Friday, June 29, 2012

30-Day Book Challenge - Day 07

Day 07 - Most Underrated Book

I'm not really sure how to categorize a book into underrated. I feel like overrated is easy - a book gets a ton of hype and then I hate it. Under... I realize that means that people haven't given it the time of day but it's really good, etc. But that's like - most of literature. So, I'm settling on The Jane Austen Book Club, by Karen Joy Fowler. The movie based on the book is super cheesy - yet one of those guilty pleasures I can watch anytime. I picked up the book anticipating the same sort of brainless fun, but was instead greeted by a beautifully written, gorgeous novel.

Purchase Now from Amazon:  The Jane Austen Book Club

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Book Sleuth - The Black Nile

#FridayReads has been such a great source for finding new and exciting reads. I've already read one on the recommendation of a friday reads reader and bought another
From Amazon:
With news of tenuous peace in Sudan, foreign correspondent Dan Morrison bought a plank-board boat, summoned a childhood friend who'd never been off American soil and set out from Uganda, paddling the White Nile on a quest to reach Cairo-a trip that tyranny and war had made impossible for decades.
Morrison's chronicle is a mashup of travel narrative and reportage, packed with flights into the frightful and the absurd. Through river mud that engulfs him and burning marshlands that darken the sky, he tracks the snarl of commonalities and conflicts that bleed across the Nile valley, bringing to life the waters that connect the hardscrabble fishing villages of Lake Victoria to the floating Cairo nightclubs where headscarved mothers are entertained by gyrating male dancers. In between are places and lives invisible to cable news and opinion blogs: a hidden oil war that has erased entire towns, secret dams that will flood still more and contested borderlands where acts of compassion and ingenuity defy appalling hardship and waste of life. As Morrison dodges every imaginable hazard, from militia gunfire to squalls of sand, his mishaps unfold in strange harmony with the breathtaking range of individuals he meets along the way. Relaying the voices of Sudanese freedom fighters and escaped Ugandan sex slaves, desert tribesmen and Egyptian tomb raiders, The Black Nile culminates in a visceral understanding of one of the world's most elusive hotspots, where millions strive to claw their way from war and poverty to something better-if only they could agree what that something is, whom to share it with, and how to get there.
With the propulsive force of a thriller, The Black Nile is rife with humor, humanity and fervid insight-an unparalleled portrait of a complex territory in profound transition.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

30-Day Book Challenge - Day 06

Day 06 - A Book That Makes You Sad

Raven, by Tim Reiterman took such an emotional toll on me. The book took me a year to finish and,  nearly two years later, I'm still reeling. The importance of the book is great. After finishing, I forced myself to watch some documentaries about The People's Temple. It broke my heart to actually see and hear some of the people I'd grown to know through the book - seeing their enthusiasm and knowing they'd all soon die at the hands of a manipulative sociopath.

"Reiterman does a fantastic job of detailing both the positive and negative aspects of the People's Temple. It's altogether too easy to dismiss what happened, to think of the followers as crazy, to believe you could never get caught up in something similar. But the social and political climate of the time helped to foster the rapid growth of a belief system that preached equality for all. And the people, many of whom Reiterman gives detailed accounts, were downtrodden minorities or reformed drug addicts or people disillusioned by their own religions, people who didn't belong - People's Temple, in its beginnings, gave them all something to be a part of. By the time things took a turn for the worst, it was too late."

Purchase Now from Amazon: Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

We Need to Talk About Kevin - Lionel Shriver

Rating: 5 stars

This novel is nothing short of perfection. Set during the period of time in the 90s when school shootings were nearly considered a fad, Eva Khatchadourian tells the story of her son Kevin, an almost-sixteen-year-old sociopath who went on a killing spree in his high-school gymnasium. Through a series of poignant letters written to her estranged husband, Franklin, Eva talks honestly about Kevin and her fear that the ambivalence she'd felt toward being a mother was the reason for his monstrous nature.

In a way - it's a classic novel of nature versus nurture. Though Eva is certainly selfish and extremely self-absorbed, she tries her hardest to be what she is not - a good mother - by cutting back hours at her high powered, self-made job and attempting to enrich Kevin's every day in every way. And the opposite - though Franklin loves his son and is a fantastic role model, he refuses to see any fault in his son, to the point where Kevin quips in an interview - "What does that mean, your dad 'loves' you and hasn't a [bleep]ing clue who you are? What's he love, then?" Neither Eva nor Franklin were ideal parents. But they weren't terrible either. So, Kevin could have been influenced by either his mother's coldness or his father's eagerness. He could have been an angry, misunderstood boy whose parents lacked the wherewithal to figure out how to truly connect and save him. Or... he could have been born a sociopath.

