Read in January 2008. Added 4/6/2008 when I joined Goodreads.
Edited 4/11/11: I had a lot to say about this book when I read it. It was our local library...moreRead in January 2008. Added 4/6/2008 when I joined Goodreads.
Edited 4/11/11: I had a lot to say about this book when I read it. It was our local library's book group selection in Jan. 2008. I'm sure I have handwritten notes somewhere. Too bad I wasn't a member of Goodreads at the time. I would have recorded my thoughts here. As it is, I've forgotten the specifics, except that I found the book very interesting.
"In relating this journey from loving to loathing of all things American, Changez speaks to a nameless and speechless American whom he encounters in the marketplace of his home city, Lahore, Pakistan." FROM: a Publishers Weekly review at Amazon.com
I finished listening to the audio version of _The Time Traveler's Wife_ by Audrey Niffenegger_. It's a strange story about a man (Henry) who moves inv...moreI finished listening to the audio version of _The Time Traveler's Wife_ by Audrey Niffenegger_. It's a strange story about a man (Henry) who moves involuntarily from one time period to another, suddenly disappearing from one location and time period into another location and time period, sometimes many years apart. (The story tells us that Henry suffered from "Chrono-Displacement Disorder").
The writing is intelligent and thoughtful. I was compelled to keep listening. However, there were parts which lagged for me; I wish they had been edited out (e.g., art work and strange dreams). (I hate dream sequences.) I also wondered where the story was going at times. There were some sad parts that were a bit difficult to get through. All in all, it was a fascinating story.
I'm wondering how they were able to make a movie out of it. That's one movie I want to see.
PS: I gave the movie 3 Netflix stars out of 5. It was OK, but not terrific. For some reason, it didn't draw me in. The audio-book version had a more "other-world" quality than the movie, as Henry appeared and disappeared. Perhaps, in this case, one's imagination is better than seeing the real thing on film.(less)
_The Hours_ (1998)(won Pulitzer Prize for fiction) by Michael Cunningham Added 4/6/08.
4/30/11 (added comments) This book uses stream of consciousness an...more_The Hours_ (1998)(won Pulitzer Prize for fiction) by Michael Cunningham Added 4/6/08.
4/30/11 (added comments) This book uses stream of consciousness and is related to the work of Virginia Woolf. In fact, Virginia Woolf's original title for _Mrs. Dalloway_ was "The Hours".
Michael Cunningham's writing style is introspective. Through his characters, he makes some very insightful observations about life. The book brings them home for me, better than the movie did, although I thought the movie did an excellent job of telling the story.
In my view, the book might have been entitled "The Moments" as well as "The Hours". Cunningham speaks of those special moments we remember all thru our lives, the special moments that are frozen in our memories. We remember them better than all the other experiences we've had. He speaks of "that singular memory" and his character thinks: "That was the moment, right then. There has been no other."
Another theme throughout the book is failure. I copied the following from a quote by Charlie W. at Seniornet online: "It's these thoughts of failure that are a major theme for all the characters. The failure is related to their failure to fulfill the roles to which they were born, whether it is as a writer, or as a mother."
Other themes in the book are: aging, escape, hope, death, love and ego. The book covers them all.
Granted, following the three stories at once is a challenge, but well worth it, because one story illuminates the other so well. The following interpretation explains the three stories as follows: -one character writes the story, -one character reads the story, -and the other lives the story.
