Sunday, January 05, 2014

A new year

I don't read much these days, as I've said before, and the sad thing is that part of the reason is that I can't keep up the blog. I miss it very much. This is only a small part of a whole, I used to have an internet community I felt a part of and my blog (even though I've never had readers really) felt like an extension of that. I feel bereft. I said to mr Bani yesterday that I'd really like a laptop of my own (something we can't afford at the moment at all) - he felt so guilty he started looking at laptops on Ebay for me. And created my own login for me on his which I am currently using. It's difficult to have no space for oneself - the most private space I've got is my office at work, which is pathetic isn't it. In related news I have come to the conclusion that older teenagers are meant to be annoying so their parents will be glad when they finally move instead of panicking at the thought which they did only a few years prior. Because deargodhelpus. Anyway, going back to the first sentence - another reason is that I play Candy Crush (yes yes but I never beg for lives and never pay, I'm not that big of an eejit) and before that Angry Birds Star Wars (I know I know) and also I read other blogs and most importantly my commute now is only ten minutes so less time to read anyway.

There are a few things I've read that I've forgotten about, but let's write about the ones I remember ... I read World War Z by Max Brooks, a millennia after the party and only because we saw the film which was a bit shit (although I admit that I spent a fair amount of time NOT watching the film because scary zombies make me tense), and after that when I was picking Junior up from his friend I mentioned that we'd seen it at the friend's father said but oh! you must read the book here I've got it. So I did, and it was so much better and why the HELL do all those film directors and producers tamper so much with books when they claim to love them? (There is a Hobbit related rant to this, but I'm saving that for what will hopefully be a separate post.) World War Z is a book about collecting personal witness accounts about the disaster that almost destroyed human civilisation (that would be a terrible fast-spreading infection turning the dead into zombies, folks), about the impacts on countries and cultures, about political considerations, about coping and preserving humanity and human values. This makes it sound a lot deeper than it in fact is - it's not by any means Great Literature but I did enjoy it and found it thought-provoking. It struck me that in a lot of ways Earth seemed like a nicer place to live after being almost annihilated, expect in Russia. More just and fair, a bit post-Ark. The film was about Brad Pitt and his inane family, a very traditional classic storyline, purportedly a first-person view but not even managing to be consistent about that. Whatevs. (But yes, scary scary zombies.)

I re-read Justice Hall, by Laurie King. I'd like to collect  her books so I have them all, I find them soothing, and I'd also like to get a hold of the short story collections she's written for. And I read a Margaret Atwood novel, Cat's Eye, which was terrible and lovely.  I wrote a long post about it in my head but I've forgotten most of it. The main character and narrator, Elaine, is now a rather well-known painter and has returned to Toronto for a retrospective, which brings back all the memories of the torment she suffered in the city as a child. It is a brilliant story about a young girl who is almost destroyed by that kind of horrible, psychologically destructive bullying that girls can excel at, to the point where she chooses to forget those years altogether and only has them flood back years later when she is cleaning out the attic with her mother and finds the cat's eye marble she carried as a talisman. Atwood writes such sad characters. Even when they say they feel good and are happy there is a brittleness about it. Sorrow always lies hiding underneath, it never goes away. I feel like only someone who has experienced being an outsider could write like this about it. You always feel like you are acting a part, as though someone is going to find you out one day. Elaine the adult has never really left her childhood behind and is surprised constantly at how established she is, how young people look at her as a grown-up. And still she "hasn't suffered", she describes how she, in the feminist groups of the 70s, feels left-out because nothing really bad has happened to her  - she was never raped, she was never beaten. Always this quantifying of suffering, deciding which pain ranks the highest.

I read loads of Margaret Atwood in my teens, but I lost track of her. Maybe I should re-read everything in a chronological order. I feel like she is capturing a lost age, both in this one and in The Blind Assassin. 

There was something else, but I forget. Hopefully tomorrow!


li'l sis said...

HUGS! Btw, Huma is thinking of getting a new laptop and if that happens they were going to offer her old one to me, but I think you could use it more. It's not set in stone that she'll will get a new on, but perhaps you could get in touch with them and throw your hat in the ring for the old one if it does happen?

Oh and have you read Ocean At The End Of The Lane yet?

bani said...

Thanks a lot, but I shouldn't overdo my poverty gripes - if I do a bit of long-term saving I can definitely afford one, but there's no instant gratification in saving cash for more than a year, right? ;) I have read Ocean, clearly it's on my not-blogged-about-list... that explains what has been niggling me as forgotten. Crap.