Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes were a fascinating pair. The red hot couple meet in February 1956 and married four months later. Their love affair startedSylvia Plath and Ted Hughes were a fascinating pair. The red hot couple meet in February 1956 and married four months later. Their love affair started so fast it would prove impossible to sustain such momentum. Her Husband brims with fire, ice and lots of tragedy. I went into the book adoring Plath and knowing little about Hughes. I will admit I had a preconceived notion that Hughes was an a-hole; however, Middlebrook changed all that (I've lifted the moratorium on Hughes' books.) This retelling filled in all the gaps for me- how they meet, the marriage, the affair, the suicide(s) and maybe most important, the art. Plath and Hughes wanted to be full-time writers first and foremost. They sacrificed everything for that end. They loved the art of writing more than they loved themselves- that was the true romance. ...more
A Sport and a Pastime is a great title and it features one of my all-time favorite book covers. However, immediately after I finished the novel I wasnA Sport and a Pastime is a great title and it features one of my all-time favorite book covers. However, immediately after I finished the novel I wasn't sure if I liked it, or if I just liked the sex (which is very poetic if not a little misogynistic). I didn't necessarily feel any connection with the characters, although they were definitely intriguing. The story's narrator, a nameless American living in France, is the omniscient guide to what becomes an erotic journey between Dean, a "coolguy" Yale drop-out and Ann-Marie, a nineteen year-old French sexpot with bad breathe. This novel was a slow burn, yet once it seeped into my head I found it hard to think of anything else. The tone of A Sport and a Pastime is slightly reminiscent of The Great Gatsby (one of my favorites). Furthermore, The way Salter wrote about sex was inspiring and compelling. The way he wrote about race, not so much. Nonetheless, this well-written sexcapade is interesting and highly worthwhile. ...more
David Shapiro's semi-autobiographical novel, You're Not Much Use to Anyone, is like a big screen version of Seinfeld directed by Woody Allen with musiDavid Shapiro's semi-autobiographical novel, You're Not Much Use to Anyone, is like a big screen version of Seinfeld directed by Woody Allen with music by Belle and Sebastian. David Shapiro first gained national attention for starting a blog called "Pitchfork Reviews Reviews." In his novel, the fictional character (also named David) gained national attention for starting a blog called "Pitchfork Reviews Reviews." I like this novel because it's about subjects I'm interested in (blogging and music) and it reminds me of things I love (Seinfeld and Woody Allen). But, the fact that it's based on the author's real life/real events is intriguing. It motivated me to dig deeper after finishing the book. The more I learned about the real David Shapiro, the more I admired the novel. In a Vice interview last year Shapiro admits, "I feel guilty about a lot of stuff because I don't act in a way that's considerate of other people all the time. A friend who a character is based on said, -I didn't sign up for this- meaning she didn't ask to be the basis for a fictional character who does things she didn't do. And I wonder how I would feel if someone were to write about me in the way that I did about other people."
In the "fictional" story, David is fresh out of college and wondering what to do next. He gets a crappy office job to appease his parents. He meets a girl, he loses a girl, he meets another girl. He starts "Pitchfork Reviews Reviews" via his Blackberry. Not much else happens, but it's the way those things unfolded that made Shapiro's You're Not Much Use to Anyone engrossing. This novel won't blow anyone away. It's a quick and uncomplicated read about a small window of time in a young man's life- a niche novel, or dare I say a guilty pleasure. And I suspect that the David character might drive many readers crazy. He's whiny, self-involved, and annoyingly smart- the kind of guy who could have it all, but he's too blinded by insecurity and lacks enough life experience to embrace the possibilities.
Recommended to music geeks who read Pitchfork and those who think life/love is a mixtape.
Everyman is my favorite Philip Roth novel to date. It made me squirm in my seat, it entertained me, and it made me reflect on my own mortality. Dark bEveryman is my favorite Philip Roth novel to date. It made me squirm in my seat, it entertained me, and it made me reflect on my own mortality. Dark but effective. ...more
Facebook, Tinder, Match, JDate, eHarmony, Okcupid, - if only our heroine, Sheila Levine, had those resources in the early 70s... She wouldn't have toFacebook, Tinder, Match, JDate, eHarmony, Okcupid, - if only our heroine, Sheila Levine, had those resources in the early 70s... She wouldn't have to kill herself because she's overweight, unmarried, and generally unsatisfied with her unglamorous life. The novel is a little dated (originally published in 1972), but I still found it entertaining, witty, relevant, and a tad edgier than today's mainstream "chick lit." Now I am curious to see the film adaptation circa 1975. ...more
(3.5 Stars) Charles Baxter's third novel, The Feast of Love, begins and ends with his twenty year-old character, Chloe. She wasn't my favorite, (that(3.5 Stars) Charles Baxter's third novel, The Feast of Love, begins and ends with his twenty year-old character, Chloe. She wasn't my favorite, (that distinction is a tie between Bradley and Diana) but it's not until Chloe appears that things get good. The beginning of the novel feels a little trite with the whole insomnia driven moonlit walk blah, blah, blah... But, when the story finally started to pull me in (somewhere around chapter five) it was hard to not to be completely engrossed in Baxter's world of longing, heartbreak and passion.
The Feast of Love is told through a series of interwoven vignettes and alternating perspectives. The cast of characters include; Bradley, the nice guy looking for love. Kathryn, Bradley's first wife who leaves him for another woman. Diana, Bradley's second wife and the type of woman nice guys inevitably fall for. David, Diana's married lover. Chloe and her boyfriend Oscar. And finally, Harry and Esther, an older couple (Bradley's neighbor) who didn't interest me much.
Baxter really gets love and disappointment right. He made me long for a time when love was a feast of possibilities and passions. He also reminded me how unoriginal loneliness can be. Other than a few moments when it seemed like the novel was trying too hard to be philosophical and an ending that lasted a few pages too long, The Feast of Love is quite appetizing. ...more
I listened to the audio version of Katherine Heiny's short story collection- Single, Carefree, Mellow. As soon as I finished I immediately went to theI listened to the audio version of Katherine Heiny's short story collection- Single, Carefree, Mellow. As soon as I finished I immediately went to the bookstore and bought the hardcover. These stories are whip-smart and scandalous. The characters are intoxicating. Heiny's introspection, wry humor and infinite sadness made this a thought-provoking and titillating read. ...more