Phenomenal. If you like Perks of Being a Wallflower, or any of those coming of age books, only you've wanted the protagonist not to be an idiot, whiniPhenomenal. If you like Perks of Being a Wallflower, or any of those coming of age books, only you've wanted the protagonist not to be an idiot, whining, socially pathetic jerk, this is the book for you. ...more
Hey, I'm reading this for the bookclub I started on Facebook. If you want to join in and don't have a facebook account, you can email me and I'll copyHey, I'm reading this for the bookclub I started on Facebook. If you want to join in and don't have a facebook account, you can email me and I'll copy and paste responses and stuff. <3, R...more
Rushdie is an amazing storyteller. While Haroun and the Sea of Stories is still my favorite work of his, The Enchantress of Florence is a close secondRushdie is an amazing storyteller. While Haroun and the Sea of Stories is still my favorite work of his, The Enchantress of Florence is a close second. How could I NOT like a book that features Niccolo Machiavelli? ...more
So, while I adore Alain de Botton, I’m afraid I’m a bit put out with him for On Love. You see, this is a rational, reasonable gentleman. He writes witSo, while I adore Alain de Botton, I’m afraid I’m a bit put out with him for On Love. You see, this is a rational, reasonable gentleman. He writes with both logic and clarity. Unfortunately, when one writes about love, those two tools go right out the window. Love cannot be defined by reason. Sure, sure, you can talk about Oedipal and Electral complexes until the Greek chorus sings you home, but really and truly, if love were as easily defined by a series of growing pains or lists of qualifications, there wouldn’t be thousands of matchmaking websites or self-help books or divorce lawyers, now would there? We’d have our handy lists all written out and contrast them to our previous life experience, feed it into the love-computer, and voila! we’d have our match made in silicon. But, clearly this has little to do with reality. We know we shouldn’t fall in love with that man. She’s clearly not your type. He’s got a face only a mother would love, but instead you’re doing the loving. Hell, serial killers even have love groupies! So, clearly, love is not logical. Ah well, it was still a fairly good novel, if only he’d left the rationalizations out....more
The English American is for anyone who has ever felt abandoned or wondered why he didn’t belong. Some of us know that feeling quite well. You have onlThe English American is for anyone who has ever felt abandoned or wondered why he didn’t belong. Some of us know that feeling quite well. You have only to look at a family portrait, and you might wonder why I’m in it. Luckily, my mother’s sister and I could’ve been twins at the age of ten, and my eldest sister’s younger daughter and I could’ve been twins at that age also. When I got my first pair of glasses at nineteen, I looked just like my mother at that age, minus, of course, eight inches and plus two cup sizes. In temperament and inclination I also differ from my family, so the sense of alienation was almost complete at times. However, just as Pippa has throughout this autobiographical novel, I have always had love and affection from my family, even admiration on occasion if not total understanding of my quirks. And that, seemingly, is the underlying gist of this novel—love isn’t about what you do, you are loved for yourself alone, not some self-imposed standard of what you should be. ...more
How in the hell have I never read Cold Comfort Farm? It is one of the most singularly delicious and British novels I have encountered in quite some tiHow in the hell have I never read Cold Comfort Farm? It is one of the most singularly delicious and British novels I have encountered in quite some time. I remember Claudia in college droning on and on (usually having borrowed my “Jane Austen” dress to mope around in while she drank Earl Grey as she contemplated some slight in her love life; I really love Clo, but man she could be dramatic—maybe that’s why we got along so well? Like calling to like?) about it, and she even recommended the movie—I think starring Parker Posey, but somehow I never got around to it. Well, good grief, but I’m glad I finally picked up the copy that’s been sitting on my shelf for almost a year now! I started reading it last night, and it’s just so gloriously 1930s England, positively dripping with the dry, Waughian wit that somehow manages to seem so farcical and so stuffy at the same time. Instead of just tongue in cheek, it’s tongue in a mummy’s cheek—it’s that dry! This particular edition even has an introduction by Lynne Truss! One of the adorable blurbs on the back reads, “If ye doan want to feel the crimson fires of hell a-lickin’ at your feet, read this book!” Seriously, how can you NOT want to devour this masterpiece after that sort of enticement??? Plus, add to that the fact that Stella Gibbons (virtuoso author) was raised in a household in which her father drank, womanized, and threw knives! Brilliant quote, “ You, who are so adept at the lovely polishing of every grave and lucent phrase, will realize the magnitude of the task which confronted me when I found, after spending ten years as a journalist, learning to say exactly what I meant in short sentences, that I must learn, if I was to achieve literature and favourable reviews, to write as thought I were not quite sure about what I meant but was jolly well going to say something all the same in sentences as long as possible.” Sheer genius. And dear god it gets better, “Flora sighed. It was curious that persons who lived what the novelists call a rich emotional life always seemed to be a bit slow on the uptake.”
