Classics Club Spin #14

And the SPIN NUMBER IS…  numone
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Here are my 20 books in anticipation of the soon to be announced CLASSICS SPIN:

On Monday, the powers that run the Club will pick a number. I will read the book that falls at that number in this list:

1. West with the Night – Beryl

2. A Handful of Dust – Waugh

3. The World According to Garp – Irving!

4. The Ox-Bow Incident

5. Jude the Obscure – Hardy (have in house, hardback)

6. Candide – Voltaire

7. Stoner – John Wms

8. The Double Helix – Watson (currently in the house, from library)

9. The King Must Die – Mary Renault

10. One Fine Day – MPD

11. Charlotte Sometimes – Penelope Farmer

12. The Hunter – Parker

13. Cold Comfort Farm – Gibbons

14. Love in a Fallen City – Chang

15. Love in a Cold Climate – Mitford

16. The Dud Avocado – Dundy

17. Twelve Years a Slave – Northup

18. Gravity’s Rainbow – Pynchon

19. Orlando – Woolf (currently in my Audible tbl, and eBook!)

20. The Bird’s Nest – Shirley Jackson

Are you playing?

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Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

 

Germinal

GerminalButton2

Thoughts gbyezby Émile Zola, eKindle Penguin Classics 2004 (orig 1885), 596 pages

Translation by Roger Pearson (and Notes and Introduction¹).

Audiobook gabnbylp Naxos Audio 2015, 19 hours 55 minutes, narrated by Leighton Pugh. (No translation information provided.)

Lots of good stuff on Twitter, see hashtag #GerminalAlong. Good times talking about horrible times in the mining regions of France in the 1860s.

I found three pie mentions:
p.89 “Just you wait, you dirty little scamp. I’ll teach you to make mud-pies indeed!”

p.127 “… so to he had come to recognize them, the way one recognizes amorous magpies disporting in the pear trees in the garden.”²

p.171 “…You know it’s all pie in the sky³…”

I also consider these a cousin of pie – it’s a pastry filled with goodness, so it counts.

volauvent<– a vol-au-vent.

Zola amazes me. I’ve read Thérèse Raquin and was blown away by the grit and darkness, the skill in the story-telling, the audacity to write it in the first place. [My review of that here.] It doesn’t do much to inspire a love for much of humanity – he skewers everyone; but it is a reminder that literature is art. Germinal solidifies my understanding of the ‘naturalism literary movement’. Oh I wish I had majored in literature in college. Maybe I’ll go back when I retire.

Germinal couldn’t sound more boring and yet it is so alive! He makes history touchable / “feel-able” / real and I see why he is and was held in high regard. Skip it if you aren’t in the least bit curious, definitely read it if you want to experience history in all its grittiness and be transported to another place and time. Zola manages to capture so many motivations and is incisive yet gentle with all. Brilliant.

Rating:  Five slices of pie.

BIG SHOUT OUT to all my readalongers!  Especially Top Host Melissa (here’s her review).

 

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1 – I didn’t read the Notes and I read the Intro after, as recommended.

2 – Unverified internet research has told me that the word magpie came before ‘pie’ and may have influenced what we call these pastries. See here.

³ – I found a Slate magazine article explaining the phrase ‘pie in the sky’: … coined by a champion of the American proletariat. “Pie in the sky” comes from an early 20th-century folk song written by labor activist Joe Hill, aka Joe Hillstrom, a legendary member of the Industrial Workers of the World.

 

Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

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Whatever

Thoughts webymhtph Whatever by Michel Houellebecq / translated by Paul Hammond, Serpent’s Tail / Profile Books Ltd 2011 (orig 1994), 155 pages

Challenge: 1001+ Books to Read Before You Die
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Tradeback / Library 14-day Loan (oops – I started this on the 15th day… So I will owe a bit in late fees.)
 Why I read this now: It called to me when I glanced at the NEW BOOKS shelf at the library. Back in May 2008, I signed up for a challenge to read 1% of the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die and I listed this book solely based on the title. It called to me, but I never got to it. So, of course, when I see this at the library while casually glancing at a shelf – I wasn’t even looking for anything specific! – I had to bring it home with me. And it is short. I’m into the shorties lately…

From Tony Litt’s Introduction:

Houellebecq’s first book was on HP Lovecraft.

