101 Books to Read Before You Die discussion

Breakfast at Tiffany's and Three Stories
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message 1: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer  | 285 comments Please post your comments about this book here.


Mike | 318 comments Mod
I am excited for this month's read. While I have definitely read In Cold Blood, I can't remember if I read this book... Perhaps I just watched the movie... Mickey Rooney was priceless.


Irene | 1391 comments I read this one last October and thought it was very well written.


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I read this not too long ago. I thought it was very well written and thought that Holly was written in a very ambiguous way. You could view her in all sorts of ways, but I don't think you ever know her. I don't think the narrator ever really knows her either. He falls under her spell, but at the same time suspects he is being used. She's a bit of a mirage, attractive but as elusive as mist.

My edition had 4 further short stories, of which the tale of the plum puddings was, to me, by far the best. Just loved the atmosphere of melancholy and nostalgia that it evoked.


Kressel Housman | 99 comments That was so good, I finished it in one sitting! Here's my review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


Pallavi (bookfetisher) I have started it yesterday... i am 60% done... I feel confused with some conversations.. maybe its really fast..


Pallavi (bookfetisher) finished 2 days back... i dint like it much , maybe because i couldnt relate to the conversations.. Holly was good, humor was also fine.. can give only 3/5...


Irene | 1391 comments Pallavi, I wonder if this one does not translate well into a different culture. In some ways, I think Holly is a very "American" character of a certan era. Have you ever read "The Great Gatspy"? Did you like it/understand it? I ask because I think Gatspy is equally emblemistic of a certain American mindset and era.


Pallavi (bookfetisher) Irene wrote: "Pallavi, I wonder if this one does not translate well into a different culture. In some ways, I think Holly is a very "American" character of a certan era. Have you ever read "The Great Gatspy"? ..."

Maybe Irene... Some phrases were utterly new to me.. and i couldnt read between the lines or understand the real meaning it intended to give... I should try the movie once, let me check whether it is meaningful visually :)
No, The Great GetsBy is in my to-read list... Yet to read..


message 10: by Mike (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mike | 318 comments Mod
I found the Capote's story to be much darker than expected. Yunioshi's desire to take "certain" photographs, Rusty's sodomization at the hands of his guardian, a teenaged Holly, married at 14, runs away at 16 and virtually if not really prostitutes herself, references to marijuana use (in the 40's)... A very well written & successful story which at the time of publication would have really pushed the envelope of social mores. The ambiguity of the ending is particularly effective as it forces the reader to circle back to the beginning of the story and we are left to imagine the rest of Holly's story.


Alana (alanasbooks) | 1189 comments Mod
I'm looking forward to reading this one, which is rather ironic considering I hated the movie. I know, I know... *ducks as tomatoes are thrown in her general direction* I'm intrigued by the additional short stories in mine as well. I'm way late getting started this month, tho!


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

I may be even worse than that, Alana - never seen the movie! I know, heathen.


Irene | 1391 comments I have never seen the movie either, but then, I am not a big movie person.


Alana (alanasbooks) | 1189 comments Mod
I just finished the "Breakfast at Tiffany's" portion. Honestly, I think it was a cute little read, but I don't think it's really classic material. I found it pretty much as pointless as a the film. So, basically it's just about a free spirit? Um, ok. A free spirit who causes a lot of trouble for everyone else and everyone just falls in love with her? I guess I'm supposed to feel sorry for her childhood and read some understanding into her that way, but I just didn't care about her at all (or even our "Fred" or "Buster" by the end of it...do we ever get his real name?) Not believable characters and not much of a plot. Just didn't do a whole lot for me. Just my opinion, though, please don't throw anything at me :)

Now onto the other stories...


Alana (alanasbooks) | 1189 comments Mod
Finished the other three stories. I agree with sentiments the rest of you have shared, that the other stories were much better than the celebrated novella.

