Perpignan (well, actually Collioure): Day 3

Our third day began with a train ride to Collioure, a beach town about 30 minutes south of Perpignan. The walk from the station to the beach was quick– just about 5 minutes. The highlight of the trip was touring the Majorcan king’s summer palace, and hearing about its changes and growth over 5 centuries. This set of pictures is from our time wandering the town before the tour. Continue reading “Perpignan (well, actually Collioure): Day 3”

Perpignan: The beginning

After a bit of delay, I have finally accessed the French internet! (It turns out that the code they gave us was good for only 1 computer, but they don’t staff much on weekends. Yesterday was the first day we encountered someone we could explain our problem to, someone who could get me a login.)

The first few days have been busy-busy-busy! Jennifer’s had even less free time than the kids, since there’s been planning and website design meetings during the students’ breaks. I’ve enjoyed the trip, but week one of this trip has been a whole lot busier with school activities than last year’s week two. [Just a lot of getting things running– plus welcome parties for faculty and their men.]

Enough with the boring: on to the pictures! [Click for larger versions.] Continue reading “Perpignan: The beginning”

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

I enjoyed this one– and it vanished quickly. It’s much less… repulsively brutal than The Windup Girl was. Nailer is a great lead character; his relationships, good and bad, are great to empathize with. His luck, his relationship with Pima and later with “lucky girl” and his wife– they all work, and feel natural. His connection to lucky girl makes sense and follows only because of his other luck.

The world is familiar; the ship breaking experience is all too similar to news articles about modern day work going on in India today. The world is well built– it’s the same future as in The Windup Girl, a post oil collapse and runaway greenhouse gas disaster. The way the wealthy skim above the changes and continue to run everything runs all too true. I bought the boardroom/ship maneuvers too– politics, greed, and piracy all trudge along into the future.

After this one, I’m really looking forward to tracking down more books by Paolo Bacigalupi.

Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer

The last book– while it started off as I expected, the whole Rosenesme plot was entirely unexpected.

Bella gets her way, and thrives in the life she chose– it’s a good match for her. Her transition is impressive, and her superpowers are exactly what’s needed, just as the plot demands. Her relationship with Edward is handled well; enough is left to the imagination that it never feels gratuitous.

The looming threat of the Voluturi, the negotiations with the witnesses, and the final confrontation all deliver. It’s a clear end– a solid path to a new life, a new calm, and a new era for Bella.

Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer

An interesting direction to take it. I wanted to read it before the movie; it looks like it’ll adapt much better than the more internal story of New Moon.

A very fast read; I catapulted right through it and into Breaking Dawn.

Proofreading has slowed down my other reading, but we’re getting close– soon I’ll clutch it in hands. My precious…

New Moon by Stephanie Meyer

An interesting sequel; turns the emo to 11. Bella’s heartbreak is well presented– it’s impossible to go three pages without a reminder of her pain and abandonment, even when she’s currently fighting off the loneliness.

I dread imagining how this one will be handled in a movie; so much of the motivation and struggle is internal even Edward’s voice and her quest for danger to provoke it. The book does a good job of showing how grinding depression and abandonment are…

The Voluturi and wolves are interesting– similar to White Wolf’s takes on their analogs, but the differences are significant enough to keep it from being a clone. I’m curious about the next book and hope to read it before I see the matching movie.

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

Well written and fast paced. I had no problem with the characters, since I saw the movie first– no conflict possible.

The story is straightforward, and while Bella is often overwrought, it feels authentic to her. Similarly, her immediate comfort with vampires comes across as reasonable. I liked it and noticed that the movie was a very faithful adaptation.