I thought that I wouldn't like this book. I knew the basic plot and the whole idea of it seemed selfish. But now that I have read it, I realized how wI thought that I wouldn't like this book. I knew the basic plot and the whole idea of it seemed selfish. But now that I have read it, I realized how wrong that perception was. This book is, beyond its basic plot, absolutely beautiful. I felt so completely transported to turn of the century New Orleans. You feel Edna's frustration and entrapment. It's rare that I have such an emotional experience with a classic, but I did with this novel. ...more
On the one hand, this is a completely unique tale that is fairly accurate to history (as far as I can tell). The plot concerns the life of Mary AnningOn the one hand, this is a completely unique tale that is fairly accurate to history (as far as I can tell). The plot concerns the life of Mary Anning and her friend Elizabeth Philpot. Mary has long had a talent for finding fossils on the beach of Lyme Regis in England in the 1800s, and Elizabeth, recently moved from London to the small seaside town takes an interest in the hobby as well. The history of Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot is interesting not only from a scientific point of view, but also because the exploration of women’s place in society during this time period is endlessly fascinating.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t occupy enough of the book. I think that Remarkable Creatures could have been more interesting if it didn’t change narrators throughout – I found Elizabeth’s voice to be annoying and unnecessary. A story told directly from Mary’s point of view would have been more interesting in my opinion, though I understand the technical reasons for including her. I also thought that the book could have used pictures. There are so many fossils described that I really would have appreciated photographs or drawings to accompany the novel. Not only would that have helped me to understand better what was being described, but it would have made for a lovely edition of the book. ...more
Pgs 1-100 - I don't know, I'm not feeling it. But everyone loves it, I'll keep reading. I like the dialect/lThis is how reading this book went for me:
Pgs 1-100 - I don't know, I'm not feeling it. But everyone loves it, I'll keep reading. I like the dialect/language, but I'm not connecting to Briony. Pgs 101-200 - WHAT is going on?! Now I have to keep reading just to figure it out, but I'm reading it pretty slowly. Wish it was moving faster. 201-250 - Well, this is pretty exciting. I'm glad I kept reading. 251-325 - OHHHHH MY GOD THIS IS THE BEST BOOK EVERRRRRRRRRRR. I LOVE IT TO PIECES WHAT WAS I THINKING. LOVE. Love. LOVE.
Yup, it went pretty much like that. Incoherent all caps and all....more
At the beginning of the book is the inscription, ” This work of fiction is based on actual events – in the eyes of many.” For so many the apparitionsAt the beginning of the book is the inscription, ” This work of fiction is based on actual events – in the eyes of many.” For so many the apparitions of the virgin are real events and this book does a wonderful job of exploring all sorts of people, from those who believe unconditionally in the visions to those who question them. I also loved the inscription in the painting on the front of the book, ” Dios encontrara una boca que te diga lo que necesitas oir.” God will find a mouth to tell you what you need to hear. That sums up so well what this novel is doing and how I feel about visions like this. I don’t know if it is god in any sense as we understand the word, but the most important thing was that these people were touched and affected by what Bernardo saw. Their lives were made better for it and that is what’s important.
I’m sure some people will be wondering if this is a Christian novel and I think that it could be read that way, but it is much more than that and shouldn’t be defined by that. It is a story of the history of Nicaragua and how religion was intertwined in that history. It is a story of a humble man and the people he becomes connected with. I really cannot recommend this novel enough, it’s beautiful, well-written and a delight to read. ...more
A Good Hard Look completely lived up to every single expectation I had. In fact, it might have exceeded them. I am always wary of historical fiction nA Good Hard Look completely lived up to every single expectation I had. In fact, it might have exceeded them. I am always wary of historical fiction novels that feature real-life people. In the case of A Good Hard Look, that person is Flannery O’Connor. I’ve haven't read much by Flannery O'Connor, just a story here and there, but I’ve been intrigued by her for a while now. A Good Hard Look just made me more interested in O’Connor and her fiction.
