**spoiler alert** Someone told me that I would cry through this book. They should have told me that I would cry out of sheer pity for the author's neg...more**spoiler alert** Someone told me that I would cry through this book. They should have told me that I would cry out of sheer pity for the author's negligence in portrayal. Of an artist mind anyway. Asher is dead. cold. logical. That was enough to make suspicious about the 'truth' in this novel, any attempts to create a realistic struggle between a rebelling Jewish boy and his observant Jewish parents was entirely lost on me.
Okay, maybe that is a little strenuous in criticism. Potok has a few saving graces in his historical approach, even though I wasn't spoiled and wholly indulged in detail and evocative narrative.
His father was stern enough for me to feel the glares, the bristling red beard (his son that drifts to the Other Side causes all hair to thin, poor thing). Asher's mom came across as just wall decor, her character was dulled by her immense work load that she inherited from her college courses and making sure that her son stayed away from sketching nudes in her husbands absence (how would you feel about YOUR kid scratching away at paper, nude forms blooming across them?)
In developing my own art course for a few families that have welcomed me into their homes I can understand this censorship. Childhood is precious to us, even above the sassy precociousness of a willful pupil. Precious in what way? Blissful ignorance for one, the lack of regret for another. What I wouldn't give to be enthralled by a simple bunch of brightly colored balloons again! Even the sunset is an Eh... We've all seen them, but is that really such an excuse to lose joy in enjoying something we really have no use for with our hands? (less)
One picture, one message: slurries the thinking. This was a bit of a stomach slosher for me. I felt that the characters...more**spoiler alert** [image error]
One picture, one message: slurries the thinking. This was a bit of a stomach slosher for me. I felt that the characters were running around with dialogue swathed in "Where art thou Romeo!" clothing. V. disturbing. But so are my mental images, hence the viewing block. (less)
Percy Bysshe Shelley~~Rebel Against Reality~~418 Rebel against reality indeed! Oh, I love you Harriet. Just pretend to be my sister and let me muck abo...morePercy Bysshe Shelley~~Rebel Against Reality~~418 Rebel against reality indeed! Oh, I love you Harriet. Just pretend to be my sister and let me muck about with Mary. Yeah, let's call it good. I'd be calling it quits! By gum, I'm surprised she didn't do him in at that point, pixie charm or not. Perhaps it is because I am no poetic spirit, but that just rubbed me the wrong way. However, this was the first chapter I gravitated to, so it was my own fault my innocence was poisoned. But in reading Mary Shelley by Miranda Seymour I was most curious about this Percy with the weird-as-anything middle name. I loved the middle name, so I kept it for my own little boy. But reading about his conduct, I am starting to wonder if it's such a fabulous idea. Hey, the catholic in-laws might find out!
John Keats~~"Oh, Weep For Adonais"~~444 Since reading his simple statement about a piece of fruit he was eating, I have been smitten forevermore (see review on Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader). And this from a classically-deprived stable boy. Well, near stable boy. But he was born in one! He had the god's ear, but he couldn't have been more lowly in birth in all England's eyes. And so he should be, until about a few decades after his death.
The swift loss of temper I already knew of. Made him all the sweeter to read, really. Effeminate, yet not so, I am sure his face lost all 'delicacy' of form when he was pissed off. And along with his already rooted interest in the glamour of words, his passion went un-noted. And the discovery period was touching, when he found great books: Ovid, Bunyan, Virgil. How easily I can relate there (Ovid and Virgil accepted, of course).
And on this bio goes, and the more bittersweet it becomes, the less likely I feel I should be able to abandon my newfound love for poetry and food writing. Darn these Englishmen all to heck! I'll be the hardest thing to marry off yet.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning~~Victorian Love Story~~478 Eh. Long life might be desirable for most, but in poets, it's just not as interesting. But my Browing-curiosity was piqued some time back, but a late 80's novel called Lady's Maid. I need to return there, and this bio makes me most anxious.
