Five Things About Practical Magic By Alice Hoffman

  1. I must start by declaring that the movie version of this book is one of my favorite movies and since I came to it first, it is hard not to compare them. Especially since they are radically different.
  2. From the movie I like better how much love and fun is there throughout. Sisters and aunts love each other and they are their support groups against the hate of other people. Whereas in the book there is much more misunderstanding and bitterness.
  3. My favorite parts from the book are where the grown ups fall in love. That is were we most get to see the workings of desire and magic.
  4. I have heard many American people say that they are utterly confused by magical realism in Latin America, but reading Alice Hoffman I don’t quite understand what they mean. Hoffman´s writing is magical realism, and she’s super popular.
  5. My only critique towards the book is that it never felt clear to me what the aunt’s feelings and thoughts are. At the beginning of the book the author makes them seem fun and caring, but then the recollection we get from the Owen sisters is that they were cold and uncaring. I think something about the choice of narrator confuses me regarding the overarching motivations of all the characters.
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Five Things About White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America By Nancy Isenberg

  1. One of the most interesting things I learned with this book is that the way the U.S. was populated by the british is very similar to what we hear in Latin America about how Spain sent their absolute worst and lowest people to fill the new land. I didn’t know this and it feels like it is a bit of history that should be highlighted more.
  2. The lack of respect from “New Englanders” towards their fellow “poor americans” is astounding. The resentment between classes is so old and thick it is almost a miracle this country is not in worse shape.
  3. Sorry not sorry but all early presidents were garbage.
  4. It is also crazy fascinating the cultural narratives that were created around “white trash people”–I hate this term, like all other racial slurs it is extremely violent. And how these people just ate them up, interiorized them, and build their own moral structures around stories crafted by people who don’t think highly of them.
  5. It is disgusting the way LBJ and other presidents manipulated poor whites into deeper and deeper hate of blacks.

Bonus: There is so much going on in this book, five bullet points is not enough. I do wish the author had gone into a little more depth about family dynamics among poor white families. That was what I was initially hoping to learn about.

Five Things about Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? by Kathleen Collins

  1. This is a wonderful book. It is a book anyone who loves short stories, or good writing, or Tender is the Night should read.
  2. I think there it´s sweet and fascinating how sometimes short story collections serve as repositories of writers favorite things. In Collin´s case it´s with the character traits and the conflicts she uses multiple times. It feels less like the stories are connected by recurring characters and more like she wrote several stories to work out how she felt about a particular thing (hair length, father relationships, age, love, etc.)
  3. I love the subdued sense of menace in her stories. At any point one feels like something abysmally bad can happen. Other times the story turns and everything was fine.
  4. My favorite stories where the ones directly influenced by her work as a filmmaker.
  5. Sometimes the change of point of view or narrators confused me a little. But most of all i felt glad I was able to read her stories at all.

Cinco Cosas Sobre “Las tareas de casa y otros ensayos” de Natalia Ginzburg

 

  1. Me demoré bastante leyendo este libro porque el tono dulce y coloquial que utilizaba Natalia Ginzburg en muchos de los textos no me gusta.
  2. Pero aunque personalmente no me guste el tono, sus observaciones y escritos si son interesantes e inteligentes.
  3. Entiendo también que mucho del tono que utiliza que la hace sonar en exceso inocente y cándida en realidad es más una señal de que ella sabe lo que está haciendo y que no nos está dejando ver la completa extensión de su conocimiento.
  4. Esta clase de ensayos: pequeñas columnas sobre cosas comunes son uno de mis géneros favoritos para leer. Cuando están bien hechos, y Ginzburg los hace bien.
  5. Algo que me gustó muchísimo es que hay un aparente arco de crecimiento personal a lo largo del libro en cuanto al feminismo. En sus primeras columnas suena como alguien que le quiere huir al feminismo porque cree que es sobre ignorar e invalidar a los hombres. Pero a medida que avanza vemos como sus opiniones en cuanto al aborto, sobre quién recae la responsabilidad de las labores domésticas, el lugar que ella ocupa en la política, y la figura de la mujer en los productos culturales, cambian, se solidifican y se informan. Hacia el final, aunque todavía no está muy clara en qué siginifica la palabra feminismo como tal, es claro que sus sentimientos y posiciones son a favor.

Five Things about Tithe A Modern Faerie Tale by Holly Black

  1. When I first started reading this book I was somewhat entertained and amused. Not so much toward the end.
  2. Characters come in and disappear for no reason and without much of a point: Fatima, Kenny, the mom, that water Faerie. Descriptions of people´s names and hair colors vary throughout the book. In that sense it was very unnerving.
  3. Every chapter begins with an epigraph that seems to be more about showcasing the author´s gothy and darks background than to give any shape to the story.
  4. So very little is explained about Kaye´s life. Towards the end of this book I just kept mumbling at it “but why??” and “I don’t understand what is happening?!” because I was just so confused by all the things that were happening without much reason or purpose other than to make Kaye do something.
  5. It feels as if it still needed a couple rounds of editing. So much of it looks like a first and very amateur novel, which it actually is. So, well, she’s gotten better I hope.

Cinco Cosas Sobre “Voces de Chernóbil” de Svetlana Alexiévich

 

  1. D.A.M.N. Antes de comprar el libro todas las personas que lo habían leído me dijeron que era excelente, pero también el libro más deprimente que habían leído en sus vidas. Todo eso es verdad, y hasta más.
  2. La verdad es que yo sabía muy poco de lo que había pasado en Chernóbil, y este libro no necesariamente es una introducción al tema. Así que ahora mi prioridad de lectura es sobre noticias y reportajes de Chernóbil durante la época del accidente.
  3. Me parece bien e interesante que un libro compuesto de perfiles en las propias voces de los individuos sea considerado Nobel de literatura. Creo que de alguna manera también le presenta respeto a la labor de edición de la autora.
  4. A Svetlana no le pagan lo suficiente.
  5. Está el comentario obvio sobre cómo este libro es sobre la resiliencia humana. Pero también es sobre el sentido de comunidad y, a mi humilde parecer, sobre los peligros de los sistemas políticos que prácticamente se vuelve deidades. La forma en que muchas de las personas hablaban de y defendían el partido comunista era aterradora.

Five Things about All The King´s Men by Robert Penn Warren

I don't think i will be finishing this one. But i tried.

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  1. I did not finish this book. I read the first three chapters, which is a good third of the book and decided to, for the first time this year, quit it.
  2. That is not to say that I think this is a bad book. I think many things within it were well executed and technically good. I simply did not wish to spend more time in the world of this book.
  3. I believe that the observations regarding how power works and how the minds of powerful men function and how it affects people around them were brilliant, incisive, and so spot-on it was almost scary. The writing and language was also intersting.
  4. Despite having a subject matter I find interesting and a style of writing I appreciate, what killed all my interest in this book was that I already know that powerful/politically involved people are quite awful. This is a truth that is evident more and more everyday, why then would I allow into my time books that repeat this while throwing racist terms and casual sexism around like it is nothing?
  5. I understand it is an “older” book, and I understand why it won a Pulitzer, but still: not cool, bruh (that is my official statement.)