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Altared Altared
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Altared Altared

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3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  278 ratings  ·  69 reviews
Original essays by Top Women Writers
Julianna Baggott _ Curtis Sittenfeld _ Catherine Ingrassia _ Elizabeth Crane
Lara Vapnyar _ Lisa Carver _ Carina Chocano _ Rory Evans _ JenniferArmstrong _ Elise Mac Adam _ Janelle Brown _ Daisy de Villeneuve _ Meghan Daum _ Amy Sohn _ Samina Ali _ Farah L. Miller _ Gina Zucker _ Kathleen Hughes _ Jacquelyn Mitchard _ Ruth Davis Konigsbe
...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published December 10th 2008 by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group (first published 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 484)
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Stephanie
Sep 07, 2007 Stephanie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone planning to get married
"The overt messsage in the bridal industry is that your wedding is the most important day of your life."

Altared, edited by Colleen Curran, is a collection of essays by strong female writers about their weddings. They are the type of women who for the most part didn't have the princess dream wedding as little girls and either found themselves surprisingly swept up in the fantasy or rebelling against it furiously.

I loved it. Of course, it validated my belief that the wedding is just one day and t
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Melanie
This is a great collection of short stories by female authors who talk frankly about weddings. Vows, the dress, etiquette, what it's like to go to weddings as a single girl, dealing with family, etc. There's a great one by Julie Powell (of Julie & Julia fame) which I loved, most likely because I have a girl crush on her. I also loved this passage from Elizabeth Crane's story:

"This marriage makes me feel that it's OK to be me. Not that I ever had a choice, but God knows I tried, for the sake
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Grace
A good book, however it'd be better for a gift purchase for a new bride rather than a check out at the library. It struck me as a read that would be better enjoyed prolonged over time....a story here, a story there: Perhaps bridal bathroom reading. Reading the entire book at once left me with a lack of respectful attitude for the stories toward the end, as I struggled against the "I'm tired of bridal stories" attitude.

So...a good gift, but not something to read all at once. And be prepared to sk
...more
Jennifer Armstrong
Aug 07, 2007 Jennifer Armstrong rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who thinks they might ever get married
I'm saying little, because I'm in this ... but please do check it out for the other gals' essays. Great, funny, insightful reads from really cool writers like Juliana Baggott. I was shocked by how much I cried reading these, and even more shocked by how hopeful it made me, even--especially--as a single girl
Melissa Cavanaugh
With the wedding 10 days out, I would guess this will be the last of the bridal genre to crop up on my list. It's a good one, though. Some wonderful writers contributed (Meghan Daum, Curtis Sittenfeld) and I liked that they discussed weddings from a variety of perspectives - brides, almost brides, moms, guests. Probably for someone with a vested interest in weddings rather than the general public, but a good read nonetheless.
Kate Irwin-smiler
This is the book I meant to get instead of Nash's Altared States (above). This is a book of essays by various women, describing, in essense, what being engaged made them do - examining aspect of all the insanity that came with planning their wedding. It ranged from weird behaviors they noticed in themselves, to family relationships, and tribulations that cropped up in their planning. Most of these women were conscious of creating a ceremony or reception that was tailored to them; no one seemed t ...more
Finkelmax
May 23, 2007 Finkelmax rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women (especially married women)
I laughed, I cried, and I thoroughly enjoyed these essays. The subtitle doesn't do this book justice--it is such a wide range of women and their comments about their own weddings as well as weddings that they have attended.

