Loved the two introductions, also loved several of the poets but really didn't connect with many of other ones -- still (somewhat) skeptical about thi...moreLoved the two introductions, also loved several of the poets but really didn't connect with many of other ones -- still (somewhat) skeptical about this movement that is eschewing the label "movement" (but I'll call it that anyway for the sake of clarity/simplicity,) but less than before, and now I know what this all is -- what exactly I'm buying into, if/when/how I choose to buy into it, which I think I might!(less)
1.) comma usage 2.) haphazard comparisons (no, joyce, if your character cannot get a job that does not me...morethings joyce carol oates needs boot camp for:
1.) comma usage 2.) haphazard comparisons (no, joyce, if your character cannot get a job that does not mean he can be likened to carter's military strategy with those poor american hostages in iran) 3.) bungling social issues (race, rape, etc.) 4.) narration (please decide -- first or third person. *please*) 5.) poetic narrations on the mysteries of science ("oh, oh why can't viruses replicate by themselves? also game theory" please no) 6.) long, descriptive passages about physical effects of a room, landscapes, roads, animals 7.) plot?? in general(less)
SO good. Changed how I think about poetry, art, the academy, the world (political/cultural/et al), and how all of those interact. She's a kind of fema...moreSO good. Changed how I think about poetry, art, the academy, the world (political/cultural/et al), and how all of those interact. She's a kind of female W.G. Sebald, except a bit different -- instead of interpolating grainy, processed, & hauntingly beautiful pictures, as Sebald does, she inserts quotes from texts of all kinds - literary, poetic, philosophical, criticism, theory, etc. Read this (!), and pay special attention to her essays on Emerson and the six "Night Sky" sequences. (less)
clever & well written, as per the usual w/dfw. also a very flawed novel, structurally and content-wise. a large variant grade w/r/t quality. some...moreclever & well written, as per the usual w/dfw. also a very flawed novel, structurally and content-wise. a large variant grade w/r/t quality. some parts are just excellent; others are a bit tediously obnoxious. good overall!(less)
HER POLITICAL POEMS. HER LOVE POEMS. ALL OF THESE POEMS. Oh god. Best read in conjunction with an AP Government & Politics unit on Bush's presiden...moreHER POLITICAL POEMS. HER LOVE POEMS. ALL OF THESE POEMS. Oh god. Best read in conjunction with an AP Government & Politics unit on Bush's presidency & the post 9/11 world holy crap.(less)
Okay: the nice stuff first. She can be charming, and she's very good at her job. There are chapters when she ditches most of the...moreOhhh man. Get ready.
Okay: the nice stuff first. She can be charming, and she's very good at her job. There are chapters when she ditches most of the gender-talk and just talks about what she's learned about having a career, being a businesswoman, having relationships, etc. These parts, when they're not cliche, are really great and even funny. Example:
“Mark Zuckerberg was only seven years old when I graduated from college. Also, back then, technology and I did not exactly have a great relationship. I used Harvard’s computer system only once as an undergraduate, to run regressions for my senior thesis on the economics of spousal abuse. The data was stored on large, heavy magnetic tapes that I had to lug in big boxes across campus, cursing the entire way and arriving in a sweaty mess at the sole computer center, which was populated exclusively with male students. I then had to stay up all night spinning the tapes to input the data. When I tried to execute my final calculations, I took down the entire system. That’s right. Years before Mark famously crashed that same Harvard system, I beat him to it.”
I was worried I'd come into reading this book too biased. I'd heard a lot about Lean In before reading it, namely the fact that Sandberg encouraged women to fight for equal compensation and equal opportunity in the workplace in the book, and then solicited unpaid female interns for a project. Headdesk. Headdesk. Headdesk. So I already didn't have the best opinion of her, but thought her TED talk was pretty good, so WHY NOT.
It turns out "Why not?" is not the best reason to do something, but anyway - the biggest problem with this book is that SHERYL NEEDS A LESSON IN CHECKING HER OWN PRIVILEGE. She's a Harvard-educated business executive who rakes in 845 million a year - wait, once more: eight hundred and forty five million per year. And yet, she *just barely* deals with issues of material and socioeconomic privilege.
She's writing a book that's all about power - getting it, using it, etc. - and yet she's refusing to acknowledge and discuss the effect of power dynamics in business institutions, class relations, male/female relations, and female/female relations, the whole shebang. Early on, she talks about institutional barriers that prevent women from climbing to the top of their respective fields and the way women hold themselves back through learned behavior, gender roles, etc. She basically distills it all down to this neat little dichotomy and says: well, let's focus on the latter, because it's like the chicken and the egg!
Uh, what? You're just going to shunt everything off to the side like that? Action and barriers with regard to women in the workplace can't be reduced to a simple dichotomy or metaphor.
And then I realized. Sandberg doesn't deal with institutional power dynamics because she perpetuates them herself. Her book isn't for anyone who can't wrangle a lucrative career, be extremely flexible, affluent, and impervious to any other forms of discrimination other than gender (racial discrimination, for starters.) By erasing women of color, socioeconomically disadvantaged women, and so on, she's complicit in the very female oppression she tries to combat. Aka: she's the worst kind of feminist - a straight up white feminist.
