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Literacy and Longing in L.A.

2.96  ·  Rating Details ·  1,425 Ratings  ·  281 Reviews
Some women shop. Some eat. Dora cures the blues by bingeing on books—reading one after another, from Flaubert to bodice rippers, for hours and days on end. In this wickedly funny and sexy literary debut, we meet the beguiling, beautiful Dora, whose unique voice combines a wry wit and vulnerability as she navigates the road between reality and fiction.

Dora, named after Eudo
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 29th 2007 by Delta (first published January 1st 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jun 07, 2007 Dormouse rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no-one I like.
I bought this book because I recently discovered that I enjoy chicklit. It looked promising - a woman who likes reading, and hides in reading binges when she is low!

It was bad.

I kept reading it, trying to find when the heroine becomes likeable. She likes pizza, she enjoys buying books, her favourite shop is a book-shop. But no. She doesn't become likeable.

She is a snob. She's biased against people who are not as rich as she is, who enjoy books differently than she does, who are not her.
She tal
Oct 19, 2012 Kathrina rated it did not like it
When life gets rough some girls shop, some girls drink, some get chatty with their girlfriends, and some girls do all of the above, and also grab a stack of novels and soak in the tub until their toes turn to raisins. I’ve been known to turn to a narrative or two when real life gets overwhelming, so I thought this title might be a nice way to ease myself in slowly to the world of chick lit. But nope. Turns out habitually reading books does not make you smarter or more insightful or more interest ...more
Jun 17, 2007 Kelly rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: rich snobs who only want to play at being literate.
Shelves: mylibrary
what the fuck? this book started out pretty good and then just completely fizzled. then ending is absolutely ridiculous. the main character sells out. the love interest falls into an plot scenario that has been written way too many times. i was so disappointed by this book i had to go out and buy several others just to make up for my lapse in judgement in buying this one.

in fact, i am now writing an update to this review because i am still upset over this book. i can't believe what a let-down it
Apr 28, 2008 Ainsley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Books about book lovers always seem a bit tricky to me - 'book lovers' aren't necessarily 'readers' and vice versa, and what do those terms mean anyway? etc. And if your 'book lover' heroine doesn't enjoy the same sort of books or have the same attitude to them as the reader, then what? I found the title character's (frankly snobbish) attitude to books annoying, though I envied her articulateness :) It probably says a great deal about me that the part of the book I really liked showed the heroin ...more
Krystal Racca
Jun 21, 2009 Krystal Racca rated it did not like it
Ugg. Awful. I did like the quotations at the beginning of each chapter, and the all the literary references, but the writing finally won out. I find it unimaginable that the authors (yes, there are two authors) have read anywhere near the books they allude to their character having read in the book. It's almost like they just went to the quotations page and plugged in, "quotes about reading and books" to gain their literary references-it just feels fake. If the protagonist actually had read all ...more
Jun 25, 2007 Sandy rated it it was ok
If you actually like reading real literature, this is one of those books that you're slightly embarassed to admit that you've read. It's okay --- I'd classify it as even slightly trashy --- it goes quickly, I would only recommend it if you need a little relief after a really intense novel, or you enjoy reading stories about the superficial L.A. living of spoiled women. I'm only on page 100 and I'm already anxious for it to end --- it kind of feels like when one of your friends goes up to do kara ...more
May 06, 2008 Melissa rated it did not like it
This book took me forever to read...literally almost a year...mostly because it was so annoying, I kept putting it down and starting other books and only reading it when I was done with my new books and before I'd find something more interesting to read.

It was often incredibly ignorant too and very narrowly indicitive of the women who wrote it.

Long story short, the last 1/3 of the book was pretty good and I enjoyed FINISHING it finally.

I do not recommend it at all, EXCEPT for all of the very
Jun 03, 2008 Michelle rated it did not like it
Ok, I only read the first few chapters, but that's all I needed to read to determine this was a trite, snotty, manifesto of the stereotypical "L.A. mentality". Now, the authors may have been shooting for this in an ironic, tongue-in-cheek manner...but it fell flat for me. And for some it could've been amusing, but it really just grated on my nerves.

I'm a bit disappointed...merely because I'm a geeky bibliophile and can relate, completely, to escaping for days on end in a pile of books!

