Who doesn't love Lena Dunham?! Seriously, who doesn't? Because I will go find them and tell them what's up.
Lena Dunham is so fantastic, and I want toWho doesn't love Lena Dunham?! Seriously, who doesn't? Because I will go find them and tell them what's up.
Lena Dunham is so fantastic, and I want to be her life coach. If you are reading this, Lena Dunham, not that you need any help being super successful and powerful and awesome, but I can help you feel all of the greatness, respect, and love that other people feel about you. Promise. I'll give you a phone call coaching session for free so that you can check it out. Schedule your session here and we will talk about one issue that is making you feel anxious or stuck. I will show you exactly why you are feeling that way and give you at least one tool to feel better. I will also tell you about the programs I offer to my coaching clients and we will talk about whether they would be a good fit for you.
If you aren't Lena Dunham, I will also give you a coaching session, just for the love of Lena Dunham you are showing in reading this review. But, also, send her an email and let her know I want to coach her!
One of the many fantastic things about this book and Girls is how they normalize the humanity of women. What I mean by that is that women who show up and live their lives have always been associated in society and literature with the body and a sort of base, petty kind of imagery (think the virgin/whore dichotomy). If women have sex, they are broken. This is old news, and I'm not telling you anything new about it, but Lena Dunham is. She is showing these women whose platonic relationships with each other are more dynamic and beautiful than anything they experience with the men in the show. They all have terrible, sometimes grotesque sex, and they all show up with their own, individual version of grand beauty.
I'm not saying Lena Dunham is the first to bust the virgin/whore myth. But I really think she might be the first to be this honest about how women experience sex and relationships. I know that Sex and the City is supposed to have something similar, but I just don't get the truth of the women's relationships in that. I heard once that Sex and the City was written by gay men, and it definitely feels like a gay man's idea of how women are with each other, to me. The relationships in Girls resonate much more with my friendships, and also my judgments about other women. She normalizes all of the weirdnesses, pettiness, and self-centeredness of the women so well that I love them all despite the fact that I can see how they are terrible people.
Lena Dunham is definitely "a voice of a generation."
I know the criticisms of her are that she's not intersectional enough. Which, I'm just not going to argue with anyone who uses the word "intersectional." I for sure think there need to be more shows written by and about people of different ethnicities and skin colors. I also think commandeering the voice of a different ethnicity is a real problem, and I'm glad Lena Dunham doesn't overextend. She writes what she knows for sure. And I support it.
I also know this book had that scandal where everyone was arguing about whether baby-Lena sexually assaulted her baby sister. I pretty much think that's up to her sister to decide.
I love Girls more than I loved this book, but the book was great, too. I read it on vacation in Palm Springs by the pool. Pretty good choices all around....more
Well, I hate to be negative, but I think there might be some factual errors in this book. I don’t think a book that is about “World War 2” should failWell, I hate to be negative, but I think there might be some factual errors in this book. I don’t think a book that is about “World War 2” should fail to talk about the Great Depression in America because that is what readers can really relate to. I also thought it was incorrect to say that they found a spirit bridge without having to answer the three questions of the spirit bridge keeper, the Holy Ghost. I’m not saying the author, whom I believe to be a communist and possibly from Iran, like Barack Obama, needs to apologize to me about this because I haven’t written a bestseller, so who am I to talk? I am just saying that he should probably self-deport himself instead of taking hard-earned taxpayer dollars that I built to publish this spiritual self-help book. Other than the un-American parts of this book, I liked the more accurate parts, so I will tell you about them and hopefully you will love my “review.” LOL.
I like how there was a lot of good advice in here about how a woman can use her womanly powers to please men. I know that a lot of smart, sassy ladies wear their heels during sex, like the woman scientist in this story does, because, you know, it enhances the curvature of our calves and also because Jesus wants us to. The Eldridges describe the story of Ruth from this book called the “Bible” to tell us about that kind of thing. I’m just going to quote from the original work because it reminds me so much of the deeper spiritual message of Winged Leviathan.
Ruth, as you’ll remember, is the daughter-in-law of a woman from Judah named Naomi. Both women have lost their husbands and are in a pretty bad way; they have no man looking out for them, their financial status is below the poverty line, and they are vulnerable in many other ways as well. Things begin to look up when Ruth catches the eye of a wealthy single man named Boaz. Boaz is a good man, this we know. He offers her some protection and some food. But, Boaz is not giving Ruth what she really needs – a ring.
So what does Ruth do? She ‘inspires’ him. She arouses him to be a man. Here’s the scene: The men have been working dawn till dusk to bring the barley harvest; they’ve just finished and now it’s party time. Ruth takes a bubble bath and puts on a knockout dress; then she waits for the right moment. . . .
