I got this book from Paperback Swap thinking it'd be a wonderful trip down the road of great romantic moments in literature. In fact what it is is a h...moreI got this book from Paperback Swap thinking it'd be a wonderful trip down the road of great romantic moments in literature. In fact what it is is a how-to sex manual drawing on literature as inspiration. Not what I wanted and I didn't find it all that appealing.(less)
Really Cheesy Facts About Famous Authors is apparently one in a series of Really Cheesey Facts books and this particular entry discusses the foibles a...moreReally Cheesy Facts About Famous Authors is apparently one in a series of Really Cheesey Facts books and this particular entry discusses the foibles and follies of authors from Shakespeare to JK Rowling and back again. Which authors were in debt up to their eyeballs? Which were embarrassed by sexual escapades? Which had family embarrassments? Who was rejected and who was accepted by society, publishers, and others? It was a fun and interesting read, lots of little sidebars about the authors, informative and cute. I recommend it if you're a bibliophile. (less)
When I started reading The Book Club, I was swept away by a strong sense of the ghosts of Jennifer Chiaverini following me through the pages of this o...moreWhen I started reading The Book Club, I was swept away by a strong sense of the ghosts of Jennifer Chiaverini following me through the pages of this one. The writing styles are tremendously similar--very simple prose, not a lot of heavy duty SAT words (which is fine with me!), no cussin', and straight story lines.
Monroe's novel opens as five friends, all members of a monthly book club, face turning points in their lives. Eve's husband dies suddenly, shattering her comfortable lifestyle, while Midge's mother makes an unannounced and unwelcomed reappearance. Annie finally feels ready to have a child, only to find her health and her marriage in jeopardy. Gabriella strains to make ends meet after her husband is laid off; Doris slides into depression as she tries to deny signs of her husband's infidelity. Sometimes close to and sometimes at odds with each other, the friends struggle to face harsh realities and, in the process, gain new independence. The actual book club of the title plays an oddly small role in this celebration of friendship and growth.
Amazon.com felt that the books the women read had very little relevence to the story line, but actually, I quite disagree. I felt that Monroe skillfully selected books that had quotations directly relating to whatever each chapter was about. And the books were wide ranging and the topics widely varied. The only time I groaned was when the women decided one of their books should be The Bible out of nowhere. As a not-too-religious person, and as most of the characters were not themselves religious, this seemed like pandering to a crowd, in my opinion. I was tremendously disappointed.
Also, I must be honest, I didn't see why all the women were friends. This one was jealous of that one, that one thought that one was too sanctimonious. For a small book club, I can't see that it would last. Of course in my book club there's a bit of gossip and crabbing about people--probably crabbing about me as the Supreme Dictator most of all--but in such a small group, it would seem to me impossible to keep together. Of course it all ends with tears and chocolate, so what do I know? :-) (less)
This was my biggest disappointment of a book this year. I had been wanting to read this for a while and finally got a copy via PBS. The book descripti...moreThis was my biggest disappointment of a book this year. I had been wanting to read this for a while and finally got a copy via PBS. The book description tells of a group of women who defy the Iranian regime by holding weekly meetings in their beloved literature professor's home in Tehran. Having read Princess by Jean Sasson (and if you haven't yet read it, what the heck are you waiting for?!) and loved it, I thought I would enjoy Reading Lolita a whole lot more than I did.
In fact, the story does begin with the literature club, but devolves into Nafisi's overall memoir of teaching literature in Iran, living through the revolution, the war with Iraq and eventually meanders back to her women's literature club, just before she emigrates to the US.
By the time I realized how seriously I hated this book, I was 200 pages into it. With only 150 to go, it seemed stupid to quit, so I finished it. I did consult with Lesley, who I consider my reading guru, and she confirmed reading a whole 20 pages before giving up. So I don't feel alone in hating it, and that makes me happy. Yes, I know, I have zero self-esteem about my own opinions, but deal. (less)
With the spectacular crash and burn of chapter 1 of my novel in the recent contest in which I entered it (I think I ended up with a less than 5 star r...moreWith the spectacular crash and burn of chapter 1 of my novel in the recent contest in which I entered it (I think I ended up with a less than 5 star rating), when I saw this book in Riverby's, I had to pick it up. It is a compendium of all the rejection letters publishers wish they had never written. It made me feel quite good about my own tentative forays into the world of publishing, as I learned through the book that many authors have self published to begin with and moved on to bigger and better things once their book has been read. More and more I'm sure that's what I'll have to do, although I will submit it to a few places that are accepting books right now, just to see. Among the authors whose letters are listed are E.L. Doctorow, Charles Dickens, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, and Rudyard Kipling.
My personal favorite was a rejection George Orwell received for Animal Farm, which stated: What was needed was not more communism, but more public-spirited pigs.
It was a really fun and quick little read and I agree with the reviewer who wrote, "the perfect book for any writer, amateur or professional." (less)