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Below are the 14 most recent journal entries recorded in Melissa and Friends' LiveJournal:

Thursday, July 26th, 2007
10:15 pm
Minor character poll

Well, not so much a poll as just a question. Now the series is over, who is your favourte minor Harry Potter character? 
I think mine would be Aragog or the Dursleys en masse. Anyone else think they were not used enough in the last book? One spoiler i heard was that Hagrid was killed battling Voldemort / the death eaters with Harry and Co at Privet Drive, trying to rescue the Dursleys. I would like to have had a little more info about Dudley's change of heart.
I'd also like to know if Hermione ever got her parents back from Australia - but I'm drifting off what this post is supposed to be about, and so will end it here...
so come on. Who's your favourite minor character?

Current Mood: pensive
Wednesday, July 25th, 2007
1:18 pm
12:01 pm
Harry Potter
Start Talking! Did you like it? Was it what you expected? How do you feel it flowed with the other books? How does it hold up to the other books? Whatever you want to say, say it! Start new threads, post what you want to this one, just whatever, I'm just dying to talk to people about this book because Bruce hasn't finished it yet!!!

Current Mood: curious
Monday, February 6th, 2006
2:42 pm

Well, 1984 hasn't set the world on fire. Perhaps having a book of the month isn't working all that well, I don't know. So carrying on my tradition last month of taking over, here I am again with a questionnaire. Fill it in, we'll see what people are reading right now!



Currently / Last reading:

What's the book about?

Do / Did you like it?


Monday, January 30th, 2006
4:25 pm

"A bit depressing and bleak" is, I think, how I initially described 1984 at the beginning of the month, suggesting it as a book of the month. I don't think that anyone can really argue with that, can you?

I found 1984 to be an utterly fascinating book. More than the plot, the idea of controlling the past and, from that, controlling the future took my imagination:

"...and if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed ... then the lie passed into history and became truth. 'Who controls the past,' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.' " (Ch. 3)

All of us are far more reliant than maybe we realise on received wisdom. We're all educated to believe certain things about science, history, religion and the arts. The Normans invaded England in 1066, Leonardo Da Vinci was Italian, the first powered flight was in 1903, the pilgrims crossed the Atlantic in the Mayflower, the plural of "sheep" is "sheep" and not "sheeps". None of us knows these for a fact. They're all things that we've been told that we choose to believe. Does it really matter if these things are true or not? Probably not in any meaningful sense. And what are the alternatives? You can hardly start each child off from first principles - some things have to be presented as true, as accepted facts. Not believing in any received wisdom would lead to everyone being like the Ruler of the Universe in the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. The idea as presented in this book that history could be changed by changing the evidence associated with it is an interesting one. Not a new one when 1984 was written in 1948, though. Both Hitler and Stalin had their equivalent of the Ministry of Truth, making "unpersons" of those fallen from favour.

The culture of Oceana stuck me as being more like Mao's China more than Stalin's Russia. In particular the repression of the proles, the suppression of learning, and the gross decadence of the ruling elite struck more of a chord with Mao, at least in my view, although the world's known enough tyrants over the centuries to each have a facet of The Party.

Any thoughts?


Thursday, January 12th, 2006
2:03 pm

I don't know about anyone else here, but I feel a little bit guilty about not reading December's book. mwalton set up this group, few people seemed to read the book and not many have commented on it at all.

So, whilst Mel is away for a couple of days, I'd like to suggest a book for January. I'm afraid it's a bit depressing and bleak, but it is available online so you don't even have to go to the library to get hold of a copy. Plus as it's a favourite book of teachers and the like, there should be lots of essays and comments online to copy from if you run out of ideas ;-)

The book I'm going to suggest for this month is George Orwell's 1984.

I hope no one is offended by my stepping in like this, or the choice of book. If you are, feel free to step in yourself in turn!

So, shall we say that those interested will read it by the end of the month?

Monday, January 2nd, 2006
10:00 am
9:55 am
Writing Exercise (Just for Fun!)
So, the writing style in Way to Rainy Mountain is very distinct. Momaday uses a picture,a myth, a fact, and a personal experience to convey his journey to us. Just for fun, and just because like I said I know there are some writers in the group, use that method and write up one of your own experiences. Mine is below (the picture is the icon used here, the ship Invernia which brought my great grandma from Scotland to the US).

When Bonny Prince Charles was a fugitive in the Scottish Highlands, he sometimes dressed as a woman and shared in the work of
the people around him. One day, in this disguise, he was helping to pick peat. While hard at work a group of Hanoverian
sympathizers passed by and stared suspiciously at the very ungainly woman whose true identity was not hard to guess.
“Aha!” said one, “Bha Latha eile aig Luchd-buain na moine” or, “the peat gatherers have seen another day.”
This saying has been passed down as a Gaelic proverb to describe people who have known better days.

