Narcissistic Autobiographies

I read a book for work tonight, a travel autobiography about a woman who thinks she’s hilarious and that everything that ever happened to her in her entire life is fascinating. Guess what? It’s not. How do these people get published? I guess if you’re a woman, it helps to be really crude and vulgar. That’s what passes for feminism these days. Well, you depress me, Sarah Silverman and your ilk. Get a life. (Just don’t assume I want to know about it.) Share on…

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Buzz, Buzz, Buzz

I have had too much to read these days, and my brain is losing its ability to absorb what I’m reading. I’m hitting a saturation point and I can’t absorb Room with a View, which I’m reading for pleasure. This is obviously very depressing to me. All the little words are like grains of couscous spilled out on the counter. They’re everywhere, I can’t get them all in one place, and they’re useless for making anything from them. Share on Facebook

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Pretending to Read

An article in today’s New York Times on Louis Bayard’s How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read?, a best-seller in France that’s coming our way. Bayard says that his book is a satire, not meant to be taken seriously, though grounded in the truth that it is possible to fake your way through a conversation about literature without having read the book(s) being discussed. Share on Facebook

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A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Synopsis: The destinies of two men who look almost like twins are intertwined with a prisoner of the Bastille and his golden-haired daughter, as the drums of the French Revolution bring death, destruction, and La Guillotine ever closer. Review: A Tale of Two Cities is three of five for the Classics Challenge. I don’t think I’m going to accomplish the goal, not because I wasn’t reading but because I should’ve signed up for Anna Karenina. Oh well. Dickens I have loved, and Dickens I have…

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Judgment in Stone by Ruth Rendell

Synopsis: An illiterate housekeeper’s resentment of the privileged family she serves boils over into a murderous rage. Review: Judgement in Stone was turned into an incredible movie called La Ceremonie by Claude Chabrol, starring Sandrine Bonnaire as Eunice, the “stone” of the title, and the marvelous Isabelle Huppert as Joan, the local postmistress who fans the flames of Eunice’s anger. This is yet another case of a film adaptation that is truthful to the book, but that can also stand on its own. Share on…

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I Am The Cheese by Robert Cormier

Synopsis: A teenage boy reconstructs the moment he discovered a secret about his past that might prove deadly. Review: Cormier is best known for The Chocolate War (Laurel Leaf Books), a grimly compelling fable about the perils of conformity. I Am the Cheese (Laurel-Leaf Library) has the same air of mystery about it, but it’s a less successful work in my opinion. I read it a bunch of times as a kid, and revisiting it didn’t reveal any new layers. Share on Facebook

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Deep Cover

A friend of mine and I were emailing about Robin Hobb’s Six Duchies books, and she wrote about why she liked them: Heroes aren’t all good. Love alone doesn’t conquer all. Women don’t pine away and die. Even the annoying characters can grow up and become really interesting. > This is why I read. This is what I’m looking for. One of my favorite techniques used by writers to create this depth is what I’m calling “deep cover,” after the Lawrence Fishburne movie where he…

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Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik

Review: The second in trilogy begun in His Majesty’s Dragon finds Temeraire and Laurence traveling by sea to China where Temeraire will take his rightful place as the dragon of an emperor–not a member of His Royal Majesty’s Navy battling against an ever-encroaching Napoleon. Review: Throne of Jade is a more than worthy installment in the tale of Temeraire, a dragon hatched from an egg given by China to Napoleon but seized by the English. When Temeraire hatched, the first person he saw was naval…

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