faboo mama

inside the mind of an opinionated mama…

I just read Anathem

Anathem Anathem by Neal Stephenson

My review

rating: 2 of 5 stars
Well, I finally finished reading this book. Meh. I think Neal Stephenson should stick to Earth. The book just read as a contract filler. We’ve read other books, better written with the hapless main character caught up in events. Not his best.

View all my reviews.

The Big Read

On Saturday, Los Angeles County Public Library chose Rudolfo Anaya’s book Bless Me, Ultima for their The Big Read book. Saturday was the big kickoff day for the book.

For those unaware, The Big Read in basically a nation-wide book club put on by the National Endowments for the Arts in conjunction with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. This is the 3rd year (I think it started in ‘06) for The Big Read and it seems to be catching on. I looked at the map of communities participating and there are a lot more than last year. I’ll definitely have to get the book since I’ve never read this one.

There’s quite a few books on the list, but LA picked Anaya’s book. That’s works for me, since I’ve read all the other books on the list save this one and The Shawl, which I’ve never even heard of before. At any rate, for Los Angeles, there are several events happening at Cal State LA tied into this book:

CSULA Display of Anaya Materials
A collection of author Rudolfo Anaya’s materials, including books and photographs, will be displayed. (Part of The Big Read outreach program with the L.A. County Public Library to coordinate community-wide reading celebrations centered on Anaya’s classic novel, “Bless Me, Ultima.”)
Kick-off event at East Los Angeles Library: (Sat., Mar. 15, 1-5 p.m.) Roberto Cantu to discuss “La Santa Tierra: Land, History, and The Sacred in Bless Me, Ultima by Rodulfo A. Anaya.”
JFK Memorial Library
Call JFK Memorial Library at (323) 343-3950 for more information.
Saturday, March 15, 2008 - Saturday, April 19, 2008 - Exhibit opens during Library hours

Theatrical Adaptation of “Bless Me, Ultima”
Adapted and directed by Professor Theresa Larkin with Alejandra Flores playing the role of Ultima. (Part of The Big Read outreach program with the L.A. County Public Library to coordinate community-wide reading celebrations centered on Rudolfo Anaya’s classic novel, “Bless Me, Ultima.”)
Music Hall
Call the Cal State L.A. Box Office at (323) 343-4118 for more information.
Thursday, April 10, 2008 7:00PM

Book Discussion Group
Part of The Big Read outreach program with the L.A. County Public Library to coordinate community-wide reading celebrations centered on Rudolfo Anaya’s classic novel, “Bless Me, Ultima.”
Library North B530
Call JFK Memorial Library at (323) 343-3950 for more information.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008 12:00PM - 1:00PM

The Big Read Finale Lecture
Roberto Cantu, professor of English and Chicano Studies at Cal State L.A., will present a lecture, “Narrative Cycles in Rudolfo A. Anaya’s novels, from Bless Me, Ultima (1972), to The Curse of the ChupaCabra (2006).” (Part of The Big Read outreach program with the L.A. County Public Library to coordinate community-wide reading celebrations.)
King Hall Lecture Hall 2
Call the JFK Memorial Library at (323) 343-3950 for more information.
Thursday, April 17, 2008 6:00PM - 8:00PM

Yeah, I know the hours and they’re not very worker bee-friendly. I hope there are some night-time book discussion events also happening.

But some of my best friends are…

That should be the title of the new Clinton ad targeting Latinos in Texas.


I heard she managed to go back on the show only 6 people watch. Lorne Green (Animal Kingdom?) Lorne Michaels doesn’t even watch the show. He’s like, “Damn, my show is lame. I wonder if Lifetime has Designing Women on. Dang. It’s not. Oh well, I better go scrub my toilets. At least that is fun.”

Eddie Murphy, Will Ferrell, Dana Carvey…they all took SNL off their resumes. It’s like a huge gap, “And then I, uh…moved to NYC. Why? Oh. Ah. Ummmmmm. Sick friend?”

Can someone explain to me how you can film a show in New York City and manage not to have a single black person on the show? Especially when you used to have black people on the show? Don’t tell me there ain’t no funny black people in NYC. I personally know 9 black comedians who live in NYC and they are freakin’ hilarious. So white guy in almost blackish face. Yeah SNL. Fucking hilarious. Is Jane Hamsher doing makeup for you now?


Watched V for Vendetta last night. Finally. Netflix sent that to me in August 2006.


Right…I’ve been busy. Okay, well part of it was the disc actually got lost in the move and then I just didn’t want to watch it and now I want my Bollywood Workout disc so I have to send it in.