I read _The Hours_ twice. First, I read it straight through. Then I color-coded the different sections with colored tabs and read each section with the same color tab straight through instead of alternating. That helped me get things straight. I donated the book to our library's fund-raiser with the color-coded tabs still on it. I often wonder if the person who bought the book figured out what the tabs were for or if he/she removed them without knowing. :)
I saved the following quotes from the book and from various other sources: ================================== "There's just this for consolation: an hour here or there when our lives seem, against all odds and expectations, to burst open and give us everything we've ever imagined [...] we cherish the city, the morning; we hope, more than anything, for more." -from the paperback, p. 225 SEE FULL QUOTE BELOW: "There is just this for consolation: an hour here or there, when our lives seem, against all odds and expectations, to burst open and give us everything we've ever imagined, though everyone but children (and perhaps even they) knows these hours will inevitably be followed by others, far darker and more difficult. Still, we cherish the city, the morning, we hope, more than anything, for more. Heaven only knows why we love it so." FROM: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/show/... ======================================== I loved the passage at the end of the book which seems to sum up the book's major theme: "There's just this for consolation: an hour here or there when our lives seem, against all odds and expectations, to burst open and give us everything we've ever imagined, though everyone but children (and perhaps even they) knows these hours will inevitably be followed by others, far darker and more difficult. Still, we cherish the city, the morning; we hope, more than anything, for more. Heaven only knows why we love it so." p. 225-26, _The Hours_ , Michael Cunningham 1998 ======================================== The following was taken from the Amazon.com website concerning _The Hours_ by Michael Cunningham. The words are from a Booklist editorial: "...his [Cunningham's] prose! He is almost eerily fluent in [Virginia] Woolf's exquisitely orchestrated elucidation of the torrent of thoughts, memories, longings, regrets that surges ceaselessly through the mind. [Stream of consciousness?-JH] ... He has reaffirmed that Woolf is of lasting significance... that in spite of sorrow, pain, and the promise of death, the simplest gestures - - walking out the door on a lovely morning, setting a vase of roses on a table -- can be, for one shining moment, enough." -Donna Seaman, Booklist ==========================================
I watched the film too. "The Hours" (2002): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0274558/ "The story of how the novel "Mrs. Dalloway" affects three generations of women, all of whom, in one way or another, have had to deal with suicide in their lives." Stars: Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore(less)
_A Home at the End of the World_ (1990) by Michael Cunningham Added 4/6/08.
4/29/11 (adding comments) I remember liking this book and appreciating Cunni...more_A Home at the End of the World_ (1990) by Michael Cunningham Added 4/6/08.
4/29/11 (adding comments) I remember liking this book and appreciating Cunningham's style of writing. In fact, because I liked this book, I went on to read Cunningham's book, The Hours (1998), which won the Pulitzer prize in 1999 and which was adapted to film in 2002.)
I just realized that a movie was adapted from this book as well: "A Home at the End of the World" (2004): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0359423/ http://movies.netflix.com/Movie/A_Hom... (streamable from Netflix) ========================================= From the Netflix description: "Boyhood pals Bobby and Jonathan both love the same woman, but in different ways. (For one thing, Jonathan is gay). Yet, undaunted, they all try to make a life together -- and even have a baby -- in 1980s New York. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Cunningham's novel gets deft treatment in this story about a troika of close friends who enter into an unconventional living arrangement." ========================================== I hope to watch the movie soon.
Below are a couple of quotes I copied from the book: ========================================= "As a little boy he'd seemed like an invention of mine, and I'd loved him with a stinging, tangled intensity that hurt me at times. It was as if the part of me I felt tenderest toward, the little wounded part that wanted only to cry and be held, had been cut out and now lived separately, beyond my powers of consolation." -p.281 ---------------------------- "I'd have liked to tell him something I'd taken almost 60 years to learn: that we owe the dead even less than we owe the living, that our only chance of happiness - a small enough chance - lay in welcoming change." -p. 294 ==========================================(less)
Edit (added 1/17/12): Angle of Repose (published in 1971) is an excellent book about the West. It's not a "Western" in the usual sense....moreAdded 11/16/08.
Edit (added 1/17/12): Angle of Repose (published in 1971) is an excellent book about the West. It's not a "Western" in the usual sense. It centers around the mining industry. The title refers to "the maximum angle to the horizontal at which rocks, soil, etc, will remain without sliding".
