Years ago, I was talking with an editor from a publishing house. He told me that authors were discouraged from writing short stories and forced to purYears ago, I was talking with an editor from a publishing house. He told me that authors were discouraged from writing short stories and forced to pursue novels. Alice Munro was one of the few writers allowed to stay in the form. Now, readers have Jhumpa Lahiri.
Thankfully, she has returned to the short story form in Unaccustomed Earth. This collection is as poignant and compelling as The Interpreter of Maladies. I loved Hema and Kaushik, Unaccustomed Earth, and Hell-Heaven. ...more
This will probably sound a bit crazy but I read this commencement speech semi-annually. It is not planned; it just happens.
Anyway, I usually referencThis will probably sound a bit crazy but I read this commencement speech semi-annually. It is not planned; it just happens.
Anyway, I usually reference the excerpt in my liked quotes section. Today, I am focusing on the following portion:
It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.
Not that that mystical stuff is necessarily true. The only thing that's capital-T True is that you get to decide how you're gonna try to see it. This, I submit, is the freedom of a real education, of learning how to be well-adjusted. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn't. You get to decide what to worship.
Because here's something else that's weird but true: in the day-to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There isno such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. ...more
Super Sad True Love Story is the media darling of today’s literary critics. It’s a dystopian novel with a video trailer starring James Franco, JeffreySuper Sad True Love Story is the media darling of today’s literary critics. It’s a dystopian novel with a video trailer starring James Franco, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Mary Gaitskill. YouTube reveals that Shteyngart’s advances are paid in the form of Mount Holyoke debutantes and pickled tomatoes. One can understand why a review (of said book) would be daunting; thus, I have decided to only share random tangents and pithy comments.
In today’s uber PC culture, we want to eschew all stereotypes. It’s rude to hint at cultural predilections in either dialogue or print. Apparently, Gary did not get that particular memo. His generalizations and assessments are painfully accurate, quite funny, and overwhelmingly cringe-worthy.
Does the average reader really know the translation for meguk saram? The book throws the readers Korean and Jewish phrases/cultural jokes sans very little context or explanation. An earlier reviewer spoke about this book appealing to a very small subset of the American populace. I agree.
The supposedly “scary” characterization of social media/networking and its future integration into the average person’s daily life didn’t strike the right chord with me. We already seem to be experiencing Eunice and Lenny’s world via Facebook. In fact, none of the novel’s futuristic trends seemed inaccurate or scary enough to be chilling. ...more
This book kept reminding me of a documentary regarding familial wealth.
Jamie Johnson, who is an heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune, created aThis book kept reminding me of a documentary regarding familial wealth.
Jamie Johnson, who is an heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune, created a documentary in 2003 or 4. Born Rich, which documented heirs from Ivanka Trump to Georgina Bloomberg, demonstrates that some of the children born into insanely rich families turn out humble and normal. It’s kind of a miracle.
One wonders whether we can apply this theory to intellectual families. Would the daughter of a diplomat or famous defense attorney be humble and grounded when it came to her intellectual superiority? Let’s look at Anne Fadiman. I only had high hopes as I loved her first book.
The cover of Ex Libris alludes to the common reader. This is not the intended audience, though. Anne spends a significant portion of this essay collection underscoring her family’s intellectual superiority. She can barely go a few paragraphs without letting you know about her vast vocabulary, flawless grammar, and extensive library.
This book made me want to (sarcastically) make Ann Fadiman the Paris Hilton of intellectual children. Indeed, I could follow Jamie’s lead and make a doc entitled Born Smart. Instead, I am going to strive to be fair and balanced. I think she just had a hiccup with this collection of essays.
Anne Fadiman actually wrote one of my favorite ethnographies. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down is one of the most poignant, sensitive books that I have ever read. When purging my library (during a most recent move), I knew that I would keep this book. It’s eye opening, really.
In conclusion, I will read Anne Fadiman’s next publication. Though, I will be hoping that she lets go of the arrogance displayed in Ex Libris. ...more
The first part of the book concludes with the protagonist’s advisor telling him that the best mathematician should win. This book demonstrates that acThe first part of the book concludes with the protagonist’s advisor telling him that the best mathematician should win. This book demonstrates that academia and its many eccentric rules/social mores can be appealing to the average reader.
Indeed, Choi’s dense sentences, which are replete with delicious detail, pull in the reader and make him/her riveted by the culture of said environment. The author’s skilled character development allows her ensemble cast to make bold decisions form the very beginning. It’s quite impressive.
Sadly, the first part of the novel was the best. I become less enamored as the narrative continued. ...more
**spoiler alert** I read this book during my flight from Boston to San Francisco; it was finished before we crossed the Mississippi River. It's really**spoiler alert** I read this book during my flight from Boston to San Francisco; it was finished before we crossed the Mississippi River. It's really a novella.
Atonement and Saturday still remain my favorite McEwan novels. Though, I have not read Amsterdam. On Chesil Beach is his better novella. The Comfort of Strangers is as creepy as Enduring Love.
Personally, I don't find McEwan as consistent as other authors on my reading lists. Though, I will always read his new books as his style is distinctive.
Bottom line: Reading this book on library loan was okay. I'd be resentful if I had purchased it at the bookstore.
Outstanding Inquiry: Did anyone else wonder why Colin and Maria went back to the house? It didn't make any narrative sense to me. ...more
One should take a 1/2 cup Salinger, a TB of Kundera, a teaspoon of Dinesen, and a final dash of Ishiguru. This would result in Gardam's delightful OldOne should take a 1/2 cup Salinger, a TB of Kundera, a teaspoon of Dinesen, and a final dash of Ishiguru. This would result in Gardam's delightful Old Filth. I plan to read The Man in the Wooden Hat next. This may have been my favorite book of 2010; it's too early to make the 2011 judgement. ...more