4.75 stars, almost perfect, NOTHING like gone girl, more over the weekend.
maybe a slight SPOILER down at the end.
ETA: You know, not every book that sh4.75 stars, almost perfect, NOTHING like gone girl, more over the weekend.
maybe a slight SPOILER down at the end.
ETA: You know, not every book that shows that a man and woman have different perspectives on a marriage is similar to Gone Girl. I saw a review saying "Like Gone Girl…" right as I started reading this and thought well SHIT now it's all spoiled. HA. No it wasn't because these two books have nothing in common a.k.a. remember not to necessarily believe other people's opinions about books! (And you are free to disagree with mine. But if you leave me nasty comments, I will delete them, fair warning.)
Gone Girl was about how the two people in that marriage didn't know each other or value their relationship and marriage at all and the shocking reveal that they would stay together just to hurt each other. This book, despite revealing the things these people don't know about each other, is ALL about how they know the truly important parts, that they connected even without knowing every single moment of each other's history (or mostly of one of them's history). That you can truly love someone who maybe hasn't shown you every rusty, icky, shameful moment of their decision making over the years. Do you have to know every moment of someone's history? Or do you need to know what they mean to YOU? Hello.
This book is a love story, that book is not.
I knocked off 0.25 of a star b/c the beginning wasn't great for me. While perhaps knowing how Antoinette and Gawain came together to bring Lotto into this story deepens our understanding, I found that the least interesting and slowest moving part of the book. From pages 7-35, I was really thinking "Huh, well I finally found a Lauren Groff book I don't like." And then Mathilde walked onto the scene. And then the book got all crackly and engaging and I really had a hard time putting it down to do all my real life must-dos!!
Mathilde & Lotto = 4ever. He would have gotten over that last revelation, which wasn't even true, damn you, Chollo. I am 100% convinced he would have.
and please to note, I did like Gone Girl. Quite a bit. Perhaps the two things these books have in common was that their beginnings were not my favorite. But in that book, the beginning is necessary for the contrast to the rest. Here I found it less needed for the book to work....more
Read this all in one sitting. Completely unexpected ending that vaulted it to a 4 for me. It all occupies such a small space in time but seems to coveRead this all in one sitting. Completely unexpected ending that vaulted it to a 4 for me. It all occupies such a small space in time but seems to cover the emotions of a decade.
Bought in Asheville, NC, at a fantastic bookstore: Malaprops. Of course the mountain town where Mimmy lives sounds exactly like Asheville!...more
Waffling between a 3 and a 4--because the last few essays all made me cry. Then again I am deathly ill and all drugged up so my judgement is surely imWaffling between a 3 and a 4--because the last few essays all made me cry. Then again I am deathly ill and all drugged up so my judgement is surely impaired.
I loooove her fiction (much more than this writing and more than five stars could ever reveal) and there were moments in this book that really got me. But other essays had SUCH a pedantic tone that I wanted to shoot myself for continuing to read them....more
Incredible. Heartrending. Wondrous. More later today...
SO.....I had read my friend Rachel's review of this book and KNEW I obviously MUST read it (I mIncredible. Heartrending. Wondrous. More later today...
SO.....I had read my friend Rachel's review of this book and KNEW I obviously MUST read it (I mean, THAT REVIEW!!) but somehow I never actually read the summary of what it was about.
This book starts out in the future, a future full of people looking backward and other people working to make that a virtual reality. And at first I thought it was going to be a story about this girl (Ginn) sort of trapped in this cold lonely place where she doesn't feel she belongs.... And I thought "Oh, OK, I mean maybe I'll really connect with this girl although she lives in such an offputting world."
BUT THEN she inadvertently time travels to 10th century Iceland (WHAT?!?! Yes, I was quite surprised, and then the book just TAKES OFF) and finds HER place, the place her heart and her head can call home. And it just becomes transcendent.
There's SO MUCH to this story. There's doom and gloom and prophecy, there's friendship and belonging, there's love and romance and giving it all up and getting it all back. There's finding WHO you are and looking for a WHERE you are that can fit with that. There's identity and longing and there's recognizing that you knew what you needed the whole damn time.
