Jan 3 2007, 12:48 PM
i am in the middle of margaret atwood's "moral disorder". it's engaging but confusing--she jumps around a lot and all of a sudden she's switched from first person to third person, and i'm not sure whether she's talking about the same people even though the names are the same. lawd. it seems like a lot of anecdotes rather than a full story.
Jan 3 2007, 06:10 PM
Has anyone read Automatic Millionaire or Start Late, Finish Rich? I want to buy them both, but are they worth it?
Jan 4 2007, 11:10 AM
I'm going to my first Book Club meeting in about 2 weeks.
I read the book ages ago (Memoirs of a Geisha) and plan on at least skimming it again to refresh, but what can I expect it to be like?
do I bring a pencil/notepad? the book itself?
I am really excited to be going bc I have looked for one Forever but am afraid I won't have much to contribute as I have a terrible memory & don't retain much sometimes.
the Club is newly forming and have dates established into march as I understand, w/ an interest-check (it's the Public Library) from then.
oh, and I LOVED Poisonwood Bible, and was soo excited when Barbra Kingsolver came out w/ several books following, but didn't like any of them near as much and have not read her sinse. it was almost like there were different authors completely in PB to the others.
Jan 4 2007, 11:30 AM
freckle, I'm so glad you found one! A newly forming book group is best as then you won't have any problems fitting in (and you will!) I would recommend skimming again and/or watching the movie (especially if you haven't seen it - comparisons may come up, or discussion of how it translated to big screen). A notebook isn't essential but it depends what you want to take from a book group? (i.e. noting down other's thoughts, recommendations...) and I would suggest having the book with you in case anyone refers to a particular section/passage or just to refresh your mind of a character's name before you make a point!
Jan 4 2007, 12:09 PM
thankyou so much bunnyb!
Jan 4 2007, 12:32 PM
you're welcome, freckle, I hope you enjoy .
I finished reading The Way the Crow Flies on New Year's Eve (I like to have the book I'm reading finished before bringing in the New Year) and I really liked it. I didn't love it, I loved Fall on Your Knees but I loved the little twists in the book (spoiler in white): especially the last one, the revelation of who killed Claire. The character development was great although the last section (23 years later) was sad and had a different tone to the rest of the book; it was almost a different book entirely although I could easily have read a book just about older Madeleine. The earlier book, through the innocent and naive eyes of child Madeleine, was extremely effective although made the later section the sadder as betrayals and weaknesses were realised. It's a family saga, a bildungsroman, a thriller, overall a very good book.
eta: has anyone read Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye? I found a "read on" recommendation for it in relation to TWTCF and its been on my bookshelves forever so that's as good a reason as any. Besides, my highschool librarian once refused to let me borrow it as it was an "adult" book, hence buying it!
Jan 4 2007, 12:48 PM
ooh bunny i'm so glad you read it!
i just thought it was such an incredibly well-turned story--so involved, and WHAT a conflict......what could anyone else have possibly done? and yet, who was he protecting? so many tiny little barbs and variables.....i thought it was brilliant. and it's funny, i kept expecting--especially in the first part of the book--for jack to turn into an asshole, but he never did, he continued being loving and encouraging and wonderful and such a good person the entire time, even though he arguably committed the worst crime in the whole story. and the WARMTH with which she portrayed the army families.....sort of slipping into stereotype and yet wholly avoiding it the whole time.
i want her to write more books, dammit.
Jan 4 2007, 01:00 PM
she definitely has to write more! she weaves such fantastic stories...
I can't help comparing it to Fall on Your Knees and wonder which was the darker, more disturbing? They are very different, of course.
I completely agree with your points about Jack... he was so borderline but stayed true to his family and his morals. It was so agonising to be there whilst we was making the decision and to see him make the decision he dis, but what would anyone do, indeed? No wonder he was quite embittered at end and a shadow of his former self and (spoiler): wow, what they did with his and Mike's relationship? heartbreaking.
Jan 4 2007, 02:57 PM
Oooh! I love Ann-Marie MacDonald, also. Both Fall On Your Knees and The Way The Crow Flies are incredible. I have a book exchange with one of my book clubs this month, and I'm going to give Fall On Your Knees. Hmm...I wonder if she has any other books in the works right now.
freckleface--I'm currently in two book clubs, and have been in two others. They've all be different, and completely dictated by the people who are in them. But, they're always pretty laid-back, so I think you'll enjoy yourself regardless of the particulars. I usually bring a notebook and a copy of the book, along with some suggestions for the next selection. I think the main thing to remember is to contribute to the discussion! It's not school, so there's nothing riding on your questions/answers except a more fulfilling experience for you and enriching the book club. So, speak out and enjoy!
