Describes the unfortunate individuals who have been labelled freaks, like the Elephant Man, Siamese twins, and others who have been born with a grotesque physical disadvantage. The book discusses the lives these individuals led, and the way they were treated by their contemporaries.
12. Zelda: A Biography - Nancy Milford (1970) 4 / 5
Zelda Sayre began as a Southern beauty, became an international wonder, and died by fire in a madhouse. With her husband, F. Scott Fitzgerald, she moved in a golden aura of excitement, romance, and promise. The epitome of the Jazz Age, together they rode the crest of the era: to its collapse and their own. From years of exhaustive research, Nancy Milford brings alive the tormented, elusive personality of Zelda and clarifies as never before her relationship with' Scott Fitzgerald. Zelda traces the inner disintegration of a gifted, despairing woman, torn by the clash between her husband's career and her own talent.
Zelda's relationship with Scott wasn't as simple as you would think. For years before everything ended they felt the spark was gone yet they couldn't be away from each other. Scott was possessive about his "material", their life. Zelda seemed fine with it for most of the time even though she wanted to pursue her own dreams. Illness came in the way and the heyday of their glorious days didn't last for long. Such a sad figure she was and what's even more sad is that she has been left in the shadow of Scott like he wanted. We may argue if she really was talented or was she just trying to imitate Scott in her literary pursuits but one thing is for sure: reading about her fate was depressing, shocking and full of bewilderment towards Scott's behaviour.
13. Travels with Charley: In Search of America - John Steinbeck (1962) 2 / 5
n 1960, at age 58, John Steinbeck set out with his French poodle, Charley, to rediscover the country he had been writing about for so many years. Together they crossed America from the northernmost tip of Maine to California's Monterey peninsula, stopping to smell the grass, to see the lights, and to hear the speech of the real America. Steinbeck dined with truckers, encountered bears at Yellowstone, and reflected on the American character, racial hostility, and the unexpected kindness of strangers.
14. Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides (2002) 1 / 5
For the first fourteen years of life, Calliope Helen Stephanides, is a coltish schoolgirl, the bright, coddled daughter of a hard-working Greek family who own a chain of hotdog stands in Detroit. But for Calliope, the transformations of puberty do not consist of the usual ripening of womanly curves, but rather the solid musculature, husky voice and nascent mustache of shocking, unsuspected manhood. Named for the muse of epics Calliope is the rarest form of hermaphrodite. "Like Tiresias," she explains, "I was first one thing and then the other."
The writing is all over the place and the story extremely superficial. No matter how hard I tried I could not find any insightful passages or hidden metaphors. Yes, the main character is a hermaphrodite. So? It's not like his/her identity is present as a continuing red thread in the whole "epic family saga" so I wouldn't be that shocked about it. Very very hollow and the ending was flat (I'm surprised I decided to go that far). Well, maybe that was a logical continuance after a flat family story.
15. Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris - A.J. Liebling (1959) 3 / 5
New Yorker writer A.J. Liebling recalls his Parisian apprenticeship in the fine art of eating in this charming memoir.
[ summaries from Barnes & Noble ]