Seriously, it took me about 36 hrs to read this whole book in a day when I had to go to work and go to sleep. I marveled how a book about life is suchSeriously, it took me about 36 hrs to read this whole book in a day when I had to go to work and go to sleep. I marveled how a book about life is such a page-turning absorption? There are twists and turns, but no different from any life. Is it the language? Never gets in the way, yet seems to express exactly how thoughts in a mind might be expressed? The characters themselves? I did find the Elena character at times, stressful, reading her lead herself into obvious disaster. I do not identify with any of the characters- I'm not even sure I would even like any of them as a friend. But their life struggles, their realization of how they fail themselves and each other; the clarity they have of themselves at moments of and the blindness they have of each other make the tale something more than just a plot-driven story of a friendship....more
The satisfying and fun end of a type of trilogy that I would not usually read. But sometimes you just need to read something otherworldy and distractiThe satisfying and fun end of a type of trilogy that I would not usually read. But sometimes you just need to read something otherworldy and distracting so you don't feel like you are getting trapped in an neverending hamster-wheel of life as an adult: go to work, clean the house, listen to the partner kvetch about work, listen to friends kvetch about being an adult, listen to co-workers kvetch about work, do laundry, buy groceries, etc., etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseam.
There's enough of a balance of magic abracadarism to growing-up angst to make it feel relatable yet escapist....more
Jude, the Obscure was the first book I've read off my phone. That's right, my phone. I had wanted to read a Thomas Hardy novel while I was travellingJude, the Obscure was the first book I've read off my phone. That's right, my phone. I had wanted to read a Thomas Hardy novel while I was travelling and carrying around a huge book sounded unwieldly, so I checked out the e-book from library and downloaded it to my iPad. Then I forgot the stupid iPad, and after having a moment of temp panic, I realized I could download the app to phone. So, instead of using my phone as a photo-taking, text-device, I finally accepted the challenge of maximizing the smartness of my phone and I read a freaking Thomas Hardy novel.
It went much smoother than you would expect. Of course, holding a book incites a whole series of physical feelings associated with reading a book, but reading on your phone allows you to maintain a sense of always reading in the now. Since you cannot see how many pages are left to read (yes, it does tell you how pages are left in a chapter, but those are cellphone pages and you learn to ignore them), you are constantly picking up the “book” and reading as though there is no beginning or end. Also, it makes carrying around the “book” really easy and whipping out your phone to read in the train, while waiting in line, or in a restaurant really easy. Plus, Hardy’s language is funny and clear and seems to translate well for the screen. The one big downside of reading on your phone is that people will think you’re not doing anything serious and will be more likely to interrupt you.
The novel itself has a similar trajectory to other Hardy novels I have read in which the hero who desires become a unique individual struggles mightily against a stifling society which wants to keep the hero in his lowly place. The ups and downs, the disappointments and loves of sincere Jude did keep me emotionally attached to his story and outcome. I don’t know why he is obscure though; perhaps because his desire for learning and education makes him uncertain, unknowable? In any case, like the other Hardy novels, Jude’s dreams are lofty and beautiful, but his path to get there is riddled with irritating obstacles and tragedy. It seems the others around him cannot give him the society for him to reach this dream. In the end, you feel defeated and sad. ...more