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Girl With a Pearl Earring: A Novel by Tracy Chevalier
I'm not quite finished with it, but I've found every page thus far to be a marvel. Chevalier's polished lack of self-consciousness and sentimentality makes this book as fresh and crisp as the aprons in which young Griet takes pride in spotlessly maintaining.
Vermeer's household becomes its own self-contained, small nation, with rich details of its geography and features, delicious fly-on-the-wall vistas of political maneuvering, speechless reverence for its beauty and royalty, and the brutality and instability of life among its poor. Griet herself is a masterpiece -- a keenly street-smart heroine carefully painted using only the media of the time -- mercifully absent of the sullen,… Read more
The Da Vinci Code: A Novel by Dan Brown
I read this book after hearing the 20th person rave and gush about how she simply "could not put it down!" I had little trouble putting it down, myself. The Da Vinci Code is fun, but irritatingly commercial at times (starting with physical descriptions of our heroes, George Clooney and Julie Delpy, oops, I mean Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu). Some of the facts are just off, and show the single-source limitations of Brown's "exhaustive research": for example, the selection of books for the New Testament was basically solidified more than 100 years before Emperor Constantine was a wicked gleam in his father's eye, contrary to Teabing's claim that Constantine… Read more
Breeder: Real-Life Stories from the New Generation&hellip by Ariel Gore
I had difficulty getting through the self-conscious, affected and clumsy Vassar-dropout-style prose. I thought the book was poorly edited, and the politics stank. Here is a collection of entitlement-saturated young women who believe they've discovered the that the One True Path ends right in their own wombs. This might be a fresh perspective, except that there's enough text suggesting that any alternate paths are either (1) uncool, or (2) owe the authors a living, that any liberated intent the book had has fizzled.
This is the kind of solipsistic fluff, seen on Salon and other 'zines, where it's obvious the authors are incapable of researching topics outside themselves.
As some… Read more