A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Title:  A Wrinkle In Time

Author:  Madeleine L’Engle

Paperback:  247 pages

Publisher:  Square Fish

Publish Date:  2007

ISBN:  9780312367541

Miscellaneous:  Originally published in 1962 (after 26 rejection letters, I might add), A Wrinkle in Time is the first book in The Wrinkle in Time Quintet book series.

Meg’s eyes ached from the strain of looking and seeing nothing.  Then, above the clouds which encircled the mountain, she seemed to see a shadow, a faint think of darkness so far off that she was scarcely sure she was really seeing it…  It was a shadow, nothing but a shadow.  It was not even as tangible as a cloud.  Was it cast by something?  Or was it a Thing in itself?

The sky darkened.  The gold left the light and they were surrounded by blue, blue deepening until where there had been nothing but the evening sky there was now a faint pulse of star, and then another and another and another.  There were more stars than Meg had ever seen before.

“The atmosphere is so thin here,” Mrs Whatsit said as though in answer to her unasked question, “that it does not obscure your vision as it would at home.  Now look.  Look straight ahead.”

Meg looked.  The dark shadow was still there.  It had not lessened or dispersed with the coming of night.  And where the shadow was the stars were not visible.

What could there be about a shadow that was so terrible that she knew that there had never been before or ever would be again, anything that would chill her with a fear that was beyond shuddering, beyond crying or screaming, beyond the possibility of comfort?

A Wrinkle in Timeby Madeleine L’Engle, pages 81-82

I have started reading and put down without finishing A Wrinkle in Timeby Madeleine L’Engle three or more times in my life.  It is one of those few books that I have felt like I’m suppose to read it, or that I should read it, but have never been able to finish.  I have long felt like I couldn’t let the book beat me, even going so far as to watch the movie in hopes of encouraging myself.  And now, I can finally say that, after first picking it up nearly 25 years ago in fifth grade, I have read A Wrinkle in Time.

I’ve always said that I didn’t know why I couldn’t get into this book, and this time around I figured out what it is that grates my nerves about it.  MEG.  Meg is whiny, and mopey, and self-deprecating.  She’s horrid, to be quite honest, and every time she spoke I rolled my eyes so hard they nearly fell out.  “Wah Wah Wah… nobody likes me.  I’m dumb.  I’m ugly.  Blah, blah, blah.”  BUT, she does change, thank GAWD!  In fact, as the book neared it’s end, her attitude and behaviour is explained.

“I’m sorry… I wanted you to do it all for me.  I wanted everything to be all easy and simple….  So I tried to pretend that it was all your fault… because I was scared, and I didn’t want to have to do anything myself” -page 220

Beginning with a groaner of a first line, “It was a dark and stormy night…”  A Wrinkle in Timespins a tale that crosses the universe and even dimensions.  Young Charles Wallace is different from other people, he understands the world around him in a unique way.  He is very protective of his sister Meg, whom he sees as needing him.  Meg is a sulky teen girl going through an ugly duckling phase, who prefers math and science to anything having to do with the world of words.  The two of them plus Calvin, a local sports hero and relates to the world around him in a similar way to Charles Wallace, travel across the universe by tessering, something akin to a wormhole.  They are on a mission to save Charles and Meg’s father from IT, the controlling entity on Camazotz, a planet which has submitted to the darkness.  To accomplish this task, they will all learn much about themselves, their talents and faults, and ultimately about love, the only force capable of conquering evil.

I really wish I had stuck with this story when I first started it.  I think I would have truly appreciated it had I pushed through the first fourth of the book.  As it is, I still enjoyed it, and want to read A Wind in the Door, the next book in the Quintet.  I was surprised by L’Engle’s Christian references.  If people are shocked and wish to challenge Narnian books on the basis of their religious overtones, then these same folk would have apoplectic fits when reading actual passages from the Bible in A Wrinkle in Time.

The fact that the book is so overtly Christian, though Buddha and Gandhi are also given credit as “lights” in the fight against the darkness, is even more stimulating when you take into consideration that the story takes Einstein’s theories about time and gravity as inspiration AND makes a further bold step (mind, this book was FIRST published in 1962, before civil rights and ERA) by making the hero and saviour a female.  The story itself is interesting, if not a bit simple, but the context surrounding it and the complex science it incorporates make A Wrinkle in Time an impressive book and a literary classic.

