The edition I read (Abrams, ISBN 081097052X) is physically lush. The spine is done up in something resembling green suede and the pages are thick like...moreThe edition I read (Abrams, ISBN 081097052X) is physically lush. The spine is done up in something resembling green suede and the pages are thick like good cheese. I can see where some people might be turned off. I won't be sharing this story with kids under 14 because of the ambiguous "wedding night" scene. But, I liked the bizarre, dreamy, and inexplicable twists the story took (It reminded me of Robert Altman's "Three Women."). I don't know how she just up and left Maurice, but in both books ("The Three Incestuous Sisters")children are easily abandoned.
The art is darker than "The Three Incestuous Sisters" because there's no color--just sepia, black and gray. However, most of the images are boxed in by a square frame, to which my photographer's eye immediately responded. The imagery is disturbing and will be recognized by anyone who has suffered through depression. The afterword goes into detail of how the book came about as an art book/project during her grad school days (I believe). This is not a fast read for a rushed commuter. Take a deep breath and make sure the martinis are mixed before opening.(less)
I have mixed feelings about this book. No, I don't. I resent it miserably. I read this book when I was nine. I believed that my menstrual cycle would...moreI have mixed feelings about this book. No, I don't. I resent it miserably. I read this book when I was nine. I believed that my menstrual cycle would begin at the moderate age of twelve, and I like to be prepared for any contingency (I actually have an action plan in place just on the chance that some nutjob brings dinosaurs back to life and they start roaming the streets.)
Lo and behold, three months after reading AYTG? IMM, whammy! My life as a fertile female began. I've had it out for Blume ever since. I'm older now and I surf the crimson tide quite well, and celebrate when my body takes over my ego, will, and routine (Thanks, Inga. Luv ya, baby.) But, my grudge for Judy will be eternal, and dare I say it? Forever.(less)
My mom introduced this series to me with a smug, knowing look. And, the lady was right. I immediately identified with Anne and her love of beauty and...moreMy mom introduced this series to me with a smug, knowing look. And, the lady was right. I immediately identified with Anne and her love of beauty and throbbing connection to the overwhelming potential of the universe. For all you mothers who are worried about raising young girls in a world run amok with Hiltons and Lohans, show your daughters this book (the book, not the movies) and you'll give them a big inoculation shot against becoming a soulless skank whose best friend is her bedazzled Blackberry.
This was a difficult book to read becausse of my separate reaction to Robert Irwin as a person and a thinker. Before reading 20 pages, I had the opini...moreThis was a difficult book to read becausse of my separate reaction to Robert Irwin as a person and a thinker. Before reading 20 pages, I had the opinion that Irwin is a self-involved prat.
But, his ideas about art and experience dovetail nicely with my recent meditations. Due to my recent introduction to traditional African art (where the question whether what is displayed in museums is art divorced as it is from its performance context--especially in regards to the masks), I've been examining what "art" is. What Irwin posits in this book resonates with me and provides satisfaction. But, then he'll state something that irritates me as I perceive a lot of male ego and quite a bit of white male privilege.
Weschler does a good job of presenting Irwin with warts and all. You won't get an in-depth history of the man, but you'll be allowed to see how his process has unfolded over decades--as well as his awareness of that process. This is a must-read for students of art and art history. This is a good read for students of philosophy, and this is a fascinating read for people who build hot rods, drink Coke, or vacation in Ibiza during the winter.
I just finished reading The Bloody Chamber, by Angela Carter. The book fortuitously came to my attention while I manned a marble coun...moreReview from blog:
I just finished reading The Bloody Chamber, by Angela Carter. The book fortuitously came to my attention while I manned a marble counter last Saturday. The cover's wailing maiden in a tower caught my eye. Perusing the description, I discerned that the author was reclaiming the female perspective in fairy tales. Instead of helpless and incognizant victims, her versions would be populated by cunning and compulsive wenches. Males would take their turn being the prize, the tool, or mere embellishment. The book itself was quite skinny, so I felt no guilt in placing it on my tippling stack of to-be-read's. Plus, one of the stories was the basis for a movie, The Company of Wolves. One of those great flickers to stumble on in the strange hours between sleep and waking.