Really fun and enjoyable.
Bethany
I happen to love collections of short stories from authors I already love, so this book was an easy one to pick up. But this collection of several women's views on weddings and marriage was surprisingly heartfelt, perceptive and helpful. I'm about to enter into the engagement/wedding phase of my life (thank the good Lord!), and I've begun to dip my toe into the waters of wedding planning, so this was the perfect book to help me remember what's important about a wedding and all the festivities th ...more
Sarah
Great, fun read ... not your typical bridal book. I enjoyed and related to the very real stories- no fluffy, 'this-is-the-best-day-of-your-life' propaganda here.
Jill
An interesting set of perspectives on wedding hoopla. Validated a lot of the variety of emotions I've experienced while planning my own wedding.
corky
Altared is group therapy for would-be brides.
Angie
While the book isn't exactly revelatory, it was worth a read. In particular, these two quotes really resonated with me:

"I felt too old for the optimism that the part seemed to require, too self-conscious for the self-involvement, too broke for the expense, too jaded, in general, to put myself at the center of a tradition so thoroughly hijacked by commercial interests it made the contemporary consumerist Christmas look like a ritual of self-abnegation." - Carina Chocano

"Weddings are not marriages
...more
Jess
I have a morbid fascination with how weddings have blown up in the last decade or so. Were reception dresses even a thing in the 90’s? This book did and didn’t meet my desire to dissect contemporary wedding culture. The personal narratives didn’t have the cultural critique I was hoping for but it did make the different scenarios more relatable.

I liked the variety of voices. Most of the voices were from married women but we heard from divorced women, single women, women who married while pregnant
...more
Florinda
This book of essays was what I chose to read in between Water for Elephants and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - I figured it was something I could drop at a moment's notice if I had to, since it's not a narrative. It was a good choice in that respect.

It's also an enjoyable read for any woman who has planned a wedding, or thinks that she probably will at some point. It's not practical advice, but it is thoughtful, reflective, amusing, and honest writing by women who've been through it. Som
...more
Kristen Northrup
A nice balance of scenarios by some very entertaining writers. A pretty safe book as a gift for the newly-engaged, in that it's all happy endings. Even the person who calls off the wedding seemed to do it for the right reasons and now be at peace with it. One writer wasn't particularly likable and things were going badly, but that appeared to be how she prefers things. Janelle Brown's piece on the wedding registry made me laugh out loud (and cringe with recognition) several times. I would have p ...more
Kara
"Here is what I know, and it may be all I know on the subject of being a bride: The ring, the dress, the proposal, the place cards and flowers, the music, the minister or rabbi or justice of the peace-it will all add up to exactly nothing. There will be a moment when it's all over. A moment when, in a hungover, happy, bleary state you roll over and look at the guynext to you and think, my husband for the very first time. My husband. The words will roll over and over in your mouth, in your mind-u ...more
Kate
To love weddings or to hate weddings? That is the question that this collection of stories brought to mind. A traditionalist myself, I expected to find some jaded and negative views, but not to feel that the traditional wedding was dissed throughout. Isn't it a common theme that the present day wedding can be a unique celebration of love, with the rituals of the past selected by the bride and groom? Though the writing was, for the most part, great I got the feeling that each seemed to say "my we ...more
Julianne
For BTB's (Bride to Be's) this book is a fast read of short stories on weddings. While some of the stories are very touching and some make you laugh, in general, most of them to me were forgettable. Plus one thing most BTB's are short on is time and in my opinion reading this book was not the best use of mine. Now having said that there was one "jewel" in the book and that was the last story "Happily Ever After", so this is my advice: If you find yourself in a book store take the book off the sh ...more
Shawna
I'm not the kind of girl who dreams of her big day but I picked up this book because I was curious about the experiences of others. (Also the book was free, I should admit, I wouldn't have bought it.) I found that it was an interesting mixture of traditional and non-traditional stories. The Indian bride who had had an arranged marriage that failed, then a traditional marriage that failed as well was perhaps one of the most thought-provoking essays in the book. Gay marriage is represented also.

