(no subject)

Jul. 24th, 2017 02:39 pm
dark_phoenix54: (books cats)
[personal profile] dark_phoenix54
Sour Heart, by Jenny Zhang. Lenny, 2017

This collection of stories focuses on the experiences of Chinese immigrants in both China and America. They are loosely connected; characters from one story will be mentioned in another. These people do not have the nice house of the family in ‘Fresh Off the Boat’; the family in the first story at one point are sharing one room with 10 people; the room is just mattresses on the floor. Not to mention the cockroaches…. Other stories have the children left alone to take care of themselves because bother parents are working; in one, sexual exploration turns into sexual violence. One man whose lives in poverty with his wife and child has an endless string of mistresses. A grandmother claims to have breastfed her grandchildren, she loved them so much. A mother demands to be loved more than her husband, putting her child in an intolerable bind.

These are really grim stories. I had trouble finishing the book. I don’t demand all happy endings and unicorns farting rainbows, but there were no bright spots in these stories. Still, there are moments of laughter. Zhang writes with black humor that doesn’t lighten the mood but does make it survivable. I think I’m not sophisticated enough for this book.

(no subject)

Jul. 23rd, 2017 06:32 pm
dark_phoenix54: (books cats)
[personal profile] dark_phoenix54
You Play the Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Train Wrecks, & Other Mixed Messages, by Carina Chocano. Mariner, 2017

Carina Chocano is the essay writer I wish I was. She examines how pop culture treats women and girls- and how it affects us. From Katherine Hepburn and how her image had to be toned down for people to accept her movies; ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ and ‘Bewitched’ (how two insanely powerful women constantly deferred to men); to the huge Disney princess phenomena wherein a princess is someone to be saved by a man or presented to a man. ‘Desperate Housewives’, ‘Real Housewives’, ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’, ‘Flashdance’, the misogyny in ‘Can This Marriage Be Saved’- in a women’s magazine, no less, ‘Thelma and Louise’, ‘Pretty Woman’, Disney, ‘Mad Men’ and a lot more all come under her feminist microscope. And while you can tell she’s very frustrated by the way the media presents women, she is always entertaining and easy to read. I’d love to read what she thinks about ‘Wonder Woman’ and the new Dr. Who! Five stars out of five.

Quick set today

Jul. 22nd, 2017 05:17 pm
ericcoleman: Cheshire Moon (Cheshire Moon)
[personal profile] ericcoleman
Almost all new stuff, either from the new CD or from the Patreon page, including two songs we have not done live.

The Well Stone
Banshee
In This Place Of Steel And Stars (1st time)
Beast Within
Gargoyles (1st time)
Persephone
Ghost Train
Boneman's Daughter
Solstice

(no subject)

Jul. 20th, 2017 04:12 pm
dark_phoenix54: (skull on books)
[personal profile] dark_phoenix54
Reincarnation Blues, by Michael Poore. Random House, 2017

In this tale, souls get 10,000 chances to reach perfection. If they achieve this, they go into the great cosmic soul forever; bliss, but with no individuality. If they fail, they are obliterated forever. Most people manage it in significantly fewer than 10,000 lives. Not Milo, though- Milo is at 9,995 and it’s not looking promising. Milo knows this- at least between lives, he does. During the resting period between lives, a soul is fully conscious of all their lives. In Milo’s case, two spirits (deities? Avatars?), Ma and Nan, aid (mostly by harassing) his journey to perfection. Also with him between lives is one of the many avatars of death, Suzie. Suzie and Milo are in love. They want to find a way to stay together. Also, Suzie wants to stop being death and open a candle shop.

We follow Milo through a number of his lives. Lives can be as anything; trees, kings, cats, pirates, slugs, slaves, male, female, poor, rich, whatever. He comes *close* to perfection, but somehow always screws it up at the end. The lives are pretty interesting; short tales of near perfection in a prison, turning around the human race on a different prison world where the Water Cartels run everything; and tiny tales, a page long or less, of marching in Selma Ala., and hiding a cache of Polish pornography from the Nazis. Some tales of being not so nice a person. He also has adventures between lives, too- the afterlife is quite a busy place. The whole book is a collection of short stories, with Milo (he tends to keep that name throughout) as the star of them all. Some parts are horrific, some are very funny- his style reminds me of Christopher Moore (and, at times, of certain periods of Robert Heinlein’s work)- but for some reason, Milo never seems to take anything seriously. It made it a little difficult for me to really feel for him. Suzie isn’t around enough to make a real connection with her. I really enjoyed the book- it’s a lot of fun!- but for some reason I just can’t make it five stars. Four stars out of five.

(no subject)

Jul. 18th, 2017 12:39 pm
dark_phoenix54: (books cats)
[personal profile] dark_phoenix54
The World Broke in Two: Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, D.H. Lawrence, E.M. Forster, and the Year That Changed Literature, by Bill Goldstein. Henry Hold & Company, 2017


1922 was the year that ‘Ulysses’ was published and Proust’s work was translated into English. Willa Cather declared that the world broke in two in that year, because these were literary works that were distinctly different from all that had come before them. These works had effects on other writers, of course- Virginia Woolf said, after reading Proust “Well, what remains to be written after that?” Thankfully, after being unable to write due to illnesses both mental and physical, she found a new voice within her and created both “Jacob’s Room” and “Mrs. Dalloway”.

T.S. Eliot felt trapped by both his day job at a bank and his invalid wife. His own neuroses did not help; he had a great deal of trouble letting go of his new work “The Wasteland” and was an incredible frustration to the people who wanted to publish the poem.

D.H. Lawrence was traveling the world, trying to find a place where he felt he could write in peace. People seemed to be dying to have him stay with them, even though he was quite unreasonable about his situation, wanting to be put up by friends but also wanting to be left strictly alone. During this time he watched censorship battles being fought over his work, and published “Kangaroo” (which I had never heard of) and “Aaron’s Rod”.

E.M. Forster had writer’s block for well over a decade, but in this year managed to finish a book he’d started long before: “A Passage to India”. His life was unhappy; a closeted gay man in an era that did not allow homosexuality, he did not want to suffer the same fate as Oscar Wilde. His mental outlook wasn’t helped by living with his aging, control freak mother.

These four authors were affected by Joyce and Proust, even those who did not like the work they produced. They were also profoundly affected by the recent World War; “The Wasteland” and “Mrs Dalloway” both contain reactions to that.

The entwined biographies of the four, and what they published in 1922, make a good picture of how modernist writing was being created. The book is not fast reading (I tended to skip over a good deal of Eliot’s parts) but it’s good writing and the research is meticulous. Four stars out of five.

Profile

rowangolightly: (Default)
Susi Matthews

February 2017

S M T W T F S
   1234
567 891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728    

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 28th, 2017 02:45 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios