A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole Published 1981 338 pages Classic; Pulitzer; Picaresque; FITG 4.5/5 stars
Summary: I've tried dA Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole Published 1981 338 pages Classic; Pulitzer; Picaresque; FITG 4.5/5 stars
Summary: I've tried describing this before to my friends but I don't think I'm doing a very good job. Basically Ignatius J Reilly is a lazy eccentric who is forced to get a job leading to a series of adventures involving many Characters.
Thoughts: I was excited to read this because it's one of my dad's favorite books and he's recommended it to me before. While I can appreciate its strong points, I don't think it's one of my favorites. For one thing, I prefer a main character I love and would want to hang out with. Ignatius Reilly had many interesting characteristics but I would never want to meet him. On the one hand, he's obsessed with the Middle Ages and thinks things would be better with an enlightened monarchy (I'm not saying he's wrong what with the way things are...) He is very educated with a graduate degree and he speaks far beyond the comprehension of the people around, which is very funny to read. On the other hand, he lies, he's selfish, and he's cruel to his mama among other offenses. So not someone I'd want to meet but someone who is a Character.
My favorite part of the book was how the disparate characters and earlier events tied together-I mean it's perfect. It's not like crazy coincidences as Dickens does but instances that logically follow the previous events. The part I didn't like was how intensely awkward some scenes were for me to read. I could not have read this book all in one go because I had to take breaks and distance myself from what was happening.
It's been defined as a picaresque novel which I always associate with Don Quixote. It's been a while since I've read that but I remember some of the occurrences escalating in a similar way so I can see it. For example, Ignatius has a simple office job before he decides that he will organize the workers at a factory which almost leads to a riot. It's amazing.
Overall: Intensely awkward at times, very funny at times with the perfect ending.
Cover: I found this cover weird at first but it actually makes perfect sense after reading the book....more
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton Barnes and Noble, 1920 293 pages Classic 4.5/5 stars FITG Challenge
Thoughts: I put this on my list becauseThe Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton Barnes and Noble, 1920 293 pages Classic 4.5/5 stars FITG Challenge
Thoughts: I put this on my list because I wanted to read the first Pulitzer winning-novel by a woman; after enjoying Old New York, a collection of four short stories, I had high hopes for this. And they were mostly fulfilled.
I loved the pictures painted by Wharton; every detail seemed carefully chosen to convey the taste and wealth of the characters although I'm sure I didn't fully appreciate those details, given my 21st century sensibilities and understanding. I loved being enmeshed in that world and slowly journeying through it toward completion.
The part I didn't like was the character Newland Archer. He is torn between duty to his fiancee May Welland and passion for her cousin, the scandalous Countess Ellen Olenska who left her husband. I was caught up in that and I supported his choice. But I hated his musings on the innocence and conventionality of May-how was she to be different? I think that he is a stand-in for Wharton who was raised in that kind of environment but obviously had a sharp intellect of her own. Over the course of the novel though, I grew annoyed with him. I did not want to spend as much time with him as I did; I think I would have preferred this novel from a female point of view because Archer grated on me.
I would also like to see the movie starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer (j'adore her), and Winona Ryder.
Overall: Beautifully written; I definitely consider myself a fan of Wharton now.
Cover: Pretty gallery-I'm a big fan of the Barnes and Noble editions. ...more