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message 1: by Charisma (last edited Oct 01, 2017 10:29PM) (new)

Charisma (deadlikeme) | 76 comments

Didn't arrive to the West Coast on time

States visited: 13
Landmarks visited: 9
Points: 30

States:
1. Georgia: The Color Purple by Alice Walker
2. Alabama: Quicksand by Nella Larsen
3. Tennessee: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
4. Arkansas: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.
5. Louisiana: The Awakening by Kate Chopin.
6. Texas: The Dead Father by Donald Barthelme.
7. Oklahoma: The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson.
8. New Mexico: Contact by Carl Sagan.
9. Kansas: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.
10. Wyoming: Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
11. Utah: The Artamonov Business by Maxim Gorky.
12. Nevada: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson.
13. California: The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy. [THIS STATE DOESN'T COUNT]

Landmarks:
1. Savannah, GA
2. Dreamland BBQ, AL
3. Graceland, Memphis, TN
4. Spotted Cat Jazz club, New Orleans, LA
5. Carlsbad Caverns, NM
6. Largest Ball of Twine, KS
7. Yellowstone National Park, WY
8. Zion National Park, UT
9. Las Vegas, NV


message 2: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1876 comments Mod
Woo hoo! Good luck!


message 3: by Charisma (new)

Charisma (deadlikeme) | 76 comments Jen wrote: "Woo hoo! Good luck!"
Thanks :)


message 4: by Charisma (new)

Charisma (deadlikeme) | 76 comments 1. Georgia: The Color Purple by Alice Walker.

5 ✭ and a 💗

The version I listened to is narrated by the author. I enjoyed listening to Alice's voice and I think nobody could read it better.

The book itself is a masterpiece, and I was sad it ended so soon. The story, the language, the historical element,.. I loved every last bit of it. I value the learning aspect of it: learning about the cultures in Africa, about the way black people (and especially women) lived and suffered, but also were able to find joy and some type of happiness.

P.S. While listening to the story, I kept thinking that I know this, and I remember reading about that, etc. But I do not remember reading it before. Yet even the ending sounded familiar, so I must have read it before.


🚘 ➟ Alabama


message 5: by Charisma (last edited Jul 09, 2017 08:18PM) (new)

Charisma (deadlikeme) | 76 comments 2. Alabama: Quicksand by Nella Larsen

4 ✭

I listened to a Librivox recording narrated by Elizabeth Klett.

I appreciate the writing, but cannot fully sympathise with the main character, Helga Crane. While listening she kept reminding me of a story I'm listening in a car with my kids about a chap who didn't know what happiness was and went away searching for it. After many days of wondering the world he came back to his village unsatisfied, still not knowing what happiness was. Not because he didn't find one, but because he kept on missing the opportunity, kept on looking away from it. Helga reminds me of such a person. IMHO, she had many opportunities to find her happiness, but kept missing them, kept getting unsettled, kept wishing for more...

Another thing that I find interesting, especially after just reading The Color Purple, is the complete opposites in the descriptions of God: one radiates hope, where another is discouraging and depressing at best.

From The Color Purple:
"Think what it means that Ethiopia is Africa! All the Ethiopians in the bible were colored. It had never occurred to me, though when you read the bible it is perfectly plain if you pay attention only to the words. It is the pictures in the bible that fool you. The pictures that illustrate the words. All of the people are white and so you just think all the people from the bible were white too. But really white people lived somewhere else during those times. That’s why the bible says that Jesus Christ had hair like lamb’s wool. Lamb’s wool is not straight, Celie. It isn’t even curly. (56.3)"

From Quicksand:
"Her mind, swaying back to the protection that religion had afforded her, almost she wished that it had not failed her. An illusion. Yes. But better, far better, than this terrible reality. Religion had, after all, its uses. It blunted the perceptions. Robbed life of its crudest truths. Especially it had its uses for the poor - and the blacks.
For the blacks. The Negroes.
And this, Helga decided, was what ailed the whole Negro race in America, this fatuous belief in the white man's God, this childlike trust in full compensation for all woes and privations in "kingdom come." Sary Jones's absolute conviction, "In de nex' worl' we's all recompense'," came back to her. And ten million souls were as sure of it as was Sary. How the white man's God must laugh at the great joke he had played on them! Bound them to slavery, then to poverty and insult, and made them bear it unresistingly, uncomplainingly almost, by sweet promises of mansions in the sky by and by."

