I got to read this book in 4th grade when the rest of the class was reading a book I had already read. My 4th grade teacher may have had a hidden motiI got to read this book in 4th grade when the rest of the class was reading a book I had already read. My 4th grade teacher may have had a hidden motive knowing the background I was being raised in, but it definitely had an impact on me.
Someone randomly recommended this book to me so I thought I'd add it to my read list!...more
I received a copy of this from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I read one of Makkai's novels, The Borrower, previouslI received a copy of this from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I read one of Makkai's novels, The Borrower, previously, and I think I can say I enjoyed these short stories more. I liked the themes of music and war moving throughout them without the pressure to connect them otherwise. Some of the stories are very short, 2-3 pages, while others are longer.
Some favorites: The Worst You Ever Feel - a little perspective, shall we say, from a nine-fingered violinist
Other Brands of Poison (First Legend) - One of the very short stories, with a family legend not to be forgotten.
The Briefcase - about survival, identity, and love
Couple of Lovers on a Red Background - I'm not sure if Bach is actually living in her apartment or if she's crazy, but it makes a good story, especially if you think of grief as its own kind of wartime.
Painted Ocean, Painted Ship - the not so majestic fall from grace of a professor, awkward and painful, true to life.
Cross - a new string quartet, a lawn memoriam, and all the stuff in between....more
Recommended to me by a member of my university's English department, it would be hard not to find some similarities between the department woefully unRecommended to me by a member of my university's English department, it would be hard not to find some similarities between the department woefully underfunded and unsupported in this novel and at any liberal arts institution in the United States. Or maybe any academic institution, but the detail of having a department chair from outside the department? Let's just say that felt awfully familiar. Told completely in an epistolary form by a fed-up tenured member of the department, most letters are more specifically letters of recommendation, which is how the professor spends most of his time, rather than writing for publication or doing research.
A quick read, and a great ending. After all, (view spoiler)[everyone knows that complaining gets you put on committees or named as department chair. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>...more
I was provided a copy of this from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
The Gap of Time is a modern-day retelling of ShakeI was provided a copy of this from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
The Gap of Time is a modern-day retelling of Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale" as part of a larger series of authors doing the same for several of his works. (You can read more about the project at The Guardian). Retelling is used loosely, as the names are not the same, nor are all of the situations. The themes of jealousy, forgiveness, parenting - they're all still here!
So how should I examine this novel? Shall I compare it to the Shakespeare play? (har har...) Some things are lost by moving out of verse, although Winterson sometimes uses very poetic language particularly for internal dialogue. The villain is very rough, more than Shakespeare could ever have allowed, with more rape language and violence than could have worked on the stage. The characters suffer from too much coincidence but I wonder how restrained the author felt from the original subject matter.
Compared to Winterson's other works, I felt like she was juggling too many requirements to really immerse in her typical writing style. I felt like it was well done if I was not thinking Winterson! But thinking of her and comparing it to her books that are favorites, well it just isn't nearly as thought-provoking or beautiful. It is definitely a compelling story, and was probably a fun challenge, but I still wanted it to be more transformative....more
This is more of a 3.5 star rating. This book was selected for the upcoming season of my only in-person book club, and I probably would not have read iThis is more of a 3.5 star rating. This book was selected for the upcoming season of my only in-person book club, and I probably would not have read it otherwise.
It was a quick read that I knocked out in a few hours, and there are a few things that made it enjoyable - rather than use James Bond era or post-WWII era as the setting for a novel of espionage, Steinhauer uses a combination of the former Yugoslavia in the early 90s and Budapest/Cairo immediately following the "Arab Spring." The differences between cultures and approaches seemed realistic and I liked the currency of it.
What I didn't care as much for is that almost everything was completely obvious. One big reveal later in the novel was something I figured out very early on. This isn't helped by how the author tells the story by weaving sections of the book between some of the characters. What ends up happening is one person will reveal some things in their narrative and then the next person's section backtracks with no surprises. It might have been smarter to alternate between PoVs more often, every chapter rather than larger sections. This would have cut back on redundancies. I'm also not sure the primary female characters were as shocking as they were supposed to be. ...more
This book shows its age a little bit, being published in 2009, and it is more than likely that "today's" academic library is already farther down theThis book shows its age a little bit, being published in 2009, and it is more than likely that "today's" academic library is already farther down the road. Some of the core philosophies are solid and I marked a few tiny ideas that will work nicely in my library. Most of it is just rehashing what is out there in the business literature, plus a lot of self-citation on Mathews' part.
Ideas to ponder: Starting conversations instead of giving away endless goodies with our logo (we are so guilty of this) (pg. 2) Day user vs. night user (pg. 10) Types of users based on frequency of library use (pg. 13-14) Design workshops (to learn what students would want in a space, need to use this for the study room overhaul) (pg. 60) Big-picture concepts to consider using for the library (pgs. 93-95, although I imagine you shouldn't market the library as all of these at once!)...more
I stumbled across this book in my university's ebook collection while looking for slightly more academic titles, but learning she was Thích Nhất Hạnh'I stumbled across this book in my university's ebook collection while looking for slightly more academic titles, but learning she was Thích Nhất Hạnh's primary editor, I thought it might have more meat to it.
This is a memoir of a woman in her 40s trying to bring mindfulness practices into her chaotic life. There were moments of real clarity and insight that I think make the read worth it, but fair warning you have to slog through quite a bit of motherhood stories and childhood memories on the commune. (I have a fondness for communes, so that didn't bother me.)
One of my favorite concepts was this idea of availability. Whatever enlightened daycare her oldest daughter was sent to, they taught the children at a very early age to ask the parent, "Are you available?" and she talked about using that question in other relationships. This was a useful practice to help cut back on that frustration when others are asking you for time/energy/attention that you can't spare within the moment but might have later, kind of giving you permission to say no without hurt feelings. Loved it, helped me have a productive conversation with my spouse and everything.
"When I'm not being mindful, almost all of life can seem like a series of interruptions of what I thought was important."
The other little tidbit that I found useful was to ask yourself "What do I need" and then "What does this other person need?" I think she got this from Thích Nhất Hạnh, who she calls "Thay." I also liked the explanation of metta, aka loving kindness meditation, being inexperienced in that practice but liking what I'd experienced quite a bit. And as someone working to build an interest group on contemplative pedagogy within my profession, I marked the bit about sangha, "A community that practices mindfulness together."
I would also say that this book comes from a very Buddhist perspective but that anyone can practice mindfulness. Your practice may not come from the eightfold path but this book's down to earth approach may still be useful, if you are someone who learns from someone else's experience. This is memoir, not an instruction manual. ...more
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
When this novel starts, it is very dramatic andI received a copy of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
When this novel starts, it is very dramatic and seems to point to a family exploding/imploding. It soon drifts into small quibbles and strange timelines that didn't work very well for me. I also felt like it would have been better to get deeper into the wife's feelings. I knew more about how the cheating husband felt than Deb....more