i am reviewing this today because at some point, the plan is to review all the books on my "favorites" shelf, in order to try to understand my own tasi am reviewing this today because at some point, the plan is to review all the books on my "favorites" shelf, in order to try to understand my own taste. i was thinking about this book earlier this morning (and as it is only 8:30 now, you can see i spend a lot of early morning-time devoted to serious intellectual thought) because i was thinking about writing a review for harington's With, until i realized i already had, but that it wasn't a very good one,it was more of a placeholder review, and how i could re-write a more useful one that would actually get people to read more harington, but that i didn't know where that book was, and since i wanted to quote from it to give a sense of what he does in that book that is good, but then i started thinking about the elements of that book that are problematic and controversial; pedophile kidnaps young girl from the roller rink, takes her to secluded mountaintop retreat, dies, she ends up living an edenic life with a ghost lover and many animal friends, which just makes it sound ridiculous, and it is not. and then i remembered that one of my very first crushes was malcolm, the ghost in the soup. this very soup. and he was the ghost of an elderly gentleman. talk about understanding my own tastes...but i did, i had such a thing for him, even though as far as ghosts go, he is pretty inept. but i was eight, so i guess my standards were different then.eight-year-old boys probably seemed pretty inept as well. so i understand the ghost-lover business. is all that line of thinking was to explain, but this ghost is no lover. not within the confines of this book, at any rate. this book is about upward mobility, and the transplanting of a young boy into a new environment where he is forced to make new friends, some dead, some less dead, and come to terms with life's changes. good sound advice. hot old ghost. i think i am the only one to have taken that particular lesson from this book. but come on: "there are lady ghosts as well. and they're all my friends. they haunt big mansions and wrecked ships. lovely creatures. i've always been faithful to my martha, but they're still my friends. some of them i met almost one hundred years ago, when i first started ghosting."
you know he is a player. he just doesn't want the eight-year-old to know it. (and, yes, this book i can find, but with remains elusive. typical.
so - yeah - welcome to my "favorites" shelf. and my interior monologue. and my slow slippery nervous breakdown. welcome....more
this is not to say that i steal books from bookstores or libraries (although i considered performing a superheist at the morgan to gi am a book thief.
this is not to say that i steal books from bookstores or libraries (although i considered performing a superheist at the morgan to get all their byron books with his notes in the margins)
but when i was twelve, i borrowed this book from someone. and i never gave it back. shocking, right?? even more shocking is that i do not regret it. "my" copy is fat, with sprouted, swollen pages soft to the touch, and has been read at least twenty times. the copies they sell nowadays have some sort of modern paper that make the book half the size of the one i have, and it looks anemic and sad. mine is a proud fat tabby, basking in the sun of my love.
yeah, that one got away from me, but i don't even care. i love this book, i loooove this book. i made alfonso and greg read this book, and both of them gave it five stars. why?? because it is great. it is a cat adventure story, how could it be anything but great?
i always describe is as a cross between the hobbit and watership down but with cats. n.b. - i have never read the hobbit, but i saw the cartoon with all the singing, so i feel qualified to make this comparison.
it is a quest novel like the hobbit; it involves adventures in the forest, in the towns of man, and underground (shudder). and it employs its own animal vernacular the way that watership down does. but it is about a cat, trying to find his missing friend. and there are giant killer cats with red claws. and intrigue!
i fell in love with this world for both the action sequences and the interludes of catworld mythology and history, which are very detailed and add a density to a story that, in my description anyway, seems like it is slight: cat looks for missing friend. that's like saying titanic is about a boat that sinks. but there is all sorts of wailing and lovemaking surrounding the boat sinking. and this is better than titanic by many leagues.
and it is not slight at all (despite what modern paper would have you believe) - it has interspecial relationships (not those kind of relationships, grosso) and stories within stories, and it is a cat coming-of-age story as well as an adventure story with battles.
seeing negative reviews on here kind of breaks my heart, so i thought i would drop my two cents up in the mix. most of my childhood memories involve me, eating plums, and reading this book.
mmokay - i put up the publishers description, and now i write a review so jen can use this in her book club. i read this in college so my details aremmokay - i put up the publishers description, and now i write a review so jen can use this in her book club. i read this in college so my details are not perfect, but i remember loving it. it's about mothers trying to get their daughters married, and the lengths they will go to to accomplish this. it's like an old time-y version of cheerleader or beauty pageant moms. there is a lot of scheming and betrayals and backstabbing, but under the guise of these sweet convent girls and their pretty dresses and balls. what i remember so strongly were all the comparisons to battle - the dresses and hair and makeup were like armour to conquer the enemy, or prospective husband. i also remember it being compared to chess. i would like to reread this, when i am finished reading all the baby books i have to read for my summer class. but - yes - book club this and let me know if you like it....more
i have tried to review this book on four separate occasions. for some reason, this is one of the most diffcult books for me to defendhappy canada day!
