I didn't know that you could cry at a book until I read Emily of New Moon by Lucy Maude Montgomery, some time in the summer of my tenth year. While II didn't know that you could cry at a book until I read Emily of New Moon by Lucy Maude Montgomery, some time in the summer of my tenth year. While I don't remember much of that book, except that Emily, like Anne, is an orphan, and that she sees a 'flash' - a vision that comes to her in a split second that she believes is of heaven, I do think that it may have been the tipping point. 'A woman is not born, she is made' a philosopher once wrote, and I would add that a woman who loves books is not born that way either, but slowly sculpted out of them. I'd had my fill of Beezus and Ramona and the Fourth-Grade Nothing, and The Boxcar Children and Babysitters Club had sure captivated me. It was Emily, however, who knew how to wield a chisel. I finished that book in three days - a tripumph for a soon-to-be fifth grader and went back to the library, looking for another book that could make me feel.
[Later on, of course, would be the novels that made me think; these would start with Hemingway's[book:For Whom the Bell Tolls|46170], but this is another story for another time.]
It is a shock to me, after this first encounter, that while I gulped down Emily two collections of L.M.'s short stories, I never made an attempt at the saga of Anne Shirley until last summer, when I finally got around to Anne of Green Gables.
Anne Shirley is an orphan of eleven when she arrives in Avonlea. Matthew Cuthbert, a bachelor farmer who lives with his sister Marilla, has requested a boy of eleven or twelve from a local orphanage to help him out on his farm. A clumsy red-headed girl named Anne is what he receives. Matthew and Marilla, his sister, are determined to send her back, but she makes her way into their hearts and sets up permanant residence in the East Gable of Green Gables, their farm on Saint Edward Island.
In Anne of Avonlea, Anne Shirley is now sixteen. Matthew has passed away and Anne and Marilla live alone at Green Gables; Anne helping Marilla now that Marilla has nearly lost her eyesight. They are joined by two orphaned twins, Davy and Dora, who are no end of trouble and mirth at G.G. Anne is now a school teacher, studying Greek and Latin in the after hours to prepare for university. She and Diana and Gilbert Blythe start a village improvement society, which is not popular among the old folks until Anne starts a campaign to 'engage popular sentiment' and they realize that the society is not out to improve them - just the scenery. Anne meets Miss Lavender Lewis, a spinster of forty-five who also likes to 'pretend things' and also befriends Paul Irving, a young pupil and 'kindred spirit.' Life moves slowly in Avonlea, but as always is full of laughter and kindness. I can't tell you how refreshing it has been for my soul to read something so full of human feeling and devoid entirely of irony. Like a cool drink of water from the deepest well on the island.
This is a wonderful addition to the saga of Anne Shirley and I can't wait to dig into the next one, Anne of the Island....more
Ship Fever is a beautiful colelction of short stories and the titular novella covering the lives of famous scientists and their apostles. Mendel getsShip Fever is a beautiful colelction of short stories and the titular novella covering the lives of famous scientists and their apostles. Mendel gets his due, as do Carol Linneaus and Darwin and Alfred Wallace. Each story here is a gem (with the exception of "The Marburg Sisters" which I didn't take to.) The novella Ship Fever is the heartbreaking story of a young physician with lofty goals for recognition caught in the middle of a typhus epidemic among Irish immigrants fleeing the potato famine; this story and 'Rare Bird', of a young woman with scientific ambitions growing up in 18th century London, were two of the best things that I have read in ages. This collection is HIGHLY recommended. ...more
I have an eighteen-month-old sable border collie mix named Yiya, who is the apple of my eye and more dear to me than I ever could have imagined. I me I have an eighteen-month-old sable border collie mix named Yiya, who is the apple of my eye and more dear to me than I ever could have imagined. I mean, how could you not love her?
I hold ridiculous and completely irrational beliefs about her: that she knows what I'm saying beyond basic commands, that she is smarter and better looking than all of the other dogs at the dog park, and that everyone else can see this too. I worry and wonder if I should call the vet everytime her nose is too dry or too wet. Handsome Boyfriend and I spend an inordinate amount of time discussing her bowel movements: their consistency and regularity. I send her to daycare and worry if she's making friends with the other dogs. I refer to myself as 'mommy', as in 'give mommy's sock back right now!' This, I'm sure, is something like what parents feel about their children.
I love her whole-heartedly - after a long day of work, to see that face, always excited, always happy to see me, and bury my face between her ears and smell her puppy scent, it takes my cares away.
