Thursday, October 16, 2008

Got to got to get away.

Well, hi there!

The search continues for a good writers club or book club within the silicon valley that would suit my need for some kind of cultural interaction. I need to check out the clubs at school.

Book reviews to follow, folks, not my normal entries.

I just finished Philippa Gregory's The Queens Fool, the book after The Other Boleyn Girl, and before The Virgins Lover. Man, I hate that the last title there sounds so much like a romance novel, but what can you do?

I did like in The Queens Fool that Philippa used a sort of peasant/middle class girl as the narrator instead of a noble. Plus I had just read an article in the most recent Smithsonian about the Jews fleeing Spain during the time of the inquisition and all of it tied in nicely. It was a nice read, though not as compelling as The Other Boleyn Girl. I have the feeling that parts of it were purely in the interest of having an avenue between The Other Boleyn Girl and The Virgins Lover.

I have just begun reading George R. Martin's A Game Of Thrones. I'm not very used to reading strictly fantasy novels, so I'm having some fun re-acquainting myself with the way that these plots tend to flow. Also, for a fantasy novel, the book has been pretty good so far with names--something I've always found rather irritating. I can't generally enjoy a book if I'm having trouble figuring out how to pronounce everyone's name. This is a good reason why I've drifted more towards Science Fiction, Horror and straight Fiction for a long time now.

I also recently read the DC comic Kingdom Come, which I highly recommend both for the superb artwork and the very serious tone of the story. I read as well the DC comic Batman Night Cries, which was good, definitely had some amazing art, but I'm pretty torn on the story. Probably strikes a little too close to home.

Kingdom come is about the mainstream DC heroes having a sort of comeback, or reunion, after the next generation of superheroes has dominated the scene. The "classic heroes" have come back to teach the new kids a thing or two about respect, especially with powers as hazardous as theirs. After a rather serious incident, the classic heroes are finding themselves facing down a political nightmare, not to mention what could be the fate of much of the world and superheroes all together. It was a page turner.

Batman - Night Cries, is based on a string of murders following abusive parents. There are none of the usual bad guys as suspect, and the plot takes many dark and sinister turns into territory that is all too real for many of us. These are bad things that we normal people will generally hear about on our news channels and on blogs, not something that would usually grace the pages of a comic strip. It's kind of up to you whether you find the change a good thing or bad. Personally, I like comic books as an escape from the real nightmares of the world, and though Batman usually cuts it pretty close, this was just a little too much for me. I'm thinking of re-selling it back to the store.

As for The Queens Fool, it follows a renegade Jewish girl and her father fleeing Spain to England during the end of King Edwards reign and into Queen Mary's. The girl is begged as a fool first to the King and then to the Queen, and is used as a spy between Queen Mary, Princess Elizabeth, and several other noted historical figures. This gives a nice perspective on the time, while in the same moment showing some of the cultural heritage of Jew's fleeing the Inquisition and how they would have to hid in plain sight. The fool, the Jewish girl, is the daughter of a printer and is very brazen for a woman of the time, as female heroines in fiction books tend to be. She also has the gift of sight, which plays some integral roles in her being a spy, as everyone wants to put her to their work. The pull between court life, her betrothed, her family and her heritage is very tangible throughout the narrative. It's a very compelling story, and I highly recommend it. Of course, I recommend you read The Other Boleyn Girl first.


I think that I may post reviews of books as I read them from now on, and perhaps reviews of movies as I see them as well. There's no particular reason for this, lord knows there are thousands upon thousands of the same out there and my audience is so small that I am nary to be noticed, but I want some semblance of consistency to this blog. I'm not political enough, even though I like politics, and I certainly don't have many other hobbies or opinions that are very interesting to speak on at the moment.

All in all, I think this blog is doomed to randomness. But all is well, I am at peace, and so I hope you be.



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