When I was a child, I had found a pair of gloves in the middle of the street in my cul-de-sac. They were black and worn with a little embroidered hearWhen I was a child, I had found a pair of gloves in the middle of the street in my cul-de-sac. They were black and worn with a little embroidered heart at each wrist. I slipped them on and flexed my fingers, amazed at how nicely they fit. I took them home and put them in my sock drawer, only taking them out on Thursdays for my bike ride down the street to piano lessons.
This book is exactly like those gloves. I found this book while on a field trip for pre-college English class, crammed in backward on a shelf between two books by Anais Nin. The title made me smile, so I turned to the first page and read the introduction. It is safe to say that Jeanette Winterson’s writing wormed its way into my heart rather fast.
Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit is a great, great read. Winterson beautifully mixes religious theology with budding sexuality, curiosity and identity. It was nice to watch Jeanette (the main character) grow along with the conflict of accepting her "demon". In a lot of ways it reminds me of the documentary For The Bible Tells Me So ....more
Once I had this wild idea about dropping out of college and running away to be a bartender out west. Luckily I came to my senses (only after droppingOnce I had this wild idea about dropping out of college and running away to be a bartender out west. Luckily I came to my senses (only after dropping out of college, of course). I blame books like this. There is something so American about the idea of the open road; windows down and classic rock blaring. Other people just don't get it. My British friend, Tim, once went on a road trip with me from the bottom of Michigan to the Upper Peninsula and he whined the whole way, saying "When will we get there?" or "I'd be in a different country by now if I were back home." It took everything in me not to leave him at a gas station in Gaylord. It was only an eight hour trip, for gods-sakes.
That aside, I just can't make myself finish this book. I only finished part 1. Don't get me wrong, I like it--the idea of kicking down white picket fences in search of God, and the whole beat generation jazz and seeing this version of America. It's interesting and Jack Kerouac can certainly write. There are some absolutely beautiful lines and I'd really like the hear more about this Dean (Neal Cassady) character, so tremendously excited about life.
But...I started loathing Sal. He is just sort of a dick to all his friends, and it makes me want to punch him in the face. Maybe I will come back and finish the first hipster bible a little later. But right now I can't....more
Well, there goes the last bit of desire I had to see England or France.
In all seriousness, Theodore Dalrymple has some very insightful knowledge. ThouWell, there goes the last bit of desire I had to see England or France.
In all seriousness, Theodore Dalrymple has some very insightful knowledge. Though not a Christian himself, Dalrymple (best last name ever) observes humankind's natural propensity toward evil, aka Original Sin. He also shows the destructive aftermath of communism/fascism/totalitarianism in multiple countries he has visited as a doctor. Dalrymple is a man who has seen the underclasses from around the world and has drawn reasoned conclusions about why society is reaching such a entropic level of depravity.
Being a disheartened (ex-) art major, I especially enjoyed Dalrymple's views on modern art. It is no secret that I am not a fan of most of the post-World War II movements, such as abstract expressionism. I have nothing against people who like it or find meaning in it or even do it themselves. But I dislike the shift from narratives and social commentary to a private inner dialogue better suited for an art journal shared between the artist and his or her therapist.
The atom bomb brought a change to warfare that changed the world's collective psyche. Not only did we witness dictators dumping their citizens in mass graves but whole cities can now be completely leveled with one flip of a switch. The horrors of both World Wars were an example of the depths of human hatred and the power in which people can destroy governments, cities, and each other.
Artist sought a childish escapism, claiming that no good or beauty could ever be found again. What fools. Surely the history of humanity has seen things as horrifying and have still found beauty--even over the trenches or barricades there were still birds singing in a blue sky. The most admirable quality of humankind is our ability to be resilient against the evils we do to one another.
This is why the turn toward destructive and pointless art (literature, artwork, music, etc.) sickens me. Art has always been transcendent because it goes against the human nature to destroy. We, as mere mortals, are creating something that can possibly have a lasting effect long after we have perished. Now we are nothing but amnesiac barbarians destroying our past and claiming the wreckage is enlightenment. ...more
Jo Treggiari seems like a pretty cool woman from the little blurb about her on the back flap thing and this is a YA dystopian novel with a female protJo Treggiari seems like a pretty cool woman from the little blurb about her on the back flap thing and this is a YA dystopian novel with a female protagonist, so this story should be fun right?
