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review 2020-01-25 16:27
That's one hell of a ghost
Beloved - Toni Morrison

I don't really know what to say about this book, literature-wise. What I know is that it touched me. I left a comment over halfway through, about crying to the beat of the lifting bits, and negative spaces, and I don't know if I'm capable of doing it more justice.

 

There was a lot that kept crashing over and over, in the echoes of lines and themes through the ages, and stays with me: Freedom as owning yourself. Freedom being necessary to be able to love. What can't be borne, what breaks you, the sequels, the need sometimes to leave the past buried. This idea:

 

“You your best thing, Sethe. You are.”

 

And this idea:

 

For years Paul D believed schoolteacher broke into children what Garner had raised into men. And it was that that made them run off. Now, plagued by the contents of his tobacco tin, he wondered how much difference there really was between before schoolteacher and after. Garner called and announced them men—but only on Sweet Home, and by his leave. Was he naming what he saw or creating what he did not? That was the wonder of Sixo, and even Halle; it was always clear to Paul D that those two were men whether Garner said so or not.

 

But over all, this:

 

“Here,” she said, “in this here place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard. Yonder they do not love your flesh. They despise it. They don’t love your eyes; they’d just as soon pick em out. No more do they love the skin on your back. Yonder they flay it. And O my people they do not love your hands. Those they only use, tie, bind, chop off and leave empty. Love your hands! Love them. Raise them up and kiss them. Touch others with them, pat them together, stroke them on your face ’cause they don’t love that either. You got to love it, you! And no, they ain’t in love with your mouth. Yonder, out there, they will see it broken and break it again. What you say out of it they will not heed. What you scream from it they do not hear. What you put into it to nourish your body they will snatch away and give you leavins instead. No, they don’t love your mouth. You got to love it. This is flesh I’m talking about here. Flesh that needs to be loved. Feet that need to rest and to dance; backs that need support; shoulders that need arms, strong arms I’m telling you. And O my people, out yonder, hear me, they do not love your neck unnoosed and straight. So love your neck; put a hand on it, grace it, stroke it and hold it up. And all your inside parts that they’d just as soon slop for hogs, you got to love them. The dark, dark liver—love it, love it, and the beat and beating heart, love that too. More than eyes or feet. More than lungs that have yet to draw free air. More than your life-holding womb and your life-giving private parts, hear me now, love your heart. For this is the prize.”

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text 2020-01-24 22:49
Reading progress update: I've read 225 out of 324 pages.
Beloved - Toni Morrison

It's making me cry at the oddests things.

 

Like, there is the brutality (mostly inferred, none explicit so far), and the tragedy, and the whole landscape itself. And, OK, I'm not unmoved, but mostly wincing in horror more that tearing up.

 

And then there is that "mass" at the clearing, and a page about being able to love, and suddenly I'm sobbing like mad because...

 

Well, maybe it's not so odd. Because this book is functioning by negative space. What's there shows you what's absent very powerfully. And what's absent is a void that sucks attention to itself, and demands to be acknowledged, and holy molly, this is turning into me writing the review...

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text 2020-01-24 17:59
Reading progress update: I've read 120 out of 324 pages.
Beloved - Toni Morrison

This is a heavy weight puncher.

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review 2019-08-29 10:28
A tale is a tail
Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel García Márquez,Edith Grossman

Several stray thoughts I had while choosing the tags for this one:

 

It's not really romance-done-right. While the title is scrupulous, there is little romance to all the types of "loves" (because there is always that doubt, of what is and is not love, what is selfish use, or abuse, and whether that frontier is concrete) weaved into the tapestry of the story. Most are too real or too fantastical, or grotesque (and still real, maybe more so), and the ways they happen are written just so; with all the anxiety, the terror, hesitation, thoughtlessness, doubts, crudity or day-to-day boredom that merits the occasion.

 

Wanted to tick better-than-expected but I still don't know why I am surprised by his writing.

 

This one is not magical-realism. Actually, leaving aside One Hundred Years of Solitude , I don't know that any of his other books would fit that one. Might be the grandiose, nearly mythic proportions of the stories he pieces together in his novels.

 

 

It is an odd and frankly ambitious book. It immerses you into the story by way of an octogenarian last chapter no less, and after it wraps you in, tells you how two seventy-somethings traveled through 50 years of other loves to re-meet as lovers. It meanders through the years and the relationships, and the depictions when gathered turn into a tapestry that is nothing less than epic in scope.

