Viggo?  I guess we’ll never know.


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One more thing before I go — Jonathan Rhys Myers MUST be included, just because. He could be in any adaptation, and it would receive raves from me. WOOT!!!

Posted by: chartroose | July 15, 2009

And the Winners Are…

Florinda — The Silver Linings Playbook

Meghan — The School of Essential Ingredients

Jack — Mudbound

Michelle — A Question of Attraction

Joanne — The Help

Congratulations to all of you!  Please send your snail mail addresses to chartroose at yahoo dot com.  If you don’t want the book you won, let me know and I’ll choose another winner.

Also, Jack, I’ve seen “Starter for 10.”  It was pretty good, and I love James McAvoy.

I’m going to be changing back to a Monty Python banner.  I would keep Rupert, but it kind of makes me feel like an old lech.  He’ll be turning 21 next month, so he’s just a baby.  I do think it’s time for me to post another hunk-o-rama photo spread, though.  Maybe I’ll do it on Friday, and get back to serious book blogging (har) next week.

Posted by: chartroose | July 10, 2009

I’m Baaack! Did You Miss Me?

Well, fellow bloggers, I took a much longer break than was originally intended.  It just felt so GOOD to be a non-blogger for awhile.  I don’t think I could ever be a journalist working to deadlines — ugh!

Now I’m ready to rock-n-roll again, and because I’m feeling a little guilty about abandoning my online friends for so long, I’ve decided to host one of the biggest giveaways in the history of chartroose giveaways.  This time, I’ll be giving away five new books (which I will buy after the winners are chosen).  These are novels I have purchased on Kindle but haven’t read yet.  I will pick FIVE WINNERS on Wednesday, July 15 at around noon, and then I will buy the books from Amazon and have them sent directly to the winner’s homes.  The choice of book for each person will be random (if you’ve already read one of them, let me know in the comments and I’ll be sure to give the novel away to another winner).  This giveaway is open to all comers, including expatriates and strange old British people.

When you leave a comment, please do me a favor and let me know whether you love or hate my new Rupert Grint banner.  Do you want me to go back to Monty Python?

Here are the novels I’ll be giving away:

Publisher’s Weekly Review:
Pat Peoples, the endearing narrator of this touching and funny debut, is down on his luck. The former high school history teacher has just been released from a mental institution and placed in the care of his mother. Not one to be discouraged, Pat believes he has only been on the inside for a few months–rather than four years–and plans on reconciling with his estranged wife. Refusing to accept that their “apart time” is actually a permanent separation, Pat spends his days and nights feverishly trying to become the man she had always desired. Our hapless hero makes a “friend” in Tiffany, the mentally unstable, widowed sister-in-law of his best friend, Ronnie. Each day as Pat heads out for his 10-mile run, Tiffany silently trails him, refusing to be shaken off by the object of her affection. The odd pair try to navigate a timid friendship, but as Pat is unable to discern friend from foe and reality from deranged optimism, every day proves to be a cringe-worthy adventure. Pat is as sweet as a puppy, and his offbeat story has all the markings of a crowd-pleaser.
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Publisher’s Weekly Review:
In this remarkable debut, Bauermeister creates a captivating world where the pleasures and particulars of sophisticated food come to mean much more than simple epicurean indulgence. Respected chef and restaurateur Lillian has spent much of her 30-something years in the kitchen, looking for meaning and satisfaction in evocative, delicious combinations of ingredients. Endeavoring to instill that love and know-how in others, Lillian holds a season of Monday evening cooking classes in her restaurant. The novel takes up the story of each of her students, navigating readers through the personal dramas, memories and musings stirred up as the characters handle, slice, chop, blend, smell and taste. Each student’s affecting story — painful transitions, difficult choices — is rendered in vivid prose and woven together with confidence. Delivering memorable story lines and characters while seducing the senses, Bauermeister’s tale of food and hope is certain to satisfy.
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Publishers Weekly Review:
Jordan’s beautiful debut (winner of the 2006 Bellwether Prize for literature of social responsibility) carries echoes of As I Lay Dying, complete with shifts in narrative voice, a body needing burial, flood and more. In 1946, Laura McAllan, a college-educated Memphis schoolteacher, becomes a reluctant farmer’s wife when her husband, Henry, buys a farm on the Mississippi Delta, a farm she aptly nicknames Mudbound. Laura has difficulty adjusting to life without electricity, indoor plumbing, readily accessible medical care for her two children and, worst of all, life with her live-in misogynous, racist, father-in-law. Her days become easier after Florence, the wife of Hap Jackson, one of their black tenants, becomes more important to Laura as companion than as hired help. Catastrophe is inevitable when two young WWII veterans, Henry’s brother, Jamie, and the Jacksons’ son, Ronsel, arrive, both battling nightmares from horrors they’ve seen, and both unable to bow to Mississippi rules after eye-opening years in Europe. Jordan convincingly inhabits each of her narrators, though some descriptive passages can be overly florid, and the denouement is a bit maudlin. But these are minor blemishes on a superbly rendered depiction of the fury and terror wrought by racism.
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Publishers Weekly Review
This entertaining first novel by an English television writer tells the story of Brian Jackson, an unworldly but affable college freshman whose main ambition in life is to compete on the BBC quiz show University Challenge (a Jeopardy-like game show in which schools compete against each other; in the U.K., the show is a national institution). Between securing one of the four coveted spots on his school’s team for the show, Brian chases after two girls: Alice, a beautiful but aloof actress who is also on the squad, and Rebecca, an artsy intellectual who thinks Brian’s ambition to be on the show is silly and bourgeois. A visit from Brian’s hometown pal Spencer brings the class tensions roiling beneath the novel’s surface to the fore, but Nicholls is more interested in comedy than pathos. Some of the humor is very British (“I’m sharing my house with a right pair of bloody Ruperts”), and Nicholls waxes overly nostalgic for his 1980s setting, but the writing is often sharp and funny (number four on Brian’s list of New Year’s resolutions: “Become lightly muscled”). Unexpected developments at the final University Challenge match bring the novel to a rather unlikely conclusion, but readers will root for hapless, engaging Brian as he struggles his way out of adolescence.
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Publishers Weekly Review:
Starred Review. What perfect timing for this optimistic, uplifting debut novel (and maiden publication of Amy Einhorn’s new imprint) set during the nascent civil rights movement in Jackson, Miss., where black women were trusted to raise white children but not to polish the household silver. Eugenia Skeeter Phelan is just home from college in 1962, and, anxious to become a writer, is advised to hone her chops by writing about what disturbs you. The budding social activist begins to collect the stories of the black women on whom the country club sets relies and mistrusts enlisting the help of Aibileen, a maid who’s raised 17 children, and Aibileen’s best friend Minny, who’s found herself unemployed more than a few times after mouthing off to her white employers. The book Skeeter puts together based on their stories is scathing and shocking, bringing pride and hope to the black community, while giving Skeeter the courage to break down her personal boundaries and pursue her dreams. Assured and layered, full of heart and history, this one has bestseller written all over it.

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Later, Gators!

Posted by: chartroose | June 15, 2009

The Secret Keeper

Paul Harris, 2009, 318 p.

In 2005/2006, while my Mother was in end-stage Alzheimer’s, Dad hired some home care workers to help with the day-to-day caregiving.  Most of Mom’s home health aides were originally from Africa, and one of them was from Sierra Leone.  J___ was such a kind-hearted person; the day after Mom died, she stopped by and sat in our kitchen and wept.  She was genuinely concerned about Dad’s well-being, and it was so touching and special to share our grief with this beautiful woman.  Now, in retrospect, I wonder if a few of those tears were for herself and her family.  J___ had always been close-mouthed about her experiences in Sierra Leone, but I know she was haunted by memories of the recent war that had destroyed so much of what was good about her country.  I also know that she was very concerned about the surviving members of her poverty-stricken family, and was working very hard to help some of them make it to the U. S.

I’m enormously pleased I was asked by TLC Book Tours to read and review a novel about Sierra Leone, because of J___ and also because The Secret Keeper is the type of novel that is right up my alley.  The book is chock-full of intrigue and action, it has a well-developed plot and characterizations, and it left me wanting to learn more about the place and its people.

Here’s a quick synopsis:  Danny Kellerman is a British journalist who is tormented by memories of his experiences as a correspondent in Sierra Leone during the civil war.  His ex-girlfriend is killed in a suspicious “roadside robbery,” and Danny travels back to the place that has haunted his dreams for so long to try solve the mystery of her death.  Things do not go well for him, and…  That’s all I’m going to say about the plot, because I don’t want to give it all away!

Paul Harris was a correspondent in Sierra Leone during the conflict, so I’m pretty sure he drew from some of his own experiences while writing The Secret Keeper.  I’m glad he wrote about a subject that must be near and dear to him because it shows.  It’s obvious that his knowledge of the subject added extra depth and moral complexity to this novel.   It’s obvious, too, that he has been a writer all his life.  This doesn’t even seem like a first novel.  If I didn’t know better, I’d think that The Secret Keeper is one of several or many great novels written by Paul Harris.

