Excerpts from My Reading Notes, Taken Out of Context

Posted on 27 February 2013

» The biggest compliment I can give this book is how thoroughly unsettled it made me feel — like I didn’t quite have a grip on reality and I couldn’t tell what was real and what wasn’t.

» Some lovely metaphors involving the balloon man.

» Finally, at the end, she ends up taking off her clothes and swimming out in the lake to kill herself. My reaction to this was: Really?

» I don’t actually want to wake up on a Sunday and be able to call someone for an impromptu brunch. I’m just weird that way I guess.

» Made me want to learn more about Laura Bush.

» It couldn’t be easy to do and I don’t know the answer, but she could have constructed the book with more grace than she did.

» Might have made a better long article in something like The New Yorker.

» Otherwise, I was not pleased with some of the reviews and I even started to suspect that had this book been written by a man, some reviewers might not have found fault with the book being narrated by a young girl, or bothered by the fact that she is caught up in adolescent traumas.

» Loved this book, it was addictive. And it made me hungry.

» That sound you just heard was every gay man ever rolling his eyes.

» Atwood apparently asked an actress slated to play Grace, “Did she do it?” and the actress said she didn’t know, and Atwood was satisfied. This makes me love the book (and Atwood) even more.

» At one point, the author mentions that she always thought of herself as a writer even though she’d never written anything, and in fact spent decades telling her friends she wanted to write a book without ever making an effort to do so; they got to the point where they flat-out ignored her. I don’t think I can express how annoying I find this.

» I kept getting mad at myself today every time I remembered I’d already finished this book and it was over.

» It’s not to say I don’t think it should be published at all, I just fear for the future of books and reading.

» When he suggests putting the camel in the trunk of the car, I checked out completely.

» The thing that kills me is some of it would be really easy to edit. I read with an editor’s eye and you could simply cut out many of these disastrous lines and not even replace them or need transitions. So this got me curious about the editing process for this book in general and how much was edited out to get it even to this point.

» It’s a book but it’s also a life.

» It’s all mist and mysteries; I loved it.

What do you have to say about your latest read?

Photo: sektordua

11 responses to Excerpts from My Reading Notes, Taken Out of Context

  • Sarah W says:

    I think the last thing I thought about the book I finished yesterday was, “I thought appletinis were out. Oh . . . irony.”

    Oh, well.

    Also: “That sound you just heard was every gay man ever rolling his eyes.”

    This is the one that really triggered my curiosity.

  • Averil says:

    “It’s not to say I don’t think it should be published at all, I just fear for the future of books and reading.”

    Holy shit. I can’t top that one. Fifty Shades review?

  • Downith says:

    I had no idea that Alias Grace (Atwood) was in film production. Googling has revealed very little, but I hope that Sarah Polley will direct. Have seen her mentioned and a British guy.

    I’m only about 20 pages into my newest book, but I can say about my current audio book that I am rewinding the whole time to a) enjoy the language and b) make it last longer.

  • Teri says:

    I’m rereading a memoir I read this time last year, and I can absolutely say I have even more respect for the writer’s honesty and revelations than I had the first time around. I must have been in a hurry during Round One and missed a bit.

  • MSB says:

    These are all wonderful to read, Laura. I especially like, “It couldn’t be easy to do and I don’t know the answer, but she could have constructed the book with more grace than she did.” I always say I’m going to take notes as I read and then promptly forget or get too swept up that I end up forgetting what was on my mind or having, in the end, no time to put pen to paper. You’ve inspired me.

    I just finished the first chapter of “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter.” Talk about taking the wrong road.

  • Josey says:

    wait, are these notes from your writers group given to you? or notes you have taken about others.

    if they’re from others on your stuff, you run with a pack of wolves. i’ve read your book and very, very few of these apply to you (except all the positive ones, of course!!)

    i just picked up with our without you tonight but haven’t started it yet. i haven’t been focusing much on anything lately since learning I GOT A NEW JOB!!! (thank you for your help with that one!)

    • First, I should have been more clear — these are my personal, stream-of-consciousness notes I take after reading a book. I do it on the fly just to jot down my initial reactions. Some of them are pretty snarky, I admit. I guess those tend to jump out and be more interesting then when I just gush about a book

      And CONGRATS on the job! I’m so thrilled for you!!

  • Catherine says:

    This is interesting. I never write down thoughts after reading. Perhaps I should. I do Goodreads reviews when I remember but not often. The book I am reading now makes me feel a clutch of homesickness (it is set in Sydney) and ribs of hot southern light on my back. It’s sort of gauzy, wafty.

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