Gothic horror, how I love thee, and Ms. du Maurier is your ultimate practitioner!
1 novella broken into two (MonteA creepy Halloween read for October.
Gothic horror, how I love thee, and Ms. du Maurier is your ultimate practitioner!
1 novella broken into two (Monte Verita & Victor), and 5 short stories: The Birds (yes, the one turned into the Hitchcock movie), The Apple Tree, The Little Photographer, Kiss Me Again Stranger, and The Old Man.
The first 3 (novella, The Birds and The Apple Tree) were 5-star reads, the others were 3 or 4 stars, but still fun.
I love the subtle creepiness that slowly builds....more
Please, please tell me that Joellyn will get more stories in the future!
Holy cow, is this some amazing, clever writing. It's a little book with a whoPlease, please tell me that Joellyn will get more stories in the future!
Holy cow, is this some amazing, clever writing. It's a little book with a whole lot of character going on. There's a novella and a short-story. They revolve around different characters, but have similar themes. Sadly, I can't exactly tell you about the themes without giving away some secrets.
I wish there was some way to call it "chick lit" without being derogatory. It's smart lit that happens to be about complex, modern women.
Quick, someone give Lepucki a book deal to write a full-length novel about the protagonist in the novella. She's witty, self-assured, but doesn't quite yet get her place in the world. She also tries to be snobbish and picky, but doesn't quite make it. I definitely snorted out loud at times at the humor, but I also was kind of sad at the situation.
I guess that's about all I can say. Give it a try. ...more
Went to Shteyngart's reading/signing and it was hilarious! He's a bit like a stand-up comic looking for an audience, so he trolls bookstores. I'm goinWent to Shteyngart's reading/signing and it was hilarious! He's a bit like a stand-up comic looking for an audience, so he trolls bookstores. I'm going to read this on vacation next week. ______________
I'm baaack. I'm also terrified of giving this book 3-stars. After reading the scathing reviews here on Goodreads, it appears all the cool kids hate this book. Fine. I've only ever been the opposite of cool. And that's hot.
Here's the thing: I don't think Shteyngart's witty, super fast, referential humor comes across in written form very well. Like I said above, the book reading had the whole audience in stitches. Not just the banter introduction, or even his self-deprecating way he'd answer all the lame questions he must get at every reading ("What's your typical work day like?"). The reading itself - you know, the actual words in the printed book - was really, really funny. He did voices, he had comedic timing, it all made sense. So I was reading Lenny Abramov's diaries in Steyngart's voice, and it was pretty funny. In parts.
It just wasn't anywhere near as funny as when he read the book out loud.
Also, I got the strong impression that as a minimum, the target audience for this book should be well acquainted with New York City. More appropriately, the designated reader should belong to one of the immigrant classes described in the book. I don't think I was part of the target audience, and just like when I watch Seinfeld, I miss a huge part of the joke. Not unlike this philosophy class I took in college where the prof would make a Yiddish joke every 15 minutes, and a huge question mark would appear above my blonde shiksa head.
Nonetheless, I thought the characters were interesting and fleshed-out. They certainly weren't like characters I've encountered before, so that was new. The future Shteyngart paints is impressionistic and not particularly believable, which is a shame. The story was silly, but it kept me entertained. I don't know about it being Super or True, but I'll grant that it's a Sad Love Story. And... that's why I gave it 3 stars.
I'll never get into the cool kid clique now, will I?...more
My first Banana! Yoshimoto! The book contains both a novelette and a short story that meditate on how the living cope and survive after losing loved oMy first Banana! Yoshimoto! The book contains both a novelette and a short story that meditate on how the living cope and survive after losing loved ones. Other themes in the book: transgender folks, the kitchen as the heart of the home, cooking to meditate and medicate, and reaching out to other people.
Sparse but evocative writing. The stories are quite non-linear - the reader has to put the pieces together to get the whole story. I love playing that game, but you may not.
The descriptions of Japanese food made me very hungry. I might have to head down to Little Tokyo soon for some Katsudon....more
There is so much going on in the story of Doctor Zhivago! It's not just a love story between Doctor Zhivago and Lara and Doctor Zhivago and Tonia, hisThere is so much going on in the story of Doctor Zhivago! It's not just a love story between Doctor Zhivago and Lara and Doctor Zhivago and Tonia, his wife. And it's not just a love story between Pasternak and Russia. It's also the cruelty of war and uprisings. The speed at which greedy leaders step in to fill voids and become in effect feudal lords is astonishing. However, the book is also not just a commentary on socialism and Marxism.
What really struck me about the story is its commentary on the interconnectedness of Doctor Zhivago and the myraid cast of characters. People come in and out of his life, and even if he forgets them or their story, events from the past continually re-appear. As a reader, you have to be on top of some of the minor story lines to really enjoy the intratextual references, but you are really rewarded if you do. A quote at the end of the book sums this up nicely:
"[Doctor Zhivago] tried to imagine several people whose lives run parallel and close together but move at different speeds, and he wondered in what circumstances some of them would overtake and survive others. Something like a theory of relativity governing the hippodrome of life occurred to him, but he became confused and gave up his analogies."
There are some lovely and lyrical passages littered throughout the book. Here's one of my favorites - not surprising, it has to do with nature and mood and revolution:
"At such moments Yurii Andreievich felt he understood what it was that made these night shadows rustle and put their heads together, and what it was they whispered to each other, lazily stirring their leaves heavy with sleep, like faltering, lisping tongues. It was the very thing he was thinking of, turning restlessly in his berth -- the tidings of the ever-widening circles of unrest and excitement in Russia, the tidings of the revolution, of its difficult and fateful hour and its probable greatness."
I do have to say that I occasionally had a hard time with the herky-jerky style of story telling; Pasternak would jump from one scene to the next with little to no segue. Particularly the first two chapters run at breakneck speed. Personally I found the most intriguing and easy flowing sections the ones describing love and domestic life. Second, not every named character is important to the story, which can be infuriating. Occasionally I spent the time learning some new characters' name, patronymic, diminutive, family name, etc, only to find out they were a throw away character. Reminds me of James Fenimore Cooper.
Nonetheless, I found so many connections between the story and either things happening in my life, discussions with family and relevance to various Goodreads threads. That alone makes it a winner!...more
Jake Donaghue is a lazy, mooching, failed writer. Under the Net is basically a free-flowing connection of his and his friends' antics in London and Pa Jake Donaghue is a lazy, mooching, failed writer. Under the Net is basically a free-flowing connection of his and his friends' antics in London and Paris. Under the surface is a commentary on language, and how words so incompletely convey ideas and rarely express the truth.
I almost abandoned this book up until the half-way mark. The only way I could describe it is vacuous: there just wasn't much there. I didn't hate it, but I just couldn't bring myself to feel anything towards the story, the characters, the writing, etc.
Luckily the second half picked it up a bit. The events got a little more interesting. There were moments of brilliance, such as this passage:
"Daytime sleep is a cursed slumber from which one wakes in despair. The sun will not tolerate it. If he can he will pry under your eyelids and prise them apart; and if you hand black curtains at your windows he will lay siege to your room until it is so stifling that at last you stagger with staring eyes to the window and tear back the curtains to see that most terrible of sights, the broad daylight outside a room where you have been sleeping. There are special nightmares for the daytime sleeper: little nervous dreams tossed into some brief restless moment of unconsciousness and breaking through the surface of the mind to become confused at once with the horror of some waking vision."...more