Tag Archives: Enough Rope

2017 Reading Challenge: My 5 Star Reviews, Part 1

For those of you who don’t have time to read 119 books in 365 days (and even those of you who do), here are my favorites from this year! They all come with my recommendation. 

Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t by James Collins

A business book full of interesting case studies and general principles for building a successful (“great”) business. Like many books in this genre, I enjoyed it because I saw elements of Good Profit in it. Since I love Good Profit, I was bound to like this one too. Overall a bit dated but intellectually engaging and well worth the time. 

Enough Rope by Dorothy Parker

I don’t normally like poetry, but I loved this little volume of poems. Parker is cynical, depressed, and heart-sore yet so real. She is occasionally trite and sarcastic but rarely dull. Sad, beautiful poetry.

Sprig Muslin by Georgette Heyer

Sir Gareth Ludlow has decided it is time to marry…but on his way to propose to his childhood friend, he meets a lovely young runaway! Determined to return her to her family, he enlists the help of his erstwhile fiance. Chaos ensues. This is a fairly standard Heyer plot yet perhaps one of her better uses of it. A fun, romantic romp! 

The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer

Gervase Frant returns from the wars to claim his inheritance and take over the family estate. His family accept his return with hostility. Several “accidents” later and Gervase starts to wonder…do they hate him enough to murder him? This book perhaps deserves closer to 4 stars because the mystery is quite clunky. However, Gervase is charming and Miss Morville, the leading lady, absolutely wonderful. Another charming Heyer read. 

Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis 

I was twelve years of age when I chopped of my hair, dressed as a boy, and set off to save my family from ruin. I made it almost to the end of my front garden.” So begins a charming, fun story about a girl who discovers she has magic and tries to use it to save her family’s waning fortune. Kat was a likable, spunky heroine and I loved her relationship with her sisters. The whole book kept me guessing with its twists and turns. A creative, magical adventure set in the Regency era written for middle schoolers. 

Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner  

Megan Whalen Turner is seriously the best. Thick as Thieves is book 5 in the Queen’s Thief series and let me tell you, it is just as good as the others. I won’t say much more because spoilers. If you haven’t already, go pick up The Thief. It is slow at first but worth it for the end. (And the rest of the books.) Definitely one of my favorite fantasy series! 

Ultraviolet by R. J. Anderson 

Sixteen-year-old Alison lives in a mental institute for teens, having murdered the most perfect and popular girl at school. But the case is a mystery: no body has been found. According to Alison, the body just disintegrated. But that’s impossible…right? This book particularly stuck out because I went in assuming it would be another YA fantasy and it turned out to be sci-fi. While this jarred with a lot of readers, I enjoyed the switch. The novel avoids most cliches and really nails the YA genre with its originality. 

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2017 Reading Metrics

Let’s recap: 

2017 Reading Goals:

  • 170 books
  • 25 re-read books
  • Get my to-read list down from 960 to 900 (and keep it there!) 
  • Read some Greek classics and church fathers

And what actually happened? 

2017 Reading Reality:

  • 119 books
  • 12 re-reads
  • To read list: 924
  • Greek classics and church fathers: 0

…Kind of depressing, really. The last time I read so few books it was 2010. And in 2010 I wasn’t really keeping track of what I read, so I might actually have out-read myself then too. I had high expectations for this year…but then I went to camp. And then I went to law school. I guess I have an excuse!

This year I read: 40,247 pages. (Only down 1,162 pages from last year.)  The longest book was Civil Procedures: A Coursebook by Joseph Glannon (aka…my Civ Pro textbook) at 1,287 pages. The shortest book was Enough Rope by Dorothy Parker at 110 pages. My average rating was 3.2 stars. 

Keep an eye out for my annual 5 Star Favorites…coming soon! 


A Controversial Poem

One of the poems contained in Enough Rope is titled “Résumé” and it is a lot more controversial than I would have guessed. I first read this poem in 2014 and it struck me as something…horrifying but powerful. Here it goes:

“Résumé”

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

To give context, Parker was often depressed and attempted suicide. Her poetry is full of angst, cynicism, and a longing for death. I feel like a poem like this reflects her worldview. There is no hope; this is life. Besides, isn’t there theory that one of the stages of tragedy is humor? In her mocking way, she’s wrestling with the tragedy of her own life. This isn’t designed to be serious, yet it is serious. That is why I find it haunting. 

However, one reviewer on Goodreads calls it, “callous and nursery-rhymish, and too shallow for the profound subject.” He goes on to call its conclusion, “a shopping list of smug quips.”

I’ve been chewing over his words but I find I can’t agree. It is powerful and depressing precisely because it is so trite. It is the title that takes this silly list and makes it powerful. It is “Résumé” because she knows these things only too well. 

What are your thoughts? Is this poem insensitive or powerful?  Haunting or humorless? 


Two New Books

Shhhh, don’t tell my sisters, but I bought two new books today! The first is The Creators: A History of Heroes of the Imagination by Daniel J. Boorstin. It is 811 pages and I’ve never heard of it before. However, I found it at the bookstore and became intrigued. It was written in 1992 and reviews are few and far between on Goodreads. Who knows? Perhaps I have found a treasure, perhaps a flop. 

The second book I got is Enough Rope by Dorothy Parker. This book contains poems written in 1926 (re-published in 1940) and is only 110 pages long. Dorothy Parker is a biting, brilliant, and fun author to read. The subtitle on this book is, “A brilliant collection of witty verses guaranteed to dispel gloom. By the author of SUNSET GUN and DEATH AND TAXES.”

I don’t know about you, but simply seeing the title of Death and Taxes makes me want to find it. At any rate, Dorothy Parker doesn’t disappoint.