Tuesday, October 16, 2007
The first thing I noticed was that Pessl titled each chapter with a work of literature, and that each chapter has subtle references/resemblances to that work. She is a young (twenty-something when she wrote this) writer who, evidently, likes to show off her literary knowledge. This may put off many from reading this book, and I can't really recommend it to anyone who might shrink from this sort of thing. But to those of us who thrill to seeing so many literary references (often a bit too much - I think Pessl is showing off much of the time), this book is one to put on the list.
A short synopsis of the book: Blue Van Meer is a 16-year-old who arrives in a small North Carolina town and attends an exclusive prep school. She has spent her childhood traveling the country with her father (a charming college professor), going from school to school. Most of the book follows her through her senior year at St. Gallways and her unusual acceptance into an exclusive group who call themselves the Bluebloods. The story follows Blue's relationships with the Bluebloods and with Hannah Schneider, the film teacher (film teacher??) who is the leader and nexus of the group. The story takes a really odd turn when Blue finds Hannah dead - strung up in a tree with electrical extension cord. (This is not a spoiler, as it is mentioned in the introduction of the book.)
Let me just say that the rest of the book winds dizzyingly into a mystery that is never really "solved" or explained. The final chapter of the book is titled "Final Exam" and literally asks more questions than it answers. I warn you that this can be a frustrating book for anyone who likes their novels to have some finality. All I can say is that I loved this book.
And be sure to check out the extremely clever little website set up for this book.
Monday, October 15, 2007
I know I've been away a long time. Apologies. Time to make this blog a habit again.
I have been involved in stage managing yet another production at Brüka Theatre. It's been a lot of work and very time-consuming, but a lot of fun.
The show is titled "Beckett Undressed" and it is a compilation of three of Samuel Beckett's shorter works including Imagination Dead Imagine, Krapp's Last Tape, and Come and Go. There is also an original piece by our director, Stacey Spain, called No News, that she created specifically for this production at Brüka, and is heavily influenced by Beckett's work.
Stay tuned to this space for lots of commentary on the books I've been reading and perhaps a story or two about theatrical goings-on.
Monday, July 02, 2007
The play's director, Jim Martin, was kind enough to train me (read: be at his beck and call) as stage manager for his production of The Golden Screw. It's an eclectic play billed as "A Witty Musical Regarding Rebellion & the Soul of an Artist" that defies categorization.
The Golden Screw is a small, rather obscure play by Tom Sankey that alternates original songs with short vignettes and loosely tells the story of a folk singer in the 60's and his rise to fame and then walking away from it all. The vignettes were performed by three very talented actors with a minimum of props and costumes.
The star of the production was the amazing James Cavanaugh, singer and musician extraordinaire, who did Sankey's songs a lot of justice.
It was a privilege to work with such a great cast and crew. And what a lot of fun!
(For those who live in the Reno area, stay tuned. We may have a "touring" production at the Great Basin Brewing Co. in Sparks.)
Monday, April 23, 2007
(Actually, I took the day off because I competed in a karate tournament in San Francisco yesterday and I am exhausted.)
So I plan to read a few articles, anticipate Bill Bryson's biography of the bard, and not get too hung up on what he might have looked like.
I hope you'll celebrate in your usual ways...
Friday, April 06, 2007
What Poetry Form Am I?
Hmmm... apparently I'm terza rima:
I'm terza rima, and I talk and smile.
Where others lock their rhymes and thoughts away
I let mine out, and chatter all the while.
I'm rarely on my own - a wasted day
Is any day that's spent without a friend,
With nothing much to do or hear or say.
I like to be with people, and depend
On company for being entertained;
Which seems a good solution, in the end.
A weird quiz with doggerel at the end.
Or maybe I'll find out Which Poem Are You?
|Which poem are you? |
The Mad Girl's Love Song by Sylvia Plath
To you, love is desperate and hateful. You're wildly passionate and wildly inventive. You're also likely to start stalking people.
|Click Here to Take This Quiz|
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.
Hmmm... the quiz itself is more fun than the results. Someone was having too much fun.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
I don't know why I often avoid certain authors because they get so much buzz. I suppose I am distrustful of some authors who are popular for little reason I can ascertain (like John Grisham or Dan Brown).
I guess it was for this reason I took so long to discover Jonathan Lethem. At first, I avoided his popular books (Motherless Brooklyn was popular when I first decided to try reading his stuff), and picked up a copy of As She Cimbed Across the Table. I loved it.
