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Monday, July 25, 2011

Dreamers of the Day

Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell

I read, loved, and was forever changed by Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow.(Review Here) How could I resist reading another title from her? I am so glad I did.

This book was so enjoyable that I felt almost afraid to keep reading it. I was sure something awful would happen to the character I had grown to love. (No worries, the book has a wonderfully simplistic and very fulfilling happy ending.)

Set in the early 20s for the majority of the tale, the book follows the adventures of Angus and her dog Rosie as they unknowingly take part in the Cairo Convention and interact with such historical ficures as Lawrence of Arabia and Winston Churchill. Like The sparrow, a lot of the action of the novel takes place through dialogue, political and historical dialogue that manages to be both totally believable and insanely educational all while keeping your interest and furthering the character development and storyline.

In a word, the book was amazing.

I highly recommend it for its prose, its scope, and ultimately for the story… an oft forgotten real life drama of political map making and county borders drawing that all but created the Middle East as we know it. As that part of the world continues to be a focus of unrest and turmoil, a book like this that explains some of the issues from the point of view of inception, is a must read for anyone who wishes to have an understanding of the milieu of crossed loyalties and tribal dramas… while telling a late in life coming of age story involving a protagonist you can’t help but root for.

While the post dead aspect of the story is a bit sentimental and a wee bit silly, the ideas and impact of the rest of the book more than make up for it.

I highly recommend this title for those of you who like history, strong female characters, adventure, travel, and most importantly, well written prose!

Thursday, July 21, 2011



This show is new to American audiences, but a fan favorite in the UK. This gritty and dark take on the superhero genre is well worth watching. An ensemble cast tells the story of five juvenile (early 20s) London delinquents who get zapped by mysterious lightning and develop powers. Although there are times when the accents (British etc) are a bit hard to understand, the cast is well formed and the storylines are surprisingly profound and compelling. I especially like that the rag tag group is not a family, a group of friends, or a team really... in fact, they don't particularly like one another.

Because of its across the pond roots, the show is full of violence, sex, nudity, and language. Thankfully, so far at least, it has managed to keep itself out of the realm of camp and corny and in the realm of interesting and slightly provocative. Also, a nice change of pace… we have teens/early 20s characters without any of the overly dramatic sappy teen/eary 20s angst. These characters are well rounded and fascinating.

It isn't totally devoid of camp...

The writers use the sci fi aspects to enhance the story arcs instead of relying on them to provide the story arcs which is understandably refreshing. Mixing dark comedy and believable dialogue with super powers that are not as super as one would hope and real life struggles of selfhood coming of age drama, this show is clearly something worth watching.

The entire first series (a 6 episode arc) is available on Hulu.