About halfway through The Circle, Mae Holland's exboyfriend, Mercer, called her boring. Yes, she is boring, but having another character point it outAbout halfway through The Circle, Mae Holland's exboyfriend, Mercer, called her boring. Yes, she is boring, but having another character point it out did little to save this novel from itself. Mae is the protagonist; she's not supposed to be boring. Her goal is to have a successful career at the Circle, the hot new tech company that's reinventing the world. Once she's hired on, to achieve this goal, she becomes the world's biggest yes man. (Yes woman? Yes person?) She says yes a lot. I don't believe there's a perfect formula for creating an exciting protagonist, but in Mae Holland's case, the occasional no would've done wonders.
Since he's been writing since the 90s, had worked as an editor of a literary magazine, and had several novels and nonfiction books published, including the Pulitzer nominated memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers should've known better. He has the experience and knowledge to know what makes good fiction. So what happened in The Circle? He chose an important theme: technology, social media, and the lost of privacy. It's the theme that could've made The Circle this generation's Nineteen Eighty-Four. But Eggers is no George Orwell, and more to the point, Mae Holland is no Winston Smith.
Though homely in the face and wearing the largest glasses most people have every seen, Isserley has large breasts. They're modeled after the breasts oThough homely in the face and wearing the largest glasses most people have every seen, Isserley has large breasts. They're modeled after the breasts of a centerfold model, and in all her travels, she had never encountered another woman with a pair that even approaches her size. She needs them because she has a difficult job, a job only she can do. It involves driving the highways of Scotland looking for muscular male hitchhikers, lost men whom no one will miss, because after encountering Isserley, there is a good chance they'll go missing. The passenger seat of her car is rigged with needles that would inject the men with icpathua, a powerful narcotic that knocks them out instantly.
Under the Skin, published in 2000, was Michel Faber's debut novel. Two years before releasing this book, he wrote a short story collection called Some Rain Must Fall, and a couple years later, he wrote The Crimson Petal and the White, which was adapted into a miniseries by BBC. Dutch by birth, he and his family emigrated to Australia when he was seven. He moved to Scotland in 1993. Legally he's still a Dutch citizen, but he claims no country as his own. Though this is the first book by him that I've read, since I found it a powerful and moving story, I intend to read others.
Though I wouldn't call myself an expert in 19th Century English gothic literature, I had read the main works in that genre. Dracula? Check. FrankensteThough I wouldn't call myself an expert in 19th Century English gothic literature, I had read the main works in that genre. Dracula? Check. Frankenstein? Check. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? Check. The Picture of Dorian Gray? Oh, wait! There's one I've neglected. At least, I've neglected it until now. I don't know why I've waited so late in my life to read Dorian Gray. Is it less famous than the others? Considered inferior? It had inspired fewer film adaptations—at least I hadn't encountered any. In any case, I've known about this Oscar Wilde novel almost as long as I've known about the others novels I've mentioned, and for years—okay, decades—it's been on the back of my mind to read it. If I had started a reading list back when I was eighteen, no doubt it would've gone of it then. As such, it is perhaps the novel that's been on my mind to read the longest, without actually reading it. I knew the gist, the premise, just as I knew the premises of the other gothic novels before reading them, but I never read it. Well, I finally got that roundtoit that I've been waiting for and read The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Oscar Wilde penned this tale of a sensuous young man in 1890. Though Irish by birth, Wilde lived and worked in London. Better known as a playwright, he gave us some of the best and funniest plays ever written. His play The Importance of Being Earnest is one of my favorite plays, and reading it and watching it performed is how I best know Oscar Wilde. It explored the theme of life imitating art, a theme that is also explored in Dorian Gray. Though talented, he left us little work to judge him by. Plagued by homosexual controversies, Wilde faced trials, imprisonment, and exile. In 1900, he died in exile. In many ways, he's the tragic hero of his own novel.
After finding and losing eleven jobs in two years, Célestine, a domestic maid, took a new position in the country. In an effort to understand her failAfter finding and losing eleven jobs in two years, Célestine, a domestic maid, took a new position in the country. In an effort to understand her failure to find stability, as she began working for Isidore and Euphrasie Lanlaire, she purchased a diary to record her daily life and reflections of her personal history. In the diary, Célestine proves herself to be a frank and critical observer of the lives of domestic laborers and the households they serve. She narrates her story in a voice filled with both wry humor and angry indignation. Her diary is sexy, entertaining, and full of social criticism.