“...I think we are well-advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they...more“...I think we are well-advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind's door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were.”
I loved these essays. I could go on quoting Didion on and on, there are just too many great passages, great insights from her.
The truth is that I am full of envy. I envy Joan Didion’s facility with words. In a vernacular that is erudite without being stuffy, poetic without being overly romantic, extremely precise and sharp, she distill her thoughts skilfully.
I actually listen to it in audio format, and I know I am going to listen to one or another essay when I need something short to amuse me. But I am also going to buy the book because I want to highlight some passages, and because I want to give my own cadence to her voice. Diane Keaton narrated the version I listened and I did enjoy her voice. She sounded youthful, and made Didion’s monologues less cultured or intellectual than I perceive Didion to be. Which, surprisingly, I felt worked well. It gave Didion’s thoughts a new layer, more accessible and amicable.
This collection is said to capture the essence of 1960’s America, and I think it does. We have John Wayne, Joan Baez, San Francisco and hippies… yet, the personal essays will stay with me longer: self-respect, immorality and the power of going home are obviously more material to me than historical commentary on America.
I don’t know what I will read next, because it will be such a letdown after this book. I feel I am coming down from a high, and right now all I wanted is more of Didion’s words. Like a junkie I may just start from the beginning again. Someone please help me!
I read the first two stories up to now. I enjoyed the first one better. Maybe because it’s surrealism seemed fresh, but by the time it finished the se...moreI read the first two stories up to now. I enjoyed the first one better. Maybe because it’s surrealism seemed fresh, but by the time it finished the second story it felt a bit stale. I seldom don’t finish a book, but I just don’t feel the energy right now to tackle the third story. Other bookalcoholics in this site will certainly understand my conundrum, but now I wonder, should I move this book to the “read” files, or leave it at the “currently-reading”? Should I just abandon it as it is, or force myself to read the last 80 pages or so? The neurotic bookreader in me freezes faced with such decisions and does nothing. So the book sits here for now… (less)
This is quite a rare occurrence, but I liked the movie better!
Jon Krakauer does a great job. I like his writing. He mixes journalism with personal st...moreThis is quite a rare occurrence, but I liked the movie better!
Jon Krakauer does a great job. I like his writing. He mixes journalism with personal stories in the right dose, and I absolute loved the literary entries to each chapter. But I did see the movie first and it had such an emotional edge, I felt the book paled in comparison. Maybe the movie did a better job of portraying Chris McCandless/Alex Supertramp as a anti-hero, while the book go to such an extent on trying to justify him that it end up seeding doubts about McCandless’ persona in the reader’s mind. Quite a moving story anyway you look at it.
Mr. Darcy, Mr. Darcy... I spent many of my teenage years dreaming of thee…
Is there in literature a more perfect romantic male character? Good looking...moreMr. Darcy, Mr. Darcy... I spent many of my teenage years dreaming of thee…
Is there in literature a more perfect romantic male character? Good looking, caring, dignified and extremely rich? Well, we know that at the beginning of the book he is not all that but, of course, it was only our misguided female eyes that could not see through his reserved demeanor. And, yes, he was not nice all the time, but it was only out of an overprotective concern for his friend.
Then, love redeems it all… Love redeems both Male and Female characters, and they are able to see each other for who they truly are.
I know there is something cheesy about this story, but I still love it – and my teenage years are long gone.
Gosh, I still like to dream of thee, Mr. Darcy… (less)
Well, it was OK. I am glad I did read it, as it is one of those books that somehow we are expected to read at some point in time. It is just like goin...moreWell, it was OK. I am glad I did read it, as it is one of those books that somehow we are expected to read at some point in time. It is just like going to Paris and not going up the Eiffel Tower, type of thing. So there, I can cross this one out of the book bucket list.
But I do find it interesting that a book that is nothing more than a cautionary tale of the perils a romantic woman may fall prey was so vilified by the same Victorian society that should had embraced it. One would think it would be made obligatory for young women of marriage age to read about the dangers of books, handsome rich men, and that wanting pretty things might cause financial ruin.
Poor Emma, though! Born 150 years too early, and too passionate for the times. (less)
Middlesex was such a good surprise. I don’t know exactly what my expectations were, but I had let Middlesex sit in my TBR pile for a long time, afraid...moreMiddlesex was such a good surprise. I don’t know exactly what my expectations were, but I had let Middlesex sit in my TBR pile for a long time, afraid – I think – that it would require too much of a mental effort to read it. My impression then was that it would be too experimental and controversial, but when I finally picked it up I was instantly absorbed in this family saga, its secrets, fortunes and misfortunes.
Reading other reviews I see that people liked or disliked either the first or last parts of the book almost in the same numbers. There is obviously a rupture not only in plot, but in voice and even genre. The first part is a saga, while the end is a coming of age – and gender - story. Personally I felt that going from the family history into the more personal story was a natural evolution, and cannot say I enjoyed one over the other.
The best book I read in a while. I must read more of Eugenides’ writing.
I made my mind to read Moby Dick after reading Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell. I did enjoy reading it overall, but I have to confess that at times I h...moreI made my mind to read Moby Dick after reading Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell. I did enjoy reading it overall, but I have to confess that at times I had to force myself to keep going, and also that I glanced over a few chapters without - I think - missing too much of the overall plot.
If you are planning to read this book just keep in mind that the language, although beautiful, has a much slower flow than that of a more contemporary book. Melville has quite insightful and philosophical passages, and from a historical perspective this is an extremely rich book. The information on whaling and the economic importance of it during that period is remarkable - quite a resource for anyone doing research on the subject, or merely curious about it.
But, if I had to summarize it in a few words, it is a book about men facing their demons, and as such, it is a timeless book.
Would I read again? Probably not, but I do feel it is a book that deserves to be read at least once.(less)