No, I do not think Ruth and Boaz had sex that night; I do not think anything inappropriate happened at all. But this is no fellowship potluck, either. . . . A woman is at her best when she is being a woman. Boaz needs a little help getting going and Ruth has some options. . . . She can badger him . . . [, s]he can whine about it . . . [, s]he can emasculate him . . . [, o]r she can use all she is as a woman to get him to use all he’s got as a man. She can arouse, inspire, energize . . . Ask your man what he’d prefer.
I am quoting Stasi Eldridge’s book of quotes from John Eldridge because this book has a lot of the same values as that, LOL. And, it is proper for a woman to quote a man about spiritual self-help. Some “feminists” (LOL, I mean “man-haters”) might say that the story of Ruth is not about that at all, but that it is about two women survivors protecting each other in a world that hates them. But, feminists are probably going to hell, LOL. They also probably think people care about ovaries or something. And also I heard that they want to kill babies. So, you should love babies and buy American.
The other thing I liked in this book was the funny jokes about duct tape. And I liked how the main character had problems with his dad, but they got to work them out through a spiritual journey. I also liked the funny jokes about the Leviathan’s butt and how the soldiers didn’t listen to the monks at the castle because they were probably atheists, LOL and prayers for them!
I didn’t like how there weren’t enough characters who turned out to be alive after we thought they were dead, but maybe they will be alive in the next book in this series. And how the main guy didn’t get married because he really needs one woman to arouse him. Amen....more
Scott Pilgrim is so how I see the world. I’m sure it’s because of the years of doing almost nothing but playing Mario Bros in my childhood, but the leScott Pilgrim is so how I see the world. I’m sure it’s because of the years of doing almost nothing but playing Mario Bros in my childhood, but the levels and energy bars and coins, etc. as applied to mundane life things are so perfect to me. Also, the characters. Oh, the characters. Scott Pilgrim is such a rad character because he is so douchey, but still somewhat sympathetic, and everyone spends the whole story pointing out his doucheyness. I just really love a story that calls a douche a douche.
This volume only gets so far as Scott fighting Ramona’s first evil ex. Scott is a little more boyish in this and a little less emo than Michael Cera, and I think both versions are pretty fun. For the most part, the movie follows this volume exactly, though the movie adds a few things that I think are hilarious – like Scott and Knives at the arcade, Scott’s story about Pac Man, and the way Scott describes Ramona’s hair. Maybe the arcade stuff happens later, but I could see how that would be easier to pull off on film than in a graphic novel.
I’ve been reading a lot of graphic novels lately, mostly because people have given me a lot of them for some reason. This is one of my favorites because I think it is so clever. I don’t know if I would like it as much if I hadn’t seen the movie, but it’s hard to say. I think one of the things that I find sort of subtly hilarious in this story is how these insane male wish-fulfillment dreams will get fulfilled in the story, and Scott only reacts in a somewhat douchey way, but nobody freaks out. Like, battle of the bands is literally a Street Fighter-style cage match in which the music turns into monsters that fight each other, and Scott returns to the old, “Well, I knew I rocked, but I was not aware that we rocked collectively,” attitude. So brilliant. Is this because I have a little brother? And Scott reminds me of my little brother? Is that why I think this is so funny? Because all of Scott's conversations with his sister are so hilarious to me.
Digression: I saw the movie two or three times in the theater. One of the times was when I dragged my brother to see it, and he fully appreciated its genius, as I knew he would. Both (all?) times I saw it, the theater showed a preview for that movie Devil, and as the preview was showing people (including me) were like, "WTH??? What is this movie about? Oh my god, this looks so ridiculous," and then it would show M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN across the screen, and the whole theater would go, "Ohhhhhhhahahahaha!" American zeitgeist.
I don’t really think graphic novels are my thing. Maybe Persepolis is my thing, but in general I find them kind of boring. This wasn’t boring, but I don’t know if that was in large part because I knew what jokes were coming up.
I love Kim a lot. I must watch this movie again soon. _______________________ I received a copy of this from Netgalley....more
This book is like if the best book in the world had a lust affair with the worst book in the world, and that affair resulted in the birth of two childThis book is like if the best book in the world had a lust affair with the worst book in the world, and that affair resulted in the birth of two children, a brother and a sister. Then, those children had an incestuous affair with each other, which resulted in the birth of two children, a brother and a sister. Then, those incestuous children had an incestuous affair, which resulted in the birth of twins, a brother and a sister. Then those incestuous, incestuous twins had twincest with each other, which resulted in the birth of a child whom they named Quasimodo for no particular reason. Then, Quasimodo, the incestuous, incestuous, twincestuous child, committed bestiality with a giant, alien crab; and then the seed from that mating read a blog about oil shortage, watched Jurassic Park, and decided to write a book. In other words, this book is spectacular.
