Carel Fabritius (1622-1654)
The Goldfinch, 1654
So we haven’t talked books in awhile. Way too long actually. I admit to suppressing a little shudder when I recall that the desire to chat about books was one of the main catalysts for starting my blog. A book club where I always had the floor
Alas, what the Gods of Blog don’t tell you is that blogging is The Enemy of Reading. At least in my case…any other bloggers out there concur?
Anyway…no doubt by now most of you have heard about, if not read, Donna Tartt’s latest book “The Goldfinch”. It was listed as one of the “Top 10 Books” of 2013 and I can’t imagine it won’t be made into a film very soon. I took the opportunity to read it when we traveled to Patagonia recently. Weighing in at 784 pages, it’s not a book one would take in hard-cover on holiday, but the perfect choice to christen the new Kindle “Paperwhite” my sister bought me for Christmas. And to uncharacteristically veer off track for just a moment, I LOVE MY PAPERWHITE! Not only is it awesomely convenient and great for my eyes, it’s been a no more stink-eye from the husband relationship-saver when it comes to reading in bed. Such a blessing when you’re on different schedules (He-sleep, Me-What is sleep?) It’s small enough to hold in one hand and even with the backlight dimmed way down, very easy to read (especially, ahem, if I INCREASE THE FONT)
But back to Donna…I just need to say this really fast because I know with certainty I’m in the minority here;
There. I actually do feel better getting the confession off my chest.
Perhaps my expectations were simply too lofty-always a problem with good books and films if you don’t get there quickly enough. And the reviews for this book from both critics and people very close to me have been tremendous. Which makes it that much more difficult to admit I had issues. The main one being that I simply felt compelled to hit my plausibility button just a few too many times. Suspension of belief is all well and good in certain genres of novels but I guess I wasn’t expecting this to be that (and I’m critiquing her writing-God forgive me!)
I also felt like The Goldfinch was written for a younger audience than myself, which quite frankly, I didn’t see coming either. Big font and all. Not that that is a criticism of the book, just a contributing factor as to why it slipped into my ‘like’ as opposed to ‘love’ category. Though I haven’t read any, I’d venture there have probably been some comparisons of the main character, Theo, to Holden Caulfield. Caufield is a literary star in my deepest heart of hearts, but he earned that place when I was in my early teens. I guess it made me feel a little sad that I couldn’t get to the same place emotionally with Theo, if that makes any sense. Which, maybe it doesn’t.
Please don’t misunderstand me-there was never any time when I wanted to bail, swear at, or even take a break from The Goldfinch. It’s an entertaining, easy and well-flowing read. But…oh dear, I just have to sneak in one more slightly presumptuous criticism…I think it might have been a better book with tighter editing (at least 100 pages) and may I remind you, no one loves a good long read more than me. I’m the Extended Tasting Menu of readers. When a book is great, I’m in. Hell, I’ll overstay on occasion. But in this case, long and in my opinion, unnatural conversations (Theo in the bar with his friend’s older brother) and unrelentingly bleak side stories veering wildly away from the plot line for half the book derailed it. That being said, Goldfinch does tie up satisfyingly in the end.
Ok, phew. That made me want a cocktail. I feel so very alone.
I’m going to leave you with a few pretty captive bird related images to redeem my presumptuous old self.
via Vogue Australia Living
I had intended to get this post up before The Dutch Masters exhibition at The Frick closed last Sunday. Unfortunately my New Year’s resolution of slowing time and speeding up personal production hasn’t quite manifested as yet. I will tell you that my son and his friend were able to go and said it was fabulous. Crowds of people lined up in the frigid NY weather to view Fabritius’ Goldfinch, some long stashed away Rembrandts and Vermeer’s The Girl with the Pearl Earring .
Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl earring
I’m sorry I don’t know where the Dutch Masters exhibition is headed next. Anybody??
This is the lovely, old world bar in the Hotel das Cataratas, located on the Brazilian side of the Iguassu Falls, the second to last stop on our trip to South America. I loved the hand-painted birds against the old mirror and the broken wires of the cages. Clever.
What the clever bartender conjured up
HauteCulturePress.com ‘s first book is a translation of Flaubert’s “Felicity”. Handmade using silk, gold and a parrot feather bookmark the volume is signed, numbered and comes complete inside its own birdcage. Also clever!
Available through Assouline
The front entrance foyer of The Biltmore Hotel in Montecito, California last week.
Earrings by SolangeAzagury-Partridge
“Paradise by Way of Kensal Green” in London (via ABloomsburyLife.com )
Wallpaper via Timorous Beasties
Dolce & Gabbana
Alexander McQueen Fall 2013
Alexander McQueen Fall 2013
Wishing you a beautiful weekend with a cozy place to nest and lots of reading time!
For more cagey birds visit my post “Tweet Tweet”