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Do you ever wonder what happens to notorious people after their Warholian "15 mins of fame" are up? If they're smart, I guess, they blend back into the obscurity from which they came. In her book, "Young Jane Young", novelist Gabrielle Zevin looks at a composite Monica Lewinsky/Chandra Levy young woman who becomes popular after being exposed for having had an affair with a married US congressman right before the attacks of 9/11. To escape her notoriety, Aviva Grossman of south Florida, flees to rural Maine and becomes Jane Young. The disguise and life makeover is successful until she is exposed while running for political office herself. It is then that the secrets come piling out...Do you remember the summer of 2001? That innocent time in American society where CNN and the newspapers were full of "where is Chandra Levy"? Levy was the young Jewish woman from Modesto, California, who had moved to DC after college and became an intern in the office of her congressman, Gary Condit. Levy and Condit began an affair and Levy's disappearance after running in Rock Creek Park became tabloid and CNN fodder til 9/11 knocked it out of the news. Chandra Levy's body was found about a year later and the presumption was that she had not been killed by her creepy married lover. In Ziven's book, the Chandra Levy hero is conflated with Monica Lewinsky and the effect is Aviva Grossman/Jane Young."Young Jane Young" is a unbelievable hero study of both Aviva/Jane, but also the peripheral people in both parts of her life; before and after. Most of the women, including her mother and grandmother, her young daughter, her mentor in Maine, and the wronged-wife of the congressman are brought alive through Zevin's skillful writing. The men are less vividly drawn and tend to be somewhat caricatures; the cheating father, the lecherous congressman, and Jane's enemy in her mayoral race. The only part I didn't particularly like was the blog, but it seemed to be the best method to advance the plot. Gabrielle Zevin's book is a fun read about interesting people, who I was left wanting to know more about at book's end.(By the way, my 5 star review can be balanced by some of the 3 star reviews. In particular, the review by "Sarah's Book Shelves", who raises a lot of perfect points about the book's second half.)
I had so enjoyed The Storied Life of A. J. Fickery that I was really looking forward to reading Young Jane Young. Generally, I was not disappointed. But I would never recommend this book to be read on as a digital book, which I will explain later.I started reading and couldn't figure out how the book got the title. The first section of the book focused on Rachel Grossman, her friends, and her relationship with her daughter Aviva, a congressional intern who has an affair with the Congressman she is working for in Florida. I was quickly caught up in the story line and wanted to know what happened to en came the second section of the story. Set in Maine, the protagonist here is Jane Young. Her daughter Ruby has a prominent part in the ere are more sections to the book, each focusing on the point of view of a various character. There were a few times I required to "suspend my disbelief" and just go with the flow of the story.I did not read the latest section of the book because I was reading on a kindle. The kindle format makes it almost impossible to read the latest section as it is a "chose your own" story. I would have loved to have read this several times, but, alas, could not because on a kindle I have no idea where to go when it says things like "go to page 37." I can only imagine that this makes the book evern more entertaining! It certainly is a unbelievable twist on the normal novel. I have given the book a 4-star rating because I feel like I missed out on a unbelievable some point in the future, I will look for this book in my local library and spend some time playing in the latest section. At that point, I may very well change my rating to 5 stars....... I received this book free from the publisher through NetGalley. I thank them for their generosity. In exchange, I was simply asked to write an honest review, and post it. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
There is an “event” in “Young Jane Young” by Gabrielle Zevin. A dramatic happening that makes sensational headlines, brings unrelenting paparazzi, and causes punishing trauma, and stress. This book is not about the event, although it plays a pivotal role. “Young Jane Young is about the people, all the people, who are touched by this event. What happens to the players, their families, their acquaintances, and themselves? How they adapt, change, and cope? Can they move on?Each section of book is told from a various point of view and each section is by person labeled for simple identification. The plot is mostly dialogue driven, and readers obtain to know all the players, and what those players think about everyone else. The writing style adapts to match the personality of each character, and contains first person narrative, third person, e-mail correspondence, even a “choose