The funny thing about this book is that almost everything in the entire story seemed like an error, but nothing seemed like a mistake. So, goes toward proving what a waste of time this entire book is. I like that.
One of the best parts:
Axis[, chief warrior of the raptors,] stood on the hill overlooking the village. So many lives, all his responsibility . . . . [A] pyre was burning nearby, the bodies of raptors and Skjerdals piled high, a thick black column of smoke rising up. Looking at the column, Axis imagined he could see the faces of all those lost lives in that smoke: the face of Asnyllo, a good childhood friend. The face of Blasdij, a girl he once dated. He thought he saw some horses, too, and a clown, but it was the faces of all those dead raptors that really bothered him. And maybe that clown a little bit.
That quote would be akin to a spoiler if there was a plot in this book, but there is not a plot, so don’t worry. It’s all pretty much random stuff like that. And a lot of wild sex.
The rape was interesting in this book because it was mostly not rape in that it was sex with a blow-up doll who did not want sex, but begged for sex, and then strangely morphed into a “warrior queen” who begged for sex. So, that raises the question of whether prostitution can ever be voluntary and answers it with a no. There is also that . . . other rape scene . . . with the giant mole rat. So, there’s a lot of rapey, non-rapey sex with creepy blow-up doll people.
Also, there is a homosexual biologist, whose scorpion tail pusses and spurts ineffectually and who is a homosexual.
(view spoiler)[AND THEN AT THE END V.D. BURNS WRITES A BOOK CALLED BLOOD LUST ABOUT ME FALLING IN LOVE WITH A WEREWOLF VAMPIRE!!!!! So, surprise ending. Probably the coolest thing anyone has ever done for me. Thnx, Mr. Burns. (hide spoiler)]
Basically, this book is either the best or the worst ever, or some kind of incestuous spawn of the two, and scientists will study it for eons to come. I enjoyed reading it fully as much as I enjoyed reading Twilight, though I’d have to say I got more out of Twilight because this book probably is to dude culture what Twilight is to the ladies. I am not a dude. Also, there is no real, continuous story in Gods of the Jungle Planet, so there’s that. I probably laughed harder at this one than I laughed at Twilight, but that’s difficult to estimate. I laughed pretty hard while I was reading Twilight, but it does not have a part with a clown.
V.D. Burns, kids. Get tested; use protection.
A kindle version of this book was forced upon me by a lizard-like being with a scorpion tale protruding from his head. He was asking for meatloaf.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This was fun. It felt sort of like reading P.G. Wodehouse with a laugh track. Like, it was definitely funny, and it is usually a good bet to write anThis was fun. It felt sort of like reading P.G. Wodehouse with a laugh track. Like, it was definitely funny, and it is usually a good bet to write an innocently arrogant rich young man slipping on banana peels, right? Everyone likes that. My only complaint isn't even really a complaint, but just something that I think makes Wodehouse's stories slightly more effortless. It is that there is no foil in this book, so the narrator has to act as a foil to himself and reveal his silliness. That ends up being a little *wink, wink, nudge, nudge* where Jeeves, as a foil, allows Bertie to maintain blissful helplessness throughout.
On the other hand, the lack of a direct foil to the narrator did give the stories maybe something of an O. Henry feel. Like, you could feel the wrap-up coming, and you knew it would be a surprise. Sometimes it was not a surprise, but it was very tidy in the sense that O. Henry's are, I think.
I tend to not love laugh tracks, but this was still good. It was very clever, and I do like to laugh at rich British young men. Guarantied good time with that. Still, I would easily pick Wodehouse up before this....more
I’m at a loss. I honestly don’t know what to tell you all, but this book was . . . good. It was like, good, you know? Like, when you are reading a booI’m at a loss. I honestly don’t know what to tell you all, but this book was . . . good. It was like, good, you know? Like, when you are reading a book that is mostly about girls looking for penises, but you want to know what happens next? And you don’t even want to throw it across the room a little bit? And then unexpectedly hilarious slapstick comedy ensues, but doesn’t lead to the most boring Scooby Do mystery resolution ever? No? You’ve never had that experience? Me either. It was disorienting. And I’m at a loss as to how to rate this. I mean, I have to give it five stars because I Laughed Out Loud at almost every page, and even though most of the laughter was in a WHAAAAT??? way, I don’t even really think that was unintentional. It was funny. I am going to have to watch Jersey Shore. You are here for a show-changing moment in my life.
To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, I’m going to spoiler one of the storylines. Let’s be serious though, once the characters come on stage, pretty early on in the story, you basically know how this storyline is going to go. So, one of the main characters, a kickass aerobics instructor, who took karate all her life, is named Bella Rizzoli. This creepy, asshole, voyeur Abercrombie guy latches onto her and his name is Edward Caldwell. . . . right??? RIGHT???
