25 Women to Read Before You Die

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zac has commented on (9) products.

All That Is by James Salter
All That Is

zac, May 17, 2013

My own twenty-first century prejudices were built on the groundwork of a feminism that demands compelling, fully formed female characters. If I set that aside, by the conclusion of the novel it is easy to recognize that a protagonist need not inform a novel as a whole. Empathy does not necessarily a good book make, and when Bowman remarks that “all powerful women cause anxiety” by the end of the novel, it’s clear that this is, in its own way, a period piece, a story of a man who moves from one misogynistic age to one that is slightly less so. And while Bowman may not have recognized the complexities of the women in his life entirely ��" the women who mark the chapters of his life and his own personal development in ways he may not even realize ��" Salter has. This novel may not have been written for the type of reader who found much of Hemingway entirely unpalatable, still it is easy to recognize Salter’s talent, and All That Is as a novel worth reading.
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)

The Carrion Birds by Urban Waite
The Carrion Birds

zac, May 17, 2013

Good thriller! Very quick paced and exciting! The plot moves right along! At first I had an uh-oh moment, when I felt like the main character, Ray, was just a copy of Clint Eastwood's character in Unforgiven, even saying things like, "I'm not like that anymore." But that passed quickly, and Ray got to business! His path of revenge and its connection with his cousin make for a rollicking ride through dusty roads and ranch lands of New Mexico. Love the vengeance and the brutality of the actions of the gunmen and the drug cartel. Urban Waite really brought it with this book!
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)

Red Moon by Benjamin Percy
Red Moon

zac, May 17, 2013

Just beautiful writing! While very transparently a metaphor��"for Muslims and the fear of Islamic terrorism, and racial segregation, and the sort of discrimination that those with AIDS have to deal with, for almost any sort of hot-button discrimination/segregation topic of which you can think��"the lycans in this book are also a very distinct people, once segregated (as people of color once were) but now integrated��"as long as certain conditions are met. Being drugged. Not transforming. Reporting their existence and being on a database... You see the idea forming. As one of the characters discovers, “Plagues don't just kill people��"and that's what lobos is, a plague��"they kill humanity.” In the end, that is mostly what this book is about. It is about how hatred causes people to split when they should work together, it is about how people let their fear take over rather than truly seeking a solution, rather than realizing that people are people and need to be taken at individual, face value.
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(3 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)

The Flamethrowers: A Novel by Rachel Kushner
The Flamethrowers: A Novel

zac, May 17, 2013

I absolutely recommend this big, sprawling, hardback treasure of a book. It’s a great inspiration for writers and if you’re truly hungry for great writing, its length isn’t an obstacle at all. Prose like this can be consumed greedily and in haste, the way a well-oiled engine sucks in air and petrol and spews out a great whooshing tongue of flame.
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(4 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)

Middle C by William H. Gass
Middle C

zac, April 30, 2013

An extraordinary and brilliant novel, if only for its both demanding and playful use of language. Then there are the breadth of its themes and the richness of its variations. Somewhere out there is a literature professor with a musical bent who can teach this with Thomas Mann's "Doctor Faustus." Odd that neither of the literary reviews of "Middle C" that I've come across mentioned Mann's novel, given the parallels: Schoenberg, the nature of evil, the question of identity and more. Anyway, that professor could include Richard Powers' "The Time of Our Singing," perhaps Toni Morrison's "Jazz," another novel/story that's escaping me and oh what a meta-time the students would have. It would mean a lot of pages and many hours of head scratching, but a music professor with a literary bent could ease the pain and make it all that much more rewarding. Listen up, people. Read up, people.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)

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