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review 2019-01-12 16:19
The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 4: 1957-1958
The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 4: 1957-1958 - Charles M. Schulz,Jonathan Franzen

After a long hiatus, I've resolved to start reading these again. Whenever I feel like I need a boost I'll go ahead and buy another volume. I mean, I'm never going to retire anyway so what's the point of having a savings account?

 

Edit: Also, sorry folks you have to click through to the blog to see the whole comic strip. 

 

These were good years for the strip, with Schulz continuing to refine his technique, there are long sequences here - notably Linus' pledge to go without his blanket for two weeks and Charlie Brown's epic baseball gaff - and there are jokes with almost identical panels repeated many times. This repetition wasn't detrimental, it seemed more like Schulz working out a joke in his mind until it reached maximum absurdity. Violet's hi-fi parasol inevitably becomes Lucy's hi-fi jump rope.

 

 

 

Much of the humor appears timeless, but the Peanuts gang were children of the 1950s, young baby boomers as observed by the previous generation. There are many gags that deal with outmoded technology, branding, or early television, but those dealing with child psychology were some of my favorites. This was the beginning of parenting being serious business:

 

27Jul57

 

 

Snoopy's impressions took off in the last volume, but he adds many more to his repertoire in these years and in general is just delightful.

 

 

There were no additions to the cast, the last two comics have everyone in them (the very last even with names)  but Schulz has a lot on his hands figuring out the group dynamics, good and bad. Schroeder and Charlie Brown compete for who's better at despairing over contemporary pop culture:

 

 

It was truly difficult picking a Sunday for this review, but this one touches on a lot of things I love about the series. Poor Charlie Brown, he suffers all the pangs of childhood and rarely catches a break:

 

 

Maybe it gets better for him next year, but I doubt it!

 

 

Complete Peanuts

 

Next: 'Volume Five: 1959-1960'

 

Previous: 'Volume Three: 1955-1956'

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review 2018-07-09 00:45
Loyalty and Brotherhood
The Black Star of Kingston - S. D. Smith,Zach Franzen

This novella was my first introduction to the world of Green Ember (simply because I was able to get this book from the library hold list first), and it has set the stage for what promises to be a compelling series. With strong themes of loyalty and brotherhood, "The Black Star of Kingston" is both simple enough for adolescents and intriguing enough for older readers. Despite some violence due to a battle, this is a clean read, and one I recommend for anyone looking for adventure and camaraderie. 

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review 2017-04-23 07:30
Geschwätziges, viel zu langes Elaborat, das sich auf Petitessen konzentriert
Die Korrekturen - Jonathan Franzen,Bettina Abarbanell

Ich war schon ewig lange nicht mehr soweit, ein Buch fast abzubrechen wie dieses, weil es mich gar so geärgert hat. Ein Werk mit derart viel Potenzial verkommt ab der Hälfte nur noch zu einem geschwätzigen Stückerl Papier ohne Substanz, Entwicklung und Aussage.

Ja Franzen kann tatsächlich ein bisschen gut formulieren, aber das ist meiner Meinung nach schon alles, was er mit diesem Roman positiv - letztendlich wenn man es gesamt betrachtet - in die Waagschale werfen kann. Dabei beginnt die Geschichte sogar extrem ambitioniert: Eine Familie, mehrere vordergründige Dramen ein paar ernsthafte Probleme, wie die Demenz des Familienoberhauptes, unter der Oberfläche brodelnde Beziehungs-Konflikte und Personen mit sehr fiesen Tendenzen, lassen die Story bis ca. Seite 400 sehr vielversprechend wirken. Das wäre nun kein Drama, wenn sich das Finale in den letzen 100-200 Seiten auflösen würde, aber bei Seite 400 sind wir leider erst in der Mitte dieser Lesefolter angelangt.

Also Franzen hat uns die Familie Lambert aufgestellt und die fiesen Winkel der Persönlichkeiten vor uns ausgebreitet.... und dann passiert zumindest mit den Figuren und dem Plot fast gar nichts mehr. Der Autor drückt sich davor, dem Leser zu erklären, warum er die Beziehungsgeflechte so konzipiert hat. Die Figuren werden auf 400 Seiten fast gar nicht mehr entwickelt, bis auf das letzte Kapitel, aber da hatte ich als Leserin die Schnauze schon so voll von dieser Papierverschwendung und Leserverarsche, dass es nicht mehr ins Gewicht fiel.