My review:

The main story in this small collection, Breakfast at Tiffany's, is concerned by many to be a modern classic. While I guess it was a cute enough story, I just don't see the appeal. I saw the film many years ago and was thoroughly unimpressed and while the book wasn't as bad, I just didn't engage in it. Holly reminded me too much of people that I know who are lazy and frivolous and expect their friends to take care of the daily annoyances for them. She is a free spirit, I suppose, but frankly not one to make any fuss over. Why does everyone fall in love with her? I don't think she's much of a catch.

The other stories were far more engaging. House of Flowers just made me go, "Huh, interesting," but A Diamond Guitar was rather sweet in its own way and A Christmas Memory was delightfully bittersweet.

The whole thing is short and quick reading if you just want to see what the fuss is about, but I would advise focusing more on the short stories than the novella, they are much better gems than the "classic."

3/5


Kressel Housman | 99 comments Wow, am I the only one who loved it?


Irene | 1391 comments No, definitely not.
So, what made you love it?


Kressel Housman | 99 comments It was so absorbing! I was hooked from page one. Holly definitely had her faults, but she had even more likable qualities. And of course, thinking about it from the Audrey Hepburn v. Marilyn Monroe point of view made the reading even more interesting.


Irene | 1391 comments I read this a year ago, but the ambiguity in Holly stayed with me. She struck me as a Gatsby type of person. She seems to embody all that is possible in the American dream. She remakes herself from a fairly unsavory childhood. She denies the past because she is not that girl. And, in America, that is possible. A person is not defined by her parents or her family titles. Yet, at the same time, the more she ran from that childhood, the more it seemed to me that she was very much that little girl trying so hard to survive. At the same time she could deny where she had been, she could not really deny who she was. I also liked the uncertain ending. It is as if Holly is always rewriting her story. The possibility of self-re-creation is endless.


Alana (alanasbooks) | 1189 comments Mod
there is a thread for this one on the Boxall's group and they went into some pretty deep analysis if anyone wants to check out their thread.


Diane S ☔ I am only on page twenty but I had forgotten how well Capote write. I just read The Butterfly Sister A Novel by Amy Gail Hansen which mentions Holly Golightly. Kind of sstrange when that happens.


Alana (alanasbooks) | 1189 comments Mod
Link to Boxall's discussion (I couldn't post it earlier since I was posting from my phone)

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1...


Kressel Housman | 99 comments Diane S. wrote: "I am only on page twenty but I had forgotten how well Capote write. I just read The Butterfly Sister A Novel by Amy Gail Hansenwhich mentions Holly Golightly. Kind of sstrange when that happens."

Not so strange. The character has taken on a life of her own, like Harry Potter or Elizabeth Bennet.

What interested me was a tidbit mention of Sister Elizabeth Kenny in Breakfast at Tiffany's. She was a real person, very famous in the 1940's and 50's, but not so well known now. Holly mentions her in some statement about drugging "Sister Kenny." I'll bet most readers figure Sister Kenny is just some nun. Actually, she was a nurse whose methods were adopted into modern-day physical therapy. They grew out of her work with polio patients, and she had to fight the medical establishment to get them accepted. Her autobiography is called And They Shall Walk, if anyone's curious.


Irene | 1391 comments Thanks for that link. That group discussion was quite good and reminded me of so much that I had forgotten about the book. That seems like a very thoughtful group. I had not thought of Holly as a Marilyn Monroe type of character, but that insight adds a good angle to the character.


Alana (alanasbooks) | 1189 comments Mod
I'm gonna have to add that to my TBR Kressel, thank you! That sounds fascinating.


Irene | 1391 comments Kressel, Thanks for that bit of history. I don't even recall the allusion, so it did not really catch my attention when I read the book. If it had not been for your post, I would have missed the opportunity to learn something.


Alana (alanasbooks) | 1189 comments Mod
She is rather a Monroe character, once I think about it. Frankly, I don't care for her as a person, as I said, but I understand the vitality and fun she can convey. I guess I can imagine having a light friendship with her but nothing close (not that she would let anyone be close). She would drive me crazy! But isn't that what our young narrator struggles with, how much he should ignore and to what things he really should take offense?


message 28: by Mike (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mike | 318 comments Mod
I really viewed Holly to be the person Truman Capote wished to be in real life... Loved by everyone & the center of attention.


