29 October 2014


"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 108

The scene in which Victor Frankenstein successfully animates a corpse is a favourite among filmmakers that even those who have never seen a Frankenstein adaptation expect a really dramatic "It's alive! It's ALIVE" moment. So it's a bit of a shock to read the novel and to see how understated it originally was.

It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils. With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet. It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs.

How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form? His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful!--Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips.

Mary Shelley is very stingy on the technical details, but she does have an excuse a reason for it. Frankenstein is so horrified by what he has unleashed on the world that he wants to make sure that no one else ever has a chance to do it. That's probably a good thing . . . but it's also a case of too little, too late.

27 October 2014


Character Connection 47

Hosted @ The Introverted Reader

Do you have any idea how hard it is to blog and to knit at the same time??? If you do, then I don't really have to explain why posts take a longer time to get published. LOL!

A more positive way that my knitting will affect my blogging is through a little rereading challenge I've given myself, to hunt down vaguely remembered passages about knitting in my old books. I'm not sure why I had such a good memory for them back then. Maybe my inner knitter was already asserting herself. =P Anyway, I revisited another knitter character a few nights ago that I'd like to tell you about today.

21 October 2014


"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 107

Believe it or not, I've never read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein before! Everything that I know about the "Modern Prometheus" and his monster, I learned from pop culture. And apparently, there's a lot that pop culture has seen fit to gloss over, like the character of Robert Walton.

Six years have passed since I resolved on my present undertaking. I can, even now, remember the hour from which I dedicated myself to this great enterprise. I commenced by inuring my body to hardship. I accompanied the whale-fishers on several expeditions to the North Sea; I voluntarily endured cold, famine, thirst, and want of sleep; I often worked harder than the common sailors during the day and devoted my nights to the study of mathematics, the theory of medicine, and those branches of physical science from which a naval adventurer might derive the greatest practical advantage. Twice I actually hired myself as an under-mate in a Greenland whaler, and acquitted myself to admiration. I must own I felt a little proud when my captain offered me the second dignity in the vessel and entreated me to remain with the greatest earnestness, so valuable did he consider my services. And now, dear Margaret, do I not deserve to accomplish some great purpose? My life might have been passed in ease and luxury, but I preferred glory to every enticement that wealth placed in my path. Oh, that some encouraging voice would answer in the affirmative!

LTG mentioned that Frankenstein would be a good segue from last month's Oryx and Crake readalong--and we surely have our first connection here, in our "ordinary" narrator. When I was in uni, the Professor who included Oryx and Crake as an optional novel in his paper said that one benefit of such a framing device is that it makes the most fantastic settings and situations seem more believable. And that's probably why Margaret Atwood didn't get the evil genius Crake to tell his own story, but handpicked his old buddy Jimmy to do it. (Yes, before Crake chose Jimmy, Atwood chose Jimmy. Poor guy.) But Shelley's Walton serves a second--and I daresay, a more important--purpose.

18 October 2014


Locus Focus: Take One Hundred and Twelve!

We're still doing the Return to Faerieland challenge, with settings from retold faerie tales. Today's featured novel is a book I won in a giveaway years ago and didn't have a reason to read until this month. And it occurred to me that I should match my Locus Focus themes to my "TBR pile" more strategically, if I ever hope to make a dent in the latter! =P

17 October 2014


Twelve Things about Stepmom

12. This movie and I have a love-hate relationship. I love it because it's about an imperfect family made beautiful by love. I hate it because I'm still the very moral age of seven years old when it comes to divorce and I think that the father and mother should have sucked it up and stayed the f*** together until one of them died. That the mother is discovered to be terminally ill before the father and his new girlfriend get married is not a loophole.

It was while I was musing that Stepmom would have been a better movie if Susan Sarandon's character were a ghost that I realised a second viewing was in order for Horror month--particularly this Horror month when I'm also looking at faerie tales.

