Lily’s Literature #6

It feels like I haven’t written anything in a long time. It probably feels that way because that’s the way it’s been. I’ve been doing less writing and more reading and lots of movie watching. I can’t remember a time during the past fortnight when I wasn’t at the movie theater watching This Is The End. If you haven’t seen it, I would suggest it.  But only if you like that Seth Rogan-y crew.

I managed to get some good reading in while I was at my mom’s house. It’s just so cozy there that I feel the need to constantly be bundled up, reading a good book. And most of the books I read this month were good.

I like reading books that have had movies already made in their honor. That way, when I finish the book, I can rent the movie and it becomes a fulfilling process of seeing your vision come true (even though characters and plots aren’t always portrayed in the way that I envision). So I picked up Fried Green Tomatoes at The Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. I didn’t really know what to expect besides southern-ness. I knew it would have a southern feel, and boy did it ever.Friedgreenbook

The story is about the lives of many different women, some living in the 30’s, some living in the 80’s, some that lived during both times. One of the main characters, Virginia “Ninny” Threadgoode observed what life was like in homespun Whistle Stop, Alabama during the earlier part of the century. A lot of the book is Ninny recalling memories to her friend Evelyn Couch who visits her at a Nursing Home. Other bits of the story are treated like glimpses back in time, witnessing Ninny’s life in Whistle Stop, living with the Threadgoode family that adopted her.

I was really intrigued that this book hinted at a lesbian relationship (at least, that’s the way I saw it) in such a dismissive era. The character Imogene “Idgie” Threadgoode “had a crush” on new-girl Ruth, who came to visit the Threadgoode home one summer. It seemed unlikely, but also very real at the same time. I guess the part that seemed unlikely was that her whole family and town was alright with Ruth and Idgie’s relationship. They were surrounded by so much love and acceptance during a time that I imagined not much existed. Other than that, I thought it was a sweet little story with lots of southern flavor (railroad stories, Ku Klux Klan appearances, and many delicious recipes).

After that I picked up Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I was under the impression that this book was a murder-mystery type book, but it was actually way different than that. I liked it because it surprised me. The first half of the book had a lot of character building and explanations.  Almost 200 pages worth, which was a lot. BUT it made the twists and turns even better when the time came.gone_girl_8442457

The book jumps into the disappearance of Amy Elliott Dunne, married to Nick Dunne, the lead suspect in her murder. Nick isn’t the best guy, but he’s definitely not the worst guy. Reading the book, I was constantly changing my opinions of characters and evidence. I gained a lot of respect for Ms. Flynn for being able to take my mind on an adventure, write in two different voices (male and female), and throw me for a loop. I would definitely recommend this one.

After that, I picked up a quick 90-pager laying around my old bedroom. It was The Pearl by John Steinbeck. I have a soft spot for Steinbeck so I thought I would give it a shot, especially since it wasn’t that long. I wouldn’t say it wasn’t good, but it wasn’t the best of his work. But, to be honest, it’s very different from his typical California-set tales. This one was inspired from a Mexican folk tale about a Gulf town, La Paz and what happened when a villager came across “The Pearl of the World”.the-pearl-book-image

Kino and his wife, Juana, lived simply and happily until one day when their infant child is stung by a scorpion. Desperate for a doctor’s help, Kino goes diving to see if he can find anything to afford medical attention. Whilst under water, Kino came across a shimmer in the mouth of a clam. In his boat, he opens the shell and finds the biggest pearl that has ever been seen, “as big as a seagull’s egg.”

The story details what happens when someone achieves wealth overnight, surrounded by a jealous, coveting society. The pearl changes life for Kino and Juana. And not in a good way. Overall, I would give the book 3 out of 5 stars. It’s good, but it’s not the best Steinbeck by any means.


28 thoughts on “Lily’s Literature #6

  1. All great books. “Gone Girl” was a good mind fuck and “Fried Green Tomatoes” is such a classic. I read it when it came out 20 years ago. The movie is great, too. Read “Bonita Faye” It reminded me of FGT and is a real delight. Trust me.

