_Searoad_ by Ursula K. Le Guin (published in 1991) Added 4/9/13
My local library catalog says that this book "Portrays the struggles and triumphs of sev...more_Searoad_ by Ursula K. Le Guin (published in 1991) Added 4/9/13
My local library catalog says that this book "Portrays the struggles and triumphs of several generations of women who independently control Klatsand, a small resort town on the Oregon coast."
I read Ursula Le guin's Searoad in 1997. It's the only book of hers which I've read. For some reason I was left with a vague impression that I didn't enjoy it. But now, as I've searched and found my handwritten quotes from the book, I see that there are some very interesting thoughts there. The following GR review by Beth A. may offer a hint as to why I wasn't able to appreciate the book. http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... BTW, the review says: "It’s a collection of short stories."
My notes tell me that the book is a collection of former magazine articles from magazines like "The New Yorker".
The following is from Publishers Weekly (according to my local library catalog): ================================== "In these stories, connected loosely but powerfully by their rugged Pacific Northwest setting, LeGuin portrays residents of a small Oregon shore town with sympathy and no sentiment. Many of the tales center around women drawn together in threes--mother, daughter, grandmother--by illness or death. Passionate, independent and questioning, these characters generally choose, sooner or later, personal freedom over convention, but not without pain.
"In 'True Love' a librarian who summers in Klatsand has a brief affair with a man who opens a bookstore, but is most moved by her feeling of kinship with another woman he sleeps with. Mourning with her deceased lover's daughter, the "survivor" of a lesbian couple finds comfort in an unexpected sense of connection among the three of them ("Quoits"). The novella-length "Hernes" authoritatively traces the repeated struggles for love and self-reliance among four generations of Klatsand women, from Fanny, born in Ohio in 1863, to her great-granddaughter Virginia, a poet. Idiosyncratic and convincing, LeGuin's characters have a long afterlife." ====================================(less)
I read this book several years ago and found it to be very enlightening.
I think this book should be given as a gift to all engaged couples. Even married couples might benefit from it. It talks about the subject of intimacy in a straight-forward manner and might help communication between spouses. It teaches couples how to talk about their intimacy-needs using a vocabulary suited to the subject. Sometimes we just don't have the "words". This book gives them to you.
I think it should be given as a gift to all engaged couples. Even married couples might benefit from it. It talks about the subject of intimacy in a straight-forward manner and might help communication between spouses. It teaches couples how to talk about their intimacy-needs using a vocabulary suited to the subject. Sometimes we just don't have the "words". This book gives them to you.
The author talks a lot about how she learned to trust her own ideas and beliefs instead of believing what others say on the same subjects.
At the end of my notes, I concluded that the opposite of fate might be hope. I'm not sure about that.
The Barnes & Noble description is below: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Overview "Amy Tan was born into a family that believed in fate. In The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings, she explores this legacy, as well as American circumstances, and finds ways to honor the past while creating her own brand of destiny. She discovers answers in everyday actions and attitudes - from writing stories and decorating her house with charms, to dealing with three members of her family afflicted with brain disease and shaking off both family curses and the expectations that she should become a doctor and a concert pianist.
"With the same spirit, humor, and magic that characterize her beloved novels, Amy Tan presents a refreshing antidote to the world-weariness and uncertainties we face today, contemplating how things happen - in her own life and beyond - but always returning to the question of fate and its opposites: the choices, charms, influences, attitudes, and lucky accidents that shape us all."
*********************************** Below is a summary of the book from "The Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database"
"This collection of nonfiction writings by fiction author Amy Tan includes multiple genres: essay, email, responses to journalist's questions, eulogy, love poem, university presentations, travel journal entries, and a commencement speech. Hence Tan terms the work "musings." Consonant with the multiple genres are multiple topics, ranging from memoirs of childhood and young adulthood, writing tips, fun portraying a dominatrix in a writers' rock-n-roll band, work on the film version of The Joy Luck Club, and past and present tragedies and struggles.
"Much of the book, however, centers on medically-related themes. Prominent themes are: her diagnosis of neuroborreliosis--a form of late-stage Lyme disease--detailed in the final essay entitled "The Opposite of Fate"; her traumas such as the torture and murder of her best friend; the death of her father and brother from brain tumors; a car and a skiing accident; the cancer death of her editor and, woven throughout, the complicated psyche of her mother, Daisy Tan.
"Daisy's extreme emotions ruled the family, and her behaviors, such as threatening not only suicide but also murder (she held a knife to Amy's throat), caused profound responses in her daughter. Probably one of the most adaptive responses was Amy Tan's use of their complex relationship in developing the nuanced mother-daughter relationships that characterize her fiction. Daisy's decline and death from Alzheimer's disease are also detailed here."
See the discussion topic I started, entitled: "What is the meaning of the title: The Opposite of Fate?. My first message in the thread says: ==================================== The title of this book is "The Opposite of Fate - A Book of Musings". After reading this book, what do YOU think Amy Tan meant by the title? Is the opposite of "Fate" hope?
Perhaps she means that we don't have to depend on "Fate". We can shape our own lives by our own actions. The "hope" angle enters the picture through optimism and trust in our own abilities. ==================================== Below is the link to the topic: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1...(less)
_Not Without My Daughter_ (1987) by Betty Mahmoody Added 4/5/11 (read a while ago) The film based on this book is streamable at Netflix. Film: "Not With...more_Not Without My Daughter_ (1987) by Betty Mahmoody Added 4/5/11 (read a while ago) The film based on this book is streamable at Netflix. Film: "Not Without My Daughter" (1991)(Cast: Sally Field, Alfred Molina) http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Not... http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102555/ "An American woman, trapped in Islamic Iran by her brutish husband, must find a way to escape with her daughter as well."(less)
Added 4/3/11 but read a while ago. Quote from book: "The very fact that he was a stranger and would remain one was both license and armor. I realized su...moreAdded 4/3/11 but read a while ago. Quote from book: "The very fact that he was a stranger and would remain one was both license and armor. I realized suddenly how very liberating anonymity was... The very lack of any history between you is like a shot of Demerol." -p. 388, _Fault Lines_ by Anne Rivers Siddons, 1995(less)
See my review at The Lord of the Rings. http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... I said: I got well into the first book of the trilogy years ago (_The Fellowship of the Ring_) and then started floundering. At first I was wrapped up in it, but as it went on, there were just too many characters and the different episodes kept going on and on without giving me any real satifaction. So I threw in the towel.
RE: _Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books_ (2003) by Azar Nafisi
I couldn't get into this book. The GR review below sums up my feelings well: ===...moreRE: _Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books_ (2003) by Azar Nafisi
I couldn't get into this book. The GR review below sums up my feelings well: ======================================================== Below is the Goodreads review of GR member, Kareena:
"This was a tough read. I suppose I would have appreciated it more if I had read all the books that were referenced in this one. And if I studied literature, studied the meaning of every scene, every characterization, every image from the books, I might have appreciated it.
"Unfortunately this was much too deep and a serious study of literature. I enjoyed her accounts of life in Tehran and the characters in her book. I enjoyed her personal accounts and her life stories. Unfortunately true life was weaved into the fiction from novels i've never read, so I couldn't appreciate her insights and found her writing high-brow and much too seriously intellectual for me to read it without zoning out every so often.
"The middle parts of the book go into depth about her background and her life experiences which I found the most interesting. The beginning and end delve far too much into the literary world. I suppose if you're a serious student of literature this book is a gold. But me being a casual reader, it was hard to swallow." FROM: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... ======================================(less)
RE: _Caesar's Hours: My Life In Comedy, With Love and Laughter_
This was an enjoyable read, especially because I enjoyed Sid Caesar's comedy shows so m...moreRE: _Caesar's Hours: My Life In Comedy, With Love and Laughter_
This was an enjoyable read, especially because I enjoyed Sid Caesar's comedy shows so much years ago.
One quote from the book has always stayed with me: =========================================================== "What it boiled down to is the strength to be able to say, 'I don't want to think about it.' Thinking negatively is the result of guilt and insecurity... You are the person who makes yourself happy. You're the person who makes yourself sad. It's much easier to feel better when you keep remembering that." [-p.481, "Caesar's Hours, My Life in Comedy with Love and Laughter", by Sid Caesar with Eddy Friedfeld, 2003] ============================================================
Scarlett O'Hara, in _Gone with the Wind_ was always telling herself not to think about her problems. She always postponed her worrying. It was her way of surviving. Laughter is another way of surviving.(less)
RE: _Snow Falling on Cedars_ (1994) by David Guterson The story centers around a court case in which a Japanese man is charged with the murder of a man...moreRE: _Snow Falling on Cedars_ (1994) by David Guterson The story centers around a court case in which a Japanese man is charged with the murder of a man who was found drowned off the side of his fishing boat. The story takes place in the state of Washington, USA.
3/14/11 - I streamed the film (made in 1999) based on this book and didn't remember a thing about the book because I had read it so long ago. The story was a good one but I didn't care for the way it was presented. In some scenes I had no idea what was happening, especially when the camera panned in too close and you couldn't see the whole picture. There were a lot of quick scene changes with things jumping round too quickly. I found it confusing. However, the critics gave it favorable reviews. See excerpts from their reviews below (underlining is mine): ============================================ Excerpts from Roger Ebert's review: "The story unfolds in flashbacks, overlapping dialogue, half-understood events, flashes of memory, all seen in a variety of visual styles. ... [The director] sees his stories as a whole, circling to their centers instead of starting at the beginning and trekking through." FROM: http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/p...
Excerpts from James Berardinelli's review: "... the director employs a non-linear, multi-layered structure that is characterized by flashbacks and flashbacks-within-flashbacks ... Hicks also goes overboard in the sound mixing department*, often utilizing a sort of echo-effect where lines of dialogue overlap as they are repeated several times in a row. ... Visually, the film is nothing short of stunning. The outdoor snowscape scenes are examples of cold, breathtaking beauty. ... [The director's] use of fog towards the beginning is impressive in the way it generates a sense of ominous uncertainty." FROM: http://www.reelviews.net/movies/s/sno... ============================================
*Another thing I didn't like about the movie was the overly haunting chorus singing in the background in several places. I found it annoying. As Berardinelli says, it went "overboard" (no pun intended). :)
The acting was excellent. I enjoyed the characters and actors.
Re: _You Can't Go Home Again _ (1940) By Thomas Wolfe (I read to page 195 but did not finish the book.) Added 3/1/11.
This is very dense reading, but I w...moreRe: _You Can't Go Home Again _ (1940) By Thomas Wolfe (I read to page 195 but did not finish the book.) Added 3/1/11.
This is very dense reading, but I was floored by its beauty. I copied the following quote by hand, before the days of computers: =========================== "Some things will never change. Some things will always be the same. Lean down your ear upon the earth and listen. "The voice of forest water in the night, a woman's laughter in the dark, the clean, hard rattle of raked gravel, the cricketing stitch of midday in hot meadows, the delicate web of children's voices in bright air--these things will never change. "The glitter of sunlight on roughened water, the glory of the stars, the innocence of morning, the smell of the sea in harbors, the feathery blur and smoky buddings of young boughs, and something there that comes and goes and never can be captured, the thorn of spring, the sharp and tongueless cry--these things will always be the same. "All things belonging to the earth will never change--the leaf, the blade, the flower, the wind that cries and sleeps and wakes again, the trees whose stiff arms clash and tremble in the dark, and the dust of lovers long since buried in the earth--all things proceeding from the earth to seasons, all things that lapse and change and come again upon the earth--these things will always be the same, for they come up from the earth that never changes, they go back into the earth that lasts forever. Only the earth endures, but it endures forever. "The tarantula, the adder, and the asp will also never change. Pain and death will always be the same. But under the pavements trembling like a pulse, under the buildings trembling like a cry, under the waste of time, under the hoof of the beast above the broken bones of cities, there will be something growing like a flower, something bursting from the earth again, forever deathless, faithful, coming into life again like April." -Thomas Wolfe, "You Can't Go Home Again", p.40 of the Signet Edition =================================
I didn't get much further than that in the book. The print was small the the prose was dense. (My notes show that I read to page 195.)
I found the following quote of Wolfe's at Goodreads: ************************************** "You can't go back home to your family, back home to your childhood, back home to romantic love, back home to a young man's dreams of glory and of fame, back home to exile, to escape to Europe and some foreign land, back home to lyricism, to singing just for singing's sake, back home to aestheticism, to one's youthful idea of 'the artist' and the all-sufficiency of 'art' and 'beauty' and 'love,' back home to the ivory tower, back home to places in the country, to the cottage in Bermude, away from all the strife and conflict of the world, back home to the father you have lost and have been looking for, back home to someone who can help you, save you, ease the burden for you, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time--back home to the escapes of Time and Memory." — Thomas Wolfe FROM: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/show/... *************************************
Below is another quote copied from a newsgroup (It's actually a shortened version of the one above): ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "You can't go back home to your family-- To a young man's dream of fame and glory, To the country cottage away from strife and conflict, To the father you have lost, To the old forms and systems of things, Which seemed everlasting but are changing all the time." --Thomas Wolfe (1900-1938) _You Can't Go Home Again_  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Some day I should go back and try reading this book again... in larger print. :)(less)