“Amazingly, we take for granted that instinct for survival, fear of death, must separate us from the happiness of pure and uninterrupted experience in“Amazingly, we take for granted that instinct for survival, fear of death, must separate us from the happiness of pure and uninterrupted experience in which body, mind, and nature and the same.” (42)
Matthiessen’s book is part travelogue, part naturalist observations, and part coming to terms with loss. About a year after the death of his wife, Matthiessen travels along with a friend in search of a snow leopard, really in the search of big blue sheep. It’s much hiking and camping, and eating.
Early in the book, I found myself wondering why or to be more exact what type of father would leave a young son just a year after the son lost his mother. Matthiessen himself seems to be aware of this reaction, and he does not try to beg excuses. Instead, he quotes his son’s letter, a sobering missive.
And yet, this is not a self-indulgent pity party book.
It’s a book about coming to terms with one’s self, with loss, with life. Or what “Walt Whitman celebrated the most ancient secret, that no God could be found more divine than yourself” (63)
The point is that Matthiessen is able to make this a book about enlightenment, both his and the readers, so much so that one does agree with GS who wonders if it would perhaps be better if the snow leopard remained unseen.
At times, the reader does wonder. For instance, if PM had been a mother, would the book have garnered as much support and positive reviews. Is my reaction about his leaving his son because I don’t, I can’t, understand PM’s own grieving process? What is normal grieving anyway? In many, it is the confessional tone, the prompting of these questions as well as the wonderful nature writing make the book worth a read. ...more
Right down the street - in my local park - stands a statue of Dickens and Little Nell. Every year, there is a Dickens celebration. On year, it was somRight down the street - in my local park - stands a statue of Dickens and Little Nell. Every year, there is a Dickens celebration. On year, it was some anniversary, Miriam Margolyes showed up. She is like 21 shades of awesome.
I have a love/hate relationship with Dickens. I love some of his work, others I hate. I prefer Trollope to a degree because Trollope writes better women. Margolyes audio version of her stage show is quiet amusing, if not as critical as perhaps one would like. Still if you like Margoyles, this is well worth listening to....more
Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley. I honestly believe that many students today do not realize how easy in some ways they have it. When I was in school, weDisclaimer: ARC via Netgalley. I honestly believe that many students today do not realize how easy in some ways they have it. When I was in school, we just had Cliffnotes. Today, there are Cliffnotes, Sparknotes, Monkeynotes, Charles River Editors Guides and so on. Worth Books (a Division of Open Road Media) offers “Smart Summaries” of various titles is the latest group to offer such books.
Like many other summery and analysis books, Worth Books makes it clear that this is a supplement to the book, in this case The Underground Railroad, and not a replacement for actually reading the book. In terms of summery, this is well done, functioning more as a summery as opposed to spoiler filled plot synopsis. There is a summery section as well as a major character section, and these two things work together.
The weakest part is the analysis section. It’s not bad, and in a general way, it is good. The strongest points are the context section, which notes the publication history and events in both the publishing world and “real” world. The sections using quotes from the novel and explaining references are good. The reference section, however, does leave out a bit in terms of historical events that Whitehead did draw are. The left-out thing that most disturbed was the total lack of mention of Octavia Butler. True, Butler’s Kindred can be classified as science fiction, but it is an important fictional book about slavery. To not even mention in the further reading section or a brief rundown of other slavery novels is an oversight. Additionally, there is a definite link between Butler and Whitehead. This does not lessen either work, but if an author is going to make a justified comparison to The Diary of Anne Frank, Butler should be mentioned as well.
It might be helpful as a starting point for discussions at a book club where conversation is hard to start. ...more
Another good, if massive section. Kirkman isn't frightened to make hard choices, even if the story does seem to be largely male driven. I'm not sure,Another good, if massive section. Kirkman isn't frightened to make hard choices, even if the story does seem to be largely male driven. I'm not sure, for instance, if WD would pass the Bechel test. The developments regarding Maggie do make up for much of this, and the shading of Michonne's character is wonderful. I do wonder if I am the only one who wants to smack Carl....more
I can honesty that this a book that I mostly likely would not have brought. I picked it up because at the end of last year, Open Road Media had hundreI can honesty that this a book that I mostly likely would not have brought. I picked it up because at the end of last year, Open Road Media had hundreds of freebies listed, and several Anthony books were among them. I am a book slut and the rest is history.
While the plot of the book is somewhat predictable, it was, in fact, a thrilling read. The heroine is Julia, a reporter, who is told by her boss to bring down a business rival. What I really liked was that Julia's sex life was not condemned and her ex-boyfriend was not a douche or wanting to get back together. ...more