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Knowing J___ for the brief period that I did, and knowing that things are often not as good as they appear, I decided to try to find out a bit more about the current state of Sierra Leone.  SL is still struggling to pull itself out of the abyss.  Several human rights groups have recently reported that poverty is as bad as ever, and many children, some as young as 10, are still being used for slave labor in the diamond mines.  {Sigh}  They are often abused, they receive little to no medical care or schooling, and they usually work for over 12 hours a day.  Child soldiers may be gone, but the children still suffer.

It’s such a dilemma–if we boycott diamonds, then familes will starve even more.  If we don’t boycott, these terrible abuses will continue to occur.  We should make Sierra Leone a “do-over” –move everyone out, clean up the mess, and start over again from scratch.  We should do the same with Texas, too ( =  

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Here are some photos of Sierra Leone, past and present:

 

 

 

I don’t know which are worse, the pictures of happy people or the sad photos.  They all make my heart hurt.

Posted by: chartroose | June 4, 2009

Taking a Bit of a Break

I’m feeling (and looking) a bit like this poor unfortunate, except I can’t even use addiction as an excuse!  There’s just too much work and not enough down time happening right now.

I have a traumatic brain injury presentation to give next week, so I’m kind of stressing out about that, especially since I haven’t even started preparing for it.  I’m presenting to a bunch of directors and administrators, and I’m really afraid that I’m going to f*#k it up, thus ruining my budding reputation (har) as a bad-ass speaker.  Actually, I HATE public speaking, but people keep wanting me to do it and I have problems saying no.  Hey, maybe I should totally mess it up so they never ask me again!

I’m a hospital librarian, and we are a dying breed.  Many of my colleagues are either having their hours cut or are losing their jobs altogether.  One of my closest librarian friends here in town recently lost her job, and she worked for her employer for over twenty years!  She found out that they were going to shut the library down on a Monday, and by Friday of that same week, she was out the door.  She had to fight for a severance package too (those bastards).  She fine, though; she’s now working at the Univ. of Texas, Austin.  They snapped her up right away.

I’m one of two medical librarians in the Springs who is working full-time (or working at all).  The other full-timer works for the military, so she doesn’t really count.  Non-military folks aren’t usually allowed in her library, so it’s basically little ol’ me who provides most of the specialized medical info and resources for this neck of the woods, and it has become pretty demanding.  I’m getting calls from physicians I’ve never even heard of, and some of them are asking for complex and lengthy medical information searches.  I’m also starting to provide fee-for-service work to a couple of government agencies here in town (that have a biomedical focus).  It seems like I’m THE medical information broker for Colorado Springs and its surrounding communities.  Maybe I should ask for a raise!

I’m pretty burned-out at the moment.  If I’m not searching for CDC Tuberculosis guidelines for a freaked-out family practice physician, I’m providing telephone reference to a person who wants to find out about a drug-drug interaction, or I’m showing a group of nurses how to search for evidence based nursing information on one of our databases, or I’m trying to locate a very old medical book entitled A Treatise on the Scurvy, which was written in the mid-1700’s and can’t be found in any of my affliated lending libraries.

So, I’m going to take a blogging break for a week or two, and I’m going to try to catch up and de-stress a bit.  If all goes as planned, I will return to blogging a new gal, and I will be every bit as lovely as my alter-ego was when she was in her prime.  In case you’ve forgotten, I look almost exactly like this when I’m feeling rested and healthy, well, except for the hair.  And the pearls–I don’t do pearls.


(BTW — I’m a liar. I’m waaaay better looking than Grace Kelly)!

SEE YOU IN ABOUT A WEEK!

Posted by: chartroose | May 28, 2009

Weekly Geeks — Favorite Blogs Part One (Old Friends)

In case you haven’t noticed, I kind of follow my own agenda, so I’m many months late with this weekly geeks post.  I have 76 Bloglines feeds, and out of those 76, there are probably 20 or so I try to read the minute I notice there has been a new submission (unless I’m too busy to care).  Out of those 20, there are about 8 that I feel compelled to comment on more than any of the others.  I’m now going to list “The Excellent Eight”, complete with icons!  Someday, I may figure out how to add these pictures to my sidebar without making a mess of things. 