A Wrinkle in Timeby Madeleine L’Engle incorporates science and religion in a harmonious way and said that guys aren’t the only heroes, is math and science just for men.  For all that the story is and what the book represents, I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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The following video is a clear and concise mathematical explanation of a tesseract. It incorporates lines from the book, as well.

Oww… OW! My brain hurts!!!

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Lefty’s Corner ~New Widget Added

For those of you who might not know, I am left-handed.  I am unique in that I am one of the approximately 10% of the population who are in their RIGHT MIND! 

This past Christmas I got one of those “fact a day” desk calendars devoted to left-handed facts, quotes and trivia.  I finally tore off the pages to today’s date (and actually, for some screwy reason, tore down to March 16th instead of February 16th) and placed the small booklet of daily facts in my pocket to read at the dentist office today.  As I sat there, being wowed by who can be found in the sinister pack (The Free Dictionary, definition 3 for sinister: On the  left side; left.  From the Latin sinister, on the left) and by interesting facts about left-handedness, I thought it might be fun to add a widget to Mt. TBR with the daily facts from The Left-Hander’s Calendar.  So, in honor of one of my favorite stores (one I’ve missed terribly since it closed when Indy’s Union Station closed.  *sniff* Christmas has never been Christmas since… but that’s a tale for another post), I’ve named it Lefty’s Corner.

Since I’ve missed about six weeks’ worth of facts, I thought I blog the best of the Lefty facts thus far:

1)  799 A.D.:   Father of Europe and the Emperor responsible for our present calendar, Charlemagne established an extensive library, founded an academy for educating young Frankish knights, and made a strong effort to produce an educated clergy.  This royal lefty also established a system of justice in which nobles and clergymen traveled about the kingdom, hearing court cases and bringing the law to every town and village.  What’s more, according to MrDonn.org, Charlemagne established “a system of trial by panel. Under Charlemagne’s system, each accused person would be heard by a panel of honorable men, men who had taken an oath to listen and to judge fairly based on the evidence presented.” From this, our modern “trial by jury” system was born.

2)  Left-handers really are special, and brain scanning, along with the latest genetic technology, is finally enabling scientists to crack the mysteries of what makes us left-handed.  Research geneticist Clyde Francks of Oxford University found that left-handers tend to share a variant of a gene named LRRTM1.  This gene, however, appears to influence handedness only if it is inherited from the father.

While genetics play a role in handedness, there are no guarantees. Handedness does run in families, though not in an easily predictable way. Left-handers are about twice as likely as righties to produce left-handed children, but most of their offspring will still be right-handed. Personal fact: My father was ambidextrous, I’m left-handed, as is one of my nephews. Two of my three daughters are right-handed, while my middle daughter is ambidextrous.

Also, whites, blacks, and North American Indians are more likely to be left-handed. Just over 9% of Asians and Hispanics are lefties.

3)  I’m smarter than you are! Tests conducted by Alan Searleman from St. Lawrence University in New York found there were more left-handed people with IQs over 140 than right-handed people. Personal Fact: my IQ is 169 (not that I’m bragging 😉 )

4)  A Danish legend says that on the twelfth night after Christmas, if an unmarried woman walks to bed backward, throws a shoe over her left shoulder, and says a verse to the Three Holy Kings, the man she sees in her dreams will one day marry her. HOWEVER, it doesn’t say that it’ll be a happy, long-lasting marriage or if it will end in an acrimonious, War-of-the-Roses style divorce. AND what of lucid dreamers? If I don’t like who I see, I’d just change it. (BTW, does “a verse to the Three Holy Kings” mean to sing a few bars of the Christmas carol “We Three Kings”?)

5)  Four of our last six presidents have been southpaws: Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. The country has turned increasingly left-handed. Before Ford, only James Garfield, Herbert Hoover and Harry Truman were lefties. (Of course, most children were discouraged to write with their left hands, painfully so with rulers and other whacking tools, so it’s not a surprise there weren’t more.)

