Thursday, March 06, 2008

Steve Carell is singing in my head...

I don't know why--if it's the Springy weather or pure boredom--but I have that scene at the end of The 40-Year-Old Virgin with the cast singing and dancing stuck in my head. It's not a bad thing given my unquenchable desire for all things Steve Carell, but it's still weird.
I've been absent. I do apologize. B has the flu, Daisy is getting big enough to jump on furniture, climb into odd places, and generally terrorize us in new and unique ways, and I've just been too beat to blog.
I can't say there's anything terribly exciting going on, but between puppy homework ("off" command and "focus" leash training) I've been finding some time to read!
I've discovered that the easiest way to handle Daisy-Lou, otherwise known as Pumpkin, Pumkinhead, Puddin', Dollop-O-Daisy, and Baby Puppyyyyyy, is to run the energy right out of her. I typically take her out for about 15 minutes of obedience practice when I get home and then stake her out in the yard for an hour or so to run and frolick as she will. While she's digging in the dirt, eating divots out of the yard, and attacking dandelions I read on the back steps.
I've been having a hard time with the Howard Zinn graphic novel version of A People's History of American Empire. It's not the book's fault at's just big and hard to carry around, so it's been neglected in the midst of my midterm nuttiness.
Yesterday I decided I wasn't in the mood for Rick Moody's Demonology, so I scampered downstairs to pick up Cat's Eye, the March book for the Year of Reading Dangerously. So far, so good! Margaret Atwood is an acquired taste for me. I started with The Handmaid's Tale way back in the day, and I couldn't get into it to save my life. However, with a few years worth of patience, I returned to it and ate it up. My second go at Atwood was The Robber Bride at a friend's recommendation, and I loved it. Although, I have to say, what I originally disliked about Atwood's style is still very apparent whenever I read her stuff.
She's aloof. Cold. Detached.
Atwood is not one for the warm fuzzies. I find her writing quite cerebral, very thoughtful, chock full of interesting bits, entertaining always. But she won't be accused of being a warm hug of a writer. No no.
Cat's Eye is a whirl of metaphor and literary goodness:
"Why do we remember the past, and not the future?", wonders Stephen W. Hawking in "A Brief History of Time". This seems to be the question that constantly echoes behind Atwood's writing in "Cat's Eye", and the axis around which the novel revolves. In attempting to present her own interpretation of "time", Atwood simply achieves to prove that "nothing goes away", as time is a multi-dimensional shape which exists only in our minds, enabling us to travel around dimensions and be a different person in each one.

"Cat's Eye" presents the retrospective of Elaine Risley, a middle-aged acclaimed artist who discovers that she cannot move into the future as she is still trapped in the past, because of the childhood trauma caused by Cordelia, Elaine's tormentor and soul-mate.
Synopsis yoinked from Nabou.
There are a lot of cold villainesses in Atwood's work, and I'm looking forward to getting to know this Cordelia. Zenia, from The Robber Bride, remains a favorite character of mine. It's been far too long since I've read any of Atwood's work, and it's good to be back to it. Come along with me, won't you?


  1. I never really thought of Atwood from the point of view of aloof versus warm. But I have noticed that some people don't take to her right away (or ever). I loved her writing the first time I came across it, although some novels are better than others, of course, so I'm wondering if maybe it's a personality thing. Like maybe I didn't notice the aloofness because I'm pretty introverted.

    Also! I just got that comic version of A People's History but haven't opened it yet. I had forgotten about it, so thanks for the reminder!

  2. Cat's Eye will be my third Atwood book since I started blogging (and that was only around the beginning of the year). I didn't have a problem getting into The Handmaid's Tale, but it took me a while to warm up to The Blind Assassin. You are right, her writing is sort of dispassionate. And it sometimes takes her a long time to get to the point.

    Hope puppy school is going well for you! Loose leash walking was really really hard for Rusty, its still not too great. Sigh. Intermediate is coming up in a few weeks.

  3. That's what I didn't like about Atwood at first either, her aloofness. And even now that I've come to appreciate her writing I still have to be in the right mood. I'm hoping to read Surfacing this month for the challenge since I already have that one and the library didn't have Cat's Eye.

  4.'ll learn that one of the best ways to keep your sanity, and your sleep schedule, is to wear the crazy little pup out to the best of your ability. I love when I knock Lucy out with exercise/play! It makes the house so peaceful :O) And it's good for them so hey, it's a win win!

  5. *sigh* Atwood is my very fav! A Handmaidens Tail changed my life (dork, I know) but I had trouble getting in to Cat's Eye. You simply must pick up Alias Grace if you get a chance... *swoon*

    We need more Daisy pics!

  6. Dewey, it took some getting used to for me at first, but since I'v settled into her style I've loved Atwood. I couldn't even put my finger on what was different at first, but after Handmaid it dawned on me. So far, so good with Cat's Eye. I read some more outside with Daisy yesterday, and I can't wait to get back to it.

    Kim, that's a lot of Atwood in a short amount of time! But that's coming from a woman who rarely reads more than one work by an author. I claim F. Scott Fitzgerald as a "favorite author" based on Gatsby, but I've never been able to get through another of his books. Same with John Irving! Go figure.

    Puppy school is great so far. Daisy's doing really well with the leash, but the "off" command isn't so great. She's HARD HEADED. Like me. Runs in the family, I guess. lol Good luck with intermediate!

    I hope you enjoy it, Nat! I think I have to be in the mood for her stuff, too. A thoughtful mood. Her work doesn't do for times of stress for me.

    Amen, Funky! Daisy crashed last night. We played some rousing rounds of fetch in the backyard yesterday, and she dug a hole. She was happy.

    Cold, I keep forgetting to pick up Alias Grace! I don't have that one on my stacks yet, but I will. Her latest that I've added to my piles is Bluebeard's Egg. Can't wait to read those short stories!


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