Reading Challenge: Classic Shorts

the art of war

BookRiot, Popsugar and Modern Mrs. Darcy have really helped me shape my summer reading.  And it needs shape, because with all the books that are released in the summer, not to mention a hefty box of books from my birthday, prioritizing and finding ways to shape my reading into compelling blog posts would be more challenging without them.

This blog was scheduled ahead of time as yesterday I competed in my first triathlon.  It is just a sprint and I just want to finish to say that I am a triathlete.  By the time this posts I will be 24 hours into on the other side of the crippling anxiety that has been making its home in my stomach for weeks.

I digress. I could digress so much. Training has been almost as much a focus of my life as parenting, work, and, of course, reading for the past two months.  So shorts to get through my challenges have been ideal.  All three lists this year featured short books (although I am counting the short books toward other categories than merely that they are short), and I agree that they definitely have their place among the more hefty tones considered classics.

A Nonfiction Book about Feminism/Feminist Themes (BookRiot):

A Room of One's Own (Lions Gate Classics Book 1) by [Woolf, Virginia]

A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf

Many sources have recommended this series of lectures that she gave on women and writing in October 1928.  I was slow to pick it up because of it’s most famous quote about a woman needing money and a room of her own to write, which somehow I found annoying at the outset but less so as this statement was more thoroughly justified.

As a modern woman with money of my own and a room to write in, I agree with these on the surface.  But what was more interesting to me as the lectures continued was that she argues in the end for androgyny in writing.  She wants female and male writers to be both and explore all relationships between people, not just the world of straight men and their relationships or even only the heterosexual relationships between women.

This is particularly ahead of its’ time.  I am aware that the 1920’s in the United States were a time when women were able to do things previously only allotted to men, so in that sense the work is timely, but really the push for androgyny in Psychology was not made popular until the 1970’s with Sandra Bem. I read Bem’s works because I explored sex role and its relation to depression in my dissertation. Woolf was ahead of her time in suggesting that writing should come from both gender perspectives and not only that women need more independence, flexibility in sex role and liberation to be able to represent their lives and concerns in literature.  I liked this a lot more than I expected to.  I spent a Sunday afternoon/evening listening and reading it and ate it alive.

 A Science Fiction book (Popsugar):

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The Time Machine, HG Wells

I like HG Wells for a short dose of culture founding, oft referenced classic literature. This story hurtled HG Wells into science fiction fame. And for my own writing he might be good for a spinoff. This book also makes commentary on social strata and idyllic societies.  Being only a four hour listen and about 112 pages long, it gives a window into the time and world of HG Wells as well as being typical of the science fiction writing of the day. It’s one of those reads that does not take much of your time but makes many more references make sense.

A Book Under 100 Pages (BookRiot):

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The Art of War, Sun Tzu

This was harder to find than one would think.  Every time I thought I had a short lined up, I would find that most editions were really a little over 100 pages (like The Time Machine, or Julie Otsuka’s Buddha in the Attic which was discounted recently and I have been jonesin for an excuse to read) or then I was like, does this really count as more of a short story instead? I love how audible has a channel of short classics now. I feel like they don’t count as books.

But what a good time to get through The Art of War.  At 72 pages, this is all pretty common sense stuff about war, but what we know about common sense stuff is it is not always as common as it may seem.  It’s about how to win war with the least possible strain to the victor, like waging war for short periods of time and understanding your enemy.  I am really excited that I did not marry the guy who told me that it was a helpful guide to successful relationships. I am fine if my husband knows my weaknesses but clearly I don’t need them exploited.  I listened to this during a morning walk.

Next week will be my stats for the first two thirds of my 2016 reading! And then it is time to resist the inevitability of Fall.  More reading challenge progress also on the way.

Comments/questions/shares are always appreciated.

 

Reading Challenge: Death and Mayhem

accidental tomatoes

August is already slipping away.

I feel like I should explain the featured image in contrast to this entry’s title.  Tomatoes say August to me.  Death and mayhem…not necessarily.  But maybe Death and Mayhem will pull in some people, and then maybe others will be like “oh that’s a seasonally relevant picture, what’s all this about death and mayhem?  Wow!  I just can’t stop reading this blog about books that lured me in with pictures of almost ripe tomatoes!”

Summer has always been a good time for me to make real progress with my reading for the year because I have two hour car rides to spend the weekend with my parents.  A portable DVD player and a nap-timed drive have helped to make these possible.

