clothofdreams: (coffee)
I realized I hadn't posted this yet.

A Widow for One Year by John Irving
Yep, another Irving! This one was not quite as good as Owen Meany (but really, how could he be expected to top that masterpiece?), but it was still excellent. It is a novel about a dysfunctional family of writers: one an author of creepy children's books, one an author of second-rate crime fiction, and one a truly great novelist. (Yes, writing about writers has been done countless times before this-- but it's never been done quite like this.) We get to follow the central character (though all of Irving's characters are so fully fleshed-out that it is difficult to claim just one character as central) through nearly forty years of her life, which is portrayed with depth and irony, beginning and ending on the same note. I love that kind of symmetry. It makes for a very satisfying read.

I haven't decided yet what I'll read for this month. Maybe The Prestige.
clothofdreams: (coffee)
I realized I hadn't posted this yet.

A Widow for One Year by John Irving
Yep, another Irving! This one was not quite as good as Owen Meany (but really, how could he be expected to top that masterpiece?), but it was still excellent. It is a novel about a dysfunctional family of writers: one an author of creepy children's books, one an author of second-rate crime fiction, and one a truly great novelist. (Yes, writing about writers has been done countless times before this-- but it's never been done quite like this.) We get to follow the central character (though all of Irving's characters are so fully fleshed-out that it is difficult to claim just one character as central) through nearly forty years of her life, which is portrayed with depth and irony, beginning and ending on the same note. I love that kind of symmetry. It makes for a very satisfying read.

I haven't decided yet what I'll read for this month. Maybe The Prestige.
clothofdreams: (book)
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
This is a fantastic book and I can't believe I waited so long to buy it and read it. It was recommended to me by two sources who claimed it one of the greatest novels of the 20th century. Right on! The scope of the novel is breathtaking, with a wealth of characters that rival those in any Dickens novel. I loved the humor (it is tremendously funny-- I found myself laughing aloud and rereading sections to Matt because they were just too good), I loved Irving's use of symbolism (M. Night, you only wish you could weave a complicated tale so flawlessly), and I am going to stop describing it now so that you are compelled to go read it yourself. This was definitely my best read of 2006.
clothofdreams: (book)
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
This is a fantastic book and I can't believe I waited so long to buy it and read it. It was recommended to me by two sources who claimed it one of the greatest novels of the 20th century. Right on! The scope of the novel is breathtaking, with a wealth of characters that rival those in any Dickens novel. I loved the humor (it is tremendously funny-- I found myself laughing aloud and rereading sections to Matt because they were just too good), I loved Irving's use of symbolism (M. Night, you only wish you could weave a complicated tale so flawlessly), and I am going to stop describing it now so that you are compelled to go read it yourself. This was definitely my best read of 2006.
clothofdreams: (walking)
I completed no books this month. I was very busy these past 30 days, but come on, that's kind of pathetic.

Still reading A Prayer for Owen Meany. I love it so far. I hope to finish it this month.

Happy December!
clothofdreams: (walking)
I completed no books this month. I was very busy these past 30 days, but come on, that's kind of pathetic.

Still reading A Prayer for Owen Meany. I love it so far. I hope to finish it this month.

Happy December!
clothofdreams: (book)
The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Jay Fowler
This was not particularly well-written, but still fun to read. The characters tended to be thinly drawn and predictable, and the "dream" was broken far too many times by awkward prose, however any devoted Janeite will find much to love in Fowler's tribute to our beloved authoress.

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory
This is the second (and probably last) novel of Ms. Gregory's that I've read. I found it much better written than The Other Boleyn Girl, with a tighter narrative, richer characters, and far less sex. I enjoyed it very much.


I started A Prayer for Owen Meany, too, but I haven't finished it yet, so I'll comment on it next month.
clothofdreams: (book)
The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Jay Fowler
This was not particularly well-written, but still fun to read. The characters tended to be thinly drawn and predictable, and the "dream" was broken far too many times by awkward prose, however any devoted Janeite will find much to love in Fowler's tribute to our beloved authoress.

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory
This is the second (and probably last) novel of Ms. Gregory's that I've read. I found it much better written than The Other Boleyn Girl, with a tighter narrative, richer characters, and far less sex. I enjoyed it very much.


I started A Prayer for Owen Meany, too, but I haven't finished it yet, so I'll comment on it next month.

August book

Sep. 1st, 2006 10:10 pm
clothofdreams: (coffee cups)
I read The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. It was very good. Better than I expected it to be. Even though fraught with paganism (and thus some truly weird practices), I loved the way that womanhood was treated as integrated with tradition, story-telling, and ceremony. Who knew that one's period could be so special. It was a beautiful story.

