Friday Book Club: The Art of Racing in the Rain

the-art-of-racing-in-the-rainHi everyone!  It’s time to start reading the book club selection for June:  The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Grant Stein.

Several people recommended this book to me.  It was a big hit when it came out and was an Oprah’s Book Club selection.  So I was pretty excited to read this book.  I presented it as an option to the Arden Dimick Book Club, they picked it, I started reading it and…

I hated it.

But, that’s OK.  Because sometimes the most interesting books are those we dislike.  It took me a while to figure out why I disliked the book so much and that process helped me figure out some pretty intense things about how women are presented in male narratives.  It also made me hug my daughter and my dog, both of whom seemed confused but pleased, so that was good.  There were passages that I loved and whole subplots that made me furious.  So I am very much looking forward to discussing this book with you all over the next few weeks.

A bit of background:  Most of what I review on Geek Girl In Love is science fiction or fantasy, but I also read quite a bit of contemporary fiction and non-fiction.  As facilitator of the Arden Dimick Book Club, I get a chance to stretch my reading a bit and try different genres and styles.  We work with one theme for three months.  In May, June, and July our theme is “Animals Among Us”.  If you live in the Sacramento area, come join us on June 22, 2014 at 2PM  for our in-person book club at Arden Dimick Library in Sacramento!

Friday Book Club: The Klondike Gold Rush

SWT-Book-ClubsWelcome to Friday Book Club!  This month we’ve been talking about The Call of the Wild, by Jack London.  The Call of the Wild takes place during the Klondike Gold Rush.

The Klondike Gold Rush is often said to have started when a huge gold deposit was discovered in 1896, but like many starting dates for historical events this one is open to interpretation.  Miners had already been mining along the Yukon River and had established a large town, Circle City.

In 1896 three men and one woman discovered a huge deposit of gold in the Yukon river.  News spread within Alaska and miners began heading to the area.  But it took the news a whole year to reach San Francisco and Seattle.  Once it did, the Rush was quickly in full swing.  Approximately 100,000 people tried to get to the gold fields.  Most didn’t make it, and of those that did, few got rich.

George Carmack and , the purported discoverer of the Klondike gold, and his wife, Kate Carmack.  She was born Shaaw Tia and was a Tinglit First Nation Woman.  She was with George Carmack when gold was discovered and some say she may have been the one to actually discover it.  They had one daughter together, Graphie Grace.

George Carmack, the purported discoverer of the Klondike gold, and his wife, Kate Carmack. She was born Shaaw Tia and was a Tinglit First Nation Woman. She was with George Carmack when gold was discovered and some say she may have been the one to actually discover it. They had one daughter together, Graphie Grace.

The area in which the Gold Rush took place was populated by native groups including the Tagish, Tlingit, and Hän Athabaskan Peoples.  In The Call of the Wild, Thorton is attacked by the entirely fictious Yeehat Indians.  Although I haven’t studied this time period extensively, I could find little mention of violence between indigneous Alaskans and miners of the nature described by Jack London.  Many of the Hän people were placed in a reservation downstream from the boom town Dawson.  In addition to losing fish and game, they suffered disease when the people of Dawson built a sewage system that emptied out into the river that flowed to the Hän.

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The rush ended in 1899, when gold was discovered elsewhere in Alaska and Canada.  The discovery of gold in Nome, Alaska led to a gold rush there that lasted until 1909.  Gold mining continues in Alaska today and the sled dogs of Jack London’s Klondike rush are still indispensable as racers and as work dogs.

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Wednesday Videos: Jeeves and Wooster

WednesdayVideoToday you get a medley of Wednesday videos!  Jeeves and Wooster  was a series based on the Jeeves stories by P.G. Wodehouse that ran from 1990 to 1993.  It starred Stephen Fry as Jeeves and Hugh Laurie as Bertie Wooster.  Fun fact:  Emma Thompson introduced Fry and Laurie to each other, thus sparking a comedic duo of epic proportions.  Here are a few clips from YouTube to give you the feel for the thing.

Here is Jeeves meeting Bertie for the first time:

There’s nothing Jeeves can’t handle, including syncopation:

And I haven’t the foggiest idea of what’s going on here but I laughed so hard I almost dropped my laptop.  “We should loosen his collar!”  “Oh, I hardly think such drastic measures are called for.”  Harrrr!