TSS – The Dog-Ear Manifesto

I always get a lot of flack for being an unapologetic dog-earer of book pages, library and personal copies alike.  (I can hear you all gasping right now, as I type.)  But please, hear me out.  I have here for you today, The Dog-Ear Manifesto.  The top six reasons that dog-earing a book should not only be accepted, but embraced!

1) You have a bookmark wherever you are!  No more tearing up old receipts or your child’s school art project.

2) When you dog-ear a page, there’s never any fear that you will lose your place!  Your bookmark can’t fall out when it’s part of the page.  Even if the page becomes un-dog-eared, you can still usually tell where you dog-eared a page.

3) It does little to no real damage to a book.  So the page is bent a little, it’s not the end of the world, but usually you can’t even tell!

4) Instead of writing in a library book, or using up a ton of paper, I can mark a page with a fabulous quote without hurting the book.

5) It saves the environment! You don’t have to make extra bookmarks, there’s one built right in to your book!

6) Whenever I see a library book that has been dog-eared, I immediately begin thinking about that other reader.  Are they a kindred spirit?  What did they think about this page, why did they stop here?  Was it just a good place to stop or did something interrupt their reading?  Did they find something particularly moving on this page?

A dog-eared book is a well-loved book.  Pass it on.

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TSS – A little meme for your morning

Most recently seen at: I was a teenage book geek & Bart’s Bookshelf.  Answer the questions with book titles you’ve read this year!

In high school I was: Waiting (Ha Jin)

People might be surprised I’m: Born Round (Frank Bruni)

I will never be: The Maze Runner (James Dashner)

My fantasy job is: Flight (Sherman Alexie)

At the end of a long day I need: Love is the Higher Law (David Levithan)

I hate it when: Flyaway (Suzie Gilbert)
I have lots of flyaways. 

Wish I had: A Year By the Sea (Joan Anderson)

My family reunions are: Remarkable Creatures (Tracy Chevalier)

At a party you’d find me: Runaways (Brian Vaughn)

I’ve never been to: Palestine (Joe Sacco)

A happy day includes: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Alan Bradley)

Motto I live by: A Good and Happy Child (Justin Evans)

On my bucket list: Mendoza in Hollywood (Kage Baker)

In my next life I want to be: The Great Perhaps (Joe Meno)

TSS – 22 August 2010

Isn’t it always just perfect when two books you are reading speak to one another?  This week I’ve been reading On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (which I adored – review to come tomorrow) and Teenage: The Prehistory of Youth Culture 1875-1945.  One of the things that I know I have taken for granted over my lifetime is that the concept of youth and being a teenager is something that it is a relatively new contribution of Western society.  How fitting that the two books I randomly chose to read this week dealt with this concept.  I love the combination of a non-fiction history book and a novel about the same topic.

In On Chesil Beach, there are several quotes that so perfectly address this state of in-between that had yet to be named.  Here are a few examples:

Almost strangers, they stood, strangely together, on a new pinnacle of existence, gleeful that their new status promised to promote them out of their endless youth – Edward and Florence, free at last!

The term “teenager” had not long been invented, and it never occurred to him that the separateness he felt, which was both painful and delicious, could be shared by anyone else.

It was in theory open to them to abandon their plates, seize the wine bottle by the neck and run down to the shore and kick their shoes off and exult in their liberty.  There was no one in the hotel who would have wanted to stop them.  They were adults at last, on holiday, free to do as they chose.  In just a few years’ time, that would be the kind of thing quite ordinary young people would do.  But for now, the times held them.  Even when Edward and Florence were alone, a thousand unacknowledged rules still applied.  It was precisely because they were adults that they did not do childish things like walk away from a meal that others had taken pains to prepare.  It was dinnertime, after all.  And being childlike as not yet honorable, or in fashion.

As someone who grew up when being young is known as the best time of your life, this idea is wholly alien to me, but not entirely repellent.  Now that I’m leaving being a teenager behind, I find that my friends are dreading what comes next, that each year brings us closer to something resembling responsibility and adulthood.  I wish there was something in between that both exalted our youth, relished in middle age, and respected old age.  In any case, I’m excited to continue reading Teenage, a book that discusses this transformation of youth from something you grew out of into something desirable.

As Savage claims in his introduction:

This book, therefore, tells the history of the quest, pursued over two different continents and over half a century, to conceptualize, define and control adolescence.  Apart from the dialogue between American, Britain, France and Germany, it contains several different elements that encapsulate the tension between the fantasy and the reality of adolescence, and between the many varied attempts to exalt or to capture this fugitive and transitory state. (xviii)

Teenage is already adding books to my TBR, like the diaries of Marie Bashkirtseff.  I might have to keep On Chesil Beach out from the library just a little bit longer to see if I can understand the lives of Florence and Edward even more after finishing Teenage.

Any happy book connections in your reading lately?