 

I can't say that I truly liked any of the characters, and yet, maybe I loved them all, in their terrible intensities. They are certainly memorable.

 

As always, I take off my hat to his opening and closing sentences, to the strange feats and acrobatics he manages from the language, to the way he depicts the shiny and the rotten side by side, making something amazing and nostalgic of a nature core of reality.

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text 2019-08-18 12:28
Reading Challenges for 2019

6/25 female authors

 

I'm focusing on new-to-me for the most part, but there is a mix.

 

A

Katherine Addison: The Goblin Emperor

Ann Aguirre: Enclave (08/07)

Katherine Arden: The Bear and the Nightingale (05/23)

Tomi Adeyemi: Children of Blood and Bone

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Half of a Yellow Sun

Sarah Addison Allen: The Peach Keeper

Julia Alvarez: En el tiempo de las Mariposas

 

B

Leigh Bardugo: Ruin and Rising

Katherine Blake: The Interior Life

Liliana Bodoc: Los días del Fuego

Charlotte Brontë: Shirley and Villete have been there some 10 years on my tbr but I've been procrastinating because I did not care for Jane Eyre when I was a teen.

Lois McMaster Bujold: I owe to myself to try her. Almost did for Bingo (twice), but couldn't get my hands on one of her books on time.

Octavia E. Butler: Ditto

Fanny Burney

 

C

Trudi Canavan

Rae Carson

Angela Carter: The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories

Joy Chant: Red Moon and Black Mountain

Jo Clayton: Diadem from the Stars

Susan Cooper: Over Sea, Under Stone

 

D

Pamela Dean: The Secret Country

Daphne Du Maurier: The Birds (01/20)

Diane Duane: The Door into Fire

Tananarive Due: My Soul to Keep

Marguerite Duras: The Lover (*grimace* I did not care for her shorter work, but since I own it...)

 

E

Phyllis Eisenstein: Sorcerer's Son

George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans): Middlemarch keeps popping up (Chist, it's massive)

Kate Elliott: King's Dragon

Sylvia Engdahi: Enchantress from the Stars

 

F

Karen Joy Fowler: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Cornelia Funke: Inkspell (we bought the whole series! Further heartbreak here I come)

 

G

Elizabeth Gaskell: Wives and Daughters

Jessica Day George: Dragon Flight

Molly Gloss: The Dazzle of Day

Lisa Goldstein

Mira Grant

 

H

Jenny Han: To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Cynthia Hand: Unearthly

Victoria Hanley: The Seer and the Sword

Kristin Hannah

Georgette Heyer

Robin Hobb (Megan Lindholm)

Alice Hoffman

 

I

 

J

Elfriede Jelinek: The Piano Teacher

N.K. Jemisin

Diana Wynne Jones: Howl's Moving Castle

 

K

Phyllis Ann Karr: The Idylls of the Queen

M.M. Kaye: The Far Pavillions

Maggie Shen King: An Excess Male

Barbara Kingsolver: The Poisonwood Bible

Nancy Kress: Beggars in Spain

Ellen Kushner: Swordspoint 

 

L

Mercedes Lackey: Arrows of the Queen

Selma Lagerlöf: (Nobel)

Marghanita Laski: The Victorian Chaise Longue

Clarice Lispector: I think mom added one of her books to our library

Guadalupe Loaeza: Las Niñas Bien

Ann Leckie: Ancillary Justice

Megan Lindholm (Robin Hobb)

 

M

Juliet Marillier: I've heard so amazing things about her, and fantasy is my love

Carson McCullers: scared to, but have The Heart is a Lonely Hunter somewhere around

Collen McCullough: The Thorn Birds (... yeah, another scary prospect)

Sandra McDonald: The Outback Stars

Vonda N. McIntyre: Starfarers (08/18) (Dreamsnake might get kicked to next year)

Toni Morrison: Funny thing here: I've had it on my "author to try" list for a long while, but thought her male

Anchee Min: Empress Orchid

Kanae Minato: Confessions

Miyuki Miyabe: Crossfire

Judith Moffett: Pennterra

Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Blue Castle

Ann McCaffrey: Dragonflight

 

N

Linda Nagata: Vast

Audrey Niffenegger: The Time Traveler's Wife

Anais Nin: Delta of Venus has been waving at me, but... another massive one

Amelie Nothomb: another on mom's wish-list that I can't remember if we bought

Naomi Novik

 

O

Joyce Carol Oates: Bellefleur is one I took a stab at when I was 14 and never finished. Might rectify this year (and how did I come to the conclusion Joyce was a male name then? maybe my brain associated James Joyce?)