your own adventure.”The casual conversational style draws readers into the characters, so it is almost like talking to mates who live next door. We meet Rachel, divorced, age 64, living in Florida, her daughter Aviva Grossman, who has a problem. We meet her neighbor, Embeth, her husband Aaron, the congressman, and Embeth’s parrot, El Meté. In addition, we meet Jane Young, an happening planner who lives in in Maine and her daughter Ruby, who is participating in a “Friends Around the World” pen pal program.What readers learn is that everyone has secrets, and that a small crisis for one mutates into huge issues for others. Jane laments, “The past is never past. Only idiots think that.” Rachael sums it all up, “When someone tells you ‘it’s not what it looks like,’ it’s almost always exactly what it looks like. The key to happiness is knowing when to hold your mouth shut.”I received a copy of “Young Jane Young” from Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Gabrielle Zevin, and Net Galley, and I absolutely loved it. The characters were compelling and believable. Zevin’s writing style kept each hero and story segment appealing and engaging. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley.Zevin’s latest book, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (my review), was my favorite book of 2014, so I had high expectations going into Young Jane Young. And, I did love the first half. Young Jane Young is an “issue” book without feeling too much like an “issue” book. The storyline closely mirrors the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal, which I was fascinated with when it happened. But, Young Jane Young explores the reverberating impact of a public scandal like this on the female cheatee…and how various it is from the impact on the male cheater. It illuminates the gross double standard that exists in today’s society and how that can truly wreck lives. Zevin had me glued through this point.But, a gimmicky second half sent things sailing downhill. First, the writing style and tone of the story completely changed during the section told from Ruby’s (Aviva’s daughter) perspective (which was written in a one-sided email exchange with her pen pal). I didn’t like that we never heard from the pen pal either. But, what really sent me over the edge was the final section told from Aviva’s perspective that was written as a Choose Your Own Adventure story (yes, you read that correctly). What?!! There was a point to it, but it still didn’t work for me…mainly because I thought I was reading an adult novel, not a kids’ comic book. To be fair, this was clearly mentioned in the book’s blurb, but I must have skimmed right over that part. I imagine Young Jane Young will be a somewhat controversial read, so it would create a amazing book club selection even though it didn’t work for eck out my blog, Sarah's Book Shelves, for more reviews.
4.5 starsI read Young Jane Young in a 24-hour period; it’s a fast read, a ton of fun, and frequently laugh-out-loud hilarious. I have been a large fan of Gabrielle Zevin for years, and I love that each fresh book is so various from her previous ones. While The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry will always be a tough one to best, Young Jane Young certainly holds its brielle Zevin spoke at my local bookstore in September, and a portion of my book club went to hear her (Young Jane Young was our September book pick). She was absolutely delightful – she spoke for a while and then entertained questions. The whole happening was almost 2 hours by the time she was done signing. I attend author happenings fairly regularly and have never been to one lasting that long nor had an author stay engaged with the crowd for that amount of time. I am now her largest fan. I had not read the book yet so I had the special perspective of hearing different things about the story before I read it which created me have fun the book even favorite part of the book was the creative manner in which Zevin chose to tell her story. She divided the book into four sections where each section is told from the perspective of a various females whose four stories intermingle. Each woman/teen has a special point of view: one uses emails to relay her acc (my favorite by far- I laughed the entire time), and another is told in a “Choose your own adventure” format which was intriguing and thought-provoking. I also loved her handling of the affair between the Congressman and Aviva including her understanding of how much people’s perspectives can change from age 20 to age 40 and the fact that the Congressman ended up shouldering so small of the blame (a sad fact that pitifully still happens today). She also addresses the permanence of the internet; scandals that would have died out pre-internet are now around forever, a phenomenon that people have not quite understood yet especially young people who are just finding their ng Jane Young is a treasure, and I highly recommend it. And if you even have a possibility to go see Garbielle Zevin by all means go! Thanks to Algonquin and NetGalley for the possibility to read this ARC. All opinions are my own.
