10 December 2006

November Book Report

Two books for November:

1. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. This book was sent to me by Kim during last summer's Travellers Swap for Knit the Classics (KTC). I have not read any of Elizabeth Gilbert's other books, so the book and the author were new to me. Actually, I only finished the book in November, I've been reading it for a few months.

The book follows the author through her year travelling to three places - Italy (eat), India (pray), and Indonesia (love). She starts out after coming out of her marriage and a troubled relationship afterwards, figuring that visiting these three countries - that represent three important things in her life - she will have a chance to get to know herself, so that she can start fresh, and hopefully learn something along the way.

I loved this book! Gilbert writes in a very articulate, but honest fashion, with some really fun touches of humor. The book is quite honest, as far as what kinds of feelings she is experiencing in each place, as well as in the descriptions of her experiences. She never hesitates to point out her shortcomings, even when they make her look stupid, or shallow. The description of the people and places make you feel like you are experiencing things along with her. The main reason it took me so long to read this, was not just because I could pick it up and then put it down and not lose anything, but also because I didn't want to get to the end! I liked it so much, I'm giving a copy to someone for Christmas.

(I do have to say that I am always intrigued by people who can afford (both literally and figuratively) to put everything else on hold to go find themselves. The rest of us don't have that luxury, and usually don't even have time to look for, much less find ourselves ... I mean, how do people who do this pay their utilities while they are gone? Who collects their mail, and lets them know if there are any really important things that have to be dealt with immediately? As my sister would say, "White man's troubles.")

2. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. This was the KTC November book. I had never read Frankenstein before, and to be honest, was not necessarily thinking it would be something I wanted to read. But on the other hand, it is a classic work of literature, and I decided to give it a try.

I am so glad I did! This book is amazing. Forget everything you have ever seen in a Frankenstein movie (part of what made me not that interested in reading this)! It was a little bit hard to start, but at a certain point, I was completely sucked in.

For one thing, Victor Frankenstein creates his monster right at the beginning of the book - I was expecting everything to lead up to that point. And Victor is a real jerk, reminding me of people I have known who are so impressed with their own intelligence, they do something, and then are completely flummoxxed by the results. Victor is on a real ego trip, and then is at a loss when the monster he has created actually begins to exist!

One of the things that amused me about the book, is that the monster is always described as being a rough, inarticulate creature. Then of course, when he speaks, he does so in the elegant and flowery language of the time! In the end, the book really leaves you thinking. I at least, felt more compassion for the monster than I ever did for Victor. And it turns out to be very timely, with all of the debate about when life begins, what constitutes life, who has the right to create it, etc. I'm glad I read it, and have to say that it made a real impression on me, and I have been thinking about it for weeks now.

A Different Approach to Fundraising ...

This calendar cracks me up: www.lulu.com/calendargirls. After all of the various calendars where different people have posed nude, with items strategically placed, it has women who usually pose as nude or topless, wearing layers of heavy clothing. The proceeds go to a British organization that works to find a cure for breast cancer. I may have to order one, I'm so amused ...

Christmastime WTF?

Last year - and now again this year - I keep hearing this stupid song on the radio. I don't know how the rest of it goes, 'cause I get so annoyed I tune it out, or change the station, but here's the part that just really is ridiculous:

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart,
But the very next day, you gave it away.
This year, to save me some tears,
I'll give it to someone special.

First of all, the person in this song is clearly an ass, but beyond that, how can someone else give your heart away??? (And don't give me the organ donation by family excuse, that's not what we are talking about here!) I tell you, it just makes me want to scream!

This is just another time when, if the world were Bridget-centric, there wouldn't be this kind of song even in existence, much less played on the radio during Christmastime! I mean, geez.

And speaking of Christmastime ...

Christmas Eve is two weeks from today!!


Anonymous said...

Hey! Don't be hatin' on Wham! or I'll sic Dominic the Donkey on you.



(Don't make me kut you.)

Carol said...

What she said! Wham! did it first but there's a newer version. (yet another example of pointless remakes of songs that don't need to be remade)

Oooh: I can't wait to get my copy of Eat/Love/Pray for Christmas. That was so thoughtful of you, to get me a gift...

How's the "vest" coming along?

teabird said...

Eat, Pray, Love - what a wonderful review - now I'll add it to my list...

Oh - "Dominic the Donkey" is officially classified as torture according to the Geneva Conventions.