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It’s that time of the week again.

The Book

  • I’m actually going to stop writing this, as although I know very few people read this blog, I’m finding it a little stressful. Stupid, I know.  But as I was finishing The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla, I started panicking a little about what book I would read next.  I knew I wanted to take a break from the series, but suddenly started worrying about what people would think of the next book I choose to read.

Someone once said to me that when we worry about people judging us for something, it’s because we judge other people for the same reason.  Maybe I’m a book snob and don’t want people to know I read some trash as well (okay, I confess, I read all the Sookie Stackhouse books in a month and a half last year.  Are they trash?  You tell me.  I really enjoyed them).  I don’t panic about books so much as I do about music.  I find music snobs incredibly intimidating and showing one of them what I’m listening to on my iPod is enough to induce a small panic attack.

I don’t think I’m worried so much as I don’t want my book choice to be influenced by what I think other people will think of me by what I read.  That being said, if you’re interested in what I’m reading (who wouldn’t be?!) feel free to ask.  And if I’m reading a particularly interesting book, I’ll post about it.

For those who want to know, I have recently been reading Call for the Dead, the first book by John le Carre, and the first book introducing George Smiley, the protagonist in the recent film Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (excellent film, I highly recommend it). I finished that in two nights and am now reading The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susanah.

Articles

  • Another confession, I am a Brangelina fan.  But seriously, is anyone surprised? Some time last year I came across this photo shoot by the couple.  I quite like it except for a few strange photos that seem to be depicting some violence.  I don’t really get that.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, here is a photo gallery on American poverty from The New Yorker.
  • The Obama Memos in The New Yorker outline why I never want to be the leader of any country.
  • The Guardian on the overuse of the word literally.
Blog/site of the week
  • Tiny Vices is an online gallery.  I haven’t gotten past the home page yet.  It’s mesmerising watching the photos change every few seconds.
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Time for the second round of what I’m reading. This is already becoming difficult as I started this post on Tuesday, the day after posting the first in this series, and I already had four articles to share. I will try to limit the number of articles posted here, those who want to see more of what I’m reading can follow me on Twitter, where I frequently share the articles I enjoy. This past week has included…

The book

  • This has been quite a busy week, so I’m still on the same book as last week, ‘The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla’.  It’s getting to that exciting part where I have to force myself to put it down so I can get some sleep.

Articles

  • My flatmate alerted me to this beautiful article from Poetry Magazine about the Island of Lampedusa, which many African asylum seekers travel to, by boat, as a way into Europe. The author manages to represent the perspectives and positions of all involved in a very honest and respectful manner. Also, the author references The Leopard, one of my favourite books, several times, as well as Dr Who, one of my favourite shows! It is quite a long article, but I strongly encourage you to read to the end.
  • This is an interesting post by author Jennifer Weiner on whether or not the New York Times book reviewers are sexist.  Here is a response on Salon.com.
  • Can you be feminist and care about fashion? Ms Magazine explores.
  • Beautiful illustrations of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale on The Guardian (sample shown above).
  • Add some spice to your cooking with some help from Monica Bhide. I have tried any of these yet, but have every intention of doing so some time in the next year.
  • And here is an article from last year by my favourite Guardian angry man, Charlie Brooker, on aspect ratio.  As he says ‘There are only two kinds of people in this world: those who don’t have any problem with watching things that are randomly stretched or squashed, and decent human beings who still have standards’.

Blog/site of the week

  • A little while ago I discovered the work of photographer Joel Robison. It’s a lot of fun and very creative. Check out his work on Flickr.
  • Downtown from behind is a tumblr with a fabulous photographic series of cyclists from behind on various New York streets.

Okay, sorry for those who read this post before I changed it, but I was writing a second post with links, and thought it best to include the previous post about Jessica Stanley’s blog in this one.

I have decided to start a new weekly post called what I’m reading (boring title, I know, any suggestions for something more interesting). Yes, the idea has come from the Read. Look. Think. posts in the above mentioned blog. I’ll just mention the book I’m currently reading, and provide links to articles and sites I’ve found interesting over the previous week. This post will include older articles, as it’s the first one.

The links are a little hard to see sorry. There is a dotted line under the words that link to the relevant pages.

The book

I’m currently reading Stephen King’s Dark Tower series and started the fifth book ‘Wolves of the Calla’ earlier this week. My brother has been trying to get me to read this series for a while as it’s one of his favourites. I finally started when I discovered they were turning it into a movie staring either Christian Bale or Javier Bardem. Now, while those who know me know that Christian Bale is, in my opinion, perfect (we’ll ignore the incident), Javier Bardem’s not far behind, so that was a win win situation for me. According to IMDB Javier Bardem will now play the role. Movie aside, I am thoroughly enjoying the books.

Articles

I really enjoyed this article, The new domesticity: Fun, empowering or a step back for American women?, particularly as I am a feminist and a knitter.

I have written before on the perils of voluntourism, here is someone else’s take in the Sydney Morning Herald

And for something fun from Jezebel, science explains hipsters!

Favourite blog of the week

The afore mentioned blog of Jessica Stanley. A Melbournian living in London taking beautiful photos.

I recently finished the fifth and most recent instalment of the excellent series A Song of Ice and Fire. Some of you may be familiar with the HBO television series Game of Thrones, which is named after the first book. I highly highly recommend it! I have loved the books so far, and am seriously considering starting them all over again. The TV series is also particularly excellent. I mean, it has Sean Bean, how could it not be fantastic? I’ve also developed a bit of a crush on Kit Harington, who plays my crush in the book, John Snow.

But what really stands out for me are the women. The women in the books are amazing. Ranging from young children, to old women, they are so strong! Even sensitive, naive, and vain Sansa. And I promise you will all fall in love with young and feisty Arya. And Daenerys Targaryen!!! Ok, I’ll stop now.

The book doesn’t wash over the violence and exploitation women faced in medieval times and today. The story is very brutal, at times I was completely overwhelmed and had to walk away and have a cup of tea to compose myself. But after five minutes I was curled up on the couch with my new friends again.

If, like me, you like having a sound track for your books, I recommend Bon Iver’s self titled album. It fit perfectly for me. The only problem is, whenever I listen to the album (like right now), I want to pick up the book and start again.

And for those of you who say ‘oh, I don’t read fantasy…’ Get over yourselves, it’s brilliant. Have you ever read a fantasy novel? Probably not. You’re just stereotyping.

Note: It contains a lot of violence and some graphic sex scenes, so don’t read it or watch the series if that will make you uncomfortable.

Note: If you have read fantasy (or science fiction for that matter) and genuinely don’t like it, then please ignore my comment above. It was directed at those (usually women) who dismiss the entire genre without ever having read it, based only on their own bias.

I have stolen this from one of my favourite websites Brain Pickings and you can find the original post here. I plan to attempt this but I think it will take a little while. Has anyone read any of these books? What are your thoughts? Any you would add or remove?

While we’re talking books, can anyone recommend some good classic sci-fi novels? i.e. real old school ones.