The handmaid’s tale

So, Margaret Atwood’s book: The Handmaid’s Tale is an amazing read.

I got the book and started reading when I opted for watching the series alongside to get a different take and hopefully to have the two medias blend together.

And this is exactly what happened. The series give an extra dimension visually and adds backstory through the characters memories which just enhances the written story, for me anyway.

And the book is a mesmerizing read. One word takes the next effortlessly as the diary of the handmaid Offred unfolds even deeper nuances into a world of dystopian disasters where religious control is the mainstay of the day.
A christian group “Sons of Jacob” stages an attack on congress (this is with the US as background) killing the president and continuing from here first to suspend the United States Constitution, of course with the pretext to restore order.

And then to take away human rights. In particular womens rights who are now the property of men, are forbidden to read and write and have jobs and income. And the human rights are also taken away from anyone else who does not fit into the Old Testament way of thinking, such as doctors who performed abortions, people who oppose this new totalitarian theocracy and people of different sexual orientation.

The world has experienced a devastating drop in fertility and the few women who are able to bear children become handmaids in households with the sole purpose of using their bodies to produce the next generation.
They are mere slaves in a system where noone can be trusted, everyone is a potential spy and they are kept in their place through physical and mental abuse. Those who do not conform undergo bodily mutilation if the are fertile and exile to the colonies or death if they are not. There is no way out of Gilead, as this part of the old US is now known.

This is just a first impression of course as I haven’t yet finished reading the book.

The thing that strikes me though is that however horrifying a future picture this might be, this is not just a fictional dystopian scenario. Nor is it just a depiction of a society aeons ago. This is something that has happened and is actually happening in the world today.

And this is what makes Margaret Atwoods book, written in 1985, so eerily to the point. The idea depicted in the book of the religious and political supression of women and people who oppose the system is sadly a reality for thousands, indeed millions of women (and men) in our world today.

And the mere fact that this is still tolerated silently is just evidence that we as a worldly society still have so far to go.

We are not out of the medieval era yet, not by a long shot.

Words, words, words….

So, I have been reading books all my life. Well, ever since I can remember. My dad was head of the local library and through this priviledge I spent quite a lot of my childhood in the company of the written word. Everyone in my family read and to me it seemed like I was surrounded by books.

I still read as much as I can get away with.

Growing up in the fifties and sixties reading was probably a more normal way to spend ones freetime, whereas today there are many supplementary choices like ebooks, audiobooks, movies, televisionseries etc. and access to these can be had on our smartphones, computers, tablets and TV.

Now I am not putting any of these options down.

Each of them has pros and cons and as society developes, as well as technology, we move on embracing even more sophisticated ways of storytelling and factfinding and -learning. So, logically there is nothing wrong with this evolution of how information is being delivered. And I am by no means a ludite, as my blog proves.

But for me books have a charm that no technological invention will ever be able to provide.

The feel of the paper, pages turning, the sweet smell of the printed texture, the quiet atmosphere as I delve into the written word and the complete surrender to the world of the story as it unfolds before my eyes and in my mind.

I am at peace.

There is no humming from electrical equipment, no distraction of my attention wondering if there is a mail on the way or an sms etc., no lighted background interrupting my melatonin-production and no wifi messing with my natural brainwaves.

In short to me books represent a sweet calmness where I can immerse myself  in a parallel timeline cocreated by the author and myself, completely unique and blissfully void of any interference.

Autumn and books

So I have been reading Suzanne Collins trilogy: The Hunger Games and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. I did watch the movies first and they had me spellbound from beginning to end. And then the books which are just so incredibly written and I found that they added so much more insight to the whole concept.
I still find the movieversion perfect and have watched it a couple of times and I think that the script is very cleverly done.

The comparison one can draw to our current society is a really close call if narrowed down and projected in a specific timeline and I do find that an intriguing quality in any text fiction or non-fiction.

The books are highly recommended as a commentary of our media-oriented society with realityshows and news almost blending into one.
So quite a few stars from me 🙂

The Golden Compass plus…….

Philip Pullmans trilogy starting with The Golden Compass, then The Subtle Knife and finally The Amber Spyglass has been on my cd-player lately.

Now I find the first book excellent, also watched the movie some years back, and the second book quite intriguing, allthough not as compelling a read as the first. As for the third of the books – well, I dont know, somehow it is becoming quite annoying to listen to as one scheme follows another and new ones build up. For me it does not come together as I would expect the last of a trilogy to. And I really doubt that I will finish The Amber Spyglass at all.