(4.5 stars)Young Jane Young is the story of an intern named Aviva who makes the not good decision of having an affair with the congressman she is working for. Unfortunately for Aviva, the congressman is well-loved and when she blogs about the affair, the public turns on her rather than him and she ends up having to change her name and begin a fresh e story is told from five various viewpoints from four various characters, including Aviva herself, her aging, wealthy mother, the congressman’s wife and one other hero that I won’t divulge due to spoilers. All of these viewpoints are significantly various and each provides a special view of the events, past and present. For instance, the only context we originally have about the affair is what we are told from Aviva’s mother, and it isn’t until near the end of the book that we hear what actually happened from Aviva metimes all these various viewpoints can leave the narrative feeling a small disjointed, and the uniqueness of the voices can be a small frustrating, particularly when you just wish to search out what’s event in the story. One of the sections is epistolary, one of the sections is something like a choose your own adventure, it’s all very original, but sometimes all that quirkiness gets in the method of the at being said, the characters are always interesting and the story remains compelling to the end. Though Aviva’s mother is perhaps not the most empathetic hero to begin the book on, I eventually became thoroughly invested in all these characters’ e story is filled with positive feminist themes, such as empowerment and equality for women, and really, these characters are all just trying to be themselves in an environment that keeps trying to define who they can and cannot be.Overall this is a amazing book, filled with compelling characters a special story and interesting feminist and political themes.*I was given a copy of this book by the publisher
I adored Gabrielle Zevin's previous book, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry and was eager to read her just released novel, Young Jane Young.We meet sixty four year old Rachel in the the opening chapters as she tries out online dating. I loved her sassy voice and dry sense of humour and found myself chuckling over her thoughts and comments. Her chapter then segues into the life of the next main hero - her daughter Aviva. Aviva is working for a congressman - and crosses a line, having an affair with the married man. Her life goes off the rails from the fallout of this decision, until she decides to begin over with a fresh name - Jane. She relocates in another state - and daughter Ruby is born. Jane's chapter segues into Ruby's. And the inevitable fate that awaits all three. The latest viewpoint is that of the congressman's wife Embeth.What a rich and varied story this was! Young Jane Young was an unexpected, unpredictable and yet very satisfying read. This one happening effects all four leads in so a lot of ways and their different outlooks, reactions and responses are dependent on each individual's age, experience and life philosophy. I loved each voice and was hard pressed to have a favourite. But, if forced to pick, I would have to say that I enjoyed Ruby the most. Her letters to her penpal are the basis for a lot of what she is feeling and doing and a lot of it is heartbreaking. I loved the insertion of epistolary elements. Zevin employs this for Aviva/Jane as well. We are privy to her journal, written in a Choose Your Own Adventure style. Choices are given and we see how and why her life took the path it did."The rub of the Choose Your Own Adventure stories is that if you don't create a few poor choices, the story will be terribly boring. If you do everything right and you're always good, the story will be very short."Mother, daughters, friends, the path taken and not taken. The echoes of a choice made, the denial and acceptance that we can't change what has been done - only move forward.Zevin's writing is wry, witty and peppered with truths.
