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miss contraire's little library

Zet's book reviews and book photography. Read more about this blog or check out the list so far. Visit my main tumblr.

Posts tagged dave eggers:

How We Are HungryBy Dave Eggers 
I don’t know why I didn’t review this before. Maybe it was because I didn’t want to flood Miss Contraire with consecutive reviews of Dave Eggers’s books. But anyway. I’m reviewing it now because I re-read it today and it made me feel all sorts of wonderful. Just like the first time.
You probably consider me an unreliable reviewer when it comes to Dave Eggers because I so obviously love everything he does. Well, I concur. I don’t even know if I could ever hate anything he’s written or done.
How We Are Hungry is a collection of fourteen short stories about all sorts of things. One of my favorites is “The Only Meaning of the Oil-Wet Water” because of Hand’s appearance which reminded me of just how much I miss him and Will. It’s a wonderful short story of a love between two friends that can’t decide if it wants to take that jump to the other side or not, while concurrently tackling other things such as surfing, foreign lands, and strange men. It’s pretty long compared to the others and for good reason.
Another favorite is “She Waits, Seething, Blooming,” which is about a mother waiting for her son to get home way past his curfew while imagining the things she’d say and do to him once gets in. It’s a very familiar story that takes place in the mind of a worried mom who’s also aware of her authority over a delinquent teenager. I can’t remember how many times I’ve felt that way; scheming in my head all the things I’d say and do only to end up tongue-tied in the end.
All in all, it’s a wonderful collection. I didn’t love every single one of the stories, but none of them disappointed me either. As a big fan, I was reminded of all the things I love about Dave Eggers as a writer, a constructor of beautiful words, and an observer of people. Corny as it may sound, but I am hungry for more.

How We Are Hungry
By Dave Eggers 

I don’t know why I didn’t review this before. Maybe it was because I didn’t want to flood Miss Contraire with consecutive reviews of Dave Eggers’s books. But anyway. I’m reviewing it now because I re-read it today and it made me feel all sorts of wonderful. Just like the first time.

You probably consider me an unreliable reviewer when it comes to Dave Eggers because I so obviously love everything he does. Well, I concur. I don’t even know if I could ever hate anything he’s written or done.

How We Are Hungry is a collection of fourteen short stories about all sorts of things. One of my favorites is “The Only Meaning of the Oil-Wet Water” because of Hand’s appearance which reminded me of just how much I miss him and Will. It’s a wonderful short story of a love between two friends that can’t decide if it wants to take that jump to the other side or not, while concurrently tackling other things such as surfing, foreign lands, and strange men. It’s pretty long compared to the others and for good reason.

Another favorite is “She Waits, Seething, Blooming,” which is about a mother waiting for her son to get home way past his curfew while imagining the things she’d say and do to him once gets in. It’s a very familiar story that takes place in the mind of a worried mom who’s also aware of her authority over a delinquent teenager. I can’t remember how many times I’ve felt that way; scheming in my head all the things I’d say and do only to end up tongue-tied in the end.

All in all, it’s a wonderful collection. I didn’t love every single one of the stories, but none of them disappointed me either. As a big fan, I was reminded of all the things I love about Dave Eggers as a writer, a constructor of beautiful words, and an observer of people. Corny as it may sound, but I am hungry for more.

MY VERY OWN HOLY GRAIL. Signed and numbered edition of Dave Eggers’ “The Wild Things”. <3

MY VERY OWN HOLY GRAIL. Signed and numbered edition of Dave Eggers’ “The Wild Things”. <3

The Wild ThingsBy Dave Eggers
I started reading this yesterday after two weeks of Infinite Jest and in desperate need of a light read. I browsed my shelf, looking for an unread book, and picked this up. I decided to read a few pages first, but this book, it turned out, was a total page-turner. Once I started reading it, I could not put it down. It may be due to its beautiful simplicity, which I terribly missed, and how it reminded me of a time when I was young and confused and how I wanted everyone to think that I was the center of their universe.
It&#8217;s funny because Max, the protagonist, gets so heavily disturbed after learning about the sun and how it&#8217;s bound to die someday. Which to me, greatly shadows his worries about his own family and how they have seemingly lost all interest and trust in him.
This is not the usual Dave Eggers kind of book and it&#8217;s totally okay. You won&#8217;t even mind the absence of his colorful language. I enjoyed every minute spent reading this and would probably reread it when I&#8217;m in the mood for yet another rumpus with Max.

