I read this book in a one sitting and after I sat there speechless. DeLillo created such emotion with this novel. Not only do you see the woman's grie...moreI read this book in a one sitting and after I sat there speechless. DeLillo created such emotion with this novel. Not only do you see the woman's grief at times I felt it. (less)
Words Made Fresh: Essays on Literature and Culture by Larry Woiwode is billed as being an interesting collection of essays that will study the words a...moreWords Made Fresh: Essays on Literature and Culture by Larry Woiwode is billed as being an interesting collection of essays that will study the words and places which effect our cultural, spiritual and literary lives. I personally do not share the religious worldview of Woiwode but I am always open to reading a collection about what effects our cultural, spiritual and literary lives. I was somewhat disappointed with the collection and it has nothing to do with his consistent repetition of the question “What is the author’s responsibility to God and or his audience?” I appreciate such questions and in order to even attempt to understand them we need some powerful writing that will leave a lasting effect on the reader. This collection was not that. The first essay; a story about his experience of killing a wounded deer in front of his wife and child and how that left not only a lasting impression on everyone, was a bit disturbing and if the collection had continued in such a manner this review would be quite different. As the collection continued the pieces became dry and somewhat boring.
One of the most disappointing things about this collection is the lack of a unifying theme. Yes the introduction sets up what the promised theme is but the essays do not follow suit. It was a little discombobulating to go from one topic to another within the same collection.
What was well done in this collection was the ability that Woiwode had to face some of the stereotypes of religion. Not that I am an avid reader of Christian writing, but what I have found in what I have read, is very polite literature whose aim is not to offend. That was not a restriction Woiwode chose to place on himself. Some of the pieces (the first essay in particular) were shocking and disturbing.
I have read other reviews of this book that have stated that he places everyone who does not share his views under attack… that is a bit dramatic. He is strong in his beliefs but I hardly felt under attack as a non-Christian reader. If anything the only feelings I got from the collection were a bit of boredom and at times a little shock. Now as I often say at the end of any review, the fact that I did not like a book does not make is unreadable for another. I can honestly say I have never read a book that I thought… “Oh boy! No one should ever read this book!!!” So that in mind here is who I think would enjoy this collection of essays; persons who share Woiwode’s faith, persons who are already fans of Woiwode’s work and persons who like to read essays (although the last group may proceed with caution). (less)
I really liked this book. I had read other reviews before stating that it was pretentious and therefore the reader did not like it. This may sound odd...moreI really liked this book. I had read other reviews before stating that it was pretentious and therefore the reader did not like it. This may sound odd but it was the pretentiousness that made me like it. If this book were a person it would be the type of person who had just went on some sort of spiritual quest and came back to intermingle with the rest of us knowing the secrets of the universe. Okay perhaps not really all the secrets of the universe but with each sentence that was slowly delivered to the reader the book gained confidence much like the hero in the novel when he first sees the break in the wall that the heroine put up. He knows it is only a matter of time before we fall in love with him and say yes to his proposal. That explicit subtly and it's pretentiousness is what made me like this book.
Well that and all the books. I cannot help liking a book that spends much of its time talking about books, reading books, writing about books. Yep when a novel spends as much time talking about books as this one did I cannot help it, I will ultimately fall in love with the novel.
The main plot, the "marriage plot" was an interesting take on a classic story line that is still used today. The ending seemed to be both a sarcastic statement about the marriage plot as well as a sincere, very heart felt look at the marriage plot. It was a brilliant novel. Read it when you have the time, it is worth it. (less)
“We glimpse such a small part of our lives. Imagine a paper clip attached to a piece of paper- or better yet, three pieces of paper. We pride ourselve...more“We glimpse such a small part of our lives. Imagine a paper clip attached to a piece of paper- or better yet, three pieces of paper. We pride ourselves on our organization, we congratulate ourselves on our innate wisdom, but in truth, all we ever know at one time is the area contained by the paper clip, while reams of paper reside in us.” (71)
The idea that our lives are so full and that we can only glimpse a few moments of our lives at a time is so enticing to think about, it is often the underlying theme of novels. Indira Ganesan weaves together snapshots of the lives of one family living on the island of Pi in the Bay of Bengal in her novel As Sweet as Honey. The story told between the covers is many faceted but our anchor throughout is Meterling. In the first part of the novel we hear about Meterling’s life from her niece Mina. At a moment in her life when Meterling thought she would not find love Archer enters her life and completely wins her heart. From the start they seem to fit together so well, understand each other so completely; “Meterling had never tasted such a fizzy drink before and immediately burped. Archer let one out too, to save her embarrassment, and that’s how their fate was sealed.” (10) Although their courtship was short they were sure that their lives together would be long and full. Unfortunately for the couple their lives together would end on their wedding day when Archer died from an aneurism. Deep in the depths of grief Meterling discovered that she was pregnant with Archer’s child. She would have a piece of him to carry with her in life after all. Just before the arrival of Oscar Meterling finds love again with the man she least expected, Archer’s cousin Simon.
