Novels with Indulgently Tragic Endings

Sometimes I you just need once of those dense 19th century novels that ends in complete and utter desolation and despair.  Sure there’s no happy ending. Sure they’re depressing.
But hear me out. In some ways they’re the most indulgent books you can read.  They’re histrionic. They’re suspenseful. They have that headlong out of control feeling that you find in the best horror movies. The ones where you can see there’s doom ahead but are powerless to stop it or know exactly what form it will take. Continue reading “Novels with Indulgently Tragic Endings”

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Intimidating and Read

Spring boarding off my post of yesterday, I decided to write a post about the longest books that I have read.  At least the longest books that I’ve read and would recommend. It’s a list that makes me feel accomplished (I read so many words!) and kind of nervous, because maybe I’ve already finished all of the best long books… It’s hard to know whether you’re going to die before you finish reading everything you want to, or whether you’re eventually going to find a place where you’ve found and read all of the things that appeal to you most. Both strike terror into my heart.

I once again cut off the list at 800 pages, with the lengths given according to Amazon.com.  Some books I real (Moby Dick, The Woman in White, etc.) felt like they should be in here but are apparently not so long as I imagined. Or perhaps Amazon is selling them as large-paged books with tiny fonts? Anyway, they must be omitted, no matter how exquisite and verbose they seemed. Continue reading “Intimidating and Read”

Flower Boys

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We give girls flower names all the time but boys are really rarely named after botanical things- particular botanical things as frilly and fecund as flowers.  Even though when you get down to it, flowers have both lady-parts and man-parts.

Not that I’m advocating naming your young boy something like Candytuft. Don’t name a girl Candytuft either.  Or Ranunculus.

Candytuft and Ranunculus aside, I think there are profound unplumbed depths in flower names. Especially for boys and especially in English, because I don’t know about where you are, but America is very annoyingly anti-feminine.
Flower names can be both sensitive and strong, so in the interest of equal opportunity naming, here are some of my favorites that I think would suit little boys (and eventually men and granddads) to a tee. Continue reading “Flower Boys”

My Favorite Authors: An Added Addendum

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Let’s wrap this one up!  I have something like eight authors to go through on this round (and eight is my favorite number) so let’s get started.

Shirley Jackson:
Namely, her hazy and suspenseful fiction.  You may have read The Lottery, an excellent short story.  You may have been introduced to her, as I was, through We Have Always Lived in the Castle.  There’s a cat in that one.  And a character named Connie (more people should be named Connie).  Funnily enough, a friend who actually asks for and heeds my book recommendations tells me that the Connie in this book reminds him a lot of me. And I’m flattered- which says something about the character but possibly more about me because (spoiler) she’s quite possibly poisoned her family.  Also a girl whose nickname is Merricat, which is kind of freaking awesome.  The Haunting of Hillhouse is also really really good.  And the movie is good but diverges from the book regarding some important plot/character developments- but both are enjoyable and gorgeously atmospheric.  I have to admit that I like her nonfiction less (Raising Demons and Life Among the Savages are about her family life and I think her husband and children sound impossible to live with (and she does too, tbh)) (But also I’m a misanthrope so maybe don’t take my word for it?)  If you’ve disentangled my convoluted parentheses, points to you! Continue reading “My Favorite Authors: An Added Addendum”