Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from December, 2017

"Mr. Rochester" by Sarah Shoemaker

Of English literature’s romantic heroes, it's hard to find one more disconsolate than Edward Fairfax Rochester. In Sarah Shoemaker’s re-imagining of Mr. Rochester, we can better see why. Edward’s mother dies giving birth to him, his older brother is a menacing tyrant, his father a manipulating merchant with little feeling for his second son. Edward’s ties to home are severed at an early age, his closest friendships end in tragedy, his torturous marriage in Jamaica is the result of a business scheme concocted by his father when Edward was but a boy.

And we thought Jane Eyre had a grim youth.
How bitterness takes root and drives a good man to grievous wrongs is meticulously unravelled in Mr. Rochester. In this comes a soul-searching empathy for the depths of Edward’s feelings for Jane (herself hardly a ray of sunshine amongst literature’s most enduring heroines). 
There are two sides to every couple’s story . At long last, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre has a worthy companion reveale…

"The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness" by Paula Poundstone

Happiness is a funny thing. If you’re comedienne Paula Poundstone, searching for it is even funnier.

In the The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness, Poundstone cleans out the junk drawer; learns how to email and taekwondoes herself down a dress size. She picks up a nifty nickname—“Sugar Push”—by  taking swing dancing lessons, hugs every audience member after a live taping of NPR’s “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!”; talks to lizards while backpacking with her oldest daughter in the Angeles National Forest; spends a day petting her 16 cats and another watching mostly horrible movies with her three kids.

In the “get positive” experiment, Poundstone sticks motivational sayings in eye-catching places, but only the ones she can’t argue. Fear of scraping off the underside of the Lamborghini she rents for a day puts a damper on its happiness-effect. Volunteering at a senior’s home is “balou-ful”, but bittersweet.

In the meantime, her kids grow, laugh and talk back on their …