Yeah, that’s right. I finished Middlemarch. +10 to literary badassery.
Okay, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have to admit the only reasonYeah, that’s right. I finished Middlemarch. +10 to literary badassery.
Okay, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have to admit the only reason I actually had the will power to plow through this book is the constant encouragement of my literary partner in crime, Kat. As post-grads, we decided to undertake Middlemarch as a way to keep our English major-y brains from atrophying. Middlemarch, an 800 page tome detailing the minutiae of country life in 1830s England, provided a significant challenge and had the bonus of being “that book that’s been sitting on my shelf unread” for both of us. It seemed only appropriate. To bolster our courage, we agreed to read at least 100 pages every two weeks, starting in August, on the grounds that after each fortnight passed we would settle on a night when both of us could grab dinner and chat about the book (and all manner of other geekery, but that’s beside the point).
Honestly? I’m not sure I would have made it through the book by myself. It’s quite the undertaking during a season in my life where busy is really the name of the game. I wouldn’t say that Middlemarch is a hard read, so much as a dense read, but it did make it hard to plug into the book, particularly after long days at work. The best time for reading the book was actually on Saturday mornings, when I’m typically at my most alert, instead of before bed, when I like to dig into brain candy.
All that said, I did love the book and underlined a great deal of it (you may have noticed, considering the amount of quotes I’ve posted on here). For such a long book, Eliot does an amazing job keeping the story moving and keeping it interesting. I think that’s what impressed me most, actually. The plot just keeps going, weaving the lives of these provincial characters together. They come together, they clash, they experience misunderstanding and joy, and as the reader you discover their insecurities and their weaknesses, as revealed through the eyes of a snarky narrator. It’s not necessarily clear who is narrating the book, if its Eliot herself or if its a flawed observer.
Either way, the observations offered through the narrator regarding patriarchy, passion and politics are cutting and to the point. It’s refreshing and unapologetic, which I loved, particularly when the narrator managed, somehow, to give me compassionate insight into the one character I hated beyond any other in the book (possibly any book, actually) I loathed Casaubon, and with good reason. Still, the narrator provides just enough insight into Casaubon to mix that loathing with compassion and, more to the point perhaps, pity. The ability of a narrator to make me see multiple sides to a character is impressive, especially with a character like Casaubon. Unlike many villains, who can be prized for their cunning or their humor or even their looks, Casaubon had nothing going for him from the start besides the love of a good woman. For Eliot to show him so clearly and undeniably flawed, and then take readers a level deeper into the pride, the fears and the insecurities that make him who he is, was honestly one of my favorite parts of the book. He’s an ass, but he’s human.
And really, isn’t that the point of fiction? Prior to reading Middlemarch, I don’t think I could have found any ground on which to condone cheating on a significant other. But having read Middlemarch, I can understand situations in which it could come up, where marriage becomes a soul sucking trap and the needs and desires for real human connection, even just a mental connection, becomes so overwhelming that it leads you to make that connection with someone who isn’t your husband or wife. It’s a lack of communication, a wall of insecurities or pride, a lack of expectations met - it’s a lack filled by someone else. It doesn’t mean that I suddenly condone and recommend cheating, but suddenly I find myself capable of seeing the situation more clearly for having walked through it in Dorothea and Rosamund’s shoes.
Fiction is about living situations from perspectives that are not our own, and Middlemarch takes 800 pages to walk readers through a social and political commentary on money, marriage and gainful employment. It’s a hefty undertaking, but I recommend it; it’s worth the time....more
I love how the author uses words, plays with them, rolls them around to find meaning that was always there but had no concise word to express it. I loI love how the author uses words, plays with them, rolls them around to find meaning that was always there but had no concise word to express it. I love how he used time travel to teach me something about language, about time travel, but also about myself. ...more
Seriously, guys, I dreamed about ice and snow for at least 3 days after reading this book.
London does great things with a relatively simple cast (I woSeriously, guys, I dreamed about ice and snow for at least 3 days after reading this book.
