IQ "But learning from the rest is no longer a matter of morality or politics. Increasingly it's about competitiveness" pg. 225
I find it eerie that I r...moreIQ "But learning from the rest is no longer a matter of morality or politics. Increasingly it's about competitiveness" pg. 225
I find it eerie that I reviewed the first edition of this book around the same time (July 4, 2011) as I'm about to review this updated version. Coincidence? I think not. And I found new quotes to use (I only double-checked after I'd finished the 2.0 book). Anyway I chose the quote I did because I think I often believed the reason we need to learn from other countries is because it's polite, tolerant, moral, justice. But that one sentence (as silly as this may sound) honed home the point that better explains why its so important we study other cultures for those who don't buy the moral argument. Its a SMART thing to do. My only real issue with this book is that I didn't feel it was fully updated, it didn't focus as much on the Great Recession as I would have liked.
This book is a feel-good kind of book and that's not a bad thing. I found that it keeps things real, knocks Americans off their high horse while not being mired in pessimism. It also makes me feel better about being an IR major because the author still sees the need for more diplomats and policy wonks so let's hope he's right. Another great quote, "There is a fundamental tension in U.S. foreign policy, Does the country want to push its own particular interests abroad, or does it want to create a structure of rules, practices and values by which the world will be bound? In an age of rising new powers, the United States' overriding goals should be the latter-so that even as these countries get more powerful, they will continue to live within the framework of the current international system" (pg. 263) as designated by laws and such. Preach!(less)
I'm not a fan of those books where this girl who describes herself as plain-looking and average-student suddenly finds herself at an elite college wi...more I'm not a fan of those books where this girl who describes herself as plain-looking and average-student suddenly finds herself at an elite college with several admirers. I love that this book is about college life, and the ups and downs of freshman year, I like the secondary characters. I just wish the main character wasn't so irritatingly sweet and perfect. (less)
Children of the Waters is an amazing read. Carleen Brice is unafraid to talk about tough subjects through her characters. The dialouge never feels for...moreChildren of the Waters is an amazing read. Carleen Brice is unafraid to talk about tough subjects through her characters. The dialouge never feels forced, the conversations are genuine ones that people have with one another. The author does an excellent job in maintaing a neutral stance, Trish and Billie feel so differently about some things; faith, race and even family. But the author doesn't belittle either one of them, each of them is a strong, lovable and valid character. I especially admire how the author handles the issue of race, I thought that I would automatically be on Billie's side, since I'm half African American, I figured I could relate to her better on the race relations side of things. But I found myself agreeing with Trish about a lot of things too. I especially appreciated the look at racisim held by African Americans, Billie is light skinned and the envy of darker skinned African American women, including her own mother (who has very dark skin). The issue of colorism is still prevalent today and I was glad to see it addressed and I was pleased that Trish wasn't too understanding (or perhaps the better word is overeager, as in she was trying too hard to show that she understood black people) or clueless about this issue.
I don't know what to say about this book other than the fact that it's a must-read. I loved reading about Billie and Trish seperately, I was sucked right into their life's drama. But what I loved even more was when their stories intersected. Sure at times I was upset with some of the characters (ahem Nick, Will, Trish), but it was a good kind of upset. I truly came to care about these characters and I was sad to finish this book and not know that everyone got a happily ever after.
Sidenote: It took me such a long time to read this book not because it didn't hold my interest (it lead to some late school nights reading) but because of school and review copies that needed to be reviewed first.(less)
IQ "'Besides, there is a man's character beforehand to speak for him' 'But, my dear Mrs. Casaubon,' said Mr. Farebrother, smiling gently at her ardour...moreIQ "'Besides, there is a man's character beforehand to speak for him' 'But, my dear Mrs. Casaubon,' said Mr. Farebrother, smiling gently at her ardour, 'character is not cut in marble-it is not something solid and unalterable. It is something living and changing, and may become diseased as our bodies do' 'Then it may be rescued and healed,' said Dorothea." pg. 507 (Book VIII)
Words, let alone this review, cannot describe how accomplished I felt for having finished this novel. I started it about 2 years ago and then had to return it to the library and never had a chance to finish it until now. Due to having a long commute to work (ugh) I gained more reading time (yay) and thus was able to finish this novel. Can I call it an epic? Because that's what it felt like! I do think the story grew bogged down in details at times and tended to drag on but I was thrilled that Dorothea became less of an annoyingly myopic, haughty fanatic, character. I was able to empathize with Dorothea's idealist, grand plans, plans that she failed to realize. I too am guilty of having lofty dreams but faltering on their implementation.
