Joseph Luzzi is from the same part of southern Italy that my husband's ancestors came from, so it was interesting learning a little about the MezzogioJoseph Luzzi is from the same part of southern Italy that my husband's ancestors came from, so it was interesting learning a little about the Mezzogiorno as Calabria is also known, and about la miseria that encompasses it. I wish Luzzi had explained why Calabrian men grow their pinkie nails out (I wonder if it's for the same reason men in parts of Asia do); and much he claimed as unique to Italy made me think of lots of different countries where life is hard except for the joys of family, or where boy children are prized and spoiled.
This book felt like a haphazard collection of separate lectures, and basically I just didn't like the sound of this guy. First he paraphrases a bunch of random Sopranos episodes, then he goes on and on about a masters thesis he wrote on Dante's Inferno, then he blurts out that his wife was 8 months pregnant with their daughter when she was killed (but he says that's a topic for another day), and then he tangents about how Burlosconi happened. ...more
The main character, known as "The Kid," is a registered sex offender in Florida. Because he can't be within 2500 feet of children, he has to live in aThe main character, known as "The Kid," is a registered sex offender in Florida. Because he can't be within 2500 feet of children, he has to live in a tent under the causeway, with all the other pervs and chomos (child molesters). There The Kid attracts the interest of The Professor, who wants to use his anthropological sociology theories to cure him and ostensibly eradicate pedophilia and its ilk. Russell Banks gives us no reason to pity or like these characters, the only one I was at all interested in was the Kid's iguana. I couldn't even visualize the people, their descriptions were so unlikely - how and why would a guy that obese sit on the ground to talk to somebody? And do hurricanes really come as that much of a surprise to anybody living in Florida??
The pacing was laborious, with plot interrupted by tortuously long and boring theorizing: "When a society commodifies its children by making them into a consumer group, dehumanizing them by converting them into a crucial, locked-in segment of the economy, and then proceeds to eroticize its products in order to sell them, the children gradually come to be perceived by the rest of the community and by the children themselves as sexual objects...." and equally long and senseless dream descriptions. There was no payoff to the mystery, I didn't like this book. ...more
The illustrator's quirky graphics all over this deluxe edition are what made me pick this up. Otherwise I never would have chosen to read a 300 year oThe illustrator's quirky graphics all over this deluxe edition are what made me pick this up. Otherwise I never would have chosen to read a 300 year old satirical work about philosophy. The author Voltaire, whose real name was Francois-Marie Arouet and the translator and introduction writer are heavily promoted all over, behind and practically thoughout this little book but I couldn't find the illustrator's name anywhere but on Amazon's website, and in my case he's the one who deserves all the credit for getting me through this story about a gullible guy who gets abused in an abusive world. So thanks Chris Ware! I guess....more
Susan Burling was well-bred, pretty, creative, and popular; despite all her suitors she was in love with her best friend from school, Augusta Drake, wSusan Burling was well-bred, pretty, creative, and popular; despite all her suitors she was in love with her best friend from school, Augusta Drake, who was much better-bred, not as pretty, and slightly less-talented artistically. When Augusta weds future publishing phenom Thomas Hudson, Susan abruptly leaves New York for her own new husband Oliver Ward. Unlike the formerly proper Victorian threesome, Oliver is a bit of a diamond in the rough.
But the main character of this book is Susan and Oliver's grandson Lyman Ward, a crippled former professor whose disease and divorce weigh heavy on his heart, and whose sole diversion is researching his grandmother Susan's copious correspondences, published works, and the family's collection of copy clippings, ostensibly to write a book about his ancestry. Thus each chapter veers wildly from century to century, from Victorian age to hippie counter culture, and back again to the Wild Wild West, and so on and so forth. I was super confused throughout reading this, as to what extent this was fictional or otherwise. It won a Pulitzer, comes highly recommended and the writing is good, but still I thought it felt overly long. It reminded me of The Lady in Gold, written by Anne-Marie O'Connor about Adele Bloch-Bauer; both researchers seem to want to include so much of their hard-won findings that it got tiresome for me to muddle through, as if I was experiencing several generations of strangers, in real time.
Cute little book more about the making of cute little books than an actual story, this will appeal to a range of ages: while littles will probably wanCute little book more about the making of cute little books than an actual story, this will appeal to a range of ages: while littles will probably want to rip the attachments right out, creative 5-7 year olds truly get inspired. ...more
Engrossing tale about two young Nigerians Ifemelu and Obinze, who dream of a future together in America, but then somehow wind up estranged, separatedEngrossing tale about two young Nigerians Ifemelu and Obinze, who dream of a future together in America, but then somehow wind up estranged, separated by emotional and physical distance alike. Ngozi Adichi's characters are remarkably well-written and Ifemelu and Obinze in particular are so appealing in their youth and maturity, for their spark, beauty, wit and even their considerable foibles. Ifemelu's blog about race in America (from a Non Black American perspective) should be required reading for every American. I so want to be The White Friend Who Gets It; and I loved Ifemelu's elderly father's rant about "...the infantilization and informalization of America!" portending the end of the American empire. ...more
Winsome story of im/propriety. The Chaperone in this story is Kansan Cora Carlisle (36-yr old wife of dashing lawyer Alan and mother of college-boundWinsome story of im/propriety. The Chaperone in this story is Kansan Cora Carlisle (36-yr old wife of dashing lawyer Alan and mother of college-bound twin sons), who in 1922 escorts an as yet undiscovered Louise Brooks to New York City. Miss Brooks is seeking a spot in an elite dance troupe, while Mrs. Carlisle endeavors to keep her young charge safe... and also pursue her own hidden agenda. ...more
I'd never read Lucy Knisley before, she writes and illustrates cute little travelogues. On this journey she leaves her home in NYC, participates in thI'd never read Lucy Knisley before, she writes and illustrates cute little travelogues. On this journey she leaves her home in NYC, participates in the Raptus comics fest in Norway (where there is no word for "please"), meets up with romantic interest in Sweden, who then accompanies her to Germany, meets up with her in France (where the greeting "comment allez vous" originally meant "how are your bowels going?"), and then she goes home, a month older and more experienced. ...more
Super short and entertaining book about 47-yr old Jocelyne Guerbette who lives with her coincidentally-named husband Jocelyn in a small town in FranceSuper short and entertaining book about 47-yr old Jocelyne Guerbette who lives with her coincidentally-named husband Jocelyn in a small town in France where she runs a little fabric shop. The Guerbettes' children are grown, except for the baby they grieve for, whose death years ago caused what seemed to be the only low-point in their twenty-one year marriage. At this point, Jocelyne is so satisfied with her little life (her successful blog and business, her friendship with the twins who run the beauty salon next door, her family, her home) that rather than avail herself of a miraculous windfall... she perceives it as a threat to her contentedness. And then that's what it becomes, or does it? No, yes it does. Each twist and turn makes for great reading!
I can't wait to read his other stuff. I've always loved books written by journalists, but am thinking I ought to start a new tag for books written by advertisers now. ...more
I love reading Ian McEwan, how civilized his characters are, and how ingeniously he poses moral decisions upon them. In The Children Act (a double entI love reading Ian McEwan, how civilized his characters are, and how ingeniously he poses moral decisions upon them. In The Children Act (a double entendre), main character Fiona Maye is a 57-year old distinguished and dedicated high court judge on London's Family Division. As she and her husband Jack are politely undergoing severe marital discord, Fiona and her stiff upper lip throw themselves in to her considerable workload. Included among the many high-profile cases, is that of the Henry family - Jehovah's Witnesses whose young son Adam is refusing treatment for leukemia. Fiona's decision has implications, Adam's reaction and its effects are so credible and human, I was lost in the story and quite stunned by the heart-wrenching ending.
My favorite metaphor: "...as the most purposeful men vanished into the smithy of a hot new marriage to forge new offspring"
Words to live by: (Fiona advises Adam) to be loving toward his parents. It was normal in ones teenage years to question the beliefs one had grown up with, but one should do it in a respectful manner....more