Man, I love book clubs! It gets my nerdjuice a-flowin'!
Jan 4 2007, 03:19 PM
I am a big fan of Fall On Your Knees - such a complicated and beautifully laced story. And disturbing...
Who has read Time Traveler's Wife? LOOOOOOVE that book. Love it. Love it.
I'm a fan of book clubs, but you're right - it all depends on who is in it. Sometimes you can have great chemistry, and then one person walks in and screws it up. Or, things might be a bit bumpy, and someone new comes in and acts as the glue.
As long as everyone has read the book, it usually makes for a great gathering...
Jan 4 2007, 03:41 PM
i've never been in a book club....hmm. actually i was thinking it might be really cool to be in a two person book club with my mom--she and i tend to like the same books and recommend them to each other. i made my parents read "cruddy" (for those of you who've read it) and they've started referring to their best kitchen knife as "little debbie" hee!
anne marie macdonald's wikipedia entry
is really interesting...looks like she's written a bunch of plays as well. no more books though
i had NO idea that "the way the crow flies" is actually based on a real case
(warning: that link could be a spoiler if you haven't read the book). and even more interesting is how similar to the book a lot of the things regarding that case that happened AFTER she published the book are.
femmespeak, who wrote "time traveler's wife"?
Jan 4 2007, 03:59 PM
I loved The Time Travelor's Wife
so much that I read it again right after finishing it the first time.
Whenever I get a bookclub going, it always goes south within a year. Too many people want to join, then everybody gets too drunk, no one is any shape to have a discussion about books, and no one can agree on the next book. My next effort probably shouldn't involve my personal friends. I'll put up postings in coffee shops or something like that. Because bookclubs are so fun.
Jan 4 2007, 04:46 PM
Thirding or fourthing the love for The Poisonwood Bible. I've read it twice and will probably read it again. But then, I'm lazy like that: I'd rather re-read a book I know is complex and involving a few times over than risk a new one sometimes. My pet peeve is particularly stylised writing... which means that I have skipped books other people love.
Bunnyb, I loved Cat's Eye and think it's Atwood's best, second to Handmaid's Tale. She really gets childhood cruelty and bullying, but doesn't let her central character off the hook either.
I actually read less over the holidays, bizarrely. My favourite was by Barbara Vine, aka detective writer Ruth Rendall. Her Vine books are as much psychological character studies as crime whodunnits, and the one I read, The Blood Doctor, was utterly engrossing.
I've said it in here before: I hated Time Traveler's Wife. Hated the characters, hated the ending. Too cheesy for me, and I like cheesy. I know some people from Chicago who loved it though, because it's a great portrait of the city.
Jan 4 2007, 05:03 PM
I began reading The Time Traveller's Wife 2 years ago and then finals got in the way, I enjoyed what I read so I must go back to it.
I had a very bad book group experience but that was down to the disintegration of an existing friendship with another member; being in a group with a bunch of fellow lit students didn't help either as sometimes it felt more like a seminar than a fun gathering. Oh, and then there was the trying to outdo one another with the food spread and one person taking control... It wouldn't put me off joining another though!
mouse, the edition of TWTCF I read had a lot of bonus material (UK readers: the Harper Perrenial P.S. editions are fab) had info about the IRL case. I found it intriguing too that so much of the story is true to Ann Marie MacDonald's own life.
syb, thanks for the rec! I may pick that up next ... currently reading Gaiman's Anansi Boys and enjoying it lots, good to have something lighthearted after TWTCF.
Jan 4 2007, 06:02 PM
omigod, you guys rave about fall on your knees at least once a week, lol! i didn't get it for xmas, and forgot about it when i was in the bookstore last week, dammit. i really MUST get a copy and see what all the love is about!
i liked the time traveller's wife, but have forgotten alot of it ... and i only read it last year. but the overall bittersweet feeling has stayed with me. i just know they're going to fuck up the movie.
i really enjoyed running with scissors - read it on new year's day, in one sitting - and i don't care if the movie sucked, i'm netflixing it as as soon as it's available.
now on to good omens. fingers crossed i love it as much as all of you did.
i don't think i could handle the pressure of a book club, i've become such a lazy reader. kudos to you, freckle - do let us know how it goes.
