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review 2016-10-09 20:53
The Story of a New Name - Elena Ferrante

2016 UC book club pick for Oct. Look, I don't care what anyone else says, this is a book about betrayal. It's about sexual betrayal, emotional betrayal, self betrayal, and a betrayal of everything. I know everyone will be taking about the whole Elena and Nino plot, but for me the hardest, heart breaking betrayal was

[spoiler]the destruction of Lila's journals by Elena, who destroys them after reading them, despite the fact that they were placed in her keeping to keep them self. And then Elena is surprised by the destruction at the end of the novel, seriously, honey what did you do?


. You know, bestseller lists are not usually right, look at 50 Shades of Grey, but when they are, oh man.

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review 2016-09-07 17:41
Grave and Graveyard Square
The Prague Cemetery - Umberto Eco

This one of those books that you read but aren't entirely sure that you understand what you read.  Eco's novel is in part about the development and publication of the stupid and racist Protocols of the Elders of Zion.  It is like wading though a sewer, a well written sewer.  In part, the book seems to be about what would possess someone to write such crap but also why it would be accepted.  


It's a good read, but hardly pleasant.

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review 2016-08-28 18:59
This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen - Tadeusz Borowski,Barbara Vedder,Jan Kott,Michael Kandel

Just wow. This should be more widely read than it is.

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text 2016-08-28 18:53
The Time in Between - María Dueñas

I'm listing this as read for 2016 because I made it over half into the book. The book starts promisingly enough, but the plot then becomes too predictable too justify the info dump after info dump the main character feels she must give. Yes, honey, I know you just told me two paragraphs ago. First 100 pages are wonderful and then you are like, wtf.

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review 2016-08-06 21:56
Two girls live in Naples and
My Brilliant Friend - Elena Ferrante,Ann Goldstein

2016 UC Book Club Aug. Read

It is so great that the hype for this is well deserved.

And honestly, I really want to re-read (and watch) Gomorrah but the new Byatt arrived today with the Harry Potter play . . .

I don’t really know what more I can add to what people have said about this book, yet, I’m going to try.

The plot of the story is the lives of two girls Lena and Lila, who live in Naples. The story is set in motion though a framing device where Lila’s son discovers her to be missing, and Lena starts to record their friendship.

To be honest, for me, at least, the characters didn’t feel like they were able to walk off the page. The story is absorbing it is a great book, with a nice kicker of a subtle ending. A reader (or even a viewer of television or movie plots) has seen the characters before. Two friends where one seems to fulfill the dreams of the other. In fact, to call the plot familiar would not be wrong.

And yet.

There is an enough difference for the familiarity of the plot to not be a problem. That and the strength of the writing.

Two things stand out. One is the use or influence of fairy tales from the ogre figure to the character type of Cinderella. The Italian Cinderella of Basile that is, the one who dresses like strumpet. The other is the use of doubling. Lena and Lila might be friends, but I am not entirely convinced that they are two separate people. Undoubtedly I am wrong, but there is such a sense of two by two in the novel that even if the characters are simply shadows or parallel it is interesting. For instance, both girls get a bump in regards to their creativity in the same way.

In many ways, it also is about gender, so that’s cool too.

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