In Inventing Memory, Jong weaves an epic of four generations of independent and creative Jewish women. Fleeing the pogroms of Russia, Sarah Solomon imIn Inventing Memory, Jong weaves an epic of four generations of independent and creative Jewish women. Fleeing the pogroms of Russia, Sarah Solomon immigrates to New York City, and becomes a professional artist. Her daughter Salome is a flapper who parties in Paris, only to return home as the Depression hits to uncover secrets of her past. Salome's daughter Sally rises to stardom as a celebrated folksinger of the 1960's. But she can't take the pressures of fame, and descends into alcoholism and obscurity. Her daughter in turn, Sara avoids the excesses of her mother and grandmother and focuses on her career as a historian. Working in the archives of the Council on Jewish History, she finds a photograph of a woman she believes to be her great-grandmother, Sarah. And so the family saga comes full circle. The story is told through both direct narration by the characters as well as letters and journal entries, which gives an interesting variety and adds texture. Jong sometimes alternates perspectives and time periods, but I didn't find it hard to follow. The prose was richly descriptive, passionate and often filled with wise and poignant observations about the meaning of life, family relationships and Jewish identity. ...more
Long before Dorothy arrived in Oz in a tornado, there was Elphaba. Born with green skin and ridiculed by both her peers and elders she would one day gLong before Dorothy arrived in Oz in a tornado, there was Elphaba. Born with green skin and ridiculed by both her peers and elders she would one day grow up to be known as the Wicked Witch of the West. But who was she, really? Maguire tells the prehistory of the Wizard of Oz from her perspective, and in doing so imagines a darker and more complex Oz. Reclusive intellectual Elphaba goes to college and rooms with the beautiful and popular Galinda. There they become friends and rivals for both love and power.
I think Maguire says a lot in Wicked about women's roles, contrasting between Glinda & Elphaba, and the social acceptance of female power. I enjoyed the different cultures he created, from the Midwesterner-like Munchkins, the nomadic tribes of the Vinkus (Winkies) to the urban sophisticates of Shiz and the Emerald City.
I would give this book a higher rating, but it gets rather slow towards the end, in the Vinkus section. Still, overall it's a great read, and I promise you'll never look at Oz the same way again!...more
Fleeing an unwanted forced marriage, orphan Mary runs away to the woods of England. She is worried about the wild creatures and outlaws that live therFleeing an unwanted forced marriage, orphan Mary runs away to the woods of England. She is worried about the wild creatures and outlaws that live there, but willing to take her chances. Her nurse Agnes follows her, and proves to be an essential companion and mentor, who is knowledgeable of herbal healing and wilderness survival. They become part of a community of people who live in the forest avoiding the oppression of local lords, including Agnes' son Robert.
The idea of a Forestwife, a wisewoman healer who lives in the woods is cool, and makes sense- wouldn't the Merry Men need a healer? And I also like the description of the seasons and what people did in preparation/reaction to them. The story was well-told, and historical authenticity fleshed out the feel of the setting. The dialogue uses a lot of archaic words, which might be difficult for some, but I found it understandable.
It seemed like Theresa Tomlinson really did her research, and it helps that she grew up in the areas associated with the Robin Hood legends! This is part of a trilogy, the other books are Child of the May, and Path of the She-Wolf, the latter has only been published in the UK unfortunately. However it does look like there are copies available online for decent prices. ...more
Another dystopian novel too depressing for me to finish!
The scenario is that a Christian version of the Taliban has taken over the United States. OffrAnother dystopian novel too depressing for me to finish!
The scenario is that a Christian version of the Taliban has taken over the United States. Offred leads a dull life as a Handmaid, her purpose being to conceive a child for a military Commander and his wife. I also found the plot moved way too slowly. Don't get me wrong I don't have a problem with books with a political message to them, but not ones that are political at the expense of good writing. Atwood's often considered a good writer though. I guess there's no accounting for taste... ...more
I came across this in Patricia Wrede's list of books, and remembered that I read it in high school. I remember it being so-so. It just didn't seem supI came across this in Patricia Wrede's list of books, and remembered that I read it in high school. I remember it being so-so. It just didn't seem super-original to me, though that may reflect the time it was written- in the 1980's when feminist flavored fantasy was newer, and fantasy in general was evolving from pulpy sword & sorcery type books (a la Conan the Barbarian)
What I mean by the feminist flavor is the theme of witches being depicted as good, and being persecuted by the Eeevil Patriarchy. (particularly priests- no not an analog for the Catholic Church/Christianity at all, right?) For better books by Patricia, check out her Dealing with Dragons series. They make fun of fairy tale cliches, while having original plots/characters. ...more