I first read this one back in high school. I'm usually not a fan of short stories, but this collection really stuck with me. This was the book that st...moreI first read this one back in high school. I'm usually not a fan of short stories, but this collection really stuck with me. This was the book that started my love affair with Vonnegut, for which I will always be grateful to my sophomore English teacher...Thanks Mr. Bondeson!(less)
I haven't read a lot of short stories before, but I'm glad I read this collection. Honestly, the only reason I picked it up was because of Lost, but I...moreI haven't read a lot of short stories before, but I'm glad I read this collection. Honestly, the only reason I picked it up was because of Lost, but I ended up really liking it.
All of the stories have a similar theme, dealing with social, racial, and religious issues. The characters in each of the stories (some of them very close-minded) go through different circumstances, in which reality comes and smacks them right in the face. Each of the stories have such shocking endings, you almost need a few minutes to absorb what just happened, but at the same time, you can't wait to start on the next story. Very good book.(less)
I always get David Sedaris and Dave Eggers confused for some reason. Until now, I've never read anything by either of them, but I can't remember who i...moreI always get David Sedaris and Dave Eggers confused for some reason. Until now, I've never read anything by either of them, but I can't remember who it is that everyone seems to hate. Sedaris? Eggers? Both? I had planned to read this a year ago, but forgot I had it. I thought I'd better read it now during the holidays so I wouldn't have to wait another year to get to it--I can never watch Christmas movies or read holiday stories when it's not Christmas; it's depressing.
Anyway, this was a perfect little book to read during all the holiday chaos while suffering from a near-mental breakdown. (Mental breakdown caused by the mom freakout that happens every once in awhile when you realize there are actual lives depending on you, and you don't even know how that happened, or have a fucking clue what you're doing, and are scared someone is going to find you out, and are a little puzzled that they haven't already, and you just go to bed to cry into your pillow. You know, that old chestnut.) It's a quick read, funny, and made me feel a little better knowing that I at least don't have to make a living handing out leaflets dressed in a taco costume. Working as a Christmas Elf would be kind of fun, though. Well, just for like a day. The first story was my favorite, and I was grateful for the laughs instead of the above-stated tears. There's a blurb for ya.
"A great alternative to sobbing yourself to sleep!" -J. Soutas, author of this really bad, whiny review
So really, thank you Dave Eggers David Sedaris, I like you.
A couple weeks ago, since my daughter had decided on a birthday party at Build-a-Bear Workshop, we had to take a trip to the dreaded mall. I don't lik...moreA couple weeks ago, since my daughter had decided on a birthday party at Build-a-Bear Workshop, we had to take a trip to the dreaded mall. I don't like the mall. There's always parents screaming at their kids, it smells wierd, there's now monitors throughout, advertising and blaring even more shit that you just have to buy. Groups of girls hanging out, but not even talking to eachother since they're all too busy texting and walking at the same time. (How do they do this?) I even spotted an angry-looking kid wearing a shirt that stated, "I ♥ TATTOOED BITCHES", with a girl who couldn't have been more than 14 hanging all over him. Ugh.
Point being, whenever I'm feeling sickened by humanity, the best cure for me seems to be an amazing book and a hefty dose o' goodreads. Winesburg, Ohio was that amazing book.
The characters in this book are not likeable; all of them clearly have serious issues going on. And that's what I loved. They were so identifiable, that days later, I'm still thinking about it.
"The thing to learn is to know what people are thinking about, not what they say."
Sherwood Anderson knew how people thought, and reading each story completely blew me away. I think I'm probably one of the last people on goodreads who hadn't read this yet, but if not, I highly reccommend it.(less)
Kurt Vonnegut has always been one of my favorite authors; he was one of the very first writers that was able to change the way I think. I had always l...moreKurt Vonnegut has always been one of my favorite authors; he was one of the very first writers that was able to change the way I think. I had always loved books, but after my first encounter with KV in high school, I amazingly realized what a novel could actually do. But it's more than than that. Vonnegut has always reminded me of my grandpa, though thinking about it, I'm not really sure why. The only things I know of that they had in common were their age, WWII, and Pall Mall cigarettes.
Maybe it's that reading KV's books have clued me in to a side of my grandpa I was never able to know. So many times, I would ask him about his experiences during WWII, only to hear, "Aww honey, you don't want to hear about all that." Then he would quickly tell a joke to change the subject. This man, who practically raised me, and gave me everything else I'd ever wanted, never gave me that. I didn't know if he really just didn't want to talk about it; I mean, who knows what he saw and what things he had to do over there. I remember my grandma telling me that he never even said much about it to her. She told me he thought it was inappropriate to talk about certain things in front of women. It's not that he thought women were inferior, to him it was a matter of respect. He was from a different era, that's just how he was. Awhile ago, my GR friend Cait sent me a great article about Vonnegut attending the Connecticut Forum shortly before he passed away. At the interview, Joyce Carol Oates went all feminist on him in front of everybody. After reading that, I still can't bring myself to read one of her books. Bitch. (JCO, not my friend Cait) Seriously Joyce, he's an old man. Lay. The. Fuck. Off.
I'm not sure when all of these stories were written, but some of the ideas in them do seem a bit dated. Most of them wouldn't seem spectacular to anyone who hasn't read any Vonnegut before, but considering the sub-title of the book, Unpublished Short Fiction, I'm okay with the fact it wasn't a phenomonal collection. Who knows if Vonnegut, who was always re-writing, even wanted these to ever be published? One high point, this book has some of KV's illustrations that I'd never seen before. (yay, pictures!!!) Here's my favorite, drawn only a few months before he died.
Reading this felt like it gave me an extra inside look into Vonnegut. Kind of like finding a picture or letter from a loved one who's passed away. No matter what it looks like, or what it says, it still feels like a treasure. Certain things can remind us of who people actually were, and this book shows that Kurt Vonnegut above all, was a writer. In my eyes, just like my grandpa, there is nothing he could do that I wouldn't absolutely love.(less)
I was pleasantly surprised by this; I've never read any Carver before, but I'm glad I tried this one. My rating averages 4 stars (4.11 to be exact), b...moreI was pleasantly surprised by this; I've never read any Carver before, but I'm glad I tried this one. My rating averages 4 stars (4.11 to be exact), but none of the stories went below a 3 for me, and there were quite a few fivers in there.
My favorites include:
The Bath Tell the Women We're Going After the Denim The Third Thing that Killed My Father Off A Serious Talk Popular Mechanics
A Serious Talk was so frightfully real, it had me glancing out the windows with a sick feeling in my stomach. I was really impressed with Carver's ability to create such intense scenes and dialogue, even in stories that were only a couple pages long. Definitely want to check out more of his work.(less)