You've probably seen the movie made from this book.
It was a fine movie. It won Oscars.
But it cannot begin to capture the truly spectacular parts of thYou've probably seen the movie made from this book.
It was a fine movie. It won Oscars.
But it cannot begin to capture the truly spectacular parts of this story because they are not the surface level narratives that make it onto the big screen.
Before you can truly appreciate the quality of this book, you need to be familiar with at least Homer's Odyssey, Dante's Inferno, and parts of the Bible. You need to be on guard for a depth of symbolism and complexity of foreshadowing and allusion that will boggle your mind.
I always knew the movie didn't really get the book, but when my dad (who has not read the book) referred to it as "a chick flick" because he thought of it primarily as a love story (which it is, but not that kind), then I really realized what one misses when one has not read the book....more
I learned a lot about the old traveling circuses and life with them. That was really interesting.
But theI read this book in one day. It pulls you in.
I learned a lot about the old traveling circuses and life with them. That was really interesting.
But the most important thing I got from this book was the narrative from the perspective of Jacob as an old man. I have a hard time truly making myself realize that elderly people were once like me. They were young, with lives just like mine (in the important ways). When talking to elderly people, I spend my energy being sympathetic about their problems and frustrations associated with old age. I completely lose sight of the fact that they were once every bit (and probably more so) as vibrant, active, ambitious, and forward-looking as I am now.
Some day, I will have a hard time walking. I will be in danger of falling and breaking a fragile bone. I will forget little, everyday things. And young people will treat me with that combination of sympathy, reverence, lack of understanding, and fear that I feel now. They will not really understand that I was once a whole, young, unfeeble person who could walk quickly and bend over without fear of falling. And as I am an arrogant person who wants everyone to know how smart, ambitious, and important I am, that will be hard to swallow.
When I next see him, I will ask Ed, the 80-something-year-old man at my church who fixes our computers to tell me some stories about his life as a young engineer inventing some of the world's first computers. And then I will actually listen to what he says....more
In Overdressed Elizabeth Cline details the problems with what she terms "fast fashion:" the cheap clothing that has permeated nearly the entire marketIn Overdressed Elizabeth Cline details the problems with what she terms "fast fashion:" the cheap clothing that has permeated nearly the entire market, making it almost impossible to find well made clothes that were made by someone earning a fair wage.
I appreciated all of the points she made... the first time. The major flaw of this book is that it is about 100 pages too long. Cline repeats herself over and over during the first 2/3 of the book. And while she emphasizes many times that cheap materials put together by rushed, underpaid laborers have become the status quo throughout the market, she also seems to focus heavily on H&M. I think that's because that is the store where her own addiction to fast fashion began and thrived. But it's worth reemphasizing that nearly all clothes from nearly all stores are designed and produced in the same way. And toward the end of the book she focuses on a friend who has switched to sewing her own clothes as a way out of the fast fashion market, but a friend of mine who sews well told me that the fabrics available in most fabric stores are of no better quality that what is being used in the sweatshops. So sewing your own can reduce your contribution to abusive garment factories and ensure a higher quality of workmanship (assuming you're capable of a higher quality of workmanship), but you are still using substandard fabric that was likely put together in a factory that runs many of the same humanitarian problems as the garment factories.
What Cline's book leaves out is the most crucial aspect, and that is political action against the practices of fast fashion. We cannot rid ourselves of this style of market because it is too pervasive in our society. You simply have no other option if you cannot afford high end fashion. Any market changes in this industry will have to be spurred on by political action, yet Cline leaves that aspect out of her book entirely. It's a shame....more
I believe the book's tagline says it all: "The horror, the horror."
I hated this book. HATED. I remember one day when I had done my reading section forI believe the book's tagline says it all: "The horror, the horror."
I hated this book. HATED. I remember one day when I had done my reading section for English class, not understood a thing, except that they were on a boat and things were happening. Maybe they were being attacked. But in class we kept talking about the man in pink pajamas. I didn't remember any mention of pink pajamas. I could barely force my eyes continue reading the words on the page....more
I definitely love the idea of this book, but I found many of the projects a little too off-the-grid for what I'm willing or able to try at this point.I definitely love the idea of this book, but I found many of the projects a little too off-the-grid for what I'm willing or able to try at this point. But I do appreciate that the authors anticipate that, and encourage you to try the ideas that seem intriguing to you and leave the rest for another person or another day. When my current cleaning supplies run out, I am excited to try their mixes. I am not, however, willing to brush my teeth with a stick. I also get frustrated any time I read books or blogs of this type that I live in an apartment with no outdoor space at all and little control of the temperatures in my apartment, so there are many projects that I would like to try, but can't given my situation. That is no reflection on the quality of the ideas--or perhaps reflects well because of my inherent interest, despite my circumstances. But it was the case that quite a few of the projects were of no use to me until I have a home and yard of my own....more
As a constitutional scholar, I picked up this book with some trepidation about how it was going to portray the history and content of the ConstitutionAs a constitutional scholar, I picked up this book with some trepidation about how it was going to portray the history and content of the Constitution, specifically the aspects that are currently the most politically charged (the Second Amendment, for instance). I was generally pleasantly surprised about the political neutrality and balance. I was also pleased about the fact that the author acknowledged the fact that neither the Civil War amendments nor Brown v. Board of Education immediately fixed the horrible situation in which blacks found themselves in the US. However, I found some of the descriptions of content or history surprisingly stunted. If a reader didn't already know the story of what happened leading up to the case of Marbury v. Madison, in which the Supreme Court seized the power of judicial review for itself, I have a hard time believing that she would really understand it after the stilted (and at one point inaccurate) version shown in this book. Nor do I think the author emphasized enough how radical John Marshall's decision was, or how crucial it has been to our mode of governing forever after. I had a similar feeling about the very brief and mostly accurate description of the case of Dred Scott v. Sandford.