At LibraryThing.com I found the following awards for the book: Pulitzer Prize (Fiction, 1972) The Modern Library's 100 Best Novels: The Board's List (82) New York Times bestseller (Fiction, 1971) San Francisco Chronicle list of The 20th Century's 100 Best Fiction of the American West (1999) Esquire's 75 Books Every Man Should Read FROM: http://www.librarything.com/work/16878
I read the book as part of an online book group in the late 1990s. I'm so glad I had the experience of reading it. I recommend it. I've never forgotten how good it was. Stegner was a wonderful writer. I just now discovered that Goodreads' description of him says: "Some call him 'The Dean of Western Writers'." (less)
I enjoyed reading _Nobody's Fool_. As I was reading it, I couldn't help but picture Jack Nicholson playing the part of Sully. In fact, to me, the rasc...moreI enjoyed reading _Nobody's Fool_. As I was reading it, I couldn't help but picture Jack Nicholson playing the part of Sully. In fact, to me, the rascally Sully *was* Jack Nicholson. This idea popped into my mind, spontaneously and unbidden. In fact, I expected everyone who read the book to have the same idea. A short survey proved me wrong. That puzzled me because I was convinced that the choice of Nicholson would be obvious to everyone. So I was a bit disappointed when Paul Newman was chosen to play Sully in the movie. Even though I love Paul Newman, it seemed to me that he portrayed Sully in a quiet, low-key manner. I had pictured Sully as more of a lively and lovable rascal. To this day, I wish that I could see how Jack Nicholson would play Sully. I'm still looking for someone to agree with me.
BTW, this was the first and only time, while reading a book, that I imagined a specific actor in the part of the protagonist.(less)
**spoiler alert** This book was a challenge to read. The story was a such a good one. However, I skipped over the dense Victorian poetry and similar p...more**spoiler alert** This book was a challenge to read. The story was a such a good one. However, I skipped over the dense Victorian poetry and similar passages.
I will never forget the ending. I remember that the CR group had a stimulating discussion about the book on the old CR Prodigy Bulletin Board. I remember discussing the issue about which character we sympathized with more, the wife or the lover. I chose the wife because of my own mother's experience, but most of the other readers sympathized with the lover, IIRC. I still feel sorry for the male protagonist and the way his life turned out.
I would never have attempted reading A.S. Byatt on my own. Thanks to CR, I was introduced to the penetrating writing of this highly intellectual author. But I don't think I'd want to plow through another of her books.(less)
http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/A_T... Netflix description: ==================================== "Shakespeare's King Lear gets an update when Larry Cook (Jason Robards) -- a cranky, aging farmer who owns 1,000 acres of land -- decides to divide his property among his three daughters, Ginny (Jessica Lange), Rose (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Caroline (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Caroline hesitates to accept, and Larry rescinds the offer. But when Ginny and Rose take over the farm, problems with their father dredge up memories of a horrible past." ====================================
2/21/13 - A GR friend (Jim of KY) wrote: ======================================= "Joy, if you can find the time, I think you'll get a rea...moreAdded 8/20/08.
2/21/13 - A GR friend (Jim of KY) wrote: ======================================= "Joy, if you can find the time, I think you'll get a real thrill out of re-reading 'To Kill A Mockingbird'. It's one of those books that aged with me perfectly, anyway..." ======================================= I plan to do that. Thank you, Jim. (less)
I read somewhere a while back that Proulx's writing style is considered to be...more_The Shipping News_ by Annie Proulx
I enjoyed reading this touching book.
I read somewhere a while back that Proulx's writing style is considered to be spare. I didn't think about that while I was reading but I now I realize that it's true. Now I'm wondering how many other writers have a "spare" writing style like that. I'm also wondering where I heard that comment about her style. EDITED: PS-I found the following about Proulx's style at LibraryThing's member reviews: "Clipped. Spare. But descriptive writing." "The style, vivid but spare. Freely uses sentence fragments, both to represent interior monologue and to enlist the reader's complicity in supplying the missing parts." FROM: http://www.librarything.com/work/3049...
_Gilead_ (2004) by Marilynne Robinson Added 9/30/08. Read in December 2008. Edited 4/10/11 Discursive novel about a minister telling of his father and gra...more_Gilead_ (2004) by Marilynne Robinson Added 9/30/08. Read in December 2008. Edited 4/10/11 Discursive novel about a minister telling of his father and grandfather, etc. It's told as a letter (see underlining in Phillip's review below) to his young son to be read by the son when he gets older. Seems to ramble.
Edited 4/11/11: See Philip's GR review at: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... "An unhurried and introspective character study laced with some beautiful writing. The story unfolds as a series of journal entries meant to be read by the narrator's young son at some unknown future place and time. ... much of the book involves spiritual musings and theological ponderings... [See more at above link.]