The second part of the book follows Meterling, Simon and Oscar to London where for the first time in the book we hear from Meterling herself. She tells us of her insecurities, her triumphs and her encounters with Archer’s ghost. We briefly watch the family grow together and fall comfortably with one another in a place where happiness can bloom.
In part III we finally return to Pi with everyone nine years older and in different times of their lives. The three cousins who started the book with us Mina, Rasi and Sanjay are older and ready to embark on their own life changing journeys that include creating their own families. Old ghosts are finally put to rest and the family is preparing to welcome in the next generation.
As Sweet as Honey is a beautifully written novel about love, loss and life in general. Some of the characters are very compelling (Meterling for example) and others we can only wish for more interaction (Mina for instance). Overall the book was enjoyable but I have to admit the shifts in country and narration are confusing at times. Just as we were getting into the groove with one story and one character we switch to another voice and another story altogether. While most of them fit together nicely some feel as if they are missing just a little something. Should you choose to read this book (and I highly recommend you do) make sure you have plenty of time to devout to the novel. It is not one that can be read quickly, you will lose so much of the poetry of the novel if you do.
I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a tale of love, is interested in South Asian or English culture and even those who have a passion for classic novels (there are many illusions and direct quotes).
NOTE: I received this book from the publisher to review. In no way did that influence my opinion of the book or the content of this review.
Novel Moments: “I mean, we have such a conviction that tea will cure all ills, that all we ever really need is a good cup of tea.” (22)
“Only the first three mouthfuls will be good. You must relish them: its heat, its flavor. After that, you will drink only the memory of that first taste, until you drain the cup.” (30)
“Those first three sips said, Nalani when I told her what Meterling had told us, those first three sips are so precious to her because she lost Archer. That’s why she thinks the flavor can’t last to the last drop. Three sips and gone.” (31)
“Meterling was like a rose that kept blooming, long after everyone thought it couldn’t bloom anymore. Unfurling like a flag, like a song, like joy, like love itself.” (35)
“She savored early the idea of what could be left after the main show, what remained in the bowl.” (37)
“Isn’t that who we are at heart, a species that tells and doesn’t tell, keeps the heart and brain hidden, complicating our lives for the drama, so we don’t have to face the night?” (128)(less)
The Shakespeare authorship question is not a new notion, nor is the idea of writing a novel about exploring said authorship, it is however one of this...moreThe Shakespeare authorship question is not a new notion, nor is the idea of writing a novel about exploring said authorship, it is however one of this reader’s favorite topics. I love the adventure and mystery that can be produced around Shakespeare, not to mention when you write a book about Shakespeare… the references to his plays will be plentiful. David Lawrence-Young’s novel Will the Real William Shakespeare Please Step Forward? is yet another novel to add to the list of fantastic historical fiction/literary fiction about the Shakespeare authorship question bookshelf.
Daniel Ryhope, a lecturer of the Bard of Avon, is confronted by colleagues with the idea the “William Shakespeare was a con man! A fake and a forger!” Daniel, as any good member of the literati would do set off to the library with his wife and two friends for an intense search to find out the truth about who really wrote William Shakespeare. With so many questions and so many sources the foursome discover that there are many truths out there and finding the one they seek is not an easy task.
Well their end discovery in the Shakespeare authorship question is not at all surprising the ending does pose another question that I can only hope Young will turn into a sequel… “Did Shakespeare have anything to do with Marlowe’s death?”
Overall, this is a fun read, and you can create a fantastic Shakespeare authorship question bibliography from the read. (I will post my notes from the book soon on my blog.) I recommend this to the reader who is interested in Shakespeare, enjoys reading books about adventures while researching. Or to the person who thinks a day or two spent in deep research in your favorite corner of the library as a dream vacation. Those looking for a sort of thriller, edge of your seat suspense however may not find this to be there cup of tea. (less)