Because of the genius way in which this novel is crafted - my interest level was somewhere around medium toward the beginning, where the pacing is slower and the reader is just beginning to understand, and possibly dislike Eva. She is self-indulgent and obviously slightly unreliable. Her memories of Kevin are colored both by her dislike of the boy and by the mass-murdering incident which landed him in jail. But there's also a tenderness there. As she berates herself and her husband, she attempts to understand - the love she has grown to bear (and it is a burden) is unconditional. And so, as the novel moves on the pace quickens and the characters become more realistic. The reader, perhaps a little under the spell of the good fool Franklin, tries to figure out what is real, and what is memory influenced. Only to realize that no matter what - the truth is rather grim. As we round in on the end, fully convinced that no matter how prejudiced Eva is - Kevin is fully responsible for all of the building small acts of evil - acts that were seen by Franklin and sometimes others as 'boys being boys' or 'accidents.' And somehow, even though the end is inevitable - just enough is withheld or only alluded to, that the ending is still shocking. .

Perhaps what makes this novel its most terrifying is its explicit honesty. For all that we do to try and read the warning signs - a Kevin is still a possibility. In fact, you could probably meet him tomorrow, and not really have any idea at all.

Click here for memorable passages/quotes from the book. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

30-Day Book Challenge - Day 05

Day 05 - A Book That Makes You Happy

I'm sure there are many others that would contend for this spot. But The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was well-written and moving - yet also an incredibly simple and easy read. It's the kind of book a book snob might deign to read on the beach. Whatever - it's beautiful! And I found myself wishing with all of my heart that I could meet all of these characters. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

New York, Phew York is here!

Via Tim Probert:

"It's here! New York, Phew York has arrived.  I received my copies a few days ago and they look snazzy.  And they smell snazzier.If you're interested in getting a copy, you can find them here - Thanks again to everyone for their support on this project!"

Thursday, June 21, 2012

30-Day Book Challenge - Day 04

Day 04 - A Guilty Pleasure Book

I've got a tag on Shelfari for these as well, but unfortunately - it seems I've only ever tagged Nancy Drew titles. I'm not even sure what to put for this one - being that I'm so incredibly snobby about what I read. Last year, I went on a celebrity-bio rampage - Chelsea Handler, Tina Fey and Michael Caine. Those were all guilty pleasure reads, but they were also necessary for that period of time in my life, when I couldn't concentrate on anything heavier.

So, I think I'll go with Meg Cabot's Princess Diaries. I've not read them all - but I've read most. And I think they're great - funny and incredibly well-written. 

Purchase Now from Amazon: Princess Diaries 10-copy Boxed Set

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Classics Club

I've been following A Room of One's Own for a while, but I don't know why I haven't jumped on The Classics Club sooner. The basic rules are - supply a list of 50+ classic novels that you'd like to read along with a goal for when you'd like to complete said list. Post that list and start reading. That's the super incredibly simple version of Jillian's rules - travel on over to her blog for a more complete understanding of how to join.

My goal is to read 75 classics by the end of 2017. That's about 15 classics a year.


  1. Shakespeare - Macbeth - 1603
  2. Alexandre Dumas - The Count of Monte Cristo - 1844
  3. Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Crime and Punishment - 1866
  4. Louisa May Alcott - Little Women - 1868
  5. F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby - 1925
  6. Ernest Hemingway - The Sun Also Rises - 1926
  7. Margaret Mitchell - Gone with the Wind - 1936
  8. J.R.R. Tolkein - The Hobbit - 1937
  9. Ernest Hemingway - For Whom the Bell Tolls - 1940
  10. E.L. Doctorow - Ragtime - 1975

    New Reads

  11. Homer - The Odyssey - 800 BC
  12. Homer - The Illiad - 800 BC

  13. Shakespeare - Othello - 1565
  14. Shakespeare - Henry VI, I - 1591
  15. Shakespeare - Henry VI, II - 1591
  16. Shakespeare - Henry VI, III - 1591
  17. Shakespeare - Comedy of Errors - 1592
  18. Shakespeare - Richard III - 1593
  19. Shakespeare - Richard II - 1596
  20. Shakespeare - Merchant of Venice - 1596
  21. Shakespeare - Henry IV, I - 1597
  22. Shakespeare - Henry IV, II - 1597
  23. Shakespeare - Henry V - 1598
  24. Shakespeare - Much Ado About Nothing - 1598

