Added 11/21/08. Edited 1/30/13 I Passed This Way (1979) by Sylvia Ashton-Warner: "The internationally renowned educator and novelist writes of her New ZeAdded 11/21/08. Edited 1/30/13 I Passed This Way (1979) by Sylvia Ashton-Warner: "The internationally renowned educator and novelist writes of her New Zealand childhood, her haphazard education, her marriage, her years of teaching, her country's rejection of her lifework, her years of exile, and her sorrows and successes." FROM: http://books.google.com/books/about/I... =================================== Editorial Review - Kirkus Reviews
"Lyrical, prickly, sentimental, worldly-wise, naive, passionate, mannered, telegraphic, verbose--it will come as no surprise to readers of Ashton-Warner's previous work (fiction, memoirs, credos on innovative teaching) that her writing is a blend of marvelous and maddening, and never more so than in this long, quirky autobiography.
""A freckled nonentity somewhere in the middle of a large sprawling family, thoroughly outshone"" by big brothers and pretty sisters, Sylvia grew up moving from place to place around New Zealand, with crippled Puppa and teacher Mumma, poor but never without essential creative equipment. (""We played the horse like a piano and rode the piano like a horse."")
"And, however painful it often was (""I'd like to get this chapter over and done with""), she dwells in sometimes-luminous, sometimes-syrupy detail on those young years that also became the fiction of Greenstone: schoolgirl crushes, teachers good and bad, doing homework on horseback, being odd-girl-out (""So I'm a pariah? Then I'll be the best""), discovering Jane Eyre (""The shock was like the crack of a branch splitting"").
"But Sylvia didn't want what waited at the end of 14 schools--""the last thing in God's heaven I wanted to be was a teacher""--and even while resigning herself to training for ""the bloody profesh"" in Wellington (""Learning fast about men. . . less than nothing about teaching""), she dreamed of her real career as musician, painter, artist. Enter, however, two vital men: Rousseau (with inspiration for both teaching and writing); and fellow-student Keith Henderson, who loved teaching, who married her, who took her off to be his second-in-command at isolated Maori schools--where Sylvia had babies (sometimes teaching across them), a nervous breakdown (harrowingly described), a platonic affair (wanly described, as it was in Myself), beloved friends, and futile feuds with the education establishment over what became the organic ""Key Vocabulary"" teaching method explored in Spinster and Teacher.
"Those books brought fame, but no honor in her homeland, so, after Keith's death came a new life abroad--in Israel, lazy and politics-ridden Aspen, sterile Vancouver--as teacher of teachers, guru of loving, childlike but responsible education.
"And always: loving friends, thoughts of her scattered, diminished family, and the neverending bitterness toward New Zealand ("" 'I'm not in New Zealand, I'm not in New Zealand,' the sweetest song I ever heard""), though she has finally come home to her daughter there. ""I've made my life come true. I've actually done what I set out to do and I have said what I knew.""
"So she has--and though most readers will pull back now and then from the girlish excesses, the self-conscious elaborations--it's one-of-a-kind-story told in a one-of-a-kind-voice, frequently enthralling and almost always just a little surprising."
I loved this book! (which I read several years ago)
Update - 3/27/11: I found an interesting feature at Shelfari.com today. Shelfari provides what theyI loved this book! (which I read several years ago)
Update - 3/27/11: I found an interesting feature at Shelfari.com today. Shelfari provides what they call a "Ridiculously Simplified Synopsis" for some of its books. For example, about this book, _Love in the Time of Cholera_, it says: =========================== (view spoiler)["Boy meets girl. Girl rejects boy. Boy stays obsessed with girl through 622 affairs and 50+ years." (hide spoiler)] FROM: http://www.shelfari.com/books/11594/L... =========================== I really got a kick out of that. It's so true.
3/31/11 - Below is a post I made at my group about the film based on this book: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Yesterday I watched a Netflix DVD of the film, "Love in the Time of Cholera" based on the book of the same name (Love in the Time of Cholera (1985) by Gabriel García Márquez *).
I loved the book and I enjoyed the movie very much. The best part of the movie was Javier Bardem who played the part of Florentino, the rejected lover. Up to now I've wondered why Bardem is so well liked. Now I know. Bardem was priceless in the part of Florentino. He drew out my sympathies and also made me smile at the subtle humor he injected into the part. I LOVE Javier!
The bonus features of the DVD offer a good amount of insight into the story and the making of the film (much of it was filmed in Columbia, South America). Of course the film had to leave out many parts in the book, but I enjoyed the presentation. I gave the film 5 Netflix stars out of 5.
*The Nobel Prize in Literature 1982 was awarded to Gabriel García Márquez "for his novels and short stories, in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent's life and conflicts". FROM: http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/li...
BTW, while I loved Marquez' _Love in the Time of Cholera_, I didn't like his One Hundred Years of Solitude and couldn't get through it. See my review here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... ====================================["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"]>...more
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 InnocenAdded 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/...more
I met the author, Audrey Friend, at the Chronicle Book Fair in Glens Falls, NY, 10/08. She was part of a lively panel of mystery writers known as theI met the author, Audrey Friend, at the Chronicle Book Fair in Glens Falls, NY, 10/08. She was part of a lively panel of mystery writers known as the Mavens of Mayhem.
Audrey's book, _Red Hot_, was fun to read. I like her easy conversational style. She hooks the reader right away at the start of the mystery. I like that. I enjoyed peeking behind the scenes in the world of art theft. A good read....more
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?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?'" 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....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_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. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~...more
I enjoyed this book, but I thought that the biography of Millay by Epstein was a better book. IMO, Epstein's book gave more insight into Millay's lifeI enjoyed this book, but I thought that the biography of Millay by Epstein was a better book. IMO, Epstein's book gave more insight into Millay's life....more
I loved this book! I enjoyed it more than the other popular biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay, (_Savage Beauty_ by Nancy Milford). I felt that it gI loved this book! I enjoyed it more than the other popular biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay, (_Savage Beauty_ by Nancy Milford). I felt that it gave more insight into her life than Milford's book did....more
This is the second book I've read by Marilynne Robinson. The first was Gilead. Both books left me with mixed feeRe: 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."...more
I found this book to be a compelling read. It drags in a few spots, but otherwise it can be riveting. It draws a thought-provoking picture of "the othI found this book to be a compelling read. It drags in a few spots, but otherwise it can be riveting. It draws a thought-provoking picture of "the other woman". It also reveals aspects of Frank Lloyd Wright's life which were new to me....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 gra_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... ================================...more
I read somewhere a while back that Proulx's writing style is considered to be_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...
2/21/13 - A GR friend (Jim of KY) wrote: ======================================= "Joy, if you can find the time, I think you'll get a reaAdded 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. ...more
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." ====================================