This book completely ravaged me. I didn't expect to fall in love with Gus, but dammit if I did anyway. McMurtry dragged me through every mud hole, sna...moreThis book completely ravaged me. I didn't expect to fall in love with Gus, but dammit if I did anyway. McMurtry dragged me through every mud hole, snake pit, camp fire and stampede his characters endured. I felt every cactus prickle and tasted the beans and bad coffee. Who knew I could love the West so damn much?
Next to The Three Musketeers, this is the best man-love story around. Gus and Call are totally OTP 4evah.
I won't spoiler the story for anyone here... but there's a place in the book where I got so upset that I literally threw the book across the room I was so upset. I simply refused to read any further. I hate Larry McMurtry for that. But dammit if it wasn't some of the best writing of all time to make me feel that way.
This novel goes down as one of the finest examples of Western literature of all time as far as I'm concerned. Wallace Stegner ain't got nothin on the McLarryMan.(less)
This is the bleakest book I have ever crawled inside. When I wake up in the morning after having gone to sleep reading it, it's as if the grit of ashe...moreThis is the bleakest book I have ever crawled inside. When I wake up in the morning after having gone to sleep reading it, it's as if the grit of ashes is still caught in my eyelashes. The desperation of the man clutches around my heart. I have known that horror and loss of hope, if only for fleeting moments. I know the chasm this character teeters at the edge of. Oh this is the abyss we all frantically, busily keep ourselves distracted from knowing. Cormac McCarthy drags us through it, unflinchingly. I hate him for that. But now that I'm inside of it I can't look away. I'm almost grateful for the luxury of despair this book wallows in. The fact that the cover of the book is black and unadorned is perfect. Warning: this is not a gay romp.
I'll let you know how the rest is when I'm finished... but I'm pretty sure there are going to be no happy endings. There have been no happy beginnings or middles, so... pffft. Don't think so.
ETA: and indeed, I was right. No happy endings. But it wasn't as bleak as it could have been. For that, I am grateful. Really one of the most important reads of our age.(less)
This is the sort of book that I didn't expect to like, given that the title seems ridiculously ambitious. But in a moment of optimism I bought it anyw...moreThis is the sort of book that I didn't expect to like, given that the title seems ridiculously ambitious. But in a moment of optimism I bought it anyway, and boy did it pay off. Nicole Krauss skirts the intimidating topic of romantic love by sneaking up behind other kinds of love and encouraging them to stop leaning against the wall at the dance and get out there and share their groove thang. She weaves together disparate threads of lives until, by the end, you see the vast, beautiful, silken ascot they all comprise together. I loved the non-linear approach, the tiny details, the quiet way she hints at what makes us human. This book is everything I hope to find when I go to fiction. It reminded me to not take anything for granted... to take love where it finds me... not to scoff at any that comes along, albeit tiny and well camoflaged. Like the Grinch, when I read this book my heart grew three sizes.(less)
This book reminded me of what it was like to be out in wilderness all those years with the boys I grew up with. Remote, scrabbling around in the under...moreThis book reminded me of what it was like to be out in wilderness all those years with the boys I grew up with. Remote, scrabbling around in the underbrush wondering where the hell we were exactly, reading topo maps, reveling in the small ecstasies of just a bite of food, made so much more special by the fact that we had toted it on our backs for miles, and know there will be nothing else until we tramp back out again.
It also reminded me of the passions of a misanthropic and dissatisfied youth. Hours on end of stoned diatribes, railing against the confines of Western Civilization, picking apart the philosophical underpinnings of our upbringings, extolling the virtues of tuning in, turning on, dropping out. We had friends who went to live in trees, or teepees, or wandered around the woods in the Sierras for months at a time. Until snows came and drove them indoors.
A few of us died out there, at the dicey edge of things. Slick roads, avalanche, a stray rock. most of us survived, and settled into sedate lives by comparison. Children, or not; careers, or not; happy, or not.