In the Browning's time, England was sick, and in dire need of some serious change (wait, Marx was a Jew??? Wha--?). So along came some soulfulls (what a surprise) to make some chimichangas of the peace. And upon finding "Cry of the Children" it seems they pretty much went and made the whole enchilada. And of course science had to get a few punches in, Darwin rolls over the theo-ortho sun with a few storm clouds, and it was sheer pandemonium (makes one wonder about apes). It's so wonderous, the effects of literature and new discovery, on society. In this instance, they were beginning to rethink the basis of morals. Nice going Brontes. You've un-enslaved the mass mind. Or have they? I haven't been struck by lightning just yet. John Milton~~Blind Visionary~~170
William Shakespeare~~Nature's Mirror~~75 The only 'William' that has never driven me plumb irate. Yet, the only famous William we will never really know a whole lot about. And unfortunately, watching Shakespeare in Love ain't going to help us much. Too bad. That guy was pretty suave. My thoughts on this monumental visionary are not few, I still have a lot to read from his pen, but I think Coleridge sums him up very nicely: Charming you to gaze upon the movements of Venus and Adonis as you would the twinkling dances of the vernal butterflies. Yes, that does very nicely.
Nineteenth Century Lights and Shadows~~503 Tennyson~Emily Bronte~Christina Rossetti~Thomas Hardy Well arn't these the ideal troupe. I heard "In Memorium" in a not so flavorful way. To have it straight up cold from the bottle is a arrow to the side. As before stated: too young is to invite tedium, to be older is to be struck at with a lancet clear.
Emily, Emily, Emily, Emily. Vivified little monster. I am in awe of her father's longevity. Whereas I am no as such in the case of the named author. If it was true that they found letters of malicious critique of Wuthering Heights in her writing desk upon her death, well, then, we have no reason to wonder why she didn't hang around to bother Charlotte longer. And since it was also said that Emily made up Gondal, I probably side with her the most out of the sisters. Even though Charlotte did have a better head for the inviting the readers, she could have done with a little more passion and not as much fidget. But I'm talking just a smidgen here. It's like baking, I think. Too much, and the reader won't really rise to the challenge of taking you on. A fearsome woman. I should be glad never to meet the creature, my tongue would be made of wood.
What a strange little woman, so hidden away in my Immortal Poems copy. It was quite a time before I discovered her genius. It is daunting the way the most probing personalities seem to know you better than you yourself. And judging by the courtship passages, might it not be safe to say Rossetti thought this? Goblin Market: must read.
Hardy is best left alone except in silence. I was a little scarred by some of his stuff as a kid, nearly beaten for laughing at a then racy poem.
The New World~~538 Ralph Waldo Emerson~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow~ I like this Untermeyer guy. I should invite him over for some tea. I think he'd like my orange-sage scones. Very much tempted into going into a prolonged rant about the evil deeds of textbooks, my anger was abated by a few simple lines: A Boy's will is the wind's will. And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.
Of course that was followed by an entire paragraph on his truly Puritan family (laughs). And onto his marrying a wife made of glass, and then perhaps the notion of marital deterioration. What is it with all these poets, novelists, and one president anyway? Is fate truly so cruel? If I were to be blunt about housekeeping I would say keep your candles away if you don't want to be crisper than you were before (in which case he lost his wife, a terrible blow). But Hiawatha?? Confound my ignorance! I have read that poem every other year, and I didn't know who the author was until just last night.
The Soul Selects~~578~~Emily Dickinson [I was indeed selective in what I wanted to blab about in this section. But hey, it's the 'puritan' spitfire. Who could resist?] I believe it is a remembrance quite common when one discovered Emily Dickenson. I was 10. And from the first poem, something about a train I believe, I was hooked into coming back for answers to modern questions, how to deal with pain, and what I might expect of joy. Though I shouldn't put too much stock in mere human words, Dickenson was as unearthly a thing as we shall ever come into 'contact' with.
[And in my search of the word immured (cooped up) I was delighted to find what the band called Incubus was all about anyway. Apparently they might be demons]
To be frank, my truly puritanistic ancestors treaded through Cotton Mather, but could never make it halfway to decent fun: poetry. They abhorred the darn literary vein, they could scarcely touch Milton for all his religious trappings and so-have-yous. So it was no small surprise that my aunt got a little fidgety upon my reliquishing a copy of her poems (complete nonetheless) from my pack. Extreme displeasure really.
But it is easy to ignore when you have the caged bird poet sitting right in front of you. There is no better place to traverse than into another's "domain" that mirrors yours.
No, it's definitely not that story specifically that's the draw. It's the spying factor, scoping out the rotten apples. By gum, there is more than I imagined. Well, I was already on to what this guy was gutsy enough to actually write on a blog.
What great pleasure I derive from now being able to catch the english language pilferers before I get garroted, it's precious time saved for the good stuff. The good kind of heart-ripping truth. Like...Proust.
