Sunday, July 10, 2005

Elizabeth Hand's latest novel, Mortal Love, is probably the only book I've ever read where I had no idea what was going on until the last chapter. And even then it wasn't so clear. But it was fascinating enough that I persevered, and am still thinking about it several days later. It's about the Pre-Raphaelites, and the muse that gave them a glimpse into another world. Hand's style has not, unfortunately, improved with experience, and I got frustrated with being introduced to a new character and time period in every chapter, but the conclusion is lovely. I'd certainly recommend it, with the warning that all of her books are extremely weird; if you're interested in the Pre-Raphaelites you'll find it particularly interesting.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

According to my sister, I am among the 7% of women not suffering from an eating disorder. Of course, as Odious pointed out, one can hardly call it a disorder at that percentage; rather, it's simply female behavior (I wonder if it's a recent development?). Anyway, I can honestly say that I am not obsessed with my weight, eating habits, or physical image. I'm interested in nutrition (Superfoods!), and like to be healthy, but I absolutely REFUSE to count Weight Watcher points or learn how many calories in an olive. There are much more interesting things to do in life.

For instance--reading! I just finished Ursula K. LeGuin's A Wizard of Earthsea, which I'd read a long time ago and been bored by, and this time around I liked it quite a bit more. It made me realize that I probably should revisit some books I read in high school; since my reading horizons have expanded, I'd probably appreciate things I didn't then. Actually, I'm surprised I didn't care for LeGuin, since her style reminds me a bit of Tolkien with its sort of legendary omniscience. Maybe it was the lack of action that bored me--this first one at least is less a story than a character development, so I'm interested to read the next two, or three, or four, or however many it ended up being after it wasn't a trilogy.

I also just read Madeleine L'Engle's An Acceptable Time, another one I'm sure I read as a teenager (some of it is vaguely familiar). The problem I've always had with her books is keeping the chronology and relationships straight; they're so interconnected that it's difficult to read any out of sequence. I can't figure out if the Murrys and Austins know each other or not, which makes things even more confusing. Anyway, this one is about Polly, who is Calvin and Meg's daughter, visiting her grandparents, who are among my favorite characters ever (I love that they cook over a Bunsen burner!) even though I rarely understand what they're talking about. What I find interesting but somewhat frustrating about L'Engle's books is that they always seem to be building up to some future climax--there are always great portents, and each book concerns a small but vital occurence. Maybe that's her philosophy--that everything that happens is for a reason, and even if you don't understand it, good must triumph so that the world can continue. Hmm. Anyway...