This story turns in it's hands expertly those elements, and others: madness, history, friendship, love, survival, chance. It is quiet like the forests of the Hoh River, where it is mostly set. It travels to the core, like the damp there. It is folded back upon itself, with care and precision, like the folding of an origami crane. Watching his hands work you don't know what beauty will emerge, but are not entirely surprised when, later, it lifts it's wings suddenly and flies.(less)
I read this book the month I left my ex husband and spent 10 days in Maui with my closest girlfriend at the time, Kendra Brock. It was probably my fir...moreI read this book the month I left my ex husband and spent 10 days in Maui with my closest girlfriend at the time, Kendra Brock. It was probably my first exposure to such raw self-reflection and intimate self-exposure, my first creative non-fiction or fictional memoir. I've seen people call Spalding Grey narcissistic... and self absorbed... and adolescent... and hedonistic. Maybe I'm so fond of him because I am all those things, I don't know. I know that I admire his ability to so baldly lay all of his neuroses out there for the world to pick at. To so blithely stroll into his dysfunctional life and conjure out of it a narrative that is at once entertaining, instructive, profound, whimsical, evocative, sophisticated. I was so upset to learn of his suicide. To know he suffered from depression and lost his battle with it ultimately... robbing the world of more of his genius. Well... that just leaves me grieving. Spalding had the great gift of looking into a troubled life and viewing it with a light heart at times... of turning misery into gold... a wry turn of phrase. His descriptions of LSD trips in foreign lands, forays into bi-sexual escapades, mistakes of destroying relationships he cares about... it's a brave man who can really unzip his shell to matter-of-factly tell those tales without trying to make himself look better. Spalding is one of the people in this life I would have liked to sat down to dinner with. I did see him perform "Swimming to Cambodia" live in Everett, Washington (of all places). I shook his hand after and told him how much I admired him. If I'd known he was suffering I might have written to him and let him know what he meant to me before he left this world behind for good. Not that it would have changed anything... but I know that some days... that's all it takes for me to decide I'm not so bad after all. Sometimes all it takes is reading a book like this.(less)
I absolutely love E. Annie Proulx. She does that thing with words that makes me go all dissociated from the world around me and live inside the world...moreI absolutely love E. Annie Proulx. She does that thing with words that makes me go all dissociated from the world around me and live inside the world she creates. I am almost always disturbed by her stories but I can't stop reading them. In fact, her writing is so good that when I saw "Brokeback Mountain" (which I saw *before* I read her short fic on which it was based), I didn't think it was a great story... until I read her actual story. There is ONE line in her piece that makes the story GREAT which was impossible to convey in pictures. IMHO that is what makes a great writer. It's not just what they say, but the exact way in which they say it which makes the art.
I love E. Annie Proulx so much, in fact, that for years I didn't notice the "E." at the beginning of her name... and by the time I noticed, I didn't care.
I sent a copy of this book to my 87 year old Great Aunt Georgene Conley, the cowboy poetess who lives in Belle Fourche, South Dakota. She wrote back that she loved the book, as did many of her friends who she passed it along to. If a bunch of mid-western cowboy poets can read a gay love story and love it, you know it has to be good writing.(less)
Oh Jeffrey Eugenidies... have you become over educated? This book is one long academia narcissism masturbatory idea snooze. I made it half way through...moreOh Jeffrey Eugenidies... have you become over educated? This book is one long academia narcissism masturbatory idea snooze. I made it half way through the book before giving up and just reading the end. I'm glad I did and can just walk away from it. This is an idea that would have made a decent short story, but wallowing in it for an entire novel was just mean. If I was stranded on a deserted island and this was my only reading material I'd burn it for warmth and sing sea chantys instead.
Oh well, one can't be brilliant all the time. Perhaps the pressure of Pulitzerness was too much. Now that you've failed maybe you can go back to just writing stories.
