Thursday, 26 February 2015

Book Review: The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

Book Title: The Penelopiad
Author: Margaret Atwood
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd. (2005)

In my selection of books for my English course, Explorations in Literature, I thought that The Penelopiad would set off nicely against Homer's Odyssey. The Penelopiad did not disappoint. It was a very nice modern take on The Odyssey, but from the point of view of another- Penelope. It reminds me a little of Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, which I studied for my A levels. WSS was meant as a prequel to Jane Eyre, and told the story of Antoinette Cosway, who became the 'mad woman in the attic' later. The Penelopiad not only allows Penelope a voice, but the maids as well. Indeed, it was the maids that left me with a deeper impression. I could still hear the ringing of their songs in my mind hours after I closed that book.

The book consists of chapters by Penelope from hell, regaling us with memories of her childhood and her marriage. These memories are interrupted by the maids' voices: there are poems and songs and even short dramas. There is a short skit of the maids demanding justice in a modern courtroom, but was denied because the judge decided that it was normative behaviour of their time. The book was at times chilling, and at times humorous, and an extremely good read. Is it feminist at all? Perhaps a little. What this book does, after all, is to give a voice to the women who had none.

Favorites:
Part ii The Chorus Line: A Rope-Jumping Rhyme
Part xxix Envoi


Monday, 23 February 2015

First Post, First Monday

How did you spend your long weekend?

My Chinese New Year holiday had been rather dismal. I fell down on the first day; a rather bad fall too. My knee and my lower shin has a bad scrape that left walking a bit difficult. Now comes the tough part- it itches like hell. We usually go to Malaysia to visit my grandma but the customs this year was a nightmare. I don't think I've ever seen such a sight: the hall was filled with people till the back wall. What added to the frustration were inconsiderate people who cut queues. It took an hour and half before we got across, and by then we had already miss our bus. It was the first year we hadn't gone back to my Grandma's, and instead spent a quiet night at home. Oh, and the entire family fell sick one by one over the new year, and my dad had a gout attack, and my youngest sister lost her phone.

Rather dismal, no?

I had left the last of my essay assignments rather late (they're all due March 2 7.59am Singapore time). I have no inspiration at all. I am beginning to realise that it might just be easier to write essays under examination conditions than to do it under 'research' conditions. I feel compelled to look for research and opinions of others rather than coming up with my own conclusions. Not sure I like that. Usually what I do for literature exams was to fill my mind with as much readings as possible, then come up with my own opinions during the exams.

I hadn't done a lot of crafts over the weekends; I did ate a lot of almond cookies and pineapple tarts though. Growing fat... I finished my bunny-from-a-knitted-square, but it ended up looking a bit wonky. I decided it was because mine was more of a 'knitted rectangle' rather than a 'knitted square'. I was too impatient to stitch an inch longer. I don't think impatience is a good thing when it comes to knitting. I am learning, though, but it is a work in progress. I am glad I used a 3.25mm needle instead of a 4.5mm needles as my yarn is required. You can't see the stuffing that I put in the bunny at all.

To tell the truth, I am getting a little restless. I've reached a plateau with all my crafts and there aren't any challenging projects I am doing currently. Just a cross-stitch of poppies and 2 long scarves in garter stitch. Easy peasy, except for the time required to finish them. Patience is never my strong suit.

I bought a lot of cross-stitch projects from Amazon last week. Hopefully it'll arrive soon and I can share it here. I bought some patterns from Etsy too. I have been eyeing them a year or so and finally succumb to it. I saw some Brucilla felt projects on Amazon too, and am especially interested in their advent calendar! Something new to try! If I hadn't had a lot of cross-stitch stockings coming my way I might have just bought that kit! We shall see!

The Monday after the long weekend is always the worst. Stay cheerful and thanks for dropping by!