Of the 40 entries (51 total comments, some were duplicates and a few of you got in after the deadline…sorry!), the winner of yesterday’s giveaway is…
Archive for August, 2011
A year ago today, I made my first post at 101 Books.
I’m nearly 25% finished with the list. Not sure how that happened.
Anyway, to thank all you 101 Books readers out there, and to celebrate 101 Books’ first “blogoversary,” I’m giving away one copy of any of the first 25 books I’ve read on the Time list. Any book. Your choice. Shipping’s on me, too, no matter where you live.
I’ll randomly select a winner using a random number generator. Everyone’s eligible, other than Corey, who won my first book giveaway. Just trying to spread the love, Corey.
“Horrorshow” meaning “good” in nadsat, for anyone who isn’t familiar with the slang Russian-inspired language from A Clockwork Orange.
I mentioned in my preview of A Clockwork Orange that Entertainment Weekly listed the movie version of the book as the second most controversial film of all-time.
Seriously, when the movie was originally released, the American version was rated X. Kubrick went back and edited some of the explicit scenes to make it an R-rated re-release in 1973. I’ve never seen the movie, and I probably don’t intend to. The book is disturbing enough, at least the first few chapters.
Despite its graphic, violent nature, the film is critically acclaimed, receiving an Academy Awards nomination for best film in 1971. Of note, the film doesn’t include scenes from the final chapter of A Clockwork Orange‘s most recent version–the version that Anthony Burgess actually preferred.
So next Tuesday, August 30, will mark a year since my first post at 101 Books.
When I started this blog idea, I really had no idea what form it would take. All I really knew was that I wanted to read 101 books and write about them as I read.
I honestly never intended for this to be a daily (every weekday) blog. I thought I would post around once a week, with updates about what I was reading, then review each book after I finished it.
Then the freshly pressed feature came along, then it came along again, and the blog started getting all kinds of traffic and new visitors. So I picked up the pace with the posts–at first, three days a week. And eventually I started posting 5 days a week.
Hang on for this one. It should be a freaky and interesting ride.
A Clockwork Orange is only my second re-read since I started this blog. If you’re keeping score at home, my first was The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.
I first read Anthony Burgess’ weird classic in college, about 11 years ago, and I’m interested to see what I think of it this time around. Time to brush up on my nadsat, I guess.
A few quick facts about A Clockwork Orange:
Back when I read Go Tell It On The Mountain, I said I enjoyed James Baldwin as a writer even more than his book. The plot, the characters—all of that was excellent—but when I finished the book, his writing left more of an impression on me than his story.
I have the same type of feeling about Margaret Atwood and The Blind Assassin. The story—or multiple stories—developed slowly and had a big payoff at the end. But Atwood’s writing knocked me off my feet. Literally. Like, I fell down after reading page 289. Okay, not literally. But, figuratively speaking, Atwood picked me up and threw me down a staircase.
Last week, I posted about how well she nailed the voice of Iris Chase—the 83-year-old narrator. Atwood manages to show wit, snarkiness, regret, humor, self-deprecation and unbelievable wisdom and insight through this one character. I might have underlined more passages in this novel than any of the first 24.
If you’ve read anything about The Blind Assassin, you’re probably aware that the novel is several stories in one—all of which eventually tie together. You’ve got the main storyline—which is really two stories in one—present day Iris Chase, living alone, and carrying the weight of her family’s history and her mistakes on her shoulders.
With the possible exception of Infinite Jest and Catch 22, The Blind Assassin might have more good one-liners than any of the first 24 books. But these aren’t just one-liners in the witty, Jay Leno, cue-the-snare-drum sense of the word.
Margaret Atwood can do that, though she’s much more funny than Jay Leno. But she can also pack an amazing amount of wisdom and insight into just a few words. The woman is gifted.
As a writer, Margaret Atwood is both profound and witty. I’ve found my blue pen has underlined sentences all throughout this book.
Some favorites (and there are many more):
I don’t understand spam. I really don’t.
I don’t understand the people that circulate it and the people who actually fall for it. A Nigerian king wants to give you a million dollars…really?
Thanks to the beauty of spam filters on email and blogs, we don’t have to deal with this crap much anymore. But, every now and then, I peek in the spam folder to make sure something legitimate didn’t get overlooked.
And I’m always amazed by the efforts, or lack thereof, that spammers make to fool us into believing they are legitimately commenting on a post. Who writes this stuff? Is it an actual human, a robot, a computer program, a parakeet?
To understand why I’m asking this question, check out some of the recent spam comments that my WordPress filter caught: