I just love this series, even as an adult. Readable, fascinating, and enriched with great illustrations... I routinely think about Laura and what sheI just love this series, even as an adult. Readable, fascinating, and enriched with great illustrations... I routinely think about Laura and what she would think of our current times, what she would like and appreciate, and what she would be bewildered and shocked by....more
Initially, I read this a few times in school and found the analysis to be amazing, and it has made all subsequent readings very enjoyable. I think theInitially, I read this a few times in school and found the analysis to be amazing, and it has made all subsequent readings very enjoyable. I think there is so much to think about because Janie is a very real, complex person, about whom I have conflicting thoughts and admirations for. Still, I think she's a role model and think about her between readings....more
I wrote a few essays on this, as I got to read it for multiple classes, and I just love how you can burrow deep into the language, the meaning, and imI wrote a few essays on this, as I got to read it for multiple classes, and I just love how you can burrow deep into the language, the meaning, and imagery and always get more out of it. It is a slim volume but as dense as the terrain it takes place in. One of the best books ever!...more
This book is just as creepy as the first time I read it, and really fit in well with the themes from the previous two book club books! What scares meThis book is just as creepy as the first time I read it, and really fit in well with the themes from the previous two book club books! What scares me most is that the way things began changing is something that could and has happened in real life! The Epilogue is especially interesting to me....more
I couldn't remember when I'd first read this... but my second pass impressions are: what a dark dark book, but so good, and I do enjoy the ending. I lI couldn't remember when I'd first read this... but my second pass impressions are: what a dark dark book, but so good, and I do enjoy the ending. I loved having this as a pocket sized edition; it seemed the right size to be reading an old classic....more
I find it fascinating just how convoluted and viscerally real the critical scene in the book is. I had to think hard and reread repeatedly and still could not give offer a coherent summary of the situation, and that is why I find it so incredibly real -- the way secrets and lies and half-truths are known or unknown (or unconsciously guessed) by the various participants, who each then have different comprehension about the impact and consequences of what occurred... it's masterful....more
I actually read this first in high school and LOVED this book. We also saw a dramatic adaptation of this in Berkeley and it was outstanding in my opinI actually read this first in high school and LOVED this book. We also saw a dramatic adaptation of this in Berkeley and it was outstanding in my opinion! Here's info about the play....more
A unique mixture of geology, archaeology, psychology, and land use analysis. I love the second half because it's less science and more analysis aboutA unique mixture of geology, archaeology, psychology, and land use analysis. I love the second half because it's less science and more analysis about man's interaction with the land. A subtle and spiritual look at the world through the interesting lens of geology....more
This book was a fantastic experience for me; my prof lead a detailed analysis of this book, I liked the style, it reminded me of Virginia Woolf and GiThis book was a fantastic experience for me; my prof lead a detailed analysis of this book, I liked the style, it reminded me of Virginia Woolf and Gift from the Sea combined. I love the books that have such an incredible grasp of emotional and social nuances!
---------------- Dec 2000 Essay
In contrary to the popular interpretation that women find it difficult to express themselves in words because it is a man’s language, both Virginia Woolf and Christa Wolf demonstrate in their novels To the Lighthouse and No Place on Earth that this response is incorrectly gendered. Rather, this difficulty with reconciling language, emotions, and desires springs from women and men, making it a human difficulty and not one necessarily attached to a specific gender. What is gendered about this problem is how men and women react to eh necessity of non-verbal communication and to being locked up in a private, inner world of thoughts – it is essentially a question of different social obligations for men and women. For Mr. Ramsay and Kleist, the inner world is one of torment and self-doubt because they cannot live up to the own perception of their cultural standard. Although retreat to the inner world perhaps ought to be a relief for them, it is instead a world full of fear of being emasculated. For Mrs. Ramsay and Gunderode, the inner, private world of thoughts is one of stability which is often a welcome contrast from the expectation to be socially adept at a social gathering as well as secondary to male desires. For this reason, they often relish in withdrawing to their own thoughts, and realize that their way of being independent lies in their private world and their ability to communicate effectively without words. Thus, men and women react differently to the human inability to verbalize what they desire and feel because of their gendered social expectations. To the Lighthouse...more
January 2010: It was high time I re-read an Austen novel, and I'm so happy that now I think it's high time to re-read her others. I have been immersedJanuary 2010: It was high time I re-read an Austen novel, and I'm so happy that now I think it's high time to re-read her others. I have been immersed in the P&P movie for so long now that it was wonderful to get back to her texts. Still have to see the movie from start to finish...
