Edel Grace

Programmer, Developer, Enthusiast

Books

Book Blogger Hop #58

Oct 19, 2018 | Comments


Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme run by Coffee Addicted Writer. Every Friday, a question is posted for the book blog community to discuss. This week’s question is…

If you were to dress up as a literary figure {author or character} for Halloween, who would it be?

Hmm… That’s a good question. I would totally dress up as Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. I don’t think I could pull off the red hair though. It might be weird seeing an asian Anne but the Japanese really like Anne so it must have been done before, right? I just don’t know how recognizable Anne would be. I might get mistaken for Pipi Longstocking or the Wendy’s mascot.

I think it would be super cool to dress up as any Austen or Bronte character. It’s a little disheartening because those characters don’t really have distinguishing physical characteristics that would make you go, “Oh, you’re dressed up as Jane Eyre!” I do adore the 18th and 19th century fashion though and I think it would be a bunch of fun to dress up as someone from those times. I think if I were handing out the candy the kids would just see me dressed up as someone from a long time ago.

WIP Wednesday: Snowfall Mittens

Oct 17, 2018 | Comments

WIP stands for a “work in progress.” As an avid crafter, I always have at least one WIP!

Snowfall Mittens

I have finished one half of my Christmas present to one of my cousins. I’ve had this yarn sitting in my stash for a long time (I bought it a year and a half ago). I plan to hopefully make a couple of mittens/scarves/toques to burn through some of my yarn stash. After this, I plan to make mittens for my mother.

I didn’t follow the patten 100%. I didn’t add the decorative hearts that are in the pattern because I wasn’t sure how it would look like with the yarn since it is multicoloured. I don’t think it would be contrasted very well.

This is a fairly easy pattern though and is pretty quick too. I only took a long time because I took like a month long break between starting and finishing this one mitten. I think I can confidently crochet this on the train to work though, even if I’m just standing up (but only if I’m standing against a wall a not clinging to a pole).

While crocheting this, I listened to the adudiobook of Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. It’s a bit of a thinker/emotional book so I definitely got sidetracked at times. I am loving the book so far. It’s the perfect amount of melancholy for me. I think audiobooks and crocheting go together very well!

Book Review: Definitely Maybe by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

Oct 15, 2018 | Comments

Definitle Maybe by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

Boris and Arkady Strugatsky were the greatest science fiction writers of the Soviet era: their books were intellectually provocative and riotously funny, full of boldly imagined scenarios and veiled—but clear—social criticism. Which may be why Definitely Maybe has never before been available in an uncensored edition, let alone in English.

It tells the story of astrophysicist Dmitri Malianov, who has sent his wife and son off to her mother’s house in Odessa so that he can work, free from distractions, on the project he’s sure will win him the Nobel Prize.

But he’d have an easier time making progress if he wasn’t being interrupted all the time: First, it’s the unexpected delivery of a crate of vodka and caviar. Then a beautiful young woman in an unnervingly short skirt shows up at his door. Then several of his friends—also scientists—drop by, saying they all felt they were on the verge of a major discovery when they got… distracted…

Is there an ominous force that doesn’t want knowledge to progress? Or could it be something more… natural?

In this nail-bitingly suspenseful book, the Strugatsky brothers bravely and brilliantly question authority: an authority that starts with crates of vodka, but has lightning bolts in store for humans who refuse to be cowed.

This book is like philosophical discourse disguised as fiction. It reminds me of one of their other works, Roadside Picnic. In Roadside Picnic, there is a scene where two characters discuss how aliens could have visited Earth just like they were having a, you guessed it, roadside picnic. While initially, I thought it was a bit out of place, it became my favourite part of the book. Definitely Maybe is like that conversation but instead of a couple pages, it’s an entire book.

The discussion in this book revolves around two main things: a theory similar to The Great Filter and duty to mankind.

A big oversimplification of The Great Filter is the theory that civilizations can only evolutionize and innovate to a certain point. This could be a reason why aliens have not yet communicated with us yet. In Definitely Maybe, it seems like the filter could be something naturally occurring. There are several men who are on the verge of scientific breakthroughs which could very well lead men into the stars. However, they are always distracted by their work. I enjoyed this discussion greatly as I was immediately reminded of The Great Filter. It really made me wonder and it was just so clever. The only reason why I would even call this book sci-fi is because of this aspect. While I don’t think The Great Filter is as “mystical” as that, it’s an interesting take.

The other half of the book revolves around the men and their dilemmas. Do they continue their work at the risk of harming their loved ones? These men live and breathe their work. If something was impeding them from doing their work, which could be potentially ground-breaking work, why should they stop if it means elevating humanity? There is a sense of defiance in some of the characters that I admire. But also something touching as they mull over their loved ones and horrors they could put them through.

That being said, I feel like there’s very little actual story in this little book. It’s a lot of back and forth between characters about these two topics. Thankfully, the Strugatsky brothers do make the characters quite interesting and inject enough personal issues to make it fiction.

There is no wonder why the Strugatsky brothers are one of the greatest science fiction writers. They approach science fiction from a very human perspective. The human reaction to technology is core to science fiction and they just nail it.

Book Blogger Hop #57

Oct 12, 2018 | Comments


Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme run by Coffee Addicted Writer. Every Friday, a question is posted for the book blog community to discuss. This week’s question is…

You are suddenly transported into a future time in which (horrors!) books are unknown. How would you explain books, and how wonderful they are, to the people of that time?

UH. That’s so hard, especially since I don’t really understand what is considered as horror. In my mind, horror just means “scary.” There’s a lot of similar genres like thrillers. I really do not know enough about the genre to say anything about it. Maybe I need to pick up Stephen King one of these days.

Book Review: The White Book by Han Kang

Oct 9, 2018 | Comments

The White Book by Han Kang

From the author of The Vegetarian and Human Acts comes a book like no other. The White Book is a meditation on colour, beginning with a list of white things. It is a book about mourning, rebirth and the tenacity of the human spirit. It is a stunning investigation of the fragility, beauty and strangeness of life.

Don’t die. For God’s sakes, don’t die.

I picked this book up at my local library. There is a display at the front where other library patrons suggest a book on certain criteria. If you like plot, you might like this book. Or if you like suspense you might like this other book. Mampreet suggested this book if you like prose. They didn’t put any reasons but I trusted them.

I’ve actually read and reviewed The Vegetarian as part of a mini book club that I was doing with a friend. Everyone who read it was a little flabbergasted by it. There was something very Murakami-esque about it. But I couldn’t deny that I really liked the writing.

The White Book is very minimal. The text is sparse but I imagine every single word was chosen very carefully. I can only imagine how the translator might have laboured over it. It’s prose to a tee.

In this book, Kang writes about her sister who only lived for two hours. In it, she imagines what her sister’s life would have been like if she had lived and if Kang had never been born. Kang also talks about living so that her sister could live and being haunted by her sister’s presence.

This is definitely an artsy concept kind of books. The design is a dead giveaway of it. There is a lot of whitespace on each page. Some passages only use one side of a page. There are random pictures scattered throughout. If you enjoy fancy prose but don’t mind lack of direction, you could give it a shot.

I can’t tell if I liked it. It was a quick and easy read. And I feel like I experienced some beauty for a little bit but nothing too special.

About

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My name is Edel Grace Altares. My programming interests include full stack development and back end development. My languages of choice are Python and Java. Outside of programming I enjoy crocheting, video games, cats, historical fiction, and reading.

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