Thursday, May 27, 2010

Recent Reads

"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do."

Phenomenal. I read this back in 8th grade and do not remember even enjoying it, particularly. I'm not sure whether it's just because I'm a bit of a jerk and don't enjoy reading things that I'm told to or whether it takes adulthood and seeing injustices around the world over the past years of travelling, but this book moved me far beyond what I expected.

"I simply want to tell you that there are some men in this world who were born to do our unpleasant jobs for us. Your father's one of them." ... "We're so rarely called upon to be Christians, but when we are, we've got men like Atticus to go for us."

I was almost in tears reading parts of it on the subway. I was also highly impressed with the nine chapter lead up to the main event - not only does it foreshadow the action at the end, it slowly eases you into the life of a young child of the 30s in the South. It's such a materfully written novel.

"Well then, how do you explain why the Cunninghams are different? Mr. Walter can hardly sign his name, I've seen him. we've just been readin' and writin' longer'n they have."

"But his parents stayed together and it made you believe in the sanctity of divorce."

The Family Way, Tony Parsons

This was a reread - I didn't realise by the title, but I have read it before. When I first got into Tony Parsons as an author, I was with my ex and living in Scotland. I was pretty sure I was on my way to marriage and living there permanently.

This quote is about Hong Kong, but sort of expresses how I feel about Seoul - "There was something magical about this place, but what it was felt just beyond her reach. It was a city that was constantly being reinvented, where new dreams pushed aside the old dreams, and everywhere you looked there was land being reclaimed from the harbour, and shining skyscrapers being raised upon it while the soil was still wet."

Maybe that's why I recall liking all of his books quite a bit but I was so unimpressed with this book today. I found the characterization of all women as either baby crazy or cold really bloody annoying. And I wasn't very impressed with a lot of the male characters at all - I don't know that mnay assholes in life, but the book was fairly packed with them. This book really illustrated for me just how much the reader brings to the story, I suppose. but I wish I'd used my subway reading time on better material.

"I bet those Communists can't make a decent cappuccino." ... "A day should be enough, shouldn't it? I mean, how long does it take to see China?" ..."This country, thought Paulo. China. They have got cities of ten million people that we have never even heard of.

A Model World, Michael Chabon

"If you can still see how you could once have loved a person, you are still in love; an extinct love is always wholly incredible."

"Billiard ball trysts with models and waitresses, knocking into them and then spinning off into some other corner of the city."

"Friendship is different in another language; a foreign friend doesn't have to understand what you feel, and I don't expect it. It's enough if he understands what you just said."

Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

"To live a life dictated by the size of a paycheck is not really a life."

It's a different way to think about money, I suppose, but I can't say that I thought it was incredible. It was so obvious: that the fear of not having money controls you, that more money doesn't solve problems, intelligence does, that you will resent a luxury because of the debt it causes, or that laziness can involve staying busy to avoid something you don't want to do.

The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing, Melissa Banks

"Sometimes you're loved because of your weaknesses. What you can't do is sometimes more compelling than what you can."

This is a reread, though it's been absolutely ages since I read it first. I recall when it first came out that it was billed as an American Bridget Jones and how startled I was last time that it wasn't chick lit.

"I tried to understand what Henry had told me. But I worried about that, too. Other people mght not try as hard as I did to understand him. I was always on his side, no matter what. My parents were, too. All he really had to do with us was show up. More had been expected of him as Julia's boyfriend and at that party. More would be expected of him everywhere."

I think it's a really good read - sure, it's mostly about relationships, but not just romantic ones. I liked the blunt narrative voice and the interplay between the narrator and her brother.

"Your mortality is at optimal distance, not up so close that it obscures everything else, but close enough to give you depth perception. Previously, it has taken you weeks, months, or years to discover the meaning of an experience. Now it's instantaneous."

While not a collection of short stories, it's also not exactly a novel, with one story in the middle only loosely related to the others. Worth a read.

"He will say that a modified radical sounds like a Black Panther who has moved to the suburbs and belongs to a food co-op."

"The only relationships I haven't wrecked right away were the ones that wrecked me later."

re buying self help novel "I take my copy up to the counter as furtitively as I would a girdle or vibrator."

"But advertising made my IQ go down; every night I had to work just to get it back up to regular."

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