Jan 4 2007, 06:14 PM
Just call us the we heart Ann Marie MacDonald society! mouse really made my year by prompting me to read both her books (although kudos does have to given to the boy's sis who mentioned FoYK a few years ago). It's definitely one of my all-time favourite reads now and the reading highlight of 2006.
Jan 4 2007, 06:23 PM
thank my canadian literary auntie da!
Jan 4 2007, 10:01 PM
I'm in for the love on Time Traveler's Wife.
a friend sent it to me from Germany & I refuse to pass it on nor send it back to her! it's Mine, ALL Mine(!) and has earned a permenent space on my bookshelf. ( & w/ the gypsy life we lead, I am brutally particular about who stays and who is read and gone again.)
I plan on re- reading at least once more, and then letting it sit awhile before the next time.
and yah, bc it was set in Chic did have the heart-string appeal, but I really just loved it period.
the book club as I understand from the librarian that called to remind me yesterday, is apparently so far a small sign up. both suprising and disappointing but maybe small is better?
we shall see. it meets the 22nd so I have awhile to wait yet.
thanks everyone for the info and advice.
right now I am reading a "fluff" collection of short stories by Irish women writers, but just checked out My Antonia by Willa Cather. has anyone else read that yet?
Jan 4 2007, 11:41 PM
FreckleFace, I speak from experience when I say smaller is better. Or better yet Quality not quantity. There is nothing worse than a bunch of assbadgers coming to bookclub that either don't read the books but come anyway just drink all the wine and eat the cheese. But that's just me.
Mandolyn, I really liked Running with Scissors
disturbing as it was. I am very interested in seeing the film adaptation. It seems to have a good cast. I know there are things in the book I definitely don't want to see in the movie...if you know what I mean.
Jan 4 2007, 11:44 PM
I really loved The Time Traveler's Wife. It was recomended to me by a man who said that it made him cry. And sure enough, it made me cry on more than one occasion! I feel, though, that it is best read over a short period of time (less than a week). With all that hopping about in time, I think it can be confusing if one reads it too casually & slowly.
Mandi, I understand your fears about the movie version. The movie rights to the book were purchased by Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt when they were married. I wonder which one of them got the rights in the divorce. Hmmm. As for the casting, the same person who recommended the book to me is hoping that John Cusack is cast as the male lead. Since the book is set in Chicago, that choice sounds like a no-brainer to me, but I have a feeling someone will decide that he's too old for the part now.
Speaking of book clubs, over the holiday break I decided to read something fluffy so I picked up The Jane Austen Book Club. It was ... meh. Not bad, not great. I enjoyed the way that each chapter focused on one member of the club and one Jane Austen novel. But the ending turned me off. I don't want to reveal anything about the plot, but let's just say that, although I've never been a member of a book club, now I completely understand why Bunny does not recommend joining one late. It kinda felt as though a stranger had walked through my front door and sat on the couch as though he owned the place. Very off-putting.
Mandi, I really hope you enjoy Good Omens! I gave it to my brother for Xmas & he loves it as much as I do.
And speaking of Pratchett, currently I am reading Wee Free Men (it was an Xmas gift from my husband). In the Disc World series, I've mainly read the Night Watch books (as well as Going Postal), so it was really nice to see how Terry works with a young female lead. I'm 3/4 through with the book & I think I can safely say that this is my favorite of the Disc World books. Very fun.
Jan 5 2007, 02:43 AM
Has anyone read Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks? It's been sitting on my shelf for an age, and I'm trying to decide if it's worth packing and moving to the new apartment.....
Jan 5 2007, 11:54 AM
shoot, Mouse - I forgot who wrote Time Traveler's Wife...gotta go look that up. I had no idea the movie rights were bought...If they make a movie I will NOT go see it. It'd probably be like reading Breakfast at Tiffany's and then seeing the movie. Total disappointment. It'd take one of those rare and highly skilled directors to pull it off.
I totally didn't find it cheesy and I hate cheese...avoid it at all costs...What I really loved was the well done plot. Everything seemed to tie in well and you'd have to stretch your brain a bit to find an issue with the scientific part.
