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Helena
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War and Peace
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War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
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Helena rated a book 3 of 5 stars
Free Love and Other Stories by Ali Smith
Free Love and Other Stories
by Ali Smith
read in August, 2015
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So this was a quickie. A bit faster than I had anticipated, though I was up for a short read (having a long one ahead, brace yourselves). This is Ali Smith's first short story collection. I admit I had ulterior motives in getting it, because I was cu ...more
Helena rated a book 4 of 5 stars
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
Freedom
by Jonathan Franzen
read in August, 2015
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Liked this one even better than The Corrections. Easier to get into, somehow. The tension is sustained throughout the book, as well, and the switches between POV are nicely choreographed. The end struck me as a bit too happy-dappy, somehow (even if s ...more
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“Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see, but it is impossible. Humans hide their secrets too well....”
René Magritte
Helena is on page 324 of 597 of Freedom
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
Freedom
by Jonathan Franzen
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“You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.”
Annie Proulx
Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
"I have a lot of mixed feelings towards this book.

Despite its many unlikeable characters, the novel is beautifully written and engaging to read. In fact, I often felt like I didn't want to put the book down. I loved the parts on the thoughts of the..." Read more of this review »
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Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
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Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov
Pnin
by Vladimir Nabokov
read in August, 2015
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This wasn't a mind-blowing read by any means. But it was thoroughly enjoyable. Nabokovian humor is my kind of humor, and this book was filled with sparkling sentences to tease and delight anyone who appreciates good writing. This book is not one you ...more
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Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov
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Karen Joy Fowler
“When a portent repeats itself three times, like something out of Julius Caesar, even Caliban, a couple of plays over, is bound to notice.”
Karen Joy Fowler, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Karen Joy Fowler
“Contrary to our metaphors, humans are much more imitative than the other apes. For example: if chimps watch a demonstration on how to get food out of a puzzle box, they, in their turn, skip any unnecessary steps, go straight to the treat. Human children overimitate, reproducing each step regardless of its necessity. There is some reason why, now that it’s our behavior, being slavishly imitative is superior to being thoughtful and efficient, but I forget exactly what that reason is.”
Karen Joy Fowler, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Karen Joy Fowler
“There are moments when history and memory seem like a mist, as if what really happened matters less than what should have happened.”
Karen Joy Fowler, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Julian Barnes
“The thing I remember from the Letters Page in those antique days was the way the OBs signed off. There was Yours faithfully, Yours sincerely, and I have the honour to be, sir, your obedient servant. But the ones I always looked for - and which I took to be the true sign of an Old Bastard - simply ended like this: Yours etc. And then the newspaper drew even more attention to the sign-off by printing it: Yours &c.
Yours &c. I used to muse about that. What did it mean? Where did it come from? I imagined some bespatted captain of industry dictating his OB’s views to his secretary for transmission to the Newspaper of Record which he doubtless referred to with jocund familiarity as ‘The Thunderer’. When his oratorical belch was complete, he would say ‘Yours, etc,’ which Miss ffffffolkes would automatically transcribe into, ‘I have the honour to be, sir, one of the distinguished Old Bastards who could send you the label off a tin of pilchards and you would still print it above this my name,’ or whatever, and then it would be, ‘Despatch this instanter to The Thunderer, Miss ffffffolkes.’
But one day Miss ffffffolkes was away giving a handjob to the Archbishop of York, so they sent a temp. And the temp wrote Yours, etc, just as she heard it and The Times reckoned the OB captain a very gusher of wit, but decided to add their own little rococo touch by compacting it further to &c., whereupon other OBs followed the bespatted lead of the captain of industry, who claimed all the credit for himself. There we have it: Yours &c.
Whereupon, as an ardent damp-ear of sixteen, I took to the parodic sign-off: Love, &c. Not all my correspondents unfailingly seized the reference, I regret to say. One demoiselle hastened her own de-accessioning from the museum of my heart by informing me with hauteur that use of the word etc., whether in oral communication or in carven prose, was common and vulgar. To which I replied, first, that ‘the word’ et cetera was not one but two words, and that the only common and vulgar thing about my letter - given the identity of its recipient - was affixing to it the word that preceded etc. Alack, she didn’t respond to this observation with the Buddhistic serenity one might have hoped.
Love, etc. The proposition is simple. The world divides into two categories: those who believe that the purpose, the function, the bass pedal and principal melody of life is love, and that anything else - everything else - is merely an etc.; and those, those unhappy many, who believe primarily in the etc. of life, for whom love, however agreeable, is but a passing flurry of youth, the pattering prelude to nappy-duty, but not something as solid, steadfast and reliable as, say, home decoration. This is the only division between people that counts.”
Julian Barnes, Talking It Over
tags: love

Karen Joy Fowler
“I appreciated her vigor. I admired her choices though I wouldn’t have made them. Freak or fake, I’d been asking myself ever since I arrived at college, and here was someone bold enough to be both.”
Karen Joy Fowler, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

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