Yoko Ogawa: Revenge... Or maybe The Housekeeper and the Professor

Lauren Oliver: Liesl & Po

Wendy Orr: Nim's Island

 

P

Ann Patchett: Bel Canto

Katherine Paterson: Bridge to Terabithia... if I'm feeling brave or wanting a good bawl

Barbara Paul: Pillars of Salt

Elizabeth Peters (Barbara Mertz): Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody 1)

Rachel Pollack: Unquenchable Fire

Eleanor Porter: Pollyana (05/08)

Katherine Anne Porter

Barbara Pym: Excellent Women

 

Q

Amanda Quick

 

R

Ann Radcliffe: The Mysteries of Udolpho

Jean Rhys: Wide Sargasso Sea

Veronica Rossi: Never finished her saga. Might go for it if in the mood for YA

Mary Doria Russell: The Sparrow

Carrie Ryan: The Forest of Hands and Teeth

 

S

Jessica Amanda Salmonson: Tomoe Gozen

Sofia Samatar: Stranger in Olondria (read a short story of hers in Clarkesworld magazine, and oh, my!)

Marjane Satrapi: Persepolis (reading)

Dorothy L. Sayers

Alice Sebold: maybe. The Lovely Bones did a lot of noise

Lisa See: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (some group discussed a buddy read when I was still on goodreads, and the movie renewed my interest)

Mary Shepard: Mary Poppins

Betty Smith: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Dodie Smith: I Capture the Castle

Wen Spencer

Mary Stewart: The Crystal Cave

 

T

Amy Tan

Josephine Tey: Brat Farrar was brought to my attention during the games, and will read as soon as I can get a copy

Megan Whalen Turner: The Thief

 

U

 

V

Catherynn M. Valente: In the Night Garden is one I want to buy and savor

Sara Varon: Robot Dreams

Joan D. Vinge: The Snow Queen

 

W

Sarah Waters

Winifred Watson: Mrs Petigrew Lives for a Day

Martha Wells: All Systems Red (03/27) Artificial Condition (03/13)

Edith Wharton: pure author faith (even if she rips my heart)

Connie Willis: keeps popping up on my radar

Virginia Woolf: sure I have a couple of hers back at home

 

Y

Banana Yoshimoto: Kitchen is a book that keeps popping up and haven't gotten to yet

Jane Yolen: I had Tam Lin on my list, but reading up on her... over 365 books! Woman!

Marguerite Yourcenar: Have Memories of Hadrian on my bed-table

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

 

Z

 

Other Original Languages

 

Julia Alvarez: En el tiempo de las Mariposas

Jorge Amado: Gabriela, Clavo y Canela

Aristophanes: Lysistrata

Roberto Arlt: Los 7 locos

Honoré de Balzac: Pere Goriot

Erique Barrios: Civilizaciones internas (leyendo)

Simone de Beauvoir: El segundo sexo

Liliana Bodoc: Los días del Fuego

Ítalo Calvino: Se una notte d'inverno un viaggiatore

Fernándo de Rojas: La Celestina (this one I have on hand, but it's such an archaic Spanish, it gave me head-aches the one time I attempted it. We'll see)

Marguerite Duras: L'Amant

José María Eça de Queirós: El Crímen del Padre Amaro

Umberto Eco: El Nombre de la Rosa (bought it too, will have leisure to read)

Gabriel García Marquez: El amor en los tiempos de Cólera (08/29)

Juan Ramón Jiménez: Platero y Yo (leyendo)

Yasunari Kawabata: Snow Country (07/19)

Clarice Lispector:

Cixin Liu: The Three-Body Problem

Guadalupe Loaeza: Las Niñas Bien

Facundo Manes: Usar el Cerebro

Kanae Minato: Confessions

Miyuki Miyabe: Crossfire

Haruki Murakami: Kafka en la Orilla

Kezaburo Oe: Memushiri kouchi (Pluck the Bud and Destroy the Offspring)

Yoko Ogawa: Revenge

Ovid: Metamorphoses

Tulsidas, Ramayana

Banana Yoshimoto: Kitchen

Marguerite Yourcenar: Memorias de Adriano

 

... Those are over a 100 books I'm hyped to read... doubling my challenge already... Lol, I always bite more than I can chew

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