Friday, August 5, 2011

Book Review: The Breaking of Eggs

The Breaking of Eggs, Jim Powell
This book barely squeaks by the dialogue test, of being being able to differentiate between who's talking without looking at their names. After fifty pages, all I could think was that the book had an overlay filter of pretension and snobbery, almost elitism, that radiated from the main character--who's (almost?) ironically communist/leftist. I keep going back and forth between wether the tone is intentional or if the author lacks control.

I can't quite determine if the book is obnoxious because the main character is intentionally narrow-minded and pretentious, and the author loses control over the tone, or if the author himself isn't aware of how redundant his themes are. Either way, I committed to finishing it, but I didn't like it that much. The book needed to change fairly drastically in order for me to like it, and unfortunately that just really didn't happen.

Basically, the book could have been summarized with one or two quick statements.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Book Review: Footnotes in Gaza

Footnotes in Gaza, Joe Sacco

Wherein I reveal my somewhat unpopular, but strongly held, political values concerning Palestine.

I'l admit, I was curious--almost skeptical--about the format of this book. Is graphic cartoon style reallyt ht most appropriate medium for a book about a very violence and controversial piece of the Middle East's history? It really only took me 80 pages to be completely convinced that the answer is a resounding YES. Yes it is the appropriate medium.

I've been blown away by how raw the art is, and by the structure of the visual components. It's written incredibly informatively, and I think the way he creates the profile of the people talking is way easier to follow than memorizing only a name.

This book is really good. It's also really hard to read--but it should be.

After finishing Gravity's Rainbow, I needed to immerse myself into something immediately afterward, but this book ended differently for me. This time, anything else would feel inferior.

The entire book was incredibly raw. I have a lot of respect for how Sacco handled being upfront about the types of information he had, his decision-making process for including interviews, and his portrayal of his own personal experience. It was handled very well.

This book--this topic--is one that makes me want to rage and scream at the injustice of it all, and I feel the shame of my privileged position. it makes me want to get my hands dirty or something. Something.

I really loved this book. I also really liked how he wove his current-day experiences and politics into the story--it really brough home the "why" for the book.

"Because in 50 years, you'll want someone to tell your story"

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Book Review: Gravity's Rainbow

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon
5.7.11 -- 8.2.11

It's been a long time since I've spent three months reading one thing (that wasn't a textbook). I recorded my notes by parts, because by the end of the book I knew I'd be completely incapable of summarizing the first (or second. or third.) part.

Part 1
So many characters! It's impressive if he manages to keep them all straight, but also super irritating.

" is the poet singing back the silence" --173
"You go from dream to dream inside me. You have a passage to my last shabby corner, and there, among the debris, you've found life. I'm no longer sure which of all the words, images, dreams or ghost are "yours" and which are "mine". It's past sorting out" --177

Part 2
So much easier to read. It helped that the majority of it was from only one perspective. It's nice to see a plot finally forming. I have a hunch that part three will be impossible...

Part 3
I was correct. Reading this part made sense only in fits and spurts; it was like those hellish dreams where you can only open half of one eye at a time. My method alternates between overthinking and underthinking (dare I admit to skimming at times?), but I suspect I have as solid a grasp as I'll ever get on this damn book. I gave up following along with Wikipedia in Part 2, but just that much helped quite a bit. Should probably have kept up with it, but it was really exhausting.

"The minute he put on the head.... he knew himself. He was the wolf" --390

Part 4
I feel like maybe there were some characters who had two names or something, but it feels like I missed a twist. An important one.

Most books, upon finishing, requiring no other books or distractions after, to help me clear my head. Not this one--jumping immediately into another was the only way my brain settled enough to even write a recap of part four.