The separate plots in this novel weave together beautifully to a tragic climax that affects everyone in Millidgeville. I think the best novels are the ones that, when a tragedy occurs, you just can’t believe it yourself. You want to go back to that time in the novel when everyone was happy, or when everything is “good”, as the first part of the novel is titled. What happened hit me hard and, honestly, was so unexpected. Ann Napolitano has written a book that truly just made me feel. I felt Flannery’s loneliness and the joy she felt when she was with Melvin. I felt Melvin’s helplessness in front of his own life. He’s a wealthy man, but he never seems to do much with it or do much at all, until he meets Flannery. I understood Cookie’s resentment of her famous cousin. And when it all fell apart, I fell apart too. These characters were just so real.
In a recent article, Ann Napolitano says that she thinks Flannery O’Connor would have hated this book. I have to agree with her, but only because I think the Flannery that Napolitano created is so vivid and real. And while she is the “backbone” of this novel, as Napolitano describes her, she’s not necessarily what this book is about. This book is about the complexity of love and all of its manifestations and it is done beautifully....more
My favorite part about this book was that, with each narrator, the reader is given a perception of the other characters. Then as each narrator speaksMy favorite part about this book was that, with each narrator, the reader is given a perception of the other characters. Then as each narrator speaks her voice, the preconceptions we have are quickly deconstructed one by one. As someone who is a part of a large, dysfunctional Irish-Catholic family, let me tell you, this is a real, honest look at what that it is like. I thought this book was really well written and engaging. ...more
What seemed charming in The Color of Earth, like the overly poetic language, seemed overdone and unrealistic in The Color of Heaven. But most of all,What seemed charming in The Color of Earth, like the overly poetic language, seemed overdone and unrealistic in The Color of Heaven. But most of all, there were parts that were downright offensive, that no amount of historical setting could correct. If I sat down with Kim Dong Hwa and told him my concerns, if he defended himself with the setting and difference in time period and culture, I would remind him that even if your setting isn’t modern, your readers are. There are certain things that are inappropriate, and honestly were probably inappropriate by any standard, not just modern ones. Also, there should be consistency. I don’t understand how Ehwa and her mother could be so forward thinking in many ways and yet so backwards in others. Ehwa, the main character, seems to understand sex and certainly how her body works, but then is mysteriously naive at other times. ...more
This book is such a fun, fast read, but it also made me think a lot about how I react to stories. I have a lot of thoughts about this one, I can't waiThis book is such a fun, fast read, but it also made me think a lot about how I react to stories. I have a lot of thoughts about this one, I can't wait to get them up. ...more
There was really only one story in this collection that did not feel up to par with the rest. I really loved it. It amazes me that the author was onlyThere was really only one story in this collection that did not feel up to par with the rest. I really loved it. It amazes me that the author was only 25 (25!!!) when he wrote this. Highly recommended. ...more
This is the story of Einar Wegener and his wife Greta. Both are painters and one day when Greta’s model cancels, she asks her husband to put on the moThis is the story of Einar Wegener and his wife Greta. Both are painters and one day when Greta’s model cancels, she asks her husband to put on the models stockings and shoes so she could finish the painting. Lili awakens in Einar and he feels much more complete and confident as a woman. It’s as if something had been missing his whole life and that something is Lili. I was so impressed by the way Ebershoff told this story – it was perfect. He was totally sensitive to Einar and Lili, uses all the correct pronouns and does not make this into a freak show. It is presented as something natural, though challenging. When Einar becomes the first man to go through gender reassignment surgery, the times he spends in the women’s clinic is some of the most sensitive writing.
There were many times reading this when it felt almost voyeuristic, but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. I really felt like I was reading about the real Greta and Lili/Einar, not the fictional. Like with The 19th Wife, I’m a little preoccupied with what is imagined an what is not. I’ve read a lot about the actual history since then and it’s just amazing how Lili and Greta changed the world they were living in. ...more