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Friday, December 18, 2009

Portrait of a Lady Discussion

I'm conflicted about this novel. Here's why. The story was compelling. I was drawn along instantly feeling connection with Isabel. The varied people around her, some practicing political duplicity, others quite sincere, some overtaken by her, all had interesting depth. I wanted to know what would happen to her. Who would she marry? How would her marriage turn out? And when we found that out, I yearned to a strong extent for a resolution for her. In the end, the resolution she chooses would not have been my choice, and yet it had the effect of being one of those great endings that stay in my mind plaguing me for days.

That being said, I had a hard time holding on to James' prose. I was easily bored by his wordiness and tangential wanderings. His words are beautiful, and yet, though I understood them all, not unfamiliar with them, I still felt his composition veiled the whole thing in a rather frustrating cloud of vagueness. It was like knowing something but never truly putting your finger on it. Not being able to fully express it. It gnawed at me. It made me feel inferior to his narrative which was off putting. I'm not reading to be confused, I'm reading to understand. I couldn't quite figure out why if I understood the meaning of each word, the string of them eluded me. I'm not sure this makes sense to you, but it is the strange feeling that shadowed me through the entire novel.

Overall then I'm not sure how to rate it. I didn't enjoy it as I should have if it hadn't been for that odd perception of being in the dark the whole time. And yet, I didn't want to put it down for all that.

What would you say about it?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Calling all Brown Bookers

How many of you have read Portrait of a Lady? I'm just looking for a rough number of people. I'm going to put the discussion up sometime this week. We just opened book 20: Mudbound! I hope some of you will be reading this one. I know the holidays are here and my schedule can attest to yours being as busy busy busy. So we're not going to rush this one but come say mid-January, let's rally and get our momentum into the homestretch. We'll be looking to the next year with a new set of Brown Books if you guys are willing. We can get a lively discussion going on that topic too, i.e. should I pick the books again? Should we bandy about giant wish list between all of us and I can surprise you with that? Think about it, save your thoughts and next month we'll get to partying it up about all this. I'm so glad you guys have stuck with me and this has been a fun project. I'd like to keep going. I've had a lot of fun.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Book Twenty Opening

This took all night last night and starting over this morning and all day today to upload.

Wow, sometimes technology astounds in all the wrong ways.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Plethora of Gifting Ideas

Well the holidays sent me into a tailspin. How about you guys?

I have a couple of links I'd like to share of gift guides for books, very nice stuff.

Books on the Nightstand's Book Gift Guide

Books on the Nightstand's Kid's Books Gift Guide

Geek Dad's Holiday Gift Guide #1: Books

Boing Boing has a six part series of gift guides:







And where I get most of my book recommendations, NPR:

Big and Beautiful: Best Gift Books of 2009

Check these out. Some great suggestions in here. Of the ones listed I will say that I have purchased Lego Star Wars Visual Dictionary for my husband, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is on my to get list, and I found a whole lot more that I want on these lists.

Other suggestions straight from me:

Lyrics by Sting - we love Sting around here, my husband especially. This is great for those followers but it is also poetry worth reading. As a poet, I can say that I thumbed through this and can't wait till he's done so I can read them all.

Dune - my budding teenage reader is into the fantasy leaning books, but he's been complaining that he wants to get into new series with a little more to them and perhaps something different. I'm encouraging him down an older road. This was an excellent read at his age for me. And along the same lines as this one,

I, Robot - for some great classic Sci-Fi.

Andy Rooney: 60 Years of Wisdom and Wit - now this one I don't have. It's on my wish list. But, I've been reading another book of Andy Rooney's writings called The Most of Andy Rooney which seems to be out of print. I can tell you that I love this stuff. Great quick reading too. Short little one or two page articles full of wry humor.

How to Raise the Perfect Dog - another Cesar Milan book out with more in depth information on raising and training your dog. Great gift for anyone with a young dog or contemplating getting a dog.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day - I know I've mentioned this book before. I mention it again because it deserves notice. I have been using this book now for over six months and I have not made one dud loaf yet. Not one. Each loaf has had beautiful crust and crumb. And the taste is sensational. Great for sandwiches, rolls, or just tear away and eat. Any home bakers you know will kiss you for this book.

Now. Have you been sufficiently inundated?