And that was the one and only book I completed in August.

Happy September!

August book

Sep. 1st, 2006 10:10 pm
clothofdreams: (coffee cups)
I read The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. It was very good. Better than I expected it to be. Even though fraught with paganism (and thus some truly weird practices), I loved the way that womanhood was treated as integrated with tradition, story-telling, and ceremony. Who knew that one's period could be so special. It was a beautiful story.

And that was the one and only book I completed in August.

Happy September!

July books

Aug. 1st, 2006 09:56 am
clothofdreams: (book)
I actually have something to write about!

Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
I actually read most of this 800+ page novel in June, but I finished it the first week of July, so I thought I'd include it. It was an excellent read, something everyone should read at least once. I learned so much about 19th-century Russian society and peasant life. In the fashion of many novelists of his day, Tolstoy gives us not only two parallel (at at times intermingling) plots, but also pages of essay-like material on politics, religion, and philosophy. Great stuff.

A New Concise History of the Crusades, by Thomas F. Madden
My parents gave this to me for my birthday, and I loved it. I have always been intrigued by the Crusades, and this book is an excellent introduction. Madden is engaging and thought-provoking, and really quite thorough for a brief introduction. I also found his approach balanced, well researched, and well defended, which was refreshing and is unfortunately uncommon.

The Other Boleyn Girl, by Philippa Gregory
This was my easy read of the month. It is over 600 pages, but I read it in under a week. It was very interesting and entertaining, though hardly a great work of literature. The characters were often poorly drawn and predictable, and the ridiculous number of times the chapters ended with sex I found quite annoying. Seriously, Philippa, I didn't need a description every single time. Aside from these flaws, I liked it pretty well. Of course, the Tudor era has always particularly fascinated me, so that helped.

Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier
I had been meaning to read this for many years, and finally got around to it. I have seen the movie several times (which is so beautifully done) and so was familiar with the story before I picked up the book. However, I was constantly struck with how different the book is from the movie. The primary difference is that in the novel the characters have much more complicated personalities, emotions, and motivations. It is not a relatively simple story of an odyssey driven by true love, like the movie is. It is much more vague and complex and... real. I loved it. And not even Frazier's penchant for similes could keep me from loving it.

July books

Aug. 1st, 2006 09:56 am
clothofdreams: (book)
I actually have something to write about!

Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
I actually read most of this 800+ page novel in June, but I finished it the first week of July, so I thought I'd include it. It was an excellent read, something everyone should read at least once. I learned so much about 19th-century Russian society and peasant life. In the fashion of many novelists of his day, Tolstoy gives us not only two parallel (at at times intermingling) plots, but also pages of essay-like material on politics, religion, and philosophy. Great stuff.

A New Concise History of the Crusades, by Thomas F. Madden
My parents gave this to me for my birthday, and I loved it. I have always been intrigued by the Crusades, and this book is an excellent introduction. Madden is engaging and thought-provoking, and really quite thorough for a brief introduction. I also found his approach balanced, well researched, and well defended, which was refreshing and is unfortunately uncommon.

The Other Boleyn Girl, by Philippa Gregory
This was my easy read of the month. It is over 600 pages, but I read it in under a week. It was very interesting and entertaining, though hardly a great work of literature. The characters were often poorly drawn and predictable, and the ridiculous number of times the chapters ended with sex I found quite annoying. Seriously, Philippa, I didn't need a description every single time. Aside from these flaws, I liked it pretty well. Of course, the Tudor era has always particularly fascinated me, so that helped.

Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier
I had been meaning to read this for many years, and finally got around to it. I have seen the movie several times (which is so beautifully done) and so was familiar with the story before I picked up the book. However, I was constantly struck with how different the book is from the movie. The primary difference is that in the novel the characters have much more complicated personalities, emotions, and motivations. It is not a relatively simple story of an odyssey driven by true love, like the movie is. It is much more vague and complex and... real. I loved it. And not even Frazier's penchant for similes could keep me from loving it.
clothofdreams: (monet)
Drifting, browsing, shelving. Rows widen and become worlds unto themselves. Le Sacre du Printemps slides between Firebird and an unnamed suite. Merry Wives of Windsor, HMS Pinafore, The Rake's Progress...

I had dreamed of attempting that aria. I wonder how high it goes. Merely a C? I can handle a C. It looks far less melodic than I had remembered. Perhaps due only to shifting tonalities. Maybe it would stretch my ear. The intervals look challenging!

The green Loeb books look daintily up to me. There is plenty of room for them all. Back goes Plutarch, Dionysius... I wonder at the Greek. I wonder at the lives. Where did their sandaled feet lead them?

