Archive for the 'book memes' Category

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Fantasy Authors

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created to share lists with other bookish folks! For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday list, we were asked to list our top ten favorite authors in the genre of our choice! Naturally, I went with my top ten favorite fantasy authors, as fantasy has been one of my most beloved genres since I was a youngster. Here goes!

1. Connie Willis
It wouldn’t be a TTT on bookwanderer without a mention of Connie Willis! I can’t help it–I think Willis is an excellent writer and can capture angst like no other author. Doomsday Book had me crying, as did Passage. (These could also be considered science fiction, but since the line between the two genres is blurry anyway, I’m allowing it.)

2. George R. R. Martin
A Song of Ice and Fire is a fantasy masterpiece. If you haven’t read the books, do yourself a favor and start. And then watch the HBO series.

3. J.R.R Tolkien
Any fantasy-lover worth their salt should have Tolkien on their list. He wasn’t the first writer of fantasy, but he’s arguably one of the best-known and most influential authors ever. If you haven’t tried reading The Lord of the Rings, I highly recommend trying! (Start with The Hobbit if you’re feeling nervous. And only tackle The Silmarillion with caution–I’ve still never finished it!)

4. Tamora Pierce
Though I haven’t read a book by her in years, she is a sentimental favorite. The Alanna books teach you how to be an awesome girl.

5. Brian Jacques
REDWALL! While not traditional sword-and-sorcery fantasy, the Redwall books were filled with fantasy staples: courageous heroes, legends, fierce battles, evil foes, and oh yeah, the most mouthwatering depictions of feasts you could imagine. I read a good 10 or so of these books when I was younger, and there are still a handful I haven’t read it. (My absolute favorite was Salamandastron, because I loved the badgers!)

6. David Eddings
Sometimes early fantasy is the best fantasy. It may be considered cliche by today’s standards–farm boy destined to save the world, goes on quest with the help of some powerful, magical friends–but Edding’s Belgariad series is , and tons of fun.

7. Philip Pullman
His Dark Materials turns the traditional fantasy story on its head, with a mixture of science, religion, and parallel worlds that is utterly fascinating to read. The series’ heroine, Lyra, is still a strong example of a believable and strong character who goes on her own version of the hero’s journey.

8. Lev Grossman
I also got to meet him at the Brooklyn Book Festival, and he totally proved his fantasy-nerd cred by asking if my parents named me after the main character in The Chronicles of Prydain. (For the record, they didn’t, but I wish they did!) I can’t wait to read the third entry in the Magicians series.

9. Margaret Atwood
In the past, Atwood has claimed she does not write sci-fi/fantasy. I hate to quibble with such a prolific and esteemed author, but girl, A Handmaid’s Tale is straight-up (dystopian) fantasy. And I love it for that! Really a dystopian classic, right alongside 1984 and Brave New World. Her sci-fi entries are enjoyable, too, but A Handmaid’s Tale stands alone as truly, timelessly great.

10. Neil Gaiman
I haven’t read as much Gaiman as I should, but I really, really enjoyed Good Omens and Neverwhere, and I appreciated the writing and set-up of American Gods (even if the ending disappointed me). I think his fantasy has a sense of humor about itself that many traditional fantasy novels lack, and it really makes his novels pop. Next I want to read the Sandman graphic novels and Anasazi Boys.

Which of your favorite fantasy authors have I missed? And what are YOUR top ten favorite genre authors?


Top Ten Tuesday REWIND: Top Ten Book Romances That Would Make It In The Real World

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created to share lists with other bookish folks! For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday list, we’ve got a rewind–we can choose any past Top Ten Tuesday subject that we missed! I chose August 14’s prompt: the top ten book romances that I think would make it in the real world!

1. Seraphina and Lucian, from Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
What makes this relationship great is that it’s just two sides of a very realistic and interesting love triangle. (Also great is the fact that Seraphina is strong, talented, independent, and concerned with many other things other than romantic love–take notes, Bella!–and that theirs is not an “insta-love” by any means!) In the real world, I see Seraphina as a composer or professional singer, and Lucian as the police officer that falls in love with her.

