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First 50 Pages: A Thing I Do Here Every So Often

I've started more books. Like. A lot more books. But obviously haven't gotten very far in any of them because WHO WOULD WANT TO FINISH A BOOK THAT'S CRAZY. So it's time for First 50 Pages, where I review books based on the small amount I've actually gotten through.

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl. Whenever I go through a reading slump, I pick up some YA so I can feel accomplished and like "BOOM look how quickly that went I AM A READING GOD." So I checked this out from the library because hey I'd like to see a fanboy get together with a goth girl; that sounds mightily fun. HOWEVER. As of the first 50 pages, it is veering in a direction that is worrisome to me. Worrisome. If this turns into a giant bummer of a book, I will be alas-ing a lot.

Desert of the Heart. I reviewed this movie a while back. It's a lady book for ladies. It's set in the 1950s, about a lady professor who's getting a divorce -- I'm actually just gonna quote the first paragraph, because I am a fan of it and READ ALL OF IT DAMNIT:

Conventions, like cliches, have a way of surviving their own usefulness. They are then excused or defended as the idioms of living. For everyone, foreign by birth or by nature, convention is a mark of fluency. That is why, for any woman, marriage is the idiom of life. And she does not give it up out of scorn or indifference but only when she is forced to admit that she has never been able to pronounce it properly and has committed continually its grossest grammatical errors. For such a woman marriage remains a foreign tongue, an alien landscape, and, since she cannot become naturalized, she finally chooses voluntary exile.

A Woman's Crusade: Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot. This book is the best and I'm eventually going to tell you all to read it. For now, let's talk about that Boy Scout incident, because it's the cutest. In 1913, suffragists had a parade in D.C. to bring more attention to their cause (said parade was organized by the awesome Alice Paul). The police were very, very, very concerned about security, because men + threat of change = not the Zen monks you might expect.

There was a threat of mice being released along the parade route (I know), and despite refusals of help from some other law authorities, THE BOY SCOUTS WERE THERE. They stationed Boy Scouts along the parade route to keep an eye out for assholes and protect the suffragettes. WHICH IS THE CUTEST. But it gets better. Because obviously, men started getting rowdy. And pushed their way onto the route. And blocked the women from marching. AND THE POLICE DID NOTHING. Except tell the marchers they should've stayed home. So.

Some four hundred Boy Scouts stationed along the Avenue to thwart mice-toting pranksters instead wielded their staffs to press back the hordes...A male marcher wrote that the Boy Scouts were 'active and determined.' 'You could see the little fellows were red in the face from perspiring.'

 BOY SCOUTS FOREVER. That is just the best.

What Maisie Knew. I was given this to review. I started it yesterday. The first sentence INFURIATED me, because Henry James's M.O. is to decide what he's going to say, then shroud it all in a dense, nebulous fog from which only the barest shred of meaning can be discerned. 

I abandoned The Golden Bowl two-thirds of the way through (admittedly when I was 14) because I realized I had no idea what any of the characters were doing and it'd been like 300 pages. "Are they having an affair? Is she married to him? WHO IS THIS OTHER LADY." But after the stupidly-worded opener of this book ("but by the decision on the appeal the judgement of the divorce-court was confirmed as to the assignment of the child.") it seems to get wayyy way better and I was reading it in the shower last night and found it immensely difficult to put down, so well done, James. I hate you slightly less now.

but that's for The Ambassadors


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