Houellebecq hates office workers as does ‘the novel’.

The tone of Whatever is ‘beastly tired’.

The original title of Whatever was An Extension of the Domain of the Struggle.

“If you’re in search of page-turning plot-twistiness, fuck off.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT (with spoilers since I doubt anyone I know will ever read this book and/or just might because I spoil the heck out of it): Told in the first person, our protagonist is a computer programmer. Single and lonely. And bitter. He is assigned to train clients on a computer application and has to or gets to travel to other towns in France to do so. A coworker assists in the delivery of the  training. He experiences a mild heart attack. He is only 30 years old. He writes animal stories to amuse himself. He tries to convince the coworker to kill a beautiful young lady who turns him down at a club. The coworker ends up dying in a car crash. Our protag has a nervous breakdown and/or is admitted to a mental hospital. He gets released. The end. Not really. Let’s say it ends ambiguously.

WHAT’s GOOD: At times it is actually funny. Bitter insight to the absurdity of corporate work and the people who ‘work in offices’.  Other times, the reader winces at the misogyny and violent tendencies.

The theme could be summed up as “Life sucks and then you die.”

FINAL THOUGHTS: I guess I have to laugh and agree with these two review quotes:

From the Independent:  “Funny, terrifying and nauseating.”

From the Guardian: “the book slips down easily like a bad oyster.”

RATING:  Three slices of pie; I found mention of apple tart.

“His wife absolutely insisted I taste the apple tart her husband didn’t have the strength to swallow. I accepted; it was delicious.”

For something a little lighter maybe, enjoy this French song (and click here for the words in English):

Houellebecq’s most recent novel submission “is both a devastating satire and a profound meditation on isolation, faith and love. It is a startling new work by one of the most provocative and prescient novelists of today.” So says the goodreads blurb. (Cover links to that site.)

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Mansfield Park

Thoughts mpbyja Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, Naxos Audio 2007 (orig 1814), 16 hours 49 minutes

Narrated by the incomparable professional Juliet Stevenson.

FOR CLASSICS CLUB SPIN!!

  “I fancy Miss Price has been more used to deserve praise than to hear it.”

This is the most fun book full of love-to-loath characters! Had a grand time with Jane and her character descriptions of the “too good” (Fanny Price) and deliciously bad (Auntie Mrs. Norris). I even started to admire Lady Bertram at one point. Of course, Edmund was only slightly less annoying than Fanny and the Crawfords!  OH YES!  Miss Mary and her darling flirtatious conniving brother Henry!!!  Such fun. Could NOT understand how Edmund put up with Mary… She was so insulting and it would go right over his head; he thought her heavenly and sweet. (She certainly was neither.)

Jane Austen’s ability to be cool and snide is beyond compare.

Rating: fourpie

READ for CITY category for the What’s In a Name Challenge. My SECOND entry. Mansfield is a town in Massachusetts.

READ for CLASSICS CLUB 50 and VERY LONG category of the Classics Challenge.

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Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Book List Revisits

Back in 2009, I posted this list (and then forgot about it?):

My updates (and corrections) are in PURPLE.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen X

2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien X

3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte X

4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling (only one and I think it was the 2nd one…) FINISHED! Started at the beginning in June 2012 and finished in October 2013 ; still need to see all the movies.)

5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee X

6 The Bible – X

7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte X?

8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell X

9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman (only the Golden Compass)

10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens X

Total: 8  ADD 1 = 9

 

11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott X

12 Tess of the D’UrbervillesThomas Hardy  APRIL 2011 for book club

13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller X

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier X

16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien X

17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks

18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger X

19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger X

20 Middlemarch – George Eliot

Total: 6 ADD 1 = 7, cumulative 16

 

21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell X

22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald X (reread January 2013 in order to see the movie starring Leo)

23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens YES! Loved it AND the BBC miniseries Dec 2012

24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams – CHECK: August 2014

26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh –  January 2014

27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll X (actually not sure I really read this, but … maybe)

30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

Total: 3 ADD 4 = 7, cumulative 23

 

31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy (only about 1/3 of it!) – took listening to the audio. November 2012

32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens X

33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis XXXX (loved these)

34 Emma-Jane Austen X

35 Persuasion – Jane Austen X

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis X

37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hossein X

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden X

40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne X

Total: 9 ADD 1 = 10, cumulative 33

 

41 Animal Farm – George Orwell X

42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown X

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving X (just last month!)