I went into this book knowing very small about it, really only reading the above part of the blurb ( heavily edited from Goodreads which is full of spoilers ) and knowing I had to test this based on my love of her previous novel, The Storied Life of A.J Fikry. That book created my top 10 reads of 2016 so I was very excited to search out that Zevin had another book coming out this summer. I've decided to throw my overall thoughts at you early. Here goes...Not at all meaning this to sound negative, but this was one of the strangest books I've read in a long time. I don't think I'm wrong in saying I predict this book will have polarizing viewpoints...many will love it and a lot of will hate it. In fact, I actually have conflicting opinions myself...I LOVED the first half of this book and the second half...well, let's just say the second half seems like an experiment in gimmicks with the author trying to toss several in there to see what would stick. Really, it's almost like 2 separate books! What's even stranger (for me), was reading the latest couple sections and thinking...what in the globe is going on here? I mean, I have 2 words for you...El Mete?...and for those who've read this you'll know what I'm referring to... but what was THAT all about?! BUT, for all my squabbles you've just read as well as for the fact that I felt this book NEEDED at least 50 more pages....I still really really enjoyed it!! How's that for weird?I picked this up at the exact excellent time after several DNFs (Did Not Finish) and I was immediately taken with the voice of the first character, Rachel, who narrates a huge section of the beginning of the book. She's funny, witty and slightly snarky and if I'm honest, I would've loved for her to narrate the WHOLE book. We obtain to know her and her daughter Aviva, whose affair with her older, married boss has Rachel at her wits end. Needless to say, there's drama and things are said and done by all parties that can't be e narration then shifts to Jane who has such a powerful voice as well and I found her to be engaging and a hero I could absolutely obtain behind and root for. In my opinion, characters, their dialogue, behaviors, and thoughts, are where Zevin shines in her writing ability. Following Jane's perspective, we obtain Ruby, her teenage daughter who sometimes seemed to vacillate between acting like a little kid and a young adult. Bottom line: She was e remainder of the book was told in separate sections by a young Aviva and Embeth, the wife of the older, married man who had the affair. In all honesty, for me, these sections were a bit of a mess and where the gimmicks really came alive. Aviva's section didn't at all work for me but I really did like Embeth; in fact, I really wanted to know more about her and what became of her. Overall, I really just needed/wanted more of this story all around but I will say that my very first thought when I realized I did, in fact, reach the end was...you know...I really liked this book. For me, this just proves that I can have problems with what happens (or doesn't) in a book and the story can feel like it may have jumped on the crazy train for a brief ride, but in the hands of an outstanding author like Gabrielle Zevin I can and will still recommend that you give this one a try, especially if you're in the mood for something a small different!
Lou reminds us all in this amazing book of stories that non of us goes through life alone. With all the news about people feeling lonely nowadays making vital connections is more necessary now than ever. As I read through the stories I can’t support but be reminded of a saying I’ve heard that goes something like this, “kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Thanks for this book and all they amazing work you do Lou!
As someone who has been continuously mentored by Lou, I was excited to learn that he was writing this book. Lou, has managed to deliver the science behind his work in a method that's accessible, practical, and useful to anyone that hopes to nurture the development of a young person. I'm grateful to Lou for all of his work and that he took the time to write this book. This should be a mandatory pre- read for your youth development staff.
This book is an inspiration. It is also a practical tutorial for how to establish meaningful, productive relationships between adults and young people. Lou Bergholz has compiled a remarkable track record of experience which is detailed in this book. It is a must-read for anyone who works with children, including parents.
Unbelievable book, perfect read. Lou's a amazing writer and has so much insight to bestow upon those of us in the field working with young people. I'll be incorporating his tools/insights into my curricula. Amazing read and sounds like a amazing person, too.
Not only does Lou talk the talk in this worthwhile read, he lives out the proof that these concepts ring real in the lives of our youth. Highly recommended read from an inspirational author!
Lou's impressive work with youth spans several decades. In that time, he's observed, contributed, learned and refined his process. This book shares that knowledge and growth and makes it simple for practitioners (or even parents, mates -- anyone who knows a young adult) to place his best practices to use immediately.Well written, fun -- memorable anecdotes (like the bedtime story). He brings you around the globe on his necessary trips -- critical locations at critical times (Sandy Hook comes to mind). Lou is one of the amazing guys, addressing and solving the world's problems, one person at a time. This book gives you the knowledge and skills to have a positive impact too.