Anyway. It was a good movie. A lot more enjoyable than the comics. V was a lot more fun on film. The last time I read the book form was probably about ‘94 so a lot of stuff I don’t remember any more. I also think that just living in our current political climate made it a bit more urgent. The funniest thing is, as I mentioned yesterday, I’m rereading Woken Furies by Richard K. Morgan. There’s a scene at the beginning of the book where a woman walks into a bar and her hair is uncovered. The religious police show up and try to arrest her for being an uncovered female in a bar. Our hero Takeshi Kovacs comes to her rescue. I remember the first time reading that, thinking it was a hat tip to some comic I had read before, but I thought it was Sin City or something.

And in entertainment news…


Last night, we watched Run, Fatboy Run.  A movie written by Simon Pegg, comedian and star of the hilarious moviesrun-fat-boy-run-poster-0.jpg Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, directed by David Schwimmer of Friends.  I expected funny.  I didn’t expect laugh out loud hilarity.  It’s a simple movie with a typical plot; boy dumps girl, girl gets new boy, old boy wants girl back, a physical contest, blah, blah, blah.  What made it enjoyable was the on point comedic timing of Pegg as Dennis.  We’re introduced to Pegg freaking out about getting married to Libby.  He has a few minutes to get downstairs for the wedding.  Instead of using the stairs, he chooses the window.  We see him running for his life, away from his pregnant bride-to-be.  Fast forward 5 years and we see him running.  This time after a transvestite who is mocking the out of shape security guard.   Running is the theme of the movie, as Dennis spends a lot of time running away from his problems.

Upon meeting his ex’s new beau, who is rich, handsome and successful, Dennis gets a little competitive for the heart of Libby.  Whit, the new boyfriend eggs on Dennis and tells him that he’s running a marathon.  Dennis says that he could run a marathon and decides to do it. He doesn’t realize that it’s 3 weeks away.  He doesn’t even realize the marathon is 26.2 miles long.  His friend Gordon, who is also Libby’s cousin and his landlord Mr. Ghoshdashtidar take up as his trainers.  You’ll recognize Gordon from Shaun of the Dead and I was thrilled to see Harish Patel as  Mr. Ghoshdashtidar.  He always cracks me up in every movie I’ve seen him in, even if he’s in a serious role (My Son the Fanatic).

In between the jokes and pratfalls, there’s a charming story on relationships.  We see Dennis grow and whether he gets the girl or not, at least we were amused by his trying.


equalrites.jpgI just finished rereading Equal Rytes, by Terry Pratchett. The first time around, the story really didn’t grab me.  I think the reason for this, is that as the 3rd book of the series, it’s a little flat compared to the hilarious first two books, The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic, which both feature the unlucky Wizard, Rincewind, a tourist named Twoflower and a menacing piece of Luggage.

Equal Rites introduces us to more characters; the witch, Esme Weatherwax, offically known as Granny Weatherwax and some other wizards.  The story opens up in the town of Bad Ass (named after a very stubborn donkey) where a wizard at the end of his life is looking for the eighth son of an eighth son to pass his magic onto.  The only problem is that since there’s no ultrasound machines, they don’t know that the eighth son of an eighth son is actually the first daughter of a eighth son.  It’s not until after the wizard has bestowed his staff and his magic on the newborn do we find out the sex.  This may not be an issue in modern society, but in Discworld, women are not wizards.  It’s just not the done thing.  Granny Weatherwax keeps her eye on the girl, Eskarina, but the force is strong in this one.

Eight years later, it’s clear that the girl needs to be taught how to control her magic.  Granny agrees to take the child to Unseen University, where wizards learn to be wizards.  There’s a bizarre journey involved and the one good thing about the book is that we get to learn more about Granny Weatherwax and her stubborn ways.  She has “ideas” about things and facts don’t necessarily need to fit in with them.

Esk, as the girl is called winds up at Unseen University, as a housekeeper.  She listens in on the wizards classes, but she’s not being officially trained as a wizard.  She falls in with a boy she met on the way to the University.  Simon has ideas too, but the problem is that they attract the Things in the Dungeon Dimensions.  It’s up to Esk to use the witchcraft learned at Granny’s knee and the wizardry she’s picked up to help save Simon.

I realized now after reading all of the Discworld books why this one still leaves me feeling flat.  With the exception of Granny Weatherwax and the Librarian, none of the characters in this book appear in any of the subsequent Discword Novels.  You can read each Discworld novel as a stand alone, but what makes the series so enjoyable are the inside jokes you get with the large cast of characters.  There are other books about the witches that make no mention of this book.  The wizards play such a large part in this series, that it’s a bit strange to see a chronological storyline where the people in charge change with no reason why.  I’d be interested in seeing if Pratchett brings back Esk or Simon in later books.


I’m currently rereading Woken Furies by Richard K. Morgan.

Page 123

I’ve been tagged by wineymomma for this meme.  Since it’s not one of those chain mail-y sorts, I’ll do it, but instead of taggin 5 people, I’m tagging everyone reading this:

The Rules 

Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more (no cheating!)

