Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorites, so naturally, I grabbed this off my library shelf the minute I saw it. The book shows how the different sJane Eyre is one of my all-time favorites, so naturally, I grabbed this off my library shelf the minute I saw it. The book shows how the different scenes of the original novel trace back to events in Charlotte’s own life. The author contends that as a young woman, Charlotte fell in love with her French teacher, an older, married man. Her love was unrequited, so she poured all that unfulfilled passion into the fantasy characters of Jane and Rochester. The Bronte siblings had been creating their own fantasy worlds since childhood, so it makes perfect sense that Charlotte would work out her feelings in this way. Anyone who knows the plot of Villette will see the parallels to it, too, but the author only points them out in the end. It’s the less famous book, though it’s just as much of a masterpiece.
If you love Jane Eyre, this book will interest you. Perhaps someone with greater knowledge of Charlotte Bronte’s biography might find it too cursory – you’ll have to keep an eye out for those reviews – but to me it was an enjoyable way to see the creative process behind a novel I cherish in under three hundred pages. It may not be an exhaustive biography, but it was a good balance between entertainment and information....more
It's easy to see the through line between this book and Ansari's Netflix series, "Master of None." Both have light-hearted, comic tones, but are exploIt's easy to see the through line between this book and Ansari's Netflix series, "Master of None." Both have light-hearted, comic tones, but are exploring much deeper sociological issues. The book is exclusively about finding romance in today's digital world, and the TV show explores more issues than that, but as I said, the through line is clear. More than that, it isn't redundant. It's fun to see how Ansari adapted his ideas from print to screen.
But like most books about dating, this book made me glad I've been out of the scene for so long. The hook-up culture is NOT for me. And I'm sure he portrayed it accurately because what he said about marriage rang so true. Passionate love lasts a year to eighteen months. After that, you've got to transition to companionate love. Some people find that boring, but part of growing up is realizing that life isn't all about passion. Since Ansari is now in a committed relationship himself, I guess he learned that also.
How I wish I would have had this book when I was younger! Who knows? Perhaps it might have saved me some heartache!...more
Except for Strunk and White’s guide, this is probably the most famous modern grammar book ever written, and it’s funny to boot. The author knows how dExcept for Strunk and White’s guide, this is probably the most famous modern grammar book ever written, and it’s funny to boot. The author knows how disliked grammar sticklers are, so she starts off making jokes at her own expense. From there, she gives amusing examples of how punctuation changes the meanings of sentences, which is where the title comes from. By then, you’ll be sold on her overall message: correct grammar is important. The concluding chapter reveals what probably prompted her to write the book: it’s a rant about the decline of grammar and especially punctuation in the Internet age. Mind you, the book was published in 2003, before texting was in vogue and before Twitter even existed.
And now that I’ve mentioned Twitter, I want to share a cautionary tale. This book makes such a compelling case for good grammar, it prompted me to correct someone on Twitter. Note that I said, “someone,” as in one person. I did not appoint myself Grammar Cop of the Internet, though I was accused of it. I just thought a particular mistake was marring an otherwise important message, so I suggested its author edit the post. As I should have predicted, I caught flak for it. Errors in print literature are one thing, I was told, but on Twitter, where messages are usually punched in on phones with autocorrect, errors should be overlooked. So the moral of the story is that if you read this book and want to improve your own grammar and usage, the book will have accomplished its goal, but don’t try and correct other people. You’ll just put them on the defensive. The best we sticklers can hope for is that our own hyper-edited posts will, without necessarily being noticed for it, keep our collective conversation from sinking further....more
The last time I read a book with the word "devils" in the title, it was about Wall Street and the crash of '08. This book is very similar; it shows hoThe last time I read a book with the word "devils" in the title, it was about Wall Street and the crash of '08. This book is very similar; it shows how a bunch of disparate actors came together to create utter chaos, except this time it's political instead of financial. The main question I had going in was whether Bannon has ties to the Kremlin in the way the Trump family does, but it seems not. Either that or he's so politically savvy that he knows how to cover his tracks. But who knows what will be revealed in the future?
Believe it or not, the least interesting parts of this book were about Trump himself. I felt like I already knew that stuff, having just lived through the election. But the behind-the-scenes stuff, not just Bannon's biography but the story of the Mercers and David Bossie of Citizens United, were fascinating. I whipped through this book quicker than any of its size I read all year; that's how absorbing it was. It also did something to me that I didn't expect: it made me suspect that some of the charges about corrupting donations to the Clinton Foundation were true. But even so, I still fear for our future with Trump as president and Bannon whispering in his ear. The conclusion of the book is that Trump is likely to betray Bannon, or certainly the people he thinks he stands for, but now that I've learned so much about Bannon, I fear that he is the one more likely to survive.