K - now I'm totally in the mood for reading it again. But there's too many books in line before it.
How many of you have a stack of books, at least 5 high but likely more, that you're just waiting to sit down and read?
Sixelacat - I haven't read, or actually even heard of, Year of Wonders. I vote you take it, read it, and tell us if it's any good!
Okay - Another absolute favorite - The Red Tent. Any fans?
Jan 5 2007, 12:08 PM
Audrey Niffenegger (not sure of the spelling) but I know Time Travelor's Wife
was her first novel. I don't hate her for selling it to Brad and Jen. I will undoubtably read anything she writes from now on.
RoseV, So is The Jane Austen Book Club
worth a go? I've been meaning to read it for awhile. Or should I just go back and read Jane Austen. Now there's an idea!
Femme, I read The Red Tent
in like day and then slept with it because my love was so intense. I recently read The Lastdays of Dogtown
by Anita Diamant and gave it my stamp of approval. And I thought everybody had and endless stack of books stationed everywhere all the time. I can't leave my house without a few reading options...if I ever leave my house.
Jan 5 2007, 12:47 PM
The woman who wrote The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger (best name ever), wrote a piece for BUST's Living Single issue, back in 2000 -- I got to speak to her by phone (brag), and she was the nicest, coolest lady ever. I'm glad her book was such a success, and hope they do a great job with the movie.
Right now I'm reading Self-Made Man, by Norah Vincent, and loving the hell out of it. She went "undercover" as a guy for a year -- joined a bowling league, went to strip clubs, dated women, even spent three weeks in a monastery -- and what she learned about men, women, and herself is just extraordinary. She's so likeable and honest and respectful and self-deprecating -- time for me to get offline and pick up the book so I can finish it!
Jan 5 2007, 12:59 PM
I have to say, I really, really didn't like Self-Made Man
. It started out well, but then she starts making all sorts of ridiculous assumptions about men, women (feminists in particular), and class differences. She admits that her experiment isn't even remotely controlled, but then acts like all of her conclusions are the only ones that could have possibly been made. For every interesting anecdote, there are pages and pages of her half-baked theories as to why things are the way they are (sorry I can't be more specific - it's been awhile since I read it - I wish I still had the scathing e-mail I sent a friend enumerating its various contraditions, inconsistencies and flaws). I started doing more research on her after I finished the book, and I found out about her history of anti-trans writing
- I'm not surprised at all.
Jan 5 2007, 01:41 PM
femmespeak, The Red Tent is a major favourite around these parts. I love it and bought a copy for my aunt for Christmas as I think every woman should read it. Also, I have a current to read list of 42 books and it keeps growing!
rose, I love the Guards novels and looking forward to reading Wee Free Men, Hat Full of Sky and Wintersmith. If you want to have a look at how he writes strong female characters then have a look at Susan Bones in the Death novels.
Jan 5 2007, 02:06 PM
Snafooey, I'm dismayed that Vincent was insensitive and clueless enough to be anti-trans, and I agree that she conducted a very non-scientific experiment and that her conclusions may not be verifiable, but I didn't think she represented her work as anything other than a personal exploration of gender and sex -- I don't think she's tried to say, "Here's how men are, and here's how women are; I proved it with my book." I also like how she acknowledged her faulty assumptions about class and tried to correct them. I'd be inclined to think that she's confronted and corrected whatever anti-trans prejudice she had before after this experiment -- at least I hope so.
Jan 5 2007, 02:18 PM
I still need to read The Red Tent. It's rather shameful that I haven't read it yet! But the past year has mainly been dedicated to reading things that my husband likes ... kinda as a way to get to know him even better. Some of that involved reading authors I already like, though (Neil Gaiman), but there hasn't been many feminine voices. And that's why I reached for The Jane Austen Book Club when I saw it while waiting for a flight in Cincinnati. I had just finished a 5-book series (The Belgariad) & was desperate for something modern & painfully girly without the slightest hint of war.
WasabiNinja, I can't say that I would recommend it. I think it's good if you're looking for a way to while away some hours while traveling, but don't expect anything enlightening. And it isn't necessary to be totally on top of all of Austen's work, but I think it's good to be familiar with a few of her books. At the very least, one should know Austen's tone & usual themes because that says something about the club members as a whole. There are a few little references to Austen's works, but not a lot. At the back of the book, the author provides a synopsis of each of Austen's works, so that might be enough to refresh your memory. But again, I don't feel I can truly recommend it. I'd rather suggest you watch the BBC version of Pride & Prejudice. I love that film!
