Unofficial GWJ Book Club - Thanks, All.

I am not going to make it to read the book before the 7th. Just barely started and won't have time this coming week at all.
Will pick up on the next one again

I am also behind. I'm willing to push it back, but it will have to be around the 19th or so... I've got a lot going on in the next couple weeks.

NSMike wrote:

I am also behind. I'm willing to push it back, but it will have to be around the 19th or so... I've got a lot going on in the next couple weeks.

I'm down to the last few chapters (150 minutes left on the audiobook) - so sooner would be better for me, but I understand if it needs to be delayed. Also, ngaw/rambutan is available for sale in NYC's Chinatown - I might go pick some up this weekend

I am having a really hard time getting into this book so if it is pushed off, I'll have a better chance of finishing it up.

OK, we can make it official then, tentative date of the 19th for us slackers, unless objections are raised.

Ok, but that makes me very sad.

Someday I'll be able to post my thoughts!

I'll do my best to meet that date!

I really liked the Windup Girl till I read the articles and now I am very ambivalent on it kinda like the beyond Victoronai reviewer, the stuff where he is criticised for having no knowledge of Thai culture reminds me of how the guy who wrote The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet would spend a lot of time making sure everything he wrote actually make sense in the culture/time it he wrote it in unlike this lad who seems to have said f*ck it, who cares, it only Thailand/Malaysia, they don't matter.

http://requireshate.wordpress.com/tag/paolo-bacigalupi-is-a-turd/

seamus2389 wrote:

I really liked the Windup Girl till I read the articles and now I am very ambivalent on it kinda like the beyond Victoronai reviewer, the stuff where he is criticised for having no knowledge of Thai culture reminds me of how the guy who wrote The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet would spend a lot of time making sure everything he wrote actually make sense in the culture/time it he wrote it in unlike this lad who seems to have said f*ck it, who cares, it only Thailand/Malaysia, they don't matter.

http://requireshate.wordpress.com/tag/paolo-bacigalupi-is-a-turd/

I haven't finished the book yet, but this is just absurd. It's got names and geography that are familiar to us, but this is a fantasy world. A world wracked by various apocalypses-in-progress which does who knows what to cultures. These criticisms are not only irrational, they're spoiling for a fight.

NSMike wrote:
seamus2389 wrote:

I really liked the Windup Girl till I read the articles and now I am very ambivalent on it kinda like the beyond Victoronai reviewer, the stuff where he is criticised for having no knowledge of Thai culture reminds me of how the guy who wrote The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet would spend a lot of time making sure everything he wrote actually make sense in the culture/time it he wrote it in unlike this lad who seems to have said f*ck it, who cares, it only Thailand/Malaysia, they don't matter.

http://requireshate.wordpress.com/tag/paolo-bacigalupi-is-a-turd/

I haven't finished the book yet, but this is just absurd. It's got names and geography that are familiar to us, but this is a fantasy world. A world wracked by various apocalypses-in-progress which does who knows what to cultures. These criticisms are not only irrational, they're spoiling for a fight.

General agreement with Mike there, though as an outsider to the culture, I'm willing to take my own reaction with a grain of salt.

F*ck it, who cares, it's only end sentence punctuation, it doesn't matter

Even aside from that, I'm not entirely sure what you were getting at. Something about inaccurate culture in Windup Girl despite none of the main characters being native (something I just realized, actually). Unless your account was stolen by a bot. Then I still don't get it.

Oh yes, one (well, one and a half, I guess) is. Sorry, slipped my mind.

(1) The aritcle (written by a Thai native) point out the cultural ignorance of the author who gives the male Thai character a female name and uses Thai language that either doesn't make a lot of sense or doesn't exist.

This means he thought "wouldn't it be cool to have this take place in an foreign country" but didn't care enough to be any work into researching said country. Edging into Conrad/ heart of darkness territory where the author uses another culture/country with no respect for said culture/country.
Compare this to David Mitchell who actually cared about the place where he was writing his book rather than using lazy stereotypes of Japanese society.

Also it's fantasy so who cares doesn't excuse cultural ignorance/ lazy stereotyping since the author is basing it in an actual country and in the near future not a land of FLT or elves.

