Even in her unbridled fantasies, happiness had been difficult to conjure.
The Anna (Roitman) K. of Irina Reyn's new novel What Happened to Anna K. (Touchstone)
is doomed from the start. Literature and movies have blurred her
conception of reality. She wants Heathcliff and Darcy, romance,
Dostoyevsky-esque intensity combined with fairytale endings. But she
recognizes that even in her romantic imaginings, there's always a tinge
of sadness, of unresolved conflict, of stormy situation. It's as though
she needs to exist at the apex of every story, unable to move toward
the denouement. And in this modern re-imagining of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina that takes place within New York City's Russian immigrant community, Anna's intellectual depressiveness is her fatal downfall.
The folks over at The Millions have posted their responses to the question: What was the book that started it all for you? They've encouraged lurkers to post responses either in the comments or on their own blogs; I'm taking the second route.
Blogger Edan and I have a lot in common. Here's her entry:
"According to my mother, I could read novels before I
was potty trained.
Yesterday, Maureen Dowd compared Barack Obama to Jane Austen's prideful Mr. Darcy, and took the metaphor farther by claiming that we Americans are collectively his Elizabeth Bennet. Fine. Dowd also casts John McCain as Wickham, the manipulative lying cad who somehow pulls the wool over even an intelligent person's eyes.
Yesterday, Maureen Dowd compared Barack Obama to Jane Austen's
prideful Mr. Darcy, and took the metaphor farther by claiming that we
Americans are collectively his Elizabeth Bennet. Fine. Dowd also casts
John McCain as Wickham, the manipulative lying cad who somehow pulls
the wool over even an intelligent person's eyes.
some part of the last 24 hours brainstorming how I would fill out the
cast...But found it more difficult than I'd anticipated. Any help?
I met with Red Hen Press managing editor Kate Gale a few weeks ago, at the tail end of her stint speaking to Stonecoast MFA students here in Maine.
I am moving in the middle of August, downsizing from a
sizeable two-bedroom apartment I shared with another human and two cats to a
small one-bedroom that will be just for me and the felines. As a result, I have
to streamline my possessions, and the hardest part of this challenge will be
purging some of my “literary
clutter,” i.e. the books that I’ve collected and mostly refused to get rid
of over the years — whether or not I enjoyed reading them (if I even read them
at all). Given my space constraints, I’m going to have to be ruthless.
Many articles and web sites have taken note recently of the proliferation of literary tattoos, and the blogs that love them.
(Here's one of my personal faves:)
Now, I've discovered another group of intellectuals who like to wear their academic discipline as a sleeve (or at least on the small of their back, or on their bicep) -- scientists.
In 2004, my Phoenix colleague Mike Miliard wrote a great piece about Massachusetts native Nick Flynn, and Flynn's memoir: Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (WW Norton, 2004). Flynn's first full-length play, Alice Invents A Little Game and Alice Always Wins was published by Faber & Faber this month, and I had the chance to read it over the weekend.
Warning: Don't peruse Burned By
Love if you're going through a breakup. I guarantee it'll make you feel
When I first stumbled across it a few weeks ago, there were only a handful
of entries. Today, the promotional site, set up to help publicize Andrew
Davidson's debut novel, The Gargoyle (Random
House, 2008), has 45 confessionals and counting.
“Sister, how bad does
a situation have to be before a woman will strike out, not in defence, but
because something is, as you say, worth fighting for?”
of Sarah Hall’s 2007 novel, Daughters of
the North, is known only as Sister. She, like Hall’s prose, is raw, brave,
and surprising, both to herself and to the reader.
In today's Portland Phoenix, I have a short piece about Ken Gloss, proprietor of the Brattle Book Shop in Downtown Crossing, who'll be in Portland next week. Unfortunately, he tells me my signed first edition of David Sedaris' Dress Your Family In Corduroy and Denim is worth peanuts.
Good story though.
You know you're a huge nerd when news of George Eliot's Middlemarch being made into a movie (by a competent director) makes you shiver with excitement. Holy crap! So awesome. Except if they get Keira Knightley to play Dorothea, which would break my heart. Sorry, Keira, I do buy you as smart and spunky, but there's something missing -- a sense of refinement, perhaps? or maybe quietly yearning self-awareness? -- in your characterization of nineteenth century female heroines.