Start to finish, this book was simply glorious. I want to find EVERYTHING written by Stella Gibbons and just *devour* all of them....more
**spoiler alert** Okay FINE. I give. I'm reading it. It was all right. Choppy. Short. Easy to read. I didn't find myself particularly caring about the**spoiler alert** Okay FINE. I give. I'm reading it. It was all right. Choppy. Short. Easy to read. I didn't find myself particularly caring about the characters. I don't think the little boy gets eaten. Is that a spoiler? Sorry. Also, it's been 5 or so years since the "armageddon" thing, so why aren't people planting and growing things again? They were able to farm in Nagasaki, Hiroshima, and Chernobyl after being nuked. Maybe it was chemical warfare. Dunno. Anyway, I'm not buying it. MEH. So here's an email chain to further explain:
_____________________________________________ From: Rachel To: Helen Subject: The Road
So, what am I supposed to be deciding? I don’t think the little boy gets eaten, but mostly because I think they wouldn’t have enticed him and the lady wouldn’t have hugged him if they planned on using him like a stringy calf. I don’t think these people were sophisticated enough to lure him in sweetly, in order to ward off those nasty chemicals your body produces when you’re scared/upset. They’re not cannibal gourmands or doctors. And, if it was a nuclear holocaust, why aren’t they planting things? It’s obviously been 5ish years or so since whatever happened (from the flash backs it seems like nuclear as opposed to chemical). They were planting and rebuilding within 5 years at Nagasaki, Hiroshima, and Chernobyl. So, I suppose I think that the earth’s population will be wiped out in less than a decade since they’re not replanting or creating new societies. I’m not a big fan of the choppy, jump-around style either. Tom Clancy writes like that sometimes. I wasn’t sad when the dad died. I thought the mom sounded selfish and awful. The kid was okay. Do you still love me? I think I’m the only person on the planet who didn’t like this book. --Rachel
_____________________________________________ From: Helen To: Rachel Subject: RE: The Road
Girl, you crack me up! I don’t know about a boy getting eaten!!!!! No, do you think he was really dead at the end and that the man in the yellow parka was his ideal heaven or do you think he was really picked up and taken to a nice warm home or…. Did we read the same book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think he died.
They couldn’t grow food because there was no sun and ash kept covering everything up and it was cold!
Yes, I still love your guts but re-read, re-read!
Happy New Year!
Helen ________________________________________________________ From: Rachel To: Helen Subject: Re Re The Road I think it was just winter, and after five years, even nuclear winter lets up somewhat. Plus, I had a hard time reconciling his nuclear aftermath with what I’ve read happens, and that kept interfering. I wanted to say, “But Cormac, really, are you sure you want to go that way?” And Cormac would’ve just looked at me and said, “It’s FICTION, you idiot.” And I think the kid dies, just not then. Like I said, I think they all die in under ten years. BUT, I think that was a real man and a real woman and they really took him in. That there were still SOME good guys left. Not many. But some. But I didn’t feel good about it, because then they’d just all starve together, and it’s not like he could lead them back to that bomb shelter with all the goodies. So, death was imminent, just well, put off a bit for him. You know, so he could turn into a surly, hormonal teenager and they could regret the hell out of rescuing him before they all die together. Or maybe THEN they eat him to shut up his incessant, angsty whining. This is why I don’t like choppy stories like that. If it doesn’t flow well, my mind wanders too much and I start filling in all those blank spaces on the pages with my own version of events.
This is a terrific book. I can't think of very many people I know who shouldn't read this book. Most of you came to mind while I was reading it. It'sThis is a terrific book. I can't think of very many people I know who shouldn't read this book. Most of you came to mind while I was reading it. It's a less slick version of Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, but all the substance is still intact. I wouldn't want to see a movie made of it. Oh, it also reminds me of David Eddings' The Losers. But only peripherally. Worst review ever! But, you should read it anyway....more
Amazing. Beautiful. Random. And once more with the quantum theory theme that seems to keep cropping up in everything I read from fairy tales to mysterAmazing. Beautiful. Random. And once more with the quantum theory theme that seems to keep cropping up in everything I read from fairy tales to mysteries to regular old fiction. ...more