Der Antrieb der fiesesten Haupt-Figuren der Famile wie beispielsweise jener von Caroline oder auch die Gründe für Denises Verhalten bleiben für immer im Dunkeln, auf die wartet der Leser vergeblich. Stattdessen werden mit erzähltechnischen Schnörkeln und Verzettelungen, Motive und Lebensgeschichten von für die Geschichte völlig irrelevanten Personen wie zum Beispiel die Zufallsbekanntschaft am Kreuzfahrts- Restauranttisch, oder die gesamte Abteilung von Denises erstem Ferialpraktikum ausgebreitet.
Wenn mir jetzt jemand mit den Worten Karaseks kommt "Aber der Subplot ist grandios", dann muss ich leider darauf verweisen, dass ein grottenschlechter Plot nicht mit einem Subplot kompensiert werden kann. Mammamia es ist der eigentliche Job des Autors, eine konsistente spannende Geschichte zu erzählen und die Hintergründe und Motivationen der "Handelnden Figuren" zu erleuchten und nicht jene von Humsti und Bumsti, die uns zufällig über den Weg rennen. Manchmal kann man wirklich meinen, der Autor hätte ab der Mitte, die Lust an den eigentlichen Figuren verloren.  

Was ist eigentlich mit den Kritikern los, die diesen Roman als grandios bezeichnet haben. Manchmal kommt mir vor, die lesen so viel und sind so konzentriert auf Kritik, dass sie sich nur noch für die Schnörkel am Rande interessieren und dabei die zentrale Geschichte komplett aus den Augen und aus ihrem Fokus verlieren. Um es mit den Essensmethaphern aus dem Denise Kapitel zu untermauern, das war so wie in den Zeiten von Boccuse oder heute bei Adrian Ferreira in der Küche, in der das Essen und der Geschmack die Bedeutung verlieren, weil man sich nur auf Chichi-Mini Anrichtung (Boccuse) oder unerwartete Textur mittels Chemie (Ferreira) konzentriert. Die eigentliche Dienstleistung wird so auf Randaspekte reduziert und dekonstruiert, dass sie keine ursprüngliche Dienstleistung mehr ist. Der Roman ist kein Roman, keine Geschichte mehr und das Essen kein Essen, sondern nur mehr Chemie.

Und dieser Plot ab der Kreuzfahrt ist zäh wie Sirup und zieht sich wie amerikanischer Kaugummi. Muss man über Denise wirklich seitengreifend und raumfüllend ihre ganzen Sexualerfahrungen der Jugend ausbreiten, ohne irgendeinen eigentlichen Konflikt in Beziehungen z.B. mit den Eltern oder den Brüdern zu beleuchten? Und was soll dieses komplett unnötige laange Kapitel in Litauen? Wir lernen einen relativ unwichtigen Arbeitgeber von Chip genauer kennen als Chip himself.

Ja so ist dieser Roman von Franzen, der Autor hat sich wirklich erfolgreich davor gedrückt, seine eigentliche Geschichte seinen Roman zu Ende zu erzählen, indem er den Leser mit unwichtigen Details vollstopft. Ab der Szene mit dem Scheißhaufen (ja Ihr hört richtig - es gibt tatsächlich eine Unterhaltung mit einem Scheißhaufen in einer Demenzphase des Familienoberhauptes Alfred), war das Papier auf dem die Geschichte geschrieben steht, meiner Meinung nach nur mehr zum Wegwischen desselben zu gebrauchen.

Ich habe ja in letzter Zeit mehrere Romane gelesen, die auch nicht gerade gradios waren und sie dennoch wohlwollend von 2,5 auf 3 Sterne aufgerundet. Warum ich das hier ums Verrecken nicht tue, ist einfach erklärt: Diese unglaubliche Frechheit, mich mit 800 Seiten Schwachsinn bis ans Ende meiner Duldungsfähigkeit zu quälen, gehört abgestraft. Mich - mit wirklich großer Lese-Leidensfähigkeit gesegnet, die in ihrem Leben bisher weniger als 10 Bücher abgebrochen hat.

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url 2017-03-30 07:35
Lose yourself in this beautiful literary map of London
The Girl - Meridel Le Sueur
Main Street - Sinclair Lewis
War for the Oaks - Emma Bull
In the Lake of the Woods - Tim O'Brien
Freedom - Jonathan Franzen
Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values - Robert M. Pirsig
Fiend - Peter Stenson

A literary map of London, with its writers and characters charted by neighborhood. Which, this us just about the coolest. The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul have nowhere near the literary relevance of London (not even close), but I would kill for a literary map of my hometown(s). Here's a start:

 