    • Gone Girl totally messed with me, which I loved. Fried Green Tomatoes was really good, and I liked the voices of all the characters. I will check out Bonita Faye and put it on my ever growing list of books to read! Thanks Viv!

    • Lol yeah and I was always scared that Kathy Bates was in it. She kind of freaks me out. But I’ll watch it and report back to you haha!

    • Thank ya! Well, now your book shelf at home is pretty manageable. You have some good books and you can just read them one by one, right? lol although you’ll probably be too busy zumbaing!

    • Ugh isn’t that just the life?! Jobs happen, life happens…it’s so hard to find time to do everything we want to do. Of course, I can’t talk because I have no job in Canada yet…lol

  2. Dear Lily,
    You know that you’re not allowed to use the word “eh” until you get free health care right? Otherwise it seems like you’re making fun of Canadians and that gets Steven Harper’s undies in a bunch. And that’s just a mean thing to do to a man who already has awkward Ken doll hair.

    I like that you reviewed multiple books. Thanks for the heads up on the Steinbeck, I was thinking of reading great American authors this year and I think I’ll stick to his California setting books, I’m quite fond of those.

    • Oh actually, Steven Harper wrote me a letter and gave me permission to use the word “eh” as long as I stay in the country. He said Canadians are super lame, but having a cool American around spices things up a bit so I can do whatever I need to do. And then he gifted me one of his sweet sweater vests. Lucky me? 😉

      Thanks girl! The only other Steinbeck books I’ve read are “Of Mice and Men” and “East of Eden” which are both so, so good. I need to get around to “Grapes of Wrath” though! Good luck on your reading adventures!

      • The Grapes of Wrath is a truly great book–and one of the few novels that was turned into a novel without losing anything significant. Mostly, I think they should write screen plays and leave the books inside the imaginations of the readers. To Kill A Mockingbird was another that held up as a movie.

        I remind you of another book, a novella actually, that you must read. It’s be a new voice in the literary world. (Sadly a voice in the wilderness, for no one reads his stories.) The guy’s name is Donald Miller and his book is “Badlands.” I may be a bit biased, what with me being one of the only two people who have read it, aswellaswritingit. It’s free absolutely free.

  3. Gone Girl is definitely awesome! I just picked up Gillian Flynn’s two novels before this. Hopefully it will be as good 🙂 By the way, I heard that they are making Gone Girl into a movie, what do you think about that? I can totally see Ben Affleck doing Nick.

    • Smart move! I’m definitely interested in her other books! I feel like the movie would be hard to make, but it would be awesome none the less. It’s funny, because when I was searching for the Gone Girl book cover picture for this post, a lot of Reese Witherspoon pictures popped up so maybe she’ll play Amy? I could see Ben as Nick for sure!

    • And that’s why you’re the best. Steinbeck is just an awesome writer. I felt like The Pearl could’ve been more interesting, but it was subtly good and sad. And I liked that I could read it easily in two days!

  4. I haven’t read any of these books, being a bit of a literary scaredy-cat, but your reviews are absolutely enchanting. I especially loved your review of ‘Fried Green Tomatoes at The Whistle Stop Cafe’, I almost feel quite as though I’m sat at the nursing home myself, though of course what I am imagining inside my brain has no basis in reality. You paint these pictures yourself, and on this dreary day I am most thankful 😉

    • Awwww Anna you’re so sweet. I was totally a literary scaredy cat too but I took the plunge and made sure that I read books that were popular and well-liked, that way I couldn’t lose. Haha!
      But honestly, that’s such a great compliment that you gave me. That really makes me feel good that I’m portraying how I feel clearly. You make writing a blog totally worth it! 😀

    • Aww thanks Mags! I love writing them so I’m glad they come across as fun to read! Gone Girl is really a fun read. But like I said, it takes a while to get exciting. It’s worth it though!

  5. I like your rating system. It’s similar to one I used for a while. I hate the pre-made one where it starts at Excellent and drops way off to good, thereby stacking the deck in favor of the five star rating.

    Mine sort of made fun of the pre-made one; it went from Okay: Five stars, Mediocre: Four stars, Bad: Three stars, Terribly bad: Two stars, absolutely horrendous: One star.

    I like you system even better.

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