(2) Thailand is no where near as corrupt as is portrayed (He seems to be equating Thailand to Myanmar or maybe India) and while it is possible that a non-elected entity will have considerable power ( the Thai army still plays a role in deciding how the country is run although far less so than before) the author is using lazy stereotype of non-European/American socities = corrupt/ authoritarian.

(2) He uses the lazy trope of using rape to create a strong female character which in SciFi/Fantasy fiction is a trope that needs to be taken out back behind the chemical shed and shot. Also furthering the asian = sex stereotype which you can see by looking up asian in google images and comparing it by looking up European or African or American. The article below goes in-depth to the prevalent of rape in geek culture which The Wind Up girl is part of.

http://gamingaswomen.com/posts/2012/...

(3) From the Beyond Victorian article. Author says Malaysia was taken over religious extremists even though Malaysia is a pretty tolerant country and Malay-Chinese relations have been improving for many years. Just cause a country's religion is Islam doesn't mean if stuff goes to high hell it will be Islamic fundamentalists who end up running things.

In Europe the various extreme parties weren't defined by their religious beliefs but national beliefs of which religion played a part to various extents. Again lazy writing by thinking this country has Islam as it's main religion so that what will define it.

What I did like was the world with the contraction and conflict over of food/ gene patents. The book was pretty well paced and I liked the Malay-Chinese character.

Ultimately book falls into the catagory of liked it but with problems all to common to the genre.

I have a hard time letting those things affect my opinion of something I'm reading for entertainment. If I was researching Thai culture, maybe, but then again, if I was researching Thai culture, I wouldn't come to this book in the first place.

Not to stifle your voice or anything seamus, but one of the points behind a book club is you have everybody read it and THEN you discuss it together. The discussion date is the 19th so maybe wait until then?

Boo the 19th. I'll still make it tho.

Yeah, I think these are definitely some great discussion points, and we will have to bring them up during the call.

Since there are some discussion points out there, and it's been like forever :-P, I'm going to post mine as well. Spoilers ahoy!!

Spoiler:

How did you feel about the various cultural viewpoints of the narrating characters, and their comparisons of similar events?

Did you like the use of foreign language words throughout the book? (farang, phasin, Khun, etc)

What did you think about the weather as a character/plot element?

Why did Kanya flood the city?

Did the human blister rust variant spread, or was it killed off in the fighting / flood?

Did wind-ups supplant humanity after the end of the book?

Was the wind-up village to the north ever real?

Alright, well, I still failed, but the discussion will still happen tomorrow. I'll be there to run things, but I'm afraid I won't have much to add to the discussion overall. I just couldn't keep my attention on this book. 8:30 EST sound good?

Wish I could be there :(. Please post up some of the discussion if you get a chance!

I didn't make it, due to my trip to Holland. My brother just had to get married

On another note. Seems we are slacking off lately. But I do love the choice of books we have read so far and our talks as well. So I hope people are becoming more active again!

Sparhawk wrote:

I didn't make it, due to my trip to Holland. My brother just had to get married

On another note. Seems we are slacking off lately. But I do love the choice of books we have read so far and our talks as well. So I hope people are becoming more active again! :)

It's actually tonight, not last night - you haven't missed it yet

Tanglebones wrote:
Sparhawk wrote:

I didn't make it, due to my trip to Holland. My brother just had to get married

On another note. Seems we are slacking off lately. But I do love the choice of books we have read so far and our talks as well. So I hope people are becoming more active again! :)

It's actually tonight, not last night - you haven't missed it yet :)

I know but only 1/3 in and don't want to hear spoilers.
Did notice that lots have finished it, that's good to see

And we're live.. so far just me and Mike in the channel

Well, once again, sparse attendance. If folks have suggestions on what to do for July, post them here and we'll see what happens. Otherwise, I'm going to put this on hold until some time after labor day, when summer schedules wind down. I will admit to having not put much time into reading this summer myself, so I certainly understand that folks have other things to do. Let me know what you think.

Massive failure of my wifey's Mac two days ago has me in knots. Sorry to be unable to make it fellas. If there's yet another re-schedule I'll be there, but tonight I hold a weepy photographer and pet her hair.

