"Here's how she stacks up. Pete's throwed in with McGraw. That lines coppers and beer mob up against me and Whisper. But hell! Me and Whisper are busi...more"Here's how she stacks up. Pete's throwed in with McGraw. That lines coppers and beer mob up against me and Whisper. But hell! Me and Whisper are busier trying to put the chive in each other than bucking the combine. That's a sour racket. While we're tangling, them bums will eat us up."
This is a masterpiece of crime fiction. If any book ever got the language right, this one did. This work is plot heavy (to put it lightly) and by the time you thought you'd figured out which thug (or copper) went with which crime, that thug was lying in a pool of blood somewhere. I couldn't figure out who killed who in this bloodbath, or why half the time, but The Continental Op (our nameless hero) somehow always seemed to know. And it seems he really didn't care why either...he became so involved in this hallucinogenic nightmare, that he started to stay involved just for kicks (going blood simple he calls it). In this classic, he pits bad guys against bad guys in order to clean up Personville (Poisonville), a politically corrupt mining town.
This novel is screaming for a great film adaptation. The scene, with the rigged boxing match, I felt like I was already watching it when I was reading it. (less)
David Sedaris is messed up! I can't even begin to tell you, you'll just have to read these Christmas stories on crack and find out for yourself.
Holida...moreDavid Sedaris is messed up! I can't even begin to tell you, you'll just have to read these Christmas stories on crack and find out for yourself.
Holidays on Ice is a collection of six short stories all wrapped up in a black Christmas bow. They are dark, sarcastic, evil, irreverent, funny, real, revealing, and sweet.
SantaLand Diaries recounts Sedaris's experience working as a Christmas elf in Santaland at Macy's in Manhattan. He encounters overzealous, self-centered, and racist parents. He flirts with a fellow elf to learn later that he's a bit of an elf-tease ("Snowball just leads elves on, elves and Santas. He is playing a dangerous game.") He observes human nature in all of it's narcissistic, misguided glory.
Season's Greetings to Our Friends and Family is a suburban mom's Christmas form letter. She updates her loved ones on her trials of the past year spiraling into a dark (O.K., pitch black) and unexpected ending.
Dinah, the Christmas whore is by far my favorite story. "From this moment on, the phrase ho ho ho would take on a whole new meaning..." It reminds us that there are more layers to people than meets the eye...including moms, sisters, and prostitutes. In a style specific to Sedaris, it celebrates family connection.
Front Row Center is one man's review of local children's Christmas productions. Mean, biting, and funny. Sedaris says what he wants to, and we don't really care if he's kidding or not.
Based Upon a True Story/Christmas Means Giving go to the extreme to satirize man's greed, arrogance, and need to compete. His in-your-face story telling makes you want to be a better person...lest you're the subject of his next parody.
This doesn't deserve five stars, or even four. It's great fun, but short. Sedaris is definetely twisted and talented, but I can't give this the same amount of stars that I would dish out to a true classic novel. (less)
I saw this movie years ago...so long ago that I couldn't even remember anything about it. Then I caught it again late-night last summer. This genre oo...moreI saw this movie years ago...so long ago that I couldn't even remember anything about it. Then I caught it again late-night last summer. This genre oozes with style, masculinity, intrigue, and steam. The protagonist is Phillip Marlowe and in my imagination, he'll always be Humphrey Bogart--smart-talking, cocky, world wise and world weary. In this particular case, his first appearance in a novel, an elderly, sickly millionaire hires him to find out who's blackmailing him over some of his daugher's shady activities. There are two girls, Vivian and Carmen. Carmen is the younger, and the nuttier, but they're both trouble. As the case unfolds, Marlowe is caught up in gambling, pornography, murder, kidnapping, black-mail, and with several greedy and sociopathic characters. The LANGUAGE is sleek, and the sentences could be plucked out and they would stand alone. ("The plants filled the place, a forest of them, with nasty meaty leaves and stalks like the newly washed fingers of dead men.") Marlowe sees things liked we wouldn't--his perspective is sharp, and knowing. This book is so fun, and the first of its kind with many, many to follow and borrow from this masterpiece.(less)
"Except for the shape, she wasn't any raving beauty, but she had a sulky look to her, and her lips stuck out in a way that made me want to mash them i...more"Except for the shape, she wasn't any raving beauty, but she had a sulky look to her, and her lips stuck out in a way that made me want to mash them in for her."
Short, but powerful. A page turner. As Katz in the novel says, "It's not how long it lasts. It's what you do while you're in there."
This is classic crime fiction. There's a twist that felt Shakespearean to me, as if Romeo & Juliet were replaced by a gypsy drifter and a runaway waitress. Great story, great writing. Violent, ironic, philosophical.
I love the fact that the ambiguous title is not explained. It's left open to the reader's imagination. Who is this metaphorical postman, persistent in his delivery of justice? Fate...the "law"...God...the devil?(less)
"The true beloveds of this world are in their lover's eyes, lilacs opening, ship lights, school bells, a landscape, remembered conversations, friends,...more"The true beloveds of this world are in their lover's eyes, lilacs opening, ship lights, school bells, a landscape, remembered conversations, friends, a child's Sunday, lost voices, one's favorite suit, autumn and all seasons, memory, yes, it being the earth and water of existence, memory."
