Jan 20, 2015

Book 59: An Artist of the Floating World by Kazou Ishiguro

This is the second novel Ishiguro published, and it is very similar to "Remains of the Days"  The theme of reminiscing past work career and how you are remembered is touched.  Now that I have finished the book I am seeing how it is staying with me, unlike "The Unconsoled" but I did have trouble when I was reading the book on keeping the Japanese characters straight and remembering who they were in relation to Ono.  That is frustrating for me to say, because it should not be that way...ugh.  But with that the main theme of thinking your past was more dishonorable than it was.   I moved by the story and wondered how Ono's life would have been different if he released the guilt he carried around.  The reality is most people don't think that much about you and the decision you made.

Book 58: The Perfect Hour: The Romance of F Scott Fitzgerald and Ginevra King by James L West III

This is the second time I have read this book, and I still love it.  I think it is one of the books Zelda lovers need to read as well.  Yes, Zelda influenced his "girls" but so did Ginevra, I argue maybe even a bit more (hush).  But she is the origin of the rich girl poor boy story that he tells over and over again, ant the stories I am most drawn to.  I am always amazed by  the fact he never got his kiss from his first love.  Tragic.

At the end of the book the short stories "Babes in the Woods" and "Winter Dreams" can be found, maybe 2 of his best shorts.  This book is well worth the read.

Book 57: Short Stories by Fitzgerald

After I had finished with reading Fitzgerald's short stories, I had wanted to put together my own reading lists, but since it took me forever to get through the list and my retention is horrendous I have to reread and make some better notes.  I am hoping this will be better as I have already read the stories and know what I am looking for.

Right now I am hoping to follow up on stories that would have been written around the time of This Side of Paradise. I recently finished:
The Ordeal
The Debutante
The Spire and The Gargoyle
Sentiment and the Use of Rouge
The Pierian Spring and the Last Straw
Babes in the woods
These were all written before TSOP and is considered his apprentice fiction.  I want to pull out The Debutante, Sentiment and Rouge, Pierian Spring and Babes in the Woods as stories I want to categorize and collect.

What exactly am I trying to collect?  I want to pull out the stories of new, young love and its journey, I also want to pull out stories I particularly like.  Of the ones I pulled out Sentiment does not really fit in the first category, but I like it because it is very insightful and interesting on the discussion and views of how morals loosened due to the war.

 I also like The Ordeal which deals with Catholicism and Spire and Gargoyle which is a Princeton story, but they do not fit as neatly in what I am looking for.

From here I think I want to reread The Perfect Hour which deals with Ginevra King and how she influenced Scotts writing.

Book 56. Nocturnes by Kazou Ishiguro

As much as I like Fitzgerald's short stories, I was reluctant to read this collection.  And I should not have been, it is a great collection of stories that read more like a book.  All of the stories seem to weave together and play off each other.  When I finally saw the pattern I went -ohhh.

At this time it is no secret I am falling in love with the writing of Ishiguro.  I still want to read "When we were Orphans" before his new book comes out.

Jan 11, 2015

Book 55: This Side of Paradise by F Scott Fitzgerald

This is not my first reading of This Side of Paradise, and I am sure it won't be my last.  However, of the 5 books Fitzgerald wrote (or started to write) this is my least favorite.  My favorite part is Babes In The Woods, but I like it better as a Short story read on its own.  Don't get me wrong, it is not a bad book, but just does not live up to my expectations of his work.

It is the book that made his famous.  It is the book that won the hand of Zelda.  It is a book that is semi-autobiographical.  And for those reasons it is worth reading.

Jan 1, 2015

Book 54: What She Saw by Lucinda Rosenfeld

"What She Saw" by Lucinda Rosenfeld is a book that chronicles the sexual journey of a young girl named Phoebe coming of age.  It starts from he awareness of boys and travels though her awkward teen age years where she fumbles around until she comes into her own and discovers how to use her beauty to her advantage.  But ultimately the story is sad, as Phoebe knows how to manipulate her looks, but never really knows what she is looking for and how to find it.  She has a series of messed up relationships and feels hollow and lonely.

As I was reading, I could not help but see myself in Phoebe and how I was lost and looking for validation in sex and men.  I would guess there are many women who will see themselves in this book.  I noted that on Goodreads this book was categorized as a book for women in their 20's to read, I would not say it should be limited to that age group.  Women in their 40's will find this book nostalgic, as Phoebe's journey is mostly through the 90's and is a look back on her youth.  Hindsight is a good lens to read this book through.

I rated this book as a 3- The story was good, but I felt it could have been tighter.  Also, and this is just nit-picky, but it stood out to me and bugged me...The character name Phoebe does not seem like a real name for this character.  Why?  Who knows, but the name felt wrong to me.  Also the author like to put in big words, words that if you looked them up fit the sentence, but there are other words that could have been used that didn't sound as pretentious (again this is just something that stood out to me, I can look over it, but it did effect my rating of the book.)