How have none of my GoodReads friends read this book?! Go pick it up right now!
In the early part of September, The New Yorker published a series of brHow have none of my GoodReads friends read this book?! Go pick it up right now!
In the early part of September, The New Yorker published a series of brief interviews with contributors about their experience with 9/11 - both the event and the aftermath. The final question in each essay asked which piece of work to emerge from 9/11 has had the most lasting impact on their lives, perceptions, etc. Several respondents mentioned Netherland, so I added it to my list.
Netherland isn't about 9/11, but it's constantly there in the background, the hinge-point for the before and after of one man's life. Which isn't to say that 9/11 caused the novel's subsequent events - rather, it was an excuse for a separation, which then sets the narrator adrift in New York, eventually finding himself - literally and figuratively - in a sea of immigrants on the cricket pitch.
One respondent wrote that Netherland "seems to capture with great poignancy that powerful sense that a certain kind of world has slipped away." This summarizes the book better than I possibly can. It's wonderful and wonderfully written, full of sadness and loss and exploration. I couldn't put it down and now that I'm finished, I can't stop thinking about it....more
Those who saw him hushed. On Church Street. Liberty. Cortlandt. West Street. Fulton. Vesey. It was a silence that heard itself, awful and beautiful. SThose who saw him hushed. On Church Street. Liberty. Cortlandt. West Street. Fulton. Vesey. It was a silence that heard itself, awful and beautiful. Some thought at first that it must have been a trick of the light, something to do with the weather, an accident of shadowfall. Others figured it might be the perfect city joke – stand around and point upward, until people gathered, tilted their heads, nodded, affirmed, until all were staring upward at nothing at all, like waiting for the end of a Lenny Bruce gag. But the longer they watched, the surer they were. He stood at the very edge of the building, shaped dark against the gray of the morning. A window washer maybe. Or a construction worker. Or a jumper. Up there, at the height of a hundred and ten stories, utterly still, a dark toy against the cloudy sky.
So opens Let the Great World Spin.
I heard about the book from a Diane Rehm Show podcast in 2009. It was a hot summer day, and I was walking around Foggy Bottom transfixed by the author reading his fictionalized account of Philippe Petit‘s walk between the Twin Towers.
In some ways, this book reminded me of Netherland, and in others, A Visit from the Goon Squad. The interwoven stories hinge on two events: Petit’s 1974 walk, and the trial of a prostitute. These events dance around the periphery of the life of an uptown Jewish doctor’s wife grieving for the death of her son. An African-American woman who has also lost her sons takes in the children of the prostitute, dead in a car accident shortly after her trial. A woman tangentially involved in the accident feels responsibility for the death of the priest who had befriended the prostitute, and seeks out his brother, the one-time john of the prostitute’s mother, left behind in prison. It’s a complex and emotional book, wonderfully written, and deserving of the National Book Award, though I’m not sure what makes a book National Book Award worthy.
I copied these lines down weeks ago when I first finished the novel on a hot Sunday when I needed a laugh more than a cry on my friend’s couch, her cat next to me, feeling absolutely alone, gutted in the same ways that I was when I finished The Wild Palms:
I walked in the woods, around the lake, out onto the dirt roads. Gather all around the things that you love, I thought, and prepare to lose them....more
From Susan Orlean's remembrance of 9/11: "And Lawrence Wright’s astonishing book, “The Looming Tower,” is the most compelling piece of reporting I’veFrom Susan Orlean's remembrance of 9/11: "And Lawrence Wright’s astonishing book, “The Looming Tower,” is the most compelling piece of reporting I’ve ever read on the subject and on almost any subject."
I don't actually know much about the Atkins Diet except that it's very pro-protein and anti-carbs, making its cookbooks possibly a good match for theI don't actually know much about the Atkins Diet except that it's very pro-protein and anti-carbs, making its cookbooks possibly a good match for the s/low carb diets we're trying at the moment. I picked this up at the library along with 500 Low-Carb Recipes: 500 Recipes from Snacks to Dessert, That the Whole Family Will Love in hopes of getting ideas for meals that we'd actually enjoy preparing and eating.
My biggest complaint about this book - as is often the case with books that tie into a specific product or plan - is the heavy reliance on Atkins products. I'm not interested in seeking out Atkins Quick Quisine Deluxe Blueberry Muffin & Bread Mix....more
Discussed on The Diane Rehm Show, found for free in the library 'withdrawn' cart.
A few other readers mentioned wanting to give it three and a half staDiscussed on The Diane Rehm Show, found for free in the library 'withdrawn' cart.
A few other readers mentioned wanting to give it three and a half stars - I would agree with that assessment. The False Friend is tautly and elegantly written, and I was quickly drawn in - as evidenced by the fact that I started this book around 3:30 this afternoon and am writing this review at 6pm.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm being generous when I assume that the way I feel upon finishing a book - happy, sad, neutral, etc - is the author's intention. In this case, my expedited read, however, shouldn't be taken as a measure of my feelings for the book. In fact, I don't know what those feelings are. I found the story engaging, but the ending abrupt. I liked and identified with the characters, and with the messy business of untangling your true past from the rose-hues of memory. I found the protagonist's relationship with her boyfriend and father particularly compelling. On the other hand, I felt that her interactions with her childhood friends were even more forced than one would expect in the circumstances. And then, just when it seems like there will be some resolution, the book ends.
I don't know. It was fine. I enjoyed it while I was reading it. I don't think I'll read it again....more
I should have been reading Infinite Jest. Instead I indulged in some totally enjoyable fluff. I found the characters simultaneously more likeable andI should have been reading Infinite Jest. Instead I indulged in some totally enjoyable fluff. I found the characters simultaneously more likeable and more cliched than in the TV show - but also felt like they were written as and for teenagers, rather than for adults playing teenagers on a TV show for adults. You can ask Shane - I kept reading parts aloud to him and saying "This isn't good writing, but this is ABSOLUTELY how I thought and felt when I was 16."...more
An enjoyable, engaging read that reminded me a lot of Microserfs.
This is actually somewhat problematic for me because Microserfs is among my favoriteAn enjoyable, engaging read that reminded me a lot of Microserfs.
This is actually somewhat problematic for me because Microserfs is among my favorite books, making me susceptible to over-appreciating the workplace novel and also unable to appropriately compare other workplace novels. Aspects of Then We Came to the End were well done: the first person plural narration, the sense of futile frenetic energy in a workplace trying to justify its existence, the disconnect between real life and worklife. At the same time, Ferris's intended satire of workplace characters and tropes often falls flat, feeling more clichéd than clever.
Regardless, I enjoyed Then We Came to the End, and am looking forward to my book club's discussion of it next week....more