A YA novel before there was YA. I have recorded every book I‘ve read since 1973. This was the first. It has all my themes: social justice, fantasy, parenting and dogs. Not sure why it took me 6 mos to read it.
A good read. Can see how it became a good film and mini- series. I was not blown away but am glad to now know what kind of author he is. Shout out to LA residents- this book is set amongst streets and locations you know. Fun to drive around the city as it appeared in the 1940s. The take on Glendale will keep you laughing.
A Yale prof said that we learn much about history through the observations of fiction writers. This book shows that. For ex, what we now consider the quaint remote New England village she saw as a bleak backwood. And when you think about it, that‘s probably right. This feels like she wrote it in a single nostalgic afternoon. A history buff may like it, but if you don‘t care to know that Henry James‘ stroke came on as he dressed, don‘t bother.
Ok. So he has left her to go to an island. Then he calls her to let her hear the sounds. But in the next para she is with him and the text says they brought a camera with them. BUT THEY DIDN‘T GO TOGETHER AND I DIDN‘T EVEN SEE HER TRAVEL AND EVENNIF THAT IS STATES HOW AM I TO KNOW WHEN THIS JOINT TRIP IS HAPPENING? WHAT AM I MISSING? WHY WAS THIS PUBLISHED?
This novel has not received the acclaim it should because it was her first book after HP under her name. But if you pick up a glass of milk expecting orange juice you are not going to like it - or even recognize what it is. I think that is what happened with this book: a lot of disappointment about what it is not.
Part 1 Part 1 Some books are like pillows. You can not get a sense of their shape and substance no matter how hard you grip them. These are usually very good books. Such is The Folded Clock. It taught me about the Wansee / final solution conference & New England heritage families & Edith Wharton‘s husband & possibly poisonous apricot kernels & giornate & the trap door in the Brooklyn Bridge. (This Heidi has had a great life so far!)
Part 2 The diary showcases a writer‘s mind travelling through her days. She examines our shared secret thoughts like the cracks between the closest of friends & the guilt of keeping a gift you bought for someone & uncomfortable truths - like that women date men to try on new worlds and identities; that they lose their filters as they age in order to be seen. This book appears to have no reason to be. But is, in the most glorious of ways.
So my sofa at work broke. I propped it with books from our library. Which led to my discovery of a book from my earliest years: The Forgotten Door. A first edition. I keep a card for every book I have read since 6th grade. Here is this one. Not so important, I know. It just made me think that I have traveled far from home in life and here a relic magically pops up from the road that seemed behind me.
Reading with my ipad & phone so I can look up all the places. Just learned that I work across the street from the cemetery where many huge celebs are buried; that Matteo‘s restaurant near my home was Sinatra hangout. Spaces hold the DNA of what came before and I feel the past‘s presence strongly.
This book is wonderful trip through a city and time. Lots of good gossip too! Book # 1
“ a life different from [mine], in Paris perhaps; a wilder life; not always taking care of some man or other; for there was in all their minds a mute questioning of deference and chivalry, of the Bank of England and the Indian Empire, of ringed fingers and lace...”
The thoughts of the three young daughters in To the Lighthouse. And hopefully the thoughts of mine.
One day some academic will catch all the threads of DeWitt‘s novels and show us the throughline. Today, he appears to be an appealing yet vexing writer. Here a realistic portrayal of upper class Manahattan life sits side by side with magical events that we‘re supposed to deem real. Wait. I think I figured it out. He‘s a modern magical realist. Will think more on this. Anyway, if you like your narrative straight and clear, this isn‘t for you.
Hmm. The first chapter was great. The theme that love triggers all manner of extreme behavior be it heroic or horrific was interesting. It lacks connective tissue though. The result is an assorted collection of good ideas and great moments - which of course do not a good novel make.
A fascinating and fast read. It‘s all here, the growth of CAA, decline of Lew Wasserman, MGM and MCA, his departure from CAA, the Picasso Eisner had to give Robin Williams, being fired from Disney, David Letterman‘s battle for the Tonight Show, the “gay mafia” and his third act as a wildly successful Silicon Valley investor.
Part 2. Ovitz is certainly an egotist but there‘s no denying his hard work, vision and success. If you worked in entertainment between 1988 - 2006 no doubt you will get some juicy details on a story you were attached to and enjoy hearing Ovitz‘ POV on the rest. And he names names.
Memoirs are often criticized for not being objective. But that‘s part of the fun of it and also tells you something about the subject that no one else can.
Yesterday at the half Stanford‘s football team was down 7-24. I said they could win. My husband was dismissive.