April 2003: Once again, Austen has floored me with a great read. I was surprised to find half way through the book that I had seen parts of this movie, so now I want to get it again! I think Pride and Prejudice is still my favorite Austen book....more
A “girls story” advocates docility, marriage, and obedience over autonomy and self-realization, and was intended for young female audiences in the 180A “girls story” advocates docility, marriage, and obedience over autonomy and self-realization, and was intended for young female audiences in the 1800s. Alcott was asked to write one -- Little Women is what she came up with. Although it does appear to be a “girls story” and was even well received as such, I argue that it is cleverly the opposite.
The modern academic dichotomy is easily set up and often used, even in my book’s Introduction:
Self / Community Inward / Outward Freedom / Obligation Adventure / Docility Sexual / Chaste Creative / Religious Genuis / Feminine Witchcraft / God Escape / Accept
If my Introduction is any indicator, it seems that some of the modern scholarship postulates that Jo is disappointing because she captiulates and dumps her dreams, that Baher is stuffy, old, and stifling. Etc. etc. Don't get me wrong, I love academic analysis. But the problem I have with these oppositions and interpretations is that nothing is this simple, um, especially life. And to say that Little Women exists simply in the context of these oppositional issues is being intellectually and emotionally blunt. The primary reason is that maturity is not taken into account in these analyses. I read Little Women as a series of lessons in growing up and how to creatively bridge that gap between your dreams and your reality, and I think Alcott did a dang good job with it.
Sure, she uses a stereotypical (and very unrealistic) mother figure to perfectly guide her excellent girls along the right path and succeed in doing so. But, the lessons are genuinely good. And yeah, there is a strong religious overtone, but the way it's done, the values are pretty universal.
The structure and style of the book are at once rigid and flexible, mirroring the way Alcott achieved so much more than a "girls story" even within the bounds of that structure. Each chapter is a tidy and self-contained story, comprised of a set up, an experience, and a lesson. However, the whole book, all the characters and stories, are seamlessly knitted together; the girls grow up naturally without plot gaps, and their adolescence includes fortuitous and realistic twists that are true to life. Their compromises and sources of happiness struck me as realistic. Idealized, yes. But still realistic. I'm impressed with how well Alcott pulled this off. [I don't want to have spoilers in here so I'm not going to detail the ways in which each character found self-actualization; go look for it yourself!]
The other thing that impressed me were the inspirational values in Little Women and how the characters implement those values in a positive manner. Essentially, the lesson is that you must work hard and accept duty in life, in order to build a community and reap the benefits of it. Alone, the first half of that is really hard to stomach. But the key lies in all the ways this contributes to a substantially better family relationships, personal life, and outer world. If you work hard you (a) are sharing the load of responsibility (b) providing care for others (c) instilling respect and pride in yourself (d) balancing work with play (e) bettering your self spiritually, functionally, and intellectually... the list could go on. It's the idea that you have to work to show love to someone, but it's worth it... that you have to work to achieve excellence in a skill, but it can be an enjoyable pursuit... that you have to work to get along with people you don't like, but you feel better about yourself.
It's all about the enjoyment in the work of cultivation.