Sep 03, 2007 Lena rated it it was ok
Sigh. I had such high hopes for this book. I got it because I was intrigued by the idea of a character who used books an escape from real life. I expected some thoughtful explorations of that topic from someone who loved literature. What I got was a pedestrian, chick-lit novel with a lot of lot of literary name dropping. A real missed opportunity.
May 05, 2011 Paleomichi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: libri, romanzi, rosa
Ho comprato questo libro, come molte Anobiiane, attratta dalla copertina e dalla trama. La protagonista è una giovane donna divorziata, appassionata lettrice, quando qualcosa nella sua vita non va si chiude in casa e legge, legge, legge, legge. Praticamente il mio sogno (se solo non ci fosse il "problemino" del lavoro). Quando ho letto "Colleziono nuovi libri allo stesso modo in cui le mie amiche comprano borse firmate. A volte mi basta sapere di averli e non mi pongo il problema se riuscirò a l ...more
Aug 19, 2009 Jessica rated it it was ok
A beach read with greater aspirations. I'm always skeptical of people who just "looooooove books so much" and the heroine of this otherwise fairly standard chick-lit entry does just that. Separated from her second (wealthy and charming husband) and with a designer-wear addiction, whenever Dora goes into a funk she lies in her marble bath for hours and devours books. She falls for a rakish bookstore clerk, and rather abruptly finds herself enmeshed in the life of his family -- his earthy mother a ...more
Jul 02, 2007 Starr rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Another book that left me somewhat confuddled. On the one hand, it's hard to resist a book that wallows in reading, and I enjoyed Kaufman & Mack's navigation of the L.A. book scene, including a little ode to the now sadly-deceased Dutton's Brentwood Books. (How wrong is it that that's gone? VERY.) Some of the narrative twists were surprising and well done, as well—I really liked how Dora, the protagonist, becomes involved in the lives of her boyfriend's mother and niece, and how those relati ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Jul 26, 2009 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it it was ok
Shelves: reading
"I collect new books the way my girlfriends buy designer handbags."

Despite a main character who could be construed as a kindred spirit, this book disappointed me. The blurb on the back described the plot as that of a woman who deals with the problems of her life by going on a book reading binge. Okay. Excellent strategy. And the authors (Why are there two? Two authors concerns me.) tossed into the story every wonderful book title, every wonderful book quote, every wonderful author...but it wasn'
Questo libro racconta la storia di Dora e di come affronti ogni problema e difficolta' della vita aiutandosi con i libri. Stupende le citazioni ad ogni inizio capitolo e meraviglioso il modo in cui Dora si rifugia nei libri (per la serie: si prepara un bagno caldo, sceglie dalla libreria un buon romanzo e chiude tutto il mondo fuori). Peccato che la trama sia un po' misera. Consigliato a chi, come me, ama i libri in cui si parla di libri!
Nov 29, 2009 Rita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like a light read now and then. I didn't think Dora was a snob, she didn't like people who have nothing to say, rich or poor. Like me she'd rather read a book than go to a party. She always tried to be kind and do the right thing. Didn't like Jane Austen though so that's a mark against her :)
Apr 07, 2010 Corina rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinished
I REALLY wanted to like this book. It unfortunately felt pretentious, snobbish and like it was trying too hard. :(
Ashley Stringham
Jun 25, 2010 Ashley Stringham rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinishable
I just couldn't get into it. I didn't particularly like the protagonist and so I quit halfway through. Just not my thing.
Nov 13, 2011 Sara rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Book Lover is a painfully inconsistent depiction of a self-absorbed and largely unsympathetic heroine, Dora, whose best feature is her adoration of books. All book lovers will enjoy all the quotes and literary references the novel makes and admire Dora's dedication to books - except even that doesn't last.

There isn't really anything driving the plot; instead Dora's life meanders on past the reader's eyes, without any direction or tension. There's romance without tension, life challenges that are
Feb 07, 2014 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Colleziono nuovi libri allo stesso modo in cui le mie amiche comprano borse firmate. A volte mi basta sapere di averli e non mi pongo il problema se riuscirò a leggerli. Non che alla fine non li legga tutti, uno a uno. Lo faccio. Ma il solo gesto di comprarli mi rende felice: la vita diventa più promettente, più appagante." (p.22)

"L'assoluto piacere e l'intimità di un rapporto privilegiato con un narratore e con i suoi personaggi, sono straordinari, quasi sensuali. Alcuni passaggi continuano a
I'm having mixed feelings about this book. It started out pretty good and I was excited to see where it was going, but then it kind of fizzled. The main character is a lover of books (which I think we can all relate to), and I found myself agreeing with her on most things at the beginning. She opines on the fact that some people just don't get it and that those people usually don't hold the same respect for books that she does. That's cool, I get it. It was even cool to see her reiterate her poi ...more
Oct 15, 2011 Katie rated it liked it
For most of the book, I didn't like Dora at all. Maybe I saw too much of my own self-destructive behavior in her book binges, but I hated her.