I didn't expect to love this book. I guess going into it, I thought it would be a funny, quirky look at growing up in the South in the 1930's...with little family-friendly stories reminiscent of "A Christmas Memory." On the contrary, this bleak story is compiled of eccentric characters (nice word for looney), dark situations, sadness, morbidity, desperation, and hopelessness...and beautifully so.
For it's time, this story is shocking and unsentimental. The language is beautiful and sadly poetic. The narrator is just a child when his mother dies and he is sent from his foster home in New Orleans to live with his father, step-mother, and cousin in a dilapidated mansion in Skully's Landing. (Think: Mrs. Havisham down South).
The nearest town, Noon City, provides more strange and morbid characters including a set of twins Idabel and Florabel, a hermit named Little Sunshine that provides the area voodoo, an elderly man named Jesus Fever, and his daugher Missouri (Zoo), and, later, a pretty little circus midget. If it sounds like a motley crew, it is. They, along with Mr. Capote's prose, make this tale the epitome of Southern Goth.
This is not a true memoir, but Capote, who spent formative years of his childhood in rural Alabama as well, later came to admit that some parts are autobiographical. This was published when Capote was 23.
**spoiler alert** "No fooling the fat woman almost had me. She was yakking up a storm....The mockery of it! But it's all that's ahead for us, my frien...more**spoiler alert** "No fooling the fat woman almost had me. She was yakking up a storm....The mockery of it! But it's all that's ahead for us, my friend: this comedienne waiting to give you the old razz. Now do you see why I went crazy and broke everything?"
I read this novella probably fifteen years after watching the movie. The film version is important because it allowed Audrey Hepburn to become Holly Golightly--a lost, free-wheeling young Manhattan socialite with a mysterious past. She got to be charming, quirky, gorgeous, and most importantly, well-dressed. The true Holly, the character the way she was meant to be, is quite a different person.
The real Holly of Capote's imagination (or experience) is a little more brazen, more like a call-girl who uses foul language, is politically incorrect, and becomes pregnant with a love-child (conceived less out of love and more out of Holly's desire to be taken care of by someone wealthy). She drinks more, speaks of shoplifting, and "Fred" (the narrator) isn't the paid boy toy of a wealthy lady. Rather, he is implied to be a homosexual who is fascinated with Holly, maybe a little in love with her, but doesn't seem to have a physical attraction toward her. And, not to spoil it all, the ending is different, and really, better. It's more pure and more true to Miss Golightly.
I love this book because it glamorizes Manhattan and lost people in general. It makes you feel O.K. to be scared of the future, of being alone, and of being "without." I love the way Holley's ultimate fate is a mystery. Did she find herself? Did she buy furniture? Did she get a new cat and name it? It's up to us to decide.(less)
"There is no intelligence where there is no change and no need of change."
Ugh! This is not my favorite type of book. However, I appreciated the oppor...more"There is no intelligence where there is no change and no need of change."
Ugh! This is not my favorite type of book. However, I appreciated the opportunity to delve outside of my comfort zone and embrace a little "sci-fi." And H.G. Wells, the father of all sci-fi, was a fitting place to start.
The narrator of The Time Machine is "The Time Traveller." The book starts in his home, as he is recounting his adventures to a group of listeners. On the first visit, he shows them his fancy new time machine. On the second visit, as best I could tell, he has since travelled forward almost a million years in time, and he is relaying his adventures to his guests.
This work is a thinly-veiled social and political commentary. TTT gives us the details of the distant future. There are essentially two races of people left. The first group is the Eloi: dainty, pink-skinned, fruit-eaters, difficult to differentiate b/t male & female. They are the result of man's conquering all the sciences--medicine, agriculture, etc. Man has devolved into the Eloi because he no longer needs to think, be physical, or creative.
The other race is the Morlocks: white, apeish, with pink, giant eyes. They live underground and do all of the work in this society. They then prey on the Eloi for food.
I felt that the message of this book is that if we're not forced to think, defend ourselves, exercise creativity, we will waste away and devolve as a race. We will become like cattle grazing in the field--brainless, child-like, existing without meaning, only as a food source for other creatures. It's a cautionary tale for the upper classes, who become rich and have all their needs met automatically, without having to process any conflict. Apparently Wells felt we should all be subjected to the same amount of work and should reap the benefits equally (socialism). This also could be a rage against industry (almost said Rage Against the Machine), most recently computers and other technology that "dumbs us down" by by-passing thinking & the sharpening of our intelligence.
Also of note is that in the future, the Eloi live in fear of the Morlocks. Maybe this was meant to warn us of a time when the working class might become dangerous to the upper, soft-brained cushy class...as in a uprising or revolt. Where does the power and the danger lie...with the ones who have the money, or with the ones who are sharpening their intellect and keeping up their physical strength?(less)
"There is a Santa Claus, because what he does is the Lord's will and whatever is the Lord's will is the truth!"