45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins  X DECEMBER 2012

46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery X

47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy – March of THIS YEAR!  SQUEEEE

48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood X

49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding X

50 Atonement – Ian McEwan X

Total: 7 ADD 2 = 9, cumulative 42

 

51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel X

52 Dune – Frank Herbert (attempted it a looooong time ago and never finished it)

53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen X

55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafo X

57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens X

58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time – Mark Haddon X

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Total: 5

 

61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck X

62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov X – October 2009 (never reviewed; just couldn’t)

63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt – I do have the audiobook in queue…

64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold X

65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas (own it, on the tbr pile) – YES YES YES Oct 2014 Audiobook – SO FUN.

66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding X

69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie (abt 1/3 of this one, too)

70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville – Another via audiobook which I highly recommend March 2013

Total: 3 ADD 3 = 6, cumulative 53

 

71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens

72 Dracula – Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett – Got this done in April 2011

74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses – James Joyce – attempted only; still wonder if someday… May 2011

76 The Inferno – Dante – considering this on audio, thoughts?

77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal – Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray

Total: 0 ADD 1 = 1, cumulative 54

 

80 Possession – AS Byatt – YES. Fabulous (and loved the movie, too.) May 2013

81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens X

82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell – CHECK! March 2013 thanks to a readalong

83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker X

84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro X

85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White X

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – I read one of these… The Sign of the Four in March 2014

90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton

Total: 4 ADD 3 = 7, cumulative 61

 

91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad – DONE June 2014

92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery X

93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks

94 Watership Down – Richard Adams – SWEET; so glad I’ve read this. June 2010

95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas –

98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare X (wait a gosh darn minute – Bills entire works is in the first ten listed?!)

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo X

Total: 3 ADD 2 = 5, cumulative 66

 

Grand Total: 48 add 18! ~66. YAY ME.  Not bad… (I have no idea where this list originated.)

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Talented Mr. Ripley

Thoughts and unrelated random bits tTMRbyPHa The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith, Audible 2012 (orig 1955), 9 hrs 35 min

Narrated by Kevin Kenerly – admirable job. He definitely had the creepy voice to go with the creepy thoughts.

“Anticipation! It occurred to him that his anticipation was more pleasant to him than the experiencing.”

The Admission:  This book is much more sinister and creepy than the the last few Stephen King books I’ve read. THERE. I said it.

Oh, Tom Ripley! You are scary. And yet, so much more tolerable – which scares me, too – than Bateman of Am. Psycho. Shudder.

“Tom laughed at the phrase “sexual deviation.” Where was the sex? Where was the deviation? He looked at Freddie and said low and bitterly: “Freddie Miles, you’re a victim of your own dirty mind.”

They have the same in-my-head crazy. They have the same, “OH! WHAT will he do NEXT?!” fear; palpable FEAR.

I listened to this. I bought it when Audible offered a BOGO* deal.

What’s it ABOUT:  Tom Ripley has issues. THEN, he gets an opportunity to go to Europe on another’s dime. He schemes a way to get more of that dime in a sinister way. And he takes on a lovely tour of Italy! The issue is that he really does have pangs of guilt, sort of. He just prefers not to be Tom Ripley. This is one creepy dude!

“Tom envied him with a heartbreaking surge of envy and self-pity.”

The Question: Will I read more? This is the first in a series. Hmmmmm.

Another Question: Did I even see the movie? I thought I did but the whole time I listened to this book, I was imagining Leo DiCaprio as Tom and yet THE MOVIE HAS IT AS MATT DAMON! So now I must see the movie because my thinking I had seen it has me all confused.

FINALLY:  Don’t go see Kingsman. Disappointing.

