The last sentence of "The Manned Missiles" will mean nothing if you haven't read the story, but if you have . . . "I grasp your hand." Makes me tear uThe last sentence of "The Manned Missiles" will mean nothing if you haven't read the story, but if you have . . . "I grasp your hand." Makes me tear up just recalling it....more
This is the best book by one of my favorite authors. (And full disclosure, my mentor, while she was alive. I fell in love with her work first, then heThis is the best book by one of my favorite authors. (And full disclosure, my mentor, while she was alive. I fell in love with her work first, then her (not romantically). The two are almost indistinguishable. That's Lucia on the page.)
Lucia looked up to Chekhov more than any other writer, for the respect he showed all his characters: whether it was a barmaid or a princess, Chekhov granted them the same dignity, treated them as equals as human being. Lucia took that one step further. She showed tremendous respenct and also affection for all her characters. They were richer for it, and so are we....more
A marvelous story. This was assigned reading in a master's Cultural Anthropology class, and I opened it with disgust, thinking I'd be bored silly withA marvelous story. This was assigned reading in a master's Cultural Anthropology class, and I opened it with disgust, thinking I'd be bored silly with the topic.
She had me right away. She is a beautiful writer, and any group of people is interesting if you have the right instincts for seeing them, and conveying. ...more
I’m still making my way through Jeannette Walls’ "Half Broke Horses," loving every sentence of it. I felt Texas from page one, and Texans, who I couldn’t wait to know better. Her style recalls, lovingly, the late great working-class short-story teller Lucia Berlin. I’m taken, particularly, by Walls’ ability to write children: not book children, or film kids -- actual mini humans with the complexities of their parents, and even less predictable....more
I loved the idea of "Sum: 40 Tales From the Afterlives," but did I actually want to slog through 40 of them? How many novel conceptions of the afterlife are there -- wouldn’t this be about 35 too many? No, actually. David Eagleman has got a million of them.
Eagleman did his undergrad in literature and his Ph.D. in neuroscience. He runs a brain lab by day and writes fiction at night. It shows. His provocative little vignettes play like brainstorms between alien hemispheres: playful, intriguing and full of emotional surprises as well as ideas. When his over-specific gods in charge of spoons, bacteria and chewing gum look down at our traffic jams and find comfort in our disarray but also our desire to reach out to find comfort through a cellphone ... there is tenderness here, and perception, too.
The conceit is different, but the effect kept summoning up the delightful "Wearing Dad's Head." No one has ever reminded me of Barry Yourgrau before. I never thought they would....more
I'm not far enough to review this book, but enjoying every sentence.
I'm reading very slowly, and occasionally, off and on between other books. There iI'm not far enough to review this book, but enjoying every sentence.
I'm reading very slowly, and occasionally, off and on between other books. There is no sign of a plot yet, which would ordinarily put me off, but from the opening sentences I was taken in. I did not expect to like this at all, but there you go.
I may spend the rest of my life reading this book, and I hope to enjoy the rest of my life....more
Brilliant. This is a new classic of the narrative nonfiction genre.
The prose is vivid and intoxicating, and he weaves together 2+ threads, seamlessly-Brilliant. This is a new classic of the narrative nonfiction genre.
The prose is vivid and intoxicating, and he weaves together 2+ threads, seamlessly--with the Fawcett thread dominant, as it should be, yet given fresh life with the mingling of the contemporary thread.
I was drawn in from the start, but oddly enough, I REALLY got fascinated when he got to the developing field of cultural anthropology, and the fights over whether the people in the Amazon were "noble savages" or just "savages," or stupid subhumans, or . . . and what the apparent tiny population really meant. Throughout the book, there was an adventure story going on, but a much wider, deeper consideration of how the discoveries there fundamentally altered our conceptions of how and why we all are the way we are. And it crept into those ideas artfully, interestingly and never pedantically. It never bogged down into a university course: felt more like an exciting speaker spurring our curiosity and helping us run with it.
So well done. I'll use this as one of my models for all my future books.
(And as a writer, I can't resist saying: Great verbs! I mean, stupendously great, every page, every paragraph. Never too much, consistently just right.)...more
I love this play, and this edition. It's captivating and insightful, and I'm reading right after finishing "The Plantagenets," which I also recommend,I love this play, and this edition. It's captivating and insightful, and I'm reading right after finishing "The Plantagenets," which I also recommend, and which teed it up nicely. (That book ends with Henry IV deposing Richard II, leading directly to the situation this play depicts.)
One problem with reading the history of the English kings is their stories tend to blur together after while. I've always been able to keep Henry II straight, because I watched "The Lion in Winter" 20 years ago, and still picture Peter O'Toole as Henry, Katherine Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine, etc. I think I have this set of Henry's etched in my brain for another 20, too.
I tried two other editions of Henry IV, before settling on this one (Arden):
- The Applause edition: I loved the thorough explanations and insights into how actors have played scenes over time FOR OTHER PLAYS (several of the well-known tragedies), so I was expecting the same. Nope. Nothing but lots of footnotes indicating technical decisions on which folio/quarto was used on a particular line.
- Oxford School Series. The explanatory notes were very helpful, and I would have been very happy with this edition. But I compared this with Arden (reviewed here) line by and Arden had far more historical information and insightful notes on the wordplay (eg, biblical sources he was playing off). Also, the Oxford actually overdid it explaining some phrases I found obvious.
I went to B&N and worked through more than a dozen versions of this play, and found this most superior, by far. (Also, get historical info on all the major characters.) This appears to be the best out there. It costs a bit more: about $8 more than the others, but I'll be spending 40-60 hours with it, so that's less than 20 cents per hour of my time for something much more effective. A bargain.
(If money is really tight, I highly recommend the "Oxford School Series," (and note that's different than just "Oxford," which is also out there.
UPDATE: I started act 5 today, and still loving it. Racing through it, on my scale. I could do without Falstaff, but loving Hal and Hotspur and the other rebels and even the king sometimes.
UPDATE 2: Wrapped up in a frenzy. Sooooo good. ...more