Monday, December 27, 2010


The Bell by Iris Murdoch is a beautiful, complicated novel that left me feeling like I missed a lot of nuances. I even went back and read the introduction again after I finished the book to see if there was anything there that could illuminate things for me. This was a good story about a lay community next to an enclosed group of nuns and the various people in the community. There are some interesting themes here about religion and spiritual life. As I said though, I think I may have missed some things. Which leaves me feeling like a ding dong (heh) or as Peanut would say, a doovis.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I can see where this is going...

I knew next to nothing about Sylvia Plath before I started to read The Bell Jar. Wow, this is an amazing book. I was truly amazed and saddened by the author's ability to lay out in detail what she was going through at the time of her mental breakdown. It was just heartbreaking to read especially because the one thing I did know about Plath was about her death. I think this was an important story and I'm pretty embarrassed that I was 32 before I read it!

One amazing thing is how the author is able to alter her writing almost imperceptibly to show how the bell jar is descending and ascending again. I found myself rooting for the main character even though I knew sort of what was going to happen in the author's life.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Don't like the character, but like the book.

I really liked Bel-Ami by Guy de Maupassant. I generally like stories with these kinds of wealthy, interesting characters. What was really interesting about this book though was how unapologetic the author is for the actions of the main character. We aren't supposed to like him very much, and I was interested to see whether he accomplished his goals.

This was over too soon!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

This one might even be too dirty for Marissa.

Believe it or not, The Beautiful Room Is Empty might be too dirty for Marissa. It is a memoir written by a man who struggled with his identity as a gay man in the 1950s and 1960s. Very good writing and definitely a good story, but WOW. There was some really very graphic descriptions in here. My eyes! My eyes!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Lost momentum.

The first hundred pages or so of Back are really, really interesting. The main character comes back from World War II and learns that the girl he loves has died. He thinks that there may be some sort of conspiracy. The reader wonders whether there is really a conspiracy or whether it is all in the main character's mind. I seriously couldn't put it down.

Then the story just kind of slows down and peters out. I won't give anything away but it just...kind of....stopped...holding my attention. It was a good story though, just not as exciting as I thought it would be.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


the Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas was the last A book still for me to read on the list, and I'm done! I can't really say that I found this particularly interesting. While I'm sure their lives were interesting hanging out with all those famous authors and artists, reading about who they met and what they did was not. The book does have the anecdote about Gertrude Stein telling her philosophy professor she didn't feel like taking a philosophy exam and receiving the highest grade, which I had heard before.

Not much to report here. I'm glad this one is over, and I appreciate Marissa's effort to get this book for me to read!