Eh, not really. This book didn't succeed in convincing me of much of anything and I found I was counting down how many pages were left every time I finished a chapter. I didn't like any of the characters enough to care about them and I didn't really know what they wanted (other than to survive from day to day).
Lucy was sort of like Bella Swan from Twilight in the way that she is antisocial and so clutzy it makes me almost concerned there may be an inner-ear issue going on or something that throws them so off balance. Though Lucy is more competent and slightly more likable than Bella, it isn't by much. I will say that Lucy is a tough cookie though. She suffered a lot of bodily harm in this book, but managed to survive by herself for a year and make it to the end of the story alive.
Mostly I was just confused which leads me to be frustrated. I probably wouldn't have finished this book if I hadn't promised to read it for SPC.
I haven't been through enough apocalypses or biology classes to know what would be realistic or not, but this didn't seem believable to me. Does weather act like this? Do plagues? Do people react like this? I don't know.
Ashes, Ashes is forgettable and almost pointless. On the back of the book there is the phrase "The world has ended...what comes next?" Well, if you are looking for the answer, it isn't in this book. ...more
I'm from way up north where the blueberries grow; where high school shuts down for the opening of deer season and kids learn to load buckshot before tI'm from way up north where the blueberries grow; where high school shuts down for the opening of deer season and kids learn to load buckshot before they hit puberty. If you do something in the morning, everyone will sure as shit have already heard about it by evening. It's safe to say that I live in a small town. And this, in a way, is sort of what this story is about. Rudy Waltz is the infamous Deadeye Dick of Midland, Ohio. Everyone knows him, and what he did, and those hometown nicknames are hard to shake off. Especially when you deserve them.
Small towns are weird. If you have a lick of talent, everyone thinks you are great, but you get out in the real world and realize you were just a big fish in a small backasswards pond. You swear to God Almighty that you are going to get out of this stupid place and never come back, but you find yourself sucked back in with the rest of the folk that couldn't manage to do anything with their lives or break away from the safety of a close-knit community. And there you are, working the same job at the mill your daddy did.
There is a lot more to this story than just small-town midwestern living. But this is what resonated the most with me. What else can I say about this book other than I love it? Vonnegut is a master of irony and this story hits home in a lot of ways. It is simultaneously bizarre, funny, and heartbreaking -- like you would expect with a Kurt Vonnegut book. It's a story of a life of broken people, missed opportunities, and sheer luck. ...more
When I saw this book in my queue of things I am reviewing for this neat project by Superiorland Preview Center, I thought I'd knock this one out of thWhen I saw this book in my queue of things I am reviewing for this neat project by Superiorland Preview Center, I thought I'd knock this one out of the way real fast since it is aimed at a younger audience. I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed reading it. Secretly, I want to check out the first two books and I just might.
This is a story about a girl named Katherine who is a medium--she can communicate with and see spirits. She and her best friend Jac go to stay at a nice musician's conference in the ritzy and historical Whispering Pines Mountain House. Needless to say, there are some restless spirits about.
Ever since I started watching Supernatural on Netflix, I've been gravitating toward books like this. Screenplay writers could learn a thing or two from Miss Elizabeth Cody Kimmel. She is one of those rare authors that can write really great first-person-perspective with humor, personality and still have the story make sense plot-wise. What I loved about this book was...well, quite a lot of things actually.
I loved the friendship between Jac and Kat--it seemed real and it was refreshing to see girls converse, understand and stick together. Too many times young girls are encouraged to be competitive or petty toward one another, which is a real shame. Really, I think there is a place in hell for women who do not help each other. It was nice to see their friendship endure through a hardship and come out stronger than before. It's nice to see friendships lasting because it is, unfortunately, so rare. Especially at this age.
What's also nice is the evolving relationships Kat has with other women in the story; like with Jac's mother, Madame Serena, Alex. She also has a close and supportive relationship with her mother. I love positive mother-daughter stories. Kat even has a change of heart about Ted.
Kat also has a lovable personality. She reminded me of one of my best friends in a lot of ways. She was feisty and funny, but also patient and loyal. And brave--I would have been so scared at some points in the story. There was definite character development, and by the end of the story Kat has grown more comfortable with who she is--which is a beautiful message for people of all ages. More than that, she also realizes she has the power to change things for the better and begins accepting that responsibility.