In both of my list dingers this week people die!  The weather is intense and people go to extremes.  Setting plays an active role and the stakes are high.

Popsugar wanted a book that takes place during the summer. It seems that the summer stories that I was combing were coming of age.  I was not in the mood of coming of age stories.  I chose a “summer that changed everything” story but not as in a child sliding into maturity. I have eyed this book for awhile and then I was thrilled to find I had an excuse to read it this year.  And it was on sale for awhile:

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Frog Music, Emma Donoghue

I did not know this book was a reconstruction of true historical events until I got to the notes at the end.  (I knew that right at the get go with Burial Rites by Hannah Kent). Through the book I loved the characters, especially the murder victim Jenny Bonnet, and how she went through the world and then her slowly evolving backstory.  I loved how the main character Blanche changes as a result of her relationship with Jenny.  Blanche is already powerful in her way when the story starts and then finds a new kind of power through her first real friendship with Jenny. I did not know these had been real people with real misfortunes, the history that makes Jenny who she is actually was a real person’s history.  Everyone is living on the edge of starvation and disaster, and then there is Jenny, who meets disaster early on.

Donoghue masters setting and context to make this historical reconstruction really something special.  It is a hot summer in the middle of a smallpox outbreak in an 1800s melting pot San Francisco with different ethnicities than New York boasted:  Chinese and Mexicans rather than Italians and Jews and the Irish wrestling one another for a decent footing in the world.  I love stories in early New York City, that fight to survive in this wholly new and dirty city.

And one more bit for this gripping story: Donoghue did her research about the effects of early neglect on a baby. I have worked with children with this early burden of damage and she knew how to write a child raised in absolute neglect and how the child can make a turn around with the appropriate human contact.  I was just as gripped with how the baby would grow as I was about the changes in Blanche, or the story behind Jenny, or the relationship between her lover Arthur and his companion Ernest.  This book was intense, absorbing, and surprising.  I loved it as a reconstructed historical mystery.

Not sure I am going to read Room, her more famous work.  That seems in no way relaxing. Frog Music was not exactly relaxing but I like a story to engage me on a stage that I can’t quite as closely relate to.  I can understand the intensity of living on the brink of destruction in a hot and ill city full of minorities intellectually and it piques my intellectual curiosity.  A child escaping a room that is all he knows…I don’t know.  My smarts can’t necessarily spirit me through the parts that may be too difficult for my heart on that one.

BookRiot wanted a horror book.  It was actually the first thing that they wanted!

I like Ania Ahlborn, a self pub horror artist who makes my breath catch in my throat, but I had this one on audio and that seems to make anything win lately.  I have not read Within These Walls of hers yet. For my horror pick:

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The Shining, Stephen King

This is my third King novel.  It reminded me a lot of It, which is not a bad thing. It was more interesting to me than scary, however, I am not sure I am going to watch the movie.  Mayhaps I am being too bold here.

King is adept at spinning out the vulnerabilities of his characters to make them susceptible to the events of his horror plots.  A man struggling with a recovery from a disastrous addiction (although what addiction isn’t really disastrous?), a precocious child with a gift that neither he nor his parents understand and that also fuels the supernatural fires, a wife that wants to make things work for her family.  An isolation that was originally intended to be healing after the family’s rending recent history in a place with a checkered history.  Of course those are a lot of brinks to teeter on.  It is not just about the events of the horror, it is how it acts upon who these characters are.  I was interested in the psychology of the father and son more than I was about trying to figure out why the hotel seemed to want them and how it was going to get them.

I think about King writing in his tub and tapping his cigarette ashes in the toilet as he barfed out his prolifically creative guts as I read the people and the scenarios he paints. I am thinking about reading something of his that could feel different from It and The Shining and Carrie.  Maybe The Stand, or The Green Mile.   I am open to suggestions from anyone who knows a bulk of his work.  Also, interested to know how Doctor Sleep might serve as a sequel to The Shining.

So everyone is dying to be in my reading challenge this time.  And I got a great shot of tomatoes that grew unintended from my throwing rotted vegetables outside rather than in the trash.

Recommendations for another King (I have Misery, too, come to think of it).

Comments/questions/likes/shares are always welcome!!!

Reading Challenge: The Famous Weigh In

still foolin em

And a two-fer!

Popsugar’s list this year seemed to be more focused on more popular reading than the classics:  A book written by a celebrity and one written by a comedian, neither of which I would read otherwise.  I seem to be more into reading about new cultures and parts of the world than popular reading.

I really struggle to care about celebrities and I did not want to read memoirs about the privileged. I really had to root through Goodreads to find a book that I might possibly care anything about.  My father and sister love old school Hollywood and I have had some exposure to that, so I listened to

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Dropped Names, Frank Langella

The pinnacle highs and the rock bottom lows of the Hollywood existence. It is about individual celebrities but there is the same trajectory for all of them: amazing talent and then a devastating drop into loneliness and obscurity.  People being mocked by others in the industry that they themselves used to rule. These huge and glamorous lives share everyone’s loneliness and basic humanity underneath it all.  I have not coveted the life of a celebrity since I left elementary school and I am good with my obscurity.  Awesome with my common life, in fact.

I really had to push to get through this.  I put the Audible book on  a faster speed.  This would be great for someone who really likes the background stories of the famous, and not become depressed or bogged down by the details.  Langella is honest and a good writer.  Just because this was really not my cup of tea does not mean that it was not well done.

A book written by a comedian was a somewhat easier sell.  I can’t tell you that I don’t have Yes,Please and Bossypants in my kindle files, but they come more highly recommended from my friends than most other celebrity works.   But I listened to the one that also won and Audie Award, which was a criteria from the BookRiot list so I killed two birds with one stone.  My two-fer:

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Still Foolin’ Em, Billy Crystal

I did infinitely better with this one, despite the fact that I am pretty neutral about Billy.  I liked this more because to me it was so much more heartfelt and human.  Billy is spending his life pursuing his creativity, of course, but he is a family man at heart.  He has loved the same woman since he was 18 years old and he is closing in on 70.  No stormy and meaningless affairs but a wife and two girls who he was there for and is now there for at least four grandchildren.  He is open about his wounds from his grief over those he loved.  He loves baseball and does not take for granted that he has gotten to know and live some childhood dreams that he had with baseball.  He is humble and clear that he has taken advantage of rare opportunities. He writes about the panic he experienced with family in Manhattan on the day of September 11.  He writes about what giving away treasured daughters in marriage is like. He is open and matter of fact about the discrimination that he has faced as a Jew, but also makes fun of Judaism. I mean, it is interesting to hear about the joy of getting to be on Johnny Carson, but I can relate to the family and the grief and the poking fun at one’s own traditions much more.

This probably won the Audie because of course he performs it himself, and starts every section with a comedy routine that discusses the era of life from which he will spin his next few chapters of life story.  He is funny, poignant, and performing, and then he is just real.

The heartening aspect of this book kept me much more engaged and I should probably watch When Harry Met Sally again, now that I know the story about how it came to be.  I watched it once when I was fifteen and completely disillusioned about love, which really can happen at fifteen.  I think it’s actually more likely at fifteen because I would like to think I understand a smidge more about human relationships now than I did then.  I hope I can enjoy it more this time.

So, I like the hopeful human stories more than the glamour and the height of genius, talent and creativity. I guess I can get through it when a celebrity has human and loving stories, not just the fame.

Am I alone in this?

Comments/shares/likes are always welcome!

 

 

 

 

 

Reading Challenge: Dystopias

the selection

 

I have dedicated the month of August to marking progress on any and all relevant reading challenges.  I read Station Eleven for a post apocalyptic book last year and wow. I loved it and I know that I am not alone.  I loved people keeping art alive to enlighten those left, I loved the story of the comic writer who was married to a famous actor for a time.

This year both Popsugar and BookRiot wanted dystopian novels and I want to say I read two different ones to really take these challenges to another ;level, but really, I liked the pretty dresses on the covers of the series I read.  I boasted a few weeks ago on an article I shared regarding the purpose behind Elena Ferrante’s abysmal book covers that I don’t read books with high heels or martini glasses or purses or shopping bags on the cover, but I don’t seem to be so immune to ball gowns.  And I would rather drink martinis and go shopping than be a princess, so this makes even less sense.

