The Book List #40

The Book List #40

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
year: 2003 | pages: 374| rating: 3/5

This book is not science fiction although it often feels it; Atwood describes Oryx and Crake as a speculative fiction and "adventure romance," which I would say also combines familiar elements of traditional post-apocalyptic themes.

Oryx and Crake begins the story of Snowman, previously known as Jimmy, who could possibly be the last human remaining after mankind succumbed to a plague. Jimmy is mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and Oryx, a beautiful woman they both loved. Jimmy lives amongst primitive creatures whom he calls Crakers and who regard him as an all-knowing teacher. When he decides to visit the ruins of a compound overrun by dangerous genetically engineered hybrid animals to search for supplies, Jimmy finds himself in trouble and turns to the Crakers to help him.

As much as I love Margaret Atwood's beautiful writing style, I found the pace of Oryx and Crake to be rather slow; I enjoyed the story and felt engaged with the characters yet I wished it moved a little faster and piqued my interest a little more.

And the Sea Will Tell by Vincent Bugliosi
year: 1991 | pages: 729 | rating: 1/5

I have been so eager to get my hands on this book ever since I read The Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick and started investigating other non-fiction accounts of true life survival stories. I finally got my hands on a reasonably priced copy of And the Sea Will Tell only to feel incredibly disappointed.

The way in which Vincent Bugliosi reconstructs the events of what happened when four people set out to find paradise on a tropic island is painfully jarring. This non-fiction true crime is turned into a laborious fictional story, which is lengthy and tedious to read. I found myself not only speed reading but skimming large chunks of text just to get to the heart of the narrative. The story's events are interesting enough yet it gets buried underneath the unnecessarily long-winded manner in which Bugliosi chooses to tell it.

Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America by Linda Tirado
year: 2014 | pages: 195 | rating: 0/5

This book started off promising and rather interesting and then Linda Tirado descended into defensive accounts of why things are just so hard for her. While I completely acknowledge I am coming from that "rich class" she is speaking of (anyone who has more than $100 spare at the end of the month), I feel this book was a way of excusing the bad attitude she has developed over the years. Tirado has a terribly negative outlook and an even worse opinion of anyone who has more money than her.

While I agree and empathise with (some of) the situations she discusses, attacking wealthier people isn't the way to go about proving a point. She offers zero solutions to the poverty crisis and instead just moans and gives a bunch of reasons excuses why she can't/didn't/won't do something. Her most used excuse is she "can't" do something because she is "tired and overworked" - hey, guess what Linda, rich people get tired and overworked too!

A third of the way through the book, Tirado even goes so far as to insinuate that rich people never get wrinkles at 20, they don't get headaches that make them take "large amounts of ibuprofen" and implies rich people don't get seriously ill because they can afford preventative care, all of which is utter nonsense. As someone who she would identify as "rich," I have suffered from being overworked, from migraines that left me incapable of getting out of bed, and from a panic disorder than no amount of preventative care could have prevented. So screw this crummy attitude she has that wealth equals an easy life by default.

I literally got so angry with this book I stopped reading it.