  25. Shakespeare - As You Like it - 1600
  26. Shakespeare - The Winter's Tale - 1610
  27. Shakespeare - Antony & Cleopatra - 1623

  28. Daniel DeFoe - Moll Flanders - 1722
  29. Jonathan Swift - Gulliver's Travels - 1726
  30. Voltaire - Candide - 1759
  31. Ann Radcliffe - Mysteries of Udolpho - 1794

  32. Jane Austen - Northanger Abbey - 1817
  33. Victor Hugo - The Hunchback of Notre Dame - 1831
  34. Nikolay Gogol - Dead Souls - 1842
  35. Harriet Beecher Stowe - Uncle Tom's Cabin - 1852
  36. Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The House of the Dead - 1861
  37. Victor Hugo - Les Miserables - 1862
  38. Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Notes from the Underground - 1864
  39. Leo Tolstoy - War & Peace - 1869
  40. Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Eternal Husband - 1870
  41. Mark Twain - Roughing It - 1872
  42. Jules Verne - Around the World in Eighty Days - 1873
  43. Thomas Hardy - Far from the Madding Crowd - 1874
  44. Jules Verne - Journey to the Center of the Earth - 1874
  45. Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov - 1880
  46. Charlotte Perkins Gilman - The Yellow Wallpaper - 1892

  47. J.M. Barrie - Peter Pan and Wendy - 1911
  48. D.H. Lawrence - Women in Love - 1920
  49. Sinclair Lewis - Babbitt - 1922
  50. Virginia Woolf - Mrs. Dalloway - 1925
  51. Ernest Hemingway - The Torrents of Spring - 1926
  52. Aldous Huxley - Brave New World - 1932
  53. Ernest Hemingway - Death in the Afternoon - 1932
  54. F. Scott Fitzgerald - Tender is the Night - 1934
  55. Ernest Hemingway - Green Hills of Africa - 1935
  56. James Gunther - Death Be Not Proud - 1949
  57. Ernest Hemingway - Across the River and Into the Trees - 1950
  58. Vladimir Nabokov - Speak, Memory - 1951
  59. Boris Pasternek - Doctor Zhivago - 1957
  60. Ayn Rand - Atlas Shrugged - 1957
  61. Truman Capote - Breakfast at Tiffany's - 1958
  62. Shirley Jackson - The Haunting of Hill House - 1959
  63. Ernest Hemingway - The Dangerous Summer - 1959
  64. Thomas Pynchon - V - 1963
  65. Truman Capote - In Cold Blood - 1966
  66. Mikhail Bulgakov - The Master and Margarita - 1967
  67. Ursula K. Le Guin - Left Hand of Darkness - 1969
  68. Ernest Hemingway - Islands in the Stream - 1970
  69. Margaret Atwood - Cat's Eye - 1988
  70. John Irving - A Prayer for Owen Meany - 1989
  71. Tobias Wolff - This Boy's Life - 1989
  72. Tim O'Brien - The Things They Carried - 1990
  73. Art Spiegelman - Maus - 1991

  74. Margaret Atwood - The Blind Assassin - 2000
  75. Zadie Smith - White Teeth - 2000

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

30-Day Book Challenge - Day 03

Day 03 - Your favorite series

This one hands down has to go to Harry Potter. Though there are several other series that I love - Narnia, LOTR, Song of Ice and Fire - nothing even comes close to the unhealthy obsession I (and many others!) have when it comes to these books.

Not only are they magically addictive - but they're well-written, thought provoking, works of art. And I'll continue to unabashedly read/listen to them over and over and over, until the day I die.

Purchase Now from Amazon: Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-7)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Saving Bookstores One Store at a Time

As promised, during our drive down to Ward Pound Ridge Reservation on Saturday morning, Matt and I made a celebration of Saving Bookstores by stopping at two along our route. (It also forced us to take back roads down to the campsite, which not only meant no tolls, but also allowed us a gorgeous and quiet drive.) I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that #SaveBookstores wasn't a larger trend, but it seems the Facebook page was bursting with activity.