Yeah, so she kicks his ass in a pretty hilarious (and elaborate) way.
Mostly this book is about a coupla girls hittin’ the beach for the summer looking for some juicy guido gorilla juiceheads. It seems like simple quest, but it turns out life is never that simple. These girls have to work and work out issues with their families and kick the asses of people who have self-loathing body issues.
It’s my impression that people’s problem with reality TV, aside from the troubling voyeuristic aspect of it, is the shallowness of the people who make fools of themselves for our entertainment. That’s fair in some ways. And this book plays to a lot of that shallowness. There is a lot of funny stuff about tanning and shoes and fake eyelashes and cleavage. But, ultimately, I feel like it is a more complex issue than shallowness = bad. I am about to mount an obvious feminist soapbox, so be on alert.
I know we’ve talked about this before, but I have a problem with the idea that the accoutrements of femininity are shallow, while the accoutrements of masculinity are respectable. I think that interest in makeup trivia and interest in sports team trivia is not different, whether the person having the interest is male or female. Maybe it is shallow in the sense that it will not solve world hunger, but very few of the things any of us do every day solve world hunger. And sometimes world hunger needs a break, and we need to chill out and be okay with talking about dumb things we are interested in. So, my point is that even though there is a striking focus on pink fuzzy slippers in this book, that is something that I really like about the book, not something that makes the book itself shallow. Pink fuzzy slippers, cleavage, and four layers of fake eyelashes are a style decision, not a soul-changing decision. You could hate it, and I don’t have a problem with that, because WOW, but it seems unexpectedly shallow to make a judgment about another person’s shallowness based on their eyelashes and slippers.
Anyway, this book addresses both female and male body image, family dynamics, date rape, acceptance and rejection of personal weaknesses, and navigating the different expectations for women and men when it comes to career choices. And, seriously, it does it in this really respectable way. Of course, these girls are not wearing monocles and smoking jackets and explaining tautologies, nor are they having tautologies explained to them. They are mostly partying, scoping out guido gorilla juiceheads, and kicking ass. They are passing the Bechtel test. They are talking like girls talk and being friends to each other. I don’t know if this book went through a genius editing process, or what, but if I saw a high school girl reading this, I would be happy. The writing is not complex. It is more like reading a blog of silly quotes from teenagers, but let's be honest: I would read that kind of blog. It is sparkly, but addresses important issues without apology, equivocation, or lectures. It entertains, and ultimately has some really positive, thoughtful messages. I can’t think of what else I look for in a book.
This book was given to me by the publisher, and while I did promise to review it, I think we can all honestly say we thought I would rip it to shreds. Unexpected bonus for all. ...more
I found this story positively delightful. It is true, what you hear, that it is very put-down-able, but that is something I appreciate about it. And iI found this story positively delightful. It is true, what you hear, that it is very put-down-able, but that is something I appreciate about it. And it definitely picks up steam about halfway through. It is about a very sensible girl, who uses her good sense to clean up a family. I think it’s a lot like Polyanna (I’ve only seen the Hayley Mills movie, but I imagine the book has to be pretty similar), but creepy instead of saccharine. It has this P.G. Wodehouse feel of calm irony in the face of disaster, but, then, also, a masculine hostility and danger that Ms. Flora Poste coolly navigates.
I’m usually pretty good with dialect and colloquialisms, but I have to admit those held me up every once in a while here. There is also some . . . magical realism? Or really literal, punny, slap-stick? Or something that caught me off guard every once in a while. But, I thought Ms. Poste’s bitchiness was pretty entertaining and respectable. She’s sort of a lady Henry Higgins. I have this neighbor who is a real busybody. Cartoonish, almost. She’s everywhere, taking pictures of your outdoor maintenance, stopping people from smoking on the HOA property, expressing concern about pipes and roofs and things like that. It’s very off putting, in the same way I imagine management by Flora Poste would be off putting. But, there is also something truly entertaining about it. It’s interesting to watch someone manage other people’s lives. (As long as you can get out of management yourself, or as long as it works out conveniently to you.) And there is this great quote at the end of the book that I think is hilarious, “Like all really strong-minded women, on whom everybody flops, she adored being bossed about.” Ha! I don’t identify with that at all, or think it’s really true, but it’s delightfully organized to think so.
I also think that I benefited (finally!) from my lack of suspense. When people come to me and tell me that they have something they shouldn’t tell me, I think, Holy heck, I hope they don’t tell me. I think I remember the story that made me like this, and, trust me, you don’t want to know it. I saw something nasty in the woodshed. The whole Cold Comfort Farm gang is running around the whole time dropping hints of scandals that Ms. Poste might want to know, and I felt totally fine knowing or not knowing what those were. The main point was watching our lady be sensible and efficient and ironically detached. This worked out well for me because (view spoiler)[you basically never find out what any of the scandals are or have any of the mysteries resolved (hide spoiler)]. That was pretty hilarious to me. I enjoyed it.