Irene | 1391 comments She came off as rather bi-polar, extreme highs and lows that were disproportionate with concrete circumstances. Or maybe, she was quite the drama queen deliberately manipulating people.


Irene | 1391 comments BTW, in that other thread that Alana provided a link for, they claimed that the narrator was a prostitute. Did anyone else get that impression? I got the hints that he might be gay, but not the prostitution.


Alana (alanasbooks) | 1189 comments Mod
I agree, the prostitute thing I didn't entirely buy. She as a call girl, yes, but not him.


Diane S ☔ Irene wrote: "She came off as rather bi-polar, extreme highs and lows that were disproportionate with concrete circumstances. Or maybe, she was quite the drama queen deliberately manipulating people."

I agree with this, I too thought she might be mentally ill. Her behavior was just all over the place.


Whitney | 15 comments Hey everyone. I just started Breakfast at Tiffany's this week and am about 3/4 of the way through (I hoped to finish it last night but ended up falling asleep). I'm really loving this novel (novella? long short story?), but then again, I really enjoyed the film as well. This is one of the rare occasions that while both the film and the book are different, I like both of them in their own way.

I have to say, I prefer the Holly/gay male narrator dynamic of the book to that of the film, where the relationship is more romantic in nature. I feel like the narrator's sexual orientation allows him to view Holly more objectively because he's not "under her spell" in the way other men are.

Although Holly is ostensibly light, breezy, and a little silly, I think Capote uses her character in a way that poses fairly deep questions. For example, how well do we really know anyone? When someone pretends to be someone they're not, at what point do they stop pretending and actually become someone different? Interesting stuff!


Sheila I loved it too. Holly is such an interesting character. She's so full of life. The other characters don't even mind getting woken up by her in the early morning hours because at least she's entertaining.

It was interesting to see the differences between the story and the novel - especially in the beginning and ending. The whole possibly seeing Holly in Africa thing was perfect. For the 1950s time period, Holly must have been an inspiration to women because she was able to find ways to be much more free than most.

I also liked the novel's ending better than the movie's. The cat part in the novel actually made me cry. The movie's ending never seemed exactly right to me.


Sheila Whitney wrote: "Hey everyone. I just started Breakfast at Tiffany's this week and am about 3/4 of the way through (I hoped to finish it last night but ended up falling asleep). I'm really loving this novel (novell..."

I agree - and loved the whole "is she or isn't she a phony" discussion. She's a real phony because she believes she's the person she pretends to be.


Sheila Kressel wrote: "That was so good, I finished it in one sitting! Here's my review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/..."

Great review! It was fun seeing all the differences between the movie and the novel. Which ending did you prefer?


Kressel Housman | 99 comments I prefer the book. But for everything you might want to know about the movie, check this out: Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audre...Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. by Sam Wasson


Whitney | 15 comments Kressel wrote: "I prefer the book. But for everything you might want to know about the movie, check this out: Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. by Sam Wasson"

Thanks, Kressel! That looks like it would be an interesting read.


Sheila Kressel wrote: "I prefer the book. But for everything you might want to know about the movie, check this out: Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. by Sam Wasson"

That sounds like a fun one - thank you!


Renee I never saw the movie so I can't compare the two, but I really liked the book. Kessel, your comparisons to Marliyn Monroe are really interesting. I never thought of that while reading it but I can see it now. I took a glance at the thread Alana posted and while I think the narrator may be gay, I didn't see anything in the book that would suggest he was a prostitute.

I really enjoyed the other three stories in the book as well. A Christmas Memory was the one I liked best.


Kressel Housman | 99 comments So nice to get so much response! This is my favorite group on Goodreads!


Alana (alanasbooks) | 1189 comments Mod
So glad, Kressel! We've had some good discussion, I'm glad everyone's enjoying it!


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