2. Judge Holden and Violence, from Blood Meridan by Cormac McCarthy
In opposition to the Kid’s indifference and attempts to do the right thing occasionally, Blood Meridian‘s Judge Holden is a symbol, pure evil personified. And apparently the Judge and his murderous gang were based on a real historical group, the Glanton scalphunter gang. So, with all that said, can you see the Judge with anyone romantically? (Or even just non-murderously?) Nope. So that just leaves me to pair Judge Holden with his one true love: violence.

3. Lyra and Will, from the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman
Although Lyra and Will are children, their relationship is never treated as less real or important than a relationship between adults. They compliment each others’ strengths and pretty much save the world(s) between them. If they were somehow pulled from their world(s) into ours, I think their romance would have had the chance it needed to fully blossom, rather than being cut off mid-bloom.

4. Isadora Wing and Nobody, from Fear of Flying by Erica Jong
Listen, I know there’s a sequel or two out there that probably solve the cliffhanger Fear of Flying ends on–does she or doesn’t she get back together with her intelligent and long-suffering but moody and withdrawn husband? However, I’ve realized that the conclusion I like best is the one I’ve imagined:  Isadora doesn’t get together with anyone; instead, she lives a swingin’ single life well into her ’80s, has sex when and how she wants it, and never has to become anyone’s housewife or nursemaid again.

5. Newland Archer and Ellen Olenska, from The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Augh. Well-written angst will get me like nothing else. Archer and Olenska are clearly meant for each other, and yet are kept apart by secrets, scandal, and the strict social conventions of the time period. However, if they existed here and now, I think they would be an amazingly witty and wonderful NYC power-couple.

6. Sabriel and Touchstone, from Sabriel by Garth Nix
Just a wonderfully-realistic romance between two teenagers on a quest to rescue Sabriel’s father. Oh, and their first kiss is awesome: Sabriel bites Touchstone’s mouth to revive him from the realm of Death. See? Awesome.

7. Hermione and Being Awesome, from the Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling
Ron’s fine, but I’ve always been fond of single and sassy Hermione myself. It’s unrealistic to think that Rowling wasn’t going to include romance, but I never really shipped any particular pairings. (Perhaps because I was older than the characters when the books were coming out.) Anyway, I loved that Hermione didn’t apologize for being an intelligent and outspoken girl–and that she never pretended to be anything less than what she was to spare the guys’ feelings. Young women need more role models like Hermione!

8. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The epitomy of a great literary relationship! These two should be on every relationship-based list. The drama! The angst! The misunderstands! And through it all, Elizabeth and Darcy’s underlying quiet affection for one another.

9. Madeleine and Unrealistic Expectations/Poor Decision-Making, from The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
I don’t want to spoil anything, but trust me, you’ll know which decision I mean when you get to it.

10. I’ll leave this one open!


So what are some of the literary romances that you think would make it in the real world?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten “Older” Books You Don’t Want People To Forget About

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a topic and encourage fellow bloggers to list their own top ten answers. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday asks us to post the top ten “older” books we don’t want people to forget about! The definition of “older” in this case is pretty loose, but the goal is to highlight books that might be forgotten about or passed over in the flurry to read new releases. I’m choosing to interpret this as books I enjoyed when I was a youngster that have never seemed to reach a wider audience, at least that I’ve seen.

1. Catwings, by Ursula K. LeGuin
I loved this book when I was younger! And it was only recently that I discovered that LeGuin had written this book, about a family of cats inexplicably born with wings. (This might signal that I had naturally good taste as a child, which is not true at all; I just read whatever I got my hands on!) While it isn’t as famous as her later works, like The Left Hand of Darkness, it’s still a moving, quietly interesting novel that is perhaps more suitable for a younger audience.

2. Serengeti Cats, by Alice Schick
Another favorite of mine as a young reader, Serengeti Cats is actually a novel detailing the lives of a lion cub, a cheetah cub, and a leopard cub as they grow up in the African plains. The mix of actual information about the great cats and the novelization of their lives had me spell-bound. If you have a kid in your life who loves animals but doesn’t want to read dry nonfiction about them, this would be a great gift.

