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review 2018-12-13 20:51
[REVIEW] Bluets by Maggie Nelson
Bluets - Maggie Nelson
"I knew it all along. The heart of the world is blue."
(p. 90)

This wasn't what I expected.

I’m feeling a bit like a prude but this was unexpectedly vulgar for me? I came in thinking it would be about the color blue, grief, lovesickness, love, loss, etc. Those elements are present but so is a lot of mention of dick and pussy and sex and I was completely surprised. I wanted something soft and melancholic and that is definitely not what I found. The melancholy was there but it was being chased by madness.

Another thing that surprised me was the philosophical elements present. Lots of Plato and other philosophers are mentioned.

I did enjoy her prose, her descriptions, and feelings about color.



Reading progress notes


61% - 136. "Drinking when you are depressed is like throwing kerosene on a fire,” I read in another self-help book at the bookstore. What depression ever felt like a fire? I think, shoving the book back on the shelf.

75% - Not loving that she used the "r" word.
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review 2018-07-04 23:05
Something Bright, Then Holes
Something Bright, Then Holes - Maggie Nelson

Nelson's collection is divided into three distinct sections, but almost all of the poems included have a sense of vulnerability and melancholy. There is a focus on loss - lost love, lost mobility, lost time - the wreckage of broken relationships, hearts, and bodies. The first section, field journals written about the canal, captures this essence and distills it. She uses minutia to highlight entropy. The tension between beauty and decay, treasure and refuse. A time capsule of a single summer that simultaneously has a timelessness that extends to every summer. The stretch of endless afternoons, summer heat, and isolation. Written mostly in couplets this collection is sparse, raw, observant, and pensive.

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review 2017-08-19 00:00
The Argonauts
The Argonauts - Maggie Nelson Τα αντιθετικά πλέγματα που υποβάλλει η κοινωνία στο άτομο (μητρότητα-σεξουαλικότητα, άνδρας-γυναίκα) συνυπάρχουν, ή προσπαθούν να συνυπάρξουν, σε ένα αρμονικό σύνολο, με τη γραφή της συγγραφέως να προσεγγίζει το φάσμα ταυτοτήτων, σεξουαλικών και μη, συνδιαλεγομένη με φιλοσόφους και ψυχολόγους, αλλά και μέσα από τα δικά της βιώματα και αγωνίες.
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review 2017-08-16 15:12
The Red Parts
The Red Parts - Maggie Nelson

The Red Parts tells the story of Maggie Nelsons aunt Jane, who has been brutally murdered in 1969. 35 years after her death the real perpetrator has been caught and an arrest is about to happen (prior to this the death of Jane Mixer has been attributed to the "Michigan Murder" killer). Nelson takes the trial as a starting point to explore what kind of impact the death of Jane and the trial so many years later had on her family and herself. The Red Parts is much more an autobiographic account of Nelson´s family than a true crime account of the murder of Jane Mixer.


I have to admit there is something about this book that really bugged me and I don´t know exactly what it is. It´s my second attempt at an autobiography and both books have been about dysfunctional families. And I guess I have a problem with reading about dysfunctional families through the eyes of a family member, who clearly has issues himself and isn´t able to reflect proberly just how flawed and troubled the family actually is.

Nelson never proberly explores the behaviour of the other family members and their reactions during and after the trial (and the end of the trial doesn´t change the family in any way). For instance she never gives her family an opportunity to express their own thoughts on a particular topic:


Because there is currently no way to date DNA. under the right light, cells from thousands of years ago would glow right alongside the cells we are leaving in our wake today. Under the right light, the present and the past are indistinguishable.

This is bad news for someone hoping to "get away with murder," especially if his or her DNA has somehow made it into CODIS. I have no plans to murder anyone, but nonetheless I am glad that Schroeder does not ask me to provide a sample of my DNA to the state, as he does my mother, grandfather and uncle. The state wants genetic profiles related to Jane´s on file, so as to eliminate her as a possible contributor to DNA found at the crime scene. [...] I´m reminded of this all the more when my mother voices some skepticism about the Power of DNA testing, [...]


That is about the only thing that the mother comments on and apparently that is the only gripe that the mother, the grandfather and the uncle has with being catalogued in a DNA-database on a voluntary basis. If they have a problem with it, Nelson doesn´t bother to adress it.


Instead Nelson jumps through episodes of her own life, coming up with an odd murder mind / suicide mind theory which is baffling. And she just dumps too much personal informations and episodes of her life on the reader, some of them being downright repelling:


On my last night in the Gowanus loft my boyfriend asked if he could choke me with a silk stocking while we fucked. I assented; I even got the stocking out of my drawer myself. I have always had an erotic fondness for asphyxiation. It feels good not to breath a short while before coming, so that when you finally come and breathe together, you get an astonishing rush: the world comes back to you in a flood of color, pleasure, and breath.

I did not know that earlier that day he had read my journal, and had there found out that I was in love with someone else, that I had made love with someone else. I had only told him that I was leaving. As we had sex I suddenly suspected that he knew more than I´d told him. I suspected this when I said, aghast, "This is how Jane died", and he said, without missing beat, "I know".


Dear author, there is something like too much information.


Due to my lack in expertise when it comes to autobiographies I don´t feel comfortable in saying this is a bad book. And I certainly enjoyed reading some parts of it (especially the chapters about the murder trial). But there were things that didn´t work for me and left me with a queasy feeling.





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review 2017-07-03 00:00
The Argonauts
The Argonauts - Maggie Nelson I just started reading this without getting any type of information or backstory. I felt lost for a bit. It was hard for me to follow what she was talking about sometimes because it skips around different topics continually. It felt kind of like a diary entry or something to me sometimes. After I read for awhile I understood more her writing style and the situation between her and her lover. I did like it overall.
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