Reading Harry Potter takes me all the way back to elementary school. I was in an advanced reader class in the fifth grade and our treat for being a go...moreReading Harry Potter takes me all the way back to elementary school. I was in an advanced reader class in the fifth grade and our treat for being a good group from our teacher, Mrs. Jaquish, was having her read us the first Harry Potter book. At one chapter a day (sometimes more if we behaved well), our entire class fell in love with Hogwarts and the characters within the Harry Potter novels.
She died in March this year, ten days before her birthday, due to cancer that had metastasized to her brain. Needless to say, it was tough re-reading the book. As I read, I was reminded of the reading corner that we sat in, the stool that the student reader of the day would sit on and the Washington State University memorabilia plastered all over the walls. I remembered how supportive she was of our group and how much she brightened up even the worst of days. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her in a bad mood, letting circumstances bring her down. It makes sense that she read Harry Potter to us: he never gave up either – even at the worst of times.
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone will always remind me of being in the fifth grade at Cascade View Elementary School and of immersing myself in the perfect make-believe world. It will remind me of talking out of turn (and getting in trouble) while working with my classroom to charm the teacher into reading just one more chapter.
I will always remember being completely amazed at just how good the story was and how much Mrs. Jaquish’s storytelling added to it. I don’t think it will ever sound the same in my head as it did when she read it with special voices for each character or her suspenseful reading of each chapter’s title. This book marks the start of my favorite series of books.
If you’re the last person in the world not to have read this book, open its pages. Kristen Jaquish never recommended a book to me that I didn’t fiercly love. And if Harry Potter has her recommendation, it is the highest praise a book could have. (less)
i actually watched the movie before i read the book. and i have to say - it didn't matter at all. the book outshined the movie and, to me, made more s...morei actually watched the movie before i read the book. and i have to say - it didn't matter at all. the book outshined the movie and, to me, made more sense. throughout the book you were given small hints as to who and what tyler really was - as opposed to having it thrown at you in the movie.
i love palahniuk's writing style and the way that it feels like he is directly speaking to you in an almost every-day language style.
it is one of my favorites because i dug the idea of a fight club - though it isn't the fighting that mattered (like the author himself said). it was the rules that came with it that helped to make the story what it was. (less)
it wasn't as great as i expected it to be. but my expectations for anything palahniuk are constantly rising. i don't know, it really didn't do it for...moreit wasn't as great as i expected it to be. but my expectations for anything palahniuk are constantly rising. i don't know, it really didn't do it for me. it was something that took me forever to read, i really had to make myself sit down and read in order to get through the mere 250 pages. it's worth a read - but it isn't my favorite palahniuk book. (less)
i love the concept of the book. i love the way that it is written. i love the description of the main character - Tender Branson - after he goes holly...morei love the concept of the book. i love the way that it is written. i love the description of the main character - Tender Branson - after he goes hollywood.
this book had so many little details that made it what it was. the chapters went down instead of going up - as did the page numbers. the story was told from the beginning but it didn't really end. the story left you hanging - and those are the best kinds of stories.(less)
you never really had it figured out until he wanted you to have it figured out. the story is complicated but easy to follow. it is strange yet you und...moreyou never really had it figured out until he wanted you to have it figured out. the story is complicated but easy to follow. it is strange yet you understand it. i loved it because it made me believe that one day, i'd run into Easter. the book was absolutely breathtaking and i recommend it for anyone and everyone. (less)
i had a bit of a hard time making it past the first twenty or so pages because i wasn't sure where the book was taking me.
the story itself is wonderf...morei had a bit of a hard time making it past the first twenty or so pages because i wasn't sure where the book was taking me.
the story itself is wonderful and who doesn't want to believe that there is a world above and world below? i love how well thought-out it was and how well described it was. i could really picture it in my head.
and the "hero" was some poor chap who wasn't even sure he could do any of it - like poor dorothy from the wizard of oz, he just wanted to go home. i liked that he wasn't this perfect character that you could love. it made him more appealing to me. (less)
It isn't always men who are savage enough to kill without rhyme or reason. There is always your Elizabeth Bathory, Lucrezia Borgia, Lydia Sherman, Sar...moreIt isn't always men who are savage enough to kill without rhyme or reason. There is always your Elizabeth Bathory, Lucrezia Borgia, Lydia Sherman, Sarah Jane Robinson, Aileen Wournos... and of course, Jolly Jane Toppan.
Schecter begins the book with Aileen Wournos, an underappreciated woman I think, who killed her seven victims because they allegedly tried to rape her/assault her while she was working as a prostitute. Next to Jane Toppan, however, Aileen Wournos is a tame kitty-cat.
Jane Toppan was brought into the world as Honora Kelley but was indentured to and adopted by the Toppan family, consisting of Mrs. Ann Toppan and her lovely daughter Elizabeth. As far as we know, they treated her well, but her role in the family was that of a slave.
Jane attended nursing school which was no small feat in that day and age. There was a rigorous training that we now might find unconstitutional. Despite all of the training and work, Jane found time to experiment on some of her patients and the morphia & atropine fun began.
