why do i do it?? as soon as i notice a hartley book has come back in print, i run right out and i buy it and i read it and now im back to where i star...morewhy do i do it?? as soon as i notice a hartley book has come back in print, i run right out and i buy it and i read it and now im back to where i started... no more hartley...but still and all... i liked it very much and am glad it is available again. more, please...(less)
melville! in a melville house edition! crazy, right?
this is a nice taut little thrill-ride of a book. okay, it's got a lot of description of boat-archi...moremelville! in a melville house edition! crazy, right?
this is a nice taut little thrill-ride of a book. okay, it's got a lot of description of boat-architecture, so it isn't a complete thriller - melville does tend to go overboard (GET IT??) with the descriptions sometimes, but regardless, it is more emotionally engaging than, say, that book about the whale. and i haven't read a book more full of seamen since reading Torn.
to a modern reader, the situation is pretty apparent from the get-go, but the build to the reveal is so graceful and tightly written, that it doesn't matter if you see where it is going from the beginning; the story is still excellent. one might even call it "a real book."
love the character of captain delano. it is surprising to me to see such subtlety from melville. i suppose i shouldn't be - there is a lot of shading in bartleby, but this one is even more so. for a tiny little novella, there is a lot happening here behind the words. after i toss down this review, i am going to go do a little research about how this was received when it was written, because i can only assume there was some backlash about what this book has to say about the slave trade and how unsavory even the well-intentioned, naive "good" characters are portrayed.
also - squeee - there is a nice tie-in to cloud atlas, which is cool because that book is still fresh in my mind, and it was good to have it still in my brain-piece as i was reading the melville.
really glad i decided to snatch this up the other day. it was everything i had hoped it would be.
behold: an uncharacteristic digression!
why didn't i like moby dick? people i like like moby dick. is it because i had to read it in a mandatory american-lit survey course my freshman year at NYU? when i was distracted with "i live in new york" fever?? should i give it another shot? because i have liked both this book and bartleby, but i haaaated that whale. does it deserve a more thoughtful and older-karen revisit?
i read this book the same day i found out that sparkling ice had introduced two new flavors, pineapple coconut and lemonade.
what does this have to do...morei read this book the same day i found out that sparkling ice had introduced two new flavors, pineapple coconut and lemonade.
what does this have to do with anything, you ask??
well, sparkling ice is sort of a religion with me, and this book was wonderful, so it was kind of a great day, is all. i don't have a lot of those.
why have i never read willa cather before? i'm not sure. i think i just always associated her with old ladies, and i figured i would read her on my deathbed or something. maybe it was the unavoidable cather/catheter association.i don't know. all i know is that a certain little bird here on goodreads was always going "chirp chirp - willa cather!! chirp!! cather!!!"
and when someone dumped a bunch of free books by the curb in front of my house, i decided it was a sign to finally give her a chance. i liked it so much, i will pay for my next book of hers! you're welcome, cather estate!
this isn't a novel as much as a loosely gathered collection of stories in which the characters progress through time, grow up, lose their illusions, and make their way in the world; finding themselves in and defining themselves against the vast nothingness of the american prairie.
jim and antonia are children who arrive in black hawk, nebraska on the same train, and the book is an account of their lives both apart and together,through to their adulthood, framed as a series of recollections by jim, as he remembers antonia to a mutual friend and examines what she symbolized for him.
the descriptions of the landscape are phenomenal. the way the characters try to coax a living from the land and the harshness of nature is inspiring, antonia's irrepressible spirit is triumphant, even though she does come across as a headstrong pain in the ass at times.
i just loved it. it reminded me, probably unjustly, of both huck finn and this whole series of books that i loved loved loved when i was little:
i mean - it's willa cather - everything that needs to be said about her has probably already been said, so all i can contribute is that this book is like the kiwi-strawberry sparkling ice. it is not quite a black raspberry, but it is damn good.(less)
i swear, i am the queen of four stars lately. does that mean i just have very good instincts for picking books or am i just lazily rating? i feel like...morei swear, i am the queen of four stars lately. does that mean i just have very good instincts for picking books or am i just lazily rating? i feel like i have to write reviews now to defend my fourstar worldview (that will be a band name within a year)
these stories are brutal and frequently unexpected (with one glaring exception, which reads like a really dated twilight zone episode) and sometimes incomprehensible - characters behave erratically and seemingly without motive. and yet, its actually a strength of the stories because it highlights the instability of this modern rio and the clashings between criminals and victims, wealthy and poor. plus i love this new open letter publisher. cheap, pretty hardcover world lit. one a month. genius.(less)
i give a resounding five stars to the first part of this book, and three to the end.