I got to learn that Essential oils are organic compounds extracted from plants with tremendous healing properties. Using essential oils for healing purposes is often called aromatherapy, which is a holistic treatment seeking to improve physical, mental and emotional health. Just adding some of the most common essential oils like lavender, frankincense, lemon, peppermint and tea tree oil to your natural medicine cabinet can war cold and flu symptoms or relax your body and soothe sore muscles and a lot of more.
I found this book to be very interesting and informative. Amazing tutorial for use with cats and dogs. Highly recommend it!
I have to admit up front to liking every single, John Carpenter movie. They are works of art in there special style and quality. This is actually my favorite of all of them. There could be a criticism that this film is didactic and sends some sort of clumsy political or philosophical notice but I'd have to answer that you simply don't obtain it. Unlike the modern propensity for films to test to hammer home some political point or perspective, the notice here is only window dressing. The notice may (or may not) be necessary but instead of getting caught up in some sort of self-important moralizing, let's remember this is a film - and a SciFi action film at that. (that is the approach in my opinion) If I would compare films to literature or film makers to authors I'd compare Carpenter to Hemingway - although Carpenter specializes in anti-heroes and sometimes over-the-top characters, while Hemingway is understated. They are analogous for their own medium. This is action, sci-fi but like Hemingway's stories, this is a man's movie. Straight forward. Fun at times, brutal at times and even funny at times. Hold a watch out for one of the amazing one-liners in film history when the star is in the bank - only peripherally similar to "bazooka." A+ to Roddy Piper as well. When I first saw this film I had zero expectation from him. Now I want he'd have created a lot more movies...
Life's a @#$%! and she's back on heat! They Live is directed by John Carpenter who also adapts the screenplay form the short story Eight O'Clock in the Morning written by Ray Nelson. It stars Roddy Piper, Keith David and Meg Foster. Melody is by Alan Howarth (and Carpenter) and cinematography by Gary B. Kibbe. Unemployed drifter Nada (Piper) wanders into the town looking to search work, but upon finding a special pair of sunglasses he sees a various globe to everyone else. It's a globe frequented by an alien race who are using the Earth for their own nefarious means. See The Truth! Carpenter does subversive sci-fi and it's a whole bunch of fun. Stripped back it's evident that They Live is Carpenter's wry observation on the politico posers who endorse the rich getting richer and everybody else sliding down the pole; to where they stop nobody knows! It's also a blatant paean to the glorious years of the 1950s when paranoia based sci-fi schlockers and creaky monster features ruled the air waves. It's also a wonderfully macho driven action movie, laced with comedy as well. You can rest assured there will be plenty of shooting, punching, dodging and spoken lines to create you smile. Piper is no Kurt Russell, but we shouldn't keep that versus him because he fills the role nicely. With muscular frame, 80s hair and a quip on the tongue, he is most assuredly a Carpenter leading man for the 80s. Alongside him is the reassuring presence of Keith David, himself a beefcake and also one of the coolest muthas on the planet. It's simple to believe that these two can save the planet, even after nearly beating each other to a pulp during a prolonged side-alley war sequence, where Carpenter doesn't miss a possibility to parody professional wrestling. While away from the beef, Meg Foster gets the lead lady role, with those awesome eyes nestling in perfectly with the globe Carpenter has created. Carpenter does political? Yes, but it's not the be all and end all of his intentions. He wanted to create an action sci-fi schlocker with sly politico undertones as motives. And that's exactly what he did. Joyously so. 8/10
One of the best TV films ever made! Why Disney hasn't released it on US VHS and DVD is beyond me. I originally watched it on the Diney Channel when I was small just to see Robert Urich and came away with a major crush on Keanu Reeves! This film has a lot of heart and soul. One of Reeves' best performances. Reeves and Wagner are sweet together and Robert Urich is at his best. The method in which the screenwriter and director went about Urich's hero getting his want was smart. This film is not at all cheesy like a lot of TV movies. The only flaw in the movie is that it is too short(85 min.), so you don't obtain much of Urich and Wagner together. However, Reeves'charisma saves the movie and makes you wish more of him than Urich. A amazing movie for the whole family. A+