Blackwood & Brouwer - Kinderbrook, NY

                Divergent by Veronica Roth

This independent bookstore was small - yet quaint. In my mind, I had already chosen the books I'd hoped to purchase on this journey. However, the selection here was rather limited. Instead of being drawn to new titles on the shelf, I found that most of what they had on their shelves in terms of Fiction were titles I already owned (mind you, I own a lot of books, so this was probably my own damned fault.) My purchase of Divergent wasn't anything I got particularly excited about - it's a book I've been told to read by several people and hey - maybe I'll love it - I'm just not breaking out the band yet.

But, I'm not knocking this shop.  Instead, it's selection seemed to support local - local travel guides, history, lore, authors and artists. Which adds it's own charm - small town, small store, big heart. Matt and I were tempted into various corners to look through some of the pictorial histories of the area. The owner (it seemed to be a family operation, but I'm not entirely sure) was incredibly friendly. When I told her I was visiting because of this event and that I'd found her using Indiebound - she was ecstatic. The customers meandering around the store that morning seemed to know and love her well, taking time to chat with her by the counter as their kids picked out new books. All in all - if I lived in Kinderhook - I could see myself stopping by pretty frequently. 

                A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
                Under the Banner of Heaven - Jon Krakauer 

What a gorgeous store in such a gorgeous town! I'm pretty sure I repeatedly murmured, "Wow," as we drove in. The store itself was pretty large and very well organized. After my customary browsing - drooling over the gorgeous shelves -  I ended up in the section that I'd been hoping to find, housing the two books I'd set my heart on. 

I'm not sure whether or not the woman I spoke with was the owner. I really - I'm so single minded sometimes that I forget to ask important questions. Like - nice to meet you, what's your name? Gosh - anyway SHE (all of the people in the blog post are pronouns. Not confusing at all.) was really excited to hear about Save the Bookstores and offered to take our picture outside of the store. It's too bad we couldn't fit the store's fun lime green bag in the photo. I did take  a picture of the books on my lap with the bag as a backdrop and then forgot to post that photo to Twitter: 

Thank you to Kelly Sonnack for starting this thing. It was a great event set to support something that is very near and dear to all of our hearts - books and the bookstores that sell them! 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Save the Bookstores 2012

It's all about getting out there and supporting your favorite local bookstore. We're heading down to Westchester on the 16th for camping shenanigans - but that doesn't mean we can't stop at a store or two along the way! 

Here's just a few of my favorite independent bookstores: 

East Line Books - Clifton Park, NY
Market Block Books - Troy, NY
Flights of Fantasy - Albany, NY
Half Moon Books - Kingston, NY

If you're unsure where to find bookstores in your area, visit IndieBound. Using the site, I was able to find two bookstores that are on our route: 

The Book Cove - Pawling, NY

Get out there and save the bookstores! 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Windpower 2012 - Atlanta, Georgia

Last week my Marketing Manager and I attended AWEA's 2012 Windpower Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. It's a great show, though unfortunately - this year may have also been one of my last. The education element of the show is slowly but surely pulling away - leaving gigantic booths filled with mostly manufacturers and consultants. Last year it seemed a no brainer to participate in this show once we grew our Renewable Energy line a bit. This year... the idea no longer seemed so logical.

Still, our Tuesday at the show was well spent. Since we didn't have a booth for the show, we put together some guerrilla marketing tactics (coined by someone who saw what we were doing and was impressed). We had shirts made up as well as little social media cards - one of us was in charge of leading people to Twitter, the other Facebook. (BTW - follow or like us if you're the environmentally friendly type.)

Cool, right?

We started the day off with the general session. Karl Rove and Robert Gibbs sat down to discuss the bipartisan support of wind energy. That was one of those awesome, once in a lifetime experiences.

Deciding to live tweet that event was really beneficial to us, mainly because others had decided to do it as well. We got the bulk of our followers, RTs and mentions during that hour. Unfortunately, that left us with rather high hopes for the rest of the day, which weren't met once all of that attention started to trail off. 

The cards definitely paid off - our number of followers is still pretty low, considering - but it's more than it had been. And we've attracted just as many followers since the show as when we were there. What we're not sure of is how successful our shirts were. They were meant to get people curious and allow them to scan from a distance without actually needing to talk to us. It may have hooked a few people, but for the most part - it was just really nice that we matched. And we overheard at least one group of people say, "Look at how cute their shirts are!" 

