Simply a classic. I’ve finally decided to get to work on Anne Rice because I randomly read Memnoch the Devil one time when I was a kid (really far too young to be reading Rice) and felt like I needed to finish out her books.
I really love the sensuality of Rice’s vampires – it isn’t necessarily sexual but it’s erotic and consuming and so desirous. Anyway I really love the frame story of the boy interviewing the vampire Louis after the series of events with Lestat and Claudia and Armand.
I feel like I need to go back to the Team Lestat vs. Team Armand (sorry Stephenie Meyer, this is so much bigger than you are!) and I have to say I’m Team Armand. I mean I appreciate Lestat’s brokenness and desperation but he’s pretty batshit (no pun intended) crazy.
I have to put the Vampire Chronicles on hold for a while because I started reading Stieg Larsson’s books and I need to finish them!
Cormac McCarthy’s The Road has gotten a lot of press lately since Oprah recommended it and it was made into a movie – and with good reason. It is one of the best books I’ve read in a while; it’s horrifying, yes, but amazing nonetheless. There are several scenes that are so absolutely wretched that I won’t likely forget them for a very long time.
The book is about a man and a boy who are on a journey towards the ocean after an unnamed (probably natural) disaster that killed off almost all of humanity and plant-/animal-life. For some reason they believe that they’ll be saved once they get to the ocean, and the whole time you’re thinking that there probably won’t be anything there, and they probably know it too, but it’s the hope that drives them so you keep telling yourself that it’ll be perfectly all right in the end. It’s an absolutely desolate, nerve-wracking journey that leaves you feeling as desperate as the man and boy.
So I was VERY excited to hear that Margaret Atwood was coming out with a new novel. She is one of my favourite contemporary novelists and I’ve loved almost everything I’ve ever read by her. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve read more of her works than anyone else’s (except maybe Shakespeare).
Anyway, as I said in my last post (over a month ago, yikes!) The Year of the Flood overlaps somewhat with Oryx & Crake. It’s the same scenario but goes back a bit to reveal some of the characters that are marginally important in Oryx & Crake. I especially liked Brenda’s role, which is expanded beyond the briefest of mentions in O&K.
And like O&K, I think The Year of the Flood is brilliant. Atwood simply is a master of language and she can really weave a tale. I think I actually liked Oryx & Crake better, but I liked learning about God’s Gardeners in depth and seeing what they were like. And of course I liked how everything ties in to some of the plot line of O&K.
To be perfectly honest, I love Margaret Atwood but had no intentions of reading Oryx and Crake until I found out her new book is somewhat related to it. I thought, “What a strange name for a book. I shan’t read it!” (Except I probably don’t use the word shan’t in my subconscious. Or outer conscious.) But I’m glad I did. The Handmaid’s Tale had always been one of my favourite books of all time, and this was even more grand. There’s something about a good post-apocalyptic science fiction that just gets me.
Oryx and Crake is about a man, Snowman, who lives as a hermit after the initially unexplained destruction of civilization. He lives among (and yet quite separate from) genetically altered docile, human-like creatures, as well as vicious gene-spliced animals which run rampant through the remains of the city. Through a series of flashbacks we begin to learn more about what exactly happened, and about Snowman’s own involvement in the destruction of mankind.
Bottom line: it’s absolutely fabulous. Atwood is so gifted and sometimes really freakin’ scary. She really explores what we’re capable of doing and pushes the boundaries to the extremes – and yet it’s even scarier because her scenarios are never quite too extreme to be impossible. That’s the thing – she calls it speculative fiction because we’re already technically capable of doing a lot of what she depicts, or at least on the direction of it. She just imagines what would happen if we did follow this exact trajectory, and if we allowed ourselves to continue on this path of unhindered consumerism and technological advancements. Basically, Snowman’s world is really our world if we don’t continually ask ourselves if what we’re doing is ethical.
Definitely read this book! I just started The Year of the Flood, which takes place in the same time frame as Oryx and Crake.
I quickly read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (free at Amazon!) by Washington Irving. It’s excellent! I guess I’ve been on a books-turned-into-movies kick… enough to warrant its own tag! So I really thought Legend of Sleepy Hollow was worlds better than that crappy movie they made. Sorry, Johnny Depp! I normally love Johnny Depp and I still loved his character in the movie but the Ichabod Crane in the story is so much more badass. He’s like this jack-of-all-trades who’s good at seriously everything, and of course everyone loves him because he’s the caring schoolteacher. He sees Katrina Van Tassel and loves her because she’s hot and all, but what really gets him going is imagining how delicious inheriting her father’s fortune will be. I love this part though:
…he would have passed a pleasant life of it, in despite of the Devil and all his works, if his path had not been crossed by a being that causes more perplexity to mortal man than ghosts, goblins, and the whole race of witches put together, and that was – a woman.
It’s great irony, but at the same time it does still seem to blame Katrina for his untimely end anyway because she for some unknown but presumably stupid reason decided she didn’t like him anymore. By the way, the stupid ending in the movie is thankfully not even remotely similar to the ending in the original story. It makes much more sense and is more realistic, if we can say that about legends…