Eddie and Joan were two amazing looking people… You Only Live Once is directed by Fritz Lang and written by C. Graham Baker and Gene Towne. It stars Sylvia Sidney, Henry Fonda, Barton MacLane, Jean Dixon and William Gargan. Melody is by Alfred Newman and cinematography by Leon Shamroy. He has been pounding on the door of that execution chamber since the day he was born. One of Fritz Lang's first American productions is a cracker-jack proto-noir, a leading light (darkly shaded of course) in the sub-genre of fugitive lovers on the lam pictures. Story leans on the legend of Bonnie and Clyde and finds Fonda as three times jailbird Eddie Taylor. After strings are pulled and promises made, Eddie gets released into the arms of his adoring gal, Jo Graham (Sidney). Determined to go straight and settle down with Jo, Eddie finds a society not ready to forgive and forget, worst still, he's old comrades in criminal arms have cooked something up and it's not going to be amazing news for Eddie. Cue the Romeo & Juliet factor as two lovers love each other so much they will stop at nothing to be together and to test and create the other one happy. Lang brings his expressionistic bent to the tragi noir tale, drifting fogs, mists and spider web shadows across key scenes. Canted angles feature, reflections in a psychological eye also play their part, while the protection of animals theme – and the continuing frog motif - further strengthens the otherworldly – cum - nightmarish aura that so often permeated Lang's movies. The action scenes are deftly marshalled by the director, with a smoke grenade led robbery and a prison escape particularly worthy of luring you to the end of your seat. Lang also gets fine performances from his lead actors, Sidney is not done too a lot of favours by the screenplay, where she is saddled with one of those compliant love interest roles, but she brings a quality to her scenes with Fonda that earns respect. Fonda is amazing in what is a two-fold role, shifting skilfully between a tender lover to an embittered man, he's a triumphant fulcrum for all the different strands that Lang is weaving together. It has been argued that it's a movie that's too morally grey, but as movie noir lovers will tell you, this is no poor thing, especially when Lang marries up his superb visuals with alienation, fatalism and pessimism. Historically necessary to movie noir and Lang fans, You Only Live Once is an ambiguous gem. 9/10
So cool! A small frustrating when the connection is lost and the 'please stand by' notice comes up but I suppose that can't be helped. The best part...sunrises...just awe-inspiring! And learning global geography I didn't pay attention to in high school!
Amazing app, but unfortunately the feed is so flakey... The photos can be spectacular, but the downlink is never quick enough to supply an HD quality signal. Can be so much better, but a amazing achievement to supply a public viewing platform.
Just got this app. I payed the 99 cents for adv free. So far love it. I would have prefered to have had the option to shop the videos or images in a various folder like the external sd card. The program does not give you that option. Perhaps this would be a feature in some future update.
Live feed has had no signal since I installed this app. I have a Galaxy S6 edge that I just got so it's not my phone. Definitely uninstalling this app. I'm really disappointed that this application is not working properly so I can see the Earth from the ISS, but it's always showing a black screen. I don't wish to uninstall but what choice do I have. I feel like I'm missing out on a amazing experience to watch earth live from space.
I can't quite search words strong enough to describe how much I love this app!! Its the closest I'll ever obtain to seeing inside the zone station. Its an aperitif to some of the breathtaking sights the astronauts obtain to see...love it,love it,love it!
It's just Sooooo Coooool !!! About every few months there's something new. Latest week I watched the astronauts work outside the Zone Station for 6 hours, re-enter through the airlock and have their spacesuits removed while attached to the wall inside the Station. Later they had a webcast, answering all types of questions from Facebook, Twitter and schools around the country. Today they asked Houston, Mission Control, for a football android game !
