Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Fallen Fortress

We continue to follow the adventures of young Cadderly in R. A. Salvatore’s The Fallen Fortress. You can see that the trials that this young man goes through are shaping who he is. While he is continually forced to things which go against his nature, his moral compass remains in check. He fears the growing responsibility, but accepts it anyway. Cadderly understands his role in stopping a potential war.

One thing I like about all of Salvatore’s books, which is displayed clearly in this one, is his depiction of female characters. They are strong and intelligent. They hold their own against any man. In The Fallen Fortress this is exemplified by Danica and Dorigen. Dorigen is as formidable an adversary as the villains in the previous novels. She holds the fear of the troops under her. Danica is a powerful warrior. She excels at hand-to-hand combat. Though she is Cadderly’s love and traditionally, the woman stays at home, he has too much respect for her and her abilities. I am glad to see that in these novels, typically read by men, the women are portrayed in a position of strength.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Weight was an interesting retelling of the Atlas and Heracles myth. Jeanette Winterson evokes real sympathy for the plight of Atlas. Did he really deserve his fate? Or was he a victim of circumstance? Of the gods’ whim? Heracles isn’t the benevolent hero that many think. He is crass and selfish. Some may think that he deserves his fate.

Though they each are descended from gods, they are not gods. Are they even immortal? They are not infallible. Each makes mistakes. Are they victims of circumstance? Do they really have free will? The “weight” that Atlas carries, is it merely symbolic? I think it is the weight of his worries, his concern for the earth, his daughters, his overgrown garden. To put aside the weight on your shoulders and walk away, the freedom.

Jeanette Winterson’s short novel (it was barely over 150 pages) makes you think about all these questions, while providing a fantastic story. I think this, like The Penlopliad not only makes you question the interpretation of the myth, but the life around you. I’ve enjoyed these two books in the myth series; I can’t wait to read more. I’m also thinking about picking up another of Winterson’s books. I’m eager to see what comes next.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Foucault's Pendulum

I heard so much about Umberto Eco’sFoucault’s Pendulum over my academic years, when the opportunity arose to read it, I couldn’t wait. I found it rich with philosophy, supposition and dark creativity. I also found it very long. It has taken me 8 weeks to read the entire novel, versus my usual 1-2. It was a long search though Templars, Rosicrucians and Assassins to find the end; to find the meaning behind the story.
Foucault Pendulum in Paris
I’m not even sure if I’ve done that. What is the meaning behind Foucault’s Pendulum and the journey the characters take? Why is the Pendulum so important to the Plan they create? Maybe if I understood Gnosticism, Sephirot and Hermetism, I would understand more of this novel. Maybe.

Really, what I want to say is that this book is fucked. It’s brilliant and crazy and wonderful. I absolutely have to read it again. Not just because it was good, but because I’m sure I’ve missed things. It will be like a film you see for the second time and notice all sorts of new things. I’m not sure I was fully ready to read Umberto Eco’s great work. Or perhaps I was only ready to read it for the first time.

Image Via Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, April 05, 2008

HelpLine: My fonts are too big

I just found this page really helpful with my problem of why my internet explorer fonts were suddenly so big. I don't know how they got changed in the first place, but at least I easily found how to change it back (option 3).

HelpLine: My fonts are too big