I am a professed big-time fan of Edith Wharton. This is definitely one of her lesser-known works, so if you're just going to dabble in Wharton, obviou...moreI am a professed big-time fan of Edith Wharton. This is definitely one of her lesser-known works, so if you're just going to dabble in Wharton, obviously read The Age of Innocence or The House of Mirth instead. But her writing is like candy to me, and this is just fantastic. It's so typically Whartonian in the way she plays with your emotions. It's not quite as tight as her more well-known stuff (there's a reason they're more well-known) but it's still a great read.(less)
Okay, so first of all, this will obviously be a treasure to his children, family, and close friends. But I am none of those things so I will treat it...moreOkay, so first of all, this will obviously be a treasure to his children, family, and close friends. But I am none of those things so I will treat it from my perspective. And that is that he's kind of a d-bag. The writing is poor, he paints his saintly wife in a less-than-flattering light, he is extremely cocky, and he's a grown man with a weird borderline fetish for Disney. The stuff about treasuring your life is fine, but neither new nor groundbreaking. Needless to say, I'm not drinking the kool-aid.(less)
I haven't been feeling well this past week, so I kept this book close by to serve as a distraction from my ailment. To that effect, it worked (with on...moreI haven't been feeling well this past week, so I kept this book close by to serve as a distraction from my ailment. To that effect, it worked (with one exception; I took issue with one very specific line that was just too much for me). I appreciated her appropriate use of Utah as a place where people ship their delinquent kids for wilderness rehabilitation, because that is TRUE and I knew kids in high school who received that treatment and I also knew kids in college who served as counselors at those establishments. So, well played there. This is a SUPER minor part of the story, but I am often irritated when authors misunderstand or misrepresent either Utah or LDS culture, and since the topic is so en vogue, it happens all the time. But Semple gets it hilariously right here (and I should note, it's a Utah thing, not a Mormon thing, and she treats it as such).
As for the book, I loved the writing. This should come as no surprise, considering the author's involvement with and my love for Arrested Development. There are a lot of miserable, unlikeable character (Soo-Lin, omg the WORST), which makes for a good read sometimes. I lol'ed when Bee's all like "I called her Yoko Ono because she broke up the Beatles, not because she's Asian" because yes. That is gold.
But still, it didn't blow me out of the water. It's been over-hyped just a smidge. And that cover art, ugh, I hate it.(less)
Obviously, it's still good, but "Purgatory" suffers from middle book syndrome. It's difficult to follow something as juicy as the eternally damned and...moreObviously, it's still good, but "Purgatory" suffers from middle book syndrome. It's difficult to follow something as juicy as the eternally damned and to serve as a precursor to something as magnificent as eternal salvation, so I'm not holding anyone at fault for this. There are some really great messages of hope and endurance here, regardless of religious views, so it's worth it just for that. Plus, you gotta get to Heaven somehow.(less)
Okay so this author is about my age and grew up in Orange County. She is presumably intelligent (she went to Harvard after all... but I will get to th...moreOkay so this author is about my age and grew up in Orange County. She is presumably intelligent (she went to Harvard after all... but I will get to this) and so am I. I feel like we should have a connection. Plus, this book has a terrific premise that is all sorts of delights for me. But okay, let's talk about Ivy Leagues. So Ms. Shipstead has said (I read this somewhere, I am sure of it) that she never really felt like she belonged in "the OC" and had a hard time fitting in. Okay, she was in high school. Not fitting in, thy name is high school. So she went back east to try to find her niche, but instead found herself surrounded by all these crazy, WASP-y, seersucker-wearing country club attenders and she was all "Whaa?" because, BIG SURPRISE, she didn't feel like she fit in there either. So she wrote a book mocking those people. And honestly, it's a pretty entertaining book, I give her props for that. But I toured a couple Ivy Leagues when I was getting ready to pick a college and I was like "NOPE" and never looked back (westcoastbestcoast). So I guess I'm saying I don't buy her whole schtick about being too unique to fit in. She should know better than to be romanced by the stupid idea of stuffy school names if she's so smart, and I believe she is.
About the book, I think her writing is great. I took issue with how she presented most of her characters though. And perhaps that's the point. I mean, I get that she's drawing this portrait of a family that is not what they appear on the surface, and I get her point about the heavy and false importance of putting on airs and such. I can deal with the incredibly unlikeable father, who refuses to tell his toddler daughter she's a princess because she is literally not of royal lineage (GREAT scene). But when the younger sister who got an abortion because she got pregnant because she didn't "feel like" using protection with her on-again-off-again boyfriend calls her older sister who is getting married at 7 months pregnant to the guy who knocked her up the very "responsible" one without the SLIGHTEST bit of irony, I am put off.
I will probably read her future works though. She has good ideas and I trust the execution will come.
Of all the definitive coming-of-age stories of all the generations, mine got the worst (I was 14 when this ca...moreUgh, so this is where hipsters came from.
Of all the definitive coming-of-age stories of all the generations, mine got the worst (I was 14 when this came out). At risk of sounding incredibly insensitive, I think it's telling that I legitimately couldn't tell if the narrator is retarded for about three quarters of the book. (less)
This is just fantastic. I think I read it my first semester in college when I took the worst Comp Lit class ever because a lot of the 8th and 9th circ...moreThis is just fantastic. I think I read it my first semester in college when I took the worst Comp Lit class ever because a lot of the 8th and 9th circles was familiar to me, but I also might've just read the juiciest parts because seriously, that was the worst class ever. And I love to read literature and to compare things, so...
But anyway, Alighieri is delightful. I LOVE how he sticks all these famous people and people he didn't like AND the occasional family member in Hell. HI-larious. I kind of wish someone would rewrite an "Inferno" for other times and places (i.e. how about modern America with celebrities and politicians, or Jane Austen, or Imperial China or something?).
One star off because I don't think this is the strongest translation, although it might be one of the most literal.(less)
I don't know. As an American (and I'm talking hundreds of years of heritage, crossing the plains, salt-of-the-earth, red-white-and-blue-blooded Americ...moreI don't know. As an American (and I'm talking hundreds of years of heritage, crossing the plains, salt-of-the-earth, red-white-and-blue-blooded American) who is white and not Native, but still very much a true American, and also a woman, I cannot properly form my opinions into words. I feel like I should say this is important?
I guess I'll say it like this: had I been the judge in this year's Tournament of Books who had to decide between this and The Fault in Our Stars in the first round, I would've picked The Round House, but it would've lost immediately to The Orphan Master's Son.(less)