--Dr and Mrs Kennicot from Sinclair Lewis's Main Street honeymoon near Lake Calhoun; she's from St Paul
--Much of the action of War for the Oaks takes place in and around First Ave
--Zombie novel Fiend bops around St Paul and the St Paul suburbs, ending in the St Paul County Courthouse
--Meridel LeSeuer's The Girl takes place in the dodgy part of St Paul circa 1920s; not sure where exactly
--Franzen's Freedom takes place in Ramsey Hill in St Paul
-- Diablo Cody worked as a stripper in Sex World, Sheikh's, and other Minneapolis strip clubs, as detailed in Candy Girl
--Though much of Tim O'Brien's In the Lake of the Woods takes place in the Lake of the Woods (doi), it starts in St Paul when the protagonist's bid for governor fails
--Similarly, the (I think only pseudonymous narrator) of Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance starts in the Wedge neighborhood. Specific streets are named, something like 25th and Colfax
--For sure there's stuff by William Kent Kreuger, Garrison Keillor, Robert Bly, and Louise Erdrich I can't think of right now.

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review 2017-03-27 02:28
How a young selfish bitch gets through life
Purity: A Novel - Jonathan Franzen

Oh crap. I dislike Purity and I just past the 50 pages mark

What a twat? 

 

Purity or Pip is a bitch. A young selfish stupid bitch. 

 

I bought this book to get out of the genre. This is as close to literature and I dislike the main character, a lot. 

 

Let see what she did in the first 50 pages.

 

Whined about her mother for being unworldly. So fucking what? Pip could do a lot of things herself by just googling it. Don't put the blame on the woman who fed her and helped her to survive all by herself. Give her some credit as her not being abusive or alcoholic or something. 

 

Then she pushed herself to her room-mate as he told her his wife cheated on him and left a few hours ago. She told him how she felt about him and he told her that because he was the older man, he thought of himself as a father-figure. It makes sense. And her reaction is to take off all her clothes and push herself to him. What a sociopath? This guy is suffering from being dumped by his wife, and her reaction is to get something from him. 

 

I don't think I could care if she run into a car accident and then got killed in the next few paragraphs. She act as the world owe her something when the matter is, she is a waste of Earth resources by being inconsiderate and selfish. 

 

I hope she got killed in the end. 

 

Someone who is into literature could try to explain to me how this kind of character is built and being tolerated in literature. What point is the writer getting at when the main character is such as unlikable person. 

 

100 pages in and she did just about the same thing with the coworker. They flirted, but he didn't want her. She got upset because he told her he is happily married.

 

Side story about Andrea, the online flirt with Purity. 

 

There is no plot in this story so far. There is no obvious purpose or direction. No crisis, nothing important has happened to any of the characters. 

 

This is boring me to tears. 

 

The story has diverse course into the life of Andrea. He was obsessed with masturbation and had a weird mother and disciplinary father. He turned out weird as well. He did kill someone in trying to protect the woman he like. The relationship is sudden and underdeveloped. 

 

I do not know why all these selfish, self-centred characters act the ways they do, as if there is no law, and there is no consequences to their action.

 

Story like this sucks. 

 

Yes. Storytelling is fine. But relation and motivation of characters is like gravity. It does not happen in the book world, for real, but the writer has the obligation to write in it so that it would make sense. 

 

The book does not make any sense.

 

250 pages in.

 

She is now working as an intern research assistance. The adults around her treated her as a child and said as much. 

 

It takes me awhile to realise that this is a book about relationships. It is the part of the characters that all act irrational that irritate me. Why adult women, self identified as feminist would be jealous of a young woman?

 

300 pages in.

 

Tom had a mistress who had a husband. Why are characters in this book so bloody selfish. 

 

I dislike dishonesty. And this book is full of it that it stinks. 

 

Persons are complex. Yes. But one could be complex and still act noble and honest. One do not need to mess up other person life and add drama to make life complex. There are dictators, there are terrorists, there are injustice in the world that make fight for what's right so complex.

 

These characters reflect persons who have nothing better to do than to cheat and lie and cheat and lie some more. 

 

What's wrong with this character? When Willow tried to be nice to her, she turned crazy and said she hate her because she is smarter, richer and better. Why hate someone who is better than oneself? I would be grateful if someone better than me wanted to be my friend. 

 

I really dislike this character Purity and I hope she met her end in the end. 

 

Finally finished it. There are a lot of things I don't like about this novel.

 

1. The sex scene is totally unnecessary.

2. Pip or Purity is a virgin is not necessary.

3. The friend of her father trying to have sex with her as a mean to get back to her father, is creepy.

4. Her father Tom is not acting like a grown man. He should have told Purity that he is her father. 

5. Purity's mother is a really a crazy woman. Why are people around her being so nice? 

 

Glad I finished it. There isn't much meaning for it as how the characters are created to mess up each other fictional lives. 

 

 

 

 

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