I still had to read the entire book though. I had to find out what happens. The problem, I think, with Dora is that she has many problems in her life and like a real person she has issues with confronting and solving them. How often do people actually take charge and fix their own lives, their own problems? A perfect example happens in this very book - Dor
Jun 25, 2011 Rebecca rated it liked it
Shelves: chicklit
After I arrived in Sydney, I was so anxious, that I didn't pick up a book for over a week, which is the longest I have gone without reading since the holidays when the fam was here. And even then, when I look at all the books I read since I got my library card in Auckland and when I ended it, I read an average of nearly 3 books a week. Everyone at TVNZ was amazed, but when you look at my lifestyle, it makes sense. And since getting to Sydney, besides being worried about work and I no longer work ...more
Sep 28, 2010 Gretchen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
So, I pretty much knew this was going to be a chick lit book, but I thought maybe it would be a little smarter than your typical chick lit novel. It follows pretty much the same formula, except there are all kinds of literary references and quotes thrown in. Woman feels like life is going nowhere, meets man, has relationship with man, etc.

I didn't find Dora, the main character, to be completely likable. However, I didn't really see her as being snobby, just not someone I myself would enjoy spend
Dec 29, 2009 Marie rated it it was ok
The little description seemed promising. A book about a girl living in L.A. who goes on book binges when life gets tough. I thought it sounded interesting- a bit different. Guilty enough- thought it was composed of characteristics in myself.

Started reading it and disliked the first 100 pages. Moved pretty slow- only heard one voice up until that point- which confused me considering it was written by two authors. It didn't truly introduce any other characters for quite some time. Even though it
Jan 27, 2008 Nick rated it it was amazing
Ever since reading Peter Moore's terrific novel Los Angeles, one of my novelistic holy grails became the search for new witty novels that take place in the silver screen behemoth. For me, Los Angeles is to New York what Paris is to London, our mirror opposite, our ambivalent companion. That grail has been more than satisfied, for the moment, by the literary team Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack's *Literacy and Longing in L.A.* For denizens of Goodreads this novel may well be the most sheer litera ...more
I’m not sure what I expected from this book – I looked forward to reading about someone who adored books, as I thought I would be able to relate to her. This is actually more a chick-lit type read than I was expecting (which is not necessarily a bad thing).

The story is told from Dora’s point of view, and I did feel that she was a very believable character. She wasn’t always easy to like – she could be prickly, and looked down on people a lot. I got actually quite annoyed with her when she descri
I think this book was having an identity crisis. It looks like chick-lit but it is something else adjacent to that. Although I read it in a single sitting (ugh, please don't tell me I am like that protagonist), I was a little bit indifferent about the whole exercise. Dora's bookishness, although relatable (like her love of wine...hmmm) was as irritating as she suspected. I was very glad when she devoured Darlene's romance novels because her literary snobbery needed to be challenged. After all, n ...more
Sandy D.
Mar 11, 2010 Sandy D. rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, western-u-s
I liked this a huge amount. I grabbed it off the new release shelf, and at first it seemed like highbrow chick lit (not that there's anything wrong with that), but it doesn't follow the classic chick lit formula. And the writers are pretty skillful, too. And reading about bookstores and reading binges and all kinds of classic literature was tremendous fun, apart from the plot and the characters, which were both very good. I loved the literary quotes at the beginning of each chapter and the book ...more
Amy Gosslin
Aug 17, 2007 Amy Gosslin rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone looking for a light but fun read
Shelves: chicklit
Because of the stressful life I seem to have lately, I generally find myself picking books up like this one---a light read, but not a fluff read. Nothing maudlin or morose to think about for me!

What I loved about this book is that the main character is sarcastic and realistic. She's not a victim, she's got her head on straight, but she realizes she goes on book benders (reading one book after the next with no social contact whatsoever) in order to escape things going on in her life.

I can relat
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A Million More Pages: Literacy and Longing in LA: Apr 8 1 9 Apr 08, 2015 02:48PM  
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Jennifer Kaufman is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and a two-time winner of the national Penney-Missouri Journalism Award. She has co-authored three books with Karen Mack: most recently, Freud's Mistress, which received four stars from People and was on USA Today’s, Vanity Fair’s, and Marie Claire's best summer reading list for 2013; Literacy and Longing in L.A., which reached #1 ...more
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“I collect new books the way my friends collect designer handbags. Sometimes, I just like to know I have them and actually reading them is beside the point. Not that I don't eventually end up reading them. I do. But the mere act of buying them makes me happy.” 12 likes
“...don't be snowed by a handsome guy at a bookstore who quotes Cicero and Proust. They are often not the real thing. As with many fleeting pleasures--travel in their company, enjoy them every so often, and then get on with your life.” 3 likes
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