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Below are the 9 most recent journal entries recorded in Open Lit Discussion's LiveJournal:

Friday, April 28th, 2006
1:30 pm
Has anyone read Wintering, A Novel of Sylvia Plath by Kate Moses?
I'm rereading it, having first read it in 2005.
It's a fictional recreation of the last months of S Plath's life(without quite reaching the grim end) and the chapters are named for the titles of the poems from Ariel in the original order that Plath wanted them in.
Wednesday, April 26th, 2006
7:12 pm
i've been heavy into the beats as of late. Burroughs novel: The place of the dead roads, and anthologies of Ginsberg. And I read 'a drink with shane magowan' which was an entertaining bio, very quick read, basically just transcripts of interviews by his girlfriend Victoria. And some neruda, just a bit. oh, and mostly the poetry of my peers. lots of it, lots of it amazing and really motivating, for myself as a 'holy-crap-i-don't-want-to-be-a-teacher' kind of english major...

i'm also reading an absolutely awful book, Why Did I Ever, by Mary Robison. it's dreadful, contrived drivel. but for a class, and thus i read on. And i need to read Misery, by s.king, for friday, which i am told, by an avid king fan/reader, that it is not that great. though i like the film, of course :)

um. this has been an update...by me.

this community is gathering moss!!!! soft, soft, fuzzy mosssss.

Lurven, classically.
Friday, October 21st, 2005
12:29 pm
I haven't finished reading it, but if you like twisted then you'll love Snow white, Blood Read. It is an anthology of short stories in which the writer's were instructed to take a classic fairy tale and make them adult stories. I guess I'll spoil one just to give an example. Jack and the beanstalk becomes a drunk guy who trades his best cow for beans, climbs the beanstalk, and has an affair with the guy's wife. Oh, and Jack is married too of course (they don't keep the same names in the book but I'm sticking with Jack). He's got a nice Iceman Cometh marriage going. But yea, go out and find this anthology if you are a twisted soul like myself. I gaurantee you'll enjoy it. Next story I'm reading is an altered form of Little Red Riding Hood....this should be good.
Wednesday, October 5th, 2005
3:12 am
Gretchen is going to wake up tomorrow, turn on her computer, and see this entry and have a heart attack.


Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I was skeptical at first. I'll admit this one was for school, but if I had heard of it I would have been intrueged. The book is the story of King Arthur just from the female perspective. If you've ever read T.H White, which is where The Sword and the Stone is primarily from, you notice that the ladies just get left in the background. You don't hear the thoughts or the motives of ANY female character. Bradley not only gives the woman's point of view, but also the men's. The reader really gets into the heads of the characters and knows what everybody is thinking. A small warning though, the book is a bit graphic.

There are two things I really like about this book. The book really insults the devoted religious fanatics out there. "My religion is the right religion and any other one is wrong" type of guys. Although it doesn't seem like the focus of the author and is just a way to keep all the different plots united to a central one, you really do think about the religious aspect. My favorite part of the book is that there is, at least in my opinion, no big hero. There are protagonists and antagonists of course, but no real character that you could pick out and define as a hero. I did find three small heroes though. Each one probably had about a max of 30 pages devoted to them in the entire book (its about 900). They all did small things, but they all were actions that gave them a strong hero status. I guess I liked the fact taht with so much going on in the book that would disgust the reader there were characters in the background to remind him/her that there was still some people constantly fighting for good in the book.

This is probably babbling, but hey! Someone else wrote in this thing!
Saturday, September 17th, 2005
7:15 am
so nobodys loving up the lit community.

as for me, i just finished "jane eyre". i had never read it before and its an important book so i bit the bullet.
its wonderfully well written and concise, but i do prefer the extremities and passions of Emily Bronte's writing to Charlotte's. Jane Eyre isnt a wholly interesting character, shes too good to be real and often the book just feels very Dickensian...the good characters are suffering victims and nothing ever goes right for them. as the story unravels suddenly all the secret relations are discovered.
not a waste of my time, by any means, and i was eager to read on after i finished chapter. i wonder how it would have been had i not known the ending.

now im reading "corelli's mandolin" which is so vastly better than the movie. i dont even know if i can stomach to watch the movie as much as i adore nicolas cage.

this book is about war, not love. the love story is a way of showing the horror of war, its not the central point.
correct me if im wrong, but if anyones seen the movie and remembers...is there a character named Carlo at all? Do they discuss his homosexuality and love of Francisco? Is there any war scenes at all? Do they truly show how absolutely disgusting Mandras is when he shows up at Pelagia's house? (like the maggots infesting his feet)

what makes this book different, i think than some other war books, is that it shows the good and evil of each side. the italians are clearly wrong to invade the Greeks and mussolini is painted as a ridiculous selfish and moronic person. but the italian soldiers are brave, and moral, and know their cause is wrong, but are trapped into war. they cheer the greeks on in some ways and respect them.

i think one of my favorite moments is when carlo runs out into the open field to gather francisco's body and the greeks shout "bravissmo" and cheer him on even though hes on the enemy side.

i dont think i have ever read a book which so clearly defines that war is not universal. the wants and desires and prejudices of a few small men dictate the future of millions. also, as always, evil actions begets evil actions.

i cant wait to finish it, only a little left, i recommend it to all.
Thursday, June 23rd, 2005
1:00 pm
I am posting this for anyone who has ever read Stoker's Dracula, or who has an interest in it. I apologize if my post is not very universal.