Edit 2/19/12: AWARDS AND HONORS (copied and pasted from http://www.librarything.com/work/16914 ): Pulitzer Prize (Fiction, 2005) National Book Critics Circle Award (Fiction, 2004) Ambassador Book Award (Fiction, 2005) Guardian 1000 (Love) Orange Prize Longlist (2006) All Iowa Reads (2006) PEN/Faulkner Award finalist (2005)
12/22/12 - Today I found the following in a NY Times essay: ============================== "The most emphatically Christian character in contemporary American fiction is the Rev. John Ames, who in Marilynne Robinson’s novel “Gilead” writes, in old age, to his young son as he prepares for death in 1957. More epistle than epic, the novel is historical fiction in mufti, with a strand of the story going back to the Civil War. And yet it arrived in 2004 as a tract for the times. It presented liberal Protestantism as America’s classical heritage; it set Ames’s wise, tender reverence against the bellicose cymbal-clanging of George W. Bush’s White House.
"With “Gilead” Robinson took O’Connor’s insight about “do-it-yourself religion” back to church, creating a minister whose belief is believable because it is so plainly the fruit of a personal search. But the novel’s originality conceals the fact that, as a novel of belief, it is highly representative: set in the past, concerned with a clergyman, presenting belief as a family matter, animated by a social crisis." FROM: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/boo... ================================(less)
This is the second book I've read by Marilynne Robinson. The first was Gilead. Both books left me with mixed fee...moreRe: Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
This is the second book I've read by Marilynne Robinson. The first was Gilead. Both books left me with mixed feelings.
Robinson tends to go off on obscure spiritual or philosophical tangents, most of which left me cold. There is too much ambiguous description. The pacing is uneven.
This book, Housekeeping has a very weak plot. The characters seem distant and unappealing. Two young girls are left in the care of their grandmother and then their aunts. Eventually one extremely eccentric aunt is left caring for one of the girls. The woman is weird and does bizarre things. She is a terrible housekeeper until she thinks the girl will be taken away from her. Then she tries to mend her ways. But she continues to be very strange. The ending of the story is even stranger. Not a satisfying read at all. It goes nowhere.
For some reason, the Goodreads description says: "Housekeeping is a quiet, humorous book that turns eccentricity into poetry." I saw very little humor in this book. The eccentricity did not seem like poetry to me. On the contrary, it gave me the willies.
I kept reading to the end just to see if there would be some sort of decent closure to the story. Instead the ending left me disliking the book even more. Too weird.
There's no doubt that Robinson has a way with words. Her prose is beautiful at times and her philosophy touching. I jotted down favorite passages. For example:
"It was such a winter ... so cold, that the snow was as light as chaff. Any wind would blow a hill bare and send snow drifting, as placeless as smoke."
"Anyone with one solid human bond is that smug, and it is the smugness as much as the comfort and safety that lonely people covet and admire."(less)
There are so many characters that it takes a while to get oriented. I'm determined to make it to the end of the story. Even the names are daunting: Featherstone and Farebrother, Casaubon and Cadwallader, Bulstrode and Ladislaw. Everyone is related to everyone else. Plots interweave. You have to pay attention. :)
One of the user reviews at IMDb says: "With a beautiful music score, beautiful scenery, this adaptation is sensitively made..and memorable."
Since I'm streaming, there are no subtitles. It's sometimes hard to catch the names of some of the characters. So it takes a while to figure out who is who. I'm doing it with the aid of the Internet: http://www.freebooknotes.com/summarie...
6/9/12 - I just found the following at YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YY8sfX... It's entitled: "Rufus Sewell (Part 6) "Middlemarch" - my fav scenes of Will Ladislaw" (about 15 minutes long). It's a good way to refresh one's memory of the film. Rufus Sewell is so handsome in this movie. ====================================
Middlemarch Book 8: Finale Summary (from schmoop.com): (view spoiler)[ The narrator tells us that we've reached the end of the story, but will go over all the major characters to tell us what happened to everyone:
Mary and Fred live happily ever after and have lots of children, of course, and Fred even writes a book about farming, which everyone suspects his wife to have written.
And then Mary writes a collection of stories for children taken from Plutarch, and everyone suspects Fred of having written that.
Lydgate dies when he is only fifty, and always considers himself a failure.