I also appreciated how (view spoiler)[everyone found their calling or true love (hide spoiler)] because of Ms. Poste’s solicitude. The whole story had this unlikely combination of irony, frank sensuality, slap-stick, creepiness, and Hollywood. I can see how it could get too built up, but I enjoyed just about every minute of it.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Woody Allen has that way of writing awkward attractions and selfish motivations that is forgiving and neat. He ties up the loose ends, but then at theWoody Allen has that way of writing awkward attractions and selfish motivations that is forgiving and neat. He ties up the loose ends, but then at the same time, there is always an absurdity to the tying up. The characters will probably never be content, but somehow I, as their audience, am left content through the catharsis of watching Allen’s characters self-destruct. Despite the dissonance in the character relationships, what was secret is now in the open, the bad guy is murdered or permanently tortured with guilt, the underdog had his day, the boy found a girl. It is a good combination of satisfying and dissatisfying.
This book is great. The Abraham Lincoln play cracked me up; the hospital romance was sad and smart; and the story with Madame Bovary came right while Kelly and I were having our epic battle, so that was perfect. Woody Allen is cool.
[obligatory part where I say how much I completely adore Mia Farrow until the end of time.]
I’m listing below my ranking of favorite to least favorite Woody Allen films. I only rank based on personal preference, not based on a weird guess at objective quality because I am a bad guesser. Also, admittedly, it’s been about six years since I’ve seen some of them, so it gets a little vague and messy in the middle.
1. Another Woman 2. Purple Rose of Cairo 3. Vicky Cristina Barcelona 4. Stardust Memories 5. Sweet and Lowdown 6. Broadway Danny Rose 7. Manhattan 8. Sleeper 9. Crimes and Misdemeanors 10. Husbands and Wives 11. Alice 12. Interiors 13. September 14. Bananas 15. Small Time Crooks 16. Bullets Over Broadway 17. Radio Days 18. Shadows and Fog 19. Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy 20. Annie Hall 21. Play It Again, Sam 22. New York Stories 23. Take the Money and Run 24. Love and Death 25. Zelig 26. Cassandra’s Dream 27. Match Point 28. Manhattan Murder Mystery 29. Hollywood Ending 30. Midnight in Paris 31. Scoop 32. What’s Up, Tiger Lily? 33. Hannah and Her Sisters 34. Curse of the Jade Scorpion 35. Mighty Aphrodite 36. Whatever Works 37. Anything Else 38. Melinda and Melinda 39. Celebrity 40. Deconstructing Harry
That’s how the films go for me, I think. It is a very unfair list because I basically love most of them. I think you hit the “Yeah, that was pretty good” place around Hollywood Ending, but psychosomatic blindness? Yes, please.
When I was in high school, my best friend’s family watched Woody Allen movies all the time, and I couldn’t stand him. He seemed so smug, saying, “Look, I write a couple of jokes and everyone forgives me screwing people over.” Gross.
Then, suddenly, I hit maybe age twenty-four, and I watched Purple Rose of Cairo and got hooked. I watched everything I could get my hands on. He was no longer smug voice of screwing people over, but somehow, instead, this voice of compassion – a voice saying, “Look at how shallow we all are, but that doesn’t mean we are unimportant.” And I still value that. He combines the daily, mundane dissatisfactions of life with the epic curiosities of time travel and murrrrder and true love. What a wonderful storyteller. Purple Rose of Cairo is a good place to start....more
Another stupendous installment of the madcap adventures of the gang at 62 and 63 New Square! This time, the mystery has the same background story as JAnother stupendous installment of the madcap adventures of the gang at 62 and 63 New Square! This time, the mystery has the same background story as John Grisham’s The Firm, but it is deeeelightful, instead of being kind of dark and boring. Again, what I find wonderful about all of Caudwell’s books is that the unraveling of the stories are so light and fun, but the denouement always has a sense of insight into the depth of misunderstanding and tragedy of which humans are capable. These characters resonate with me, and I love them whether they are slipping on banana peels or prying into the heart and mind of a murderer.
I listened to this one on audio, and I must use the word “splendid” about the audio because it was so British in its greatness. I highly recommend it. This one has more Cantrip than some of the others, which I loved because I think Cantrip is a hilarious character. There is a joke at the beginning about how he learns to use the telex machine (I know, quaint! I am still not positive what a telex machine is, but it seems like sounds kind of like a cross between email and fax), and he suddenly has to send telexes to everyone he can find a number for. He’s, like, one of the original trolls. Brilliant. I love all the lawyers, though. Julia’s wonderful tax planning advice is great, and Selena’s advocacy, and Ragwort’s disapproval of it all. Why do people read stupid Grisham and Ludlum and the like? Sorry, fans, but I cannot abide those people and their boring redundancy. Caudwell kicks their asses.
