Friday, May 20, 2011

Alli's CBR-III Review #15 - Ender's Game

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card came highly recommended by a friend at work, so I gave it a go. I don't normally read science fiction because it has always been something that my brother was really into and we are like oil and vinegar so I always stayed away but I generally enjoyed this book.

Ender's Game is set in "the future" although since it was published in 1985 (and parts of it are from a short story published in 1977) in all reality it could have been intended to be set in our present day. Certain aspects of the book certainly are actually eerily accurate to the way things are now. The characters in the book have "desks" that seem to be like iPads, and there is discussion of "the nets" and discussions on them that are a more intelligent version of the internet.

As for the plot, we start out the book from the point of view of Andrew "Ender" Wiggin. He is a third child in a society that has a limit of two children per family. The Wiggins got an exception for Ender since his older brother tested very well to the international fleet, but he was too vicious to qualify for battle school. The fleet is looking for someone to train to command their fleet for the third invasion of the buggers. We follow Ender through battle school, then onto command school. In these schools, they are trained using a variety of games, hence the title. He is tested, pushed and isolated, but ultimately still succeeds.

Parts of the book focus on the other two Wiggin children and their life after Ender goes up to school. Peter is the aforementioned vicious brother, and there is also a sister named Valentine. Ender and Valentine have a close relationship and it helps him survive throughout the book.

Although on it's surface it is a science fiction book, it is really about relationships, manipulation and the mistakes and perils of war. I would recommend checking it out.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Alli's CBR-III Review #14 - Wasted

I have been so bad, I have barely read anything in the past month and a bit. I did finish the book I am about to review a few weeks ago but I didn't get around to writing about it until now.

After I read Unbearable Lightness, Youthfulzombie recommended reading "Wasted" by Marya Hornbacher as a more accurate memoir of someone with an eating disorder. I bought the iBooks version and read it over a couple of days. I could relate to quite a bit of it. I have eating issues that are now mostly resolved, but I am currently on a calorie counting plan and it is sometimes hard to know the difference between being dedicated to my health and being obsessive.

Wasted in some ways offers little hope to eating disordered people. Hornbacher doesn't sugar coat her realities, and it is appreciated. That was one of my main issues with Unbearable Lightness, De Rosi spent 95% of the book detailing her obsessions and 5% saying how magically one day she was all better. Hornbacher also details her processes and the ins and outs of her disorder, but she is clear that there is no magic solution. She also spent the time and did her research, and so it feels that her information is coming from a more authoritative place.

I also appreciated the fact that Hornbacher mentions that pretty much all women suffer from eating disorders. Although not all women have anorexia or bulimia, the majority have an unhealthy images or are constantly dieting. I have a skewed view of this, as I spend a lot of my time on a diet community online. I also read something similar in the book In Defense of Food where it indicated there is a new disorder called "Orthorexia" which is an obsession with eating healthy.

It seems no matter what you do, if you are predisposed to eating disorders then you will find one that fits you. Some of us are just not wired to be able to eat normally. Then again, what is normal? All we can hope for is a balance, to be able to not be self destructive and to try and enjoy all that life has to offer.