Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Book On My Nigtstand...

The current book on my nightstand it The Calligrapher's Daughter by Eugenia Kim. I am about 1/3 in and I am enjoying the story a lot. The flow is easy and relaxed, yet gets across the historical attitudes of the time frame very well. The feel of the characters is genuine and with each page I feel I know them like family. I have never read much about Korea, so I find this story engaging for the historical information as well. Asian culture is a wonderfully fascinating thing to learn about and I'm really glad I grabbed this one.

Years ago I was enthralled with Amy Tan's books. They were wonderful and heartfelt. I learned much about Chinese culture and attitudes.After finishing my current read, I am inspired to go back and re-read them AND get my hands on those I haven't yet read. I never saw The Joy Luck Club movie, but Amazon has it both on DVD and Prime rental, so I plan to check it out.

The same fascination held true for James Clavell's books. Not many of my teenaged friends were even remotely interested in his amazing Asian Sagas. I was hooked like an addict and read them as fast as I could. While I enjoyed the t.v. mini-series adaptations as well, I never thought they were given quite the justice they were due for such in-depth stories. Personally, I think it would be awesome if they were re-made into current t.v. series. That is probably the only way to truly get into the characters, stories and history.

 If Asian history and culture interests you, I think all of the books above would go a long way to fulfilling your curiosity, while providing deep characters and masterful story telling. Others you might consider include From A Far Land by Robert S. Elegant, though this is hard to find a copy of. Another I enjoyed was Shinju by Laura Joh Rowland. I intend to read more of both author's books if I can get my hands on them.

I can't remember a time I didn't like to lose myself in books. As a kid I read a lot of young mystery and who-dun-nit such as Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys, plus books like The Outsiders series. Around age 10 or 11, my Grandfather got me reading more serious material when he decided I could borrow his Agatha Christie books. One at a time he lent them to me until I completed the entire collection and I loved every one of them. Next he tried to get me into Ian Fleming's 007 stories. Those books did not do it for me, but who didn't love Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? On a side-note, would you believe I never saw a James Bond Movie until I was dating Hubster? Oddly enough, I LOVED the movies. Go figure, huh?

Anyway, that's what I'm currently up to, when I am not tackling free Craig's List furniture refinishing and upcycling projects...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

? 50 Shades of GREEN ?

Well, I finished book 3 and it was about the same as the first two... Lots of sex and 2 people who really need to learn how to communicate with each other trying to navigate those choppy waters, especially since Christian and Anastasia got married. C.G. was his usual controlling self taking precautions against the crazy people who want to bring harm to the Grey clan. A.G. was her usual self trying to be both who she is and what he needs her to be.

I was bummed that I couldn't find a good quote for this post's title,  but I decided on GREEN for a pretty good reason. It would seem from book 2 that a former sexual subordinate partner went bat-shit crazy and was jealous of the latest girl in Christian's life, especially since she very clearly is NOT a subordinate. Then there was Anastasia's boss that tried to get her to perform sexual favors in return for giving her the job. Well, C.G. had his ass bodily removed and not very nicely if you know what I mean. Turns out he was jealous of Christian for his money and position. Sooo there was plenty of green envy and big green money going around in this book. Lawdy, but these jealous folk must have been apoplectic by the (unsurprisingly to me) very happy ending!

The story read and felt the same in as much as the author was consistent across the series in her style and characterizations. This book brought more information about less prominent characters and answered the lingering questions. You know, all was tied up in a nice neat package with a bow and everything! The bonus at the end is a very short but very informative bit from the perspective of Christian Grey, which was nice as the entire series was written as Anastasia telling the stories.

Tell me... What did you like and/or dislike about it if you read it?

Monday, September 3, 2012

? 50 Shades of "Kinky Fuckery" ?

Having just completed Book 2, I am still trying to figure out what all the fuss has been about. Uhm, yeah there is plenty of sex and some of it you might call adventuresome and playful, but none of it has been mind boggling or mind blowing. Could be I am not easily impressed. Could be I am not lacking in that department. Could be these things aren't so off the wall to my way of thinking. Who knows? I'm not telling! :)

I have enjoyed these books so far, in as much as I enjoy anything most people would call a Summer Beach Reads. There is more to them than sex and the wary dance of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele still getting to know each other after such an ugly break up is sweet to follow along.

C.G. is a man with a wounded psyche. Though a man of money in this story, he did not enter the world as such. Hideous things were done to him as a small boy and while he was rescued and adopted into a loving family, he carried a low sense of self worth into adulthood. He has long sought to find a way to mend himself, though he has only just found someone who challenged his way of thinking enough for him to realize he has value to those around him.

A.S. has had so little worldly experience and yet she seems to naturally want to help C.G. learn that he is truly loved and cherished both by his family and her. The reality of this is most evident following a time when he has gone missing and everyone is gathered together fearing the worst but hoping for the best outcome. When he encounters this group of people upon his return, he is overwhelmed by the knowledge that he matters much more than he ever imagined. Here it seems he finally has the epiphany I was waiting and hoping for.

The kinky fuckery, (this hilarious phrase could not go unacknowledged!), may have been part of who C.G. was before, but now he is feeling freedom from its hold. There are parts of the sexual pleasures that he once practiced in mature and agreeable forms with consenting adult women that A.S. wishes to learn about and participate in with him, both for herself and for him. That to me defies the outcry from many about the nature of this book, She WANTS to know about what she enjoys and is WILLING, with restrictions, to try some of those things. That shows love, curiosity, willingness to try new things and daring to follow through. This is not a woman dominated by a man this is a woman dominated by love for a man. That is a far cry from the ugliness many would have had us believe that this series is really about.

I challenge those people who cannot see past the fact that sex is a major portion of the story line to rethink and reconsider that as such a negative. After all, how many who are condemning these books have a long history of watching Daytime Soaps and nighttime "Soap" dramas of yore (Dallas, Falcon Crest etc...) many mainstream movies? Hell, a significant number of the books they read are probably no better or worse.

Personally, I think that the women who are enamored of this series are so simply because they dream of being loved like they are the center of someone's while universe. It isn't a far cry from the relationships most of us experienced in High School. Emotionally those relationships are extremely intense. New and young love is always like that. These stories evoke that kind of emotion and it is one I think we all miss from our youth. Sure, some of those relationships sucked rotten eggs in every way possible and some were mighty alrighty with the fair to middlin's in there for good measure, but that doesn't mean that as adults we don't occasionally feel misty for that simpler love. HAHA, I know simpler sounds funny, but in comparison to what we know now and what we knew then, I truly believe it was simpler!