And an admonition:  All of you who have read Bad Feminist, why have you not told me about Kate Zembrano? I want to read her books! Anyone up for a readalong of Heroines or Green Girl?

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* The other audiobook I chose was Heft by Liz Moore but I don’t think I will be listening to this until after Atlas Shrugged. IKR!?  What the heck am I doing attempting a 63 hour audiobook? Well, you know I love ’em. The longer the better.

Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Heart of Darkness

Thoughts and Meandering More Thoughts HoDbyJC Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, Dover Thrift 2012 (orig 1899), 102 pages Kindle eBook


“I wasn’t arguing with a lunatic. … But his soul was mad.”

This is one story that I will admit I have been intimidated by. Perhaps because some of the synopsis reminds me of Barbara Kingsolver and her heavy novel that I can never remember but allow me to run to goodreads and check . . . (running off to truly go check goodreads…) oh yea! The Poisonwood Bible. I do wonder what Ms. Kingsolver thought of Heart of Darkness – surely she has read it, yes?

Have you read Heart of Darkness?

I chose this for May for a variety of reasons and vying close for the first and second spot are 1) It is SHORT at 200 pages, and 2) Trisha at Eclectic-Eccentric is featuring all sorts of lovely analysis posts. Goodness I do love me some juicy literature analysis!

and 3) What was that third reason? Oh yes, because I happen to already have it loaded on my Kindle.

Finally, 4) It is one of my Classics Club Fifty in Five.

I was pleasantly surprised. (That I liked it (‘it’ being the book, the reading experience.))

I would not call it compelling exactly. Not quite a fast page turner adventure book because it does tend to have dense language but not overly so. It is FULL of emotion.

“It was my imagination that wanted soothing.”

Here’s Crazy-Care’s FIRST attempt to answer your question of “what it is about?”:

The story is set up as a retelling of a sailor’s adventure. This sailing adventure was when Marlowe needed a job so he decides to go to Africa because he hears they are needing river transport captains and he is certain to find work. He does and notes that his assignment and the company that hires him is actually a bit creepy. His assignment is to get a riverboat into the “deepest darkest part of Africa” to either retrieve or supply Mr. Kurtz (I was confused here, too), a guy who is the BEST number one agent of the company and is considered awesome. Our sailor narrator is torn between just completing the job and yet also very intrigued to meet this awesome incredible Mr. Kurtz and find out why he is so awesome — no one knows how he is accomplishing all he is doing! (what he is doing, mind you, is collecting lots and lots of ivory and he is doing it by befriending (I think? Maybe not? Something tells me I really missed something.) the natives.) Others are jealous and others are mesmerized by Mr. Kurtz. He is ill when they finally get up the river and find him. The natives are hostile (but not hostile to Mr. Kurtz?) and our sailor buddy survives the ordeal and lives to tell of it. Thus the telling.

It’s really quite odd. I might have the synopsis skewed. I might have missed something big.

I swear narrator-captain guy was at first ambivalent and then curious and at one point critical of Mr. Kurtz and then somehow instantly was his best friend. THIS is why I need Trisha to explain things to me.

Or go watch Apocalypse Now?

It really did  have beautiful descriptions and I wonder how it would play in audiobook format. I bet it would be awesome.

So. The elephant in the room.

The elephant is…  (the elephant I thought before I read it anyway)… Is Heart of Darkness a BAD racist book? Does it demean and consider African natives as inferior? Is this a “symptom of the times”, a by-product of colonialism? OR does this book actually highlight the EVILS of colonialism and racism and confront the ideas of exploitation?

AND, excuse me while I freak out a bit here. Is this a true story?

I know and fear that I am inadequate to discuss these issues but I do want to support and advocate for a kind world, a civilization of respect for all. I read this book with the lens of it being written in 1899 and yet did not find it to endorse or promote a message that primitive cultures are inferior – I thought it an exploration of one case or specific example of the “empire” mentality of greed to exploit and take. The world is winners and losers, suckers. For me, the story didn’t deliver a succinct message; no obvious moral outrage and no epiphany. Well, other than “THE HORROR!” which I think was masked by considerable vagueness.

