24.7.06

Notable Quotes

Love is about giving, about caring for the other person's welfare. Love is treating someone, in the Kantian sense, never as a means but as an end in themselves. Love is sacrifice, love is something you work at, something you build like a house or tend like a plant, brick by brick, drop by drop, day by day. Nonsense. Old wive's tales, old husband's tales. That is affection they are talking about, that is companionship, that is charity, that is tickets to the Cancer Research Ball. You must ask the young if you want to know what love is. Only they are deep enough in it to describe. We older ones have clues and simulcra, we base our judgement, like pathologists do, on the dents and scars and sediments of hearts long kept in formaldehyde. It is the pulsing heart you want to probe: the pulsing, beating, leaping, dipping, fluttering heart of a seventeen-year-old.
Sabine, A.P.

14.7.06

Reading Update

I'm plowing through the swag books I got, and just finished Dying Light. It's one of those hard-boiled procedurals, in the Rebus mode but different enough to be interesting.

Anyway, I returned to my desk yesterday morning to find that our Head had left two mysteries, with a note to "call and [he'd] explain." So I called. He explained. They were ones he thought I might like to read, and one was a good first book (the second in the series wasn't so good, so don't bother). There was gratuitous violence, which he admitted he liked as much as the next person, as long as it wasn't real. Of course, when your Head hands you a book to read, that's what you read next, right? And Dying Light had gratuitous violence, so that's ok.

Except... this new book also includes cat torture. Oops. I read the first "bad" scene and immediately burst into tears. I scrambled for the end of the bed, where I wrapped my arms around my Big Boy, and held him, sobbing "Mommy would never let anything like that happen to you... Mommy will always take care of you..." (you get the picture). He let me cry into his fur for a while, purring a little, then pushed me away and started to groom. My Little Guy, the moment he saw what was going on, hid. Didn't even come out for bedtime treats.

The moral? Gratuitous sex: fine. I can handle it. Ditto gratuitous violence. But hurt a cat and I go to pieces.

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9.7.06

Imponderables

I know a hunter: he's careful with his guns. He's taught his child to respect them (and use them properly). He only kills what he thinks he can use/eat, and any leftovers go to the local food bank for others less fortunate than he and his family. He's doing what humans have done to find (and prepare) their food for millenia. And you know what? We'd probably all be better served if we were in closer contact with the food cycle. Might teach us a thing or two about waste and necessity and taking care of our planet.

So I have to ask: In which universe is this considered hunting? (รพ: Done With Mirrors)

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1.7.06

Notes from Mt. Bookpile

Not my best quarter - only 19 books.

Biography
  • Edge Seasons, Beth Powning; One of the few books that's really made me think about where I am in my life, although it's not written in such a way that you feel you have to
  • Stand Before Your God, Paul Watkins; Disappointing look at an American's time at Dragon and Eton
  • To Keep the Ball Rolling, Anthony Powell; Fascinating look at a man who apparently knew everyone and anyone in literature in England - Orwell, Waugh, the Sitwells, etc.. If you don't want to read A Dance to the Music of Time after this...

Children's/YA

Fiction/Literature

  • Behind the Scenes at the Museum, Kate Atkinson; I liked this more than Case Histories -- who can resist a memoir that starts in utero?
  • The Finishing School, Muriel Spark; Not bad, but not great either. A relatively light read for the summer.
  • Lark Rise to Candleford, Flora Thompson; There's tons of description and very little real action, but you come away with a very real sense of what it was like to live/grow up in rural England at the turn of the 20th century

Mystery
  • Blood Hunt and Witch Hunt, Ian Rankin; Two non-Rebus mysteries, but more action-suspense a la LeCarre than mystery. Worth reading if you like that genre, or this author.
  • Corpse Candle, C. P. Doherty; Not as good as the Brother Cadfael's, but damn close.
  • Half Broken Things, Morag Joss; Good psychological mystery - I didn't begin to guess the end!
  • The Old Wine Shades Martha Grimes; The 'old gang' is back, but far less annoying than before (and far less in evidence than before). If the series keeps on it's upward track, I'll be happy.
  • Steeplechase, Jane Langton; Another of those telegraph-the-ending mysteries, but quite well done despite that.

Non-Fiction
  • A Reader's Guide Through the Wardrobe, Leland Ryken and Marjorie Lamp Mead; Only if you absolutely must.
  • Among the Gently Mad, Nicholas A. Basbanes; Poorly edited (I found two obvious typos), but a good primer for those that want to start book collecting/selling.
  • London, A.N. Wilson; Another book that needed a proofreader, but if you want a relatively readable history of London via its architecture, this is the book.
  • The Quotable Robertson Davies, James Channing Shaw; Only 160 pages? Criminal


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