Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Waves

Stream of consciousness. Experimental. MENTAL. We spend all our time in these characters heads. Though they interact with each other, we are never privy to their actual conversations, the exchanges of words. We have to discern what they are doing based on what they are thinking.  At least, that's what I've decided is happening.  Also, nothing happens.  I mean, stuff happens, but it is difficult to engage with a plot when we are never there, in the outside world, just in the character's minds.

The whole time I was reading The Waves I kept thinking, I would enjoy this more if I listened to it.  I think The Waves might be better as an audiobook, not that I listen to a lot of audiobooks. Actually, I've only listened to one, just to see if I'd like them.  It was Pride and Prejudice and I'd already read it, so I knew what was going to happen. The flow of The Waves, the lyricism of the words, made me feel as though I would enjoy listening to it.  The characters, never speak to each other, they only speak to you.

I knew - sort of - what was going to happen in The Waves. This was my second reading, but as I mentioned in a previous post, I didn't really remember it.  I wondered why. Now I know. Nothing happens.  As I said, we are so much in the heads of the characters, that we don't really experience them doing anything, I don't feel like there is really a plot to engage with. They all just live their lives and have feelings about them.

The Waves is called Virginia Woolf's most experimental piece of fiction.  I can see why it would be called such.  I have read many of Woolf's novels.  Though To The Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway are "stream of consciousness", they are not like The Waves.  The Waves exists almost on its own.

The book starts out with six friends in childhood, all living together somewhere. They stay connected, though not physically, but mentally and emotionally for their entire lives. Eventually, the boys go to an all-boys school and the girls go to their own school - I think, they are definitely separated during this time, but the girls know Percival and they adore and admire him as much as the boys do.  Percival is the "silent" seventh character, who (spoiler*) dies midway through the novel. He is missed throughout the second half of the book, as the characters have him up on a pedestal, a young man who died in his prime, on an adventure.

Though we stay inside the character's minds through the book, they each have a distinct voice.  I could tell which character I was with, just based on the way they spoke (soliloquized) and what they were talking about.  They each had their own wants, worries, and opinions. I found it fitting that the novel ended with Bernard.  He was the storyteller.  He was always searching for words. Through him, I think the reader learns the most about what is happening in the lives of the characters.

Though it did take me a long time to read a short book, I'm glad I did.  It was one of the most beautifully written pieces of fiction I've ever read.  Many times I found myself thinking that The Waves was actually a very long poem.  Every word felt carefully chosen, every phrase was eloquent.  It is one of the reasons I think it would be better to listen to The Waves; hearing the words might enhance the experience.  I think one day, though not anytime soon, I'll find myself with the urge to listen to Woolf's most experimental work.

* I'm not sure about the spoiler warning.  I mean, it's a classic Virginia Woolf book and I'm pretty sure Percival's death is in the synopsis on some editions.

On a side note, I recently came across a post on The Guardian's book blog all about Virginia Woolf, her work and her death.  Honestly, I know how Woolf died, but I don't typically think about that when I read her work.  It's an interesting post.

Also, 20/60 for my classics list.

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Waves - I'm Not Finished

Why am I not finished yet?  I had the due date for the Classics Club Spin ages ago.  I started the book weeks ago.  It's not very long, not even 250 pages.  Here's the problem: It makes me sleepy.  I can barely get through a page without starting the yawn.  It's been really helpful with my insomnia.  I push myself to try to read five or ten pages, but I think only once have I been able to do more.  That one time was when I had to go into the city and was on the train for an hour both ways.  Even that wasn't enough.  I think I only managed to get through about 50 pages that day.  On this train ride, which I do about once a month, I can often finish half a book or more!  I just couldn't keep reading without wanting to shut my eyes.

Thus far, Virginia Woolf's The Waves is a beautiful piece of literature.  It's lyrical and visual and I do like it.  It's just so very STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS.  Very.  

I mentioned in my Spin post, this is my second time reading it.  I wondered why I didn't remember what happened the first time, and now I think I know why.

Also, the Spin was a little funny this time around.  The original post said the Spin date was May 15 (today), but on May 5 a post went up.  No one changed anything, though many Clubbers mentioned the error in the comments.  It was probably either a typo or a mis-scheduling of the post. 5/15, very close.  Oh well.  