This is a sweet, short, story about Cap...more"There is a Santa Claus, because what he does is the Lord's will and whatever is the Lord's will is the truth!"
This is a sweet, short, story about Capote's Christmas when he was six. He was snatched from the safety of his rural Alabama residence with his aunts & cousins to spend Christmas with his estranged father in New Orleans. Nothing is as expected. (less)
This is a sweet story written about a memorable Thanksgiving that Capote spent in the company of his relatives in rural Alabama. Capote was raised by...moreThis is a sweet story written about a memorable Thanksgiving that Capote spent in the company of his relatives in rural Alabama. Capote was raised by his aunts and cousins and was estranged from his biological mother & father. This particular Thanksgiving, his cousin and best friend, child-like yet sixty-something "Sook" forces his to invite a bully to his much anticipated Thanksgiving lunch.(less)
"It may not be nice to be good, little 6655321. It may be horrible to be good. And when I say that to you I realize how self-contradictory that sounds...more"It may not be nice to be good, little 6655321. It may be horrible to be good. And when I say that to you I realize how self-contradictory that sounds. I know I shall have many sleepless nights about this. What does God want? Does God want goodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some way better than a man who has the good imposed upon him? Deep and hard questions, little 6655321."
Can evil be cured? Can bad be forced into good? If you strip someone of the ability to decide between right and wrong, are they still a man? Or are they a machine (a clock, perhaps)? Does a choice count for right if it's insincere in it's origin?
I have avoided this book for years because I was afraid of the violent reputation that preceded it. I was surprised to find that while ACO illuminates everything horrific and carnal in our society, it also stylishly and a bit comically manages to remind us of the beauty of personal freedom and the gift of free will. ("The tradition of liberty means all.") The language is lyrical and the protagonist and narrator Alex is sophisticated, intelligent, and cultured, yet bold, viscious and uber-violent . He is also a victim... a victim of "the modern age", of a social order that is void of trust, betrayed by his fellow droogs for revenge and by his Governement for political gain.
There are two versions of this book, one containing the final chapter and one not. How does the final chapter change the message of the book? To me, it says that human nature follows a natural course and that over time, the fire and the violence of youth will wane without the need of any unnatural force to quench it. Do I buy that? Not really. Not for Alex. Five stars for the book without the final chapter.(less)
"On this road there are no godspoke men. They are gone and I am left and they have taken with them the world. Query: how does the never to be differ f...more"On this road there are no godspoke men. They are gone and I am left and they have taken with them the world. Query: how does the never to be differ from the never that was?"
I might technically give this 3.5 stars.
On the one hand, it's a beautifully written allegory, where the prose is limited (can be read in a few hours), stripped down and raw. It's the type of book where seemingly simple things are really complex and metaphorical. Even the title "The Road"...it means so much. Yes, there is a road, that's mentioned just about every other page...but, more importantly, there's a "journey". (If I sound sarcastic, I may be, just a teensy bit).
On the other hand, this sparse story could have been written in a matter of days. At the core, it's a very simple (yet, as stated above, a very beautifully executed) narrative. The Pulitzer Prize? I can't say that it really meant THAT much to me. It didn't change my life. I did not cry.
In the midst of a dark, dreary (post-apocolyptic, for goodness sake) world, there is a sweet story. Lots of scenes where the father is just staring at this sleeping child (I do that, so I can relate). I think we're meant to feel hopeful at the end. I think we're meant to appreciate what we have, the beauty of the innocence and "goodness" of our children. I don't know...I just keep feeling like I missed something.(less)
This is the epic story of the Wicked Witch of the West and how she came to be Wicked. Her name is Elfaba and she was...moreWicked is so timely and complex.
This is the epic story of the Wicked Witch of the West and how she came to be Wicked. Her name is Elfaba and she was born with green skin. Her sister's name is Nessarose, and she was born without arms.
Elfaba is a bit of a terrorist and is driven by the political conviction that man and Animals were created to be equal. Nessarose (later, The Wicked Witch of the East) was driven by her faith and her handicap, and I think the two sisters were presented as metaphors for the various principles that drive people and shape their lives.
In my opinion, the author wanted the reader not to focus on WHAT is good or what is bad, but what makes something good to one person and bad to another? Which, as we all know, is a much debated gray area that goes back to the dawn of time and has been the basis for many past and present political conflicts. What shapes the behavior that could come to be called wicked?...traumatic childhood experiences, ineffectual parenting style, misguided personal convictions, physical or intellectual characteristics that are to the left of normal, over zealous religious beliefs...destiny? (less)
This was a four star novel (novella) until the last chapter. In Jekyll's explanatory letter...all of Stevenson's themes jump up off the page. This is...moreThis was a four star novel (novella) until the last chapter. In Jekyll's explanatory letter...all of Stevenson's themes jump up off the page. This is why I love to read!(less)