Overall, I am glad to have read the story. I might need to return to it in the future as I feel there is much more to be found/experienced on re-read.


🚘 ➟ Tennessee


message 6: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1876 comments Mod
Charisma wrote: "2. Alabama: Quicksand by Nella Larsen

4 ✭

I listened to a Librivox recording narrated by Elizabeth Klett.

I appreciate the writing, but cannot fully sympathise with th..."


what an interesting comparison. Thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed your review and nice to see that reading them back to back highlights some interesting differences.


message 7: by Charisma (new)

Charisma (deadlikeme) | 76 comments 3. Tennessee: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden.

5 ✭

A fascinating book! I started it reading an ebook and even though I was reading it extremely slow, I enjoyed it so much more. There are so many things I've marked to go back to either for a quote, or to read more information on the subject. Later on, about 2/3 through I got an audio recording and even though the reading went on at a much faster pace, the enjoyment suffered greatly.

I'm not saying that I liked the story less, but I didn't have as much time to savor it.

Overall, I liked the book a lot, and even though I expected quite a different ending to it, I still give it five stars.


P.S. I might update my review at a later date, when I have time to add all the comments/quotes I have bookmarked.


🚘 ➟ Arkansas


message 8: by Charisma (new)

Charisma (deadlikeme) | 76 comments 4. Arkansas: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.

5 ✭

Really liked the book. So many things black people had to and still have to endure it just breaks my heart :( What a wonderful person Ritty is, as well as her grandma and her mother. Lots of respect to those people.

Will have to go back to the book for more thorough read/analysis. Have also a few comparisons to add in regards to previous books read.

🚘 ➟ Louisiana


message 9: by Charisma (last edited Aug 04, 2017 09:37PM) (new)

Charisma (deadlikeme) | 76 comments 5. Louisiana: The Awakening by Kate Chopin.

3.5 ✭

I think it was a re-read for me. I say "I think" because I don't remember reading it, but I do vaguely remember the story line, as well as the ending.

In reality, I'm a sucker for love triangles (Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, etc.), but this one wasn't quite up to whatever standard I have for such a story. I guess I was expecting more...

Otherwise, I enjoyed Kate's writing stile and it being a quick read.

P.S. I was listening to a book narrated by Elizabeth Klett (https://librivox.org/reader/1259?prim...). This is not the first book I've listened, and I must say, that this lady's narrations are always great!

🚘 ➟ Texas


message 10: by Charisma (last edited Aug 10, 2017 06:17PM) (new)

Charisma (deadlikeme) | 76 comments 6. Texas: The Dead Father by Donald Barthelme.

2.5 ✭

For such a short book it was a really long read. I'm not sure if I'm just not mature enough to fully appreciate it, or if it's just not something I can enjoy ever, but it was an unpleasant read for me.

Half of the book was read just for the sake of moving along the pages. At moments it felt like I'm reading the Synonym Dictionary, and sometimes it was plain as a brick. Or was it?

I do believe there is a hidden message there in the book, and I might return to it at a later date to investigate and hopefully find it.

🚘 ➟ Oklahoma


message 11: by Tracy (new)

Tracy (Tstan) | 552 comments Charisma wrote: "6. Texas: The Dead Father by Donald Barthelme.

2.5 ✭

For such a short book it was a really long read. I'm not sure if I'm just not mature enough to fully appreciate i..."

This was one of the first ones I read from the list, ages ago. I didn't care for it, either. It seemed to be a lot of work for a little enjoyment.


message 12: by Charisma (new)

Charisma (deadlikeme) | 76 comments I agree. There are some funny parts to it, but in general, I think, it need some additional reading done to help a person understand all the allegories used in the book.

It felt a bit like The Nose by Gogol, when after reading a short story I felt compelled to read another 2-3 hours of works to understand what was said.


message 13: by Charisma (new)

Charisma (deadlikeme) | 76 comments 7. Oklahoma: The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson.

