Monday, 11 July 2011

what i've been reading lately

my sleeping patterns are still very off. managed to sleep around 4am last night, don't know if i'll do better tonight though i did get a nap in after work. it's probably because of this that i'm feeling a little down about comments i've seen around the whole burqa issue on other blogs. it makes me angry, then i get that old feeling of depressed helplessness. nothing that a good night's sleep won't cure, i hope.

so. i'm going to write about something else altogether. about books i've been reading lately. after putting up the piece i wrote for nz book month about "gone with the wind", i thought i'd go back to it. but i've found the racism so much deeper and so much harder to bear. and something i've missed from previous reading (and God knows i've read it enough) was the author's casual dismissal of native americans and their alienation from the land. it was mentioned in passing a few times, the notions that the land had been cleared of "indians", as if it was nothing really. ugh. i still like how she writes about the lives of women, and pokes fun at the culture of the time, but somehow i think i won't be reading this book again. not for a long time.

at the moment, i'm about half way through "interview with a vampire" by anne rice. i've seen the film - a while ago now - but never really liked it. this is mostly because i am really not a fan of tom cruise or brad pitt, and my dislike of them tends to overshadow any interest in the films they're in. the book is interesting enough, and so much better than the twilight nonsense. it's a lot more creepy, more of a horror than a romance. i am finding the portrayal of claudia, the child vampire, a little disturbing - the sexualisation of a child character, even if it's a child vampire & there's no actual sex involved, is quite unsettling. which is the point of a horror novel i suppose. i'm thinking this is another book i won't be reading again.

i managed to get through the "diary of a wimpy vampire" in a couple of hours on the plane back home. it was definitely funny & i quite enjoyed it. might have to get the sequel, although i've really had enough of vampires now. and that's when i don't even watch any of the vampire series on tv, nor could i be bothered to watch the last film in the twilight series.

and finally, while i was away, i read "the appeal" by john grisham. i don't always like his novels, mostly i'm disappointed in them. and he writes with this strange kind of cynical earnestness that i find irritating. this one was good, not because of the plot or the writing style, but because of his expose (can't do macrons, so just imagine one on the last e) of the judicial voting system in america. and the corruption thereof. it was a real eye-opener of how exactly justice is being bought across that country, and i hope that we never get to the stage of electing judges in this country.

when i get around to it, the next books on my list are "under the tuscan sun" by frances mayes, "love in idleness" by amanda craig, "the murder room" by p d james, "the red queen" by philippa gregory, and something by jodi picoult (can't remember the title just now). they are all deliberately female authors, because i've decided i need to read more books written by women. once i've finished with that lot, i'm going to look for more books by asian, african & middle eastern writers. i've realised i read too many books by white people, and i need to widen my perspective a bit more. and one day, some day, i will get around to writing that novel in my head.

in the meantime, i haven't linked to the stuff i've been writing at the hand mirror for a while, so i'll do that now. i wrote this one on white privilege, this one on proposals in australia regarding the testing of judges for mental illness, these three on alisdair thompson who is finally gone, this one on the burqa furore that has risen up yet again, and finally this one with some awesome poetry on black women.

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