Thoughts by Anna Quindlen, Random House Trade 2012, 205 pages
Challenge: What’s in a Name: Celebration category
Genre/Theme:Essays, Family and Motherhood, Aging, Feminism
Type/Source: Tradeback / Second Hand Bookstore Purchase
What It’s About: Anna shares her thoughts on aging. She is so insightful and hopeful.
“At age 60 I find myself poised between the inevitable and the possible, the things I know and understand and the things I hope to learn and perhaps unravel. But it’s still a bit of a mystery, the yet to come, with that greatest of all mysteries, mortality, at its very end.”
Thoughts: She talks a lot about family and her place in the progression of time. Also her timing into the American workforce balanced with the progression of the women’s movement. And, considerate of being thankful that she lived past the age her mother died, and in the realization of how much her mother missed by dying young, and also the perspective of how her mother’s death impacted her appreciation of life ongoing. I was especially thankful and admiring of her essay on religion.
Rating: I don’t think I was cognizant of her use of the the title in the text, nor do I think she ever mentioned pie. Five slices of pie because I love her. And the cover makes me happy.
Challenge: What’s in a Name: Mythical Being or #ReadICT: Mythology (6)
Genre/Theme: Adult Fiction
Type/Source:Hardcover / Library Bag Sale 2021
What It’s About: — An empty-nester SAHM is unhappy. She finds her place in the world diminished and unsatisfied. In the process of rescuing her mom who is suffering from odd behaviors, she moves back to her hometown/island, has an odd affair with a monk, solves a mystery or two, and discovers the artist within. Ultimately, she rescues herself and her marriage.
Thoughts: In my quest to read everything by Sue Monk Kidd, because I really enjoyed her thoughts about how she came to write The Book of Longings (my review May2021), I set this book as my First Book this year. Mostly because I had just lifted it off the shelf to fit the WiaN category. It fits my other big challenge so Big YAY.
I couldn’t quite bring myself to go that far — all that paddling around in the alphabet soup of one’s childhood, scooping up letters, hoping to arrange them into enlightening sentences that would explain why things that turned out the way they had. Revoked a certain mutiny in me.”
(early in the book, when her husbands suggests she talk to a therapist.)
Knowing that the reviews on this book are mixed, I went into it with lower expectations, with a certain curiosity versus and hope-to-enjoy, if that makes sense? I did feel to me, that she set up her plot and then made it happen, but it misses that spark of something created out of nothing. It felt like a collection of thoughts and then-this-happened, etc. Plus, the main character is hard to like or feel anything for, unfortunately. Her assisting cast also felt stereotypical. However, it was readable and I didn’t mind my time in the story. I was curious about her mom and what really happened to her father. The spiritual questioning and awakening stuff wasn’t very convincing yet at the same time, I appreciated how she created her sentences. I won’t deny her writing skills.
This is a sophomore effort, coming off her best-selling debut, The Secret Life of Bees, which I read pre-blogging. She has kept at it and, as mentioned above, her latest is terrific and very brave, original. Now I will dive into her memoirs — I think I might enjoy these the best.
Thoughts Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstory, Tradeback print Penguin Classics 2000 Translated by Pevear&Volokhonsky · Audiobook Naxos 2010 Narrated by Kate Lock
YAY! I succeeded! I completed this. It was my Moby Dick (that is, until I commit to attempt to read Moby Dick… )
My readers are most bored with my story of how many times I have tried to read this. This was my fourth attempt and I owe success to the audiobook. Rather than a review, I will just ramble some random thoughts. Also, do note, I am joining in on the Anna Karenina Readalong CONCLUDING TODAY hosted by Arti at Ripple Effects so do click here to go there and read other’s thoughts on this classic.
I was amazed how relevant most of Tolstoy’s thoughts and reactions to everyday stuff and how easily he wove these into the story as thoughts and asides of the characters.
