(Two and a half stars) I can't drink the Kool-Aid on this one. Maybe if I had taken a sip several years ago when the jug was freshly made up I would b(Two and a half stars) I can't drink the Kool-Aid on this one. Maybe if I had taken a sip several years ago when the jug was freshly made up I would be adding my own paroxysms of praise to those found on the cover. Maybe I would at least find that praise (and the Pulitzer) warranted. But I didn't and I don't.
I never could quite shake the feeling that this book was trying too hard - particularly once I arrived at the PowerPoint chapter. Even as someone who actually does enjoy experimentation in writing and visual storytelling, that just irritated me. Add to this characters that I barely cared about and the incredibly tacky futuristic finale...
There are, however, lovely moments scattered throughout the book where I could detect Egan's talent as a writer, but they were simply too few and far between. Nevertheless, those moments gain her an extra half star on top of what I originally intended to give. But quite frankly, if the goon squad come calling, I'll going to turn off my lights and pretend not to be home....more
This reminds me of The Average American Male, except far more thoughtful and cerebral. Nathaniel P. and the nameless narrator of Kultgen's novel strugThis reminds me of The Average American Male, except far more thoughtful and cerebral. Nathaniel P. and the nameless narrator of Kultgen's novel struggle with the same problems of romantic and sexual dissatisfaction and the burden of unmitigated self-satisfaction, but one novel actually attempts to unpack that idea, whereas the other is really just a stream of consciousness about masturbation and the fatness of his girlfriend's arse. But I was so unimpressed with The Average American Male at the time of reading it that I decided not to review it, so why waste time on it now beyond noting that The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. reminded me of it?
Clever and well-written, this novel has a ring of authenticity to its characters and the way they conduct their relationships (okay, so Jason was a bit too much of a wanker sometimes, but I thought the rest were quite well-formed). It can be a little frustrating as you watch Nate's relationships unravel, but Waldman is savvy enough to sit back and let him do the damage to himself while readers shake their heads and tut at his foolishness. I wouldn't say that I'm crazy about the book, but I think Waldman's got talent and I look forward to seeing what else she comes up with.
(Oh, and did anyone else keep on imagining Greta Gerwig as Hannah?)...more
I like to think of this as Marcelo in the Real World for grown ups. While it's not entirely unpredictable, the story is a fun ride, like any good romaI like to think of this as Marcelo in the Real World for grown ups. While it's not entirely unpredictable, the story is a fun ride, like any good romantic comedy (despite my shelving including chick and dick lit, really this falls into neither and is best characterised as romantic comedy, which is not a generic category I usually use for books) driven by the amusing voice of Don's endearing on-the-spectrum character. Melbourne is also woven into the story with great subtlety that reveals Simison's intimacy with the city. The University of Melbourne is also a recognisable character in the novel, right down to the detestable deans. (view spoiler)[That Don's dean is ultimately an object worthy of his empathy is a clear distortion of any possible reality. (hide spoiler)] But the implication that genetics and psychology share a faculty is preposterous...surely Don would agree!
Simison discusses the book's screenplay origins and the role of his creative writing course in the book's genesis in the acknowledgements - I can easily see this being a Working Dog Production in the near future and I kind of hope it happens....more
(Three and a half stars.) Well, that was surprisingly good, and not in that guilty trash way, like reading a Lauren Conrad novel. Oh, I shouldn't be s(Three and a half stars.) Well, that was surprisingly good, and not in that guilty trash way, like reading a Lauren Conrad novel. Oh, I shouldn't be so surprised. Lauren Graham has always come across as a good sort - plus she used to live with Connie Britton (yes, I have her IMDB bio open as we speak), which is a massive mark in her favour (although could you imagine the glossy waves of hair flouncing around in that house...) - but one is always a little wary of things written by celebrities, not in the least because sometimes they haven't written them. *cough*Katie Price*cough* But then there are a couple of smart ones in the mix and they shouldn't be tarred with the same brush.
But I digress. We're here to discuss the book. Right. This is good, solid, engaging chicklit. The characters are lovable, the plot is slightly predictable but not in a way that is annoying, and there is a bit of meta thrown in. The 90s setting makes people like me try to mine it for any kind of biographical detail about the author, but a lot of the time I would forget whose book I was reading until I looked at the cover again. All in all, I think Graham's got the chops for this kind of work and I sincerely hope she writes something else....more
A part of me really liked this book; another part of me thought it was a load of wank. How to reconcile these two parts? I also feel that this is theA part of me really liked this book; another part of me thought it was a load of wank. How to reconcile these two parts? I also feel that this is the kind of book that I would have loved when I was younger - now I feel a little detached from it.
