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review 2022-07-12 05:06
TO THE LIGHTHOUSE by Virginia Woolf
To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf

The Ramsays are at their summer residence with guests. Mrs. Ramsay keeps promising her youngest child they will go to the lighthouse the next day, but her husband says they won't because of bad weather. Unfortunately, tragedy happens before they can go to the lighthouse. When they do go to the lighthouse, the youngest son is now a teenager. It is a reunion of sorts from that time 10 years earlier.


This was not my cup of tea. I found the beginning boring. Quotation marks would have helped when characters were having conversations or thoughts. I often had to re-read passages to understand what was happening as well as who it was happening to. The book is in three parts. The first part is the basic story as in the above synopsis. The second part is what happens after the tragedy. The third part is 10 years later with the return of the Ramsays to the island.


The third part I find interesting. It is a stream of consciousness by different people. Some interesting thoughts occur. Some rebellious ones. Some on how to change others' responses to one. There are recriminations and anger in the thoughts. There is sorrow in remembrance.


These people are flawed. I just had a problem making a connection to any of them. Fortunately, I borrowed this from the library for book club. It is not a keeper for me.

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review 2017-08-08 21:24
'The Hours' well spent
The Hours - Michael Cunningham

This short book was winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1999 and takes as its start point the graphic suicide of Virginia Woolf. The tragic loss of one of the leading lights of the 'Bloomsbury Group' in 1941, finally succumbing to the fatal depths of recurrent depression at the age of just 59, conferred a profound loss on the cultural health of a nation, yet posterity has rightly lauded the author's legacy. In his homage to Woolf, Michael Cunningham interweaves the thoughts and experiences of three female characters: Mrs Woolf (Virginia), Mrs Brown (Laura) and Mrs Dalloway (Clarissa), Located in 1923 London, 1949 L.A. and 1990s New York , respectively. Virginia is mulling over ideas for the fictional character yet to inhabit her most famous novel, while Clarissa and Laura are spending a day in preparation for a celebration in their respective times and place. Successive chapters rotate between the discrete storylines  culminating in an unusual cross-over in the end, but the snapshots also draw on some common themes, which beset each of the protagonists, irrespective of the prevailing social norms in 'their' time.


What rescues the book from a sense of cerebral indulgence on the part of the writer though, is the moving beauty of the language and as the reader quaffs down the pages like a smooth, warming liqueur, it is good to savour the interplay of quite sumptuous tones. It also remains consistent with the 'stream of consciousness' storytelling deployed by Woolf in 'Mrs Dalloway' (published 1925), albeit this example is not entirely satisfying, given its fragmentary nature and slightly bitter aftertaste


Still, the takeaway theme for me from this book is the individual capacity, indeed responsibility, to create and shape one's life, within the context of the prevailing time and to weigh the personal sacrifices and gains that attend our choices. Some of the metaphors were also interesting, for example, some mistakes such as cake-making are retrievable, others require stoicism to deal with the consequences, but when it comes down to it, life and love is fundamentally fragile...and fickle.

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review 2016-06-28 16:56
Shock value
The Argonauts - Maggie Nelson

The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson was the May book from the feminist book club on Goodreads called Our Shared Shelf started by Emma Watson. This book was written in a style that I was completely unfamiliar with and which at first really threw me off. It's written almost as a stream of consciousness where there are broken paragraphs that at first seem as if they have no connection to one another. In fact, the first paragraph is a detailed description of the author engaging in anal sex. I guess she likes to shock the reader and/or pull them immediately into her narrative. (Hint: It worked.) This is the story of the author as she begins a relationship with her gender fluid partner (now spouse) and the navigating of that relationship while deciding to have a child together. She also becomes a stepparent to Harry's son from a prior relationship which is completely new territory in and of itself. Since reading The Argonauts, I have embarked on a campaign of knowledge about Nelson because this book is simply a snapshot of a few years of hers and Harry's lives. At the time that she was experiencing the struggles of trying to get pregnant Harry was undergoing changes as well (I don't want to give this away because it's such a powerful part of the book). Her description of her internalized experience as well as the observations of those around her are unique and frankly thrilling to read. Her writing is brash, dynamic, and surprising. She hits back against stereotypes of what it means to be gendered, queer, and in touch with oneself. In short, it's a powerful book that seeks to wake the slumbering activist in all of us. I highly recommend this one.

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2015-08-06 12:45
Too surreal to call it a story
Chameleon - Layden Robinson

The description says that this is, "An acid trip frenzy that delivers color and intensity the whole way."


That about sums it up. The whole thing is pretty disjointed and non-linear. Sort of a stream of consciousness work with swearing interspersed with poetic language, but ultimately not much of a story.


It lacks description and dialogue, but we're given the impression of some form of evil presence following the protagonist, who finds safety with strangers. I suppose you could say it's the stuff of nightmares, but not particularly scary.

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review 2012-11-15 00:00
The dog stars
The Dog Stars - Peter Heller

Reseña de: The dog stars, de Peter Heller.


No sé exactamente que esperaba de este libro. Probablemente algo Y.A., postapocalíptico y romántico. La verdad es que entre tantos libros, recomendaciones, listas y demás, a veces solo escojo una portada o un título y me pongo a leer. Es un riesgo, este método puede decepcionar mucho. Pero si es un buen libro, a veces es mejor no saber nada al respecto y sumergirte en la lectura a ciegas. Eso me pasó aquí y creo que para bien.


Es una lectura confusa, como suele ser con el estilo stream-of-consciousness, especialmente al principio que te estás aclimatando. No hay muchos signos de puntuación, está escrito en primera persona y el estilo es errático. Presente, pasado, diálogo, realmente no hay distinción. Me recordó mucho a The Red House, A Novel (de Mark Haddon) mezclado con una pizca de The Road, de Cormac McCarthy. Es un libro que parece desordenado pero realmente no tan juguetón como el estilo de Mark Haddon. Es desolador e inhóspito, pero no tan crudo y seco como el estilo de McCarthy.


Pero en general creo que aunque el estilo alenta un poco la lectura, es relativamente fácil adaptarse a el y aporta mucho al desarrollo del personaje principal, Hig. Da la sensación de ser muy personal y por momentos la prosa puede ser graciosa, casual o incluso poética. Poco a poco, mientras se va comprendiendo que fué lo que ocurrió para llegar a un mundo apocalíptico, también vamos conociendo a Hig y sus acompañantes. Y creo que es fantástica la forma en que se yuxtaponen la narración lenta y relativamente tranquila o monótona de los eventos presentes con la tragedia y horrores de eventos pasados.


Lo mejor del libro, sin embargo, es la forma de Hig de explicar lo que siente acerca de diversas cosas. Cuando habla de la naturaleza es como si estuvieras ahí. Cuando habla de otros personajes puedes imaginarlos y sentir una reacción emocional hacia ellos. Cuando habla de Jasper, su perro, casi puedes escucharlo ladrar y sentir su pelaje. Y quizá necesites ir a abrazar a tu mascota varias veces mientras lees. 


No quiero decir más porque aunque es un libro muy triste, lo recomiendo totalmente y no quiero spoilerear a nadie.

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