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BookLog

Books recently read:


  • In The Flesh: The Cultural Politics of Body Modification by Victoria Pritts. My "serious" book. The language was a bit dense in spots (I didn't know what things like "post-essentialist" and "post-structuralist" meant, for example), but I pushed through, and ended up getting a lot out of it. There was a lot in here, but the biggest theme I picked out was that body image is like aart - it's a communication. Both the person who's body has been modified and the person viewing that body contribute to the "conversation". Most of the modern body modification groups espouse the practice as something along the lines of freedom to rewrite body-identity, a way to own and rewrite the symbolism of the body. Pritts comes to the conclusion that the individual can realy only do so partly, because the viewer will always bring their own symbols, biases, and cultural background into the interpretation of the body, regardless of what the body artist thinks. There's a lot more to the book - I am pondering writing a longer review later - but I think that was the biggest theme of the whole book.

  • The Specials by corwin77 - StB's NaNoWriMo book. Great story, and like most NaNo novels, needs a lot of polish. He and I are talking about turning this into a comic/graphic novel type thing with me as artist.

  • Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold. Mmmmm, Bujold. The sequel to Curse of Chalion does not disappoint.



I am soon going to need to figure out what my next "serious" book will be. I'm considering trying to find Dick Hebidge's Subculture: The Meaning of Style. If the library doesn't deliver in time, I may do something different, and finally read The Tao of Jeet Kun Do by Bruce Lee.

I'm trying to decide if I want to count The Specials towards my three fiction books - it only took me a day to read, and I have two shiny new fiction books sitting waiting for me...

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
the_nita
Jul. 11th, 2005 01:35 pm (UTC)
Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold. Mmmmm, Bujold. The sequel to Curse of Chalion does not disappoint.

FYI, the next book in the world, The Hallowed Hunt, is also quite good.
neeuqdrazil
Jul. 11th, 2005 01:39 pm (UTC)
Hallowed Hunt is on my hold list, and should come in sooner or later.
the_nita
Jul. 11th, 2005 01:41 pm (UTC)
Could just bat your eyes and ask to borrow, you know...
javenallese
Jul. 11th, 2005 02:26 pm (UTC)
"Pritts comes to the conclusion that the individual can realy [sic] only do so partly, because the viewer will always bring their own symbols, biases, and cultural background into the interpretation of the body, regardless of what the body artist thinks."

This is where I come in. My own take on body art is, "Why?" I've never understood body ornamentation, whether it be piercings (even standard lobe piercings for ears) or tattoos. I've never understood fashion either. In general, I chalk it up to I know what I like, you know what you like, and they know what they like. Then I move into "if it's not hurting me or anyone else what does it matter." But at some level, depending on the ornamentation I will consistently be fascinated and feel revulsion in equal parts.

I don't know that I can clearly explain my stance/feelings on this. It/they are so confused.
curgoth
Jul. 11th, 2005 02:58 pm (UTC)
Why do people do it? It's non-verbal communication. The fashion plate, the cosmetic surgery patient, and the body modifier are all trying to say something with their appearance. The idea this book puts forward is that the content of the message isn't in the complete control of the originator.

But at some level, depending on the ornamentation I will consistently be fascinated and feel revulsion in equal parts.

With body modification, that's at least partly the intent - the transgressive nature of the modification is part of the message. Of course, the transgressive nature of body modifications lessens as a given mod becomes more common - ear lobe piercing are not very shocking these days, for example. The transgressive aspect of body modification is sort of saying "Hey, look, I'm breaking the rules!" What that means, exactly, depends on who is saying it, and who's listening.
redsash
Jul. 11th, 2005 05:12 pm (UTC)
"Jeet Kune Do" is pretty cool, although his english isn't great. You can borrow my copy if you like. Follow up with the fictional "Heroes Die" by JKD expert Matthew Woodring Stover.

I also recommend "Cheng Hsin: The Principles of Effortless Power" by Peter Ralston. If you're going to learn anything about martial arts by reading, this is the book (although it's also quite a difficult read)

As much as I like Bruce Lee, this guy would drop him in ten seconds. He was the first non-Asian to win the World Championship full-contact martial arts tournament in 1978, and to all accounts, he made it look easy.

http://www.chenghsin.com/

~r
curgoth
Jul. 11th, 2005 05:36 pm (UTC)
I actually have my own copy of JKD - just, like most non-fiction books before this year, I picked it up, started to read it, then put it down after the first chapter.

I've hold-listed the Stover book. The Toronto Library doesn't seem to have the Cheng Hsin book, though - I'll hit the website little later.

My main goal in reading martial arts books, beyond improving my theory, though, is to continue to remind myself that I need to find somewhere to train once the office moves in september.
redsash
Jul. 11th, 2005 05:59 pm (UTC)
I have all three. Get Corbet to dig them up for you Friday.

~r
delerium69
Jul. 11th, 2005 05:30 pm (UTC)
Does the body modification book mention the prohibition of body modification by certain religions due to the notion that humans are only "renting" their bodies from God and therefore have no right to tamper with it? I've often wondered if religious leaders truly believe this or just need a way to keep their folks in line and not copy outsiders/the secular world.

If there really is a God, I can't imagine he/she/it would even care that much about what we do with our temporary bodies.
curgoth
Jul. 11th, 2005 05:59 pm (UTC)
She doesn't touch on that side of things at all - it's mostly applying modern feminist techniques to the stated intent and theories espoused by the modifiers, rather than examining the public reaction to the modifiers.
kalivor
Jul. 11th, 2005 06:02 pm (UTC)
If you're going to turn The Specials into a comic book, then I'd say that reading it is part of that project and not part of your fiction list. Just because I want the shiny fiction books to lure you in.
curgoth
Jul. 11th, 2005 06:05 pm (UTC)
Aha, just the justification I was looking for!
corwin77
Jul. 12th, 2005 07:08 am (UTC)
Plus reading it was a favour to me. So it totally doesn't count. Now send me ART!
night__watch
Jul. 13th, 2005 02:55 pm (UTC)
mmm... Bujold.

We need to find a way to keep her alive and writing well past the span of mere mortals. That's a bio thing, outside my purview. For now.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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