Other than that - the main excitement of the day was Maine Wind Pavilion's public unveiling of our newest textbook, by Northern Maine Community College instructor, Wayne Kilcollins. It drew a lot of guests and they were also able to raffle off a signed copy of the book. 

Wayne seemed excited, proud and honored to be recognized in this way by his state - as were we. He did an amazing job on this book and I can't wait to monitor its performance over the coming years.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

30-Day Book Challenge - Day 02

Day 02 - A Book You've Read More Than 3 Times

I actually have a tag on Shelfari for all of the books I've read 'over and over again'. The Harry Potter series probably comes in first place. I've lost count of the number of times I've read and/or listened to the books in their entirety. Jane Austen's works in their entirety are another set that I return to time and time again. However, I think the one book I'd most like to mention is The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, by Avi.

Purchase Now from Amazon: The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss

Rating: 2.5 stars

The Name of the Wind is the beginnings of the story Kvothe - a renowned arcanist and sympathist who has gone into hiding in a small town where he is known as Kote, the innkeeper of the Waystone Inn.

Kvothe begins the telling of his tale when he meets a man mostly referred to as Chronicler - a biographer who happened to be following rumors of Kvothe's whereabouts to Newarre. The story then weaves between third and first person narrative as we watch the men in the inn and listen to Kvothe spin the tale of his entire life.

The story opens with Kvothe's life as a young boy, journeying the world with his family in a troupe of traveling players. The family meets and acquires a man named Abenthy who becomes Kvothe's mentor and fuels his desire to attend the University. After tragedy strikes his entire troupe by the hands of the mysterious Chandrian, Kvothe is forced to make his way by himself. He spends years on the streets of Trebon, until he finally leaves to seek his entrance into the University. It is there that Kvothe earns the first of many names - Kvothe the Bloodless. The book ends on only a mediocre cliffhanger - the promise that Kvothe will continue the adventures explaining his many ominous names the following day.

I feel as though I've done a lot of describing, yet conveyed nothing at all about this book. It was at most, mediocre. In smaller, yet equal parts it was both brilliant and completely lacking. It was inconsistent. Its highs and lows so extreme, I'm still not able to exactly pinpoint whether or not I even liked this book.

As the beginning of the tale, it was interesting, yet entirely too long. Being a book made up entirely of exposition, it dragged from start to finish. There were moments I wanted to stop reading. The character, while at times during his younger years is endearing, is most often infuriatingly arrogant. All other characters are one-dimensional, uninteresting.

And, yet! It is those moments when Kvothe is his most endearing that correspond to the parts of the novel I actually found myself loving - Kvothe losing his family, Kvothe gaining his entrance into the Arcanum, Kvothe getting his pipes. In these moments, Patrick Rothfuss more than demonstrates he has what it takes to craft a beautiful symphony of a story.

It's just - you know - all of those in-between parts.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Book Sleuth - Waiting for Prometheus

I've been attempting to swear off the big box stores and shop independent only. Still, when you have a 30 minutes to spare before the next showing of Prometheus, it's difficult to endure the siren's call of a bookstore - any bookstore. The larger space does sometimes have its benefits - tables designated to paperback favorites and summer reading allow customers to discover titles they might not otherwise pick up. I ended up succumbing to one title - Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosney. I've seen and loved the movie - so I bought it.

Otherwise, I snapped a couple shots of other books I'd like to add to the list of books I'd like to purchase at my next indie-bookstore run.

Island Beneath the Sea - Isabel Allende

Born a slave on the island of Saint-Domingue—the daughter of an African mother she never knew and a white sailor who brought her into bondage—ZaritÉ, known as TÉtÉ, survives a childhood of brutality and fear, finding solace in the traditional rhythms of African drums and in her exhilarating initiation into the mysteries of voodoo.
When twenty-year-old Toulouse Valmorain arrives on the island in 1770, he discovers that running his father's plantation is neither glamorous nor easy. Marriage also proves problematic when, eight years later, he brings home a bride. But it is his teenaged slave, TÉtÉ, upon whom Valmorain becomes most dependent, as their lives intertwine across four tumultuous decades.
In Island Beneath the Sea, internationally acclaimed author Isabel Allende spins the unforgettable saga of an extraordinary woman determined to find love amid loss and forge her own identity under the cruelest of circumstances.

