Japrisot is a genius! A wonderful, wonderful book! At the end, everything just came together and I was so moved! How can someone have such an intense...moreJaprisot is a genius! A wonderful, wonderful book! At the end, everything just came together and I was so moved! How can someone have such an intense love for another individual? And the details...I felt like I was in the trenches along with the five soldiers. I MUST read this book (physically) in case I missed anything. Too bad a lot of his work has yet to be translated to English.(less)
Middlesex has been stacked in a pile of books I like to refer to as my "Jumanji" books. The two main child characters in the film Jumanji begin a cree...moreMiddlesex has been stacked in a pile of books I like to refer to as my "Jumanji" books. The two main child characters in the film Jumanji begin a creepy, larger-than-life board game that results in the "Little Man Tate" boy disappearing, and the the young girl running away in horror, putting an abrupt end to the game. Though stowed away in the attic soon after the occurrence and forgotten, a distant jungle drum beat still emanates from the board game, forever beckoning that someone continue the game, and finish what was started.
That pretty much sums up my avoidance dance with this amazingly beautiful book. I first began this audio book in 2007, and got so carried away in the language and pace of the narrative, that I knew I wanted to dedicate more time and attention to it, for fear of missing any details. I returned the book to the library and bought a physical copy from my local used book store. Since then, Middlesex has sat in that pile of "Jumanji" books, forever beckoning me to finish what I started. Sure it's made it's way into my purse a few times, and followed by a few false starts, but nothing lasting. Even the cajoling from well meaning friends in that "I can't believe you haven't read that yet!" voice didn't help. So finally, after 7 years, I broke down and bought the audio book and downloaded it to my phone last week, so that I could take it and the Stephanides family with me everywhere. What a journey we've had!
"I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974."
So begins this sweeping family saga of three generations of Calliope/Cal's family beginning in Asia Minor on through to Detroit, and finally ending in Berlin spanning the 1920s to present. Through this historical narrative, we learn about the Stephanides family and their dark family secret. Told in a sort of whimsical voice, with Woody Allenesque aside interruptions, it's hard not to get swept up in the story and totally lose yourself, or to find yourself laughing out loud, or rolling your eyes incredulously. I can easily believe that this book took Eugenides 9 years to finish. It is such an epic read, and each sentence packs a sensual punch. There are a handful of books that have left me this happy and disoriented...also incredibly sad to turn the last page.
It's worth noting that the narrator, Kristoffer Tabori, is one of the best voice actors I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. How good is he, you may ask? Audible.com only has a handful of weird books for which he is credited on. The selection seems to be limited to children's horror stories, funky sci-fi, and self-help books. Oh well, that's dedication. I hope the Tales from Lovecraft Middle School books are worth it, because guess who'll be listening to them here shortly.
As for the rest of my "Jumanji" books? I'm hoping to tackle a few more this year. The Time Traveler's Wife, Cold Mountain, Into the Woods, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close are at the top of that pile. I can already hear you, dear friend. "You haven't read those yet? Whatsamatterwithya"? I know! I'm hopeful.(less)
Have you ever been so "daw-gone" tired, that you're visualizing the comfort of your solitary bed? That warm down comforter. Your plush pillows. You ke...moreHave you ever been so "daw-gone" tired, that you're visualizing the comfort of your solitary bed? That warm down comforter. Your plush pillows. You keep pumping yourself up with the thought that you're nearly home. You've finally made it. You want to ensure that you really enjoy your night's rest, so even though you can hardly move, you go through your nightly hot shower ritual. Finally, you settle into bed, turn out the lights. All is quiet save for the steady breathing of your furry friends, and the soft noises of the house settling. And there it is! That moment when you shut your eyes and relish how wonderful it finally feels to completely let go. It feels so good, you can almost taste it! You find yourself unconsciously smacking your lips right before you drift off.
That is this book! It's so...tasty! Each time I settled in to read a few passages, I was just overcome with so much love and concern for all the characters. Despite having more than a few heavy themes and scenes, it all came together in a warm, comforting way. Definitely at the top of my comfort reads.(less)