At first, I thought I had picked up that weird genre of "British and extremely literate pornography." The opening story titillated me into a state of flustered agitation. For all my forthrightness, I have a wide streak of prudery that stiffens my back. [I don't approve of the brazen way pornography has been mainstreamed into American culture. While I don't care what people do in their homes, I really would like for them to keep it in their homes---don't casually broadcast your dirtiness on computer screens, on the subway, and, really, not even on the streets of Vegas.] Although the story stirred me up, I was compelled to reach for a dictionary and not my smelling salts.
All my boon companions know how I love to rattle off my five-dollar words, but I still needed to look up at least a dozen new ones. I don't know how I'll be able to insert "catafalque" into common chit-chat, but I will cram it in somehow. After that first story, La Carter toned down her language or I became a jaded sophisticate after 33 pages. What I had hoped for was delivered to me in lusciously wrapped packages. Her writing style is unusual--at least to me--and forces you to readjust your expectations with every story. Symbols and the languor of dreams dominate most of the stories with the delightful exception of "Puss In Boots." "Puss" displays that raucous humor of Chaucer and low-down Shakespeare. Earthy and full of farts.
I leave you with an excerpt I jotted down in one of my handy notebooks:
"This knowledge gave me a certain fearfulness still; but, I would say, not much...I was a young girl, a virgin, and therefore men denied me rationality just as they denied it to all those who were not exactly like themselves, in all their unreason."
page 63, The Bloody Chamber, "The Tiger's Bride," Angela Carter (less)
This is a book for writers, and those who have to read and grade papers. Myself, I'm not big on deconstruction as that path usually leads to meaningle...moreThis is a book for writers, and those who have to read and grade papers. Myself, I'm not big on deconstruction as that path usually leads to meaninglessness and dissatisfaction. So, I galloped through the dissections, but the book is bursting with culled sentences as examples of the different constructions. And, they are good 'uns.
A writer will learn by reading this book, whether she reads Virginia Tufte's parsing or not. Tufte breaks the sentences down quite well (I sneaked a peek, now and then) although sometimes the explanations were a bit dense in that academic style that infuriates students under a deadline. Choosing to just sample her smorgasbord of sentences will fill you up, too.
I copied down various examples that Tufte uses to demonstrate a syntactic style, but I've included two paragraphs--first and last--that she wrote to display her excellent writing skill.
"Anthony Burgess is right: it is the words that shine and sparkle and glitter, sometimes radiant with an author's inspired choice. But it is syntax that gives words the power to relate to each other in a sequence, to create rhythms and emphasis, to carry meaning--of whatever kind--as well as glow individually in just the right place."
"This is the nature, the great beauty of approaching the art of the sentence through syntactic categories along with prolific displays of the splendid sentences good writers achieve. Artful Sentences shows specific skills, widely applicable, that a writer can learn. It offers models that can be imitated, organizing them in a way that makes them accessible and comprehensive. Forms that seem limited, and even limiting, in fact offer a range of opportunities to a writer in command of them--and one who knows how to transgress against them--to achieve undreamed of effectiveness, grace, and versatility." (less)
Ooooh, this is such a great picture book. The illustrations and text are a perfect marriage. Shaun Tan composes complex, layered images. John Marsden'...moreOoooh, this is such a great picture book. The illustrations and text are a perfect marriage. Shaun Tan composes complex, layered images. John Marsden's text is spare and controlled. Pairing the simplicity of text with the rich illustrations makes the ideas raised in the book more resonant.
"The Rabbits" could be interpreted as just a cautionary allegory about man's effect on the natural world. However, the references to Australia's history are hardly subtle (the Union Jack in stylized form appears on nearly every page). Marsden and Tan both reside in Australia. Australian history aside, the story ends with a predictable question. But, it's paired with an ambiguous image that reveals that everyone (even the rabbits) is being victimized by imperialistic action.
This is a great book to share with young readers. The text is very lean, but there's a lot of visual information to pore over in the pictures. I recommend it for adults, too. There are so many ways to interpret the message, only great conversations can come out of it.
[Tan's images remind me of another illustrator, Colin Thompson. Thompson's pictures are jammed with information, but Thompson's lines are very clean, in focus, and exact. Tan's effect is more 'fuzzy.' You'll find yourself squinting trying to find an exquisite detail.] (less)