For the first dystopian choice:

the iron heel

The Iron Heel, Jack London

I have read 1984 and Brave New World already, and I wanted to read the first modern dystopia.  But you know, it was about a communist revolution if it had happened in America around WWI-1920’s more than I would consider it a dystopia like one of those or like Hunger Games or Red Queen. The dystopia is how I imagine America really was at that point in history, despite the fact that it was not intentionally created to be a few living rich on the backs of many oppressed. Our government was formed originally with the intent of having as little government as possible, and capitalism just is that way, although in theory it offers everyone the same opportunity to ascend whereas the other dystopian novels I have read suggest that people do not have a way to move up in the world.  I mean, I say in theory anyone can ascend in capitalism, as I am aware of all the other forces at play to keep some with particular immutable disadvantages from really rising.  Anyway, I was surprised this was considered that when it seems more of a treatise on communism. I don’t think it is a spoiler to share with you that the actual Iron Heel in the book is capitalism. It was okay, it was a good read to have as the basis for others. If I have to read another non YA dystopia I am thinking of reading We by Yevgeny Zamyatin as that is another one that shows up in the little Amazon spend more money cluster that they put on the book webpages.

So, if The Iron Heel was my dose of history, my dystopian guilty pleasure quickly followed on the heels of The Iron Heel (haha):

the selection

 

The Selection Series, Kiera Cass

This is more what I expected out of a dystopia.  It is like Red Queen and Hunger Games in that people are born into castes where they are supposed to stay and then the girls break out. In the previous two books, the girls find a way up by being awesome, and in this one, they find a way up by being selected as a possible bride for the prince.  Not as kick ass feminism and hard core revolution as the other two.  The plot is slower, the conflicts are less intense, there is theoretically a lot at stake (ruling a country!) but the main character is not sure how much she really wants to be a princess or if she is up to it through most of the first three.  I only read the first three of the five because the other two are about the next princess and I don’t care about her right now.  I was only going to read the first of this trilogy but then I got invested.  Even though I was pretty sure I knew how it would turn out. And it was good for my burnt brain even though even my burnt brain wanted a big chunk of action to be spread out longer than the last twenty percent of the last book. I could have done with a little more girl on girl drama, although I know that the author probably didn’t want a lot of mean girl unhealthy stuff going on in a YA book.  Young girls often don’t want to read about that or they don’t need it as a model, and finding oneself is a healthier theme for girls reading princess books rather than conquering bitches. Probably also because once you find yourself bitches lose their power over you.

This was not a bad book, it just depends on what you want when you are reading.  Do you want the love story and the emotional journeys of the characters as the foreground, or do you want the revolution and bad assery and intense plotting and people dying in the foreground?  If you want the emotional stuff more then this would be fitting.  In all three series I am talking about here young girls are finding themselves, and reconciling how to manage real leadership positions. I am glad these kinds of books are selling to young girls. Lure you in with royalty and ball gowns and then read about girls finding and using their many assets for the good of many.

As a note about dystopias, I read them more than I intend to. I think I don’t want them and then I do because now I am really feeling a hole about not having read Ally Condie’s Matched series.  I think that it is similar to the Selection series.  That I just kind of bashed.  I don’t make any sense.

Like this? Share/comment/like!

More reading challenge posts on their way for the month of August.

5 over 500: The Name of the Rose

the name of the rose

All right, so Abebooks said that this book counts as magical realism. I was like sweet I can finish my over 500 challenge and continue my world tour of magical realism. (I could also theoretically do this with A Winter’s Tale, but the reviews of that book are sooooo lukewarm I have been slow to tackle it. And to think I used to get annoyed with friends who only wanted to go to movies with good reviews.)

This was not magical realism. I understand that magical realism has about a million definitions but there needs to at least be some sort of magic, I feel all the definitions agree on this, and there were no supernatural events that I could discern.  Maybe a tiny bit of precognition.  But no pots turning into worms or angry ghosts/people who will not stay dead.  There were a lot of deaths in this one, but guess what: everyone stayed that way.

This book was discounted on Amazon through the month of June (mayhaps into July but I am writing this post in June so I can’t tell the future) and somehow I accidentally paid for the audio version and sometimes when I accidentally violate my inconsistent how to be a cheap ass rules I justify it by saying it was meant to be.  Not by returning the purchase which could make more sense.  If I am not being cheap it is for a spiritual reason, right?   God wants me to have it.

This book is often described as a murder mystery, and it is, but there is a lot more to it than that.  The monks in the 13th century Franciscan abbey debate the philosophical/theological disagreements of their time, as well as the narrator wrestling with his own conception of sins of the flesh and how they can deepen ones relationship to God and with the world.  So there are philosophical parts, and then after a particularly pithy go round about something like if Jesus laughed or not (which is one of the actual debates) Eco puts in more exciting things, like someone dies or discusses sex, which then refreshes my brain a little to read through the next philosophical chunk.  I don’t  mind a good philosophy wrestle if some of my more base interests are intermittently piqued.  Also, the main protagonist does a lot of Sherlock Holmes-type deduction which I find fascinating.