Suddenly Supernatural - Unhappy Medium is a book I feel confident about recommending to others (unless they are against reading supernatural things for religious reasons, etc.) and I am glad it will be joining my local library's collection soon. Hopefully the other three books of the series can join this one on the shelves in the near future....more
You know how you can be doing some mundane task and all of a sudden a random memory just surfaces? For a while you are just reliving that moment and mYou know how you can be doing some mundane task and all of a sudden a random memory just surfaces? For a while you are just reliving that moment and maybe you even smile because that line between the physical and mental world is blurred enough to allow you to.
That’s sort of the effect this book has left on me.
The Beautiful Room Is Empty is one of the few books that left me with very distinct scenes, as if Edmund White’s memories are now mine.
Edmund White is a very talented writer; I think that goes without saying. I liked the gay liberation history and bohemian lifestyle he weaved into the storyline. I clearly remember underlining many passages I thought were beautiful; the one coming to mind first is when the narrator was talking about how much he achingly missed one man.
This book has gotten three stars from me simply because, it being the first LGBT lit I have ever read, I was unprepared for what this book contained. It left me a little disquieted, in all honesty.
I love the title of this book though, and its namesake passage:
Sometimes I have the feeling that we're in one room with two opposite doors and each of us holds the handle of one door, one of us flicks an eyelash and the other is already behind his door, and now the first one has but to utter a word and immediately the second has closed his door behind him and can no longer be seen. He’s sure to open the door again for it’s a room which perhaps one cannot leave. If only the first one were not precisely like the second, if he were calm, if he would only pretend not to look at the other, if he would slowly set the room in order as though it were a room like any other; but instead he does exactly the same as the other at his door, sometimes even both are behind the doors and the beautiful room is empty. -Franz Kafka
I was at Mimi's house and all of a sudden a tree grew from the middle of her floor and out the window. My dadThis book haunted me even in my dreams.
I was at Mimi's house and all of a sudden a tree grew from the middle of her floor and out the window. My dad and I climbed out on the limb that hung over a highway that looked eerily similar to that frogger game. All of a sudden Stellaluna showed up with a graduation cap on and one of those pretentious pointer things ivy-league professors supposedly use. Then we were lectured about pollution and how highways result in a numerous amount of roadkill.
I woke up feeling like I had a duty to protect the environment. So I guess, this book was influential. ...more
That girl laughing to herself in the back of the library? Yeah, that's me. And it's because of this book. Naked is another funny collection of shortThat girl laughing to herself in the back of the library? Yeah, that's me. And it's because of this book. Naked is another funny collection of short stories chronicling David Sedaris' hitchhiking, apple-picking, and nudist-trailer-park-visiting experiences along with many other stories. David Sedaris is a master at irony and this book will have you laughing and also shaking your head at the wonder that is the human race. I think if there is anyone I love more than David Sedaris, it is his mom. ...more
So imagine you’re at a college party. It’s loud and hot and reeks of booze and weed. This one guy comes over to you and starts chatting. At first it’s So imagine you’re at a college party. It’s loud and hot and reeks of booze and weed. This one guy comes over to you and starts chatting. At first it’s nice someone even acknowledged your presence—let alone engage in it. This person starts out with the typical icebreakers: “Didn’t we have that one class with that one professor together? “ or “Aren’t you that kid who got super drunk and made a total ass of yourself that one time?”
Things go okay. Sometimes you talk about deeper things and you relish having a genuinely good conversation. Sometimes things lag. You start fidgeting and looking around trying to figure out a good excuse to leave. Before you can say anything this person turns to you with a strange glint in their eyes. Before you know it the guy is ranting about something you don’t care about—probably religion or politics or their stupidly specific thesis or whatever. You don’t know about these things. You are an art student at a right-to-learn university.
You tune back to the conversation in time for him to say, “I’m really liking Derrida, I just inhale that shit.”
You think: What the hell is Derrida? Is that some sort of drug? Probably a generic brand of Adderall or something. Play it cool.
You nod your head like you totally know what Derrida is and do it all the time.
This person must have caught on to your cluelessness. He has that pompous smirk on his face, like he finds your ignorance amusing.
He starts asking you weird questions about deconstruction and structuralism. You can only keep up because you looked up the Wikipedia article and skimmed it while pretending you were texting. It’s like listening to someone talk about a foreign country—one of those small European ones that conjure a vague geography in your mind.