TSS – A big disappointment

I’ve mentioned a couple of times the Color Trilogy by Kim Dong Hwa and usually along with a mention of how much I was enjoying it.  Unfortunately, since I’ve finished the third one in the series I’ve become completely disillusioned with the coming of age story about a young girl,  Ehwa, a hundred years ago or so.  What’s interesting is that I only started feeling this way after I found out that the author is a man.

Forgive me for my uncertainty – Kim is a name that, at least in the US, can be female or male, and the author photograph is a little ambiguous.  So while there were some things about the manwha (Korean comic) that bothered me, the fact that they were coming from the perspective of a woman and it took place in a time where focusing on your marriage prospects was really what you had to look forward to, let me give The Color of Earth a favorable review.  I still don’t necessarily fault the trilogy for the focus on marriage – that probably was the focus of young girls during this time period.  However, now that I know the author is a man, I’m much more uncertain about the way he portrayed the female characters in the Color Trilogy and disagree completely that he writes beautifully from the perspective of a woman.

Eventually,  the little things that bothered me in the first book got worse and worse.  What seemed charming in The Color of Earth, like the overly poetic language, seemed overdone and unrealistic.  But most of all, there were parts that were downright offensive, that no amount of historical setting could correct.  If I sat down with Kim Dong Hwa and told him my concerns, if he defended himself with the setting and difference in time period and culture, I would remind him that even if your setting isn’t modern, your readers are.   There are certain things that are inappropriate, and honestly were probably inappropriate by any standard, not just modern ones.  Also, there should be consistency.  I don’t understand how Ehwa and her mother could be so forward thinking in many ways and yet so backwards in others.  Ehwa seems to understand sex and certainly how her body works, but then is mysteriously naive at other times.

Was this comic realistic?  No, I don’t think so.  It seemed like the author was confused about whether he wanted to be faithful to the time period or if he wanted the setting simply for aesthetic purposes.  And let’s take a break to talk about aesthetics: the Color Trilogy is beautiful and well drawn.

What really intrigues me about this whole experience is the fact that I wasn’t upset by these aspects when I thought they came from a woman.  Why?  Should I have been?  Was there less offensive language and situations in The Color of Earth, so maybe I only noticed it more after I realized the gender of the author?  If the author was a woman, would that make any of what was so disappointing about the Color Trilogy less disappointing? I don’t know.  It’s impossible to say, but I know that I won’t be recommending these books anymore.  There’s just a lot here that I wouldn’t want younger girls reading.  I know that there are a lot of people out there who enjoyed these books, so give them a try and form your own opinion, but I’m going to be returning these to the library without looking back.

TSS – 8 August 2010

Books  read this week – reviews pending:

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger, Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier & The Color of Heaven by Kim Dong Hwa

Posts this week:

Fat Cat and Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande

Currently reading:

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Happy Sunday!

TSS – 1 August 2010

Okay, nothing is going right this morning.

WordPress was down.  Now the Sunday Salon badge is NOT working.  But you guys know what it looks like.

Nothing is going right in the reading department either, unfortunately.  I was definitely digging Her Fearful Symmetry and then… I left my book at work.  I forgot to get it again on Friday and now I have spent the whole weekend without it.  But I am seriously loving it, so I can’t wait to get back to it on Monday.

So instead, I started reading Fire Study.  Now please, step in here and say, “But Lu!  You never posted a review of Magic Study!  Why are you holding out on us like that?”

Because I never read it.  I thought Fire Study was the second book in the series, but it is not.  It is the third.  The whole time I was reading it I kept thinking, “Wow!  That’s a weird decision to just start the book after so much time has passed. Why would Snyder decide to do that.”  Um, unfortunately it didn’t click until 100 pages into the book.  Now I don’t even want to continue reading the series.  I’m so bummed out.  Dear publishers: PLEASE make it clear the order of a series.  Nothing is worse than reading books out of order.

I did read the graphic novel The Color of Water today and I liked it, but not as much as The Color of Earth.  It definitely suffered from second book syndrome.  It really just felt like a connector between The Color of Earth and The Color of Heaven. I’m looking forward to reading the third and final book in the series.  Fortunately I read them in order.

I hope your reading goes a bit smoother than mine did.  Happy Sunday and Happy August 1st!

TSS – 25 July 2010

Currently reading:

Am I picking books based solely on their cover colors?  Possibly.  How about setting?  Also possible.  It’s been unbelievably hot and both of these books have quite chilly atmospheres, plus their cool blue covers.  I’m dreaming of cooler times.

Books reviewed this week:

I think I liked this one?  But I really have no idea.  I can’t tell if I have no feelings about it or ambivalent ones.  But other folks have loved it.  Click the photo to read my full review (if you can call that list a review…).

Things posted at At the Bridges this week:

Going somewhere?:

Welcome to Parismina!  We save the turtles.
We conserve nature… it is our future.

I might be going here in October.  I originally thought I would be going to Spain, but I’m beginning to lean toward a volunteer experience in Costa Rica, Peru or the Galapagos Islands!

Happy Sunday!