Evil exists. Fear exists. We fear what we do not understand. Let us seek to understand. It ain’t easy.

This book is not easy.

Then go read the excellent eclectic eccentric and marvel. You’ll understand then why Crazy-Care didn’t make a second attempt to explain this book. Heart of Darkness: Pro- or Anti-Imperialist – 5/21/15Psychoanalyzing Heart of Darkness – 6-4-15, Deconstructing Heart of Darkness – 6/11/15Queering Heart of Darkness – 6/18/15

 

“And he was devoted to his books, which were in apple-pie order.”

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This book would have been fascinating and scary to discuss for a grade! Thank you so much Professor Eclectic for the thought-provoking experience. I give myself an A for ambition, a B for effort and a C for discourse.

Here’s a flower:  FullSizeRender Flowers make me smile.

 

Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

 

My First Classics Spin!

[Updated on Monday Apr 6th for SPIN NUMBER announcement…  Two – 2 – numtwo2]

I have heard that SQUEEEEing is no longer en vogue, if it ever was, but that is how I feel inside. I will abstain from doing any gauche celebrating in order to be acceptable in my community.

Here are my 20 books in anticipation of the soon to be announced CLASSICS SPIN:

[Edited to say that I try to explain what the spin is in my response to the comment I just received…]

Continue reading “My First Classics Spin!”

Far From the Madding Crowd

Thoughts fftmcbok Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy, Orig 1874.

Naxos Audiobook 2014 Narration by Jamie Parker, Unabridged fftmcbytha 14 Hours, 52 Minutes

Classics Challenge – 19th Century backtotheclassics2015BUTTON

First, if you like books to movies, especially classics and you haven’t yet viewed the trailer, “it is my intention to astonish you all.”  (And watch the other ones, too.)

(go watch it, SO GOOD!!!)

Second, for a fabulous review by Roofbeam Reader, you can click here and also find the explanation for the title of the book. Edited to add a Second-and-a-half, read Stephanie’s review for a bit more of a feminist perspective and thorough analysis that is fun to read. (She points to another review (Danielle’s) that you can access here that gives even more textual dimension to what is Bathsheba and her adventures.)

Third, a warning. I will be spoilering from here on. If you only want to know what it is about, you can click above on the book cover to get to goodreads and/or the review links.

I rated this five slices of pie. Gooseberry Pie. Which I need to make for my favorite auntie so if anyone has any access to gooseberries, please let me know.

Really, do not read further; I recommend the following only for those who have read and know the story (by which I mean Holly). I warned you!

Onward,
read more…

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“Souls alive, what news! It makes my heart go quite bumpity-bump!”

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Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Sister Carrie Wrap Up #CarrieAlong

Thoughts scbytd by Theodore Dreiser, Bantam Classic 1984 (orig 1900), 400 pages.

From E.L.Doctorow’s Introduction:

And so in 1899, Theodore Dreiser, age twenty-eight, wrote the title “Sister Carrie” on a piece of paper, and having no idea what it meant, proceeded to compose the book to find out.

Love when I find authors who just write and let stories and characters reveal themselves.

EDITED for quick blurb as to what this is about; stolen word for word from Jill. Link to her review can be found later in this post.

The basic story goes like this: small town girl moves to big city. Finds a menial job, hates it. Gets picked up by a charming salesman, he buys her shiny things, she shacks up with him, the afore-mentioned ass shows up and wants some of that, they plan to runaway together, she finds out he’s married, he kidnaps her and so they still end up running away together, he stops buying her shiny things, he loses his job and stays home in his tatty clothes all day, she becomes an actress, dumps his ass, and buys her own shiny things. Rocking chair. The end.

Trish tweets: “boo!!! … Finished on plane. Did not like ending! So unhappy.😦 ”

Unhappy? You expected HAPPY?! 

My response: “I took it more contemplative and “far away”. Guess now I will have to do a post.🙂.

So, I didn’t expect happy. I expected RUIN and SHAME. Well, we don’t quite get that. Ruin, yes: for Mr. Hurstwood. No shame. More like “Shit happens.” Shrug.

