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"As it turns out."
Nov. 7, 2013
Night and Day
At first I didn't think this book's action would pick up, but then they were all in the country at Christmas and I got all excited. Clicked that link all the time.<br/><br/>I'd never read Virginia Woolf before. This book is good for that because it's real early Virginia Woolf, which means it is disguised as a regular novel. Even within that frame, though, she displays exactly how well she knows people, and already it's scary.<br/><br/>The conventional love-stories format meant I didn't at all expect the turn it took as the main character struggled with female identity and independent thought in 1919. This theme was thrilling, and the highlight of the novel. Her articulation of her characters' ideas and mistakes is shimmering with insight, several surprising scenes, and sincere feminist need.
Nov. 7, 2013
The Yellow Wallpaper
I liked this story as a teenager and I revisited it via DailyLit over a lunch break one day. DO THIS.<br/><br/>I was stunned (again) how good it is. It's terrifying! And makes its feminist thesis perfectly clear while also being tragic and ominous. Coming from so far away as 1892, it's incredible to think what Gilman must have been like.
Nov. 7, 2013
Moby Dick
I'd hoped for more from this, as many people get such great things from it. I found it hard to read and hard to hold together. For something that turns out not to be much of a sequential novel at all, it's quite long. You spend most of the book not knowing what kind of chapter you'll read next, and it's strange in many ways. But, it's also beautiful sometimes. And overall, a satisfying one to conquer. (Reviewed it bigger on Goodreads: http://dft.ba/-12o3)
Nov. 7, 2013
I love George Eliot! My favorite DailyLit read and one of my favorite books ever was The Mill on the Floss. I looked very forward to reading this, her most famous book, because it seemed it would have to be even more insightful, more passionate than any other. And while it is both of those things, they are more tempered here. I'd say that Middlemarch is famous more for its structure and literary achievements than for its beauty to read. That makes a difference to me. There are some extraordinary characters, however, and I read this very fast, enjoying it (almost) all the way through. (Reviewed it bigger on Goodreads: http://dft.ba/-12ok)
Nov. 7, 2013
Madame Bovary
I didn't grow very attached to this book, but I still really liked reading it. This translation is extremely readable, and Flaubert's style is so clear and attentive. So much of the description in the narrative is wonderful, the settings all extremely knowable. In general the author's view became the most compelling aspect: this book basically seems to be about people being tragically stupid. No one here is very nice, nor worthy of niceness, and though that's depressing, it's not without truth. Flaubert's eye is merciless, and still he seems to pity the fools.<br/><br/>Even though she's mostly unsympathetic, Emma never stops being interesting to read about. Her relationships are sort of compelling, and Charles is a great character. The last few sections make the book's message pretty clear, though it is awfully grim. Folks are a letdown. And luxury is sort of a joke. Um, yay.
Nov. 20, 2013
The Mill on the Floss
Five thousand stars.<br/><br/>This was one of the most emotionally vibrant things I've ever read. Maggie was such a vivid character that every page she's on feels true. And yet, it's such a novel, with themes so richly built. The symbolism is effortless and perfect and needed. (And is it really possible people don't like the ending?)<br/><br/>It was a really visceral read: lots of face-clasping and jaw-dropping. Maggie says some of the truest things I've ever seen in fiction, and it's wonderful. Eliot's omniscience says the rest of them. I was stunned how sharp the commentary was, painful and real. She seems to have known everything.<br/><br/>One of the things I like most about reading through DailyLit emails is that though most pages can be deleted after they're read, emails with passages I really like I save instead. Just in case. I eventually saved110 pages of The Mill on the Floss. For a little perspective. It is needed.
Dec. 26, 2013
Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
I had so much fun with the language, symbolism, and ideas here. I love &quot;squirting&quot; information at each other's systems with finger guns. I love the succinct, intriguing flashbacks. And the story's main thrust, Julius's willful spiral after being knocked offline, is really moving. I love that it's not a story of man vs. society, an attack on a big-brother dystopia, as much as a person losing all his bearings and finding his utopia can't help him.
Dec. 26, 2013
Science advances the body's potential, so that almost nothing natural happens any more. This story focuses on the grisly math of the concept, and what that means about population, birth, and death. (More or less, the story takes place in a maternity ward.) Also, an odd sort of conservationist idealism that seems somehow suspicious.<br/><br/>Similar themes to Down And Out In The Magic Kingdom (on DailyLit), and Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series.
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