Ticket for easy interpretation- Admission One
In mia familia, course plots was dreaded drivel. Characters without character got the sack. So if one of us wanted to pick up a Koontz, Harris, or King then we were SOL for a ride back home. Reading was a family affair (was as in the loss of literary drive via loss of childhood. No excuse, but there you have it).
No one was going to back me up in any pursuit of dysfunctional vampires, female outcast protagonists who seemed to have nothing better to do than whine, manical teenage protagonists, clique-chicks, my-boyfriend-turned-into-a-zombie-and-I've-got-to-slay-him.
Ah, the strawberry wine under a summer moon that is an angsty, teenager-dom. And as I navigated my morning miles with Marcel, I fully felt the seductiveness that is social-literary martyrdom. To quote from memory some horrific experiences as a kid when I "stopped" reading trash would be a big fat stretch. But in some corners of the globe, there are some instances where a kid just can't talk books with their friends anymore. M. over there was reading Sara Shepard. I was reading the Complete Emily Dickenson.
It was just a blackberry hill to toss myself down is all. And Monsieur Proust brought that back to me, but in a revelation, not a demnation. And this man touched me with his scenery. I could have sworn that he was not reading a book about a crusade, but about African beetles, and in quick succession, poisonous snakes of Australia. Charm-the-pants-off woodcuts danced across my pages, slow afternoon light doused the floors and walls behind me as my cherub fingers tried to hold the succulent pear away from the page but close to my searching (and missing) mouth.
I was not to be pulled away, fiction or non-fiction. This was an absolute necessity. My sister had her stinging cuts, band-aids, and sand-pit fights. I had my sword to lift to a wyrm's gut, a field that needed tilling, a lynching to prevent. Young, so very young, Proust knew this. And he sprinted with it. (less)
I think we both know what needs to happen here.. [image error] In checking Google trends... [image error] The popularity of e-books made me laugh. And onl...moreI think we both know what needs to happen here.. [image error] In checking Google trends... [image error] The popularity of e-books made me laugh. And only because I have some hyena pack over here that was doomin' and gloomin' on my literary parade. The book world is destructing under our very eyes! What a world, what a world! Could I...could I just.. [image error] Okay. I'm good. Penguin...up 128% Random House...up 300% Apple...maybe they're a touchy subject
I believe in your cause Pushpop, I truly do. But it's time to get sneaky with those reluctant classics readers! Dooo it... (less)
Never, I mean never will mentally (or *gasp!* verbally) depreciate my librarians again, even the newbie who tri...more[image error] [image error] [image error]
Never, I mean never will mentally (or *gasp!* verbally) depreciate my librarians again, even the newbie who tried oh so subtley slip me a clifnotes version of the classic I wanted some weeks ago as a replacement of the real deal. Yes, even she (*fire and loathing*) deserves some hip-hip-hoorays every once in a while. A great while. Though many of us are not entirely ignorant about what happens in a public library under the ever watchful guise of these super powers, most of us have little to no idea what these people deal with in order to have the beast functioning properly. And this book told me a bit more than I really wanted to know (okay, maybe I wanted to know if the whole 'poop in the stacks' thing was true or not. Though I only work at my library during the summers, I cannot begin to relay some of the things that go on around the stacks, and frankly, I don't think I could bring myself to relive them either...scarring). Besides the debunking of library land myths and lore, Mrs. Johnson has collected a lot of great stories, even an entire chapter on virtual librarianship, or to divulge a little more, an entire webrarian world just lying around out there. Blogs, IM rooms, and even something like the Sims (lightbulb-hater though I may be, even I have to admit that's pretty sick). And though this book was not a fall-down-on-your-knees-and-kiss-the-ground-this-book-is-God-speaking, it was enough to guilt me into forgiving that newbie and getting on with my life.
After I watching a few library skits on Youtube, of course.
Embarressing first try (yeah, sometimes I DO write these down): Never. I will never underestimate my librarians, even the newest addition who tried to slip me a Clifnotes version of Willa Cather or something of that sort (is there some rag mag tip somewhere that says people with unusually large eyes are naturally a touch daft? I mean really, she was tyring to offer me a guide. And if I am prideful, it is all these darned librarians faults, pampering me with their adult reading suggestions at the tender age, cooing over my animosity about old crap and the dying methods of the mind. (less)