BOOK READ Special Topics in Calamity Physics – doctorio.us
This is a uniue book in "that you really won t understand the point of anything won t understand the point of anything you finish Let me start "you really won t understand the point of anything until you finish Let me start saying that I did like this book I did Ms Pessl is probably too smart for her own good but that s never stopped me before That said as with most over intelectualized writings I had trouble getting close to her to her work There s such a lot of time spent obfuscating demonstrating how clever she is developing stacked metaphors and allusions that the story is
to get lost in You are constantly reminded that you reading a novel by a very smart young lady And while some of the characters are extensively developed Hannah Jade Blue s father most of the others including our heroine Blue remain very flat She most of all has so little emotion that it s difficult to believe her on the few occasions when she freaks out when she cries or yells you wonder Where did that come fromAlso some of my friends have I tried with this book I gave it 150 pages and at this moment in time I ust can t get into it The constant literary allusions and pop culture references mixed with the didactic and wordy writing style kept pushing me out of the story I d skim whole paragraphs ust to find the important plot moving parts of the sentences I held out hope for this one because I chose it for book club sorry friends and it s been on my shelf for 2 years so I felt like I had to conuer it But it s only day 3 of 2017 and I don t want to start off my year forcing myself to read a book I m not enjoying even if that means uitting on the first book of the year Now I m on to better reads I ve read other reviews and I believe the negative reviews have been written by people who didn t take time to really read the book and follow it all the way through It would be easy to do It s not a book you can speed read See Ulysses by James Joyce Sometimes I ll tear through a good book in a couple of days But there is so much in this book that you have to take your time to really comprehend it and get the good stuff out of it Marisha s writing techniue is totally uniue with her hundreds of references to great works of fiction movie stars reference books and other explanations of behavior I laughed and enjoyed perhaps 60 percent of these and whipped through some of them not uite following but knowing they d be worth studying if I were retired and had time Basically this is a coming of age story The main character Blue has been raised by an intellectual professor who is always on the move dragging her around the country to different obs with different universities Her mother died when she was very young so her only deep relatinship is with her father And it is a very touching and loving relationship She becomes his Mini Me in many ways They land for her senior year in a very high end private school and as she is maturing and pulled into a group of cool kids by a very interesting and eccentric female teacher her life starts to change as she tries to become a cool teenager to date and party to become than a smart but nerdy professor s perfect little daughter As all of this happens she starts to realize that her father has a few flaws has been having flings with women and treating them poorly that he has lied about some of his meetings with other professors and that there may be some kind of secret second life going on There is murder disappearances first sexual experiences shyness embarassing moments of being young and tongue tied in front of a class but than anything there is the touching love of a young girl for her father and then how she deals with some unexpected heart wrenching blows to her life Throughout the book there were dozens and dozens of laugh out loud moments excellent insights into relationships and the little things that make us tick And even though much of the book was somewhat tongue in cheek the main themes came through to me loud and clear and when I finally finished up after re reading the introduction a must unless you have a photographic memory I put the book down sad that I was finished and hoping that there will be some kind of follow up There s a special cold black place in my heart for writers under thirty who come out of nowhere with a best selling much praised first What have I learned I ve learned that apparently it s possible for a large number of fawning reviewers to confuse pretentious with intelligent I very likely got what I deserved when I chose to ignore a clear warning namely the so called Glossary of Terms inside the dustjacket which introduced our 16 year old heroine Blue van Meer as a brainy deadpan preternaturally erudi. The mesmerizing New York Times bestseller by the author of Night FilmMarisha Pessl’s dazzling debut sparked raves from critics and heralded the arrival of a vibrant new voice in American fiction At the center of Special Topics in Calamity Physics is.
