Eh. These are short stories/essays about mountaineering people/experiences. They're not bad, I just prefer when Krakauer is dealing with more harrowinEh. These are short stories/essays about mountaineering people/experiences. They're not bad, I just prefer when Krakauer is dealing with more harrowing things instead of just amaaaazing people. As a non-mountaineer I don't super care that much, so I am putting it down in favor of other things I care about more. It's fine, even written interestingly, just I don't care that much. Want to borrow this book forever from me if you like mountains? You can....more
This is one of those books I decided to read after I'd seen and loved a movie and then five pages later realized that I didn't want to read it becauseThis is one of those books I decided to read after I'd seen and loved a movie and then five pages later realized that I didn't want to read it because I already knew everything that happens because I'd seen the movie. It is probably very good....more
i love ruth reichl and, having read all her other books, was very interested in reading this one about her mother. i can even appreciate that it is abi love ruth reichl and, having read all her other books, was very interested in reading this one about her mother. i can even appreciate that it is about a different aspect of her than we've seen before--the crappy societal constraints on her life as a '50s housewife versus what women can have now. i would have liked it to have been more in depth though; it was very quick and a little shallow, i guess, shallower than the rest of reichl's stuff. which makes the $20 pricetag for it feel a little overmuch....more
this book made me furious. i read julie & julia and liked it well enough, although i felt like there was no strong resolution of the narrative likthis book made me furious. i read julie & julia and liked it well enough, although i felt like there was no strong resolution of the narrative like you need - even in a memoir. then i saw the movie and like most people thought meryl streep was amazing and julie was eh.
after some thought i decided this was because julie powell is fundamentally a little bit unlikeable. i think they cast perky amy adams in it to try to counter that quality she has, but to no avail. she's just got enough of a whiny, gloomy gus, debby downer type personality to kind of make you start getting a little annoying/you lose some sympathy for her in julie & julia without making you enraged. in the movie, unfortunately, those negative parts of her are more pronounced.
then you read cleaving and you want to kill her. cleaving, it turns out, is all about A. her boring obsession with butchery (oh, can you go on for pages about how to break down the boring muscle of the i don't care animal? great. thanks.), and more importantly B. a several-year-long affair she had while married to Eric, the be-saintedly sweet husband she talks about being sweet and supportive and tolerant all the time in J&J.
Turns out that's not enough for her, and she thought it would be fun to fuck some other guy behind his back. And then he found out about it - AND DIDN'T LEAVE HER. AND SHE KEPT DOING IT. FOR A LONG, LONG TIME.
Now I know that there are gray areas in the world and that I am clearly prone to seeing this in black and white. I have never met either of them. Eric could be a pain in the ass. But from what I am given to go on by the author herself, he is nothing but a nice guy. And for whatever reasons (it appears, although she doesn't dwell much on it, that this woman has a little of more deep-seated issues that are manifesting - she also clearly has a bit of an alcohol problem, so really what are all these acting out behaviors stemming from) she chooses to shit all over him.
What's worse, the guy she cheats with then smartens up that she's a psycho (it seems) and ditches. And she spends the entire book pining for him. In no uncertain terms. And by that I mean in slightly jarring, 'Damien, I wish you could fuck my pussy,' terms, which are quite a break from the rest of her writing style.
What's worse x 10000000 is that Eric will have to read this. All this pining. All the details of her clandestine affair that was going on behind his back. All the pining for this other guy that wasn't him. All the boring avoiding his texts/dull letters she could barely work up the energy to send to her husband while working herself into a frenzy over this other douche.
As a woman married to a very very nice man, obviously I am going to have very strong feelings about this. Because to me, dicking over a guy like Eric seems to me like dicking over my sweet husband, and some of my very sweet male friends. These are people who clearly do not deserve it. That she dicked him over may in fact be partly a reaction to his niceness (she needs more spice? He is boring/annoying?), but I don't care. It's just painful.
In short (ha), she makes herself into the most unsympathetic of narrators. In some ways, one could argue this is ballsy - she has to know that isn't painting a very flattering portrait of herself and that the reader is quickly not going to take her side/feel empathy for her. It could be construed as brave that she is owning these unflattering feelings (for a man who ignores her in lieu of the husband who loves her) and unflattering actions (that she is stabbing the nice husband in the back, and spending months debasing and humiliating herself by just not taking the hint and sending unanswered email after unanswered email to the guy she cheated with - lady, get the picture, he's done, you are psycho/annoying/embarrassing the shit out of yourself).
