Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Judging Books by Their Covers

So, I took a quick break from Brick Lane to read the latest installment of the confessions of Georgia Nicholson: Away Laughing on a Fast Camel. And by "quick break" I mean "3 hours".

What can I say? I love Georgia. She makes me laugh in all of her absolute ridiculousness. I do, however, wish she'd get her head together and hook up for good with Dave the Laugh. He's good for her. Just sayin'.

Now, Yes, I love Georgia. Then why am I a year behind in her books? Well, here is my DEEP DARK SHALLOW SECRET:

My books need to match. When I buy books in a series, they need to match the other books in the same series. So, because my first few Georgia books were in paperback, I wait until the new installments come out in paperback, so they all look nice together on my bookshelf. This is why I haven't read Jasper Fforde's Something Rotten yet. Because I need it in paperback.

That said, when I finally broke down and bought Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason (despite having read it from the library when it came out) it had to be hardcover. Hardcover without Renee Zelwigger on the cover. I found it on Ebay.

This is also why I need the first 3 Harry Potter books in hardcover, because ever since book 4, I'm not waiting for paperback (I discover Harry Potter about 2 months before Goblet of Fire was released).

Friday, May 27, 2005

There's uproar about a Florida high school assigning Genesis for its summer reading. (Link via Bookslut)

I'm attune to seperation of Church and State issues as much as anyone. (You try growing up in Northeast Wisconsin as a non-Christian and hoo-boy!)

But really? I wish someone would have assigned me Genesis and then explained it. It would have made my English career a lot more successful and meaningful. The parents in the article suggest that the teachers just explain the story but that leaves some problems (both of which I encountered in my high school career):
1. The vast majority of the class will know this stuff and will immediately tune out
2. The way around this is for a teacher to ask if anyone doesn't know the story. Trust me. The 2 kids who don't aren't about to raise their hands and admit that.

Because you need Genesis to understand a lot of the western canon. Reading such things as Paradise Lost and East of Eden without it sucks.

They should assign the gospels as well, as Jesus also plays a big role. Not knowing the gospels kicked me in the butt during class discussions of As I Lay Dying and Grapes of Wrath. And The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe also made a lot more sense after reading up on the New Testament.

My first semester in college, I took a Bible Studies class. Just so I could understand literature. And European history for the same reasons. It was the smartest thing I've ever done.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Ready, steady, GO

So I finished up the Ibsen book. I really liked the final play, Lady from the Sea.

I've now started Brick Lane by Monica Ali, but am too lazy to change the side bar info.

I've also been gathering reading lists from High Schools and AP programs to fix some of the holes in my education.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

My College Career Now Makes Sense

I can't believe that I never had to read A Doll's House in college.

I mean, I have a minor in Chinese Studies. That includes several classes on Chinese lit. in translation. Now, I know you're wondering what the connection between Norwegian drama and Chinese lit is but...

A Doll's House was crazy-popular in China at the turn of the twentieth century. It came at a time the youth was revolting and modernizing and women were starting to demand rights. It was highly influetianal in the May 4th movement (which was a political and litarary movement). In many pieces, comparisions to Nora were explicit! And I always knew from context what was up, but man, it falls into place a lot easier now.

I know none of my profs are reading this, but LISTEN UP! Grinnell College Chinese Department-- make your students read some Ibsen. It's not long and it'll be good for them.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


You know what's better than a book store? A library. A library having a book sale!

I can't even remember all the ones I bought.

I also checked some stuff out and last week wizzed through L'Affaire by Diane Johnson and Cause Celeb by Helen Fielding

They were both good, but I was most impressed by Cause Celeb. Maybe because I was so dissapointed by Fielding's Olivia Joules and the Over-Active Imagination last winter, while being so completely enamoured of both Bridget Jones books.

Anna May Wong continues to haunt me as this weekend had me watching Shanghai Express and next week will have me at the Michigan Theatre to see her in Peter Pan!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Done and Done

So I finished Anna May Wong last night.

I liked reading about her life and all but... it just could have been so much better.

For instance, he was describing a guest appearence on a television show and said that her bottom lip was still stiff from a near fatal stroke two years previous.

This was THE ONLY MENTION of said stroke. You'd think something like that would at least warrant its own sentence!

Ah well... trying to decide what to read next. I'm torn between Brick Lane and Small Island...

Monday, May 02, 2005

Life in 3-D

Anna May Wong is a fascinating person.

It would be nice if Gao Hodges didn't have her on such a pedastal, then *maybe* he could be a little more objective about his subject. Maybe he'd give her some depth and dimension. I bet she'd be even more fascinating then. As it stands now, really, this book is just a big mastabatory experience for this guy. Ugh.

That, and the copy-editing thing again. I mean, in the same chapter he uses Nanjing and Nanking. THEY'RE THE SAME CITY! Pick a transliteration style and stick with it. Put a freaking note in the begining.

And seriously? Peking? The book is largely in pinyin, and then the one time he's consistent, it's with PE-effing-KING?! Ugh. Beijing people. Beijing. If you want to be correct about it, Beiping, as "jing" is capital, it's the Nationalist government, so Nanjing was the capital and Beijing was renamed for a short period of time to Beiping. But really? I'd be happy with the Beijing. But noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Peking. OIY!

Also, minor things... Suzhou is not a seaside resort, as it, you know isn't on the coast. And it's known for its silk products. Hangzhou, as far as I am aware, not so much.

How rude would it be if I reread this with my red pen in hand and then mailed my corrected copy back to him?