3. The Darkangel Trilogy, by Meredith Ann Pierce
Before Bella and Edward, there was Aeriel and Irrylath. I think this series introduced me to the concept of angst, and subsequently made me a lifelong devotee. While her second YA fantasy trilogy, The Firebringer Trilogy, is considered more popular, I absolutely loved the moody, dark fairytale atmosphere of The Darkangel. It is heartbreaking, inspiring, and hopeful all at once.

4. Loch, by Paul Zindel
Like Catwings, Loch was a book written by a popular and well-known author, in this case Paul Zindel, who also wrote YA classic The Pigman. . And again like Catwings, Loch represented a less popular entry in the author’s oeuvre. Because I was a hugely nerdy child, I loved reading about I also remember it as being one of the first books I had read to contain a level of casual violence that appealed to me. (So be aware, if your kids read this one, that there are gory scenes of people getting eaten!)

5. Raptor Red, by Robert T. Bakker
Told from the point-of-view of a female velociraptor, Raptor Red is the story of what the day-to-day life of a large, carnivorous dinosaur might look like. The world-building is phenomenal and Raptor Red herself is a wonderfully-written, sympathetic, decidedly-non-human heroine. Bakker treats his subject with remarkable insight and imagination, and has the academic credentials to back it all up. You don’t even have to be a dinosaur fan to enjoy this book (though who doesn’t like dinosaurs?!). Just an FYI: there is dinosaur sex in this one.

6. D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths, by Ingri D’Aulaire and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire
Such a classic! The best possible way to learn your Greek mythology was with this collection. There are certain illustrations that I can recall from memory to this day.

7. The Babysitters Club Series, by Ann M. Martin
These are pretty well-known, but I feel like YA has really shifted away from this sort of episodic, realistic, younger-reader fare. These books were a source of major bonding with some of the gals who are my best friends to this day, and I definitely wanted to start my own babysitters club. Don’t let the BSC be forgotten!

8. The Unicorn Chronicles, by Bruce Coville
Better known for the My Teacher is an Alien books, Coville nonetheless can spin a good yarn about an imperiled fantasy world and the girl who finds herself stuck there. I think I only read the first in the series, but even now I’d like to know what happens to Cara and Lightfoot.

9. Sixth Grade Secrets, by Louis Sachar
As a fifth-grader, I really enjoyed this book, probably because the characters in it were slightly rebellious and got into trouble, two things I never would have done at school. The relationships between the girls and boys also struck me as being realistic, and it was probably one of the first times in my life that I actively ‘shipped a literary couple. Very engaging and very funny.

10. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
I am a Jean Craighead George megafan, so I hope that ALL of her books remain popular! However, my sentimental favorite has got to be Julie of the Wolves. I probably read and reread this a hundred times as a kid, always imagining myself as Julie. She is a great heroine, and the wolves have unique and interesting personalities.

What older books do you hope remain unforgotten?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On Your Fall TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a topic and encourage fellow bloggers to list their own top ten answers. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday asks us to post the top ten books on our fall TBR lists! For this TTT, I looked back at my post about the top ten books on my summer TBR list. Predictably, some of them carry over, because I never get to all of the books I want to during the summer!

1. The Twelve, by Justin Cronin
This is the sequel to Passage, which I devoured but still felt a bit disappointed in. That doesn’t mean I won’t be reading this follow-up, if only for more information the Twelve, the originators of vampires. I’d been hoping it would should up on NetGalley, to no avail! Out this October.

2. This is How You Lose Her, by Junot Diaz
I actually know nothing about this book. I do know that I loved The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, so I want to read Diaz’s newest work. I appreciate the realistic, sensitive approach he takes to writing about outsiders.

3. Lirael, by Garth Nix
I loooooved Sabriel after reading it earlier this summer, and was psyched to discover that it’s the first in a trilogy. My library has all three as ebooks, and I’m just waiting for the perfect time to delve into Lirael.