Forced by her father to marry a man three times her age, young Nujood Ali was sent away from her parents and beloved sisters and made to live with her husband and his family in an isolated village in rural Yemen. There she suffered daily from physical and emotional abuse by her mother-in-law and nightly at the rough hands of her spouse. Flouting his oath to wait to have sexual relations with Nujood until she was no longer a child, he took her virginity on their wedding night. She was only ten years old.
Unable to endure the pain and distress any longer, Nujood fled—not for home, but to the courthouse of the capital, paying for a taxi ride with a few precious coins of bread money. When a renowned Yemeni lawyer heard about the young victim, she took on Nujood’s case and fought the archaic system in a country where almost half the girls are married while still under the legal age. Since their unprecedented victory in April 2008, Nujood’s courageous defiance of both Yemeni customs and her own family has attracted a storm of international attention. Her story even incited change in Yemen and other Middle Eastern countries.

In 1925, the legendary British explorer Percy Fawcett ventured into the Amazon jungle, in search of a fabled civilization. He never returned. Over the years countless perished trying to find evidence of his party and the place he called “The Lost City of Z.” In this masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, journalist David Grann interweaves the spellbinding stories of Fawcett’s quest for “Z” and his own journey into the deadly jungle, as he unravels the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century.

In this groundbreaking work of science, history, and archaeology, Charles C. Mann radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus in 1492.
 Contrary to what so many Americans learn in school, the pre-Columbian Indians were not sparsely settled in a pristine wilderness; rather, there were huge numbers of Indians who actively molded and influenced the land around them. The astonishing Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan had running water and immaculately clean streets, and was larger than any contemporary European city. Mexican cultures created corn in a specialized breeding process that it has been called man’s first feat of genetic engineering. Indeed, Indians were not living lightly on the land but were landscaping and manipulating their world in ways that we are only now beginning to understand. Challenging and surprising, this a transformative new look at a rich and fascinating world we only thought we knew.

The murder of Abraham Lincoln set off the greatest manhunt in American history. From April 14 to April 26, 1865, the assassin, John Wilkes Booth, led Union cavalry and detectives on a wild twelve-day chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., across the swamps of Maryland, and into the forests of Virginia, while the nation, still reeling from the just-ended Civil War, watched in horror and sadness.

Friday, June 8, 2012

30-Day Book Challenge - Day 01

Even though I hate bandwagons, it somehow doesn't take much to get me to jump on one. I mean, if it has to do with anything to do with books and reading of course. A friend of mine has submitted herself to doing this challenge - answering 30 questions about her reading life/self - on her Tumblr. I like the questions and thought I'd carry it on over here - to be completed over 30 not-so-subsequent days.

Day 01 - Best Book You Read Last Year

Luckily, I keep this stuff well documented. The best book I read last year was Katherine Dunn's Geek Love

"But mostly, I just loved the characters and the language. The Binewskis, for all their troubles, are an incredibly close family who rely on their differences to keep them safe and keep them together. There were moments when Dunn painted such a beautiful, emotional - and normal - scene - especially those which depicted Olympia interacting lovingly with her siblings- I was moved practically to tears."
Purchase Now from Amazon: Geek Love: A Novel

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Rating: 4 stars

My recollections of the Gatsby that I read in high school? A green light, a sign with large eyes that had some religious significance, a supposed 'eye' motif and a scene in a swimming pool. Though, that last recollection may have much more to do with an equally vague memory of Toby Stephens floating in a pool.

Re-reading this classic in anticipation of the new Baz Luhrman movie (and realizing that I didn't remember any more than the above) was an treat - the unexpected discovery of a treasure I hadn't previously valued highly enough. I understand the importance of reading classics like this at the high school level - but I wonder why my teacher focused so heavily on the 'eye motif' - 'Do you SEE that Fitzgerald always mentions eyes?' - instead of some of focusing on what really makes this book a masterpiece. It was a really long time ago - but I don't remember discussing the American dream, materialism and wealth, and I especially do not remember discussing the overwhelming theme of depression and anxiety. Daisy, especially, who is often written off as an 'annoying' female character, suffers from such sure signs of manic depression - I couldn't help but see through her flighty personality and feel for her internal struggle.

It was a beautiful book, in story and craft, from start to finish. Something you can begin to love when you're young, and grow to completely appreciate and adore with each subsequent read.

Purchase Now from Amazon: The Great Gatsby
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...