About 80% of the way in, I wish I had made tally of how many times the word HAPPY and UNHAPPY were used. We could say this book is one big idea on ways to be happy or how to ruin said ‘happy’.
It’s a long book. But I was so grateful that Mr. Tolstoy used a short chapter structure. This made it very easy for me to track the listening to the reading and know where I was in the story, to find my place in the print.
I do know that I missed a few things. Like how exactly were Vronsky and Anna able to afford their travels? We had one chapter exclusively on where Vronsky’s money came from and how he really didn’t have any and then, I don’t recall another word about it. Yet, they were able to afford a nanny for the daughter who really got the short shift on everything, poor thing.
Now THERE is a book. Somebody should write about her. Where did she end up? Who raised her? What did she think of her life? Was she pissed off? Was she reincarnated as Esther in Bleak House?
All these crazy thousands of Jane Austen spin offs… Where are the Tolstoy spin offs? Just wonderin’.
I’m super dooper excited to see the film which looks LUSCIOUS & SUMPTUOUS; a delight to the senses. It’s DRAMA, people! I think it will be great and don’t think I will be disappointed in the least.
Levin drove me batty at times. He should have just clobbered Kitty over the head and drug her off to the farm and this would have cut the book by 2/3 at least. And then just be HAPPY and stop over thinking everything! He is the balance to Anna as he is the one to figure it all out in the end.
My absolute favoritest scenes were when we got inside the head of Levin’s hunting dog. She was brilliant. Dogs are cool.
Dolly’s husband didn’t deserve her. He had some of the best lines, though.
“There it is, my friend. It has to be one of the other: either admit that the present social arrangement is just and then defend your own rights, or admit that you enjoy certain unjust advantages, as I do, and enjoy them with pleasure.”
I had grand ideas to contrast the translations from the audio to the print but I am having a hard time retrieving the notes in my Audible.com app and then matching to the text. It was easy to match while reading but to check back now seems frustrating and elusive. I should have taken better notes.
I had little sympathy for Anna and cared little for Vronsky. I liked Kitty and her sister.
I will be loaning my print copy to my friend Holly. We were able to get together last Saturday for coffee and book chatter and she expressed interest AND hesitation. She timidly asked me what it was about and I admit that I foolishly started babbling as if it was a soap opera. I don’t think I spoiled it – can you really spoil this one? Anyway, she said, “Yes, please, I will accept if you have a copy.” YIPPEE!
This is what I babbled, sort of, I think:
“Well, Anna is married to an old guy who is pretty high up and respected in the government and she goes to visit her brother to help him patch things up with his wife cuz he’s an ass and then gets invited to a dance where Dolly’s little sister is in love with this dude Vronsky and thinks he is going to ask her to marry him but he has no idea or intention to do that and in the mean time there is this guy Levin, who happens to be Anna’s brother’s best friend even though they are not alike AT ALL, who would rather be at his farm but he’s in love with Kitty, that’s Dolly’s little sister and — wait, I told you Dolly is Anna’s sister-in-law, married to Anna’s brother who has so many names it’s ridiculous. Well at this dance, see? Anna falls head over heels in lust with Vronsky and so Kitty is upset because she had turned down Levin who had just minutes before had asked her to marry him which causes him to run away back to his farm where he is terribly lonely and by god, there is no way he could consider marrying a peasant girl, WHAT? Why that would be WRONG!! and so let’s get back to Anna; she has this affair with Vronsky, gets pregnant and no one really has that much to say on that really, just that – wow she is sleeping around behind her husband’s back and in front of him, too and yet Karenin won’t divorce her. Cuz he’s found religion.”
Which I suppose is what happens but NOT what the book is really ABOUT, right? Perhaps I should have talked about grand sweeping themes?
Thank you audiobooks! I don’t think I would have made it through this one without you.
I hear the Davinia Porter narration is excellent, too.
Have you ever enthusiastically blabbed a ridiculous summary of a book?