Monthly Archives: October 2013

Remembrance of Things Past (1927) – abridged, Marcel Proust

51ns76375hL__SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_This isn’t a novel it is a memoir. Remembrance is a particularly homophobic and misogynistic memoir that I did not fully understand.

Perhaps I was distracted. Perhaps the abridged version does not provide a good Proust experience. Perhaps I will revisit in the future.

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), Mark Twain

Huckleberry_Finn_bookInteresting dualism between Jim’s slavery and Huck’s.

I enjoyed it until Tom Sawyer shows up and ruins everything by constructing a ridiculous Rube Goldberg escape plan for Jim and Mr. Clemens.

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Fahrenheit 451 (1953), Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit_451_1st_ed_coverBeat up a smart kid, put on the joke channel, pop a pill and just feel good with your fake parlor family.

Gardens and porches and books lead to discussion and discussion leads to conflict and conflict leads to unhappiness. Manage unhappiness and keep the populace controlled.

It’s not ‘every man is created equal’ but ‘we will create equal men’ – via lowbrow humor, acceptable youth violence, and self medication.

An ending with an ironic cleansing fire that destroys many of the ‘books’ that remain.

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The Grapes of Wrath (1939), John Steinbeck

300px-JohnSteinbeck_TheGrapesOfWrathA great novel of a displaced family tractored off their Oklahoma land during the dust bowl Depression years and fleeing west to seek a new life – only to find greed and discrimination.

Steinbeck’s prose carries the cadence of religion, like a missing verse from Genesis. God created California. And it was Good. It is a comforting choice in a story filled with uncertainty, fear, and anger. Also unique are the sections between chapters where the POV that is normally focused on the Joads goes omniscient and we see past, present, and future events through impartial eyes.

The ending was odd – like being beat on the head with a religious ax handle.

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