I guess she does basically hit everything I love in every book: law, literature, gender, slapstick, melodrama. Really the only thing missing is the characters bursting out into a Whedon-esque song and dance. Otherwise, it’s all in there. And she doesn’t really repeat on the sex and gender stuff, either. It seems different and new in every book. I’m going to copy for you this really wonderful exchange that Caudwell uses with artistry that I think is genius in this book:
”There is nothing to worry about,” said Julia, with an excess of confidence which I found in itself alarming. “I have worked out a strategy for dealing with him. I intend to model my behaviour in all respects on that of my Aunt Regina. My Aunt Regina, so far as I can discover, doesn’t believe that men progress much morally or intellectually after the age of six, and she treats them accordingly. She always gets on splendidly with men like the Colonel – two of her husbands were of just the same type.”
“My dear Julia,” said Ragwort, “your ambition to deal with men in the same manner as your Aunt Regina is very laudable. From the point of view of realism, however, it is somewhat similar to your deciding to play tennis in the style of Miss Martina Navratilova.”
“The trouble is,” said Selena, with a certain wistfulness, “that you and I, Julia, have been brought up in an era of emancipation and enlightenment, and we have got into the habit of treating men as if they were normal, responsible, grown-up people. We engage them in discussion; we treat their opinions as worthy of quite serious consideration; we seek to influence their behavior by rational argument rather than by some simple system of rewards and punishments. It’s all a great mistake, of course, and only makes them confused and miserable – especially men like the Colonel, who have grown up with the idea that women will tell them what they ought to do without their having to think about it for themselves. But I’m afraid it’s too late to put the clock back.”
Incidentally, if you listen to the audio of these books, you realize that Julia’s Aunt Regina’s name rhymes with vagina. . . . So, that was a pleasant surprise. Last night, inspired by this book and the Oregon legal community, I spent some delightful hours with friends talking about the potential of someone named Regina Sarcombe sizing us up.
Anyway, I love the way this book both lightheartedly and tragically shows relationships between men and women. It shows how people are very silly and very passionate, in just the way I see people as silly and passionate. I read something on wikipedia about the series - that it suffers from being too detached, or something? I agree that there is a beautifully British ironical detachment in the right places, but where the stories should be compassionate and touching, they are that as well. These are wonderful books, and I’m a little sad that I gave the first two to a friend. I will have to find new copies so that I can have a complete set. Oh, but it looks like there are some very tempting hardcovers out there. I resolve that I shall wait until I get paid, but after that there are no guaranties that my hardcover collection won’t get a little fatter. ...more
Possibly this was my favorite of the Tamar series. It is lovely how this series gets better and better. I had to go back and give them all five starsPossibly this was my favorite of the Tamar series. It is lovely how this series gets better and better. I had to go back and give them all five stars just because they don't drop off and get terrible by the end. This one has hokum and euphemistic professions and an evilly helpful girl, and finally we meet Julia’s dear Aunt Regina (pronounced . . . well, you know). And, of course, murrrrderrrrr. I listened to half of it on audio, but then I was so impatient to read the rest that I sat down and read it in my room on a beautiful, rainy evening with candles and soup and peonies blooming just outside my window.
Caudwell tells her readers just the right amount of things. She’s not always going off about the wood somebody made a cabinet with, or the clothes everybody is wearing, unless I actually want to know about those things. I mean, there is that hilarious part in one of these – I think it’s in the Sirens – where Ragwort tells Julia that he thinks her dress was made for someone with broader shoulders. That gives you just the information you need to know about Julia’s dress, and it establishes Ragwort’s talent for euphemism at the same time. Anyway, the clothes and furniture and whatnot that Caudwell describes establish the characters, unlike some books, where the author is just taking up my precious time to prove she researched what the kids were wearing and storing their dishes in back in the day. So annoying.
This one also had some interesting stuff about insider trading and inheritance. Mostly, the characters were once again brilliant. The only tragedy (other than the story) is that I have no more of these to read. I will have to start the series from the beginning again. ...more
Proper British lawyers + orgies = win! I love these ladies like they were my legal sisters. My sisters-in-law, if you would. Bah dum tsss. Thank you fProper British lawyers + orgies = win! I love these ladies like they were my legal sisters. My sisters-in-law, if you would. Bah dum tsss. Thank you folks, I’m here all week. Anyway, they are so wonderful. Instead of hilarious Shakespeare jokes, like the first book had, this book has some impressive Homer references. I wouldn’t really say they’re Homer jokes, but it’s possible I’m missing some of the hilarity, not being the Homer scholar that I wish I was. It’s more like Homer wit. Like the first in the series, this is just a perfect book. No complaints that I can remember. Again, I can’t give it five stars, but this is a really, really, really high four stars.