4. All Clear, by Connie Willis
The novels Blackout and All Clear were supposed to have been one gigantic book, but they were divided up and released separately. I recently read Blackout, and considering it ends with everything still in flux, I know I’ve got to get my hands on All Clear soon. Willis is a favorite of mine!

5. Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver
I have an uneven appreciation of Kingsolver’s works (loved The Poisonwood Bible, disliked Prodigal Summer, liked The Bean Trees, wouldn’t touch Animal, Vegetable, Miracle with a ten-foot pole) but her hits far outpace her misses in my eyes. I like the slight magical-realism aspect to this novel and will be gobbling it up come December 2012.

6. Crossed, by Ally Condie
I thought Matched was some perfectly serviceable YA dystopian lit, and I can’t lie–I’m curious as to where Cassia ends up! Onto the TBR list it goes.

7. The Accidental Billionaires, by Ben Mezrich
Yeah, yeah, I know–I tore Mezrich’s Sex on the Moon a new one when I reviewed it. But sometimes, I just want to read something trashy that I know I’m going to roll my eyes at, and this tale of Facebook’s founders seems as good a candidate as any.

8. The Marriage Plot, by Jeffery Eugenides
I’m late on this, but I need to be able to talk about this book with my friends, and my new neighborhood’s library has it in stock. This will be my third attempt at a Eugenides novel. (Three strikes and you’re out, mister.)

9. NW, by Zadie Smith
I thought Smith’s On Beauty was a literary masterpiece. I hardly ever reread books, but I think I will need to revisit On Beauty again and again to truly appreciate its nuanced take on race, class, and love. I want to read all of Smith’s works, and I was excited to see that NW–her first new book in years–will be out this September.

10. The Mirror and The Light, by Hilary Mantel
When is this coming out!? I know it can’t be this fall, but in my dreams, this book is already out.

Hmm. Lots of sequels on my list, in addition to authors I have already read and enjoyed (or hated)! What ten books are you dying to read this fall?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Bookish Confessions

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a topic and encourage fellow bloggers to list their own top ten answers. This week’s prompt was to list your top ten bookish confessions! Now I’ve been lax on keeping up with TTT, but now that my life has settled down somewhat, post-move, I’m going to start them up again. 🙂

1. I used to be absolutely neurotic about keeping my books in good condition. In middle and high school, I actually hated to lend out my books, because I knew that they would invariably come back with a gouge in the cover, or a broken binding, or worse. Shudder.

2. I have gotten MUCH better at letting my books get scuffed up! It no longer gives me a coronary to have a new book get a bent cover. I’ve also realized that if I lend out and recommend books, then I’ll have more people to talk about those books with–it’s worth a couple of dog-eared pages!

3. However…I still don’t like physically marking the pages of my books, and so I am a serial dog-ear-er. I never seem to have any bookmarks on hand, so dog-earing pages is the quickest and easiest way for me to remember where really excellent quotes or insights are.

4. I am also a book hoarder. I keep EVERY book that I’ve every bought. Even (and sometimes especially) ones that I hated. I have a ceiling-high bookshelf that’s entirely stuffed…and I need another one. :/ It’s an addiction. But I’m trying to get better about it!

5. The main reason I got an iPad was to read e-books. No regrets.

6. I love getting ARCs and galleys, because I love reading books I’m excited about, for free. But sometimes I worry that I’m reading too many ARCs in place of reading already-published books that have been on my TBR for ages.

7. I’m awed, inspired by, and intimidated by many of the established book bloggers out there. Their dedication, consistency, and writing blows me away! I sometimes struggle with my own posting schedule and developing insights about everything I read, so the book blogging community is super-impressive to me!

8. I’m on a personal mission to not buy any full-price books this year. (I started this promise in May.) I’ve been successful so far! But my downfall is the used bookstore. How can I turn down three books for three dollars?! It doesn’t help that I work pretty close to the Strand, and that I have an account on Better World Books.

9. My bookshelf is organized by genre, but I almost always just find books by memory.

10. Once, I couldn’t find my copy of Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, hunted for it in a frenzy for a day or so, gave up, and bought a new copy. (I think I may have even requested the new copy as a birthday present!) Naturally, the original one surfaced and I now have two.