Never the less I did thoroughly enjoy The Golden Compass and the whole idea of multiverses/parallel worlds, quantumtheory and souls walking alongside humans in Lyra’s world.

All in all I enjoyed the first book more so than the following.

Anyway, will be taking my reading outside soon, excellent time of the year for doing so.

Audiobooks and more

I have been listening to several audiobooks lately. This is such a pleasant way to keep up with literature whilst sewing, embroidering and drawing.

Lucy Maud Montgomery’s books about Anne from Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea and more plus the sweet and very entertaining Emily-books she wrote has been filling my livingroom with story after story about life on Edward Island and been very entertaining.

I also listened to Ayn Rand’s “Anthem” which is a very interesting science fiction story set some years from now where feelings have been banned. I found this very well written and definately an interesting read.

Murakami’s book “1Q84” is still on my shelf waiting – It will be read – later 🙂

Oh, and I have listened to Douglas Adam’s “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” and “The restaurant at the end of the world” incidentally read by Douglas Adams himself. Now I bought the collected stories from H2G2 onwards – a book of about 800 pages – and have read this volume from cover to cover a few times loving every bit of it. I still laugh out loud at the surreality of the whole thing. So, I shall read this book again and again it is more than worth it.

Autumn Bridge by Takashi Matsuoka

Now this is a read that had my attention from the first page. A magnificient story from Japan telling the mysterious tale from several periods in time: 1311 to present time.

It is a story of magic, predictions from the distant past coming true centuries later. A european lady working as a translator of sacred and secret texts who become the wife of a shogun. A powerfull tale of japanese culture and way of life – an absolute gem.

Some books worth mentioning

Starting off with a quote from A. A. Milne from Winnie the Pooh because I am such a fan of Winnie and all his friends. I read in the book ever so often and find the Zen-like ponderings are just so amazing and applicable in life.

I read ‘Eye of the storm’ by Martin J. Weatherill and enjoyed it very much. It is all about how to stay centered in the middle of a storm, a life-storm that is. It is wellwritten and the suggestions are easy to apply in life. I found it a very calming read.

Sinda Jordan’s book ‘Inspired by angels’ is a collection of channeled advise from the archangels. This book had me from the first page. I even marked special pages to reread again and again. I actually did read the book twice.

John Bergman’s book ‘How to be healthy and heal the body with recipies for life’, a very light-read about 50 pages, is full of guidance to a healthier life and has excellent recipies and easily applied advise on healthy living.

Now Robert Moss’ book ‘The boy who died and came back’ is a book I just could not put down once I started. It is an exciting read, real lifestory with many tips and exercises for dreaming better dreams and being a lucid dreamer, thereby learning and being in better control of daily life.

‘Someday, someday maybe’ is by Lauren Graham about her life in pursuit of an actingcareer. This too is a book I found hard to put down. It is smooth and wellwritten and does have a lot of intelligent wit.

Afterlife by Jeffrey Long and Paul Pervy is a really interesting book deriving facts from numerous studies on life after death. This subject is a persistant interest of mine. I have read all of Michael Newtons books on the subject and of course the books from Brian Weiss and a few more like Raymond Moody’s books and Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’ etc.. These latter two dates years back though.

‘The Martian’ by Andy Weir I first heard as an audiobook and the bought the papercopy which I am currently finishing. This is an excellent combination of science and humor which I absolutely adore. I will watch the DVD when it appears on the market and the book will be reread I am sure.

Then there is Jeanne Duprau’s ‘The people of Sparks’ the followup of ‘City of Ember’ and it is really enjoyable science fiction maybe meant for a younger audience, but I can definately recommend it for adults too.

I did also hear the audiobook ‘City at worlds end’ by Edmond Hamilton and it is classic science fiction about the aftermath of a devastating war leaving one city intact. Also enjoyable.

Ayn Rand’s ‘Atlas shrugged’ is about 1000 pages long and I am working my way through her philosophy of Objectivisme which is really well explained and the story of the book, written in 1957, takes place in 2015/16 where the breakdown of society is actually representing exactly, or more or less, what we are experiencing in the world today. I have watched all three movies based on the book and I have found it helpfull in delving into the book itself, so also highly recommendable.

Just finished Douglas Adams’ ‘Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency’ and that I can definately recommend. It is written with surreal humour and is about a detective who does his research using metaphysics and timemachines and it is very entertaining.

The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff is an introduction to the Tao, the way, and it is beautifully written and very thoughtfully layed out as a conversation between the author and Winnie the Pooh and his friends. Excellent book and definately worth a reread or two.