You can read this one as a stand-alone. You will not know as much as you should about Julia’s clumsiness or passion for beautiful profiles, but I think you’d still be able to catch up. Likewise, you will not have a background in the particulars of the rest of this Scooby gang, but I’m sure you’d figure them out really quickly. The stories only build on each other slightly. And, if Homer’s more your man than Shakespeare, this one would be perfect for you!
Funny note about these books: the women lawyers are called by their first names and the men are called by their last names. I get this. We all have to call each other Mr. This or Ms. That in our first year in law school, so some people I still call by their last names. I wouldn’t say I tend to do this more with girls or guys, but I bet it was more natural, back in the dark ages of the 1980s, to call women by their first names because if they married, they would change last names. It is difficult to start calling someone a new name when you’re used to an old one.
Law is a difficult field for women, though, imo. I was talking to one of my women professors last week, and she told me that when she graduated, I believe in the 1970s, she was first in her class, editor of the law review, and passed the bar with the highest score, but she couldn’t get a job. That totally sucks. Even now, I think law is pretty entrenched in some insidious hierarchical ideas that the rest of society doesn’t necessarily buy into. So, there’s also the option that women were called by their first names as an unconscious disrespect. That would be sad. It’s not distracting in the book, though, because these ladies are seriously amazing. I really love them.
Seriously. A lot of people should read these books. Especially people on goodreads.com. These books are, like made for us. If there were LOL Cats in 1985, there would be LOL Cat references in these books, I’m pretty sure. Classical literature and comedy . . . AND! Even tragedy! And sweet political commentary, but in a funny way – not heavy handed. Come on, people! Why are you not reading these books more?! I know there aren’t faeries or vampires in them . . . but maybe there are!!! You don’t know! And there are hilarious stories that are mysterious, but have a point in the end. I am such a fangirl for Sarah Caudwell. If I’m ever a lawyer, I want to be just like her....more
Anyone who can tell a pretty hilarious Shakespeare joke is okay in my book. And this book is full of really hilarious Shakespeare jokes. Poor DesdemonAnyone who can tell a pretty hilarious Shakespeare joke is okay in my book. And this book is full of really hilarious Shakespeare jokes. Poor Desdemona. Oh, man. L, as they say, OL. And the slapstick. Oh, the slapstick! She gets it just right in that dry, British way, where you feel like she’s describing something really elegant, but actually it’s almost grotesque. This book was wonderful. I totally love it. I would give it five stars, except my undying devotion for Gaudy Night is making it impossible for me to do that. It’s completely unfair because this book is so perfect on its own. But . . . there is still Gaudy Night, which makes me tear up from how much I love it. So, the star system is cheating Caudwell in this instance. (Edited: I had to go back and give them all five stars after finishing the last one because they are all so wonderful.)
I know I’ve said it before, but I’m not, as a rule, a fan of mysteries. I don’t have a sense of suspense, so when suspense drags on for too long, I just get bored and stop caring. Mostly, though, it bothers me when I feel like you the author actually had nothing to say, but just picked out some random things, had the sleuth notice them, and then brought those things around in the end to be randomly the solution. I don’t know why I’m reading that because they could be any facts. Like, the lipstick-stained cigarette, or the broken nail, or the powder on the lapel, or what. ever. It seems like machine-generated stories, where the author really has nothing to tell me. This book is the opposite of that. In this book, when the mystery wraps up in the end, the solution is the meaning of the story. It is why to read the book. I mean, the rest of the antics are great, but the solution is the purpose. I like that.
Oh, and the art law! Yay! The art law! It is just lovely. Art law is so fun. Most of art law has to do with inheritance and cultural artifacts, like it does in this book, and I think it is such an interesting topic. Don’t worry, this book is mostly about cute boys and the silly antics of crime-solving lawyers and funny Shakespeare jokes, but the art law is super interesting and absolutely correct, if you’re into that kind of thing.
I read this over spring break, lying by a pool in Palm Springs, and it was just perfect. There was a cute baby there, doing cute baby things, and good friends, good food, good book. So perfect. This is a wonderful beach read. It’s put-down-able, but also pick-back-up-again-able. I wanted to know what was going to happen, but I didn’t feel like if I put it down, I would be unable to hear the words of my friends trying to talk to me. Sometimes, with a beach read, I don’t like to have something too engrossing because then if I start reading outside, I get sunburned because I forget I’m outside. Or, if I’m inside, I never see the light of day. Those books have their three-in-the-morning moments, but they are a commitment. They’re like a friend who I really need a play-break from after a little while. Too much energy. This is like a perfectly lovely, reliable friend, who I hope to be more like someday. I have passed to another friend the copy that Elizabeth passed on to me, but I’m pretty positive I will read this book again someday, if only to remember all the funny Shakespeare stuff. ...more
Everything is still tonight, like a friend was talking and I didn’t hear her until she stopped. Like absence. Coming back from vacation has that feeliEverything is still tonight, like a friend was talking and I didn’t hear her until she stopped. Like absence. Coming back from vacation has that feeling of loss because all of the friendships resolve into something real, whatever that may be. Whenever I am away from home, I crave The Sun Also Rises. I think it got into my blood from reading it again and again at impressionable ages. Since I returned home this time, a couple of weeks ago, I can’t stop thinking about my friends in this book and their fiesta. And I’ve been thinking about the last line of the book and how pretty we all are when we are away.