Love always, Charissa (who hasn't finished writing her own novel so is in no position to judge)(less)
Gorgeous and heart wrenching story told from the perspective of an autistic boy who lives in England. He finds his neighbor's dog killed in her yard w...moreGorgeous and heart wrenching story told from the perspective of an autistic boy who lives in England. He finds his neighbor's dog killed in her yard with a garden fork and decides to try and solve the mystery of who killed her dog. In the process he is faced with startling information and adventures. This writer did an amazing job of painting the inside of an autistic person's mind. I feel I finally really understood what it would be like to be Rain Man. Other than driving slow on the driveway.
Very quick read. I highly recommend this to pretty much everyone.(less)
This story took me completely by surprise. Who would have thought I would feel such affinity for a young Dominican American boy from New Jersey? Junot...moreThis story took me completely by surprise. Who would have thought I would feel such affinity for a young Dominican American boy from New Jersey? Junot Diaz won my heart over and over, and then broke it over and over. I have a whole new appreciation for Alfonso, who this book was apparently written for. And, as happened when I read 'Angela's Ashes', I am left feeling that life has given me precious little to complain about. No small feat sometimes.
I am still, however, wondering... how should I pronounce 'fuku'?(less)
this is one of the best dystopic/futuristic/apocalytic fics I've read so far. Definitely right up my pessimistic little alley.
the relationship between...morethis is one of the best dystopic/futuristic/apocalytic fics I've read so far. Definitely right up my pessimistic little alley.
the relationship between Snowman (protagonist) and Crake gleams with repressed homoeroticism, which adds a tension to the story that is more compelling than it would be otherwise. Complicated even further by their relationship with Oryx, it turns a blaring light on the flaws which drive humans to damage the world the way we do: jealousy, arrogance, revenge, lust, greed, apathy.
the science behind the scenario is well-researched (as one would expect from Ms. Atwood). I found this tale to be less overtly bleak than "Handmaid's Tale". However, the images of genetic engineering gone awry are not for the squeamish. One thing I don't want to be when I grow up is a pigoon. Nor do I wish to consume any Chickie Nobs. :::shudder:::
This book is the poster child for what we ought to avoid. The cynicals in the crowd may speculate it's our future. It certainly is a candidate for shadows yet to come. Oh that we are smarter than that.(less)
Damn. That was a good read. I have to say I was a little reluctant in the early stages of the book. He builds the tale so slowly, and you really have...moreDamn. That was a good read. I have to say I was a little reluctant in the early stages of the book. He builds the tale so slowly, and you really have no idea who these characters are. But as the layers unfold and you begin to burrow to the heart of the book... I have to say I'm impressed. Mister Palahniuk is all that and a bag of chips. He kind of reminds me of Tom Robbins... but the cynical, perverted version. There are echoes of the themes that run through Fight Club. He has a very subtle bone to pick. I never felt like I was being bludgeoned over the head with it though. I have to say the imagery in the last chapters of the book had me laughing even while unspeakable things took place. He's good at that.
It's not much of an Apocalypse story, except on a personal level for the character and the world he emerged from. But that in and of itself is interesting. There are little, mini Apocali happening all over the place. And the end... deftly done.
So... It didn't exactly rock my foundations... but it was a damn good read. And I greatly esteem Mister P. I'd totally buy him a cup of coffee.(less)
Ate this book up in about three days, cover to cover. Love Sherman Alexie. This one is a very believable journey into the heart of a troubled young Na...moreAte this book up in about three days, cover to cover. Love Sherman Alexie. This one is a very believable journey into the heart of a troubled young Native American man, a teen, who has suffered through loss, mistreatment, foster care, and run ins with the law. Now he finds himself slipping through space-time, experiencing life through different lenses. Will it be enough to save him from his own self-destructive choices? This story is sort of like the shamanic version of Christmas Carol for orphans. Powerful, sad, moving, real. Highly recommend this read. (less)
Even better than the film version... funny and wry and pithy. Some of the best British writing of recent years. A quick read for me, much appreciated...moreEven better than the film version... funny and wry and pithy. Some of the best British writing of recent years. A quick read for me, much appreciated after a diet of heavy non fiction this Fall. If you're looking to enjoy yourself for several hours, this is a good bet.(less)