a great book club read. it was accessible from so many different angles. I believe there were. too many characters I this book, it was as though the a...morea great book club read. it was accessible from so many different angles. I believe there were. too many characters I this book, it was as though the author took a 500 page book and had to edit it into 250 pages.(less)
I realized this weekend that I have chronologically been reading through the 20th century. It began with Follett's book about WWI and then I leaped in...moreI realized this weekend that I have chronologically been reading through the 20th century. It began with Follett's book about WWI and then I leaped into Larson's book Garden of Noble Beast (mid 1930's) and most recently I read Unbroken. It is funny to note the difference in tone and plot and writing style between the authors, but I must say Hillenbrand captivated me the most. I am a history fanatic and I could not believe how engaging this work was. Hillenbrand writes like a man, which I know is extremely sexist to say, but she has this writing style that is unlike any other female author I have read. She has this masculine detachment from the story which leaves the reader without an overly sympathetic attachment to the subject. I think her style is extremely effective, because as a reader I was on the journey and I was apart of the story. I would recommend this biography to everyone, I think it is important to realize how fortunate we as Americans are not just because of the current men and women serving in the military but because of the amazing heroics and strengths displayed by those who served valiantly before them. (less)
Tom Perrotta is an athiest, which is something I learned on NPR. However his research into the modern Christian culture is shocking. He obviously is i...moreTom Perrotta is an athiest, which is something I learned on NPR. However his research into the modern Christian culture is shocking. He obviously is interested in understanding what makes modern Evangelical Christians tick. I found this book very interesting because we seem to be on the outset of political campaign that is a religious time bomb. The republican presidential candidates have drawn so much awareness to evangelical Christianity that it is almost scary. Tom Perrotta dives into charismatic evangelical Christianity and while I kept thinking there was going to be this huge backlash and summation of just how crazy born-again are, Perrotta maintains a dignity, it is as though he completed his research and then said while I understand why people are drawn to church, 'I respectfully' pass. There is no maligning of born-agains and I really appreciate that.
The novel itself is riding on the coattails of Little Children, it is not a satire like Election, it is more a discourse of modern America and I find that Perrotta's discourse is much easier to digest than someone like Franzen, because Perrotta has a sense of grace and mercy for his characters that Franzen does not.
The language in this book is quite strong, so beware, but still I found it an entertaining/enlightening read. (less)
This is an older novel. Written by Smiley in the early 1990s. It is amazing to think that 20 plus years later, literature could have changed so much,...moreThis is an older novel. Written by Smiley in the early 1990s. It is amazing to think that 20 plus years later, literature could have changed so much, but it has.
It is easy to look back at the early 1990s in a nostalgic way. The cold war had just ended, we were emerging out of the reagan era and the USA was changing. Socially, politically and morally. Smiley's novel taps into this change which I think is more evident now than was probably so when the novel was first published.
The novel itself is written with a very formal voice, the narrative has a sense of distance from the reader, it feels as though I am 'reading' a PBS documentary. As a reader i have access to see all the events, but I am not given access to the inmost desires, thoughts and circumspection of the character. As a reader I can only surmise and use intuition. I actually enjoyed this distance, I think more current authors tend to over-dramatize their characters which for the reader can be overly draining and overly emotive. I like have a formal distance from the characters.
I would wholeheartedly recommend this book, I can see why this novel won the Pulitzer prize, it is a beautiful piece of literature that is well balanced and a step ahead of its time. I think this novel probably set forth many of the literary standards we see today. I am glad to have visited this work even though it is 'kind of old'. I would love to see it become a part of contemporary literature classes, i think it holds a special place.
I have been meaning to read this book for a couple of years now, I must admit though that this book resonated so much more after what I have been thro...moreI have been meaning to read this book for a couple of years now, I must admit though that this book resonated so much more after what I have been through the past couple of months. There are (2) historical accounts interwoven through this book, which I think was a good move for the author. One of the stories deals with a serial killer and his sick deviant exploits during the world's fair and the second story is that of the fair's architectural team. I loved reading about the coordination required for bring the fair together-the stress of coordinating with the government, contractors, other designers. The same challenges are being faced today in an age of technology and computers that does not ease stress or collaboration.
The success of this novel is based on the fact that it is not overly footnoted and referenced, the non-fiction reads more like a story and the factoids uncovered by Larson are truly interesting. I would recommend this work for anyone who enjoys architectural history and also for anyone who just enjoys a good nonfictional book.(less)