So Gun, With Occasional Music was my second Lethem book, and I can tell you I'll be reading a lot more.
This book was a wonderful combination of hard-boiled detective fiction (think: Raymond Chandler) and twisted science fiction, set in a bizarre (yet somehow plausible) future where animals have been artificially evolved and your karma levels are kept on a card. The superb writing and the wonderfully crafted plot are almost bonuses.
I won a copy of Eliza Minot's The Brambles from our local paper's book blog a couple months ago. I put off reading it because, frankly, I hadn't heard anything about the book or the author.
I have mixed feelings about the book. The writing is superbly crafted and she really knows how to get inside the moment and the character. In fact, Minot gets a little too much inside. THe details are so combed over that I almost forgot there was a plot in there somewhere. The story is simple: the Bramble family is coming to terms with the death of the mother and a father who is terminally ill. The aging father is brought to the eldest daughter's house to finish out his days and the other two siblings visit.
Minot delves with excruciating detail into the day-to-day lives of the three siblings before finishing up with an odd twist that abruptly ends the book. I won't give away the twist, but I found myself wondering why the book was suddenly done, when there seemed to be so much more to be wrapped up, somehow.
I recommend this book for the lovely character studies and the lovingly painted details, but certainly not for the story that meanders about before stopping suddenly and tipping over.
Finally, I got to spend time with one of my favorite authors in his newest book, Freddy and Fredericka.
Mark Helprin's newest book was a delight to read. I don't quite know where to begin to talk about this book, as I had so many mixed feelings about it, and the book is so varied in plot and direction.
The story concerns the Prince of Wales, Freddy, and his vacuous wife Fredericka. To prove they are worthy of wearing the crown, they are sent on a mission (in the form of a bizarre Merlin-type character) to conquer a barbarian land (read: USA).
After reading Refiner's Fire, I sensed Helprin's love of the American countryside, and this book confirms this. The descriptions of America's land, waterways and characters helped me to fall in love with the country along with Freddy and Fredericka. The story was a bit odd, but the characters were so real and so endearing that I lost myself in the book several times.
This isn't Helprin's finest work (in my opinion, Winter's Tale takes that prize), but it is fun and, at times, laugh-out-loud funny. Definitely a good read.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
First, Which Literature Classic Are You?
Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose. You are a mystery novel dealing with theology, especially with catholic vs liberal issues. You search wisdom and knowledge endlessly, feeling that learning is essential in life.
Take this quiz!
And now Which Book Are You?
You are 59% Great Book
And, finally, The Book Quiz.
You're Mrs. Dalloway!
by Virginia Woolf
Your life seems utterly bland and normal to the casual observer, but
inside you are churning with a million tensions and worries. The company you surround
yourself with may be shallow, but their effects upon your reality are tremendously deep.
To stay above water, you must try to act like nothing's wrong, but you know that the
truth is catching up with you. You're not crazy, you're just a little unwell. But no
doctor can help you now.
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
So... The Name of the Rose, A Clockwork Orange, and Mrs. Dalloway. I wonder what this really says about me?
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
I just finished a couple books and will get back to you with some thoughts on them this weekend. I am still unpacking books to put in my new "library" and I'm amazed at what a bibliophile I am. It looks like a used book store.
I can't wait to be surrounded by my books and my music.
In the meantime, I have vowed to get through a good portion of my "to be read" stack of books before I buy any more. I just need several days of uninterrupted time...
Saturday, February 03, 2007
|What Kind of Reader Are You? |
Your Result: Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
You're probably in the final stages of a Ph.D. or otherwise finding a way to make your living out of reading. You are one of the literati. Other people's grammatical mistakes make you insane.
|Literate Good Citizen|
|What Kind of Reader Are You?|
Create Your Own Quiz
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
I am currently reading Adverbs: A Novel by Daniel Handler. I balked, at first, when I saw the recommendation on the back of the book from Dave Eggers. But I'm really glad I picked this up.
Daniel Handler's writing is amazing. He writes with such freshness (what does that mean?) and a poetic touch, that I find myself re-reading passages again and again. I will give more notes when I finish it (the second time?).
In the meantime, I am in the middle of moving to another house, so I have been fairly scarce. I am currently in bed with a rather nasty cold virus, so packing, work and everything taking me from my blog is relegated to a later time. For now, I can lounge in bed and read and blog.