Ju
...more
Stephanie Roy
This one took me a while to read as I needed to take a break from the wedding-ness of it. (Which sounds silly since I did know it was a book of Wedding related essays). But despite putting it down momentarily I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am no where near, (if ever), getting hitched, but it certainly made me think about what I would want/what is really important when planning and considering your big day. Which is really all it is; one day. It's the rest of your lives together, that's what really m ...more
Pattie
Jan 12, 2008 Pattie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: engaged friends
Shelves: essays
The Best. Engagement. Present. Ever.

Whether you're getting married, recently got married, or even (like me) 100% committed to "shacking up" without the whole wedding folderol, it's a great book about all the decisions women make when they become part of a couple. From the traditional Big Expensive White Wedding to the funky older couple getting married in the back yard, this book includes stories from women at all points in their lives and with a wide range of expectations are included. A great
...more
Beth
Mar 26, 2008 Beth rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: brides, wives and those who love them.
I stumbled upon this book in a bookstore, and I'm glad that I did. I thought maybe I was only enjoying this book because I was deep in the throes of planning a wedding, but my future mother in law picked it up-and then proceeded to laugh out loud, just as I had. It's a rare anthology that doesn't have a clunker in the bunch, but "Altered" succeeds on every level. It's got a diverse group of viewpoints, from gay women to divorcees ruminating on multiple previous marriages. Nothing redundant, no e ...more
Steph
The collection of essays were interesting. I was given the book to help deal with my up coming nuptials and the perceived loss of my individuality. The essays were good, though I couldn't really relate to any of them. None of the writers were "normal, typical" brides. It seemed that most were off-beat brides or those with an interesting, unique story. I was just your average, traditional bride and had trouble relating. Though I enjoyed the stories.
Nina
This collection of essays was thoroughly enjoyable. It has something that most of the other books about weddings sitting in a box in my house lack: good writing. The voices, all women (an interesting choice), are distinct, and often funny and sad in the same sentence. It's nice to read a book that recognizes that a perfect (or close) wedding is not necessarily the precursor to a perfect marriage.
Laurie
Jul 04, 2008 Laurie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: brides, wedding fanatics
Recommended to Laurie by: Entertainment Weekly
I liked the essays in this book. Obviously, the ones written by former brides are the ones I enjoyed the most simply because they gave me hope that not all weddings have to go in a traditional cookie cutter format and also because a wedding day does not have to be the best day of your life b/c if it is, then what does that say about all the other days that come after????
Rachel
A collection of wedding essays by those recently betrothed, those who are now divorced, those on marriage #X, and those who are still waiting for “prince charming.” I appreciated the honesty and range of tales, but as I got near the end of the collection, I found I was getting sick of reading “yet another” wedding tale. Time for some non-bridal reading, I suppose.
Quynh E
This is a really lovely collection of prose written by great authors that I read in the midst of wedding planning. It provided lots of comic relief and sense of understanding and belonging to me and helped me to maintain my sanity amidst all of the ridiculous wedding drama. Intelligently written and edited!
Sarah
I'm really enjoying this book! It has many different perspectives and experiences to do with weddings, and confirms to me that many women feel odd in their new role. There are funny stories and touching ones, and what-I-would-do-differently ones. A satisfying read, if you are particularly interested in weddings.
Eileen
This has been a pleasure to read during the wedding planning process. Each chapter is an essay by a different writer, and there is a perspective for every bride somewhere in the mix. It's an escape from stereotyping. Crazy brides are an easy target, but these reflections are more complex than that. Thank goodness.
Megan Tyson
Aug 07, 2008 Megan Tyson rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ladies who are just starting wedding planning.
Loved this book. Definitely a great way to learn that it's completely normal to NOT be crazy about all things wedding. Great thoughts and perspectives from some great female writers. Passed this on to one of my close friends getting married and we're hoping to just keep passing it on to our other friends.
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5831956
I'm the author of the novel "Whores on the Hill."
I like to write about girls, women, relationships, identity and coming of age stories.
I'm an avid reader and I like to read anything with a unique voice and a great story.
More about Colleen Curran...
Whores on the Hill

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