Thursday, October 30, 2008

books first today.

Between the Rivers, by Harry Turtledove - great historical concept - a fictional ancient city called Gibil(Ur, perhaps?) that has just discovered metal smithing and writing. Each local city has it's own patron God who lives in the city, and has the opportunity to control the people. Engibil allows his people to do what they want, so long as they bring him tribute. The other Gods think he is lazy, and doing dangerous things, allows smithing and writing. all actions have a patron god (give thanks to the god of libations before drinking, the goddess of growth before eating bread, etc), but smithing and writing are such new technologies, they don't have any patron gods. what's a smith or a scribe to give thanks to before smithing or scribing? his own brain or ingenuity? couldn't that be taken as an insult to the Gods?

as I mentioned in my last post, what God would want stupid followers? long story short, the book has a great concept, but the execution is sluggish and bordering on boring, and the dialogue is awful. I'm assuming Turtledove did what he did in an attempt at imersion in ancient languages and styles of speech, but the novelty wore off in the first 10 pages. Would I recommend this book? if you don't mind slow and sluggish, you'll enjoy it, but expect anything earth shattering.

New from the Library:
The Stone Gods, by Jeannette Winterson. robots? spaceship? it must belong in Sci Fi! checking out the authors website, i find that she does a lot of contemporary literature exploring gender, non traditional relationships, artistic stuff, etc. ahh, that would explain the lesbian robot sex scene right at the beginning of Stone Gods. Before you scream "bigot!" please understand i've got nothing against lesbian robots, i'm just not in the mood for that right now. especially after reading Stross's Saturn's Children, where the main character (a hot female robot) screws anything that speaks binary. it wasn't the hot lesbian robot that turned me off to Stone Gods, it was the contemporary, surreal, dream state, exploration style of the literature. all good things, just not what i go for. is there any way to say "i hated this book" without looking like an anti-feminist xenophobic bigot?

currently reading (and enjoying!) Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, by Gregory Maguire. Far better than I expected. After the murder of their father, Iris, her slow sister (retarded?) Ruth, and their mother Margerethe flee to Holland, in search of Margerethe's estranged family, who have all since died. homeless, Margerethe takes work as a housekeeper. the small family moves in with her employer, a wealthy business man and his wife, and their beautiful cloistered daughter. Ok, so if this is giong to be a Cinderella tale, Iris needs to be come a stepsister, how are they going to get rid of Heer Van den Meer's wife, and then convince him to marry an ugly, widowed Englishwoman? oh. Oohhhhh.. i am highly entertained, and it's a fun, easy read. and one of these days, Iris is going to realize the boy she has a major crush on isn't interested in girls.

food - made the first beef stew of my life earlier this week. i don't eat a lot of beef, it doesn't taste like antyhing to me. and beef stew doesn't have a recipe! you just toss stuff into a slow cooker and make it! well, i didn't know what i was doing, and i used a recipe, and it was very good. and it didn't have no stinkin' potatoes in it! maybe later, if i don't feel so stupid about needing a recipe for something so easy, i'll psot it.

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