I can’t say I couldn’t benefit from another re-read because I am sure I missed some points and I didn’t have sparknotes helping a sister out, and I did read the preface where some context is supplied.  I looked on Wiki after reading it but Wiki has spoilers and if I knew the end I might not have been able to hang in.   So clearly I wouldn’t tell the end.

It was DaVinci Code-esque in some of the themes, like hidden knowledge, mysteries and code, but it is not so fast paced and universally appealing.  Requires brainwork. And patience with untranslated globs of Latin. If I had not been reading other more immediately gratifying works this book would have chewed down my delicate brain cogs a bit. So I really hope no one reads this book because they think I said it is just like Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code and totally get irritated with me and completely disregard my blog.  If you want to disregard my blog, cool, but at least have it be over something legit.

My dad said that The Name of the Rose was also a great movie.

I’d check out more Eco.  I wonder if some of his other works are a touch more accessible but I have not cased Goodreads enough to know.

So, I finished this book by the end of June so I completed this challenge in six months.  I still want to keep on with the fat tomes before my attention span dwindles even more as I age.  Funny aside though, it is amazing how my attention span extends once I take even a day or two from work.  It’s like a complete brain refresh.  I have other books for reading challenges that are over 500 and I am still working on beating my page number from 2012. At the end of June I was over halfway there!

Comments/Questions/Likes/Shares are great.

 

Review: Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

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I would not want to be tasked with writing a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  

I have seen the other three books of the Austen project on Goodreads and their lukewarm, at best, receptions. Although Eligible is the only retelling from the Austen Project that I have tackled, and the only of Sittenfeld’s novels I have yet read, I doubt that the ambivalence about this and the other novels is about the writers of them not doing an admirable job.  To modernize novels so loved and so contexualized would require a more game and flexible and curious reader, not one who just wants the original, or one that thinks they are willing to give the modern writer a chance to do a decent spin and then inevitably finds that nothing other than the original will do.

It is hard to redo a historical romance set in modern times, the fact aside that it is such an adored story just how it is.  Women do not have to shuffle off into marriage to survive and be accepted and “happy” these days. And social mobility is not the challenge that it once was, and I don’t know how much it matters to many people today. The stakes are not so high for a woman whose family cannot support her into adulthood,  so Sittenfeld and the other writers had to create stakes that are significant by today’s standards.

In this, Sittenfeld did an awesome job.  She found a way to create scandal that is timely and relevant.  She wrote about how the modern idle rich do it.  And she found a way to create romantic tension between characters in a day where the ultimate goal can be marriage but it can also just be having a chance to see how a relationship plays out with someone whom you are not sure how they feel about you, but you are pretty sure that you would move the world for them, even if you are not entirely sure why.  She perfectly encapsulated the torture that it is to be around someone you love, but you do not know how they feel about you, and everyone is around all the time so you can’t tell them or try to figure it out.  Liz has to make more assumptions in this that she does not challenge in order to make this plot tension work in a world where a woman can just call or text a man and ask.  In Austen’s world, having frank conversations with men about how they feel about you is not nearly so simple, so Sittenfeld had to have Liz make assumptions, as well as notice near the end of the novel that she is not fact checking nearly as much as usual and maybe she should be doing this, and then does.

Sittenfeld also does admirably with the characters.  Everyone changes in this book, at least a little, and I feel like in the original, characters like Mary and Kitty are stagnant, mostly used to emphasize the burden on the parents and the absolute disgrace that the Bennet family can work up to.  The characters were completely indolent and entitled in the beginning and there are other plots in place to move them along all to change for the better, which was a nice added bonus.  I kind of wanted to punch them in the face in the beginning, even Jane a little, which is the same as the original, but with the context I can better relate to I really was irritated with the lazy entitlement.  This was also made worse with the fact that I read Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates while I was reading Eligible.

This does not mean I agreed with everything in the novel but over all I felt it was well done, especially for a difficult assignment in the first place.  I mean, no one is asking me to write a modern iteration of a well known and loved classic novel. But to sum:

Liked:

Lydia was hilarious.  Funnier than Liz.  Liz had cheesy humor.   She really is not as funny as she thinks she is, which is mentioned in the book, ha. Lydia’s was sharp.  I feel like this was on purpose, as Liz is not really meant to be a mean girl and Lydia kind of is.

The first time Darcy declares his love.

As I said before, she had new ways of making relevant and timely scandal.

