Must read this again! After 'To Kill a Mockingbird', and being hemmed in to the one character's point-of-view, I've been very much missing a multi-povMust read this again! After 'To Kill a Mockingbird', and being hemmed in to the one character's point-of-view, I've been very much missing a multi-pov experience. This book was one of my first experiences of it, and one I really enjoyed. Also, the subject, WWII, is very current for me right now as well, and it's been well over 10 years since I read this last, so it will be perfect. Much as re-reading things when I have so many new things waiting to be read heightens my impatience for the rest, in this case I'm sure it will be worth it.
But now I can't find my copy, urgh! This is supposed to be one of the ones that's always right at hand. Not ok.. Then, M&Q, used books - no copy! Urgh! Soon though.. soon.......more
A fascinating thing about this which I hadn't been aware of from my previous exposure to it is that is was one of Steinbecks's format/genre experimentA fascinating thing about this which I hadn't been aware of from my previous exposure to it is that is was one of Steinbecks's format/genre experiments. In this work, Steinbeck created a new genre: the play/novelette. '"The work I am doing now," he wrote to his agents in April 1936, "is neither a novel nor a play but it is a kind of playable novel. Written in novel form but so scened and set that it can be played as it stands. It wouldn't be like other plays since it does not follow the formal acts but uses the chapters for curtains. Descriptions can be used for stage directions... Plays are hard to read so this will make both a novel and play as it stands." Anticipating postmodernists, Steinbeck was to declare wtih greater and greater frequency in the late 1930s and '40s that the novel was dead, whereas theater was "waking up," was fresh and challenging.' And in fact, he sent it to his publishers in late summer of 1936; it was published on February 25, 1937 (for $2 per copy); was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection in March; was performed as written by Theater Union of San Francisco with an opening on May 21, 1937; then performed as a modified version at Music Box Theater in New York opening November 23, 1937; and released as a film in 1939. It was very controversial, banned in Australia in 1940; one of the most frequently banned books by school board over the years. '"The first few pages so nauseated me," wrote the reviewer for 'The Catholic World,' "That I couldn't bear to keep it in my room over night."' "Morbid and degenerate" content was why another showing of it was condemned. And the reason for all the hoo-ha? The truth of it. The hopelessness and loneliness of the group of people Steinbeck gives life to - the landless white male agricultural workers of the 1930's. Also, he used actual dialect which was still new back then. Included in the dialect is racist language in use back then, as his characters would not have been honest without it. Probably some bannings were due simply to the use of the 'n' word, although most programs that use it now include context for that which is a response to it that contains the intended respect while also containing discussion that can be so useful to unlearning racism. Another interesting content item about race is a momentary scene in which a white woman brings to the attention of a black man her ability to get him lynched. It's brutal, and then it's over and the action continues and it fades into unimportance - all of which serves as a reminder of our shared history festering with racism; and how far we as a country have come. (i'm adding that scene to quotes for this book). It's a very quick read for all that, and very enjoyable actually just for the intensity of description. This felt to me like one of those quick-action films, only the super-short scenes are ones you create in your own mind, as written by Steinbeck. Somehow he packs in vivid visual content and well-drawn characters in an almost poetically pithy writing style. Highly recommend....more
Very harsh point of view, but understandable. I had recommended this to a German relative of mine, then I re-read it, and then retracted my recommendaVery harsh point of view, but understandable. I had recommended this to a German relative of mine, then I re-read it, and then retracted my recommendation to him because I felt like the German-bashing parts were something that - for him - would offset the utility of it. I mean, we all know now, and those parts feel excessive potentially. At the time it was written though, the mainstream US population had not yet known (is one story, anyway.) Is crucial in-and-of itself, and for Vonnegut's trajectory as a great writer (IMHO)....more
Had been hoping to read the whole Vidal serious, in keeping with my daughter's class this year on US History. Then 26/11 happened (the terrorist attacHad been hoping to read the whole Vidal serious, in keeping with my daughter's class this year on US History. Then 26/11 happened (the terrorist attacks on Mumbai on Nov 26), and more important to me now is actively learning about Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, what the US has done, is doing and could best do. Hopefully will get back to this perhaps this summer, or .. later. Have other books as well.. including that Team of Rivals one. First things first though....more
I'm realizing now as I read through the synopsis - one of our local theaters - Penumbra - an awesome black theater - did a production called Gospel atI'm realizing now as I read through the synopsis - one of our local theaters - Penumbra - an awesome black theater - did a production called Gospel at Colonus that invovled this story. I saw it and it was just amazing, mostly musically. I remember the gouging of the eyes and just that pinnacle of pain. Ok, now I'm all set to read with daughter's english class..