overall, it is a perfect encapsulation of a love experience, from...morei give a resounding five stars to the first part of this book, and three to the end.
overall, it is a perfect encapsulation of a love experience, from its initial obsessive beginnings to the eventual resentment and tender suffering for the sake of another's feelings. and then - silly silly melodrama.
it is unfair of me to judge the ending of this book. it is a product of its time and i can't hate on it for giving its audience what they wanted; what they expected. and i can't be a hypocrite and love wuthering heights and be unmoved by this. (although w.h. earned its ending, and this, being so short, has less character-imprinting to assist it)
but as far as a perfect rendition of the arc of a love affair, i have to applaud this. it manages to slow down the hyper-emotive feelings of personal experiences into universal and relatable ones in a way that is breathtaking...at first.
then it gets a little batshit, into overcalculating proust-territory. but for a while, i was alongside of him yelling "yes! yes! yes!"
and no one believes your preface, constant... everyone knows exactly what and whom this is about. nice backpedal, though.
i read this because it tied in with The Late Lord Byron, and knowing the full story, this is kind of an interesting piece of literary history, and madame de stael comes across way better than byron ever did in Glenarvon (Everyman's Library, which was his ex's take on their relationship, but if any of my former lovers decides to write a book about me, i am stopping that bitch at the press. (less)
this is the story of a jealous man and a jealous God fighting for the soul of a woman who desperately wants to believe in one of them.
oh, and it's a c...morethis is the story of a jealous man and a jealous God fighting for the soul of a woman who desperately wants to believe in one of them.
oh, and it's a complicated thing, belief.
the relationshippy parts of this book are divine. a woman in an unfulfilling marriage takes a lover, maurice, and puts all of herself into the relationship. maurice, for his part, should perhaps have been called "marcel," because his involvement in the relationship is pure proust. overanalyzing, obsessing, becoming jealous of every past and possible future lover sarah has had or could have, anticipating the end of the relationship so frequently that he is rarely committed to the moment, loving the idea of sarah without understanding her as a woman until everything is over and unobtainable. it is great stuff; a man mourning a relationship he was never even fully involved in. the fool.
"i'd rather be dead or see you dead," i said, "than with another man. i'm not eccentric. that's ordinary human love. ask anybody. they'd all say the same-if they loved at all." i jibed at her. "anyone who loves is jealous."
which is almost intense enough to cover up the fact that he loves her without knowing what she is all about - it is an artist's rendition of love - all movement, no depth.
and poor cuckold henry, loving sarah in his own way, but never giving her the passionate relationship her spirit requires. maurice/marcel sums it up:
and yet he was happier in his unused room simply because it was his: his possession. i thought with bitterness and envy: if one possesses a thing securely, one need never use it.
aagghh. his is a quiet, plodding, consistent love. a loyalty that loves without getting close enough to make a ripple. (and by "ripple," i mean "orgasm," naturally.)
who has no business being in a love triangle which eventually becomes a love-octagon, at least. but after promises made in the heat of the moment, and some magical thinking and coincidence He is there and there is no shaking Him, and it gets very complicated.
i am spoiler-tagging this, but it is a quote from the introduction that kills me, and may or may not be a true spoiler: (view spoiler)[ for all the trouble of their relations, the pain of surrendering maurice proves very nearly unendurable: it is as though sarah has punched a hole through her heart, a hole that is both defined by and then filled by god. without the pain she would not need to believe at all, but faith is in greene a form of suffering and sarah has caught it, a disease that somehow gives her the strength she needs not to break her vow. (hide spoiler)]
i feel like i have said too much while saying nothing at all. full disclosure: i wrote a verylong and deeply personal reaction to the book, and then plunked the delete button on purpose for once. and it felt good.
all you need to know is that this book surprised me by being so much better that heart of the matter, and even though i didn't like all the oddly magical bits at the end, i loved the audacity of this book, and the observations he was able to make even hobbled as he was by the unlikeability of his narrator. this book is worth reading for sarah's diary alone.
i groan with loving this book.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)