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text 2019-01-19 19:33
Reading progress update: I've read 50%.
Milkman - Anna Burns

Instead I minimalised, withheld, subverted thinking, dropped all interaction surplus to requirement which meant they got no public content, no full-bodiedness, no bloodedness, no passion of the moment, no turn of plot, no sad shade, no angry shade, no panicked shade, no location of anything. Just me, downplayed, devoid. Just me, uncommingled.

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text 2019-01-18 18:04
Reading progress update: I've read 48%.
Milkman - Anna Burns

This book is like none other I've read wherein I equal parts want to read it and don't. I fail to see how it won the Booker though, as I would assume it has little relevance but for those who didn't live through the Northern Irish Troubles or are from Belfast.

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review 2019-01-12 06:32
A story about nothing, or about everything, and nothing specific
Alternate Side: A Novel - Anna Quindlen

 

Alternate Side by Anna Quindlen is a story about New Yorkers, though not necessarily those native to the city, but those who have become successful and thrive on its energy and eccentricities.

 

Nora Nolan and her husband, Charlie, are two of those people as are their neighbours, a privileged few who live on a street that is unique in that it is short and a dead end, allowing limited access and maximum exclusivity.

 

What makes this book so entertaining is Quindlen’s excellent characterization and authentic dialogue. Indeed, this book has very little plot at all with the inciting incident not even arriving until nearly halfway through the book.

 

The event that starts this cliquish neighbourhood unravelling is when one of the neighbours brutally assaults Ricky, the handyman for the entire enclave, with a golf club because he blocked the entrance to the exclusive neighbourhood parking lot.

 

Though the reader might expect dramatic revelations there aren’t any, everything is resolved in a civilized manner, as befitting these very civilized people.

 

The worst that Quindlen can evoke is the falling out between some neighbours re-enforcing in this reader that you’re often better off not getting to know people too well.

 

The ending has some uninspired musing by the protagonist about the road untaken. I had the impression the author hoped an appropriate ending would present itself and it didn’t, or it did, and she didn’t have the courage to write it.

 

I'm not sure if Alternate Side was an entertaining story about nothing or a story about everything, but nothing specific.

 

 

 

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review 2019-01-11 20:00
A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle
A Wrinkle in Time (The Time Quintet #1) - Anna Quindlen,Madeleine L'Engle

I decided to reread A Wrinkle in Time again because I am also going to reread the remainder of the Murry/O'Keefe series and I am one of those people who needs to begin at the beginning. I don't have anything to add to this review, except that I remain in awe of Madeleine L'Engle's extraordinary humanity. She was a remarkable woman, and I'm not sure that we deserved her.

 

Rereading the book inspired me to rewatch the movie, as well. Maybe this weekend!

 

Review from 3/24/18:

 

I decided to reread after seeing the new Ava DuVernay adaptation with my daughter. I read the book as a child of the 1970's - probably a bit more than decade or so after the initial 1963 publication, around 1977, when I was 11. I fell in love with the book then, seeing much of myself in Meg Murry, the ordinary, often grumpy, young woman. I revisited L'Engle in 2015, and found that, while some of her books had not held up with reread, many of them did. 

 

This book is part of my personal canon, one of the books that shaped my childhood and had a part in making me who I am today.


A Wrinkle in Time is a bit of a period piece, to be sure. Girls today are stronger, more self-aware, more cognizant of the pressures of an often sexist society, and more willing to buck convention in order to be authentic to themselves. Not all girls, of course, but some girls. Our culture, today, at least struggles to understand these pressures and to acknowledge that they exist, even if we often fail to genuinely confront them.


The DuVernay adaptation succeeds in a way that, after reading alot of L'Engle, and a fair amount about L'Engle, I believe that she would appreciate. Casting Meg Murry as a biracial young woman was an inspired decision, the relocation of the plot to a more diverse location in California, the addition of Charles Wallace as an adopted child, to me really work to illuminate some of the themes that L'Engle was writing about - alienation and dangers of extreme social conformity in particular. 

There are parts of the book that are quite different from the movie, of course. In the book, the Murry's have two additional children, a set of male twins who are effortlessly socially competent. They are capable of fulfilling society's expectations with little work. Meg, on the other hand, is prickly, defensive, occasionally angry, and fearsomely intelligent - all things which 1963 America couldn't really cope with in girls. Heck, we still struggle with girls who are prickly, defensive, occasionally angry and fearsomely intelligent. 

A Wrinkle in Time shines light into dark places. For that alone, it's worth reading.

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quote 2019-01-10 19:02
Ho paura. Paura di cadere e di non riuscire piĆ¹ a fermarmi. Paura di non poter mai fare l'amore con una ragazza. Paura di essere un vigliacco. Paura di essere in trappola. Paura che verremo tutti catturati. Paura che sia il mio stesso fantasma,quello che aspetta ai piedi delle scale. E paura che sia finita:che questo sia tutto quanto rimane della mia vita.
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