My edition is different, but doesn't seem to have an ISBN #, so oh well. It's got the Oedipus Plays of Sophocles - Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone. By Plume. Translation by Paul Roche.
Ok, my daughter zipped through this already and is done with it, completely done, and there were no conversations in this case. It was fascinating to dip into it briefly, but to do it justice would take more time than I have right now. So, for now I'm marking it as past, rather than current. Will explore/read more another day....more
Part way through: I really love the part where her friend tells her to petition God for what she wants, and then list all who would sign the petition,Part way through: I really love the part where her friend tells her to petition God for what she wants, and then list all who would sign the petition, and she ends up listing this huge group of people.. delightful idea.
A little farther: Now in Italy, I'm just so weirded out by the tone. Because, we know she's a grown woman, that's been established. But her tone - to me - is more like a 12-15 year old girl. The resolute silliness, the resolute studiousness, the resolute traveler; that overly, consciously, 'I'm going to be this because I've decided to be' - seems a way younger point-of-view that what is supposed to be the case.
So I hold the book - figuratively - way farther away than arm's length, because I have no idea what to expect. If it's not real, then the door is open for just about anything.
Ok, now I like it again, the part about where she writes in her most-personal notebook and a self (of some sort) answers, perhaps " 'locutions' - words from the supernatural that enter the mind subconsciously, offering heavenly consolation," .. "But the very fact that this world is so challenging is exactly why you sometimes must reach out of its jurisdiction for help..". p. 53.
Very tedious going, at the end of Italy, for me. The problem with being excessively self-indulgent is that there's a large risk of being *too* excessively self-indulgent, and for me, she's there. Her paradigm seems to be that the reader will be unquestionably interested in every foible of her and her journey, writ across the landscape of this or that foreign locale. For me, I'm not interested sufficiently and the locale-as-backdrop doesn't delight. Her life - especially around the central issues (for her) of whether to 'have kids' or not and how to best deal with her relatively substantial mental/emotional health challenges - is different enough from mine as to make it irrelevant on the personal level she's writing at. She could have translated it into more universal applicability, which she does from time to time and I get something from it then, but otherwise the repelling forces are great.
Maybe it'll turn another corner for me soon though, I would really like to finish it.
Oh, and one more big difference - she's totally male-focused, as in she has been in one relationship or another since she was a teenager. Me - I'm a solitaire. So another repelling force. And now, in the Ashram, she's latching on to a guy who makes all her struggles there easier. Great.
Ok, then I also really like the part on p. 184-185, the ritual to let things go. Shit like that, you know, always useful to have in mind. Cause seems like the times we need ideas like this is the time when we forget all such ideas, and so having them nearby is good.
Her tone towards various things including aspects of India is how I'd imagined it would be - unselfconsciously flippant. As Americans, I still hope for better of us, one of these eons. Like one part, she's talking to a young girl about what makes a woman harder to marry off, and light skin is a positive. She compares herself to the checklist later, and concludes, 'Well, atleast my skin is light. I have that going for me.' Yeah, unawareness of all the situations and realities around light-skin privilege sure does make things happy and nice...
Once I'm done I'll turn this into some actual review-type thing, but right now snarky works for me.