Rosamond gets remarried after her husband's death to an older physician who is nice to her four kids.
Rosamond never forgets Dorothea's generosity to her.
Dorothea never regrets giving up her wealth and position to marry Will.
He becomes a Member of Parliament, and does great work in the political world.
Sir James finally breaks down and agrees to visit Dorothea when Celia receives a letter announcing the birth of their first son.
Mr. Brooke lives to a ripe old age, and Dorothea's son inherits his estate at Tipton. (hide spoiler)]
THE ABOVE FINAL SUMMARY (within the above spoiler) WAS FROM: http://www.shmoop.com/middlemarch/fin...["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
_Visitors: A Novel_ (1997) by Anita Brookner Added 10/28/08. Recommended to me by a goodreads.com poster
8/2/11 - I just finished reading this book.Anita...more_Visitors: A Novel_ (1997) by Anita Brookner Added 10/28/08. Recommended to me by a goodreads.com poster
8/2/11 - I just finished reading this book.Anita Brookner is one of my favorite authors. The theme of most of her stories is loneliness. This one is about Mrs. May who learns to deal with being a widow with no real relatives. The book jacket says "Penetrating perceptions about people". That's so true of all Brookner's elegant writing. She is so insightful! I recommend her. In 1984, she won the Booker Prize for Hotel du Lac.
The description of the book at goodreads.com says the following: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "The extraordinary Anita Brookner, praised by The New York Times as "one of the finest novelists of her generation," gives us a brilliant novel about age and awakening. In Visitors, Brookner explores what happens when a woman's quiet resignation to fate is challenged by the arrogance of youth.
"Dorothea May is most at ease in the company of strangers. When her late husband's relatives prevail on her to take in a young man for the week before an unexpected family wedding, Thea's carefully constructed, solitary world is thrown into disarray. As the wedding approaches, old family secrets surface and conflicts erupt between the generations, trapping an unwilling Thea in the middle. Confronted by the company of Steve Best, a carefree young wanderer, Thea's fragile facade of peaceful acceptance is pierced, forcing her to face in a new way both her past and her future.
"Exquisite writing, richly drawn characters, and penetrating perceptions about people are here combined into another superb novel by the writer about whom The New York Times Book Review has said, 'If Henry James were around, the only writer he'd be reading with complete approval would be Anita Brookner.' " From the Hardcover edition. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~(less)
The book description at goodreads.com says: "The Shack" wrestles with the timeless question, 'Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?...moreThe book description at goodreads.com says: "The Shack" wrestles with the timeless question, 'Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?'" That's what I want to know!
Now that I have read _The Shack_, I'll make the following comments.
I understand the basic religious ideas which this book puts forth, but I had trouble with the story-telling style because it seemed to "talk down" to the reader. I'd rather take my theology/philosophy lessons "straight", without going through a fable like this one.
The main idea of the book, IMO, was to the demonstrate the benefits which come from having complete faith and trust in God.
I must say that the book did a good job of explaining the idea of forgiveness.: "Forgiveness in no way requires that you trust the one you forgive." ... "It does not excuse anything." ... (The next words were probably paraphrased by Joy from the same pages in the book: "i.e., It's OK to feel angry in response to wrongdoing.")
The concept of "guilt" is also explained nicely (e.g., when you have "expectations", you create guilt, but when you have "expectancy", you create a much more positive attitude and/or reaction). Well done there!
That being said, I still was annoyed by the child-like atmosphere of the book. The writing style seemed so sophomoric.(less)
Added Nov. 2008. I read the book and watched the film a while ago. Good story but sad.
Update 1/17/12: Netflix description of the film: "The Age of Innocen...moreAdded Nov. 2008. I read the book and watched the film a while ago. Good story but sad.
Update 1/17/12: Netflix description of the film: "The Age of Innocence' (1993) "Daniel Day-Lewis stars as Newland Archer, a well-bred New Yorker engaged to an appropriate match: cultured May Welland (Winona Ryder). But when her alluring cousin, Ellen Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer), comes along, Archer puts society's mores to the test." FROM: http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/The...
IMDb description of the film: "Tale of 19th century New York high society in which a young lawyer falls in love with a woman separated from her husband, while he is engaged to the woman's cousin." FROM: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106226/(less)