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A Woman On The Verge

thoughts and musings of my mind

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books

Philosopher or Prophet?

Cover of "Brave New World"
Cover of Brave New World

I remember reading Brave New World in high school, my English teacher would let me go through her shelves of books and pick out things I wanted to read because I had pretty much cleaned out the reading material in the library. I am just grateful she didn’t ask me to write a book review or an essay about the book at that time, because it would have been awful I was never a successful report writer.  When I read it back in my teens back in the days before the explosion of the internet and technology, I found the book fascinating in how the author created this futuristic world in 1932 with technologies that didn’t exist yet, except for Smell O Vision as that was created in 1909, although to be honest I didn’t know that until recently.  I read it again in college, I think but I know I haven’t re-read the book since I moved to North Carolina.  It always amazes me how much I still recall from the book.  There were things written in that book which I couldn’t imagine existing at all.  Although, now almost 30 years later a few of the unimaginable things from that book exist. It just blows my mind when I think about it.

I know much of Huxley’s book was about reproductive technology, but at 17, that theme in the book was just too much for me to consider as practical and I don’t want this blog to denigrate into a discussion about the right to life. What I found the most intriguing in the book was the society and how these people had just allowed the government take over their lives and dictate how things occurred  Huxley talked about sleep learning, which I know is being explored by neurobiologists and other scientists. Operant conditioning is already an accepted factor in our society and is discussed freely in many psychology classes.

But the one thing that always stuck with me from the book was when they were taking John The Savage around to see their world and they took him to a movie which was far more interactive than anything that exists now, although it does seem that people are moving in that way.  It was a true full sensory experience with smell, touch, taste and as I recall some kind of biological reactions to things happening in the movie through sensors in the movie chairs.  For John The Savage this was more than he could handle, while everyone who grew up with it thought it was quite normal.

Our lives rely on technology in a way no one could have imagined back in the 80’s and it isn’t all bad, I love being able to read the news I want to read and not what is fed to me by my local news stations.  However I also know I waste a lot of time online playing. I still wonder what a full sensory movie would be like, the 3-d movies which I have experienced at Disney parks were always just amazing, I am not sure how comfortable I would feel smelling and tasting the movie as well.  So this still isn’t a book report, but I gave it a shot.

 

A Book Thing

One of my friends Tweeted about this book Challenge for May and I found it intriguing.  The Semi Charmed Summer 2012 Book Challenge

This Challenge runs from May 1st  to September 30th.  You can’t read any books you have read before, and only books started after May 1st and finished by September 30th.

Read a book chosen for the 2012 World Book Night.
I haven’t picked one yet.   I am thinking I might read The Book Thief, but I need to figure out if I read it.  Otherwise I might choose Housekeeping.
The Book Thief
Read a book you were supposed to read in school, but either bailed on or Cliff-Noted. (If you were super studious and never did this, then read a book most people were assigned to read in high school but you weren’t.)
I am considering Catch 22 or Catcher in The Rye, I never read those in High School, because they were never assigned.
 
Read a memoir or narrative nonfiction book. (Examples: Friday Night LightsWhen the Game Stands TallThe Devil in the White City, etc.)
Oh this is going to the hardest.  I dislike Nonfiction assignments.  I might need help picking something.

Read a book in one day. (Must be at least 150 pages long.)
I will probably pick some nice Brain Candy book, I have a couple lying around that I haven’t read yet.  Imagine that.

Read a book that you’ve always wanted to read but haven’t gotten around to yet.
Oh this is easy.  I am reading Matthew Lewis Gregory’s The Monk I have wanted to read this for ages ever since I read about it a Jane Austen Novel."Reading Jane's letters" - Elizabeth...
 


Read a pair of books that have antonyms in the titles. (For example: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Boy in the Suitcase, or The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Heart of Darkness, etc..)
Hmmmmm I might have to think on this for a bit.  Any ideas?

Read a book that is set in a place you’ve never been but want to visit.
I am going to read Behind the Veil in Persia and Turkish Arabia / An account of an Englishwoman’s Eight Years’ Residence / amongst the Women of the East by A. Hume-Griffith, I picked it up for my Kindle
 
Find a book written the year you were born that was later made into a movie. Read the book and watch the movie; compare. Or find a movie released the year you were born that was based on a book. Do the same thing.
I think I am going to choose The Wide Sargasso Sea, if I can find a copy.
 