Furthermore, while I greatly appreciated that the author often reminded us that the Bill of Rights did not originally apply to the states, and that it took the 14th Amendment to create the mechanism by which nearly all of its provisions would eventually bind the states, I was surprised at how little coverage the 14th Amendment got in its turn. How and why does the 14th Amendment make the Bill of Rights apply to the states? You'll have to look elsewhere to find out! This book sure doesn't tell you.
I have more...why were there no women included in the drawing of the Supreme Court justices? In fact, why were there really only portrayals of women in places that had specifically to do with issues of gender? Why is the author so frank about the fact that the 13th Amendment didn't do a whole lot to help out former slaves in practice, but so silent about how ineffective protections of the requirements for probable cause and reading of Miranda rights have been since the 1970s?
So in the end, I would not put this book on my syllabus for any American Government class....more
I love Barbara Kingsolver with an enthusiasm I have rarely felt for a person I don't actually know. Partly that's because I feel I do know her, becausI love Barbara Kingsolver with an enthusiasm I have rarely felt for a person I don't actually know. Partly that's because I feel I do know her, because she willingly includes so many details of her own life in her books. And partly it's because she eloquently writes so many of my own thoughts and feelings into books that find their way into thousands of homes and minds, and it comforts me to know that I am not the only one who thinks like this. There is a champion of these ideas for peace and nature and humanity who has a meaningfully large audience of diverse, thoughtful people. I agree with her to such a degree that I sometimes wonder if she has secretly followed me and recorded my public and private musings to publish as her own, and then I realize how arrogant I am and just glory in the fact that I am not the only one.
This collection of essays--a format I have rarely read apart from those my students have handed to me--allows readers a glimpse into many moments of Kingsolver's life, and it is clear that this is a collection of the topics and musings that are most important to her. She covers nature, history, war and militarism, patriotism, sexism, being both a parent and a child, vegetables, her daughter's love of chickens and of eating their eggs, her other daughter's amazingly precocious wisdom, and poetry. Written out like this, they seem as though they may be largely unconnected themes for one relatively short book, but it's clear that the connecting thread is Kingsolver's passion for them all, and she brings her readers with her in this story of the wonders of the natural world, along with both the wonders and horrors created by we humans who live in it....more
Although I have read a fair few graphic novels now, I am not a comic book reader. This, in fact, was my first superhero graphic novel read (though ofAlthough I have read a fair few graphic novels now, I am not a comic book reader. This, in fact, was my first superhero graphic novel read (though of course I'm very familiar with Batman and other superheros through movies and TV). So judge my reaction accordingly:
Art: A+. Fantastic, evocative, wonderful
Storyline: C. I think far too little time was spent on the actual crisis and climax compared to the lead-up development time. I had the impression that The Joker had Commissioner Gordon for a few hours before Batman came. I don't think that's probably what they intended to convey. If it is, then I'm even less impressed with the storyline.
Dialog: D. Especially in the first half, the dialog reminded me strongly of fanfiction. Bad fanfiction....more
This book is only about as necessary as oxygen to political science grad students. The United States would not resemble what it is at all if not for tThis book is only about as necessary as oxygen to political science grad students. The United States would not resemble what it is at all if not for this book. The 17th century English was rough going the first time, but four times later, it seems like second nature....more
This is an amazing look into Apartheid South Africa through the autobiography of a black boy growing up there. He learned to play tennis as his way ouThis is an amazing look into Apartheid South Africa through the autobiography of a black boy growing up there. He learned to play tennis as his way out....more
3.5 stars, more precisely. Oh, hell, let's go crazy. 3.75.
Since it seemed that everyone knew the story of "The Lottery," I wondered if I had read it3.5 stars, more precisely. Oh, hell, let's go crazy. 3.75.
Since it seemed that everyone knew the story of "The Lottery," I wondered if I had read it in high school too and forgotten it. I hadn't. So I spent the entire book in anticipation of this really creepy story waiting for me at the end. "The Lottery," in this post-Hunger Games world of ours, did not creep me out or horrify me in the way that everyone seemed to have expected. But I presume that I now know where Suzanne Collins got her nascent idea for a story. Personally, I found "The Tooth" and the strange character of Jim who followed the ailing woman and appeared out of nowhere at frequent intervals far more unsettling than the entrenched and unquestioned societal more of stoning a random community member for the sake of tradition.
I disliked the story of "Elizabeth," the failing publisher, the most. It seemed to drag on forever. I enjoyed the unsettled feelings of "Like Mother Used to Make" and "Charles" the most. I appreciated the bounces back and forth between city dwellers and small town folk, some appreciative of their surroundings and others disgruntled, following the sorts of vague fears and social dilemmas that occur in various social spaces.
I read in the introduction that the book was nearly subtitled The Adventures of James Harris, so I appreciated the knowledge that the repetition of that and other names among the stories was quite intentional, but I'm looking forward to a discussion about what his repetition signifies (apart from the obvious nefariousness he is often up to)....more
Well now I've finished it. The ending was almost disturbing in it's lack of ending. It kind of taints my opinion of the book. But up until I realizedWell now I've finished it. The ending was almost disturbing in it's lack of ending. It kind of taints my opinion of the book. But up until I realized the last page was really the last page, I liked it. ----- So far I like this book, although it has all those depressing traits modern literature is known for. It's set in 1950s-60s Minnesota, a ways out from Brainerd, I think, which gives it a nice nostalgic feel for me, despite some of the horrible happenings of the story....more