Friday, November 18, 2011

The Old Wives Tale, Pt 2- Oh Dear God I Read Slow

I am now halfway through this book. That's it. Half Way. I started reading this book in JUNE and I am now half way. And I don't even mean mathematically halfway, I mean thematically half way, as I am about to start section three of four. This is incredibly lame. This whole "having an actual full time job that runs you between 50 and 60 hours a week" thing is just not gelling with my whole reading schedule, so I guess it's about time to quit.

But anyways, the book. So far this whole thing is an immense sad bastard sob fest where people try desperately to hold on to their families, and then people in the families leave. This happened to the mother character, then the first daughter character. I'm about to find out the story of the second daughter character, who left in the first portion of the book. Unfortunately, it takes a REALLY long time for people to pack their stuff and take off. Each section could be it's own, smaller novel. If this happens in the third one, I'm gonna burn any physical copy I can get my hands on along with a copy of "On the Road." Editing, people who have long since passed away. Learn how to use it. Also, learn how to time travel so you can come read my opinion on this blog.

If the book aims to be one of those stories that's about the journey more than the destination (which, granted, almost all books should be), then I still cry editing foul. The book will present something interesting and well written for about two pages, then slouch back into tedious drivel that over explains the day in day out nonsense of people in the late 1800's. Again, there's nothing wrong with a book that makes it's way through a bunch of nonsense, but there needs to be a reason we plow through and The Old Wive's Tale doesn't have enough tedium to be tedious for tedium's sake and no where near enough excitement to make the nonsense exciting. The small moments in there that are funny or gripping (such as the monologue from the view point of a new born baby) stand out and serve as excellent pieces of prose, but the rest of the book seriously falls short.

I will say that the form of the book has been an interesting puzzle to decipher as I have moved through. Each chapter suddenly jumps to a different place in the time line of the family's life, sometime by a few months and at other times by a few years. These jumps are never specifically stated, so at the beginning of each chapter, all of the characters need to be reexamined and understood all over again. While this does not pose much of a problem for the older characters, the baby mentioned in the previous paragraph jumps from new born to college student in about four swift bursts. This provides the reader with a fresh start every time, reaffirming those things that truly define the character and shedding those traits that are a product of the character's age.

So I read on. Hopefully this time with more swiftness.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Old Wives' Tale, pt. 1- Covering the Bases

For anyone who needs a good amount of time to read, I suggest starting a band and booking yourself a tour that has a minimal amount of driving. You end up sitting in a city you don't know for hours on end with nothing to do. So I read, and its great.

Anyways, The Old Wives' Tale... This book already has me confused. The book starts off as a coming of age, crawl for independence novel featuring an out-going and charismatic young girl who needs to push her way out of the shadow cast by her domineering shop owner mother and her domesticated older sister. The mother assumes that the daughter will go into the family business, but that is just not for her! She wants to be a teacher! Pretty standard. But within the first fifty or so pages (out of 600-ish), the daughter has already broken out and decided to be a teacher and is already on her way to becoming one. So where is this story going to go? Well, after a chance encounter with a debonaire gentleman, the daughter has dropped that teacher business to work in the shop so she can chase after this fella, and, again, the mother does not approve. This is where I am at right now.

Either the book wants to leave the story open ended (and, god help us, make a connection between the two divergent, independence-driven paths), or the author needs to make up his damn mind as to what story he wants to tell. The second idea is rendering the first completely meaningless, so either the author is setting up the means to develop some sort of completely hackneyed moral or the author really just did not think about the beginning of the book long enough. The former seems boring and the latter seems useless. Either way, I'm skeptical already, but push on with mountainous determination.

On the plus side, the books saves itself with incredible turns of phrase that can only be found around this time, and unlike some of his contemporaries (*cough* Oscar Wilde *cough*), these turns of phrase actually exist to further the story and create a more in depth reading of the characters and the over arching themes. One personal issue I am having though, is the author's repetitive insistence of calling this era "The Middle Ages." The book floats around the time of the Civil War, but the book was written in the very early 1900's. Did 50 or so years really cause THAT much of a difference that the author needs to constantly belittle the time period? Or is it a condescension to the time he is writing about, that people of his era thought so little of 50 years ago? Regardless, I'm confused, but still think it's pretty amusing.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Preview #87- The Old Wive's Tale

#87- The Old Wive's Tale by Arnold Bennet

This sounds boring.

Call of the Wild, pt. 2- Final Thoughts

It really did not take me this long to read this book, I swear. I just totally forgot to do this entry.

The book ended exactly where it was going the entire time. The dog runs off into the wild and somehow magically realizes how to not only exist in the wild, but fight off an entire army of stereotypical native americans who are attacking some good natured white folks. The book was pretty short, but frankly I wish it was shorter. The ending that could not be avoided took way too long to show up.

Guess thats it... ONWARDS!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Call of the Wild, pt. 1- Anthropomorphism

The story focuses on the travels of a dog in Alaska as he works his way through various trails, pullin stuff on sleds. Told in third person, but more or less from the perspective of the dog. What the dog goes through, how he gets to where he is, all sorts of dog related stuff.

While the story is relatively straight forward, the approach works due to the subject of the story. Here's what gets me though- the anthropomorphism in the story is totally half of what I am used to. The dogs have human emotions and human thoughts, but can't talk or do anything beyond that. They are also totally dogs who are willing to eat and kill each other. It's a strange realization to have- Disney has totally owned anthropomorphism for the past hundred years or so.

It really bothered me for the first half of the half that I have read. These dogs thought and had human relationships and emotions, but still couldn't speak. So I spent that time thinking the book was bogus because dogs don't relate to each other like that (at least I'm pretty sure they don't), but then I thought about various disney movies and realized that Bambi's emotions never caused me any issue. Since the author only went half way on the anthropomorphism, I couldn't handle it.

Another weird perception I never knew I needed to get over. Damn you, Mickey mouse.

Loving, Pt. 3- Final Thoughts

Yay! I finally got a copy of this again after mine was stolen and had a few minutes to sit down and read it! Of course, I all but forgot what I had previously read, so it probably didn't matter anyways, but here I am.

One thought- the book ended like it began and continued throughout. It just ambled its way up to a point and then decided to just stop. It also ended with "they lived happily ever after" which was hilarious and kind of silly. Ah well.

Anyways, I'm done and back on track. NEXT BOOK!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Preview #88- Call of the Wild

#88- Call of the Wild by Jack London

ALRIGHT! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Loving will be put on hold until the copy I ordered from the interwebs shows up on my door step. In the mean time, I now have enough brain power to start reading again (HA! Not likely...) and I will be jumping into the next on the list.

Which I think is about peeing.