06 May 2012

"Kindred" by Octavia E. Butler

Riveting. Bone-chilling.  Unabashed.  These are all words that describe Octavia E. Butler's "Kindred".  I remembered seeing this novel in a local Barnes & Nobles and making a mental note to check it out from the library, but had completely forgotten about it.  Then this past Thursday, I ran across it while looking in the science fiction section.  I checked it out, took it home, began reading it Friday night while my boyfriend was away, and hardly put it down until I was finished reading each tantalizing page.

I know it is complete cliche to claim that a book was so good that you could hardly put it down, but that is exactly how I felt about "Kindred".  Butler draws you in in the prologue by opening with the protagonist, Dana in the hospital with a missing arm.  

I'm not going to give a summery of the book.  It is really one everyone should read for themselves.  What I am going to do is lay out why I absolutely loved this book.  First, it presents an interesting twist on the slave narrative.  I recently became enticed by these stories and read one whenever I could get my hands on them.  "Kindred" is labelled as a science fiction, and I was completely curious to see how an author would tackle the issues of slavery in a science fiction perspective.  What I soon realized upon reading the book is that this label is a misnomer.  "Kindred" is more of a fantasy than anything else.  It leads the reader through the complicated world of an African-American woman born in 1976 who is somehow teleported or warped back to the 1819 antebellum South. Trippy.  

Another interesting twist is that Dana is married to a white man.  This adds a layer of complication to the feelings that Dana must be having.

As for Butler's style, it is well above most author's that I have read.  The pace is "fast" and yet "slow" all at the same time.  You feel that things are happening quickly, but in a drawn out manner that makes them feel real. (You'll understand better once you read the book.)  Butler's word choice is crisp and clean, and she does not over-exaggerate the "negro speech" like most books tend to do.  The slaves in this book sound like my grandmother, grandfather, and many of my relatives that still live in Alabama.  It makes them completely relateable, which makes the book that much more powerful.

Well, this post is running long so I will just sum up by saying one must read this novel.  It is well worth the time, effort, and energy. 

03 May 2012

"Naamah's Blessing" by Jacqueline Carey

This is the third and final installment in Jacqueline Carey's Naamah's series of novels.  I thoroughly enjoyed the first one, and enjoyed the second installment well enough to read the third and final novel.  And let me just say, it is not as good as the first two.

The main problem with this book is that the heroine, Moirin, is too perfect.  So perfect that you cannot connect with her and she just comes out as self-righteous and a know-it-all.  Moirin would have been a lot more endearing if she had some real palpable faults.  While Carey attempts to make Moirin more "like the rest of us" by harping on the fact that Moirin never asked for any of the admiration and praise that is sent her way, it is sent her way endlessly nonetheless with her detractors painfully obviously being in the wrong.

Carey also makes a valid attempt at making us see the Terra Nova natives as noble, however, you always get the underlying feeling that the Terre D'Ange (French counterparts) are of a level of sophistication above them.  In fact, the two natives who travel to Terre D'Ange are almost completely disappear never to be heard from again--except of course to help the D'Angelines throw a native styled fete.  And one must not forget that the Emporor of one of the nations in Terra Nova cannot resist the European woman who has come over.  It would have been a lot more enlightening if the Emporor had resisted Moirin or gone so far as not to find her any more attractive than one of his numerous wives.

Overall, I would recommend reading the series to those who are Carey fans, especially those who read the Kushiel line of novels.  For those, reading the Kushiel line should be enough as the Naamah series may disappoint you.

02 May 2012

That Real Black Girl Swag

I haven't done an outfit post in forever (if ever?) so I decided to share one of my current favorite outfits and a new take on the normally chunky twist outs I do.  This time I decided to do smaller twists, and I love the curl definition that I got when I unraveled and fluffed my mane.  I also tried sealing my twists with shea butter (which I detested doing when I first went natural) and surprisingly, my hair was soft and manageable!

"For More Than Glore" by William C. Dietz

I just finished another book by one of my favorite authors--William C. Dietz.  It was good, but I did it find it disenhartening that while Dietz introduces a new main character to the mix, he has just followed the same formula that he did with Booly in previous novels.  *Potential light spoilers* Big, burly soldiers with above perfect morality, loyalty, and comeradity is at a rank far below his skills because his morality has put him at odds with a corrupt and imperfect system.  He finds himself in a situation where his men respect him, and almost every key battle must be won by him.  While saving the day, he meets a lovely and fiery woman who is rich and well-connected beyond comprehension, in a class well above his own.  They are initially at odds with one another but eventually the laws of attraction kick in and they become an item at the end of the day.

Don't get me wrong, I love Dietz and his novels, but I would have liked to see a different story line being played out.  If there was a need for romance, and I am not against it, I would have loved to see maybe two soldiers fall in love with one another rather than a well connected rich woman and a lowly soldier.

Thrift Store finds

Adam and I have made it our regular weekend outings to go shopping at thrift stores (Goodwill, Thrift Town, and Deseret Industries being our main go-tos.), and this past weekend I found some great items! First I found these great shoes for only $5 dollars at Goodwill.

Normally, I could give a hoot-and-nanny about what others think about my fashion choices because I believe that fashion is highly personal and subjective, but you know you have a good find when several people stop you and point out how cute the shoes are your holding.  So I definitely had to grab these.

Next, we went to Thrift Town, and while I was coming out of the dressing room I practically tripped over this uber cute carrying case that was just lying on the ground!

After I regained my balance, I turned around to pick up the item that had tripped me up, looked at the price tag, and found that this little lovely was marked for $4.99!  As you can see below it is thin from the from the front profile and quite deep on the inside. It also has mesh pockets on the inside to allow for storage of makeup bottles, shampoo bottles, and other care products.  I can't wait to use it.  
Very sleek, and I love the buckle and tan leather detailing.
Picture is a bit unclear, but you get the gist.
I also picked up this really cute and flattering dress for $3.99, as well as some other clothing items, from Thrift Town. Now it may seem like I bought a lot, but my boyfriend had a store card that took $10 off any purchase of $20.  Score!  I love thrift stores, and won't be surprise if I'm back at one this weekend.