**spoiler alert** Eh. I did not like this as much as Shadow of the Wind. Some complaints:
1) I felt like the main character completely changed personal**spoiler alert** Eh. I did not like this as much as Shadow of the Wind. Some complaints:
1) I felt like the main character completely changed personalities around the age of 25. He went from being a meek, poor kid, into kind of an asshole that bullied his assistant.
2) The woman he luuuuuurves dies, and basically he has no reaction. I was convinced it was a dream since it was such a non-event. No. She died.
3) I can never figure out what's real and what's ... magic? Why is he not aging at the end of the book?? And the woman he luuuuuurves comes back to him as a 7-year-old? Is that magic? Or is he just crazy? I don't get it. I hate magical realism....more
I didn't find this book quite as offensive as a lot of people did. I did want to take a shower after reading it (it's the story of a woman who kills hI didn't find this book quite as offensive as a lot of people did. I did want to take a shower after reading it (it's the story of a woman who kills her mentally ill mother, and she's not exactly a pleasant narrator), but I found myself oddly engrossed in it once I got past the scene of the murder....more
Meh. This book was sort of a slog to get through. I liked the idea of it - a sort of biography of a big, important family - but I thought it was way,Meh. This book was sort of a slog to get through. I liked the idea of it - a sort of biography of a big, important family - but I thought it was way, WAY too detailed and confusing. (Even with the family tree to refer to, it didn't help that half of the family was named Nancy and that the English people's names would change halfway through the book when they got titles.)
It also didn't help that I didn't find very many redeeming qualities in any of the five sisters. I kind of thought they were selfish, rich, and spoiled. That being said, Nancy Astor's life (the third sister, also the first female in British Parliament) was interesting to read about, even if it just sort of pissed me off....more
THE LACUNA is a fake memoir of a Mexican-American writer. Harrison Shephard (the fake memoirist) grows up in Mexico with his mother, where he later woTHE LACUNA is a fake memoir of a Mexican-American writer. Harrison Shephard (the fake memoirist) grows up in Mexico with his mother, where he later works as a cook and secretary for Frida Kahlo, Diego Riveria, and Leon Trotsky. (All in the same house, which, who knew?) After Trotsky's assassination by Stalin's henchmen, he moves to North Carolina and starts writing historical fiction about the Aztecs. He becomes a famous, much-loved writer until he gets accused of being a Communist. That pretty much ruins his life, the end.
To be honest, I hated the first half of this book. I was not a fan of all the details about Kahlo, Rivera, and Trotsky. I thought the two artists were sort of douchey, and I just didn't care about anyone in their household. I felt bad for Trotsky and all, but I think his murder could have been moved up by about 100 pages or so. I also thought it was hard to get a sense of the narrator from his early writing and diaries.
I contemplated not finishing it, but that made me feel all guilty and shit since I received the free copy for review and all.
The second half of the novel really picked up, however, I started to see where Kingsolver was going with the Communism plot. Shephard's historical novels take past events in Mexico and make a comment on the current political situation (post war McCarthyism). Kingsolver's historical novel takes post war McCarthyism and makes a comment about the world we live in today.
For example, this quote about those who accuse anyone who has a different opinion about say, segregation, of being a Communist - it reminds me of people who say on Fox News today that they "want their country back":
" 'It's what these guys have decided to call America. They have the audacity to say, There, you sons of bitches, don't lay a finger on it. That is a finished product.' " (424)
And this one, it reminds me of all protestors to the Iraq war being called unpatriotic for daring to question the president:
" 'Whenever I hear this kind of thing,' he said, 'a person speaking about constitutional rights, free speech, and so forth. I think, How can he be such a sap? Now I can be sure that man in a Red. A word to the wise, Mr. Shepherd. We just do not hear real Americans speaking in this manner.' " (442)
Anyway, I did really like the second half. Worth a try, and if you hate the beginning, skip to page 250 and try reading from there.
This is an interesting critical look at Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl. Prose analyzes and compares Frank's original diary with her revisions and hThis is an interesting critical look at Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl. Prose analyzes and compares Frank's original diary with her revisions and her father Otto's edits. I found this book really interesting at times - and it's certainly well-researched and written.
I think, though, that it's a bit too critical and exacting for, say, me. Me who hasn't read the original diary since sophomore year of high school. And me sitting on the couch on a Sunday afternoon while my husband watches football, anyway. However, it would be great for me for anyone taking a trip to Holland or Germany or who has a special interest in the diary....more
NOT THAT KIND OF A GIRL is a memoir of a girl who is not that kind of girl, basically.
I wanted to love this book. Because until, oh, the age of 23 orNOT THAT KIND OF A GIRL is a memoir of a girl who is not that kind of girl, basically.
I wanted to love this book. Because until, oh, the age of 23 or 24, I was also not that of girl. I liked recognizing the similarities between us, realizing that my younger self wasn't alone in the goody-too-shoes, hates being late, worries about doing "bad" things - like drinking - approach to life.
I didn't love it, though, and in fact didn't really like it. My major complaint is that this book is just not honest enough for me. For example, in the last third of the memoir, she meets a man, whom she refers to as her "friend," who is the person she first sleeps with after managing to hold out on having sex for years in NYC. And - no details on this. I mean, I don't need graphic details - but I felt like after reading about her keeping her virginity for 200 pages, I deserved to know WHY she finally decided to give it up. Did she just want to get it over with? Was there something special about him? WHAT WAS IT?
This is only one example, but in a lot of ways, I didn't feel like I got to know the author at all, despite spending a week of my life reading her story. I know a lot of what she's writing about is private - which is why I think her story would have been better a) fictionalized, as a novel; or b) kept private.
DIRECT RED is a memoir of sorts about an English surgeon's experiences in the job. It's organized not chronologically, but by theme - Beauty, Death, EDIRECT RED is a memoir of sorts about an English surgeon's experiences in the job. It's organized not chronologically, but by theme - Beauty, Death, Emergencies, etc.
What I liked most about this book was seeing the fear of failure that Weston had as a surgeon. (In my job, I might fear screwing up, but if I do no one gets hurt.) Interestingly, the fear seemed to mostly mostly a fear of losing face rather than accidentally cutting an artery or something.
I also appreciated the insight into why surgeons might make a decision other than what is best for the patient - to further their career, impress a superior, etc. (Not to mention, in the U.S. the need to deal with insurance companies.) I guess I had always naively thought of doctors as altruistic and only really interested in the health of their patients. Weston's story of the woman who came in with hemorrhoids was touching - Weston knew that if she admitted her she'd face ridicule from her colleagues, though that would be in the patient's best interest.
This was a quick read - I think I read it in less that 48 hours on days I went to work, and really interesting. I think I might have liked a chronological organization of her experiences better, but I would definitely recommend book.
I skimmed this and mostly read the author's own story of getting in over his head on a mortgage. It made me feel better about my own financial situatiI skimmed this and mostly read the author's own story of getting in over his head on a mortgage. It made me feel better about my own financial situation, that's for sure....more
To be honest, before I started it, I was all, oh geez, another book about World War II and the Holocaust. This one was really differenI enjoyed this.
To be honest, before I started it, I was all, oh geez, another book about World War II and the Holocaust. This one was really different, somehow, though. I liked how it was set inside Nazi Germany, and I liked that Death narrates it. ...more
This was fine, not great. Though I did enjoy the 1995-style technology and how the protagonist was using a typewriter to write her dissertation. GoodThis was fine, not great. Though I did enjoy the 1995-style technology and how the protagonist was using a typewriter to write her dissertation. Good times!...more