This reminded me of King Hereafter, which you must realize by now is one of my very favorite books--both in its romance and in its setting and in the story of Heirik leading and protecting his people, although I must admit that it's much LIGHTER fare--which is not a criticism, just a comment--whereas say Hild which I am reading now is like King Hereafter both in its romance and setting AND its weightiness. Beautiful Wreck is just as weighty as both those books in its feelings and tangibly placing itself in my heart, but not as weighty as it's not part of our ACTUAL history and not pulling those moments forward and entangling me in a humanity that WAS and DID. Does that make sense? No? Only to me? Ah well. I dearly love(d) this book but I don't want you to find, in my comparison to King Hereafter, that upon reading it, it falls short of that. It is lighter from the get-go but also beloved. We all need different kinds of cake, do we not.
This reminded me of the longest hardest winters followed by that fresh breath of spring, this reminded me of being loved and cared for and how sometimes it seems that sending someone away is the best way to take care of them. This reminded me that somehow someway we all *HOPEFULLY* find that place where we're meant to be. I'm still waiting, myself....more
What an intense little book this is. Long slooooooow reveal, unknown to the narrator as well as the reader. Man this is a book that just brings rightWhat an intense little book this is. Long slooooooow reveal, unknown to the narrator as well as the reader. Man this is a book that just brings right to focus those intense teenage emotions, that constant feeling that the world is just swirling around outside your edges, often opaque and confusing and never letting you all the way in. And damn the eventual truth is just crushingly heartbreaking. Ouch.
I'm a sucker for a) summer cabin / resort / getaway books (and movies: think A Walk on the Moon); b) family books that cover multiple generations (all at once OR separately); c) books about Kennedy-esque type families; d) books with super intense feelings (whether the actual events are intense, as here, or not).
So this pretty much pushed all my buttons. ...more
A downright beautiful book. A fairy tale set in the real world, bringing together middle-eastern traditions from several different cultures. The GolemA downright beautiful book. A fairy tale set in the real world, bringing together middle-eastern traditions from several different cultures. The Golem and the Jinni are both finely crafted characters and the 1900 NYC immigrant setting is alive and bustling. I remember thinking the beginning felt slow but the story soon swept me away. The twist of the past revealed near the end was so complete in its imaginings--it's the kind of thing that makes you realize how,pathetic your own attempts at writing are....more
Loved this. The kids loved it b/c it ties together Grandfather's Journey and Tree of Cranes. I loved it b/c it gave us a different perspective on (andLoved this. The kids loved it b/c it ties together Grandfather's Journey and Tree of Cranes. I loved it b/c it gave us a different perspective on (and the honesty behind) some moments from G's Journey that we already knew happened and helps the kids think about point of view.
Go May, what a great person to have be your mother....more
My kids were head over heels for this book - maybe because of the Christmas connection.
It's not *quite* as good as Grandfather's Journey to me (henceMy kids were head over heels for this book - maybe because of the Christmas connection.
It's not *quite* as good as Grandfather's Journey to me (hence 4 stars rather than 5) but they do flow together nicely and the kids totally picked up on the connections (the mama here is the daughter there).
They've asked me to buy more Allen Say books for the classroom. :)...more
I had read Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty years back when it won the Booker. Randomly wasting time in a bookstore last weekend on the way3.5 really
I had read Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty years back when it won the Booker. Randomly wasting time in a bookstore last weekend on the way to dinner, I suddenly felt the need for a thick British family / country life-across-the-generations with a dose of academia thrown in and saw the latest Hollinghurst lying on a display table and knew it would fit the bill. (Plus a hefty dose of homosexuality as one should expect with a Hollinghurst.)
Hollinghurst is probably considered by most to be a more literary author (high-falutin' so to speak) than say Rosamunde Pilcher, but honestly his books, this one in particular, feel very much to me like Shellseekers or September (beloved Pilcher books, I'm not even sure I've read anything else by her) if all the major romances were gay instead of straight.
