I just have to say, for a book written about 17th century Puritanical morals, you could get schnookered 10 times over if you took a drink every time t...moreI just have to say, for a book written about 17th century Puritanical morals, you could get schnookered 10 times over if you took a drink every time the word "bosom" is mentioned in this book(less)
I recently finished your book, The House of Mirth and am once again left disappointed. I so very much want to love your books. Your s...moreDear Ms. Wharton,
I recently finished your book, The House of Mirth and am once again left disappointed. I so very much want to love your books. Your style of writing is beautiful and real, but the characters, oh the characters! I feel like I get to know them so well, and feel such hope for them, only to be crushed down at the end!
Let us not start with Lily Bart as that would be jumping in rather hastily. First, let's discuss the handsome Lawrence Selden, that book-loving, philosophical lawyer who sees Lily for the woman she is, not the creature society created. From the early stages, I had hopes that LS would be the slightly impoverished hero, who saves Lily from herself and damns society in the process. But, no! How quickly he is turned away, and falls out of love (or so he thinks) just because he sees something and jumps to a rash conclusion. If ol' Larry were half the man I thought he was, he would have believed more in Lily, and denied the rumors thrown at him. When she needed him most, he turned away. At the end, he still doesn't come through in time, and I think it's appropriate that he will live with this regret in his future.
"Society" - how dull, gossipy, boring, and spiteful they all seem! Is that the point you are trying to make? I can't help but wonder if you were once shunned by society in a similar fashion and have determined to exact your revenge through your writing. If that is the case, then can you have just one woman who doesn't care about whether or not she is society's darling, and one gentleman who is actually looking for a monogamous, committed relationship instead of all those spineless dolts who want a mistress and who don't have the hutzpah to stand up their own wives?
Now, Lily. Poor, expensive toy named Lily. Was she just a symbol for the potential in all woman to deny marriages of convenience and hope for actual love. Was she meant to come across as so indecisive and shallow? It seemed that every time things got rough, she went off on a luxury vacation that her friends, whom she often disliked, paid for. She seemed like a bit of a high-priced, if virginal, prostitute, unfortunately. I had such hopes for her but they were ultimately dashed.
There was one remarkable character, however; Gerty Farrish. She was smart, charitable, independent, strong, caring, and good. Of course, since she had neither money nor looks, she was relegated to the role of unmarryable old maid, subject to have her "friend" cry out her miseries while she actually tried to do good in the world.
Now, I know this may all seem a bit harsh, and I may be missing the point, but this is my third book by you, and I have yet to come to a full appreciation of your novels that a writer of your stature deserves. That is not to say I am giving up, merely that I'm watching, very carefully, for that hidden gem, that little bit that makes a reader think of an author with a heightened sense of awe. I think you may have it, and I shall continue looking.
Til then, requiat in pace, Ms. Wharton, until we meet again.
I love Foucault; I love how his mind works, I love how he challenges existing structures and mindsets by merely shrugging his shoulders and saying, "d...moreI love Foucault; I love how his mind works, I love how he challenges existing structures and mindsets by merely shrugging his shoulders and saying, "did you try looking at it this way?" I especially liked the section on the power of life, both for individuals over themselves, and for sovereigns or other ruling/governing bodies. ..
"The sovereign exercised his right of life only by exercising his right to kill, or by refraining from killing." I think we sometimes forget there are two options.(less)
I had low expectations for this book, as the only other Hardy I've read was Tess, and Tess I could do without. The Mayor, however, was more engaging a...moreI had low expectations for this book, as the only other Hardy I've read was Tess, and Tess I could do without. The Mayor, however, was more engaging and definitely developed faster. I think the big difference is that Tess was all about the setting, the lengthy descriptions of the meadow, the agonizing discussion about navigating the mud puddle; whereas The Mayor is all about the people; the human behavior that not only led a man to sell his wife, but the wife to believe the sale was somehow binding.
Unfortunately, I think the misses with the characters were significant enough to seriously distract from the book. There are a lot of characters, a lot of events, a whole series of stuff that could have made up a complete novel by itself, but no real depth to any of them. I started to feel quite bad for The Mayor, I didn't feel like I understood Lucetta, and Elizabeth-Jane kept slipping out of my reach.
I might re-read this one some day to see if my opinion changes; there certainly was a lot going on so it could be fun to see what little things I missed. (less)
Just when you think actual history was bad enough, Jo Walton tosses out an alternate history that is so much worse. Peace is made between England and...moreJust when you think actual history was bad enough, Jo Walton tosses out an alternate history that is so much worse. Peace is made between England and Hitler, which allows Hitler to stay in power and leaves him the continent, but saves England. However, there is so much in the way of discrimination (of all kinds) that you realize the all out war was so much better in the long term.
This mystery was set in 1949, and while the author doesn't delve too deeply into the actual alternative history bit, it is laid perfectly in place with the mystery, allowing the reader to more easily imagine that the alternative history actually occurred. President Lindbergh is referenced, for example - just as in Philip Roth's "The Plot Against America."
This is a mystery I think Dorothy Sayers would have approved of, and which left me literally searching the end of the book for more pages. The plot was tightly woven, the character portrayals deep enough to be engaging without taking over the story, the pace made it difficult to put down, and the shifting perspectives between chapters was well organized and easy to follow.
A fantastic read, even if it did leave me with my head tilted to the left at the end :) I did so very much want Carmichael to end the book differently, but feel it is more realistic and plausible that he did what Walton had him do.(less)
Blech! I soo wanted to like this book, but it was just so poorly written and such a stretch from the truth that I couldn't get into it. I finished it...moreBlech! I soo wanted to like this book, but it was just so poorly written and such a stretch from the truth that I couldn't get into it. I finished it because I have a good streak going of actually reading the group read selections from the Tudor group, but otherwise probably would have been tempted to throw this into the fire this past Labor Day weekend. Who am I kidding, I was tempted, but it goes against every fiber of my being to burn a book!
The plot was weak - there basically wasn't one, actually, as it was just a chronicle of the reign of Henry VII with little to no character depth, poor use of facts, a complete lack of editing, and the continual shift in perspective lent to a feeling of the book being disjointed and unorganized.
The cover advertises this as a spectacular blend between history, romance and drama. History? Barely. Romance? Between whom? Drama? Umm...no.
There were so many typos, grammatical errors, and an overuse of elipses that I am having a hard time even commenting on the material. Considering the ranking I gave this book, perhaps I've said enough already :)(less)
I discussed something with this book - I'm not a fan of Kurt Vonnegut. The book was very different than what I normally read, which is good, but was s...moreI discussed something with this book - I'm not a fan of Kurt Vonnegut. The book was very different than what I normally read, which is good, but was so deeply disturbing that I had a hard time working through it. It was one of those books that made me keep looking at the bottom of my Kindle wondering how far along I was.
The book is about one man, primarily, who was in WWII and was deeply traumatized by it. He has flashbacks to the war, and flash-forwards (I guess you'd call it) to different points in time, including some time he believes he spent with another life form on a distant planet.
This was not the story of a stock war hero, but rather a story of what war can do to the average person - make them wish desperately for home, for anywhere but the battlefield, make those at home wish desperately for peace, and of how quickly people forget or dismiss the trauma that battle can inflict on someone.
While I can understand the greatness of a book like this, it got the lower ranking simply because I didn't like the story. Also, the often-repeated phrase, "So it goes," about drove me to distraction. Vonnegut: 1 star - so it goes.(less)