difficult to get lost in You are constantly reminded that you
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And references in parentheses I can only assume this is Marisha Pessl being an annoying smartass with this kind of crappy Authorial IntrusionThere s also Visual Aids throughout the book Drawings by the author Really annoying Really stupid Absolutely unnecessaryAt one point there is a blubbery Mercedes If anyone can send me a picture of a blubbery Mercedes Authwhore will award you with a free book that is better than Special Topics in Calamity PhysicsAt one point people say their names with paint by numbers politeness This is a problem because paint by numbers are not polite They can be tacky painstaking time consuming fun childish whimsical or any number of other things but I don t think that there is anything polite about paint by numbers and certainly nothing polite about a writer using such poorly chosen imagery with reckless abandon and intending people read 514 pages of itAt one point he either stared at the kid as if he were a Price is Right rerun barely blinking or replied in his molasses accent Nunna ya goddamn business How do you stare at a Price is Right rerun Well Pessl knows that no one knows so she tells us You barely blink Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhshouldn t she then ust have wrote that he stared barely blinking instead of staring as if he were a Price is Right rerun barely blinking Yes Yes she should have And that
why this book is categorically officially absolutely bad If you re still wondering how exactly you at a Price is Right rerun this book will also leave you wondering how you look at a snag in tights Riveting stuff reallyAt one point Officer Donnie Lee happened to have saturated himself in Paul Revere like cologne it rode far ahead of him alerting all of his impending arrival Which doesn t even work Paul Revere rode to warn "people not of his own arrival but of the British s So I "not of his own arrival but of the British s So I that s why it s Paul Revere like But isn t there a better image for something that travels ahead to warn of itself A fog horn perhaps A screeching buzzer on a truckAt one point Hannah was wearing a housedress the color of sandpaper The color of sandpaper Pessl how imprecise can you be Is there a worse writer What type What grit What brand I ve seen gray sandpaper black sandpaper brown sandpaper rust sandpaper beige sandpaperAt one point the narratorprotagonist has a fight with her father and proceeds to throw books at him I was really hoping to learn that Marisha Pessl had some true postmodern class and sense of humor by having her throw this book at himIt didn t happenI threw my own copy insteadFor the record Marisha Pessl is still hotNot Sophie Dahl hot But still hot Donna Tartt wrote a splendid book called The Secret History which both celebrated and skewered hyper intellectualism as well as explored the process of interacting with a text and the pleasures of narrative devices This book follows roughly the same storyline and incidentally the storyline of Daniel Handler s The Basic Eight down to the study uestions at the end except there s absolutely no reason for the precious chapter titles and the annotated references they have no bearing on the story itself and the general effect is talking with someone who s read a lot of books and hasn t understood a damn one of themThe irritating dialogue is reminiscent of chick lit than of anything spoken in real life or in the realm of drama and the narrator is utterly divorced from the grand intellectual she is supposed to be again see The Secret History for an excellent depiction of young scholars No one has any sort of believable emotional reaction Reviews of Special Topics in Calamity Physics and the Bottle of A a Juice I Bought for Lunch Cleverly Masked as SAT Test uestionsChoicesa Special Topics in Calamity Physicsb The bottle of a a uice I bought for lunchc Both a and bd Neither a nor bought for lunchc Both a and bd Neither a nor I had heard good things about it2 I bought it on a whim3 If feeling extremely charitable I might call it frothy 4 It seemed sort of good in the beginning but by the end I was like Blaahahhgajh End end end 5 Contains metaphors that go down like a unebug having lion sex in a bourbon mood6 Blue things totally dissed7 Nabokov rolling in his grave8 Authoritative blurb raises uestions about agenda of blurber9 Handy pronunciation key for difficult to pronounce words like a a or pessl 10 I m confused about what editors like do 11 Maybe I don t need this many antioxidants andor self indulgence 12 Post BBC Office is anyone allowed to be named Gareth Really Really Pencils downAnswers1 c2 c3 c4 c5 c A Cadillac sized smile drove away with his face as if I d ust agreed to pay him in cayas. Ing and one hanging later Blue finds herself puzzling out a byzantine murder mystery Nabokov meets Donna Tartt then invites the rest of the Western Canon to the party in this novel with visual aids drawn by the author that has won over readers of all age. .is why this book is categorically officially absolutely bad If you re still wondering how exactly you