I didn't finish reading - lost interest maybe a third of the way through.

I'll just go ahead and post some more thoughts since I couldn't make it last night.

Spoiler:

I liked the varying cultural viewpoints and the contrast between characters of what was assumed as just part of reality. Whether those cultures are truthful reflections of any of the appropriately named cultures or not (and I see the risk of misrepresenting some of those cultures), I liked the diverse presentation of them.

Having finished the book, the graphic description of the abuse the Wind-Up Girl suffered was used purely to shock the reader. Ultimately, to gain the sympathy of the reader. That did feel rather cheap. I was interested at first that the author would so brazenly tackle sexuality, but all positive/healthy sexual encounters were only implied or referenced in passing memory. Not just from one character, but several. I think that actually goes a long way towards exposing a cultural trope that exists outside the book rather than within it: Publicly acknowledged sexuality is bad/wrong/deviant, where good/appropriate sexuality is hidden and private.

I noticed that impending heat / monsoon season was used as a representation of the rising tension, but for some reason it didn't click with me. I think maybe the mentions of it were too far separated, or perhaps just not important enough for some of the characters that it lost its momentum.

I didn't feel that Jayda's (spelling?) destruction of the levees was necessary at the end. All the points about a calm end to a destructive time were already made, and it just felt like needless destruction. Which made her transition into a peaceful leader afterward even more jarring. I saw her in the end as a psychopath or schizophrenic (omg i spelled that right the first time yay) and that the destruction she caused was purely to assuage her own demons. Perhaps it was necessary given the number of people still fighting in the city, or to complete the transition away from using that city as a capitol, but so much of that happened outside of the reader's view that I just don't think I got it.

I think the ultimate thesis was that mankind is flawed and reeks destruction and competition wherever we go, and that the wind-ups, while alien to us, are the rightful successors of a planet we have essentially made unfit for our own survival. Perhaps a little more emphasis on the diversity of wind-ups out there as was hinted at a few times would have helped to solidify that impression. Especially as the main character was so unfit to the terrain she occupied at the end, even though she seemed to be surviving just fine.

I guess that's enough for now. I enjoyed the book, ready to move on, though!!

Currently reading a book about the Transit of Venus expeditions of the late 18th century. My girlfriend and I viewed the transit on June 5th and it was pretty amazing. That book might be a little slow and unengaging for this group, but there are a lot of wonderful cultural touchpoints given for the places that the astronomers traveled, and a lot of great looks into what life was like in a time where accurate clocks didn't exist, especially at sea, and that missing your destination by hundreds of miles was a common and often deadly nautical experience.

Spoiler:

I think Bangok was destroyed to force a re-birth of Thailand just like the fall of Ayutthaya to the Burmese caused a new dynasty to rise which succceded in beating back the Burmese ( mostly because Burma was fighting a war with China shortly after). A kinda of history repeating itself/ getting in touch with past/golden age/ true Thai capitol.

Anybody interested in doing an impromptu July read? I know we're on hiatus for a little while, but I'd like to at least be reading the same stuff as some of you guys and then be able to come back here to discuss it.

Right now I'm reading "The Day the World Discovered the Sun: An Extraordinary Story of Scientific Adventure and the Race to Track the Transit of Venus" (longest title ever) as my girlfriend and I had a very romantic evening going to watch the Transit in the beginning of June.

Also reading "Writing and Being" about journaling, and so far it's been very much about meditation through journaling.

Also "A Gay and Melancholy Sound" which was on Kindle deal a while back, but it hasn't grabbed me very much.

We're approaching August, and I'd like folks to start thinking about what they want to pick up with in our post-Labor-Day resumption of the book club. Also, I would like to find out if there's still interest in continuing.

Also, our last non-fiction selection's author (i.e. Jonah Lehrer of How We Decide) seems to have made some poor decisions of his own. Disappointing.

NSMike wrote:

We're approaching August, and I'd like folks to start thinking about what they want to pick up with in our post-Labor-Day resumption of the book club. Also, I would like to find out if there's still interest in continuing.

Also, our last non-fiction selection's author (i.e. Jonah Lehrer of How We Decide) seems to have made some poor decisions of his own. Disappointing.

Whoops. I'm still in!