I loved this book though it will be hard for me to articulate just exactly why......I will, however, try. The book is very unconventional. Mr. Orner has a love of the short story and though there are a few novels mentioned within this memoir, there are far more short stories. The book is kind of a mix of, review of story, info about the author of the story and Peter Orner's life likened to the story. Not sure if that makes sense but it does create for some amazing reading. Mr. Orner has a dark side to his writing....he is a thinker, he ponders and as with a lot of artists he struggles with the meaning of his life in relation to his gift....which is, most assuredly, on display in this may ask why we wish to know about Mr. Orner's struggles but this book is about far more than that.....a reader, a writer. any lover of the written word will search nuggets of profundity in these pages. The book opened my eyes to all kinds of fresh reading opportunities...it also gave me clues as to how to look at past readings. The format is unusual which allows for contemplation. This book will poke and prod around in my head for a long time. The reading of "Am I Alone Here ?" will, most likely affect everything I read in the future.I applaud Peter Orner for his willingness to share so much raw emotion....to relate it to the stories we read or write, and for his ability to do so in a method that is so engaging. I am so glad I had the opportunity to read this. Not sure if I would have picked it off the shelf . Having read and reviewed it, I search that I have so a lot of people I would like to recommend it to.
Special and fascinating, Orner's latest, a collect of insightful essays/ intimate memoir, quite simply created me fall in love with reading again. Orner here not only highlights the works of authors popular and obscure, but shares why it is he loves to read and how this love of literature helped him obtain through painful chapters of his life such as the death of his father and a divorce. If you love to truly read or are a lapsed reader created numb by airport trash, this book will renew your faith in the power of the written word.
I loved this book, it's like taking a short story class from the coolest professor ever or a amazing friend. Orner's knowledge, insight and humor added so much to stories I've read and also created me eager to read a lot of more fresh ones. Essential reading!
I came to Peter Orner through his Modern Love essay in the Fresh York Times. I connected with his writing style from the first. His poetic cadence carries you along like a stream taking keep of a leaf. His phrases kind of move through you as you read, making you feel as if you’re in conversation with him. I read his three short stories in the Paris Review, which were conservative and less moving than his essay, but still I wanted more, which is why I picked up “Am I Alone Here?” I didn’t go in with expectations, other than those his writing had suggested, and I knew it was a meditation on reading, an autobiographical memoir-esque experiment of sorts. But it seems something is work is about stories, fiction and truth bound by that secret pact that never lets a reader know which is which. Orner has a method of telling a story about a story that lets you know he’s lived some part of it, too. He lives what he reads, and this seems so necessary for a writer. I love books about writing, especially those that aren’t blatantly about writing. I admire Orner’s compassion for—and deep understanding of—stories. He makes it so that you walk away realizing everything is a story. Stories are how we live. Day in and out, we are living stories. We don’t all write about them, but when we read we’re reminded of this and seem to connect more readily with the idea. Maybe I’m taking away what I’d like here, but this brief foray into reading highlights the ways we are ide from the literary works he undresses here, he shares some sage-like advice. “Stories need no why,” he writes. “They only need to breathe a small on the page.” We don’t need to know the reasons we are telling or writing a particular story because they are essentially a byproduct of what it is to be human (in my humble opinion, not his). He suggests readers—who come in all shapes and literary shades—share the burden of the weight writers—who come in all shapes and literary shades—carry. He dares to claim reading (all thirteen volumes of Chekhov, for instance) isn’t what helps him “write a sentence that breathes,” which goes versus the trite bit of writing advice, to write better, one must read, and read, and read. Orner admits reading alone keeps him alive, and yet his writing seems like the air we’re often looking to breathe. Yes, I am enamored with his writing, but also his honesty and his … um, is it humility? passion? compassion? humanity? I don’t know, but it’s all there.Midway through a rather interesting observation about Captain Ahab, Orner tells us he’s been doing more reading than writing lately (as he writes this gem about reading), and more thinking than both. He asks: “Isn’t thinking a form of writing without the pressure of needing to communicate with anybody?” Then he suggests he’s “testing the chance of writing a book in [his] head without pen, paper, or computer.” I despise this idea, wanting to ask him how one can divorce the idea of thinking from writing—or writing from thinking. I can’t think without writing; through writing we think. But then Socrates feared the pen and perhaps he was one of the greatest thinkers ever … according to Plato’s pen, st small bit, and perhaps this is more for the writer (who won’t read this if he knows what’s amazing for him). According to one of his sources and notes on the notes, when discussing Chekhov in translation, he quotes Roberto Bolaño’s response to how we recognize a work of art in a piece of literature. Essentially, if a child makes it her own after reading it, and whether faithfully or not reinterprets it, adding value to its original, well … “then we have something before us …” I say, if a writer is inspired to write after reading a book of essays about reading, well then … (she writes, as she taps the keys with the hints of her fingers, typing at a thoughtful pace.)
