January 29th, 2007

body paint

January Books 18) The Sexual Life of Catherine M.

18) The Sexual Life of Catherine M., by Catherine Millet (.co.uk, .com)

Catherine Millet has sex a lot, with lots of people, in lots of places and in lots of different positions. I have to say that I enjoyed this much less than Girl with a One-Track Mind; Millet takes herself very seriously, as a leading French intellectual and art critic, and doesn't really appear to be having much fun. Anyway, it was very cheap in the remaindered bookshop in Vienna, which perhaps tells its own story.

Top UnSuggestion for this book: Stardust by Neil Gaiman. (Are Gaiman's fans just not that much into intellectual erotica? I find that a bit surprising.)
earthsea

January Books 19) The Mill on the Floss

19) The Mill on the Floss, by George Eliot (.co.uk, .com)

This had been the book on my unread list marked as "unread" most often by other LibraryThing users (though since starting on it I have acquired two other books that are higher up that list, Catcher in the Rye and Swann's Way). I very much enjoyed Middlemarch when I read it maybe fifteen years ago, but artw warned me that this would be tougher going, and as so often, she was right.

On page 355 of our 495-page edition, the author rhetorically asks the reader, "Had anything remarkable happened?" Well, no, it hadn't really; and once the actual plot got going in the next few pages, I resented the long long build-up of dysfunctional family background, peasants with funny accents, and stifling society, which could have been much more nicely done in a chapter or two. Then the actual plot bit, where our heroine is torn between the two potential lovers and her feelings for her brother, was reasonably good, and I wished that the first two-thirds of the book had been as well-written. But then the ending is a complete cop-out, and totally betrays the feminist views that Eliot has ever so mildly been subversively trying to hint at in the rest of the book. Generations must have thought that her message is "Women, if you Disobey Your Man, God's Judgement will Fall Upon You and you Will Drown (or something equally fatal)." I think for most of the book she was trying to say the opposite, but it is not consistently articulated.

Top UnSuggestion for this book: Programming Perl, by Larry Wall
angry

Crime

One of those days when I really should have just stayed in bed. Kept on missing train connections both going to work and coming home again; and when I stopped for a snack in Brussels North railway station, I went to pick up my laptop after I had finished eating, and realised it was gone.

My brand new laptop, nicked.

Bastards.

It could have been worse. I think of blonde222's experience last year, which was considerably worse - at least mine had only two weeks of work on it, and most of the emails are backed up elsewhere. And in any case, it was not as bad as what happened to me in April 1999, shortly after moving to Belgium, when I was mugged at gunpoint in a different railway station - less material loss, but much more of a shock to the system.

Still.

Bastards.