PLUS! Our new president, Barack Obama, is also a lefty 😀

6)  W.C. Fields was a lefty born in Philadelphia,, but when he was born is up for debate. Some say he was born on April 9, 1879, and jokingly say he was born again on January 29, 1880. His grandson believes the 1880 date is correct.

7)  The official Boy Scout handshake uses the left hand instead of the right. Although Lord Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts, was ambidextrous, he chose the lefty shake because the left hand is nearer to the heart.

8)  On the cartoon The Simpsons, each character has appeared as a lefty at least once. In fact, there are Web sites devoted to tracking just who is left-handed in each episode. It’s no surprise – Matt Groening, The Simpsons’ creator, is left-handed.

9)  There are more than 500 million left-handed people on the planet 😉

10)  Edwin “Buzz Aldrin (Gemini 12, Apollo 11) was the first lefty to walk on the moon. Other left-handed U.S. Astronauts include James Lovell (Gemini 7, Gemini 12, Apollo 8, Apollo 13) and Wally Schirra (Mercury 8, Gemini 6, Apollo 7).

Some famous southpaws:

Paul McCartney, who said: “In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Henry Rollins– singer, songwriter, spoken word artist, author, actor, and publisher. He was also the frontman of punk band Black Flag.

Actress Kim Novak

Olympic swimmer Mark Spitz

Baseball player Lenny Dykstra

Journalist Ted Koppel

Singer Natalie Cole

Baseball player Babe Ruth

Actor Rip Torn

Actor Brent Spiner -he played my all-time favorite Star Trek character, Lt. Commander Data, and his hillbilly character, Bob Wheeler, on Night Court was hilarious! Threshold is another one of my favorite shows in which Spiner was cast as the hippy, conspiracy-theorist Dr. Nigel Fenway.

Talk show host Oprah Winfrey

Tennis player Martina Navratilova

Author Lewis Carroll

Actor James Cromwell– The man is a legend and highly credited actor, and yet… when I think of him, Farmer Hoggett from BABE is what always comes to mind… “That’ll do, Pig! That’ll do!” Second to Babe, The Sum of All Fears pops into my head. In Sum he played President Fowler, but it wasn’t the last time he played a US Pres. Recently, he starred in W, cast in the role of former President George H. W. Bush, who was also a lefty 😉 .

Actor Scott Glenn

Vincent D’Onofrio, who appeared in Full Metal Jacket  (he was Marine recruit Private Pyle who, after the continual harangue from the D.I., played by real former Marine, Gunny Sgt R. Lee Ermy [I highly recommend checking out Gunny Sgt’s site 😀 ], ate the end of his rifle.), Mystic Pizza, Ed Wood, Men in Black, The Cell, The Break Up, and more. However, he is now best known as Detective Robert Goren on Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Actor Gabe Kaplan, best known for his role as the title character in the television show Welcome Back Kotter.

Actor Balthazar Getty

Actress Diane Lane

Actress Mare Winningham

Actor Telly Savalas, the man who made bald sexy and lollipop sucking acceptable for adults.

Comedian George Burns

Countess of Wessex, Sophie Rhys-Jones

Actor Michael Crawford

Actress Tippi Hedren, who is best known for being chased unmercifully by massive flocks of birds.

Singer Phil Everly, of The Everly Brothers. Songs best known by The Everly Brothers are “Bye, Bye Love“, “Wake Up Little Suzie“, “Crying In the Rain“, “Let It Be Me“, “All I Have to Do Is Dream” and “Cathy’s Clown” (I’ve always loved Dream), and so many more! One more treat: “Gone Gone Gone” -not that it’s all that great of a song, but WATCHING the video, particularly the girls dancing, made me laugh. I thought that kind of thing only happened on The Corny Collins Show!

Actor Jim Carrey– My favorite Jim Carrey movies are How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Mask, Liar Liar, Lemony Snicket, Dumb and Dumber and Bruce Almighty.

Benjamin Franklin– Inventor, statesman, author and one of the U.S. founding fathers, Benny also appears in Benjamin Franklin: The Punctual Plumber’s commercials (ads played here repetitvely sing out “Benny! I got your number 867-5309!”, a toll free number utilizing the ubiquitous Tommy Tu-Tone’s Jenny’s number) and, along with other money-starring U.S. historical figures, in the Turbo Tax commercials.