This is a beautiful, compelling book. It's about books, reading, reflecting, living, life, loss, losing, loving, learning, letting go. Mr. Orner is by turns wise, vulnerable, funny, learned, innocent, fierce, tender, brilliant, surprising, human. My first time through the book I couldn't place it down and read straight through. Since then I go back and dip in like a refreshing pool to remind myself why I love reading and being alive. It is a book filled with humanity, thought provoking, a book to sink into at times and stay as with a amazing friend, on a rainy afternoon. We should all be blessed with such friends. In the course of reading I was reminded of so a lot of amazing books I wanted to read or reread, I ended up with a long list of titles, amazing works, lesser works, all intriguing. I've given half a dozen copies of this book as gifts. No doubt I'll give a lot of more. It's a book to share. Not my own copy though. It has become too personal. Notes fill the margins. We have a shared history.
Peter Orner reads through his life, and that's what this book is. In these small essays, he faces a struggle in his true life and finds a struggle in a short story or novel that is similar. In the process, he shares favorite authors and favorite stories and favorite quotes. If you live to read, as Orner does, and as I do, you may have fun reading to live along with this author, too.
I love this book. I know I love it because I wish to go back to the first page and read it again. I consume again and again work that touches me because I wish to imprint it on the tissues of my being so I can call it forth at will when I need to experience something thoughtful, something beautiful. Orner also consumes what he reads again and again but he is smarter than I am. He reads oceans while I'm still learning how to tread water and can't keep my own in the deep end. But I know what it is to pick up a book first before I write, and to marvel at words hung like excellent stars in the night sky. The aloneness of this is exquisite and yet, because we are not the only ones venturing and toiling this way, we are not alone. Orner writing this book, my reading it, and now my sharing it with you, is proof of this amazing fact.
AM I ALONE HERE? ends on the word 'haven.' I found haven in this thoughtful, heartfelt book. It's a unbelievable blend of memoir and meditation.On literature and life, Orner poses questions and seeks meaning and we're invited into the essential exploration. By turns pensive, probing, sad, stirring, insightful, tender, honest, angry, harsh, and cynical, AM I ALONE HERE? offers up so much. I found myself clutching the book at its close and answering the title question in a burst, 'No you're not.'
I love this book for all the amazing ideas it has given me for fresh books to read. Also, I'm really interested in translating and found his analysis of various translations super interesting. Its a unbelievable book to tutorial one to think and grow as a reader.
This book is a revelation, showing me, reminding me, of why I love reading, and how reading illuminates and amplifies my life.But even this description is misleading, it sounds like I'm reviewing a lecture or collection of lectures, and this book is the opposite of a lecture, it's an invitation of how to be open-hearted and honest about our own lives, which Orner does quite movingly, and how what we read and love helps us do this and helps us be better persons, more fully ourselves. Orner combines reflections and essays about short stories and authors with much more private reflections on his own life, with honesty and about his shortcomings, in a method that invites the reader for related reflection. And he does this with humor and compassion in prose that is always engaging. I didn't wish to do anything else but read this book as I was reading I Alone Here is simply stunning. I couldn't place it down.