Between 1820 and 1910, 488,749 Scotsmen immigrated to the US, including my great grandmother.
There are now 28 million Scots around the world while there are only 8 million Scots still in Scotland.

I was standing in front of the small church in Tarves that my great grandmother Ethel had attended.
There were centuries worth of my Burr family history in that smooth stone edifice.
The church was on a small grassy hill overlooking part of the weather worn town.
As I looked out over the town, I felt sure that at any moment I would see Ethel trudging up the hill in her long
skirt on her way to school. Or perhaps chance upon her father John catching fish in the nearby rocky stream.
I felt sure that I could hear on the wind the rough tapping of his father Ebeneezer’s chisel smoothing out some
intricate design in one of his granite creations. They were all of them present in that moment.

Current Mood: artistic
9:47 am
It's That Time! The First Kick-off Discussion!
OK, so I want you to feel free to post ANYTHING you want to about the book. Start discussions of your own etc, but I'm going to have some standard questions and some book specific questions as jumping off points in case you don't know what to say. Don't feel you have to answer the questions, but if you want to go for it. Also since there are a bunch of writers in here as well, for each book I'll post a writing exercise. Don't feel you have to do it, it's just an extra fun thing. I think I'll post a poll about the book as well with each one since those are even easier ways to respond. So that way there are at least 3 different ready made ways to interact with the book. But seriously, kick it off, write your own posts, feelings etc.

OK, now for some jumping off questions:

What did you feel was the main intent of this book? The author's overall message/feeling to convey? Did you agree with/disagree with/not comprehend that intent?

What cultural biases do you think influenced the book?

What was your favorite part of the book? Least favorite?

If you were the author of this book what one thing (or multiple things) would you change?

With this particular book the writing style is very distinct. Momaday captures every portion in a picture, a fact, a myth, and a personal experience. Which of the method did you respond most to? Which did you respond least to?

Is there any particular background information you wish you'd had before starting the book?

Now remember these are just starting points! Have fun with it!

Current Mood: bouncy
Friday, December 23rd, 2005
2:00 pm
Happy Holidays and A Reminder
OK folks, we're winding down on our first book! Remember due date is Jan 2nd! Use the holidays to catch up on your reading and finish it up. Also looking for ideas for book 2 so...let me know! In anycase Happy Holidays and happy reading!

Current Mood: busy
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2005
10:59 am
I picked up my book!
The library got my copy of the book in so I picked it up yesterday.

I just got done reading the prologue and I was hit with this sinking feeling that this book is going to be full of symbology that is going to go right over my head until someone else points it out.

Suddenly I feel like the dumb kid in English Lit again! lol
10:25 am
This and next month's book is Way to Rainy Mountain by N. Scott Momaday. It's a quick read and what with the Thanksgiving holiday coming up tommorrow, assuming you aren't the one cooking, you might have some extra time and get it read. Anyway, for those who haven't found a copy yet, there are copies now as cheap as .89 on Amazon
Anyway, looking forward to discussion in January. Also have another idea I'm kicking around that I may post about soon. Anyway, happy holidays all! And happy reading!

Current Mood: cheerful
Monday, November 14th, 2005
5:18 pm
More About the Book Club
jennae just pointed out that I didn't put a dealine down. So since this book is for Nov and December I'll put the "deadline" at January 2nd. It's the first Monday in January and so I'll post some "official" questions, discussions etc at that point. Then from then on we'll do the same (the first Monday of each month). Unless someone has a strenous objection. And remember, it's online so you can comment on Monday, Tuesday, Wed etc.

Current Mood: cheerful
Saturday, November 12th, 2005
3:59 pm
So, I think an online book club will be a lot of fun. I want to say that this is everyone in here's community, my little bit about the rules on the front page is merely to scare away weirdos (no not you tiggrrgrr ) and to avail myself of dealing with constant whining by people I don't know. I'm very open to whining by people I *do* know. In anycase, if anyone has a hankering to be a moderator as well I'm happy to set you up (it may take me awhile to figure out how, but I'm happy to do so).

OK, so I've got an idea for the first book. It's called Way to Rainy Mountain. It can be found here http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/offer-listing/0826304362/qid=1131836089/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1a//104-4192216-8047131?condition=all for as cheap as .97 It's a VERY fast read (which with the holidays coming up and all I thought might be a good idea) and it's something I'm pretty positive none of you have ever read. It's also by a Native American author and written in a very different writing style. It's also sure to spark some conversation and some thinking, even just about the style itself. So if you all have no objections, we'll call that one a go. And since it will take awhile for everyone to join and what with the holidays and what not we'll call this the book for Nov & Dec.

Current Mood: excited
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