J.R. Ackerley also had a dog, but for love of whom he forsake all friendships and social relations. Her name was Tulip, and she was a terribly behaved but exceptionally loving Alsatian (or German Shepherd.) In one-hundred some pages, Ackerley discusses in detail her trips to the vet, her bowel movements (see - I'm not so bad, someone wrote a book about their dogs poop habits!), and his attempt to give his animal companion, so loyal and loving to her master, as full of a life as possible.
A great deal of the book is taken up with Ackerley's attempts to provide Tulip with the experience of mating and motherhood. Ackerley second guesses his choices constantly - is he doing what he should? What is a fulfilling life like for a dog? What are her wants and needs? Tulip, in turn, is equally, in Ackerley's words, concerned with Ackerley's well being, and in time, through the discussions of impacted anal glands and estrus, socially awkward pit stops and trips to the vet, My Dog Tulip turns into something of a philosophical work on the universal nature of intimacy and what it means to care for another being, human or no.
What a great essay. If you ever wondered, say after putting down Johnathan Franzen's Freedom with a sigh of exasperation and disgust, how the EnglishWhat a great essay. If you ever wondered, say after putting down Johnathan Franzen's Freedom with a sigh of exasperation and disgust, how the English language (at least that written in American) ended up in such decline, B.R. Myer's A Reader's Manifesto has it all explained. This was an excellent and necessary piece of criticism. ...more
I have read books with higher page counts than The Luminaries, for sure. Regardless, this may be the longest book I've ever read. I've stopped payingI have read books with higher page counts than The Luminaries, for sure. Regardless, this may be the longest book I've ever read. I've stopped paying attention to what other books have been released recently. I've forgotten everything else I read in 2013. That there were other books in existence, I gave no thought of. I have been reading, and reading and reading The Luminaries. It is, as of this afternoon, finished. I can move on to the growing pile on my nightstand, enhanced by Christmas presents and my husband's recent reads that he places there so we can talk about them. We haven't talked about a book in months. I was reading the Luminaries, and I needed time to think.
I complained - a lot - on how it dragged endlessly in the middle, on how inconsistent the narration was, on how I felt I got the authors notes for the novel as well as the novel itself. To friends, on Goodreads, on the Facebook, and the dinner table. (I've been complaining a lot lately, though - prompting someone, over Christmas dinner, to issue one of his famous bon mots, namely, that I suffer at an elite level. I am desperately in need of an attitude adjustment for the New Year and have found at least one resolution for 2014.)
It took me two months to finish- far longer than many of my fellow Goodreaders - to read this book, and I am assured that everything meaningful about plot and the reader's feelings have been said. What this experience has taught me is this: novels built on elaborate structural motifs rarely are published with out a few seams showing, but are worth the effort regardless. David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, which I read immediately before The Luminaries, was also built on sort of a pyramidal structure and, though it did not collapse under the weight of this device, showed a few cracks. The Luminaries, likewise, displays patches and cracks, for example towards the end, the italicized chapter introductions take the place of exposition as the length of each chapter wanes to fit the structural imperatives . . . . AND STOP THE PRESSES. Because in reviewing this review before I hit publish, a small spark began to smoulder in the back of my brain. And then exploded. I deleted 500 words of drivel. Three stars just got changed to five or ten -(12!). (Not that it matters.) I'm going to be up all night digging through this book again. EUREKA! As they say in a gold field. I've got it! It all f*cking makes sense! And damn the damn comments about inconsistency and structural imperatives and dragging on and on and on (let's stop here and face it - immediate gratification of our entertainment needs is not what all novels are for) - it all has purpose. And I think I've seen it, and now, if you can imagine fiction beyond narratives and sentences beyond aesthetic arrangements of words, if you can imagine that the shape of prose has purpose, if you can believe, for just a second, that not ever story has a beginning, middle and end. . . read this book. IT drags on and on in the middle. It is dense. You will hear the same things about the same people over and over and over again and instead of throwing your hands in the air please, just please, imagine that that may be the point. This isn't the super high quality linear-narrative historical fiction that you were told it was. (nor is it, I may add, inventing any new trope or structure or narrative type - it has just borrowed several of them to construct an elaborate 'sky wheel' of a structure). It is something else entirely.
The Luminaries was sold as a new Possession, which though both are grand, are nothing like one another. If The Luminaries reminds me of any other novel that I've read, it is most like Kate Atkinson's Life after Life, but collapses the conceit of that novel into one plane in space-time.
In another 24-hours, I may reconsider the impetuousness of this review and delete the whole thing. Until then, I hope you enjoy this fine novel. Highly recommended. ...more
Read this in high school for an interdisciplinary English/Physical Science course. Frightening. Handsome Boyfriend is egging me to get an 80" flat scrRead this in high school for an interdisciplinary English/Physical Science course. Frightening. Handsome Boyfriend is egging me to get an 80" flat screen but I may make him read this first. ...more