paisley1974

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The Story of Forgetting: A Novel

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Stefan Merrill Block's The Story of Forgetting is a surprisingly tight, well-paced, beautifully written first novel. At the heart of the novel is the premise that all life is born of combinations of memory and chance, which well-dramatized through different manifestations of a hereditary form of Alzheimers. In The Story of Forgetting, the stories of an old man, Abel, a young man, Seth, and the mythical land of Isadora illustrate, from different perspectives, both the blessings and curses of forgetting. I was quickly sucked into the worlds that Block portrays. The characters are heartbreakingly honest in their pain, isolation, and yet tenacious hold on their pursuits of—not happiness, per se, but survival in the face of random chance. Their biblical names allude to those who are left behind, those who persisted and survived, and who carried the weight of memory. The mythical land of Isadora provides a running counterpoint to what sometimes feels like the curse of memory: Isadora is a golden happy land, where there is no memory. It raises questions about common assumptions about those who suffer from Alzheimers: rather than seen as unfortunate victims, perhaps they have escaped the weight of memory.I had a particular interest in reading this novel, in that I currently have a loved one with Alzheimer's, and know the pain of being lost to someone while they still live. It was gratifying to see this pain utilized to tell beautiful stories.
Now Is the Time to Open Your Heart: A Novel

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This book was exactly what I needed to read.
The Man of My Dreams: A Novel

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Like "Prep," Sittenfeld captures true neurosis in an entertaining read.
Lunch at the Piccadilly

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I loved this! I've read the short story that inspired this, about a dutiful nephew trying to tell his aunt that she can no longer drive, but what a fun expansion! It has a true ring to it, and is quite a joy to read.
Everything Is Illuminated: A Novel

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What a beautiful book! The three voices throughout and interwoven narratives were quite moving.I find it interesting that the film and the book were so different, and yet so true to each other and moving in their own way.
Memorial: A Novel

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Though I enjoyed the review in Tricycle, I couldn't keep the characters straight, and didn't finish it.
Some Days There's Pie: A Novel

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An enjoyable Southern novel. Even most of her difficult characters are complex enough to evoke sympathy, and the protagonist is easy to identify with and understand.
Psyche in a Dress

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It wasn't as easy to jump into as the Weetzie Bat books, but it had a really interesting depth to it. I really enjoyed her unique perspective on myth.
Bellwether

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I'm becoming a fan of Connie Willis--her story "Even the Queen" is one of the few funny feminist stories I've ever read. This novel was particularly timely for me, in its sadly true depictions of Management's love of acronyms and nonsense phrases involving the word "facilitate". The confluence of chaos theory with the origin of trends was quite insightful.
The Moviegoer

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I didn't like the macho posturing of the protagonist, and found his sexist perspective difficult to swallow. I did enjoy the descriptions of New Orleans neighborhoods; once one has lived there, one can't get enough of the local color. It does capture a certain post-war ennui, but in all, I really didn't enjoy it.
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