Go into a bookstore or library. Pick any bookshelf. Read the third book from the left on the fourth shelf from the top. (If it’s not at least 200 pages, pick the next book to the right.)
I will try this libraries freak me out.
 
Read a book about which you’ve heard bad things. (Hey, you can’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it, right? And I’m upping the points to make it worth your while.)
Oh I KNOW I am going to need help with this.  Unless I just want to cave and read a Nicholas Sparks book – please someone give me something less annoying to read.
 
Read a trilogy. Total page count for all three books together must be at least 500 pages.
I have never read the Twilight Series so perhaps I will give that a go.
To see what someone else is doing checking In Which We Start Anew’s Challenge Choices

Who would you cast?

Here is the plan.  Pick your favorite novel and share who you would cast.

Me? I love Persuasion by Jane Austen.  I came late to reading Jane Austen, I don’t know why I think I was just busy with a lot of other books, and there are so many books and so little time to read them all. I actually ended up reading her books in order, AFTER I read Pride and Prejudice, so Persuasion was the last book I read of hers. I read her books regularly now, but this is by far my favorite, since I have read it so many times I have actually imagined a cast of actors to play the parts.   So here is my casting for a stage play or a film production

It would be directed by Kenneth Branagh

Sir Walter Elliot – Derek Jacobi
Elizabeth  Elliot – Samantha Bond
Anne Elliot – Kate Winslet
William Elliot – Michael Greco
Lady Russell – Dame Judi Dench
Mrs. Clay – Anna Chancellor
Mr Shepard – Alan Cumming
Admiral Croft – Richard Brier
Mrs. Croft – Helen Mirren
Captain Wentworth – Matthew Goode
Charles Musgrove – Laurence Fox
Mary Musgrove – Christina Cole
Mr. Musgrove – Kenneth Branagh
Mrs. Musgrove – Patricia Routledge
Henrietta Musgrove – Lucy Punch
Louisa Musgrove – Emma Watson
Charles Hayter – Joseph Fiennes
Captain Harville – Hugh Grant
Mrs. Harville – Lucy Scott
Captain Benwick – Dominic Monaghan
Lady Dalrymple – Diana Rigg
Miss Cartaret – Helena Bohnam Carter
Mrs. Smith – Toni Colette

By the way I really need a new copy of Persuasion, pages are starting to fall out of mine.

Reading…..

Have you ever read a book that when you finish it you are just disappointed in the writer?  I did this past week, the sad thing is I was excited to start reading it.  But the book ended up not delivering as promised.  It was a sad ironic story about today’s economic situation focusing on home ownership.  I don’t even want to give the author press by sharing the name of the book.

So when I picked up this book and read the back cover it talked about how this was a fiction novel about the exploits of an out of work reporter who is about to lose his home and the adventures he goes on.  I started reading and with in pages the narrator goes out and gets high for the first time in years – no this wasn’t what was disappointing. Then he decides to sell pot to his friends, to help raise enough money to keep his home – I wasn’t even disappointed by that.  I was thinking to myself as I read on, “Oh this will be like Weeds…” Nope it wasn’t. I love the show Weeds because it is an ironic portrayal of adulthood and surviving.  But this book wasn’t even that, the author copped out and had the narrator get caught by cops and because of that.  Then the lead character freaks out and ends up giving up the fact that he is a paid informant for the police.

When I brought the book to my local coffeeshop to put on the shelves, my friend E asked me how it was and I told her I was disappointed because the book was a sad, ironic view on life.  She looked at the cover and asked if it was about suicide, because the drawing on the cover had a man falling into a chasm.  I said, although it was about financial suicide.  It was just a sad sad book.

I do try to find a redeeming value in everything I read, but this book I couldn’t even do that.  I spent the day thinking about books I have read and how much I enjoy reading them.  Reading is my major hobby it helps me relax and I learn so much about life, myself and others.  I love fiction because it exercises my imagination and takes me to places I have yet to go physically.  Reading is just so amazing.

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