Comedian Steve Harvey

Actor Cary Grant -my favorite Cary Grant movies are Arsenic and Old Lace, The Philadelphia Story and His Girl Friday.

Comedian, actor, dancer Danny Kaye -Love! The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, White Christmas, and The Five Pennies.

Saint Joan of Arc

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.– Everyone, of course, knows King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, and along with the full speech, I found an interesting short versionthat has incorporated a Spiritual in the clip. In the past year, King’s Dream was revisited in the will.i.am “Yes We Can” song, which incorporated the line

…a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.

from Barack Obama’s speech (now President Obama, a major step toward the realization of Dr. King’s dream). Oh! King and Obama are both lefties… 😀

Inventor Thomas Edison

Kurt Cobain– Ah, yes… The anthem of my teenage years, “Smells Like Teen Spirit“. I bought the album, Nevermind, which also had “Come As You Are” and “Stay Away” (a song that was more my anthem than the first one). These songs make me feel like I’m an acne-battling, high school student sitting in the corner of the cafeteria by myself, trying not to look friendless. Oh, those were the days…

Billy Ray Cyrus -Okay, everyone over twenty-five KNOWS “Achy Breaky Heart“, and those under 20, or with children under 20, knows Billy Ray Cyrus as Robby Ray Stewart, Hannah Montana’s father and real-life father to Miley Cyrus who plays Hannah.

Lauryn Hill -I love the Fugees’ version of “Killing Me Softly” (Lauryn was a member of the Fugees).

Pink -“So What“, “U + UR Hand” and “Get This Party Started” are my favorite Pink songs, and are on my MP3 player. Besides both of us being left-handed, Pink has the same real first name as I 😀

PrinceRaspeberry Beret is one of my favorite Prince songs. “U Got the Look“, “1999” and “Batdance” are a few others.

Lou Rawls

Paul Simon– forever my favorite, “You Can Call Me Al” is one of the best songs and funnest music videos I’ve heard and seen.

Boxer Oscar De La Hoya

Actor Jason BatemanHancock is my favorite

Actors and brothers, Dennis, The Night the Lights Went Out In Georgia  was my introduction to those special, warm-tingly feelings, and Randy Quaid, whose character “Cousin Eddie” (Fried Pussy Cat makes me laugh just as hard for the millionth time as it did the first) from the National Lampoons Vacation movies has made Christmas Vacation one of my favorite Christmas movies.

Mary Kate Olsen

Doctor and missionary Albert Schweitzer

Director Joel Coen (of The Coen Brothers) -my favorite Coen Brothers’ movie is O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and a second clip for good measure… and The Sirens Song. LOL.. I love it when Everett and Delmar wake up after drinking with the Sirens, and Delmar screech/squeals when he looks over and sees Pete’s clothes, sans Pete, and a toad hops out of Pete’s shirt.

Them syreens did this to Pete. They loved him up and turned him into a horny toad.

 k… I’m going to my DVD drawer to grab this movie now.

Former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton (whose portrait can be seen on the US $10 bill)- said “A well-adjusted person is one who makes the same mistake twice without getting nervous.”

Singer Phil Collins, Against All Odds is one of my favorites

Singer Crystal Gayle

Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence

Actor and singer David Bowie– said, “We can be Heroes, Just for one day.” I loved Labyrinth! The Dance Magic scene is great, and I love-loveLOVE the ball scene. After watching Labyrinth, I had a little David Bowie crush for a while.

Actress Diane KeatonBecause I Said So and Baby Boom are my favorites

Author James Baldwin– African-American writer and essayist who penned Native Son, among others.

Last thing I want to leave you with is a quote from John Diana’s The Left-Hander’s Guide and Reference Manual.

The Average Lefty:
Thinks Like Einstein
Looks Like Redford
Paints Like de Vinci
Leads Like Schwarzkopf
Sings Like Newley
Fights Like Corbett
Clowns Like Chaplin

Plays:
Baseball Like Babe Ruth
Soccer Like Pele
Tennis Like Conners
Golf Like Charles
Runs Like the Devil and
Swims Like Spitz

BTW… All the people mentioned in that quote are lefties!