But I don't think she's doing it for that reason. Mostly because she spends the bulk of the book yammering in aforementioned boring detail about the butchery and very little (albeit a potent little) about the affair/marriage issues. That she escaped into the world of butchery to escape this mess her personal life has become I get, but the narrative connection between these two things is thin - to say the least.
After spending 4/5 of the book being absolutely furious with her, I finally got to the part where she started to travel (after months of hiding from Eric by renting a place in buttfuck by the butcher shop, she went home only to run away from him again to travel to South America, Africa, Urkaine and Japan). At that point, the book actually got interesting because she actually started to grow. Shocker.
By the time she was nearly raped by some shithead in Africa I actually had developed some empathy for her. Which was surprising. This tells me that at least by the time she did the traveling (and probably as a result of the traveling) she finally started to change. So at least this book has the effect in the end of her growing/changing that didn't really seem to happen in Julia & Julia.
I mean, big surprise, you travel and it changes you and you grow. Not exactly new, but at least it was interesting. Also interesting: Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) - who wrote a blurb for the back of this book, btw - writes about how she was miserable in her marriage, met another man, and ultimately traveled to get over the both of them. Somehow she manages to do it in a way that doesn't make me hate her. She opens her book basically saying, he wasn't perfect, I wasn't perfect, and the details of those parts will stay with us. But no matter what I couldn't deny any longer that I was miserable. You know what? I can get behind that. She is honest, she accepts the gray area, and then you can go with her on her journey. I get that Julie Powell's examination was different. Hers was much more about the marriage dissolution/affair/etc. itself, which had the effect of making you like her less. That fact that the work she did to try to move on was less interesting than Gilbert's didn't help, either. Either way, it's just annoying.
I just wish her husband would wise up and get the funk out. And find another woman who appreciated him instead of treated him so foul-y. And that Julie Powell uses some of her book money for some seriously needed therapy. Jesus....more
Tried to listen (audiobook), knowing from the movie that the story, although fascinatingly crazy, is also crazy meandering. Because I love Jon RonsonTried to listen (audiobook), knowing from the movie that the story, although fascinatingly crazy, is also crazy meandering. Because I love Jon Ronson and listening to him on This American Life especially. But it wasn't Jon Ronson doing the audiobook, it was some shmaltzy announcer sounding dude. And it broke me. I stopped listening. I wanted Jon Ronson's voice and I couldn't get over it. This is my fault. I should have paid attention to who the reader was before I bought it. Anyhow. So I stopped. Jon Ronson should only ever read his own audiobooks going forward. Note to Jon Ronson. The end....more
The first time I read Grapes of Wrath (high school) I thought it was great.
The second time I read it (college) I thought it was saccharine (albeit necThe first time I read Grapes of Wrath (high school) I thought it was great.
The second time I read it (college) I thought it was saccharine (albeit necessary).
This one is just dull, which is too bad, since we're going to Monterey next weekend and I got it to try to get into the spirit. Any other Steinbeck that is not as dull to make my trip more useful? Boy I hope so....more
Not my favorite Palahniuk, but maybe I'm just burned out. Note: I have concluded his books are best ingested audibly - they sound great when done by aNot my favorite Palahniuk, but maybe I'm just burned out. Note: I have concluded his books are best ingested audibly - they sound great when done by a good reader - way more enrapturing than when you read it the old fashioned way....more
I got this book because I read an article about how the deaf community in NYC (I think) was mad they were casting a hearing actor in a deaf part, andI got this book because I read an article about how the deaf community in NYC (I think) was mad they were casting a hearing actor in a deaf part, and that this book is a big deal in the deaf community. Having a deaf family member, I decided to read it, despite the fact that I'm not a big Carson McCullers fan.
I made it part way through, but I am losing steam. It is a nice recording by Cherry Jones, and the story is better than I expected (again: see my bias against McCullers), but it's just not totally gripping. Perhaps if I had more momentum and was listening to it daily on a drive to work, but as I listen to it on and off, it's just not totally getting me.
Plus, the narrative changes to different characters in the story, which often annoys me--as is this case this time.
Mostly, not feeling especially virulent about it, just not passionate, and am therefore putting it down. Sad....more
almost exactly like the movie, yet i really liked it and couldn't put it down - v unusual for me. to some extent it actually clarifies stuff in the moalmost exactly like the movie, yet i really liked it and couldn't put it down - v unusual for me. to some extent it actually clarifies stuff in the movie that wasn't quite clear (although still beautiful). lovely....more