The Introduction is fabulous, by the way*. He states, (and Trish? this might explain the theme that runs through it all)

“Longing, the hope for fulfillment is the one unwavering passion of the world’s commerce. Dreiser is of two minds about this passion. To a populace firmly in the grip of material existence, the desire for something more is a destructive energy that can never be exhausted; it is doom. Hurstwood, whose success as manager of  high-class drinking establishments is not sufficient, fixes his further ambition on Carrie, and is ruined. But the desire of something more, the longing for fulfillment, is also hope, and therefore innocence, a sort of redemption. Carrie at the top of her profession, is left looking for something more, and though we understand she will never find it – no more than Hurstwood has, her recognition that she in unfulfilled is the closest thing to grace in the Dreiser theology.”

When I say that I took it “far away”, I meant that I could imagine this on film where the camera zooms out and away from Carrie in her rocking chair to view the entire city, the whole globe spinning away in the ‘longing’ and never finding contentment. This race to achieve and accumulate more more MORE is what is immoral.

I was SO GLAD that Dreiser drops in an update on Mrs. Hurstwood and her success on her material gains goal and I found it humorous that Drouet was still oblivious and yet successful. (He didn’t ‘grow’ but could still dine and dress the fashion.)

I couldn’t get past the pronunciation of Drouet every time I had to read it in my head. Drew – eh?  Of course, I can’t help but think of the chipmonks every time I say Theodore. In my head. THEODORE

The Mr. Ames guy was odd. I get it and I’m sure there is a word for this kind of literary device for dropping in a character to move the story along and be significant but not a major player in the story. But it was odd.

Aw, heck. Carrie was a twit and she annoyed me to NO end. Really, dearheart?  Imagining Carrie’s thoughts: “Oh golly, Mr. Drouet is starting to bore me but I suppose I should be grateful for what nice things he is buying me…”

Word in the Intro states that Mr. Dreiser’s wife and editor tried to totally excise ALL references to any sexuality in book. I would say they succeeded. This was another interesting amusing bit that maybe what was not being mentioned was or was NOT important…  Nothing at all was said! It felt weird that it wasn’t’ intentionally left out but just ‘not there’.

And where the heck is Carrie’s mother? Where is Carrie’s idea that perhaps, something about this plan or LACK of plan might not be a good idea? la di da…    Um wait. Mr. Hurstwood is MARRIED?!?!  why the hell would this little problem bug Carrie so much when all the other little problems barely make a blip of a conscious thought of possible catastrophe?

The story of Carrie is hardly one of right and wrong, is it? Certainly, it’s not presented as a simple morality tale. Was Dreiser judging the basest of desires to be that we can’t be content or that we are too greedy and selfish and maybe we should try to be kinder along the way?

Also interesting to me is that the Introduction states that Family gets a pretty cynical view in this book, too. I would say he was cynical about a lot of things.

AND….  you may have seen my tweet about Dreiser and how he just might subscribe to the Law of Attraction. Or at least to how I understand the explanations of money as energy concept. “When each individual realizes for himself that this thing primarily stands for and should only be accepted as a moral due – that it should be paid out as honestly stored energy, and not as a usurped privilege – man of our social, religious and political trouble will have permanently passed.” Is it our THOUGHTS about what money is or isn’t that is the problem?

Finally, are the descriptions of the “HAVEs” and “HAVE NOTs” any different now versus then? Don’t young girls run off to the big city now and get sucked into a life of depravity just to have lovely trinkets? Too simple, right? Wouldn’t Carrie just be a terrific reality TV star… Um, no. Not sure she would have enough mindless babble for the cameras. But do you think this could EASILY be remade into a film set in today’s world?

Who is ready to watch the 1952 film?  carrie52film I want to see if for the costumes…

I think this book would be an excellent book club choice.

PIE MENTION on page 125: “he stopped with a mouthful of pie poised on a fork before her face.”

Four stars!  fourpie

REVIEW ROUNDUP:
Literary Odyssey
Jill’s Somewhere in a Book
Behold the Stars  <–fabulous and thorough review!!
Trish/TriniCapini’s Love Laughter Insanity
(yours? let me know)

Counts for the What’s in a Name 8 Challenge for family relationship category.

* Who wants my copy of this book – I’ll send it?

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