I was impressed at George Eliot's ability to interweave all her characters stories. I wasn't sure all paths would connect but lo and behold they did! I do wish that history had been a bit more at the forefront but perhaps Eliot-by pushing history to the mere mention instead of a main issue-was reflecting on how in small towns (and even small cities) in a big country, the central government and its decisions can seem far and away. Furthermore when that central government is at an impasse, people throughout the rest of the country may choose to ignore the minor news that happens until a major bill/piece of legislation goes through. Just a thought. I do find it interesting that Ladislaw is the one character with no real flaw, perhaps a temper or stubbornness regarding Dorothea but that's it. Then again that did not bother me because I felt Dorothea deserved a happy ending and during her time period she wouldn't have been able to really affect change on her own, as sad as that is. I found Fred to be exasperating but that's because I have no patience for people who borrow money and don't return it. I loved Mary, she was the most amusing, and reasonable character. One of my favorite Mary Garth exchanges, 'Am I to repeat what you have said?' [Rosamond] 'Just as you please. I never say what I am afraid of having repeated. But let us go down'", Mary pg. 79. If only we all had that kind of attitude! Refreshing to read about even now. In contrast to Rosamond who is a perfect example of a subtly awful woman. Poor Lydagte, there's nothing more distressing to me than when someone can't pursue their passion-especially a passion that could change the world-due to family obligations.
Other favorite quotes of mine:
"Any one who imagines ten days too short a time-not for falling into leanness, lightness, or other measurable effects of passion, but-for the whole spiritual circuit of alarmed conjecture and disappointment, is ignorant of what can go on in the elegant leisure of a young lady's mind", pg. 207. TRUTH, this quote is so applicable today as any girl waiting on a text (or phone call) from a guy she's interested in can attest to.
"Excuse me there. If you go upon arguments, they are never wanting, when a man has no constancy of mind. My father never changed, and he preached plain moral sermons without arguments, and was a good man-few better. When you get me a good man made out of arguments, I will get you a good dinner with reading you the cookery-book. That's my opinion, and I think anybody's stomach will bear me out" Mrs. Farebrother, pg. 117
And finally, more one-liner wisdom from Mary Garth, 'I should never like scolding any one else so well; and that is a point to be thought of in a husband", pg. 570(less)
I must admit that I got this book a long time ago (less than a year ago but I'm not sure how long) and then I put it down and had no desire to pick it...moreI must admit that I got this book a long time ago (less than a year ago but I'm not sure how long) and then I put it down and had no desire to pick it back up. Colson Whitehead has a wonderful way with words but there was waaay too much time spent on details in this book. Perhaps part of it is because I wasn't around in the '80s, the book is marketed to adults even though the main protagonist is a teenager (15). There are a lot of '80s references and I do mean A LOT, I knew most of the music references but there were mentions of one-hit wonders and video games (I may live under a rock but I had no idea what game D&D was)and other things that I knew nothing about. At times this book dragged on and I couldn't keep the people straight. There are too many storylines that don't really go anywhere. The novel ended too abruptly for me.
However, I did get an excellent taste of what Sag Harbor is like. I didn't know much about life in Sag Harbor and I was fascinated by it, a community of wealthy upper/middle class Black people. The main character, Benji, is not a snob, which was a relief. He's unbearably awkward at times, but mostly very nice and easy to relate to. Like so many other Black teenagers he's stuck in between two worlds: the mostly white world of school and the summers at Sag Harbor, where he must get an education in being Black. He has to learn to straddle both worlds. He also learns about kissing girls, shooting guns, family, drinking and so much more. A nice coming of age story that could have used a little less detail and more of a purpose. Some elements were introduced to the story that seemed to serve no purpose (in my opinion).
One of my favorite lines: "We always fought for real. Only the nature of the fight changed. It always will. As time went on, we learned to arm ourselves in different ways. Some of us with real guns, some of us with more ephemeral weapons, an idea or improbable plan or some sort of formulation about how best to move through the world. An idea that will let us be. Protect us and keep us safe. but a weapon nonetheless." (pg. 158-159)(less)
IQ "I like a lady to be exclusive; I'm dying to be exclusive myself. Well, we aer exclusive, mother and I. We don't speak to every one-or they don't s...moreIQ "I like a lady to be exclusive; I'm dying to be exclusive myself. Well, we aer exclusive, mother and I. We don't speak to every one-or they don't speak to us. I suppose it's about the same thing", Daisy pg. 17
I was relieved to find that my edition of DAISY MILLER was not exceptionally short. I'm pretty sure this is the first novella I read but unlike a short story I found it tied up most loose ends in a satisfying manner. In other words, the plot elements that were left open-ended were ones that didn't strike me as super crucial. I did find it hard to believe that Daisy's mother was so naive and unaware of Victorian social customs and rules. Even if she was 'new money' it struck me as odd that she was literally clueless when it came to how people viewed her daughter's behavior as unbecoming.