The way this book hopped around chronologically and who each section focused on (sometimes quite a surprise) perhaps left me more questions than answers (but WHAT happened to XXX?) but they were interesting choices and the book certainly kept me engaged....more
This book was very sweet. The exploits of the Green Needle Gang went in a very different direction than expected--I was surprised there was no furtherThis book was very sweet. The exploits of the Green Needle Gang went in a very different direction than expected--I was surprised there was no further confrontation with the hoodlums--and the ending really made me smile.
A good book to use for our culture & identity unit...if we weren't already reading SeedFolks! :)...more
**spoiler alert** I struggled to get into this at first -- I loved book 1 but Deuce felt so different in this book, so not herself.
I guess the world**spoiler alert** I struggled to get into this at first -- I loved book 1 but Deuce felt so different in this book, so not herself.
I guess the world Topside isn't quite as interesting to me especially once we see how rigid the culture of Salvation is.
Also I feel like there's perhaps a few too many times when rape (and more, being broken) is either the feared outcome or what does indeed happen in these books. Fade's pain feels a bit too repetitious. I want to see this relationship growing not just having the same struggle time and again.
I liked the ending though and what it hints at for book 3.
A great example of a completely compelling narrative voice. Also a good way to introduce kids to a non-dominant culture version of this time period anA great example of a completely compelling narrative voice. Also a good way to introduce kids to a non-dominant culture version of this time period and important events/people in a subtle way. Example: in just the first few pages, readers will learn that Muhammad Ali changed his name, why, and how people had different reactions to it. Great book to have in my classroom library....more
really 3.5 stars. it's just too short for me to give it 4. but a very enjoyable read. and a good lesson. starting to read it with one of my sixth gradereally 3.5 stars. it's just too short for me to give it 4. but a very enjoyable read. and a good lesson. starting to read it with one of my sixth grade classes tomorrow. we'll see. hopefully the kids will like it better than the Breadwinner which they were not liking at all....more
Very sad, pretty intense. But it took a while for me to get sucked into her voice. At first I didn't feel very connected. But I was on a long train riVery sad, pretty intense. But it took a while for me to get sucked into her voice. At first I didn't feel very connected. But I was on a long train ride so I gave it some time. ;)
This book is enchanting and marvellous and full of big words and big ideas in ways completely accessible to younger readers. Calpurnia Tate is a trueThis book is enchanting and marvellous and full of big words and big ideas in ways completely accessible to younger readers. Calpurnia Tate is a true delight....more
You're not surprised that I love dictionary-style books, are you? As much as I love epistolary novels? Come now, anything that toys with the traditionYou're not surprised that I love dictionary-style books, are you? As much as I love epistolary novels? Come now, anything that toys with the traditional linear narrative is always of interest, don't you think? And the writing here is just pitch perfect.
Go to a bookstore, pick this up and read the entry for "Ubiquitous." Now tell me that is not the definition of relationships in a nutshell. That whole book is that ON.
I also especially loved the entry for "Cadence."...more
Overall response: I thought this was a good biographical work (more a biography of a relationship than a biography of Darwin specifically), wfor CI 546
Overall response: I thought this was a good biographical work (more a biography of a relationship than a biography of Darwin specifically), well-written and -researched, and certainly QUITE focused on (and successful at) showing a real picture of family life in Victorian times. On the other hand, I thought it was slow, sometimes pedantic, very sentimental, and probably appealing far more to adults than to kids (and in that sense, too slow and pedantic, as that was annoying to this adult reader).
I think there are a lot of references in this book that would fly right over kids' heads: for example telling the reader that Paradise Lost was not typical reading material for a child (p. 38) -- I highly doubt any of my 7th/8th students have any idea what Paradise Lost is so they would just skip over that, whereas adults who do know what Paradise Lost is do not need to bet old that it's not typical reading material for a child. I think college students studying Victorian novels might enjoy the overabundance of details here, middle and even high school students would be completely lost, i.e., a dress of clarety-brown satin -- what modern teen knows what 'claret' is?
I think as a teacher you would have to spend far too much time scaffolding random details and references to the point that the storyline would get lost.
Long discussions about Charles' neatness versus Miss Slip-Slop's untidiness are something adults would laugh at but I think kids would not find either that amusing or interesting.