Bonus #11! I lent my copy of Connie Willis’ Doomsday Book to my boyfriend. We both forgot about it. When we were moving earlier this summer, I discovered it under our bed, crumpled up and with torn pages. I am now forcing him to buy me a new copy, but I still really bad about my original one getting destroyed.

What are your deepest, darkest bookish secrets?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books for People who Like George R.R. Martin

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a topic and encourage fellow bloggers to list their own top ten answers. This week’s prompt was to list the top ten books for people who like a certain author. Our challenge was to pick an author and give book recommendations based on that author! As you can see, I have chosen George R.R. Martin, AKA the bearded troll god, writer of A Song of Ice and Fire (ASoIaF).

So! If you like George R.R. Martin, you might also like:

1. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
Though there are some sci-fi elements (time travel!), much of this book focuses on the harsh realities of medieval life, including dirt, disease, and lack of scientific knowledge. Willis also has Martin’s same penchant for killing off your favorite characters, sympathetic and otherwise.

2. Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
To really appreciate Martin, you also need to appreciate the fantasy tropes he’s dismantling. For better or worse, many of these tropes originated with Tolkien’s massive fantasy epic. (Which isn’t to say they aren’t a good story, too!) Both also have massive casts of characters and impressively interwoven relationships.

3. The Last Werewolf, by Glen Duncan
Martin’s tales are filled with sex and violence, and thoroughly break down the idea of the good and noble knight. Duncan’s novel (first in a trilogy) reworks the werewolf–lately somewhat neutered by its depictions in Twilight and its ilk–into a savage beast that revels in killing. Both are pretty dark at times, but also give reasons for hope.

4. Kushiel’s Dart, by Jacqueline Carey
Carey’s world-building, like Martin’s, is fantastic. This series takes place in Terre D’Ange, a fictionalized version of France in a very different version of Europe. Her imaginative religions rival Martin’s for sure. (And her sex scenes are much better written.)

5. The Wolf Hall trilogy, by Hilary Mantel
Shifting alliances, gray morality, court politicking–the only difference is the lack of magic in Mantel’s world. Otherwise, you’re basically reading about Littlefinger.

6. Wild Seed, by Octavia Butler
Perhaps a bit of a leap, but I think Butler challenges sci-fi and fantasy conventions just as well as Martin does. A challenging and thought-provoking read.

7. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
This just has a lot of the same bleakness and same glimmers of hope that I think ASoIaF offers.

8. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
One of Martin’s great strengths is showing the cruelty, violence, and consequences of war. Haldeman does the same thing, albeit in a sci-fi setting.

9. The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss
I haven’t actually read this one yet, despite it being on my TBR list for ages, but a quick glance at its back cover and reviews makes me think that it would be a perfect follow-up to your time in Westeros.

10. Beyond the Wall, edited by James Lowder
In my review, I suggested this book for readers who are already fans of Martin’s series who want to delve a little deeper into its themes, motivations, and characters.

ASoIaF fans, got any other suggestions? Feel free to leave your thoughts–and your own TTT lists–in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters Who Remind Me Of Myself Or Someone I Know In Real Life

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a topic and encourage fellow bloggers to list their own top ten answers. This week’s prompt was to list the top ten characters who remind me of myself or someone I know in real life. What a challenge! I tried to go with my gut on this.

1. Katniss and Prim, from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I know some people felt that Prim was not a fully-realized character, but I always liked her and felt that the relationship between her and Katniss was a realistic depiction of a protective older sibling-innocent younger sibling dynamic. While I can relate to that–being the mad protective older sister to a sweet younger brother–this comparison is definitely a bit of wish fulfillment. I wish I was as awesome as Katniss!

2. Sarah, from Little Children by Tom Perrotta 
In our introduction to the character of Sarah, I cringed because I saw so much of myself in many of her thoughts and actions…especially upon just graduating from grad school and feeling pretty lost.