When will I finished The Waves?  I hope soon.  Afterwards, I'm going to find something light. I have some options. I think that I want no thinking, maybe lots of feelings and action.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Continuing A Series After The Author's Death

The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, The Wheel of Time and The Millennium Series, all have something in common (besides being on my bookshelves); after the death of their authors, someone else has continued the series. Why does an author feel compelled to do that, finish someone else's series? Is it love? Why does a publisher go ahead with this? Is it money? Is it also love?

Though all these series are in my home, I haven't read them all. The Wheel of Time is my Hubby's. I'm not sure if I'll read it one day or not. I want to, but the books are huge! I have read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and recently The Girl Who Played With Fire (finally), but not The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest. I don't know why, I suppose I just haven't gotten around to it. I have read the five Hitchhiker books and loved them. Was I a fan of the ending? Not necessarily, but it felt like an ending; it was complete. When I heard about Eoin Colfer's book And Another Thing, as a continuation, I was excited and hesitant. I managed to pick it up (a long time ago - my son was an infant) at a charity book sale. It still sits unread on my shelf.

I've been thinking about this lately. I've also been making an effort to read the books that have been on my shelf for a while, like And Another Thing.  I'm so hesitant to read it, but I want to and I want to love it.  I'm concerned that my expectations are too high. I know Hitchhikers isn't for everyone, but I loved it. What if I hate this "sixth" book?  Would it ruin the series for me? Would my ire be worse than normal? Am I over thinking this?

What do you think about authors who continue a series?  I know I mentioned The Wheel of Time, but that was a different case, right? From what I understand, the series was clearly not finished and Brandon Sanderson worked from Robert Jordan's notes. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.  That is not the case with Millennium, as the author is creating a completely new work, not using the partially finished manuscript Stieg Larrson's girlfriend controls (not that I expect anyone to ever have a chance to finish that novel).  I don't know if Douglas Adams left notes for another book.  Did Eoin Colfer write a book to give himself and fans a better ending to the series? I thought the end of Adams' fifth book was pretty final.

I should just read them, right? No? Do I want to read David Lagercrantz's The Girl in the Spider's Web? I don't know. Yes and no.  If I ever decide to read The Wheel of Time, I will read the books written by Sandersen. That case is different, right? I would go into the series knowing it would be finished by someone else. I finished Hitchhikers years before Colfer wrote his book.  I started reading Millennium as a trilogy. I love reading, and I want to give authors a chance. My fear is that they will change how I feel about Larsson and Adams' work. Though at the rate I'm going, it'll be years before I get around to reading these books.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Mirror Mirror

It is rare for Julia Roberts play the villain. I can't even think of another time. It's one of the reasons I wanted to see Mirror Mirror. Another, is that I enjoy fairy tale retellings, especially if the heroine gets to be more heroic than in the classic tales. I know the movie is a few years old and it didn't get the best rating, but I was trying to decide what to watch, I felt like I wanted something where I didn't have to think.  I was also thinking about my children and wanted to preview some of the options on Netflix for appropriateness. (I pre-screen occasionally. A while ago, my daughter saw the Waynes getting shot and I had to do some quick talking.  Not making that mistake again.)

Mirror Mirror is a visually engaging movie; it's total eye candy. The sets were fantastic, but the costumes stole the show. The Queen's dresses were brilliantly elaborate. The costumes from the party scene were hilarious and wonderful. Whatever Nathan Lane was wearing on his head was perfect. The simplicity of the dress that the Queen's reflection wore was a fantastic contrast.  The sets and especially the costumes add a lot to the movie.

The movie had a lot of great moments.  One-liners, scenes that were fun, funny and sweet.  I really liked the twist at the end.  I liked the fight between Snow White and the prince; it was a fun way for them to get to know each other a little more, to become confused.  The prince under the spell was hilarious.  The actor did a great job.  It could not have been easy, there must have been some great outtakes.  The plot of the movie wasn't....the best.  It was okay. I think my daughter might like it, though there were a couple of slower parts, so there's a possibility of her getting bored halfway through.  We'll see.  I'm glad I watched it.  It was fun brain candy.