Disliked:

Lady DeBourg did not have the tie in to Darcy that she does in the original, or to Collins.  I loved it when she busted in on Liz in the original all trying to tell her what to do and Liz is like, no, and then you are like damn, this Darcy thing is real.

The final declaration of love.  Just no.  Not going to spoil it.

Liz having to make assumptions sucked but there would not be the dragged out tension without it.

And then I have to admit, after hinting that I just might be that cool and flexible reader that can give a modern retelling a fighting chance, I had to get used to some of the casual sex.   If I am going to read more retellings I have to accept that characters are going to have sex when not married because it is not realistic to have them hold on to the old views if her characters are going to continue to be awesome and appealing.

Full disclosure:  I am not as cool as I thought.

I definitely am keeping Sittenfeld’s Sisterland on my TBR and I am open to her other stuff.  I have the Emma by Alexander McCall Smith, and I have The Nest on my library list although that is not the Sense and Sensibility from the original Austen project.  Now I also want to re-read the original P&P to see where it is different in places I did not catch, which I think is a compliment to both Eligible and the original.

Comments/likes/shares? Absolutely.

Two Books About Mothers and Children

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This is the week of my 35th birthday.  It has been a distressing past few months, age wise, realizing I am not even close to the youngest person in the office, like I once was.  I have co workers that are fully ten years my junior.  Ten years!  What!  And this week will top it off, marking thirty five full trips around the sun and start me fresh on my thirty sixth.

I am ready to stop getting older now that I have had my son and finished my formal schooling (which was, admittedly, already six years ago since I got that final crown, my license to practice Psychology).  But, since I can’t prevent it, I’ll have to just do my best to enjoy the years that will continue to roll over me.

I accidentally read two books in a row that have to do with the complications between mothers and daughters.  Fathers or lack thereof did not figure heavily in the two books I am posting about today.  I think everyone at some point has some complications with parents, in all the forms in which parents come, even moms who probably do okay but decide when you are born that they are finished aging

A Book From Oprah’s Book Club (Popsugar):

I have actually read a lot of her chosen books, as my mother got into her club before she moved into the classics and used to be a primary source for book recommendations before book blog lists on Facebook or the emails that I let publishers send me or the annual reading challenges.  But I had not read:

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White Oleander, Janet Fitch

And in full disclosure I only listened to the audio which I got on sale and only after the fact discovered that all I had was the abridged version.  I try to avoid abridged versions of books at all costs, not seeing the point of a shortened version of something. However, Oprah did a lovely job with this recording.  The familiarity of her voice did not interfere with her reading of the story.  I forgot she was there.

I thought this book was more about the murder of the mother’s boyfriend, not the complications of Astrid’s resulting foster care placements, and her mother who manages to continue to be a black widow spider all the way from the confines of prison.  The different ways that families live and unravel is fascinating. Her mother was the kind of distant and brilliant ice queen whose love any daughter would pine for. I liked the choice that her mother made in the end, but I will not spoil it and say what it was.  It reminded me of Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, another un-putdownable book.  The characterization is what really made White Oleander.  And now I am probably on some level committed to watching the movie.  But that is an okay commitment to have undergone.

A Book That Takes Place in Your Home State (Popsugar):

So what if I just wanted to read this, and it is brand new this year and my stalking of its’ price paid off?  A modern Gothic novel where damaged children channel the dead to fill the time.  I would fit it into categories and find other books to blog along with it later.  And then I find out that the setting of my home state of New York is a serious element of this novel? So what if I am so lucky?

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Mr. Splitfoot, Samantha Hunt

This book says everything about motherhood that I would say if I were to write a novel.  I can’t even be angry at Samantha Hunt for stealing ideas from the wrinkles of my brain because she is so articulate.  There are wanted children, and unwanted children, a woman turning into a mother, a son trying to get back to his mother.  There is a cult, cosmic events, discussions with the dead, and a convergence of stories that artfully twine together. I have to be careful about talking about my favorite parts because I don’t want to give away the twists.  The book even traverses familiar parts of this here home state. She uses brand names for the creation of a specific context of time and place.  I think her references will continue to add to the novel into the time when the context is more obscure than it is now.  Her prose is vivid and she speaks universal truths and crisp metaphors.  What a beautiful novel.  If you like a bit of the supernatural, some creepy settings, some Gothic, and characters that love and are loved despite deep seated damage, this book is for you.

Shares/Likes/Comments are always appreciated.