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review 2017-06-24 02:45
[REVIEW] A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
A Room of One's Own - Virginia Woolf

My first Virginia Woolf. It was very interesting. That first half though? Good grief. It was a rambling, meandering mess. I fell asleep three times trying to get through it.

The middle portion of the book is excellent. Some of her views sadly still apply today. How women are considered inferior, how they must be a mirror that reflects men's greatness back at them and if they don't fulfill this role, they are mercilessly attacked. It's all very true in this day and age.

She spoke from her perspective but as I read, I couldn't help but wonder about the women of color back then had the shit end of the stick.

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review 2017-05-31 14:26
Take the Cannoli: Stories From the New World - Sarah Vowell  
Take the Cannoli: Stories From the New World - Sarah Vowell

I can already tell I'm going to want to read this again. Essays, I love them. Plus, in my mind, I can hear Vowell as she must have sounded on This American Life, which is where most of these began. There's a few bits of growing-up interspersed throughout, a lot of history, the blackest of humor. Great stuff, perhaps especially on the Trail of Tears and how many different emotions that trip spawned.

So much humor, though.

On the one hand, I think Vowell would be an awesome friend to hang with, laughing at Choo-Choo and working it into every comment because of the way it sounds ("spleen" is a personal fave) on the other, she would someday drag me along on the least appealing road trip ever. Hotspots of the Teapot Dome scandal? Tippecanoe? Some other phrase I only dimly recall from American history, but can't actually place in time or space? She's already done The Hall of Presidents, so I'd be clear of that one. Yet no matter how little the idea would appeal to me, she'd make it fascinating: full of humor and humanity. Maybe we can just get her and Kate Beaton and Bill Bryson to filter all of history for us?

Library copy

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review 2017-05-26 16:58
Crazy Salad and Scribble Scribble: Some Things About Women and Notes on Media (Vintage) - Nora Ephron 
Crazy Salad and Scribble Scribble: Some Things About Women and Notes on Media (Vintage) - Nora Ephron

Having recently read Crazy Salad again, I didn't feel like I needed to give it another go. But I have never read Scribble Scribble. So, that was great.

Ephron started a s a journalist, and I think that training informs her essays. They are personal, they are reflective, but they are also about something real, not just aimless musing.

Quality writing, often amusing, and still vital and fresh.

Library copy

 

(edited for afterthought) In case you're wondering, apparently none of the material from Scribble Scribble made it into The Most of Nora Ephron, although some from Crazy Salad did. Just to clear things up for anyone else who might be considering a massive Ephron read.

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text 2017-05-25 17:39
The White Album: Essays by Joan Didion $1.99 Love this book!
The White Album: Essays (FSG Classics) - Joan Didion

In this landmark essay collection, Joan Didion brilliantly interweaves her own “bad dreams” with those of a nation confronting the dark underside of 1960s counterculture.
 
From a jailhouse visit to Black Panther Party cofounder Huey Newton to witnessing First Lady of California Nancy Reagan pretend to pick flowers for the benefit of news cameras, Didion captures the paranoia and absurdity of the era with her signature blend of irony and insight. She takes readers to the “giddily splendid” Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the cool mountains of Bogotá, and the Jordanian Desert, where Bishop James Pike went to walk in Jesus’s footsteps—and died not far from his rented Ford Cortina. She anatomizes the culture of shopping malls—“toy garden cities in which no one lives but everyone consumes”—and exposes the contradictions and compromises of the women’s movement. In the iconic title essay, she documents her uneasy state of mind during the years leading up to and following the Manson murders—a terrifying crime that, in her memory, surprised no one.
 
Written in “a voice like no other in contemporary journalism,” The White Album is a masterpiece of literary reportage and a fearless work of autobiography by the National Book Award–winning author of The Year of Magical Thinking (The New York Times Book Review). Its power to electrify and inform remains undiminished nearly forty years after it was first published.

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text 2017-05-24 10:19
24th May 2017
Less Than One: Selected Essays - Joseph Brodsky

The surest defense against Evil is extreme individualism, originality of thinking, whimsicality, even—if you will—eccentricity.

 

Joseph Brodsky

 

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Joseph Brodsky (born May 24, 1940), was persecuted in his native Russia and was forcibly exiled in 1972. With the support of poet W.H. Auden he eventually settled in the U.S. and later won a Nobel Prize.

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