Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Sons, by Pearl S. Buck

Sons (The Good Earth Book 2)
by Pearl S. Buck, narrated by Adam Verner

This second book of The Good Earth trilogy picks up exactly where the first book, The Good Earth, left off. Wang Lung, the protagonist of the first story, is on his deathbed and his sons solemnly promise not to sell this precious land. But as time passes, the men who have barely known the sweat and blood that went into that land begin to sell it off piece by piece. Meanwhile, Wang "The Tiger" has become a rising warlord. In distant parts of China, a revolution is gaining force. The story takes place in a time of warlords between between Imperial China and WWII. It focuses most of its attention on Wang the Tiger and his slow rise to power, though it jumps over to Wang Lung's other sons frequently. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Among the Creationists, by Jason Rosenhouse

Among the Creationists: Dispatches from the Anti-Evolutionists Front Line
by Jason Rosenhouse, Narrated by George Orlando

This is the story of Rosenhouse's exploration of Creationism. Rosenhouse is an intelligent, rational mathematician and declared atheist (though the way he describes his beliefs I'd put him in the agnostic category myself). He decided in college to explore the seemingly irrational views of ultra-conservative Christians to try to understand how they can possibly deny evolution. This book describes his journey through conferences, museums, and personal conversations. It also has a light smattering of history of the creationist-evolutionist debate.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Cotillion, by Georgette Heyer

Cotillion, by Georgette Heyer, narrated by Phyllida Nash
When Kitty's cantankerous care-taker insists that one of his own nephews marry Kitty for her to inherit his fortune, three of them rush to Kitty's home to propose. When she spurns those three, they patiently explain that she must marry one of them or else she will be left destitute. Kitty hatches a plan (which the reader is left only vaguely aware of) to free herself from these constraints - but it requires her to go to London for a few weeks. That's where her cousin Freddy comes in. He didn't propose - had no wish to propose - but only came because he was curious what this big summons from his uncle was about. In secret, Kitty convinces Freddy to propose marriage so that he could take her to London. Of course, she'll break it off when the few weeks are over....

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Hobbit (1977), Lord of the Rings (1978), & The Return of the King (1980)

The Hobbit (1977), directed by Jules Bass, Arthur Rankin Jr.
The Lord of the Rings (1978), directed by Ralph Bakshi
The Return of the King (1980), directed by Jules Bass, Arthur Rankin Jr.

When I first told my aunt that they were making a Lord of the Rings movie, she disinterestedly said "meh, there's already one of those." These three gems are what she was talking about. After re-reading The Hobbit and LOTR, I decided to hunt down these movies. I borrowed the first from Netflix, saw the second in a theater, and couldn't find the third. 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Chimes, by Charles Dickens

The Chimes, by Charles Dickens, narrated by Richard Armitage
When Trotty's daughter brings him a happy surprise (tripe and news of her engagement for the upcoming New Year), he is quickly disillusioned by a group of wealthy people who delight in "putting-down" poor folk. That evening, Trotty explores his beloved bell-spire and sees things that he never expected to see. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The First Christmas, by Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan

The First Christmas: What the Gospels really Teach About Jesus' Birth
by Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan
Narrated by John Pruden

In this fascinating little book, Borg and Crossan explore the historical meaning behind the birth-of-Jesus story. They first point out the factual differences between Matthew's and Luke's versions of the birth story. Then they explain how, after the Enlightenment, many people want everything to be either literally true or false. Many Christians are in denial of the "factual inconsistencies" in the Bible, and the ones who are aware of the inconsistencies often feel a little uncomfortable and don't know quite what to think about them. Borg and Crossan point out that the stories are meant to be parables. They were not meant to be taken as literal truth. They explore a deeper truth within the limits of historical culture. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Lord of the Rings - A short comment on Allegory

The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien; narrated by Rob Inglis
Anyone who cares knows what Lord of the Rings is about, so I'll skip the summary here. What I will say is that among my favorite narrations of audiobooks, Inglis' narrations of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are among my favorites. He not only reads the book perfectly, but he sings all the songs! I would listen to these books over and over again. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

How to Train Your Dragon, by Cressida Cowell

How to Train Your Dragon, Book 1
by Cressida Cowell
Narrated by David Tennant
Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III isn't what you would call a Viking hero, He's small and scrawny, and prefers scholarly entertainment rather than ruffian ones. However, he is the son of the tribe leader, so he must be a hero. When, in an initiation-to-tribe trial he must find a baby dragon to train, he ends up with the smallest, toothlessest dragon he could imagine. But he must persevere in order to be accepted into his tribe. Little does the tribe know that danger lurks near. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
by Elizabeth Kolbert
Narrated by Anne Twomey
I read this book a couple of months ago with Doing Dewey's nonfiction book club, but luckily I took notes. 

