April 20th, 2008

20111112, Marilee

The Carpet Makers by Andreas Eschbach

This was the bookgroup book yesterday and we were quite divided about it. It was a lovely spring Saturday with days of rain in the future, so we only had six adults (years since we had so few) and two teens who mostly slept (usually we don't allow teens and these two read in the library itself during group). Of the six, two hated it, two loved it, two thought it was okay. I was in the hate group.

The structure of the book is that each chapter tells a small story without much plot. We meet a person or a place in each chapter and may have mention of them later, but you never really get a character to care about. If I wasn't reading it for group, it would have gotten The Eight Deadly Words.

Most of the chapters are about people on a planet that has had some kind of apocalypse and the society is strongly feudal. The people at the top of the planet's hierarchy are the hair carpet makers. Each man takes a lifetime to knot a hair carpet from the hair of his wives and daughters. If more than one son is born, the newer one dies (usually) because the income from the father's carpet will support only one son who then makes a carpet from his wives' and daughter's hair.

Everybody on the planet believes that the carpets are bought by the God-Emperor and used in his palace. People who question anything are killed. Everybody has a subsistence-level living. So into this, comes a scout ship -- the Emperor (who was not God) has been killed and the rebels have won -- and one of the soldiers landed. He goes missing quickly. Even shown pictures, the people don't believe that the Emperor is dead (after all, he's God) and they kill the people who speak heresy.

There's a lot of working up to why the Emperor died and how, and where the carpets go, and the book ends in a way that reminded me of "The Gifts of the Magi." You could read the first chapter and then the last two and get the entire plot. It would have made a nice short story. But what about all you learn about the people in the story-chapters? Well, I think a good author could have put that in a short story.

Before the stroke, I liked deep sociological and political plots, but when my brain rewired, it wired me to like stories where things happen. Nothing happens in this book.
20111112, Marilee

Rain and Thunder; Drenched Doves

We've gone back to the 50s with lots of rain today, more tomorrow. We might get 3" which would really help the watershed. I had three completely drenched mourning doves today and the dry doves wouldn't let them near the feeder, so I went out and poured a scoop of seed on the dry part of the porch. The drenched doves came to eat and wouldn't let the dry doves eat there!

My electricity bill was in yesterday's mail, and the city sends a four-page letter from some city department in every bill. This one was Town Hall and I was both pleased and taken aback to find out that I qualify for a home repair program for people with "extremely-low income." In fact, I get about $7K less than their max for a single person. They specificly mention "accessibility improvements" so I think I'll apply there first for the new concrete ramp.

One of the bookgroup members took the DVD player yesterday -- in fact, someone took everything I had to give away and that was nice. I read another 2.5 old newspapers last night and hope to continue at that rate.

Shiva was very hungry last night so I put another pouch of wet food on a plate and then put it on the counter, because Spirit can't jump to the counter anymore. Or I thought so. After Shiva got up and started eating, she was highly agitated -- food and she didn't have any -- and she jumped to the seat of my swivel rolling desk chair, then to the top of the back of it, and from there, two feet to the top of the half-wall between the kitchen and the dining room. She was pretty desperate. Fortunately, she only ate a bit and then Shiva came back and finished it. The problem is that if she can get to the counter (she can't jump up to it from the kitchen floor anymore, doesn't see well enough), then I don't have anyplace high enough to put food where Shiva can get it and she can't (except bookcases, which would be stupid). This morning I put the wet food dish on the floor and after she ate most of it, Shiva went in and finished. I really need to give them separate food, where she can't get to his, without shutting anybody behind doors, and I can't figure out a way to do it. I'm going to have to make a step for her to the heating pad, too, she's starting to just barely make the jump.
20111112, Marilee

BFAC Auction!

I forgot to put this in my daily post! This is the next-to-last week of auctions, and almost all of our proceeds go to the National Colorectal Cancer Research Association. We have to spend a little money on the website and the annual audit and such, but the rest goes to NCCRA.

This week we have some really interesting things: a flaming-tooth choker, a leather blank journal with a bead panel, a bead and ribbon indoor windsock, a polyclay & bead dragon necklace, a polyclay & bead phoenix necklace/pin and earrings, a stately art doll, and a realistic butterfly necklace!

Go look and see if there's anything you like!