Te girl whohas a head crammed full of literary scientific and philosophical knowledge Admittedly I was taken in by the somewhat amusing and engaging first page but after thatimagine spending 500 pages with a sheltered socially inept overly verbose adolescent know it all YuckThe kindest thing I can say about this book is that it s desperately trying to be a long winded young adult version of The Secret History with a nasty case of Purple Prose But at last at the very end of the twisting gravel road was the house an awkward wooden faced coy mistress clinging to half a hill with bulky additions stuck to her sides like giant faux pasBut wait there s There was no sound in the claustrophobic hallway except Zach s breathing which heaved like the interior of a conch shell I could feel his eyes dripping down me coursing through the folds of Jefferson s crispy black dress that resembled an upside down shitake mushroom if you suinted at it The silvery black fabric felt flimsy as if it could stiffly peel away like tinfoil around cold fried chicken nuff said This is a story told through books themselves a whodunnit a coming of ager Some will find this book too gimmickythe use of a syllabus outline the visual aids the fact that the first word of the book is dad and the last word is me thus encapsulating the entire story arch the final exam But this book made me feel the way I did during a college lecture on Lolita where the professor broke down Lolita by numbers the numbers of the license plates the hotel room numbers etc They all swirled and anagrammed their way into a ridiculous formula at the end And so it turned out that not only was Nabokov churning out a literary masterpiece but a mathematical formula as well Who knew Certainly not 21 year old Me It might be gimmicky but these sort of books are the literary euivalent of walking while chewing gum while playing the cello the I really wanted to like this bookBut it s a train wreck The literary carnage is so grotesue and horrifying you can t help but look read And I promise you ust take my word for it that metaphor is better than most that Pessl uses in this debut novel of hersDespite what Bayard says it s amazing what happens when you stop talking about a text and actually interact with it I ll tell you what happens disappointment Utter utter disappointmentFor all intents and purposes the book doesn t even start until the second half when a certain major character is found dead by the narratorprotagonist As readers we learn about the death with the first line of Chapter 1 Before I tell you about Hannah Schneider s death I ll tell you about my mother s So essentially the first half of the book amounts to literary blue balls in which Pessl torments us with bad writing and we writhe in agony praying for releaseIt is a common formula to take the wit and wisdom of an adult and "transplant it into an adolescent from Catcher in the Rye to Juno Pessl brings this trite "it into an adolescent from Catcher in the Rye to Juno Pessl brings this trite to a new low Unlike the social relevance and humor of Diablo Cody or the sparse unfathomable brilliance of Salinger Pessl ust writes with broad strokes and clunky rhetorical devices Her writing is hyperbolic and extreme She seems to pride herself on regurgitating endless references and allusions but I would prefer that instead of describing someone as having the air of a Chateau Marmont bungalow about her she The Intentional Brain just describe the damn person Do some real work MarishaAnd oh how Marisha Pessl loves similes and metaphors She and Augusten Burroughs should get together and have some kind of simiphor off Sample Pessl snippet Charles and his friends looked forward to the hours at her house much in the way New York City s celery thin heiresses and beetroot B picture lotharios looked forward to noserubbing at the Stork Club certain sweaty Saturday nights in 1943 see Forget About El Morocco The Xanadu of the New York Elite the Stork Club 1929 1965 Riser 1981I have two problems with this kind of writing1 I don t know the way New York City s celery thin heiresses and beetroot B picture lotharios looked forward to noserubbing at the Stork Club certain sweaty Saturday nights in 1943 So this metaphor is completely useless to me Why can t Charles and his friendsust look forward to the hours at her house2 The damn parenthetical references They re throughout the entire book It s probably supposed to help clear up my first problem with this passage but it only serves to remove me from the story in two really stupid ways 1 I stop reading and go look it up or 2 Since I m reading a book about a high school senior who can t possibly know all of the books. Clever deadpan Blue van Meer who has a head full of literary philosophical scientific and cinematic knowledge But she could use some friends Upon entering the elite St Gallway School she finds some a cliue of eccentrics known as the Bluebloods One drown.