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Posts tagged ‘american pastoral’

Another Great Novel Hits The Big Screen

Hooray for good books being made into movies!

American Pastoral, an outstanding novel by Philip Roth, currently sits at #8 of the first 47 books I’ve read from the list (Read my review).I thought this novel was outstanding, and I even remember writing at some point that it was the perfect story for a movie.

Well, Hollywood agreed, as American Pastoral is slated to hit the screen in Fall of 2013. I think the novel has a perfect setup for a great film. It’s the fifth novel or short story Roth has written that has been turned into a film: The Human Stain, Portnoy’s Complaint, Goodbye Columbus, and The Dying Animal (Elegy). Oh, and by the way, Roth is a really smart guy.

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The Dangers of Trusting Wikipedia

I use Wikipedia a lot. It’s one of my main sources of information while researching information related to each of the books I read.

But I always take an extra step. If Wikipedia doesn’t have a source, if it doesn’t link out to some other respectable site that provides the same information, then I won’t use it in that case.

So there are definitely dangers in trusting Wikipedia, and here’s a great example why:

Recently, Philip Roth (read my review of American Pastoral) wrote “An Open Letter To Wikipedia” in which he spelled out his experience trying to change a piece of faulty information in an entry about his novel, The Human Stain.

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Ranking The First 35 Novels

So it’s time to dive in the wonderful world of my highly subjective and completely pointless rankings of the first 35 books I’ve read from the Time list.

If you’re interested, you can see previous updates through book 31: Never Let Me Go.

Now, to somehow justify my rankings for books 32-35.

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Book #34: American Pastoral

Have you ever been to a party, a wedding reception, a family reunion, and the moment in which you open the door, you feel it—that nagging sense of “Oh no. I have to put on my happy, smiley face now.”

The fakeness settles in. You smile, chat, blow smoke about the weather and baseball, but the whole time you’re thinking…I don’t really like you. I don’t really want to talk you. Your breath smells like lite beer.

Ever been there?

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Philip Roth Is Kinda Smart

I think Philip Roth is like the Gandalf of the literary community.

Forget about Updike. Forget about Atwood. Forget about “young” upstarts like Franzen.

Philip Roth is a wisdom machine. He spits out wisdom bombs like Rick Perry spits out stupidity. If Philip Roth had been Obi Wan Kanobi, Annakin Skywalker would’ve never went to the dark side. In the words of Antoine from that famous YouTube video, “now go and tell that, homeboy.”

So who is this Philip Roth of whom I glowingly speak?

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Previewing The Next 5 Books

So, oh yeah, would you guys care to know what the next few books are?

With the week off and all the holidays, I totally forgot to give you a heads up on what’s coming, just in case you want to read along with me.

As you already know, I’m of course reading American Pastoral, book 34, as well as A Question of Upbringing–the first book in A Dance To The Music Of Time.

Other than those two, here are the next four on the list, not necessarily in the order in which I’ll read them:

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American Pastoral: A Study Of Fakeness

I really want to try and give American Pastoral its fair due. After previewing the book two weeks ago, and then taking last week off from writing new posts, I realize I haven’t said much about the novel I’m currently reading.

Right off the bat, I can tell you American Pastoral is a different type of novel. There’s something philosophical about the way Philip Roth writes–it’s also like a study of sociology for people who lived during the Vietnam War.

But this isn’t a war novel. It’s actually more of a look at The American Dream and how it can come crashing down all around you. American Pastoral is not unlike Revolutionary Road and The Corrections in that sense.

The book looks at the fakeness of people, the masks that we all wear in order to keep up appearances in a society that cares a lot about appearances.

I want to highlight the following passage because I think it gives you a sense of the introspective style of Philip Roth’s writing, without spoiling any plot. It’s a bit long, and I really want to break it up into separate paragraphs, but I’m leaving it as is because that’s how it appears in the book.

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