I thank you Alcott for reminding me of this with such a lovely little girls book. :)...more
I'm sure I read this as a kid, but my 13-year-old friend told me I had to reread it so we could talk about it. I was surprised how easy it was to getI'm sure I read this as a kid, but my 13-year-old friend told me I had to reread it so we could talk about it. I was surprised how easy it was to get into the story and enjoyed it!...more
Has it really been a full three months since I've read another book? I haven't gone steady like this in my reading life since Vanity Fair and maybe MiHas it really been a full three months since I've read another book? I haven't gone steady like this in my reading life since Vanity Fair and maybe Middlemarch : a study of provincial life.
Should you read War and Peace? Absolutely, because Tolstoy is: - an eminently readable writer - astonishingly relevant - a master of human nuance - an enjoyable writer to brag about having read
(But be forewarned: this book requires reading momentum, otherwise it can drag, as with any long and complex book you pause too long with.)
Tolstoy covers a lot of ground in W&P. The chapters alternate loosely between military life and home life, and similar to The Grapes of Wrath, they are glued together with a generous serving of philosophical asides (or entire chapters) about the nature of people and their collective spirit, history and causality, freedom of will and inevitability.
If you're like me, you think this is pretty great.
When I was originally assigned this book in college, our prof indicated passages not to read, which I marked in my edition, so it was an interesting exercise to read it in whole and consider why he excluded those parts. I assumed he had scratched the longer military portions in order to emphasize the domestic story lines, but it turns out he sliced bits from both worlds and from most characters stories. I decided that one cannot exclude any part of this book (even the admittedly very drawn-out Second Epilogue). The complexity of emotion and personal histories on the home fronts is necessary in its entirety to understand where characters have been, how they have changed, and why. The details about wartime life bring it alive in a unique way: the isolated thoughts of each person in relation to their shared experiences, the long stretches of inactivity and being away from home, what constitutes participation in battle, the level of freedom individuals experience within their highly structured military lives... And of course, the home and war fronts intertwine, and you could never read just one or the other and understand anything.
In both cases, the minutia of living are vital assets to the story and to Tolstoy's aim. His writing is not only true to life, but sometimes leads you astray in thinking something will happen or that something is important, and only later do you realize that wasn't the case. He writes life the way we experience life: immediately and in the context of whatever happens to be the current state of The Present. The significance or trend that may be in progress is only comprehended afterwards, and the struggle to find meaning in life is viscerally evident in Tolstoy's writing. ...more
I loved this book, having already been familiar with To The Lighthouse. We saw the movie in this class, too, and it was quite well done, so we had a rI loved this book, having already been familiar with To The Lighthouse. We saw the movie in this class, too, and it was quite well done, so we had a really fun discussion about the book and movie....more
Sigh. This book took FOREVER for me to get into, but then I sort of got into it, sort of, and it was just ok. The way the characters were presented asSigh. This book took FOREVER for me to get into, but then I sort of got into it, sort of, and it was just ok. The way the characters were presented as "types" and the third-person distance were two things that contributed to my feeling that I didn't really get close to or care much about any of the characters.
The story and the scope were fine, but I didn't take to the writing style much. In my edition of Middlemarch, the editor said that it compared to Vanity Fair and War and Peace in scope and quality. That is interesting. I think I like W&P the best (I read most of it), then Middlemarch, and VF last.
Again, glad to have read "a great book" for the cultural references, but I'm hesitant to see the movie b/c it seems waaaayyy off from the book in it's focus on India....more
This book meanders like The Girl in Hyacinth Blue, but is much heavier. I seem to be on a string of books about conflicts between Christians, Muslims,This book meanders like The Girl in Hyacinth Blue, but is much heavier. I seem to be on a string of books about conflicts between Christians, Muslims, and Jews, and am wondering how I have been so blind to this struggle which seems central to an amazing proportion of conflict around the world (and for so long). Very interesting book, and imaginative. This book is much more about history, human connection, and hope, than it is about a book, or even about religion. ...more