On the other hand, I really like the part about her process with tehe Gurugita.
I also like her idea about fate vs. free will, and the two horses (just added it as a quote), and that the trick is to tell the two apart. Which is similar to the Serenity prayer, the strength to tell the difference between what we can change and what we must accept.
I got it - this is a gemini book! Two disparate selves, polar in various ways. Atleast for me.
So I'm pretty comfortable with most of the spirituality stuff, and still on a spectrum of dislike with much of the personal content the author shares.
There's content that makes me cringe as an American white woman; kind of a 'more things change, more they stay the same' feeling - the condescending tone, the feel that the world is her playground.
But the optimist in me likes to see it as imperfect, strenuously slow progress. In that: she's written it, thinking it was great and all ok. I and others read it, seeing progress to be made. The next book will be written by an author who things it's great; others will read it and see further progress to be made.
Being aware of the deficiencies may feel like it puts the goal further away, but it's actually a necessary part of goal-attainment: re-calculating the goal in reference to one's position from time to time makes it much more likely that it will be eventually attained than if one starts off and ignores the goal altogether, all happy and self-satisfied. And if the goal keeps getting extended/re-defined; one's journey may surpass earlier goals as it continues, bringing one to new, previously-unimagined heights.
Woo-hoo! Finished it! Yeah for me.. Will finish this review shortly.....more
I know I'll probably already have been exposed to most of what's in this book from other sources, but if it's complete and well-written, will be goodI know I'll probably already have been exposed to most of what's in this book from other sources, but if it's complete and well-written, will be good reference for future etc.. Another GR review just mentioned it, so.. probably haven't already been exposed to *all* of it....more
I liked this book a lot at first, being told from a woman's perspective and all. But then, about 2/3 of the way in, something about it began to wear oI liked this book a lot at first, being told from a woman's perspective and all. But then, about 2/3 of the way in, something about it began to wear on me. I started to feel like the strenuous parts of the journey weren't necessarily true enough to make it worth it. It's a historical novel, made up to fit in with known details - so it's all up to the writer. I have to look back and see more clearly what it was all, then will add more to this. ...more
Was an interesting escape from day-to-day life, and a great portrayal of actual women, not caricatures or accessories. Moves along pretty well. The moWas an interesting escape from day-to-day life, and a great portrayal of actual women, not caricatures or accessories. Moves along pretty well. The most interesting thing about this for me now is reading March by Geraldine Brooks, can't wait!...more
Truly wonderful and amazing. I'd loved this as a child, and although mine never was as much a bookworm as me, she also did.
In college I did a paper oTruly wonderful and amazing. I'd loved this as a child, and although mine never was as much a bookworm as me, she also did.
In college I did a paper on it, in my master's-level class on 'Chaos and Complexity'. The reason was that it turns out that all these different sorts of people think it's written solely for and about them: mathematicians, gamers, politicians, musicians, writers, etc.. It's a complex system in that way, and still endlessly fascinates me....more
This book is one of those that's a lot of work to get through of course, and I felt throughout like I didn't have an academic-enough background in whaThis book is one of those that's a lot of work to get through of course, and I felt throughout like I didn't have an academic-enough background in whatever subjects were necessary (religion, politics, history, etc..) to have a comfort level. But even uncomfortably, what I read was really interesting. I didn't make it all the way through, but will try again some time. But the transition from Christian-hating Romans to Roman Catholic Church is something I feel like I have a little bit of a handle on now. And so on....more
I 'liked' this book in the sense that I know a huge amount of research went in to it, and I appreciate that and am glad I read it. But I disliked inteI 'liked' this book in the sense that I know a huge amount of research went in to it, and I appreciate that and am glad I read it. But I disliked intensely some aspects of this book. In particular, what I find to be troubling is the way the various cultures are portrayed. I have to get my copy back out and will probably add to this then. But generally I have very mixed feelings about this one....more