Girlbomb, that's so cool that you got to speak to Audrey Niffenegger! Now I wish I had my old copies of Bust so I could find her article. Drat!
Jan 5 2007, 03:01 PM
girlbomb, that's how i felt about Vincent's conclusions - it was a personal work rather than a scientific one. it's certainly an interesting read, and I thought she gave the impression was honest about her feelings and experiences, and also her predjudices. I hope she thinks about them and changes her mind.
rose, how did you like the belgariad? I love Edding's Polgara book; while his books are male-dominated, I like his female characters, and it's written from her p.o.v.
I started Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, and for the first time in ages, I didn't finish a book. I just didn't like the character (although he initially seems very similar to the character in The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night-Time, which I loved).
Currently two-thirds of my way through Malorie Blackman's Noughts & Crosses trilolgy and I love it. I have no idea how long my to-read list is now... at least eight or so books.
Jan 5 2007, 03:56 PM
mornington brings up a really interesting point: can you love a book, but hate the main character?
Jan 5 2007, 04:55 PM
hmmm, interesting Q... I can't think of any off the top of my head but I can certainly think of books that I've hated because of a character.
Jan 5 2007, 05:15 PM
I figured The Red Tent would have some takers! My mom gave me another book by her this holiday - the title is something like "Pitching my tent" - I don't have it in front of me and don't really remember. It's in my stack of "to read"
I loved Extremely loud - it took awhile for me to get into it and it had some lulls, but was over all good. I loved the photography added in, especially the 9/11 jumper who ascends at the end. Amazing. But I can see how someone would be not-so-impressed.
I think Bitch Magazine had a blurb on Self-Made Man - the reviewer didn't like it because of the generalizations the author makes. I didn't carefully read the review and I've never had much of a drive to pick it up. hearing about her anti-trans writing (and watching the war on the topic going on in the blogosphere of late) makes me want to pick it up even less.
Also - about the love a book but hate the main character - I definitly think those are out there, especially books where you're supposed to hate the main character, though the only example I can think of right now is Catcher in the Rye. I'm sure there's others.
Oh also - Totally unimpressed with Jane Austen Book Club. Thought I'd like it and found out it felt like a giant waste of time. Seemed like the author only wanted to show off how literary she was so she made these fairly lame characters and a quick storyline in order to do that. Just my POV.
PS - sorry for the long post. Books just make me really giddy.
Jan 5 2007, 05:20 PM
i think it depends on whether it's out-and-out hate, love to hate, or a mix of sympathy and hate... i liked lolita, but my feelings towards humbert were mixed. i wanted to strangle emma, but loved her too. i never finished bridgit jones because she made me want to scream. just my opinion, but just as there are people you have a personality clash with, there are going to be characters too, but some books are written for you to dislike the main character, some aren't.
Jan 5 2007, 06:17 PM
wasabi, how much do i love that you slept with the red tent? that's how i am with christopher moore's lamb. i just feel better sleeping next to it, on my night table. especially now that it's signed. by AuthorGuy Himself. *happy sigh slash brag*
offhand, i can't think of many books i put down because i hated the characters (other than bridgit jones, right there with ya, mornington!). and i don't see how you're supposed to hate holden caulfield. i thought he was one of the most beloved literary characters? but then again, i read it when i was an adolescent, so maybe i identified with him a bit too much.
that is a good question, and i shall mull.
59 pgs into good omens, and i want to write down and memorize lines. that's a ... good omen!
Jan 5 2007, 06:41 PM
Femmespeak, thank you. You described The Jane Austen Book Club far more honestly than I did. I think it's the kind of book that my Mom might like to read while drifting in and out of consciousness on the beach, but that's about it.
Mornington, I rather liked The Belgariad. I'm definitely interested in reading more about Polgara. But I'm hesitant to start it soon because I want a break from books that involve traveling all over the place and killing things. I'm kinda burned out on that for a while. But Sheff has all of the Eddings books, so they're available to me whenever I'm ready. I'm hoping that since I'm reading so many of his books, that he'll finally give in and read some of the Harry Potter books. He has this belief that they're guaranteed to be bad because they're popular.