London does great things with a relatively simple cast (I would love to meet Malemute Kid, personally). Admittedly, I liked some of the short stories best. They had a grit and realism to them that Call of the Wild seemed to lack, at least from Buck's perspective. London's ability to drop a whole set of characters through ice or detail the icy death of a man incapable of building a fire with his frozen fingers was simple and stunning in its delivery. ...more
Wearebadluck: oh, so what did u think of the hunger games? me: i really liked it actually it's an easy read and clearly young adult lit but it's we Wearebadluck: oh, so what did u think of the hunger games? me: i really liked it actually it's an easy read and clearly young adult lit but it's well done and i liked the character development WRBL: the characters were my biggest problem me: how so? WRBL: they weren't very well done for me, very uncomplicated and too simplistic they were cookie cutter characters me: nod in terms of simplicity, i think the characters and even the basics of the plot are fairly typical it wouldn't have worked in anything but YA lit WRBL: the plot was incredibly predictable for me, but since it's YA i didn't really hold that against it me: yeah it's basic big brother tyranny WRBL: but you can have believable characters in YA in fact... it's a lot better when you do the strong point for me was the setting me: they felt relatable to me but for me it was mostly an easy escape read and it's a book i feel like i could give to a kid which is not something i can say easily WRBL: eh, i don't feel it would be high on my recommendation list, not because of the violence or anything, but because i don't feel the characters REALLY learned anything, not anything deeper that the situations that were presented to them which was mostly spectacle and flash me: i'm not sure i agree WRBL: which is why we are different people, hehe me: i feel like they learned lessons that were age appropriate like...i didn't learn anything new, but having the characters approach it even in as basic a way as Collins did, would be worthwhile for the younger age group many of whom may not have reached that point yet there is something a bit disturbing about giving about so solidly based around death to kids, though. teens i could see to a point, though WRBL: shrugs i think our viewpoints are differing so much more because of our own experiences and how we related to the characters and situations in the book which honestly, does change my opinion of it a bit me: nods there's something to be said for a gender perspective too female main character and all that WRBL: eh, there were some really good points where she used having a female lead effectively, and there were others that as a man who very much enjoys female lead characters made me weep at how poorly she was being written me: nod i liked that katniss was clearly flawed you can see it in the way she wrestles with her decisions and how she handles the fake relationship with peeta which is something i appreciate in a character, even if i don't necessarily like it it's frustrating when you catch on faster than the character does WRBL: i think that was also part of my problem, she had one flaw, that was never really resolved, and not used effectively with counterpoints and counter flaws... it just felt all very two-dimensional for me, and i'm used to reading books where i catch on before the character(s) but with most of those characters they never progressed, they never picked up any deeper understandings than the planned point (a) to point (b) outline the author set out me: do you think that could be something she's looking to do in the broad scope of the series? WABL: to be honest, i wasn't interested enough after reading the first one to find out, and i started teh second and actually stopped reading because it was like reading a re-make of the first book me: ah i'll get back to you i ordered the box set cheap online yesterday ...more
**spoiler alert** Review: Catching Fire (Spoilers, obviously) PetEditor: so i'm almost half through the second hunger games book they just found out i**spoiler alert** Review: Catching Fire (Spoilers, obviously) PetEditor: so i'm almost half through the second hunger games book they just found out it's a quarter quell year so the games are all sorts of jacked up like hunger games on crack and the pool of contestants they picked from are the victors of previous games, meaning katniss and peeta have to go back. and the districts are FLIPPING SHIT. WeAreBadLuck: ... PetEditor: what was that look for? WRBL: oh, honestly i have no idea... if my brain was run by squirrels... not only have they gotten loose from their tethers, but somebody left a bag of LCD coated sweettarts in the corner and they've found it PetEditor: that's...yeah...good WRBL: best part... the LCD typo makes it even MORE disturbing PetEditor: XD in other news katniss continues to be utterly clueless WRBL: unsurprised also... gimmick to put them back in the Games PetEditor: true facts i was a little disappointed tho it is entertaining to see them in the training area with middle aged victors and things also Cinna just turned her wedding dress into a mockingjay somehow, on live television but i had to go to sleep so i have no idea what happens next probably president snow imploding ...more