1. Eva — A Striped Armchair
Eva must be some kind of a genius. She reads quickly and critically and then writes great posts about her reading adventures on her blog. She’s just a young ‘un (early 20’s), and she can do practically everything! When I grow up I want to be like her. (For some peculiar reason, I always call her Evil-ah in my mind). I’ve even thought of this little icon for Eva:

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 2.  Heather — Age 30+…A Lifetime of Books
Heather appeals to my geeky science fiction/fantasy side.  I became an instant fan when I learned that she read The Hobbit when she was six years old and enjoyed it!  Okay Ms. Smarty-Pants, you may be my superior in the reading arena, but can you talk like such a convincing retro hippie chick that people will start hallucinating the moment you open your mouth?  I’LL BET NOT!  (Now that I think about it, they might start hallucinating as a means to escape my hippie chick impersonation.  What.ev.er).  Anyway, Heather is very erudite and cerebral and I love to read her blog posts.  Due to our mutual LOTR addiction, I always picture Heather as a lovely elf maiden:
 

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3. Jennifer — The Literate Housewife
I felt connected to Jennifer from the moment I became aware of her existence. There’s just something about her; a good aura I experience whenever I look at her blog and whenever she responds to mine. It’s almost like we’ve known each other all our lives.  If Jennifer lived here in Colorado, I know we’d be great friends.  I can just picture us giggling together like schoolgirls.  I know that Jennifer loves Jane Austen and old fashioned stuff, so if I were to choose an icon for her, it would be something like this:

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4. Verbivore — Incurable Logophilia
Verbivore has inspired my current reading life more than any other blogger I visit.  I think she’s probably WAY smarter than I am, and, I hate to admit it, but she may even be a bit cooler than I am too.  She’s very well-read and she writes beautifully and speaks French fluently and is a true aesthete.  She introduced me to Nadine Gordimer (I was totally blown-away by July’s People, BTW), and I’ve been rereading some of her reviews for more inspiration.  Whenever I picture Verbivore, I see a sleek, sophisticated “woman about town.”  Here is my Verbivore icon:

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5.  Lisa  — Books on the Brain
Lisa was one of my first readers, and she immediately drew me into her warm and cozy world of, well, Lisa.  She has such an ease about her that I feel like I’m home every time I venture over to her blog.  Her writing style is comfortable as well, and I really appreciate this, especially when I just want to relax and enjoy a few of my fellow bloggers’ observations during a stressful workday.  I’ve never met Lisa, but I have the feeling that she has some major charisma going on there.  I’ll bet she draws people to her wherever she goes.  It doesn’t hurt that she’s beautiful, too!  Here’s my icon for Lisa:

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6.  Care — Care’s Online Book Club
Care will probably hate me for saying this, but she seems adorably sweet and vulnerable to me.  She has told me that she’s not at all shy or demure, but I don’t believe her.  She’s lovable and cute and cuddly, dammit, and I don’t care what she says!  I enjoy reading Care’s blog because it’s a fun mishmash of humorous ramblings about what she’s reading, written in a kind of unique journal style.  She’s an original, that’s for sure!  So, Care Bear, here is my picture for you (and yep, it’s totally saccharrine):

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7.  Trish — Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?
Trish was one of my original commenters, and I remember thinking I had really hit the big time when I visited her blog and realized that she had a huge fan base.  That she would deign to speak to little ol’ me thrilled me to no end, and I continue to be thrilled every time I hear from her.  Trish has got it all:  she’s humorous, smart, creative and dynamic, and I’ve been told that she’s pretty amazing to hang out with!  Here’s my icon for Trish:

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8.  Jill — Fizzy Thoughts
I don’t remember how I met Jill here in cyberspace, but I do know that once I did, there was absolutely no turning back!  I think Jill is the one of the most humorous book bloggers out there, and she’s super creative too.  She’s always making up silly rhymes and songs, and her site is an absolute joy to visit.  I have the feeling that Jill and I may have strangely similar personalities.  If we were twins, Jill would be the funny one and I would be the evil one.  I’d get us into trouble, and Jill would joke our way out of it.  I just know we’d make quite a pair!  I now think of Jill as Jillora, and this icon matches the name perfectly:

  (Night elves can be pretty intimidating)!

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That’s it for now.  I’ll be doing this again soon because there are many more bloggers I want to celebrate.

Later, Gators!

Posted by: chartroose | May 27, 2009

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

 

Lisa See, 2005, 253 p.