This book documents the mass extinction that Kolbert (along with quite a few scientists) believes is due to humans. It's not only about hunting animals out of existence. It's about carrying invasive species (including animals, plants and fungus) into new environments. These species are destructive to foreign ecological systems because each system did not develop in parallel with the new species - thus the system did not develop immunity and protection against the invasive species. For instance, our travels around the world transport fungus that have caused plague among bats world-wide, and frogs in the Southern Americas. This book is mainly a scientific endeavor written by a journalist, but we also get to follow Kolbert as she shadows scientists around the world in their quests to study and prevent extinction. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Klingon Christmas Carol

Yesterday I had the pleasure of watching A Klingon Christmas Carol performed at the Historic Mounds Theatre in Saint Paul. In case you're wondering: yup, that's a thing. It is the first play written and performed in Klingon (preceding the Klingon Shakespeare plays). The playwrights are Christopher Kidder-Mostrom and Sasha Warren. Its translation into English, shown on a screen behind the actors, was by Sasha Warren. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Missing Person, by Patrick Modiano

Missing Person, by Patrick Modiano
Ten years ago, amnesiac Guy Rowland hired a private investigator to figure out who he was and where he came from. Soon afterwards, the PI gave Guy a new identity and a job as the PI's assistant, saying that sometimes it's best not to remember who you are. But now that his good friend and employer has retired, Guy again begins his search for identity. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Finals are Over and Winter is Coming

She's ready to defend the galaxy
This week was much less eventful and more delightful than last week. I took a furlough from blogging so that I could reduce stress and concentrate on studying for my final exam in Abnormal Psychology. I'm optimistic about my grade in that class. :)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

I'm Featured on Feature and Follow Friday!

Good news! Hibernator's Library will be featured in this week's Feature and Follow Friday, hosted by Allison Can Read, and Parajunkee. This meme asks a weekly question and provides a linky for the answers. Then we blog hop and find new blogs to follow (and new friends). 

This week's question is:

If you could write a book, what would it be about?

Friday, December 11, 2015

Update: Work stress and new purses

This is my new (to me) Chanel purse.
Bought it at Goodwill at a steal. 
Weekly update

This was a stressful week, and I'm ready to start a new one and move on with life! Yay! A new week! 

Suicide - An Overview

Suicide is a huge issue that is extremely stigmatized and ignored. It ranks among the 10 leading causes of death in most Western countries - and the number of suicides is likely higher than estimated since many deaths are ruled "accidental" rather than being given the stigmatized label of "suicide." 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Lamb, by Bonnie Nadzam

(This is another book review republished from my old blog. This is a timely subject for some of the information I'm covering in my Abnormal Psychology class, and I figured I'd share it with them.)

Lamb hits a mid-life crisis when his wife divorces him for infidelity and his father passes away. Just after his father's funeral, he meets Tommie - an 11-year-old girl who desperately needs guidance. Lamb is strangely attracted to the girl - he wants to help her seize life, he wants to buy her presents and make her happy. Then, with Tommie's consent, he abducts her. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Bipolar Disorder - The Basics

Bipolar mood disorders are distinguished from "unipolar" mood disorders (such as depression) by periods of emotional highs, the extreme case of which is called a "manic episode."

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Living in a Gray World, by Preston Sprinkle

Living in a Gray World, by Preston Sprinkle
This advance release copy was provided through NetGalley
in exchange for a fair and honest review.

(Disclaimer: I do not agree with everything stated in this book. However, the message of love and acceptance is very timely, necessary, and wonderful. My own views on the topic of sin and Bible interpretation are unimportant for my review of the book, since I agree full-heartedly with the message of love and the importance of educating teenagers on how to deal with a situation that still draws too much stigma and ignorance in schools and Fundamentalist Christian communities.)

