Aug 8, 2008

Short Story Saturday - "Harrison Bergeron"

It has been my intention for some time to read a commonly available short story every week and share my comments on it. But if you have been for while, you know I have A LOT of intentions. Sometimes they get thwarted by other acceptable life goings on, but other times, more commonly, thwarted by my own laziness. A while ago I asked my buddies on plurk to suggest some short story titles to me. I got A LOT of suggestions, but very few that were actually available online. Luckily, digitalrob was paying attention and came to my rescue. As you can tell, I have been feeling quite a bit more productive (I think my adventure helped!) So I finally got around to read the story he recommended. So, I definitely owe him a big thanks.

The first line of "Harrison Bergeron" sounds like a world many of us have dreamed of. "The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal." But what happens when equality is taken to the extreme?

If no one could be prettier or smarter or more athletic, how would the world be? Does it sound like a dream or a nightmare?

"Harrison Bergeron" is written by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. and is classified as a dystopian science fiction short story. In this futuristic world, everyone is not created equal but they are all forced into equality by devices that hinder their natural abilities. In a world with equal beauty there is in fact no beauty. In a world where there is equalized intelligence no one is intelligent.

Part of the enjoyment out of life is the unique ways in which our talents complement eachother in our relationships and interactions. Also when we think of a better society, I feel we hope for one that involves all people being more intelligent and not creating an intelligence hindrance. In the story people of higher intelligence have to wear ear pieces that emote sound to disturb thought processes. "Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains."

I was curious to know more about this story and when I went searching I found that there was also a movie created off of the short story. I have included it in full below. It is interesting to see their interpretation of of the transmitter mentioned above.

If you are interested in reading this story you can find it online here.

Fun Friday

Here I Go Again

What is this plurk thing? And who are the pleeps? If you don't get it yet, well you probably don't want to. I have been waiting my blogging career to be TAGGED, and you know what? IT HAPPENED!
(Happy dance!)

For those of you have been paying attention when I have been pimping out the pleep love, perpstu is one of my adoring fans. She tagged me and I was more than willing to comply.

What was I doing 10 years ago?
This time of the year ten years ago I was between my junoir and senoir year of high school. I had just completed a summer of college tours including my first trip to Utah. I was wasting away in front of a semi constant stream of videos popping in and out of the VCR.

What are five things on my to-do list today?
1. buy milk - I had been hording the last of the nearly sour milk for my coffee but emergency starvation lead me to use it all in 6 (yes, 6!) bowls of cereal. (Small bowls, I swear.)
2. Find Good In Bed.
3. Write blog post on digitalrob recomended short story "Harrison Bergeron"
4. Write male protagonist review of Feed for Genre of the Month

Snacks I enjoy:
Cool Ranch Doritos
Salt and vinegar ANYTHING

Places I've lived:


Things I would do if I was a billionair:

  • find derserving charities and donate
  • pay off all debt and utilities for the next 10 years
  • invest in two college funds
  • travel, A LOT
  • relocate someone special to me
  • buy more books!
Who's being tagged:

Aug 7, 2008


It is odd to find Heaven inside such a heavy book.

Books everywhere! Each wall was armed with overcrowded yet immaculate shelving. It was barely possible to see the paintwork. There were all different styles and sizes of lettering on the spines of the black, the red, the gray, the every-colored books. It was one of the most beautiful things Liesel Meminger had ever seen.

With wonder, she smiled.
That such a room existed!

Steadily the room shrank, till the book thief could touch the shelves within a few small steps. She ran the back of her hand along the first shelf, listening to the shuffle of her fingernails gliding across the spinal cord of each book. It sounded like an instrument, or the notes of running feet. She used both hands. She raced them. One shelf against the other. And she laughed. Her voice sprawled out, high in her throat, and when she eventually stopped and stood in the middle of the room, she spent many minutes looking from the shelves to her fingers and back again.

How many books had she touched?
How many had she felt?

She walked over and did it again, this time much slower, with her hand facing forward, allowing the dough of her palm to feel the small hurdle of each book. It felt like magic, like beauty, as bright lines of light shone down from a chandelier. Several times, she almost pulled a title from its place but didn't dare disturb them. They were too perfect.

Pages 134 and 135.

Booking Through Thursday - Worlds and Authors


Are there any particular worlds in books where you’d like to live?

Well, I don't read much fantasy or books that involve other worlds. There are not really any places from books I would like to live, I am very much a homebody. But there are tons of places I would like to visit! So places that come to mind come from C.S. Lewis's Prelandra series and also Pullman's His Dark Materials series.

I get this sensation much stronger when I am watching a movie than I do when I when I am reading. I got it strongly when I saw The Shipping News and it made me buy the book. I wanted to see how the location was captured in text. But I had a hard time getting into the book and still haven't read it.

When I read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil I went on a book tour of Savanah and that was amazing and interesting. I think it would be fun to do more things like that. Experience places I read about.

Or where you certainly would NOT want to live?
Recently when I read The Luxe I felt very lucky to have not lived in the confinement of their era.

Books about Nazi Germany and other effected areas make me happy I was not alive and witnessing these struggles first hand.

There are books about the south that make me want to go there, make me think I will love it. Example: Ya Ya Sisterhood. Reality, while I would love to visit Savanah again and a few other places I definitely never want to live in the south. It is was too insanely humid for me.

What about authors? If you were a character, who would you trust to write your life?
I adore Pat Conroy and I would trust him to either make me crazier than I am or show me as I really am, and I am implying those might be the same things. I only started reading him less than a year ago and the way that he write whispers into my heart. It says, yes, this is the type of writing you have been waiting all your life for!

On the Road

So I sort of went on this sudden, semi unexpected road trip the other day and it was completely fun. Before I left for my trip I went to the library. I was there for almost an hour trying to our the best audiobooks for my journey. The book needed to be engaging, but not so engaging that I would want to be taking notes. (Blind Assassin, out!) It also, of course, had to be unabridged. Ideally it would have a full cast (spectacular example: His Dark Material) I was interest in, but not limited to, young adult titles. I ended up with three book, and yes, in the end they were all young adult.
  1. Feed by M.T. Anderson
  2. Kira Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
  3. Girl, 15, Charming But Insane by Sue Limb
When I got out of the library I quickly shoved the first CD of the first book into the player. Because the most important requirement was that the narrator didn't put me to sleep.

Girl, 15, Charming but Insane - occasionally dry British lady skating a very thin line in terms of boring. The book was funny enough to make up for it. I wondered if I looked like an idiot driving away from the library laughing hysterically in the car by myself.

Feed - The narrator is a bit old for the age of the narrator of this story. Or at least I thought so initially. It was bugging me a bit so I listened to it again and didn't notice as much the second time, as soon as I got used to the jargon of the book.

He did a spectacular job having a completely unique voice for each of the characters and pulling off the female ones fairly convincingly.

Kira Kira - This narrator had a nice soothing voice. I like in particular that she sounds young, even though when I looked her up I found out she was in fact not.

I could tell that even though I liked the narrator this probably wasn't going to be my favorite story.

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