Find page 123

Find the first five sentences

Post the next three sentences

My selection

I’m re-reading Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett:

“…One Spink, two Spinks.  Now get on with it.  I want those posters all around the city first thing tomorrow.”


Speaking of books

It’s gift-giving season and we often get books. In a perfect world, where your friends actually paid attention to your likes and what’s on your shelves, a book would be a perfect gift. But we don’t live in a perfect world. I get books about or by black women from gay men because I’m a black woman. I get fantasy books from ladies who don’t read because they like the cover and don’t realize that sci-fi and fantasy or two different things even though they’re lumped together in the bookstores. Or even worse, when a friend reads a book they like and insist I must own it too, even though the book sucked according to the rest of the world. The MIL gives us two kinds of food books, dieting/lo cal cooking for two or coffee table books on coffee. Or tea. When we moved out of our old place, instead of tossing books, we left a box full of those books in the apt.

I’d like to say that I’d love a gift card, but when I get one to say Barnes and Noble all I think is, “You know I like to read, you just didn’t want to spend the time to learn what I like to read.” Gift cards…pfffft. That’s a whole other subject, I’m usually not down on them, just when certain people give them.

I understand that reading is personal and my tastes aren’t your tastes. I wouldn’t dream of buying someone a book I liked if I didn’t think they’d enjoy it (or already own it!). But people do it all the time. I like to peruse my friend’s Amazon wishlists. Mainly because many of those lists were created at the beginning of internet time and have never been updated. Take a peek at the list of the person who tries to portray herself as the thinking hipster. She’s got books on Shabby Chic, beauty tips and silly novels. Look at that tough guy, man’s man macho dad, his list is full of board books for the little girl he had 7 years ago. You go and get a good look at your friend’s old Amazon list. You’ll be able to astound them with a gift of a book that they wanted but forgot they wanted. But first, make sure they don’t already have it and forgot they had it.

Book complaining

I’m always in awe of people who want complain about children’s books. I mean, I got other things to worry about. If I spent most of my time complaining about books that sucked (Coulter, Hannity and O’Reilly sludge come to mind), then I’d have no time for important stuff. As far as kiddie books are concerned, it seems to me that most of them that receive complaints are usually pretty good books, but leave it fringe groups like AFA to focus on the stuff that doesn’t affect them directly. The book that received the most complaints so far this year is titled And Tango Makes Three, a true story about two male penguins who kick it together all the time and raise a baby penguin.

I’m sure you remember the book hoopla from MA about parents being pissed off about the book being available. I immediately got the book and couldn’t see what the fuss was about. Maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t read the book as having “homosexual undertones”, I saw it as two guys, best friends who did everything together. I’m sure I’m in the minority in that view. Now, reading the article, you have people being utterly “polite” in the, “there’s nothing wrong with being gay, as long as they don’t flaunt it” stripe (I hate those people). But this is American, where nutjobbiness abounds and they call that the Republican base. Here’s some tripe from a “concerned” parent:

My wife unwittingly sat down to read it with the kids, halting the story midway. We later found out that our 6 year-old had already read it. We spent an hour undoing the damage (ed. note: HAHAHAHA) and it ruined not just storytime but the whole evening. My 6 year-old readily understood that the book was wrong. In fact, he knew when he read the book that it was talking nonsense and that it wasn’t right. My daughter was unnerved to discover that same-sex couples, apparently in all species, can adopt children.

Oh noes! Teh gays are raising kids! What will we tell the children? Idiots like this kill me. I mean, the kids of gay parents understand what’s going on. Why would it be so hard to explain it to their own children? Are their kids such complete and total morons that they can not understand the concept of two mommies? But read the passage this guy wrote. What kind of twit just starts reading a book to their kids without reading it first? I may be busy, but I’ll be damned if I just start reading crap to my 4 year old without vetting it. Okay, I’m running into rant mode…Anyway, there are idiots and this guy is clearly in their ranks. Maybe Grand Dunce or something.

I think that I’m pretty lucky to not only have LGBT friends, but many of them are in loving and long-term relationships. My kids get to grow up seeing different types of relationships and learning that people can love each other and be different than one another and still get along. Despite all the gender conditioning she’s getting at school (I can’t stand that crap either), my daughter completely understands that Todd and Frank are together just like mommy and daddy. That’s all she needs to know right now. She’s 4. As she gets older, then she’ll get a little more information. That’s the root of the problem. You’re not going to teach your 4 year old about birth control, so I don’t know why these people act like they have to get into detail about gay couples. Silly.

Alek: From Sudanese Refugee to International Supermodel

Sudanese Supermodel Alek Wek has a memoir out about her 30 year life. It seems pretty interesting from the snippet of the first chapter available on the Today Show site. Click the link to read it. Apparently, she’ll discuss the upheaval in her life due to Sudanese rebels.