i have tried to review this book on four separate occasions. for some reason, this is one of the most diffcult books for me to defend to others and to justify to myself.
on the one hand, it's leonard cohen. enough said.
on the other hand, i can be objective when it comes to him. dear heather is a crap album. there, i said it. i'm sorry, but the world did not need a 9/11 song from him, it is terrible terrible terrible.
on the other hand, it's leonard cohen.
you see my plight? as a piece of literature, this has a ton of failings, but the bright spots are scouring.
leonard cohen has a way with words that can annihilate me. he has a song i cannot even listen to because it takes everything i hate about myself and puts it to music, and it is an exquisite torture i can only permit myself when i am in the blackest of moods.
there are portions of this novel that i am in awe of:
it has the most devastating passive-aggressive suicide of all time, and its ultimate failure as a gesture is more powerful to me than anything i have ever read. this is not a spoiler, because that is not what the book is about.
so, what is it about? well, it is mishmash catalog of a scholar's griefs, obsessions, betrayals, recollections, and erotic fascinations. it swerves through time in a way that a more experienced novelist, someone with greater control over the long-form, could perhaps have turned into something more successful, but even with all of its flaws, it remains a favorite of mine.
cohen is not a master storyteller. he is a master wordsmith, and many of his songs operate perfectly well as poetic short stories; chelsea hotel, story of isaac, seems so long ago, nancy, but even though there are passages here that completely stop my heart,overall this book is an experimental novel that overextends itself and never becomes a novel, just a series of episodes that tie together, but doesn't add anything to the canon of great experimental novels.
so, why is it among my favorites?
he may not have the gas to be a master novelist, but as a sprinter, there is no one better with words.i wanted to include a quotation here, a passage that always makes me stuns me with its power, but i realized today that the "passage" is actually pages 57-61. and there ain't no way i am going to type all that out. but just know that he out-lolita's lolita in the "making young girls seem attractive" sense. nabokov never convinced me to become a humbert, but cohen makes some good points. more romance novelists should take their cues from his erotic finesse, because he is the only writer who has ever made me appreciate that words can be very sexy, even if i have no personal desire to go after little girls.
and with all cohen's work, the erotic is so intertwined with the spiritual, it never reads as tawdry. maybe not as classy here as some of his other erotic works, but not as grotesque as other writers with less restraint would come across.
this is a fucking mess of a review. i don't know why i even tried, except i saw this book from across the room and thought it might be time to actually try to review it. and now that i have written so much, it seems a shame to just scrap it.
let's just call this the ramblings of a lunatic and leave it at that. ...more
okay, i am going to try to harness this simmering undercurrent of interest in donald harington that i spy with my little eye here on goodreads.com to okay, i am going to try to harness this simmering undercurrent of interest in donald harington that i spy with my little eye here on goodreads.com to build it into a rolling boil!!!
yes. donald harington. yes.
do i frequently get enthusiastic here on goodreads.com?? do i bark at the mailman, chase balls, and develop a fondness for legs? guilty, yes. but besides dfw, who is my soul, who are the big three?? jonathan carroll, thomas hardy, and dear donald harington. that is not to say that other-enthusiasm is false or fleeting or unwarranted, but these three authors tame my beast and make me stop yipping and running in circles, and absorb all my attention as i curl up and get lost in their words for a few hours.
i am abandoning this metaphor...now!
so this book. if you are not going to follow my advice and read them all in order, this is probably the best starting point. i'm not a doctor, i don't know what's best for you, but i feel like i am qualified to make a recommendation based on loving donald harington more than most people. this book covers many generations of the ingledew family,just one of the families harington dreamed up before lovingly crafting and effortlessly detailing their lives and speech and motives. reading this will give you teasers about other characters, other places, right places, but will not give away too many surprises along the way. when i read this book, i did so after having only read one other of his books (choiring of the trees), and i put it down, thinking - "man, i wish i knew more about _____." or "_________was such a great character - i could read a whole book about her."
one of my favorite parts of this book is the focus of an entire other book!! how many authors will do that for you?? did dickens write a whole novel about the origin story of miss havisham from her perspective?? no he did not, selfish man. harington knew what we wanted and he gave it to us.
you will learn about buildings,yes, but you will learn about the people whose lives revolved around those buildings; you will wish this book had been your history textbook in elementary school because even though it is not real, it feels real. harington is that good at creating a world - a town with people whose lives sometimes work magic but always always entertain.
i feel like a literary explorer out here. i need him to be more known and loved than he is - i want this to be my gift to goodreads.com.
he is not an author to miss out on, but he is an author to miss. terribly....more
this book made me wet myself. twice. i wish to god i was exxagerating. or elderly. but poor dfw on a cruise ship... no one has ever paired genius withthis book made me wet myself. twice. i wish to god i was exxagerating. or elderly. but poor dfw on a cruise ship... no one has ever paired genius with social awkwardness more charmingly. ...more