This book may as well be renamed "Lean In . . . if You're an Upper-Middle-Class White Woman Who Can Afford To" or "Lean In. . .to the Status Quo" or "Lean In . . . If You're Cool With Trampling on Other People on the Way." At one point, when detailing troubles she had balancing family and an exec job (Side note: *So much* of the book is about this. No fucks are given to women who don't want marriage or kids, oh so ironically.) she wraps up a conflict with (I'm paraphrasing) "So my husband got a CEO job and moved the headquarters from Portland to the Bay area so he could be nearer to our kids."
Yeah, because that's really universally feasible - also, how many people did he fire in the process, just curious? Because last time I checked, it's not every day that the company pays the relocation costs of the entire employee base....
Here are a couple quality excerpts of total bullshit:
"When girls are reminded of their gender before a math or science test, even by something as simple off an M or F box at the top of the text, they perform worse."
Yeah, I took the SAT, remembered I was a girl, and fucking broke down.
"I have advised many women to preface negotiations by explaining that they know that women often get paid less than men so they are gong to negotiate rather than accept the original offer. By doing so, women position themselves as connected to a group and not just out for themselves; in effect, they are negotiating for all women. And as silly as it sounds, pronouns matter. Whenever possible, women should substitute "we" for "I." A woman's request will be better received if she asserts, "We had a great year," as opposed to "I had a great year.""
I'll be honest: I read this because I needed something easy. I've always thought the label "reader's block" is self-indulgent and kind of...more(3.5 stars.)
I'll be honest: I read this because I needed something easy. I've always thought the label "reader's block" is self-indulgent and kind of silly, but it happens - though I think it's just tirednesss, like the occasional need to order pizza instead of cooking a full-blown meal. This month has been Harold Bloom, Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, heavy literary criticism. I granted myself a break for today's snow day.
Within the first few pages, you learn that this young woman works at the New York Post. 'Oh god,' I thought upon reading. Not a Post reporter. (At one point, she describes her colleagues as professional hyperbole slingers, which seems apt.) 'This is bound to be riddled with annoying crap.' (And it sometimes was, though not as frequently as I anticipated.) Perhaps the most notable thing about this book (other than the frightening journey through disease that it describes) is the way it's told. In a foreword, Cahalan notes that her memories from her period of illness are so fragmented and shattered that, in an investigative way true to a journalist's core identity, she scavenged for all the evidence she could find - anecdotal testimony from family and friends, videotapes, journals, notebooks, and so on.
The result is both unique and a bit unsettling. On the one hand, real copies of journals her parents kept during her terrifying hospital stay, as well as rudimentary, child-like drawings she produced as a result of tests by neuroscientists showing a fascinating (if terribly sad) portrait of someone seriously impaired, are in the book. It doesn't resemble a scrapbook, but these images and diagrams give the prose a kind of...genuineness.
What isn't so genuine about this reporter-like form is the fact that it doesn't match up at *all* with the disease she describes. Though told in the first person perspective, the reader also gets insight into the intimate feelings of her family members, boyfriends, and friends (as well as scenes that she's not involved in.) The omniscient point of view constitutes a work that's certainly well documented, but eerily dissimilar to what ought to have been (and what many other memoirs of mental illness have been) a fragmented, non-linear, emotionally raw narrative. It's unclear to me whether Cahalan has the capacity to write that kind of book, or the inclination to, considering her profession. It just came off very strange to me to read the first-person tale of someone who can't say her boyfriend's two-syllable name told so meticulously well, as if she's separated from her psyche, looking down on herself from above in an uncanny way. I don't know, maybe I'm silly.
All that aside, Cahalan's story is unique, moving, and worth seeing to the end. She writes prose so lucid and disarmingly earnest that it's difficult to stop reading.
Also I suck at writing reviews but I'm trying to force myself to write more. Bye.(less)
But I'm not sure if she fully achieved what she wanted to - writing to a rhythm and not a plot; writing the rhythms of life as...moreThis book was beautiful.
But I'm not sure if she fully achieved what she wanted to - writing to a rhythm and not a plot; writing the rhythms of life as continuous with six main characters - because somewhere along the way it loses its vitality, gains it back again after Percival dies, and then loses it again. That aspect is a bit disappointing, but Woolf writes with such a razor-sharp edge that it's worth it to patiently sit through all of the dips.(less)
The female 1984. So, so, so good. Her writing is so excellent not just because it's astute, razor sharp, and technically perfect, but also because she...moreThe female 1984. So, so, so good. Her writing is so excellent not just because it's astute, razor sharp, and technically perfect, but also because she weaves a web of plot that's technically science fiction, but feels NOTHING like it, as it's all within the realm of near possibility. Atwood shows us what the cultural landscape would be if it was tweaked the tiniest bit, if one or two small pieces of civil society's foundation were removed. I was entranced and very calmly afraid. It's a must read, honestly.(less)
Zadie Smith talked about this book at DFW's NYU memorial service in October 2009:
"'Brief Interviews With Hideous Men' was an ironic book about misogyn...moreZadie Smith talked about this book at DFW's NYU memorial service in October 2009:
"'Brief Interviews With Hideous Men' was an ironic book about misogyny. Reading it was like being trapped in a room with ironic misogynists on speed, or something like that."
"To me, reading Brief Interviews wasn't at all like being trapped. It was like being in church. And the important word wasn't 'irony' but 'gift'. Dave was clever about gifts: our inability to give freely or accept what is freely given."
Though the stories are of varying quality (The interviews, The Depressed Person, Octet, Suicide as a Sort of Present, and On His Deathbed Holding Your Hand; Adult World is good but lacking in something; Tri-Stan is just plain baffling) read this book - Zadie captures the essence better than I ever could.(less)