Skip to main content

Everyone Loves Turn-of-the-Century Novels!

I bought Catching Fire for Kindle, because it wasn't even IN TRANSIT from the library, which means I won't get it for weeks. I'm finding myself becoming ridiculously belligerent about Peeta vs Gale, which is just silly because I've barely seen Gale so of COURSE I'm going to want Katniss to end up with Peeta. But my brain ignores this fact. "NO. I AM RIGHT AND EVERYONE ELSE IS WRONG." But, y'know, ingrained thought patterns and all.

So let's talk about how Ragtime is completely amazing and you should all read it. Daaaaaymn, E.L. Doctorow. I'm kind of a giant Broadway nerd, so in high school I was like "RAGTIIIIIIIME!" and checked out the cast recording from the library, as this was in the days before Spotify and mp3s and the like (*grumbles about kids today*). Liking it for the most part, I got the book, but being a teenage UBER-CHRISTIAN, around the 20th mention of sex I was completely disgusted and returned it unfinished.

Now, of course, I'm ever-so-slightly more mature, and beginning this spring I've gotten way into the Labor Movement (posts on the Triangle Fire/Rose Schneiderman and Carola Woerishoffer!). Oh, and you guys didn't know it, but I did this:



AND Emma Goldman's one of the characters in Ragtime (she also has a song in the musical called The Night That Goldman Spoke at Union Square, and it's amazing and you should listen to it). Doctorow says lovely things about her like "She wore horn-rimmed glasses that enlarged her eyes and suggested the constant outrage to her soul of the sights she saw."

Nice.

So yes, he combines figures from the period (1910, part of the most kickass decade in terms of social change), and has them interact and it's SO AWESOME. Like how whenever anyone writes a play/movie about Elizabeth I, they HAVE to have a scene where she meets up with Mary, Queen of Scots, even though that proooobably never happened. It's like that, but for all the historical figures. Goldman meets up with Evelyn Nesbit, who's looked on by Freud, who then hates America and goes back to Austria. But never mind that.

He doesn't write in I guess 'florid' prose, and although I tend to like that sort of thing, I love his writing style. It's simple and clean and extremely visual nonetheless. And just really good. Y'know, if you're into that sort of thing.

It was the music of something beginning
An era exploding, a century spinning
In riches and rags
And in rhythm and rhyme
The people called it ragtime.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Harry Potter 2013 Readalong Signup Post of Amazingness and Jollity

Okay, people. Here it is. Where you sign up to read the entire Harry Potter series (or to reminisce fondly), starting January 2013, assuming we all survive the Mayan apocalypse. I don't think I'm even going to get to Tina and Bette's reunion on The L Word until after Christmas, so here's hopin'.


You guys know how this works. Sign up if you want to. If you're new to the blog, know that we are mostly not going to take this seriously. And when we do take it seriously, it's going to be all Monty Python quotes when we disagree on something like the other person's opinion on Draco Malfoy. So be prepared for your parents being likened to hamsters.

If you want to write lengthy, heartfelt essays, that is SWELL. But this is maybe not the readalong for you. It's gonna be more posts with this sort of thing:


We're starting Sorceror's/Philosopher's Stone January 4th. Posts will be on Fridays. The first post will be some sort of hilarious/awesome que…

How to Build a Girl Introductory Post, which is full of wonderful things you probably want to read

Acclaimed (in England mostly) lady Caitlin Moran has a novel coming out. A NOVEL. Where before she has primarily stuck to essays. Curious as we obviously were about this, I and a group of bloggers are having a READALONG of said novel, probably rife with spoilers (maybe they don't really matter for this book, though, so you should totally still read my posts). This is all hosted/cared for/lovingly nursed to health by Emily at As the Crowe Flies (and Reads) because she has a lovely fancy job at an actual bookshop (Odyssey Books, where you can in fact pre-order this book and then feel delightful about yourself for helping an independent store). Emily and I have negotiated the wonders of Sri Lankan cuisine and wandered the Javits Center together. Would that I could drink with her more often than I have.


INTRODUCTION-wise (I might've tipped back a little something this evening, thus the constant asides), I am Alice. I enjoy the Pleistocene era of megafauna and drinking Shirley Templ…

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier: DID SHE OR DIDN'T SHE

Daphne Du Maurier's 1951 My Cousin Rachel prompts the age-old question: what if you were a young dumb dumb with an estate in Cornwall who is convinced your charming, thoughtful, and recently-widowed cousin Rachel wants to abandon her native Italy forever and live with you, your dogs, and your elderly butler in a damp house by the sea. AFTER ALL WHO WOULDN'T.

Also she's a widow because she'd married your uncle who raised you who then recently died, so also this has just become the MOST oedipal and makes everyone feel gross thinking about it.




Said dumb dumb is Philip Ashley, who is 24 and aptly referred to in the recent film version as a "glorious puppy." He is so excited about some things. And so sulky about so many other things. He's our narrator, which here means he is our misogynistic, xenophobic lens through which to view all events. His uncle died in Italy soon after marrying Rachel. Said uncle suspected he was being poisoned. He also probably had a bra…