Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Unrelated Information

1. Last Sunday, as you may know, was the annular eclipse of the sun. Check out more awesome images here. I was able to see it by briefly glancing at it through sunglasses - not the best, but I wasn't going to let it pass without at least glancing.

2. It is Memorial Day weekend. You know that this holiday is to honor fallen members of the armed services, right? I would respectfully petition you to think on that, however briefly, in between your picnics, barbecues, camping trips, and drinking binges. Just a few thoughts as to why you've got the long weekend.

3. Yesterday I mentioned reading Anne Rice's "Queen of the Damned"; well, I finished it. I had actually started reading another book when it arrived per my special request at the local library, so I have now returned to reading "Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon. It is about a World War II nurse who is transported, magically, to 18th century Scotland. I am at a place in the novel where she has been recently displaced in time, and fallen in with a band of Scottish rebels during the Jacobite uprising. It is a good read; not as immediately gripping for me as the tales of vampires spun by Rice, but it has a very nice feel to its words. It is one of the few books I've read that is convincingly told from a female point of view. Most fiction I've read is by male authors, focused on male characters, and anything to do with females is told through the male lens. Even Anne Rice's vampires are mostly male, and strangely they tend to fall in love with other males. The most major female characters in her stories so far have been Claudia, the vampire child, and the titular Queen of the Damned - not really stellar examples of the fairer sex. However, Gabaldon's nurse, Claire, is delightfully feminine; why her descriptions of the shape, print, and feel of her thin cotton dress remind me perfectly of Better Living's self-made clothes and talent as both a seamstress and writer. I like that the character Claire is both firmly female and determinedly firm, setting aside the confusion and fear of being lost in time to sternly admonish her highlander captors on the proper care of their wounded comrade.

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