11. But the whole truth is that what really pushed me over the edge was pulling up my old draft, glancing at the poster, and wanting to knit everything that Sarandon and Julia Roberts are wearing in it. =P Why don't more movies offer knitting or crochet patterns among their promotional materials? That is a serious question, Hollywood. Call me.

10. Back to faerie tales, in which the real mother often is a ghost of sorts, "haunting" the stepmother enough for the latter to want to kill the former's children. Here in Stepmom we get the fascinating twist of the stepmother also getting to be the princess figure, which totally changes things.

16 October 2014


"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 106

After a very close vote that had to be extended so that someone would wander in and break the tie, we finally have a winner . . .

Dracula by Bram Stoker -- 4 votes
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley -- 5 votes

I hope the Dracula fans aren't too disappointed. It'll still be fun. I promise! =)

This weekend, I'll start reading the Preface and Letters and stop at Chapter 4; so I hope to have the first readalong post up on Monday.

Image Source: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

14 October 2014


A Tangled Teaser

The book I feature today wasn't a current read, but I did have to reread quite a few pages of it to write this post. And this post isn't a teaser for a review, but for the sort of thing you can expect from my blog in the future. It isn't often that I throw a completely new element into the mix, so I find this change exciting!

11 October 2014


My Other Focus

Since I'm only going to do Locus Focus every other Saturday for this month and the next, here's a "filler" post for now. I've taken up a new hobby!

Photography! =D

Actually, as those who follow my Twitter feed know, it's knitting. Or as I say when I tell my trainees about it, it's el tejido de punto . . . ou le tricot . . . oder das Stricken. And it's wonderful!

It all started the weekend after my grandmother's death, when my siblings and a cousin and I were going through her craft materials.

09 October 2014


"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 105

After the difficulty that I and at least one other reader had getting a copy of our previous readalong novel, I realised it was time for the "Two or Three" Book Club to return to its roots . . . again.

As I reminded everyone the last time we got all rooty, this was originally supposed to be a club for reading the classics because those books are the easiest to get copies of, which means that more people can join in. (Despite what those people who claim to know me in real life say, I am nothing if not inclusive.) Besides, it's about time we did a Horror classic, aye? =D

07 October 2014


Early Edition: Horoscopes

"Knowing the headlines is one thing . . . Knowing the future is another."

Gary Hobson doesn't have to read his horoscope for today: all the headlines of tomorrow give him a good idea of how his day is going to turn out. That is, assuming that nobody messes with the stars. =P And this is where the first twist of the episode comes in . . .

04 October 2014


Locus Focus: Take One Hundred and Eleven!

Welcome to the Return to Faerie Land Challenge!

On every other Saturday of October and November, Locus Focus will be all about settings from retold faerie tales. I want to feature four books . . . and to cap the challenge, one movie! If this sounds like something you'd like to do, too, feel free to grab the badge, write a post on your own blog, and leave me and everyone else a link in the combox. =)

03 October 2014


Thirteen Things about The Purge

13. If you enjoyed the Oryx and Crake readalong and don't mind a bit of Horror in your movie diet, you might want to check out The Purge. It mixes dystopian themes and Slasher elements, and was definitely "the right movie at the right time" for me last weekend.

12. The setting is a divided United States--an oxymoron that may be the very heart of the American Dystopian tradition. Here, too, the country is split into "Compounds" and "pleeblands"--though, of course, the reasons are different from those envisioned by Margaret Atwood, who is unforgivably Canadian anyway. Just note that it's not an official division: the country is considered united. Indeed, what causes the division is celebrated as a uniting force, like every other national holiday. Of course I refer to The Purge: the annual twelve-hour period in which all laws are completely suspended and anyone may do anything with total impunity.

11. You'd think they'd just loot the malls or something, but apparently, what millions of Americans choose to do with all that "freedom" (Oh, I get it now . . .) is to kill each other in the most brutal ways they can imagine.

A little over-the-top, I thought . . . until I considered the long shadow of the Salem Witch Trials . . . the canonical importance of Shirley Jackson's short story The Lottery . . . and yes, Christopher, the massive popularity of The Hunger Games.