And I hated Bridget Jones. Her charcter in the book annoyed the hell out of me (especially her obsession with her weight). Granted, I diary should be kinda self-obsessed, but it was just too much for me. Strangely enough, I liked her character a lot more in the movie adaptation. I even considered re-reading the book to see if I missed something, but then my senses returned.
Glad to hear you're enjoying Good Omens, Mandi!
Has anyone here read The Everlasting Story of Nory? I really love that book.
Jan 5 2007, 10:26 PM
Mandolyn, Color me green with envy that you got to meet Christopher Moore. It's sort of an odd coincidence you mentioned Lamb
because it happens to be sitting on my desk. I may take that as an omen to re-read it.
Sarah Waters 'The Night Watch
' turned out to be a very saucy adventure. Beautifully written. Sarah kicks ass.
So, I'm probably going to skip The Jane Austen Book Club
. Honesty is cool man.
I liked Cruddy
but didn't like the main character or really any of the characters. I read tons of Tudor trash though I'm not particularly fond of Henry VIII.
Oh yes, I just finished reading all of the Ramona
books to my Sadie. What a beautiful nostalgic experience that was. It's so much fun to read your favorite childhood books to your own children. Such a great way to connect. I'm so lucky to have a five year old who will lounge with me and read an entire chapter book. I feel all warm and fuzzy from it.
Jan 6 2007, 07:15 AM
The Jane Austen Book Club was disappointing, it had so much potential as well with such a literary premise. I would recommend Pride and Promiscuity: The Lost Sex Scenes of Jane Austen for Austen-related giggles or, as Rose suggested, watching the fantastic BBC adaptation of P&P (best gift EVAH!)
rose, are you going to read The Mallorean? So good. The boy is reading Eddings new Dreamers series just now that I'll read at some point once he's finished.
freckle, I meant to respond to your query about My Antonia: I've read it but really can't remember a thing about it! It was for class three years ago, though, and I don't remember it being bad!
LOATHED the character of Paul Morel's mother so much in Sons and Lovers many, many years ago that I threw the book down a few chapters from the end and never picked it up again and have no intentions of doing so. I'm not that keen on D. H. Lawrence anyway.
Jan 6 2007, 09:34 AM
For those who liked the Belgariad/David Eddings (or who like books like that)--last summer I read Robin Hobb's Farseer, Liveships, and Golden Fool trilogies, and it was one of the best reading experiences of my life. Anyone else read? (And does anyone else find it hard to admit they read fantasy?) I liked the Belgariad but it was a little light for me... definitely written for a younger reader.
Jan 6 2007, 10:08 AM
well, I suppose in some circles fantasy = guilty pleasure but I don't believe in feeling guilty about reading any literature as it's better to read than not. The Belgariad is a light read, granted, but Eddings was my first introduction to fantasy by my boyfriend so I hold a soft spot for it and The Mallorean (I read the 10 books in a fortnight a few years ago).
eta: has anyone read Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook?
Jan 6 2007, 09:41 PM
oooh, i kind of love dh lawrence....sometimes. i had a class devoted entirely to him with the craziest best smartest english teacher i've ever had. he would break off into all these crazy tangents about his childhood or his college roommate who used to invent rube goldbergian machines to annoy him with or his jazz record collection and all the great musicians he'd gotten to see and/or hang out with, and yet still managed to teach me more than any other literature teacher i've ever had. he was like a jumpy jack russel terrier of a man and i loved it. and that made me love dh lawrence.
i hate most of kafka's main characters, but i love kafka. i think reading "the trial" was the first time i realized i could hate the character the story is focused on, yet still love the story.
i loved everything about cruddy; i know a lot of people here disagree with me but i re-read that book about five times and then leant it to everyone i know.
my mom has tried to get me to read the red tent; haven't yet but now it's even further up my list.
i'm reading "the stone diaries", which came highly recommended from mother and aunt but i'm having trouble getting into it.
Jan 7 2007, 06:30 AM
mouse, if I can return the favour of Ann Marie MacDonald: bump The Red Tent to the TOP of your list and you won't regret it.
Jan 7 2007, 11:55 AM
Bunnyb, I have read The Golden Notebook (whilst an undergrad in a certain green place... is it not on the syllabus any more?). It is worth reading, brilliant in places and still works as a comment on gender relations today... but it can also be uneven and painfully subjective, IMO. Lessing goes up and down for me anyway, though... sometimes I love her, sometimes not so much. I wish I could get into her sci-fi but I just can't.
