Heidi Polk

Lord of the reads 13058 Reputation points Help-d956b624e3a70f299ff60fb4f6e79359
  • On The Road

    A dizzying, thrilling joy-ride of a tale...

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    I was hooked on this book from the first couple pages...it's the loosely-strung-together autobiographical account of four of Kerouac's road trips with friends... The novel is considered to be one of the best examples of Beat Generation literature, and was written in about three weeks (according to Truman Capote, Kerouac was typing, rather than writing, lol)... I loved it for its descriptions of various places in the U.S., especially with his sojourns through California...but what makes this book so wonderful is Kerouac's detailed and descriptive language, the way he plays with it and uses it to evoke feelings and imaginings... A wonderful read, that I highly recommend to everyone...

  • Ethan Frome (Wordsworth Classics)

    I think my heart cracked slightly when I read this...

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    I love this book and I hate this book... I love it because it's amazing...I hate it because I always feel depressed for a day or so after rereading it... No plot details here, as the official review pretty much gives all the details one needs to know... I think the real tragedy of this book (the reason for the agony and the ecstasy that occurs while reading it) lies in how readily you can sympathize with Ethan, a man who realizes how he has been bound (or deliberately trapped) and who desperately yearns for the hope of an escape...the ending showcases the tragedy that can befall when one does try to break the ties that bind them... For me, the other book most similar is Jude the Obscure (Thomas Hardy) - if you've read that, you'll have an idea of what you're in for...it's a trip worth taking, but don't expect to enjoy the view at the end...

  • Digging to America

    An interesting look into identity, family connections and the ties that bind people together...

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    The story of two families, the Yazdans (Iranian-American) and the Dickinson-Donaldsons (the slightly-yuppie, politically correct, suburban Americans), whose paths cross one day as each family is at the airport to pick up their newly arrived adopted Korean daughters. It quickly becomes an annual tradition to celebrate the girls' "Arrival Day" with a party, and the plot covers the first five years of the girls' lives... For me, the strongest part of this story stemmed from Tyler's examination of the relationships between identity and family connection - the difference between generations in an immigrant family, whether one upholds and honors their family traditions or surpasses them in favor of the dominant cultural values...the connection between how one views themselves and their place in the world...the desire to 'fit in' and not be seen as an exoticized representation of a place that your contemporaries know little or nothing about... Most interestingly, the latter half of ...The story of two families, the Yazdans (Iranian-American) and the Dickinson-Donaldsons (the slightly-yuppie, politically correct, suburban Americans), whose paths cross one day as each family is at the airport to pick up their newly arrived adopted Korean daughters. It quickly becomes an annual tradition to celebrate the girls' "Arrival Day" with a party, and the plot covers the first five years of the girls' lives... For me, the strongest part of this story stemmed from Tyler's examination of the relationships between identity and family connection - the difference between generations in an immigrant family, whether one upholds and honors their family traditions or surpasses them in favor of the dominant cultural values...the connection between how one views themselves and their place in the world...the desire to 'fit in' and not be seen as an exoticized representation of a place that your contemporaries know little or nothing about... Most interestingly, the latter half of the novel contains passages told from the girls' point of view, and I personally liked that you could see how each girl behaves, based on the manner in which they were raised (and how the values of the parents influenced this behavior)... I definitely intend to read some more of Tyler's work, as I liked this book quite a bit...it didn't blow me away entirely, but definitely enjoyable - it's also a very quick read, so probably would be perfect for a trip somewhere... (more)

  • Circle of Friends

    A decent read, one of Binchy's better books...

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    Binchy often writes about small-town communities and characters within Ireland, usually during the last fifty to sixty years...while one could argue her writing is overtly sentimental or nostalgic, or that she herself suffers for not venturing outside of this particular milieu more often, I feel that she excels at the detailed character analyses such settings provide...especially since she must re-work these stock settings and characters multiple times...(this is a slight digression on my part - on to the review!) This is probably one of Binchy's best-known books, mostly due to its film adaptation (which was okay, but changed some details of the plot significantly)...I liked the book more than the film, and think it provides a better understanding of the relationship between Benny and Eve and how this relationship allows them both to mature and endure the circumstances they face...I especially enjoyed Benny's character and how she evolves throughout the novel, resulting in an end...Binchy often writes about small-town communities and characters within Ireland, usually during the last fifty to sixty years...while one could argue her writing is overtly sentimental or nostalgic, or that she herself suffers for not venturing outside of this particular milieu more often, I feel that she excels at the detailed character analyses such settings provide...especially since she must re-work these stock settings and characters multiple times...(this is a slight digression on my part - on to the review!) This is probably one of Binchy's best-known books, mostly due to its film adaptation (which was okay, but changed some details of the plot significantly)...I liked the book more than the film, and think it provides a better understanding of the relationship between Benny and Eve and how this relationship allows them both to mature and endure the circumstances they face...I especially enjoyed Benny's character and how she evolves throughout the novel, resulting in an end that might be unexpected, but is much more satisfying (at least, to me)... Not her best work, but still enjoyable... (more)

  • CompletelyNovel.com Launch Anthology

    Wah!!! Variety is the spice of life and I'm lovin' it...

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    What a great anthology! Most of the short story anthologies I read are all penned by the same author, which provides a great peek into one person's mind, but doesn't keep you on your toes quite as much as this fascinating collection... I loved the fact that my reactions to the stories were so varied...further details below... *Spoiler alerts* The Barman & the Gargoyle - What a great story! It's one of those stories that I wished could have been longer, and not just b/c of the ending...I wanted to get into Woman #1's past, to find out why she would accept this baby so easily...argh! and Woman #2, what a great character...especially with the weird quirky bits of her behavior after her accident, where the things she does make sense and don't make sense at the same time...really really great... Dream Machine - This story was just hilarious, though with a slightly bittersweet, nostalgic feeling at the end, as the character yearns for what he once had... Imagine Nation - I...What a great anthology! Most of the short story anthologies I read are all penned by the same author, which provides a great peek into one person's mind, but doesn't keep you on your toes quite as much as this fascinating collection... I loved the fact that my reactions to the stories were so varied...further details below... *Spoiler alerts* The Barman & the Gargoyle - What a great story! It's one of those stories that I wished could have been longer, and not just b/c of the ending...I wanted to get into Woman #1's past, to find out why she would accept this baby so easily...argh! and Woman #2, what a great character...especially with the weird quirky bits of her behavior after her accident, where the things she does make sense and don't make sense at the same time...really really great... Dream Machine - This story was just hilarious, though with a slightly bittersweet, nostalgic feeling at the end, as the character yearns for what he once had... Imagine Nation - I loved the way this author played with language, substituting words for one another and playing with names, etc... Losing My Voice - This story sort of hurt to read - I really was quite saddened by it...I mean, there is a bit of humor, but it's a dark humor, b/c it was so sad to imagine these poor women losing not only their voices but also their distinct individual selves...just tragic, really! Out of Office Reply - I broke up laughing during this one, several times...I especially liked the sighing, 'yes sir' attitude that Peter seemed to have... Penelope - One of the two best stories in the anthology...such a fascinating look into the different aspects of one's identity and the tricks our minds can play on us...truly great... The Psychiatrist and the Pea - I liked it and I didn't like it...there were parts I found humorous, especially the pea's perspective on being the unwilling participant in the princess' test, and its homicidal attempts when witnessing the bodies of its fallen associates...but I didn't really like the psychiatrist at all and I found the whole interlude with the cat to be a bit odd...I don't know - I had liked the story starting it, but towards the end, I was like, meh, next please! Quite Unlike Hepburn - I really, really liked this story, I would have loved to read it in an expanded form...really interesting... Slow Life - The second of what I consider the two best stories in the collection...so amazingly vivid, I could picture each scene in its entirety... The Society of Noncommitals - Yay! I broke out laughing so many times; really fun and lighthearted (and also a bit of a spoof on academic writing which, as an english major, I can COMPLETELY understand, lol)... The Secret of the Perfect Vegetarian Risotto for One - As the story progresses, I felt it was equal parts humor and tragedy...with emphasis on the latter until the very end...it was good, but I just felt for the woman so badly, it was hard to jump back into the 'you go girl!' mode... The Change - Okay, this was the story that most surprised/caught me off guard...like, completely...the joke was on me, I must admit b/c the ending was NOT what I expected, lol... (more)

  • A Long Fatal Love Chase

    Forget Heathcliff and Catherine, THIS is a bloody good romance, lol...

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    I grew up reading books by writers such as Louisa May Alcott (Little Women) and L. M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables)...these books remain some of my favorites, due to the simple enchantment they weave with the descriptions of a more peaceful, near-idyllic life...as I got older and reread these books with a more critical eye, I often wondered to myself what the original versions of these might have been - were these books presented the way their authors intended? What if they been sanitized by editors/publishers, anxious not to warp young impressionable female minds? (At the risk of sounding sexist, I don't think either series were specifically published with the young male audience in mind)...And finally, if these women were 'let off the leash', what else might they write? Enter 'A Long Fatal Love Chase'... I cannot recommend this book highly enough...seriously... It's so enjoyable - passionate seduction, cruel betrayal, murder, bigamy, famous heroes and a dangerous, sw...I grew up reading books by writers such as Louisa May Alcott (Little Women) and L. M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables)...these books remain some of my favorites, due to the simple enchantment they weave with the descriptions of a more peaceful, near-idyllic life...as I got older and reread these books with a more critical eye, I often wondered to myself what the original versions of these might have been - were these books presented the way their authors intended? What if they been sanitized by editors/publishers, anxious not to warp young impressionable female minds? (At the risk of sounding sexist, I don't think either series were specifically published with the young male audience in mind)...And finally, if these women were 'let off the leash', what else might they write? Enter 'A Long Fatal Love Chase'... I cannot recommend this book highly enough...seriously... It's so enjoyable - passionate seduction, cruel betrayal, murder, bigamy, famous heroes and a dangerous, swoon-worthy villain...it's all here and Alcott pushes her tale (and her heroine) to the very brink... Don't read this for literary merit - though it might provide interesting comparisons to other romances penned by women at the time...just read it for pure pleasure's sake and get ready to swoon, cry and tremble alongside Rosamond Vivian, as she seeks to escape the controlling (yet so sexy!) clutches of Philip Tempest... I mean, come on, seriously, how could you NOT read a book where the anti-hero's name is Tempest? Sooooooo great :) (more)

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Find me at: www.completelynovel.com/heidipolk

Interests reading, writing, museums, travel, jim henson, history, mythology, politics, language, astronomy, films, religions, philosophy, the vikings, the celts, tim burton, the victorians, anime, post-colonial literature, science fiction, human rights, international media, lively debates, the middle east, and Steampunk

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