Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Reading Assignment: A Short Story about Short Hair

Gaah!  I am in a panic because I have been insanely busy at work, and have had something difficult and time consuming to do each evening after work so I have not given this week's Friday reading assignment any thought at all.  I am sitting in my bed with my laptop, eyeing my bookcase to see if anything suggests itself to me.  It ought to be something light, after last week's 779-page Tome of Doom.  Why don't we forgo reading an entire book this week and go with a short story instead?  "Bernice Bobs her Hair" by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a story I've always liked.  I don't remember every detail of it, and I'm certainly not going to reread it right now, but basically plain, socially awkward Bernice spends a holiday with her beautiful, popular cousin Marjorie.  Marjorie thinks Bernice is a big drip and is embarrassed to be seen with her.  Bernice is resentful.  Bernice gets revenge.  The end.  Some of you may have been assigned to read this story in high school.  I believe that is how I first read it.  Thoughts?

Since we're discussing books, I'll tell you about what I'm reading right now:  The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler.  This book is irritating the dickens out of me.  Six friends meet once a month and discuss the novels of Jane Austen.  You probably saw the movie.  (I didn't.  Tell me if I should bother.)  I don't mind the parts where they discuss Austen and the characters themselves and their present-day stories are OK.  What's driving me crazy are the back stories.  Fowler insists on dredging up people from each of her characters' pasts.  Their stories are curiously flat and uninteresting.  Reading this book is like listening to someone go on and on about someone you don't know and don't want to hear about. 

I'm also reading The Middle East:  A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years by Bernard Lewis.  Edifying, to be sure, but as dry and humorless as a dust pile in the Sahara.

7 comments:

  1. I attempted to read "The Jane Austen Book Club" and couldn't get past the second chapter. I'm glad I didn't waste any additional time on it.

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  2. I read the whole book (Jane Austen Book Club) and felt very...meh about it all. I don't get why it was such a sensation, to be sure. Never saw the movie. Fitzgerald, on the other hand, I can fully support reading :)

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  3. LOVE Fitzgerald.

    I'm currently reading "Bossypants". Laugh out loud funny on almost every page. I think my husband is ready for me to finish it.

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  4. I hated the Jane Austen Book Club, too. I got it for a $1 and read it on a plane, and purposely left it behind.

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  5. For the record, "The Jane Austen Book Club" was the only book I ever read where the movie version was better.
    LOVE Fitzgerald, am SO excited to see the remake of The Great Gatsby and all his short stores are witty, but how he gets women and hair is just nothing shy of brilliant!

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  6. I found "Jane Austen Book Club" disappointing, as well. "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" is my favorite Fitzgerald short story, and "Gatsby" by far his best book. They're remaking the movie? I think it's just me, but I've always liked the Redford/Farrow version.

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  7. I'm the odd one out here --I enjoyed The Jane Austen Book Club, and I enjoyed the movie too. But I've never been able to get past the first few pages of any Jane Austen book. I know . . . . I'm a peasant.

    I've just started Believing The Lie, the latest in Elizabeth George's Lynley series. Now this is a series of great books and absolutely terrible TV productions.

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