Daisy is not a likable main character but that's not important. Some of her observations were amusing but for the most part I found her behavior frustrating. I wanted her to at least acknowledge that she was messing with social norms and to stop giving Winterbourne such a hard time for trying to protect her, she should have been a bit more understanding/worldly. In addition to Daisy's mother, I found Winterbourne a very dull narrator. Characters aside (which seems odd to say) the plot was engaging and DAISY MILLER presents a good portrait of Victorian manners and standards (and how RIDICULOUS they were) especially when abroad. Daisy was ahead of her time, furthermore I'm pleased that after reading this book I finally understand its relation to its reference in a Gilmore Girls episode (this book is part of the Gilmore Girls Reading Challenge btw).
One of my favorite exchanges was the following between Daisy and Winterbourne; "Winterbourne looked at him a moment, and then said, 'Do you mean to speak to that man'? 'Do I mean to speak to him? Why, you don't suppose I mean to communicate by signs?' [Daisy] pg. 35(less)
I should be sleeping but I've always had trouble sleeping. Besides studying is more important than sleep right? I have an English final on this book t...moreI should be sleeping but I've always had trouble sleeping. Besides studying is more important than sleep right? I have an English final on this book tomorrow so I decided to go ahead and review the book.
A Tale of Two Cities is too long. There are too many details, its wordy and it can be a bit confusing at times. This book was especially frustrating for a reader like myself who hates being held in suspense unless I can finish the book in one day. Due to being in school that just wasn't going to happen. This is my first read by Charles Dickens so I hope this is an anomly but throughout the book he had an annoying habit of foreshadowing and introducing these intense scenes and then....he left you hanging. CLIMAX then on to the next scene. It was infuriating. At the same time though all the frustration Dickens causes is oh-so-worth it once you reach Book III. I had so many 'aha' moments (coupled with 'well why didn't Dickens just say that in the first place), it was marvelous. Read this book for Book III alone because all the characters are fully realized/revealed and the action doesn't stop. I haven't studied the French Revolution in much detail (I am recording Marie Antoinette starring Kristen Dunst tomorrow haha) but my interest has definitely been piqued and I want to read more about it because I'm kinda hoping that Dickens exaggerated greatly, the cruelty in this novel is stunning.
What I ended up loving the most about this book was that every single good character (read: non spies and not the Defarges) had a heroic moment. Some of the heroic moments were small, ranging from Lucie Manette taking her daughter everyday to stand in a place where her husband might possibly see them from prison (even though she could be arrested for some bogus charge like signaling the enemy or some such nonsense) to the most noble act of all, Sydney Carton doing what he does. I'm not a romantic at all but even I heaved a small sigh of awe when I read his speech, stirring to say the least. Even the minor characters step up. Who can forget the fantastic scene between Miss Pross and Madame Defarge? It offered a little bit of humor and this scene was wonderfully portrayed (I can just see a grouchy old governess yelling in English at a young stubborn French revolutionary. Can you imagine having an arguement where you don't understand [literally] a word the other person is saying?). And Madame Defarge has to be one of the scariest characters ever. She is both visionary and set on revenge, she's a whirlwind whose path I would dread to be in.
Heavy with imagery, brillant and distingushed good main characters, and mesmerizing bits of dialogue (not all of it mind you), this book has a few scenes that are absolutely haunting (the story of Madame Defarge's sister, making shoes, the child dying to name a few and to leave out the biggest one of all). I'm not exactly eager to tackle another book by Dickens because I'm not sure I'd be as patient, I love history so I think that if I hadn't had to read it for class I still would have stuck with it. I can't say the same for a book by him I read on my own time (I'd finish it but I would take forever since I can't leave a book unfinished).
*I left my copy of the book at school so I can't yet add my favorite quote (aside from the obvious of anything said by Sydney Carton).
(view spoiler)[ The only thing is I think it was obvious that Sydney Carton was a good guy. Sure I didn't expect such an incredible sacrifice right away but Stryver respected him and Carton had such fits of anguish sometimes over the fact that he could never be a 'good' guy that he must have been a great man. I adore him. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)