17 December 2015


Theme Thursday 19

After today, there are only two more Thursdays left in 2015, but this old meme is something I'm happy to take my time CLEARING. It would be nice, though, to get through 2011 next year. We move one step closer to that goal today, with the theme from 28 April 2011.

This Week's Theme:

So what exactly is the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Project? HAARP is a Pentagon project that is quietly being built at a remote outpost in Alaska. The $30 million undertaking is designed to beam more than 1.7 gigawatts (1.7 billion watts) of radiated power into the ionosphere--the electrically charged layer about the earth's atmosphere. Put simply, the apparatus is like a radio telescope working backwards--it transmits power instead of receiving it. It would, in effect, "boil the upper atmosphere." After disturbing the ionosphere, the radiation bounces back onto the earth in the form of long waves, which penetrate our bodies, the ground and the oceans.

Forgive me for being so literal! As much as I love a good sense of atmosphere in a story, this theme is more slippery than I would like. If I hadn't been saved by the above technical snippet, I would have sought out a science manual just to get this challenge over and done with.

I read Ted Flynn's Hope of the Wicked thanks to some of my new friends at my Latin Mass community, who have never met a conspiracy theory they didn't like. When the owner of this copy told me he had a great book for me to read, I expected something on the liturgy or a near-forgotten traditional devotion! But since Hope of the Wicked seemed to be a favourite among the regulars, I decided to treat it as a book club pick and to be a good sport. But when the time came to tell the rest of the club what I really thought, I'm afraid I chickened out.

Indeed, I'm still chickening out! =P Which is why I'm going to deflect the topic a bit.

Has this ever happened to you? That is, have you ever been disappointed by a book that came highly recommended, and been hesitant to admit to the friend who clearly loved it that you weren't very impressed?

Or have you been on the opposite end of the question, the one doing the recommending, absolutely certain that your friend would love that book as much as you do? How did you react when you finally learned that the two of you would never be able to bond over that dear favourite?

There's a reason I don't like recommending the books, movies, music, and other media that I really, really love.

Image Source: Hope of the Wicked: The Master Plan to Rule the World by Ted Flynn


cyurkanin said...

Yes and yes. No fun lol

Enbrethiliel said...


I'm guessing that one book which fell into the first category for you was The Hunger Games (LOL!) . . . with A Wrinkle in Time as a close second.

No idea what a book in the second category would be. If I let you down there, you wouldn't have told me! (LOST doesn't count because I haven't watched it yet!)

Sheila said...

Oddly (considering my unwillingness to disappoint my friends) I am usually pretty open about hating a book, even if it came highly recommended. I always want to run back to the friend and say, "WHAT in the WORLD made you think this was a good book?"

My mom did this to me once. I gave her Reading Lolita in Tehran, which, since she lived in Tehran once and loves Iran, I thought for sure she'd like. I mean, I really enjoyed it! But she was horrified by the Lolita excerpts (oops) and was mad at me for having recommended it to her. Sigh, sometimes you strike out with a recommendation, but I'd rather know than not know I struck out.

Enbrethiliel said...


If you do ask your friends that, what do you think of their answers? Do they make the book more likeable to you, or do they make your friends less likeable (LOL), or is there a third possibility?

My question would be more likely to be: "Why did you like it so much?" or "Why did you fall in love with it?" I think that a lot of people who recommend books do so less because they think the books are good than because they simply liked them. (Haven't we all experienced thinking something was genuinely good because we found it appealing?) When someone recommends a book to me, it's as if he shares a little bit of his heart. It's a kind of gift. I try to be grateful for the gift even if it's like that embarrassing Christmas jumper I know I'm never going to wear and I wish I hadn't had to learn that about his taste!

Sheila said...

Ah, very true. Usually the answer to that quesiton shows they have totally different priorities in books than I have. I care a lot about style, characters, and world-building, but if they're into suspense and technical details, it's very likely that they'll love books that I hate. But we'll both be right, because I'm right that the style sucks, while they'll be right that the suspense is great. (For instance: Divergent. There's a lot that's good about it, but I HATED it because ..... well, a lot of reasons.)

John and I saw the new Star Wars the other day, I loved it while he had a lot of reservations. And the reason was, we went into it with different focuses and expectations. I wanted well-developed characters, gorgeous visuals, and lots of franchise nostalgia. He wanted an original plot without a lot of holes. So I got what I wanted, and he didn't. Neither of us was *wrong.*

There has only one time I can think of when a different opinion about a book actually made me think less of or get angry at a friend. We were focusing on the psychological themes of The Heart of the Matter. I identified with the protagonist and thought his mistakes were perfectly understandable and perhaps things I myself might be tempted to. She thought he was a despicable person who deserved damnation. It was .... an awkward book club meeting. In my typical style, I listened to her rant, shut my mouth, went home and avoided my friend for like a month before forgiving her without ever having told her how upset I was.

Sigh, I have issues. But yeah, in most cases I do learn from a disagreement about books, rather than get upset or insult their taste.

Enbrethiliel said...


I haven't read The Heart of the Matter, but the conflict between you and your friend reminds me very strongly of a disagreement between me and the former roommate I told you about. We were watching The Mission and she really didn't like what happened with Robert de Niro's character. (I'm being very vague in case you haven't seen it!) Several times during the scene, she cried out, "That's so wrong!" It was an especially strong reaction from someone whose harshest criticism of another's actions was usually: "They didn't have to do that." (It took me nearly the entire school year to understand that whenever she said someone "didn't have to," what she really meant was that someone "should not have because it was WRONG." LOL!) We didn't discuss the movie in detail afterward . . . possibly because she was the Sheila in our relationship ;-) . . . but it would have made a fiery conversation if we had!

And now I'm hoping that you've already seen The Mission because I'd love to know your own take on de Niro's character's arc!

There was also a Romance novel I hated so much that I tried to convince all its fans to hate it, too. (Okay, not quite. LOL!) But I was amazed that what I thought were some perfectly valid points against one character didn't seem to register with them. I'd explain as clearly as possible and it would be as if they never read what I wrote. It didn't seem to be a case of their seeing what I meant and simply disagreeing with me, but absolutely not getting it at all! As if I had written it in another language or in invisible ink! It was very frustrating.