Jolly Jane never graduated with any degree and instead of continuing with nursing she went into private home care. It was then that Jane really began having fun. The freedom of not being under anyone's watchful eye - the power of being the only care provider for your patient... well, let's just say she got a little excited. And when Jane get excited, many funerals are had. Still, it was years before Jane was ever suspected and brought to trial, leaving as many as one hundred alleged corpses in her path.
This book was wonderfully written. Schechter really researched the topic before embarking on the book. He referenced newspaper articles of the time as well as public records. My favorite part of this entire book is the intimacy of "watching" her kill her victims. There is a lot of information about just how she went about killing her patients and it was phrased beautifully.
So I guess there's a lesson to be learned.
Beware the next time you're handed medicine. "Drink it, it's good for you," may be the last words you hear.
Henry Miller is best known for his raunchy Tropic of Cancer. Set in Paris after World War I, we follow the ex-pat protagonist, mostly Miller himself,...moreHenry Miller is best known for his raunchy Tropic of Cancer. Set in Paris after World War I, we follow the ex-pat protagonist, mostly Miller himself, into the cynical and bohemian city life. Based loosely on his life and experiences, it is considered one of the best examples of “modernism” and the abrupt move away from the flowery and gentle language of the Victorians. It is, however, mostly known for its controversial language and plethora of sex scenes.
Tropic of Cancer contains one of the best executions of the stream-of-consciousness style of writing. The style of the writing perfectly mimics the way of life in Paris at the time.
I found that reading Miller was a lot like reading Proust. It was very jarring coming back to the book and pulling myself away from it. The chapter breaks barely mean anything; there is no good place to stop. Miller, however, unlike Proust, concerns himself greatly with the visceral life rather than the intellectual. In a conversation about the book with my boyfriend, I mentioned that I’d never read a book more hyper-focused on sex, prostitution and food (though Houellebecq’s Platform comes close).
Having said that though, I didn’t mind it too much. Knowing that the story was as authentic as possible, that Miller was unashamed to tell us about sharing hookers with his friends and bumming food off of unsuspecting folks, helps me to put his experiences into perspective.
On the other hand, I would have really appreciated if a woman was more than a “cunt” to him. This word he uses more than any other in his book – everything revolves around his or his friends’ love for “cunt.” I think this is more of a personal objection to Miller himself rather than his work. I wish he thought more of women.
That being said, toward the end, Miller moves away from his experiences and gets incredibly “artsy” and “philosophical” – which greatly turned me off. Stringing analogies and cramming them into paragraph form felt forced. What was beautiful about the rest of the book was that there wasn’t much meaning at all. He just was. There didn’t need to exist a rhyme or reason behind that being.
I think this novel is a perfect example of good timing. I’m not convinced that it would have gotten the endless honours it did were it not for its controversial content and censorship trial.
There are people who cannot resist the desire to get into a cage with wild beasts and be mangled. They go in even without revolver or whip. Fear makes them fearless… (9)
Wild consumptive notes of hysteria, perversion, leprosy. I hear not a word because she is beautiful and I love her and now I am happy and willing to die. (19)
No matter where you go, no matter what you touch, there is cancer and syphilis. It is written in the sky; it flames and dances, like an evil portent. It has eaten into our souls and we are nothing but a dead thing like the moon. (185)
Once I thought that to be human was the highest aim a man could have, but I see now that it was meant to destroy me. Today I am proud to say that I am inhuman, that I belong not to men and governments, that I have nothing to do with creeds and principles. I have nothing to do with the creaking machinery of humanity – I belong to the earth! I say that lying on my pillow and I can feel the horns sprouting from my temples. I can see about me all those cracked forebears of mine dancing around the bed, consoling me, egging me on, lashing me with their serpent tongues, grinning and leering at me with their skulking skulls. I am inhuman! (254)
And anything that falls short of this frightening spectacle, anything less shuddering, less terrifying, less mad, less intoxicated, less contaminating, is not art. The rest is counterfeit. The rest is human. The rest belongs to life and lifelessness. (255)(less)
the story is about Baby - who lives with her on-again off-again heroin addict father Jules. Baby, lacking guidance and a safe environment does as she...morethe story is about Baby - who lives with her on-again off-again heroin addict father Jules. Baby, lacking guidance and a safe environment does as she pleases, for the most part. she sells her body (her pimp put her out on the street at twelve), she starts smoking pot and starts doing heroine...
the first half of the book was very interesting - it talked about all the homes she stayed in while her dad was in rehab, etc, etc. the last 100-150 pages killed it for me. all of the events of her life seemed so abrupt, everything happened so quickly and unrealistically that it really killed the first half of the book for me.(less)
i read this book when i was in the sixth grade or so. because i had read the rest of the library. i remember being so amazed by it. it was genius. and...morei read this book when i was in the sixth grade or so. because i had read the rest of the library. i remember being so amazed by it. it was genius. and the concept behind it thrilled me. i had never known that a book could be so good until i read huxley.(less)