Applying to graduate school seemed like the perfect solution for escaping the rut she was in–a way to recapture the excitement of college while also making a recognizable version of adulthood…Within a couple of weeks of starting the Ph.D program, though, she discovered that she’d booked passage on a sinking ship.

She was a failure, a twenty-six-year old woman..who had just discovered that she wasn’t nearly as smart as she’d thought she was.

Here’s to hoping that my life turns out a little better than poor Sarah’s does.

3. Sansa, from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin
My friend S and I have a theory that if you were raised as and continue to be a “good girl”–a girl who is obedient, who follows the rules, who doesn’t cause trouble–you will relate to Sansa, as we did. While some readers think  of her as weak or stupid, she is just a girl who doesn’t understand how the world really works. I may not be quite as naive as Sansa is, but I do follow the rules and probably feel far too entitled to certain things because of that.  (I’m actually really excited to see where her story arc ends. I hope it’s with her on the Iron Throne.)

4. Kristy, Mary Anne, Stacey, and Claudia from The Babysitters’ Club by Ann M. Martin
Slightly embarrassing, but…my three best friends from my hometown and I all grew up reading the Babysitters’ Club series (and watching the television show!) and realized that we fit some the four original characters pretty nicely. I was Mary Anne (nice, shy, unpierced ears, boyfriended up). My friend J was Kristy, being loud, boyish, and bossy. Friend C was Stacey, with blonde hair and love for New York City and singing. Finally, friend R was our Claudia, being very artistic and a very unconventional dresser! We may have even discussed creating our own babysitters’ club at one point…

5. Lena, Bridget, Carmen, and Tibby from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
Same group of friends, same deal!  Though this didn’t divide up as cleanly as Babysitters’ Club characters. I was a mix of Carmen and Lena, friend R is Lena/Bridget, and friends C and J are both Tibby. We actually sewed together a pair of pants (that were a hideous mix of four different fabrics) and sent them around one summer. I think I wore them in Mexico when it was my turn!

6. Felicity, from The American Girl Dolls series
This may be another case of wishful thinking, but I always identified the most with Felicity. (Note that this was in the old days when there were only five dolls: Kirsten, Felicity, Samantha, Addy, and Molly!) Like Felicity, I rode horses, got annoyed at my sibling, and considered myself a bit of a badass. I also coveted the life-sized version of her fancy blue dress.

7. Belgarath, from The Belgariad by David Eddings
Perhaps because he was the one who got me started reading fantasy novels and one of the first ones he gave me was The Belgariad, my dad and the character of Belgarath are very much linked in my  mind. Though he’s powerful and smart, Belgarath also has a fun and mischievous side. I don’t always get my dad’s humor, but he and this ancient wizard have a lot in common.

8. Richard Papen, from The Secret History by Donna Tartt 
What I see in Richard are the parts of myself that I don’t really like, reflected back at me. His desire to fit in, his ability to lie easily, his inability to ask for help, his insecurity, his longing to be “better”–I’m ashamed to admit that I experience all of these things. Pretty sure, however, that I’d never participate in and help cover up the murder of my friend. Like, 100% sure.

9. Taryn and Jimmy, from Fierce Moon by Kira Lerner
This one is sort of cheating: it’s one of those Books By You that you can personalize with your own name and information! This was a gift from evil, evil friend C (aka Stacey McGill), who knows both my love for werewolves and my awkwardness about reading romance. In this story, I was a lonely librarian (fairly accurate) sent to the past to help solve a mystery with my soon-to-be lover Jimmy, a Victorian werewolf detective (fairly inaccurate). It was equally hilarious and mortifying. Highly recommended.

10. Walter, from Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
Like Richard Papen, Walter’s character highlights some of the tensions I see in myself. I do environmental nonprofit work, and have often grappled with the question of selling out myself–it’s common when huge projects are funded by the likes of Shell, BP, Toyota, and other companies. I have a lot of the same fears as Walter, though (thankfully) my relationship to my significant other is much better than Walter’s with Patti. We also both love birds! But I like people, too, and don’t consider overpopulation the end-all, be-all issue that Walter does.

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