Word up, dawgs!  I’m in the reading spirit again (thank goodness).  For awhile there, I just couldn’t get motivated enough to read more than 15 or 20 minutes a day, but now I’m chugging right along.  I’ve finished four novels in a fairly short period of time, and the first one is Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.

Lisa (Books on the Brain) recommended it to me, and I’m very grateful to her because I never would have chosen it on my own.  It seemed too “girly” for my taste.  Reading a frou-frou novel such as this could easily spoil my good-ol’-gal reputation (like I have one, har)!  Snow Flower surprised me because it isn’t frou-frou at all.  It’s about women, that’s true, but the women in this novel represent all of us, and the story is a universal one of betrayal and redemption.

Snow Flower is set in 19th century China before, during and after the Taiping Rebellion.  The central characters are two girls who are bound by society’s repressive restrictions in many different ways, the most obvious restriction having to do with the binding of their feet.

This disgusting practice occurred off and on throughout early Chinese history.  I’ve always been quite puzzled by the appeal of these tiny little feet.  If a person can barely walk, then what good is she?  The two things that  bother me the most about foot binding are these:

1.  Mothers agreed to do this to their own daughters.  What if they had refused?  Would they have been beaten?  Humiliated?  That would’ve been a small price to pay for the preservation of their daughter’s physical well-being.  Instead of a Taiping Rebellion, there should’ve been a Mothering Rebellion!

2.  These deformities were considered to be erotic.  I’m pretty sure men would’ve been totally turned-off if they were allowed to see the unbound feet of their wives and concubines. 
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There’s so much more to this novel than just icky foot binding.  Snow Flower is essentially about very dysfunctional relationships in a very dysfunctional misogynistic society.  Every relationship in the novel is abusive to one degree or another.  Mothers deny daughters the affection they so desperately need; fathers ignore and/or mistreat daughters because they are lowly females; husbands and mothers-in-law abuse wives; sisters and girlfriends lie and manipulate and hurt each other in order to to advance their positions in society.  Where did the love go?  How did this place and time in Chinese history become so dystopic?  This is just another example of man’s inhumanity, and it further validates my personal philosophy about the human animal:  “Life’s a bitch, and so are you.”
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Now for a parting thought or two:

Foot binding isn’t the only stupid and ugly thing that women (and some men) have done in the name of “beauty.”  Here are a few more examples:

Sorry, everyone, for being a day late with the winner announcement.  Things have been Krazy with a kapital “K” around here.  This HAS to let up sometime!

I did my eenie-meenies, and here are the winners:

Vasily has won The Borrowers books, and
nomadreader has won the Westerfeld series.

Congrats to both of you!  It looks like you have blogs, too, so perhaps we can become blogging companions.  Please e-mail your snail mail addresses to chartroose at yahoo dot com.

Deuces, dudes!

Posted by: chartroose | May 14, 2009

For the Child in All of Us

 

This week is Children’s Book Week.  I’ve always loved kid’s books, and 
sometimes when I need a little pick-me-up, I’ll curl up with A. A. Milne or Rudyard Kipling and escape into a great adventure.  It works every time. 

Lately, I’ve noticed a vast improvement in teen reads (except for the current overabundance of ridiculous vampire romances.  They totally suck!  Yep, they’re bloody awful!)  Teen novels are much more realistic than they used to be.  Their themes cover everything from drug abuse to bullying to homosexuality.  Every once in awhile, I’ll read one and be very impressed by the sophistication of the story.  It’s wonderful that authors are acknowledging the humanity of teens, and it’s about time!

In honor of Children’s Book Week, I’ve decided to give some books away.  These were are favorites of mine, and I can’t wait to choose the winners. 

The first group of books I’ll be giving away is this series in paperback format:

 I LOVED these back in the day.  (I haven’t read The Borrowers Avenged yet, since I wasn’t aware that Mary Norton had written a later one).  They will be arriving at my house soon.  If it takes awhile for the winner to receive them, and the last one seems a little too dog-eared to be new, then please forgive my “borrowing!”

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The other series I’ll be giving away is this one:

These are excellent teen sci-fi novels–I enjoyed them almost as much as John Christopher’s Tripod Trilogy.  I haven’t read Extras yet, so it may be a bit more worn than the others, although you probably won’t be able to tell since I bought all of them used (and most are paperback) from abebooks.com.  Older daughter has taken my set of these books and refuses to return them.  Such insolence!  I’m surrounded by thieves!

If you’d like a chance to win either or both of these series, leave a comment specifying your desires.  I’ll do the eenie-meenie game at around noon or thereabouts on Wednesday, May 20.  Good luck!

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