Today I realized that we had acted out the famous scenes in this novel where the wife says the weather might be fine enough the next day to go to the lighthouse & the husband says it won‘t.
If a novel is a classic somehow the writer has captured the elements of life. I encourage you to read one. They‘re free.
And Stanford did win.
And just when you think that is quite enough to chew on, Ma also gives you a background immigration story that pairs like a fine wine with an apocalyptic migration story. But, wait, there‘s more! It‘s also a coming to maturity story which works well with the theme of the acceptance of inconvenient truths - known as “adulting”. You will find a lot to like here. I made sure to collect this as a first/first. Let me know what you think.
PART 1: Post-apocalyptic books work on the premise that all was fine before the bad event. The best thing about this one is that it shows that what came before the big event was itself the apocalypse. It‘s popular with millennials as it suggests that rot results from our routine & meaningless walk through life. It is also right in line with AI thinkers who question whether your daily existence is different than that of a closed loop robot. Is it?
As a book about the journey of a man from humble and dangerous beginnings to a normal life, this book works - sort of. ( Educated by Tara Westover, Glass Castle, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Up From Southy are better. ) As an explanation of Trump supporters it fails. Truly think this would have had half the sales if it had not been released when it was. Not looking forward to a second book of his- he‘s a so-so writer.
Wonderful! The plot is surprising. The characters are refreshing. It's a fast read with many twists & turns. Not one major character ends up being what you expect them to be. Not one. The historical setting is organically shown rather than explained.
Spofford accomplishes - rather breezily - what most authors hope for: an entertaining and educational read that sparkles with near-invisible skill.
Critics are in consensus on this one: read it!
Completely absorbed after chapter 1. The main character‘s landing in New York City reminds me of Ben Franklin‘s account of his landing in Philadelphia. The imagery, pacing, detail and language make you feel like you are there. I call this 4-corner writing.
Hoping that this continues at this super-high value level, I will be commenting as I go.
*SPOILERS*. A man‘s aunt gives him a large allowance if he lives the glam life in NYC & shares it with her through photos & letters. He hates NYC & hires someone else to do the photos & letters while he stays home.
A man‘s marriage breaks up because he can‘t remember his wife‘s birthday.
Sounds like things George Costanza would do, right? These stories are Seinfeldian vintage 1919 and every bit as enjoyable as the 1990s sitcom.
These short stories bear an uncanny similarity to the wackiest Fitzgerald stories. They share references to magazine short story writing, advertising, & other facets of NYC life in the'20s. They both lived in Great Neck & were friendly with Ring Lardner. Though Fitz fashioned himself a critic, he's virtually silent on Wodehouse. What gives? Professional jealousy? Was Fitz's his "low" Irishness offended by Wodehouse's English uppercrust-iness?
Going for some light reading for a change.
Such a delightful coming of age novel. A young woman searching for love must overcome an aggressive suitor, meddling adults, friends and “friends” and confront her gothic fears about a picturesque ruin. The slim plot makes this book a sort of babbling brook of Austen‘s talent: narrow, clear and cool, it meanders and bubbles its way to its frothy conclusion. See what the Austen fuss is about without reading Pride & Prejudice. #litsyclassics
I love Dickens. Am trying to get into this one. Trying hard. But then in chapter 1 I saw a point of view lapse. And it's bugging me - even though I know that is a modern day writer's workshop sort of comment. This is a classic and a book of high skill. I think my writing lesson is: don't let perfect be the enemy of good. Which is a just in time lesson as I prepare my own novel for a year long mini-MFA with The Writer's Hotel.
Please read this memoir. Her parents keep her uneducated and frightened of the modern world. She didn‘t see even an Advil or hear about the Holocaust until she went to college to escape a brutal sibling in a household that was in constant revolt against the government & prep for the end of days. 10 yrs later she graduated from Cambridge with a Ph.D. & managed to keep her faith. Her life shows how education helps you unfold the world
This is an impression of the pumpkin carving my husband made of my beloved Labrador Susie who died the day before Halloween. It sits a top my bookshelf as she was by my side when I read. Orley Farm was the last book I read to her. And it was a good one. #shelfiesunday @Litsy
Did you know
That spices are what fueled the economies of Venice, Amsterdam and London?
That a woman invented the first version of monopoly as a criticism of capitalism and that it had two versions of game play- be a capitalist or a socialist?
That the lowly keyboard arguably advanced technology more than the auto?
That the European craze for calico fabric transformed the act of shoping? Me either. Flawed book, but learned a lot.