From the very beginning we know something is terribly wrong. A heavy foreboding hangs in the air. Loss like drop...moreBillions & Billions & Billions
From the very beginning we know something is terribly wrong. A heavy foreboding hangs in the air. Loss like drops of dew drips from every encounter. Here, sex is free. No guilt. No recriminations. Love is blessed. So are the children. All of them. All the millions & millions & millions still to come. And still & still, all along you sense the despair. And perhaps that is the weakness of "The World Inside." Too much doom. Too much anomie.(less)
Just the title of the novel itself sets the reader up. Each word bears closer scrutiny. Safe to be said, very little is as it app...moreGood Night, Old Sport
Just the title of the novel itself sets the reader up. Each word bears closer scrutiny. Safe to be said, very little is as it appears to be in this slim novel that captures the essential schizophrenia of the Roaring 20's - its hedonistic freedom reflected in the glare of its brute violence. At once a tale of gin besotted romance, Fitzgerald also weaves a melancholy tale about the unraveling fabric of a lost social class, a generation set adrift, floating toward self destruction on the fumes of its own self-aggrandizement. (less)
Exploring the Wild Within Living up in Alaska, one bears witness to the saga of Chris McCandless which sparks a wide range of passionate viewpoints. As...moreExploring the Wild Within Living up in Alaska, one bears witness to the saga of Chris McCandless which sparks a wide range of passionate viewpoints. As Krakauer so eloquently chronicles the spirited debates, folks up here either view him as an arrogant, foolish vagabond going where he did not belong, or more cynically, as a mentally unstable loser with a serious death wish. The key to what makes Into the Wild such a compelling read is that Krakauer convincingly disarms these arguments, persuading the reader (me, at least) that if McCandless was guilty of anything, it was that he was convicted & found guilty by the fickle finger of fate - his luck ran out. More than anything though, this book is not so much a tale of a young man challenging his mettle against the rigors of the unsympathetic outdoors; no, this is clearly about that epic sojourn so few of us take - exploring the uncharted wild regions lurking deep within each of our psyches. Although taken heroically & with great heart, unfortunately for McCandless, it proved to be a fatal journey. (less)
Lawdy me! Fiddle-dee-dee! Goodness gracious! Land sakes alive, just where do I commence. Well, first off, let...moreWell Scarlet, Frankly Tomorrow Will Suck
Lawdy me! Fiddle-dee-dee! Goodness gracious! Land sakes alive, just where do I commence. Well, first off, let me explain why I was even reading this veritable ole Southern classic - to tell the truth (or at least a facsimile thereof)it was its 75th anniversary & seemed like the right patriotic thing to do. Plus, it had been sitting in my library for years, staring at me, daring me to crack it open & see why approximately 40 million copies had been sold. Except for catching snippets of the famous film, I only knew the book/film from Gable's famous closing line (which I will omit for the one or two individuals out there who have not heard/read it). I didn't quite know what to expect. I only sensed it would be big , really big. Know what I mean? Rambling on for a thousand plus pages it was definitely big. Other than that, it was sort of like a curve ball that breaks the wrong way, smacking you in the knee caps. To begin with, I did not believe it possible to create a female protagonist so lacking in any positive virtues. Without any doubt, Scarlet O'Hara is the least likable female lead I've ever run across. She's vain, self-centered, jealous, insensitive, corrupt, conniving, sneaky, two-faced & that's only the beginning. I know. I know. All of you reading this are waiting for me to to an about face & share that there comes a moment in the novel, where she turns the corner, discovers the errors of her ways & ... well, forget about it. I actually found myself, half way through the book, rooting for something, anything bad to knock her upside the head. You'll have to read the book to find out if my wishes were granted.
And then there's more. Shucks, yes. Okay, so I knew GWTW covers the full arc of the Civil War, from before it began, through the war & after & out of Reconstruction. And its only fair to think that it would be reasonable for Ms. Mitchell to capture the sense of racism that permeated the South during those difficult years. But Mitchell outdoes herself, saturating this novel in a sickly, syrupy meringue of race baiting stereotypes that makes African Americans seem downright ungrateful to their conscientious white owners who treated them with such civility & respect. Gag me please. Mitchell even manages to insert a wisp of antisemitism - quite the lady, she. I could go on & on. But why dwell on the negative. Let me just conclude by wishing Mitchell & her estate a Happy Anniversary. If nothing else, like Scarlet's dreams about becoming wealthy, GWTW has fulfilled that wish, drenching them & her family forever & ever with riches beyond even Scarlet's imagination. (less)
Lauded by many as one of their all time favorite novels, Goldman's epic adventure is sandwiched between the author's own recollec...moreA Grown Up Fairy Tale
Lauded by many as one of their all time favorite novels, Goldman's epic adventure is sandwiched between the author's own recollections of his father reading it to him and references to the original Princess Bride by Morgenstern. Not too far into the plot I began to wonder if our author was playing with us & fabricating elements of the story (is that even possible in a novel)& I came to the conclusion that if you want to know the answer to my hypothesis you need to read the book yourself. Suffice to say, Goldman's tale is enchanting, magical, silly & tongue-in-cheek in the same breath. It is difficult to take any of the situations, conflicts, characters or allusions to historical reality as anything more than entertaining whimsical sketches. Indeed, it is a grand fairy tale that can be appreciated by both kids & adults who wish they were kids again.