In Sprinkle's short and to-the-point book for teenagers, he explains his views on homosexuality - suggesting that although homosexual sex is a sin, Christians should show love and acceptance rather than hate, disgust, and venom. In a conversational format, Sprinkle educates the readers on the differences between being attracted to people of the same gender (homosexuality - which is not a sin in itself) and actually acting on those desires (which, according to his interpretation of certain Bible verses, is a sin). He also educates the readers on the nature of transgender and transsexualism. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Anxiety Disorders

In my post about panic disorder, I described fear as an emotion that elicits the "fight-or-flight" response of the autonomic nervous system. In anxiety, unlike fear, there is no activation of the fight-or-flight response. Anxiety is a long-term response oriented towards future events rather than imminent danger. Short-lived, low levels of anxiety can be good because they help prepare a person for upcoming activities such as an exam or sports event. However, long-term high-intensity anxiety creates a state of chronic over-arousal that can lead to physical troubles such as reduced immune response (i.e. susceptibility to disease) and increased blood pressure, as described in my post about the biological effects of stress.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Weekly Update Dec 6th

This was a fantastic week. I ended up November with a bang - lots of good books read and acquired. Work has been going well. Abnormal Psychology class has been going well. I had a bit of a mishap at the Red Cross when I was trying to donate platelets. They had to do quite a bit of "adjusting." But everything came out right in the end. On Saturday, I went to the Hippie Modernism exhibit at the Walker Art Center with my boyfriend and another friend (who is pictured above with me). The exhibit was fun, but we preferred some of the other parts of the museum. The Jack Whitten exhibit was fantastic. 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Hijra - the Trans Community of India

Communities of transsexual women called Hijra have existed in India for centuries - they began as a holy group which could bless people and places and remove the Evil Eye. But as the British colonized India, the Hijra began to be shunned and stigmatized. These communities still exist in India today, but now the Hijra are generally beggars and prostitutes. They are often shunned by their families and by society in general. Those who were once great have fallen due to Western stigma. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Narcopolis, by Jeet Thayil

Narcopolis, by Jeet Thayil
Narrated by Robertson Dean 

(This is an edited version of a review I wrote for my retired blog. I'm republishing because it is timely with a documentary I'll be reviewing on Saturday.)

In this opiate-veiled book, Thayil introduces readers to the seedy underbelly of Bombay. It begins in the 1970's and transitions with surreality into modern-day Mumbai--which has lost not only its tradition and identity, but also it's name. The story follows several memorable characters, all of whom fight addiction in one form or another. Addictions range from opiates to violence to sex. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Archetypal Significance of Gilgamesh, by Rivkah Scharf Kluger

The Archetypal Significance of Gilgamesh: A Modern Ancient Hero
By Rivkah Scharf Kluger
As a young student of Jung, Kluger was encouraged by her mentor to study the archetypes of the Epic of Gilgamesh. Throughout her career, she gave many lectures on the subject, and was working on this book when she died. This is Kluger's posthumous opus about the archetypes of Gilgamesh. As you can imagine, this is a very Jungian literary analysis. Her thesis was that the Epic of Gilgamesh was a coming-of-age story in which the character developed became fully aware (or conscious). 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Gender Dysphoria - Homosexuality and Transgender

In the past, there was an amazing amount of stigma against homosexuality. King Henry the VIII of England declared "the detestable and abominable vice of buggery" a felony punishable by death. It was not until 1861 that the maximum penalty in England was reduced to 10 years in prison. Similarly, in 1885, when lesbianism was about to be criminalized, Queen Victoria declared lesbianism to be impossible, and therefore there was no point in making a law against it. In the US, the last law prohibiting homosexuality was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2003. As recently as 1973, homosexuality was a diagnosable disorder in the DSM. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Three Sisters, by Sonia Halbach

The Three Sisters (The Krampus Chronicles Book 1), by Sonia Halbach
This book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange 
for a fair and honest review. 
Every Christmas Eve, Maggie has the same dream. Santa is walking on the top of her grandfather's manor, when suddenly he slides off the end. But this year is different. This year, it's a nightmare in which he is pushed by something sinister. Awakened from her dream, she decides to go sledding - ending up in an accident that leads to meeting the handsome (but older) Henry. Henry has come with strange claims: that Maggie's grandfather, who is well known for writing the poem 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, had plagiarized his poem.