PA, PN, PS... Eliot. Yes, now I remember how I admire him. I should add this to my summer reading list-- Collected Poems! The world opens. Beloved Prufrock; the familiar bleak April of The Waste Land. New acquaintances: a hippopotamus, a portraited Lady. "...Pole prelude played through fingers and hair." I smile at Chopin. Hyacinths, gloves, tea: Prufrock incognito?

Faulkner and Hemingway stare imploringly from the shelves, but I walk on.

Oversize: volumes too large to budge. Erlanger must fit beyond the sea mammals and bats. Grunting, pushing, coaxing, the bulk offers a narrow gap and I squeeze her in.
clothofdreams: (monet)
Drifting, browsing, shelving. Rows widen and become worlds unto themselves. Le Sacre du Printemps slides between Firebird and an unnamed suite. Merry Wives of Windsor, HMS Pinafore, The Rake's Progress...

I had dreamed of attempting that aria. I wonder how high it goes. Merely a C? I can handle a C. It looks far less melodic than I had remembered. Perhaps due only to shifting tonalities. Maybe it would stretch my ear. The intervals look challenging!

The green Loeb books look daintily up to me. There is plenty of room for them all. Back goes Plutarch, Dionysius... I wonder at the Greek. I wonder at the lives. Where did their sandaled feet lead them?

PA, PN, PS... Eliot. Yes, now I remember how I admire him. I should add this to my summer reading list-- Collected Poems! The world opens. Beloved Prufrock; the familiar bleak April of The Waste Land. New acquaintances: a hippopotamus, a portraited Lady. "...Pole prelude played through fingers and hair." I smile at Chopin. Hyacinths, gloves, tea: Prufrock incognito?

Faulkner and Hemingway stare imploringly from the shelves, but I walk on.

Oversize: volumes too large to budge. Erlanger must fit beyond the sea mammals and bats. Grunting, pushing, coaxing, the bulk offers a narrow gap and I squeeze her in.
clothofdreams: (Default)
Over this Christmas Break, I have been re-reading an old favorite of mine: Pride and Prejudice. It has been a delightful journey thus far, and I am impatient to see Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth married and settled into Pemberly before I go back to school this Sunday.

Jane Austen was my undisputed favorite author during my early teen years, and she still ranks very highly on my list. My recent revisitation of her self-described small world of twenty or so gentry families in a country setting has reminded me why I was so fascinated with her work. She epitomized everything my girlhood self aspired to be. Cool, confident, refined, possessed of the most extraordinary dry wit, well-read, and accomplished in all the intellectual arts.

Reading Austen never fails to inspire me to take pen in hand and verbally sketch a few characters, or lay upon a crisp, white sheet of paper the comings and goings of my own small circle as charmingly as she was able to in all her writings.

The inspiration increases, the dreaming of refinement continues, and the pages keep turning. While those pages last, my world is contained within hers.
clothofdreams: (Default)
Over this Christmas Break, I have been re-reading an old favorite of mine: Pride and Prejudice. It has been a delightful journey thus far, and I am impatient to see Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth married and settled into Pemberly before I go back to school this Sunday.

Jane Austen was my undisputed favorite author during my early teen years, and she still ranks very highly on my list. My recent revisitation of her self-described small world of twenty or so gentry families in a country setting has reminded me why I was so fascinated with her work. She epitomized everything my girlhood self aspired to be. Cool, confident, refined, possessed of the most extraordinary dry wit, well-read, and accomplished in all the intellectual arts.

Reading Austen never fails to inspire me to take pen in hand and verbally sketch a few characters, or lay upon a crisp, white sheet of paper the comings and goings of my own small circle as charmingly as she was able to in all her writings.

The inspiration increases, the dreaming of refinement continues, and the pages keep turning. While those pages last, my world is contained within hers.
clothofdreams: (Default)
If any among you has not read J.R.R. Tolkien's Leaf by Niggle, hie to the nearest library and feast on its riches.
clothofdreams: (Default)
If any among you has not read J.R.R. Tolkien's Leaf by Niggle, hie to the nearest library and feast on its riches.
clothofdreams: (Default)
I recently read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I meant to read it a while ago, after I had finished 1984 by George Orwell, but better late than never, right? :-)

Anyway, I wondered if any of you have read one/both of them, and what you think about them? For instance, which, if either, do you think is a better representation of the future? I am curious to know your thoughts, and will be sure to give mine sometime soon. :-)
clothofdreams: (Default)
I recently read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I meant to read it a while ago, after I had finished 1984 by George Orwell, but better late than never, right? :-)

Anyway, I wondered if any of you have read one/both of them, and what you think about them? For instance, which, if either, do you think is a better representation of the future? I am curious to know your thoughts, and will be sure to give mine sometime soon. :-)

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