Sunday, November 05, 2006


Finished Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld. Quite good! Entertaining, somewhat predictable. Maybe more for me because I tend to enjoy dystopic stuff - I mean dystopias that REALLY SEEM like utopias, where the antagonist is not a clear-cut villain. (Yes, Mr. Orwell, I'm ranting against you and your silly 1984. Pf. As IF anyone would say it was better than Brave New World! The idea!) Anyway, I've reserved Pretties at the library. It's the second book in the trilogy; the third is Specials, and they also have that one. Anyway, I really liked the way he picked out certain details of the futuristic world to emphasize, like the way the hoverboards worked. Other things like that were left as nuances, but by picking out a few things he gave the world depth without getting bogged down in explaining the world rather than continuing with the story. So, yeah, definitely liked it. I maaaay see if I can get another copy from McCay's (where I got this one) and start it out as a set for my Dystopia unit, along with Anthem and The Giver and Brave New World. I can't use Farenheit 451, 1984 or Animal Farm because they're all 10th grade books.

Also finished Lesley Downer's Women of the Pleasure Quarters. She does really well showing the ebb and flow of the various eras of Japanese culture and the quasi-cyclical rising and falling of popularity between the different geisha districts. I found it actually kind of funny how geisha in each district would say that theirs focused on art, but that THOSE OTHER geisha were nothing more than prostitutes! As an outsider, it was difficult sometimes for me to see the differences; it felt like there was a lot of repetition. I must admit, I am glad that I live in America, where it is no longer strange for a wife to expect fidelity as well as give it!

Started The Middle Mind, by Curtis White. Supposedly, this was going to be about "Why Americans Don't Think For Themselves" (the book's subtitle). He has this loooong introduction where he tries to defend himself against charges of snobbery. Apparently he wrote an essay lampooning Fresh Air or some other radio program, and people told him he was an elitist schmuck. 'No,' his response seems to be, 'I'm not saying that you in particular are a dim-witted boob, I'm saying that all Americans are dim-witted boobs.' Except, of course, for him! *eyeroll* So I skimmed through the rest of the introduction to see if he had anything worthwhile to say (he didn't). In chapter 1, he lines up a bunch of popular titles and shoots them down. He implies that you can't - or oughtn't - say that Seinfeld is "well-scripted" because "it's a sitcom!" as though it's impossible for a sitcom to be any good. It's "only" a sitcom. Dude, accept it. You ARE an elitist schmuck.

His point seems to be that people don't like entertainment that makes them think. Or something. Well - no. If it's something that MAKES me think, it's manipulative. When I want to be preached at, I'll go to Al Mohler, thanks. It's only when something doesn't "make" you think that you're actually thinking for yourself. (Of course, that does mean you actually have to THINK...)

I may leaf through a few more chapters; I won't be heading back to the library today anyway. Then again, I've got several other books I want to get through, like Mimus and Finding Lubchenko and Letters to a Young Conservative.


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