March 2009

Social Networking for Readers

You've been hearing all about social networking of late, often mixed in with semi-lucid ravings about Web 2.0 but perhaps, with all the enthusiasm around Facebook and the (poorly designed and very ugly) MySpace and the enraptured raving about the subtle joys of Twitter, you've felt a little left out, a solitary bibliophile in a sea of digital Philistines. Fear not; Web 2.0 has sites for the bibliophile (and even the bibliomanic) as well. A number of the sites for book lovers and book collectors are built around cataloging or listing books dand making it easy for members to share book lists, discuss books with each other, recommend books, and review them.

Camus vs. The Cure

You know what my favorite song by the Cure is? It happens to also be the only listenable track that the sad Brits ever put down. It’s called “Killing an Arab.” And while that’s a completely abhorrent sentiment, I will say that the song comes as close to punk as the band would ever get. Anyway, the reason that the song is so enjoyable – to me at least – is the fact that it’s based upon a scene from the Albert Camus novel The Stranger.

Bellow: Dangling Man

After hearing the name Saul Bellows on the lips of everyone from my uncle to random other literature geeks, I figured that I’d better just start at the beginning. The first two novelized works by Bellows – Dangling Man (1944) and The Victim (1947) – are generally perceived as the writer warming up to unleash more mature, focused and original works. But when Dangling Man is actually considered, the book does, in many ways, reveal a young and all too insightful writer.

Winterson on the Body

In Written on the Body the narratorsâ?? gender is never determined. While there is a possibility that Jeanette Winterson means to say that gender does not matter, there are also numerous clues pointing towards the gender of the narrator. One of the reoccurring themes that the narrator is associated with is violence. This association cannot be conclusive, but very frequently, violence is connected with masculinity.

Virginia's Lighthouse

The style that Woolf developed over her career seems to have come to fruition in To The Lighthouse. In this novel Woolf hones her ability to move the narrative along while still focusing on the ideas that flow through her characterâ??s minds. The way in which Lily Brisoce thinks and acts exemplifies an important aspect of Woolfâ??s style. As a result of this, a distillation of Woolfâ??s prose style can be ascertained from examining small sections of the inner-workings of Lily mind.

The Novel: Americanization

Through the years, the novel has had to change to keep in step with the current times. Occasionally, original aspects of writing are executed which lead to a new stylistic movement. Twain, perhaps can be credited with part of the innovation that contributed to Realism, for he included in the narrative of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn different dialects related to the scene of his tale. However, credit cannot be bestowed solely upon Twain. Howells, Miller, James and Wharton can be credited with observing society in different ways through psychology and through culture. Regardless of who is to be credited with what innovation, the literature of the nineteenth century was drastically different that its predecessors.