It seems vulgar to talk about substantive things in this book, compliments or criticisms, because I think it’s one of my best friends, and one of my oldest friends. I probably don’t know any of you as well as I know The Sun Also Rises, so I don’t really want to go behind its back and tell you whether it’s an angry drunk or has informed opinions about war and taxidermy. I will tell you that it’s a comfort when I’m sad or lonely. Not a gentle comfort, but a comfort nonetheless.
I love getting away for a fiesta and the bonds and prejudices that come from being with people on vacation. I hate returning. Returning from vacation makes me really angry. We were waiting for the plane in Tanzania on the way back from Zanzibar, and I had just gotten to the end of The Sun Also Rises. I was so pleased to end the book and see the fiesta disintegrate, just as my own vacation did. During my last week on the island, I was reading another book, and I couldn’t even pay attention to it because I so badly wanted to read about Jake and Bill going fishing. I had to stop and change books on my wonderful Kindle (don’t hate). But, as I was sitting in the café at the Dar es Salaam airport, eating my grilled cheese and anticipating what Jake has to tell me at the very end of this book, suddenly it ended – TWO FULL PAGES BEFORE THE ACTUAL END OF THE BOOK. That is the type of evil I’m talking about of returning from vacation. I’m still mad about it, even though, of course, I finished the book when I got home to my printed copy.
I should probably tell you about how much I love the men in this book. Aren’t men sometimes lovely? And I love the women here, too, even though I cannot imagine a woman ever seeing herself or seeing another woman the way Hemingway writes her. She is always sort of framed and hanging in the entryway of the story so that as people are coming and going they see her and comment on her beauty and tragedy. But, there is always something that reminds me of Romeo and Juliet in Hemingway’s men. I know that A Farewell to Arms is really his Romeo and Juliet (and I love that book as much, even though it is more pristine and not as good a friend). But there is something of the way the men are here that is just the way the men are in R&J. They are all in love and all fighting. And Hemingway’s love stories are made so much more beautiful by being totally incompatible with life. The love is idealized, like maybe all love is, but like the story is not. He tells you about those pockets of comfort in life, but he also tells about what is on either side of them.
I guess I am talking around what I love about the men. I had forgotten in rereading this that there is the hovering analogy of the bulls and steers throughout the book. It is so beautifully done, without being vulgar and literal. I love that all of the emotion among the men – the respect and pity and friendship and jealousy and silent understanding – is there and tangible, but no one talks down to me about it or ruins it by bragging and explaining. Anyway, I have always been partial to Benvolio, and I think Bill is a sort of Benvolio character here, even though you will maybe say he is a Mercutio because of all of his chatter and utilizing. Maybe Jake is my Benvolio. Of course, Cohn must be Romeo. I love being told about all of them.
Mostly what I’m thinking about is the men being in love, even though the story isn’t only about that. The love stories here are so much the opposite of love stories that I am thinking about calling this book an anti-romance. Maybe I am wrong, though. They are about wanting and never having, and isn’t that the flash-bang of romance? Not, obviously, in the literary sense of “romance,” but in the Hollywood sense of romance. The Valentines Day sense. In the sense that vacations are romantic – living a life outside of your own that doesn’t even really exist. For a while now, I have been looking for what I find to be truly romantic in stories. By that I mean, what I find to actually sell me on the idea of love. There are those stories in which people dig deeper than romance to the place that Hemingway’s characters get to, the alienation of actually knowing each other, and then they dig past that to something that I think is love. Maybe that exists. I don’t think Hemingway believed in it, though, and I don’t know that it would have been very interesting to read about if he did. What he writes about, though, is beautiful and interesting, and it exists to me.
I have read this book more times than any other, and even though it is different to me each time, and I see something new, it is always a friend. I don’t really want you to read it. I am happy keeping it to myself. I mostly wanted to tell you about how I love vacations and hate coming back from them, and how it is always just like in the book. I also wanted to tell you about how Chapter 12 is probably my favorite writing that exists, and how I love the rain and I love it when Hemingway writes about the rain. I think Hemingway understood a lot of things differently than I do, but he talks about them so perfectly....more