When you glance at your phone—no texts you sad, friendless thing—you realize its midnight and you really just want to go home. You are tired of feeling guilty for never reading Jane Austen or getting a D in your Intro to Philosophy class.
You tell the person it was great talking to them but, sadly, you really have to get home. When you escape out the door and that burst of cool, night air washes over you, a sense of relief floods through your veins. That was fun, you think.
The next day you see that kid again, in the line at Starbucks. You pretend something really interesting is happening on your phone, feign forgetting something with a theatrical sigh and face-palm, and hurry out the door.
I was excited when I learned I had to read this book in college for my narrative and descriptive writing class. I had heard David Sedaris read a few sI was excited when I learned I had to read this book in college for my narrative and descriptive writing class. I had heard David Sedaris read a few segments on NPR. Everyone knows he is hilarious. The only thing better than reading his stories is listening to him tell them.
Here is a funny, gay man surrounded by a bizarre family, living the odd life of a writer and recovering addict. There is a sense that these stories are told to a guest around the dinner table, like you are part of the family. I love that. I love this book. It is a fun little read, broken into different short stories. "You Can't Kill the Rooster" had me laughing so hard I was in tears. ...more
I fell for this book fast and hard; read it over the two snow days this week and will definitely be reading it again. Was it supposed to hurt a~swoon~
I fell for this book fast and hard; read it over the two snow days this week and will definitely be reading it again. Was it supposed to hurt as much as it did? I found myself in tears many times, sometimes just because of the sheer beauty Miss Niffenegger can weave with the odd connecting strings of life. Plus, loss is unfortunately a wound one remembers in incredible emotional detail, and feels reopened through sympathy.
The symbolism in this book was beautiful and clever, along with all the characters, their relationships with one another, and their relationship with life and death and love.
Audrey Niffenegger, can we be best friends? From your writing and bio you sound like on of the coolest ladies around.
There is so much more to say about this book, but I literally just finished it and need to let it digest. I need to go home and throw my arms around everyone I love like that happy drunk at a party. Or maybe just walk quietly through a cemetery......more
The first part of this book was very enjoyable and surprisingly intimate, as Mr King recounts his childhood and the many letters of rejection that areThe first part of this book was very enjoyable and surprisingly intimate, as Mr King recounts his childhood and the many letters of rejection that are inevitable before a rise to fame. I found myself laughing out loud numerous times. Who would have guessed? I certainly wouldn't have.
To tell the truth, this is the first book I have ever read that Stephen King has written. I never really had the desire to have the shadows in my room come alive at night when I turned out the light and crawled into bed. I've always been a dramatic kid with an overactive imagination and a penchant for lucid dreaming-- no need to add fuel to the flames with those best-selling thrillers. (Though I may have to read them now).
The only other time I had ever been exposed to anything Stephen King was when I watched movies based on his books. Specifically The Shining and Children of the Corn. While I wasn't particularly scared by either of them, Children of the Corn did leave me feeling unsettled because it reminded me a little too much of the college I briefly attended in southwest Michigan. I mean, the campus was surrounded by cornfields and full of fanatical seminary students with obscure religious names, so can you really blame me?
Anyway, there is some really great advice in here. This is a man who truly loves writing-not just the act of it, but writing as an art form. The bit about writing being a sort of telepathy was just brilliant. And as with all art forms, there is always debate about what is "good" or "bad" or the proper way to do things, or the rules, etc. This isn't an ordinary reference book that will define those things, this is just one man's way of making his craft work for him.
What I particularly liked was that Mr King said, "fear is at the root of bad writing." He emphasizes that you must always write honestly, no matter what and that you must not come lightly to the blank page . ...more
NOPE! This book is just an expensive reminder that I am more pathological than logical. At first I thought I could handle Philosophy of Logic. The firNOPE! This book is just an expensive reminder that I am more pathological than logical. At first I thought I could handle Philosophy of Logic. The first few chapters made sense. Sure, I said to myself, I can see the fallacy in these arguments and whether they are deductive or inductive, etc. But then came the proofs.
That was when I knew I was in a world of hurt. In high school I passed geometry with a very solid D. Everyday I stared at that stupid red origami crane, watching it mock me as I attempted--and was obliterated-- by proofs.
I ended up passing logic class with another solid D; proving that I am not only illogical, but I am consistent in my lack of understanding geometry.