5 ✭

Years ago I've seen a movie. It left a deep impression on me: it felt freakishly real. Later I found out there is a book but was hesitant to attempt the read. I'm actually surprised how easy it was to read it. The language, I mean, not the subject. Especially after The Dead Father by Donald Barthelme.

Subject-wise the book is still quite disturbing, but not as disturbing and creepy as I remember the movie was. Probably, because my imagination is not as wild here.

🚘 ➟ New Mexico


message 14: by Charisma (new)

Charisma (deadlikeme) | 76 comments ✈ ➟ I'd like to reserve the New Mexico/Kansas flight.


message 15: by Charisma (new)

Charisma (deadlikeme) | 76 comments 8. New Mexico: Contact by Carl Sagan.

5 ✭ and a 💗

Another one of those: "I've seen the the movie, and never read a book." I loved it so much, I want to read more of his books. So deep and imaginative! Loved it!

✈ ➟ Kansas


message 16: by Charisma (new)

Charisma (deadlikeme) | 76 comments ✈ ➟ I’d like to reserve the Kansas/Wyoming flight.


message 17: by Charisma (new)

Charisma (deadlikeme) | 76 comments 9. Kansas: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.

5 ✭

Not long after I've read Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, I've heard about this book. I expected to like it, just never had the time to actually start and finish it.

Even though I know this is a true-crime book, I choose to think about it as a novel more than anything. It didn't feel like a documentary to me, and was easy to move along. I couldn't wait to find out how would it end. Exceptionally well written!

✈ ➟ Wyoming


message 18: by Charisma (last edited Sep 06, 2017 07:41PM) (new)

Charisma (deadlikeme) | 76 comments 10. Wyoming: Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

5 ✭

I'm yet to find Dostoevsky I didn't like. Even though there is a lot of philosophy there it didn't bother me a bit. There are a lot of things going on in this novel. I've enjoyed listening to the story. Even though the man seems to be rambling about things, I believe it could have been things Dostoevsky couldn't openly express himself. (I didn't do additional reading so cannot claim I'm correct, but these are my feelings after reading the story.) I am wondering if it was meant not to be ever published, if he truly meant it to be his diary.

I absolutely loved the passage about love, and specifically love of husband and wife. I need to go back and copy/add it to this review.

🚘 ➟ Utah


message 19: by Charisma (last edited Sep 24, 2017 10:42PM) (new)

Charisma (deadlikeme) | 76 comments 11. Utah: The Artamonov Business by Maxim Gorky.

4 ✭

At the beginning I really liked it, but after the father was gone, everything seemed to have "fallen to pieces." It became more tedious to me, the story revolved mostly around the oldest son, and I was hoping to hear more about the rest of the family. Overall, not a bad book, and I would like to read more of Gorky.

🚘 ➟ Nevada


message 20: by Charisma (last edited Sep 27, 2017 03:31PM) (new)

Charisma (deadlikeme) | 76 comments 12. Nevada: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson.

1 ✭

Only because I cannot give it a zero. What an awful book! The only way it was bearable is due to the narrator. He totally got that druggie tone, it was perfect for this book. One funny thing I found about it was the scene with the maid and guys acting absolutely identically to Colonel Flagg from M.A.S.H. series (http://mash.wikia.com/wiki/Colonel_Sa...). I wonder if he was on drugs as well?

Can someone clue me in why the book is on the list?

🚘 ➟ California


message 21: by Charisma (new)

Charisma (deadlikeme) | 76 comments 13. California: The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy.

4 ✭

An interesting enough story. Liked the narrator, liked the writer's style.

Not too happy about the unsolved case. (Would love for it to be solved, even if only in fiction.) BTW, even though also based on the real facts this story reads absolutely different from In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.

And what an unexpected twist at the end of it! I mean, parts I did expect, of course, but parts... did not.

P.S. I was rushing the story to arrive on time to California, but blundered the contest end-date.

In any case, even the day later, I'm here. Home, sweet home, I have arrived.


message 22: by Hilde (new)

Hilde (Hilded) | 199 comments Congratulations for making it to the West Coast, even if it was one day late :)


message 23: by Charisma (new)

Charisma (deadlikeme) | 76 comments Hilde wrote: "Congratulations for making it to the West Coast, even if it was one day late :)"

Thanks :)


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