I have big problems with Lawrence; essentially he used fiction as a forum for him to expand on his views of love, sex, the universe and everything. Like Freud, he's wrong more than he's right... but he is occasionally right.
Jan 7 2007, 01:37 PM
QUOTE(sybarite @ Jan 7 2007, 10:12 AM)
I have big problems with Lawrence; essentially he used fiction as a forum for him to expand on his views of love, sex, the universe and everything. Like Freud, he's wrong more than he's right... but he is occasionally right.
of course he did! but the operative word is "fiction"--he wasn't writing textbooks. and he was one of the first and only of his time to admit that women want it.
i'm not saying i don't have a lot of problems with him too--i do. but i like his writing and his world.
ETA: now that i think about it, isn't that what all authors do?? use fiction as a forum to expand on their views?
Jan 7 2007, 02:33 PM
Certainly most fiction is informed, consciously or not, by the author's own views, politics, values etc. It irks me when the story becomes overtly secondary to the expression of those views, which is what I think Lawrence does more often than not (as in Sons and Lovers, The Rainbow, Women in Love and Lady Chatterley's Lover).
For me, the seductive sensuality of his world is balanced by his ongoing bitterness at post-industralised Britain (itself not a bad thing to criticise). By the end of Lady Chatterley's Lover I felt the book had become more a treatise on sexual honesty than a character study. There's nothing wrong with this in itself as long as the reader is aware Lawrence is doing this--I didn't like it because I don't necessarily agree with his version of sexual honesty. Yes, he did show that women were up for sex as much as men (sometimes more so), but he had nasty ways of representing this, usually in descriptions of sex, that seemed anti-woman to me.
Lessing books I like include The Fifth Child (which could also be discussed in the Childfree thread btw...) and The Good Terrorist, and almost all her short stories. Sometimes I think they're her best work.
Jan 7 2007, 04:51 PM
Lawrence is a boring misogynist. I loathe him; I was holding back in my previous post as I know he has fans around here. I definitely do not miss the Lawrence sections of my Master's course.
Syb, it wasn't on the syllabus in my time but, funnily enough, it was a certain Irish Queen in the dear green place who introduced me to it! I bought it along with Marilyn French's The Women's Room at the same time and they have sat side by side on my bookshelves for the longest time so I'm thinking I should get around to reading one of them, at least.
Jan 7 2007, 10:12 PM
eh. he was a man of his time. but i enjoyed the class, and a lot of the books. and his poetry.
Jan 8 2007, 08:07 AM
Bunnyb, that the Golden Notebook
was said Queen's recommendation doesn't surprise me at all
. I actually thought The Women's Room
was more accessible--and more directly horrifying. Reading them together should be interesting.
Mouse, tomato, to-mah-to. He does provide a certain insight into Britain at that time.
Jan 8 2007, 08:16 AM
Loved The Women's Room. Got it for a quarter at a library book sale just as I was figuring out I was feminist, and thought it was so cool!
I've never read DH Lawrence and always thought I was lacking for it, but now I'm not so sure I need to pick up a book. Someone I've never read who I'll probably get nailed for is Dorothy Allison. I have Bastard Out of Carolina but I've been scared to pick it up for the last 3 years. I don't want to be depressed! I just peeked in my book closet and saw I also have Cavedweller. Any recommendations on which I should read first?
Jan 8 2007, 12:01 PM
oh, dorothy allison!
le tigre's first album came out when i was sixteen and for a while i tried to make a point of finding out about every name they list in "hot topic"
a couple years later, i found moonshine willy's first album
in a dollar bin at some record store and bought it cos i loved the artwork--it's a fantastic album regardless, but their song "river" turns dorothy's story "river of names" into this amazing, hilarious, depressing country song and i highly recommend it.
Jan 8 2007, 05:45 PM
Bastard is better. It's not so bad, except for the abuse sections. It weaves in with the rest of the story. Dorothy has a short story collection of the Bone character grown up in several stories, written/published before Bastard out of Carolina.
For fun, I'm reading Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women for dirt on celebrities, like egos of Linda Evangelista and Naomi Campbell, Steven Meisel being called "Xerox" for shamelessly imitating other photographs, and the biggest models being picked up out of nowhere and being turned into glamourous stars.