I finished reading it a few weeks ago and I've been thinking about what social commentary Stoker was making. I think it's easy to find the Victorian questions of identity/the role of women/sexuality/morality all throughout the story, but it's hard to always distinguish which side Stoker takes. With Victorianism replacing the free-thinking, sexually open, individualist Romantic ideal with a more rigid morality, it seems that Stoker is caught between the two. By associating vampires with sex, sexuality seems to be depicted as evil. The downfall of a beautiful and flirtatious woman, Lucy, seems to reinforce this idea. Yet Stoker does not seem to hold an immutable Victorian point of view. While Lucy is portrayed as helpless, Mina is continually portrayed as an able, smart, and powerful asset to the other men, who continually point out the "wonder" of Mina's strength/goodness/knowledge in spite of her sex. It's hard to tell if Stoker is trying to depict Mina as a moral, dutiful, and useful wife, or, a woman who equals her husband. The "new woman" is also made fun of by both Lucy and Mina.

Also, when considering morality and identity, Quincey Morris is definitely set apart from the others in that he is American. His being American is a source of comedy for a bit in the beginning of the novel, which depicts him as somewhat coarser, with his using American slang to charm Lucy. Morris, however, is portrayed as a gentleman for all of the novel, despite his plain spoken and rough manner, who dies gallantly in trying to destroy evil. The Harkers even name their child after him. Once again, Stoker seems to evade a concrete decision between the new Victorian ideas and older, more rebellious thought.

It's possible that Stoker uses Dracula to illustrate the confusion felt by much of society at the moral questions over imperialism and advances in science, etc. I was wondering, though, if anyone here had any ideas about it. I know there was more I had been thinking about, but it escapes me at the moment. It's another one of those times where I wish I'd had the benefit of reading a novel when it was first published.
Thursday, June 9th, 2005
1:48 pm
Look at the comment on the last post for a good book to pick up EVEN IF you didn't like the cinematic depiction. Another book that I can recommend on what I have heard and from hearing the author speak of it is the book "Dancer" by Colum McCann (spelling is probably wrong). Sadly, I forget the plot of the book, but I do recall that it starts off describing the horrors of war. Anyway, whether or not the beginning isn't you're idea of a good book, any soul who appreciates the complexity of writing and the points of view the author takes can appreciate this one. The story is about a specific dancer (go figure), but the story is narrated through the eyes of another character on that person's life in the present tense. Then later in the book, as the dancer enters another phase of life, a completely different narrator starts telling the story. For my class I was forced to go to McCann's reading and description of the book and he read a two page passage from each narrator. It was amazing to see how he was able to switch viewpoints completely. If I recall, one of the narrators was a housekeeper and the next one was a chauvinist. Talk about a HUGE change. That was easily my favorite assignment of my college career. Glad I got forced to go...now if only I could get my lazy ass in gear and start reading. That is the second book on my list of things to read. I'll make a post when i finish it.
11:06 am
you people better update/comment soon! i was serious about this commuinity!

so i'm reading "possession" by a.s. byatt. she's lovely, she writes the most realistic relationships...imperfect, dissappointing, sometimes burdensome...but still the core of all human existance and love is imperfect, dissappointing, and burdensome...but unconditional.
when i write that she seems pessimistic, but shes really not. just realistic and brutal in a way, through really beautiful descriptions.

i really love her way of combining two stories in one. in "the virgin in the garden" it was the characters in their situations, and the making of astrea. in still life it was the characters in their situations and alexander writing the play on van gogh.
tracey chevalier does that too, with her mixing the story of the creation of a work of art, and the story of the creators.

i love authors who combine art and writing. and really understand that they are two sides of the same coin. there is no better medium, one is not superior to the other and they flow together. if i can find my copy of "virgin in the garden" i'd supply you with a quote about that.

ah well, later.
Tuesday, June 7th, 2005
12:20 am
first entry!

i just finished "the last tycoon" by fitzgerald...the unfinished novel. i was hesitant to read it at first, thinking it would torture me forever to not be able to read what he intended to write...and it will, but its worth it.

sometimes people are so quick to seize gatsby, that they ignore all his other works. i dont know anyone who has read anything besides Gatsby, and really, his other novels are just as amazing.

this side of paradise, though the writing is not nearly as mature, the structure is nonexistant, and it gets almost awkward at times, it the best example of his pure humor. i personally think amory blaine is his most human and realistic character. the statement at the end "i know myself-but that is all" fits perfectly with the era he was writing.
(note: gretchens next tattoo!)
the beautiful and the damned is just...wow. i love the almost ethereal feel to it. he describes everything so beautifully that when reality hits, it shakes us as much as the characters. i love his supporting characters, sometimes they are even more meaningful than the main.
tender is the night. nicole diver is my favorite of his women characters. she is the strongest, and most complex. i love the way he starts with one story but turns it into another.

what i like about his books is, while they have similar themes, they all focus on a different type of American lifestyle. The Last Tycoon is set in Hollywood, and the scheming, illusions, and pretensions that exist there.

it is late and i am having trouble forming cognitive thoughts, but i wanted to start this community off. sorry my observations are lackluster at the moment!
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