Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Turn the Page... Tuesday

Oh my gosh... it's the first Tuesday in July!
It's Turn the Page... Tuesday with Adrienne!

It was a mish-mosh month of reading... two books that probably couldn't be more different.  The first was a recommendation from a Book Club buddy, the other from my hubby - a sci-fi guy.   Tho very different, the social commentary from both authors was quite thought provoking.

So here's what I read in June...

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

I didn't know this was "historical fiction" when I started reading.  How pleasantly surprised I was when I found out.  I found the story interesting, albeit a bit depressing at times. How hard it must have been for these scientific women who lived in a time when social class and gender were such limiting factors.  Tho I don't know how much of the "relationship" side of the story keeps to reality, I get a sense that it's probably pretty close.  I can imagine the challenges the "old spinster" and "young working class girl" face when dealing with their need for love and affection, again, in a world that makes it so difficult to find (or act upon) love.

Here is a summary from Tracy Chevalier's website:
In 1810, a sister and brother uncover the fossilized skull of an unknown animal in the cliffs on the south coast of England. With its long snout and prominent teeth, it might be a crocodile – except that it has a huge, bulbous eye.
Remarkable Creatures is the story of Mary Anning, who has a talent for finding fossils, and whose discovery of ancient marine reptiles such as that ichthyosaur shakes the scientific community and leads to new ways of thinking about the creation of the world.
Working in an arena dominated by middle-class men, however, Mary finds herself out of step with her working-class background. In danger of being an outcast in her community, she takes solace in an unlikely friendship with Elizabeth Philpot, a prickly London spinster with her own passion for fossils.
The strong bond between Mary and Elizabeth sees them through struggles with poverty, rivalry and ostracism, as well as the physical dangers of their chosen obsession. It reminds us that friendship can outlast storms and landslides, anger and and jealousy.

From 1810, jump to "the future" with...

Neuromancer by William Gibson
I believe this is the first "Cyberpunk" novel I've ever read.  Written in 1984, the year of the story is uncertain.  There's been a big war (WW III?) and technology is everywhere and in everything.  People are "jacked in" to the Matrix and have the ability to buy tech-implants and enhancements to their bodies and minds.  Computers are an essential part of daily living - and in this story, there are two AIs (Artificial Intelligences) that need an intervention.

Imagine movies like The Terminator, Blade Runner, The Matrix, and Escape from New York (if you're not into the Cyberpunk genre), this will give you a feel for what Gibson's world of Neuromancer & The Sprawl is like.  Interesting possibilities for the future, if you ask me.

Here's a bit from Gibson's website:

Case was the hottest computer cowboy cruising the information superhighway--jacking his consciousness into cyberspace, soaring through tactile lattices of data and logic, rustling encoded secrets for anyone with the money to buy his skills. Then he double-crossed the wrong people, who caught up with him in a big way--and burned the talent out of his brain, micron by micron. Banished from cyberspace, trapped in the meat of his physical body, Case courted death in the high-tech underworld. Until a shadowy conspiracy offered him a second chance--and a cure--for a price.... 

BTW - Gibson, from what I understand, is credited with coining the word "cyberspace" - which shows how influential his stories have been in the technology world.

I'm in the middle of "Count Zero," the second novel of Gibson's Cyberpunk trilogy right now.  It's loosely connected to Neuromancer.  We'll see if there's more as I get further along in the story.

That's it for this month.  See you in August.  Happy reading!


Adrienne said...

Remarkable Creatures has been on my list to read for a while ... sounds like a good one. So glad you could jump in this month. I think you will enjoy Born to Run - add it to your list!

Paula said...

A friend gave me Remarkable Creatures a couple of months ago. It's on my "too be read" shelf and you just helped to move it closer to the front!

Stacey's Treasures said...

Both of these sound very interesting!
Remarkable creatures is dealing with many of the same issues as the book I posted about.