I also think it's odd that the author never takes issue with Charles' constant (and ridiculous!) sicknesses. Surely some of his varied illness were either a) psychosomatic or b) brought on purely by his intense nervousness, anxiety and stress over any number of things. He gets SO SICK when Emma is about to give birth to their first child that's he reports "it knocked me up almost as much as it did Emma herself!" (p. 105) Isn't that a pretty solid indication of him being a) a hypochrondriac and b) the nervous cause of most of his own illnesses? I found it extremely odd that there's never any suggestion that his constant state of precarious health might not be a normal or actual state of precarious health.
On the other hand, I did completely fall for the love story and found myself crying toward the end. The exchange of letters throughout their loves--even when not physically separated--was quite romantic and the degree to which they really lived their life as a couple, or a pair made one, was quite sweet and lovely. But then again I'm 43 and single and Oh! To have a partner! I don't think that teens would view this in the same romantic light. And wouldn't you have to explain what it was like to be in a time of letter writing? That time has barely existed even in my own lifetime let alone in those of my students, most of whom were born in the late '90s.
I thought the book did a good job of exploring Charles' struggle between science and religion and it might be a great thing for someone to read whose extreme religious beliefs prevent them from acknowledging the obviousness of evolution--but of course someone like that would probably never read a book focused on Darwin anyway!
Curricular connections: If I were to use this in a classroom, I think it would have to be late high school or college students. And I think I would use it in an exploration of the Victorian world rather than that of science. MANY Victorians were crazy collectors of scientific and natural stuff (like Darwin) and I think this fits better, in tone, with explorations of fiction of the time (Dickens, the Austens, Brontes, even Lewis Carroll) than to use it in exploration of science.
Also the fact that, to me at least, it's much more about their relationship than anything else....more
Wowza. Some of the writing in this book is just STUNNINGLY lyrically beautiful. I just finished it tonight and all I really want to do is open it up aWowza. Some of the writing in this book is just STUNNINGLY lyrically beautiful. I just finished it tonight and all I really want to do is open it up and start all over again. Bit Stone, I love you, shortiepants....more
I was originally reading this as an add-on for our "historical fiction" but given that the time its set in is just briefly mentwide reading for CI 546
I was originally reading this as an add-on for our "historical fiction" but given that the time its set in is just briefly mentioned here and there, I think I would be more likely to classify it as "realistic fiction" but "dated" rather than "contemporary".
grade level: middle to high school--fairly adult themes.
school use: I might have this in my classroom library but I would not specifically use it in my classroom.
review: What an incredibly odd book. The story of a twin who feels herself always lesser by comparison with her sister. They live on a tiny island kept going by lobster and oyster fishing but both have their own dream of eventually getting away.
Published in 1981, but this feels a LOT older to me--as a child who obsessed over Elsie Dinsmore to my mother's dismay, I would have easily imagined this book being more contemporary with those.
Lots of weird religious stuff--the crazy grandmother and her condemning of so many different "evils"...and her suggestion that Wheeze actually IS less loved is problematic in many ways. There are a lot of things happening between the lines here, and I'm not sure kids would pick up on all of them.
I liked it but it wasn't a super joy to read. And it felt like a pretty adult book in a number of ways to me. Surprised to see it won the Newberry....more
Wow. This would be such a great book to use in the classroom altho its length might make that problematic.
Lots of interesting thing(borrowed from Liz)
Wow. This would be such a great book to use in the classroom altho its length might make that problematic.
Lots of interesting things that make this unusual--not just death as the narrator but the way he sometimes uses mysterious foreshadowing vs sometimes just outright tells you what's going to happen in the future. The idea of a person who steals books but can't yet read. The use of Mein Kampf for Max's notebook, to tell his own story on top.
Such a great friendship between Rudy and Leisl and how it evolves is so well done.
Lots of meta stuff going on: The idea that while this is death's story, it is also somehow the exact book that Leisl writes down in the book the mayor's wife gives her, ten chapters and all...
While fictional, so many of the little moments here are things that surely happened to one person or another during the holocaust.
So...when Max comes back for Rudy...did you hope what I hoped?