The greatest part of this book is that at its centre isn't this purported search for self. Rather, it is a love story - but that love is the friendship between two women. If this was a film, the conversations between Margaux and Sheila would pass the Bechdel test - their conversations are about their art and themselves, not in the least because Margaux is not interested in chatting about relationships with men (even though this is arguably one of Sheila's favourite topics).
Despite its references to emails and whatnot, there is a strange, almost 70s-ish vibe to this book. It might be its experimentalism, which reminds me of avant-garde feminist writers of the 70s. It was a strange feeling, and not an altogether unpleasant one. ...more
Even though no one has ever shat on my bathroom floor (I feel the urge to add "yet"), there is something utterly relatable about the scenarios CrosleyEven though no one has ever shat on my bathroom floor (I feel the urge to add "yet"), there is something utterly relatable about the scenarios Crosley writes about - the friend's arsehole boyfriend, the obnoxious bridezilla, the awful boss, the nightmare move. "Sign Language for Infidels" was perhaps the most difficult essay for me to read - I have an irrational fear of butterflies, so the description of the behemoth Atlas moth had me frozen in fear and shuddering with absolute abject horror when she brushed past it. (Even just remembering it now makes me shudder.) Meanwhile, "Lay Like Broccoli" had me wanting to clap and sing hallelujah as Crosley succinctly describes the problems faced by the modern vegaquarian and the judgy meat-eaters (seriously, meat-eaters, vegans are positively laid-back compared with your obsession with getting people to eat meat).
The personal essay is a weird genre to begin with, and the better ones are always the funny ones - I can't take people seriously when they take themselves too seriously. A lot of people won't like this collection (and looking at a lot of the GoodReads reviews they really don't), but Sloane Crosley is kind of weird and that is what makes this book (and other similar essay collections) so damn entertaining....more
Anyone looking for salacious gossip and the grubby inside story to working on Vogue will be sorely disappointed - Coddington lives up to her name andAnyone looking for salacious gossip and the grubby inside story to working on Vogue will be sorely disappointed - Coddington lives up to her name and is incredibly gracious about everyone she has worked with, even those she doesn't like very much. And Anna Wintour is not numbered amongst the latter. Coddington makes numerous references throughout the book to the wonderful RJ Cutler documentary, The September Issue, and the subsequent public fascination with her relationship with Wintour. I felt it was clear from the film - and further explicitly underscored by Coddington herself in her memoir - that these women respect each other immensely, and it is the creative tension between the two of them that has made American Vogue into the style bible it is today. What Coddington does reveal here, with subtle references and also the indignation with which she discusses the inferred depiction of Anna in The Devil Wears Prada, is that there may also be a genuine (albeit not necessarily close) friendship between the women as well - and this is one of the many things that Coddington keeps quite private even as she opens up in her reflections.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Coddington's style of writing is simple, elegant and conversational. She reveals enough details of her life to keep you fairly satisfied - sometimes with devastating casualness (view spoiler)[such as in the case of the miscarriage of a child at seven months after the trauma of being overturned in her car by a gang of soccer hooligans (hide spoiler)] - but somehow manages to do this while maintaining a sense of polite distance. I must say that I admire her very much for this. I think the way in which she deals with sad and traumatic events in her life with but a few brief lines (with the exception of the chapter devoted to her late friend Liz) is quite pointed - she draws clear boundaries in this memoir and expects them to be respected.
What was unexpected (to me) and what I found utterly charming were her line drawings that illustrate the book (alongside a great collection of photographs, including some of Coddington's favourite spreads). These humourous little sketches wryly depict a range of scenarios, and perhaps make Coddington's ironic sense of humour all the more evident. It is fascinating that Coddington's preferred mode of remembering is visual - she prefers to sketch in shows rather than take notes - and perhaps says much about how and why she is able to create such visually rich shoots.
It should go without saying that this is a must-read for lovers of fashion....more
In such an overrun genre as supernatural YA, this series continues to be a cut above the rest. Clare knows how to write a decent sentence, is clearlyIn such an overrun genre as supernatural YA, this series continues to be a cut above the rest. Clare knows how to write a decent sentence, is clearly quite well read and knows when to undercut the drama with some humour.