The Wild Things
By Dave Eggers

I started reading this yesterday after two weeks of Infinite Jest and in desperate need of a light read. I browsed my shelf, looking for an unread book, and picked this up. I decided to read a few pages first, but this book, it turned out, was a total page-turner. Once I started reading it, I could not put it down. It may be due to its beautiful simplicity, which I terribly missed, and how it reminded me of a time when I was young and confused and how I wanted everyone to think that I was the center of their universe.

It’s funny because Max, the protagonist, gets so heavily disturbed after learning about the sun and how it’s bound to die someday. Which to me, greatly shadows his worries about his own family and how they have seemingly lost all interest and trust in him.

This is not the usual Dave Eggers kind of book and it’s totally okay. You won’t even mind the absence of his colorful language. I enjoyed every minute spent reading this and would probably reread it when I’m in the mood for yet another rumpus with Max.

Book-related things I did over the last few days that have been haunting me in my sleep, or, more appropriately, things I&#8217;m too ashamed to share on my main blog so I&#8217;m posting here for less people to see:
I won a signed and numbered special edition of this book I&#8217;m holding on eBay. I will receive it in two weeks, maybe less. The point is, that&#8217;s going to be my third copy of &#8220;The Wild Things&#8221;. Damn it, Dave. Why did you have to release three, equally pretty editions of one book?
I started following the &#8220;Infinite Summer&#8221; program which means at least 75 pages of &#8220;Infinite Jest&#8221; a week. This will eventually lead to a four-month reading experience.
And because of that, I have started reading other things as well.
But &#8220;Infinite Jest&#8221; keeps calling out to me, telling me I&#8217;m doing the wrong thing.
I&#8217;m not in the mood to debate with myself at the moment.

Book-related things I did over the last few days that have been haunting me in my sleep, or, more appropriately, things I’m too ashamed to share on my main blog so I’m posting here for less people to see:

  • I won a signed and numbered special edition of this book I’m holding on eBay. I will receive it in two weeks, maybe less. The point is, that’s going to be my third copy of “The Wild Things”. Damn it, Dave. Why did you have to release three, equally pretty editions of one book?
  • I started following the “Infinite Summer” program which means at least 75 pages of “Infinite Jest” a week. This will eventually lead to a four-month reading experience.
  • And because of that, I have started reading other things as well.
  • But “Infinite Jest” keeps calling out to me, telling me I’m doing the wrong thing.
  • I’m not in the mood to debate with myself at the moment.
You Shall Know Our  VelocityBy Dave Eggers
(Because I tend to rattle on, I have a feeling this will be long,  so I  apologize in advance.)
Before anything else, I should start this review with the obvious - I  love Dave Eggers’ writing. And with that, it’s no surprise how much I  enjoyed this book. If anyone asked me to rank all the Eggers books I’ve  read, this would easily top the list.
From the first page until you reach the end, he’ll have you laughing  despite the characters’ circumstances. The protagonist, Will, has  decided to travel the world in a week with his buddy, Hand. Their trip  takes place months after their best friend, Jack dies and months before  Will and his mom dies. No, these aren’t spoilers because Eggers supplies  you this information at the very beginning. Which I found unusual,  actually. But anyway.
Their plan is ridiculous and impossible. Which is to say I never  really expected them to go through with it (but a part of me hoped for  the best). Will has about $30,000 to get rid of and he wants to do it by  giving it away to people from obscure countries, particularly in  Africa. The brotherly (but sometimes, not-so) bond between Will and Hand  is reminiscent of that of Dave and his younger brother, Toph in “A  Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius”. Their ignorance and earnest  foolishness is evident in their many conversations which brings me to  this. Dave Eggers is so good at writing dialogues and making them  interesting. Some of the conversations take up to three pages and  they’re emotionally tedious at times, but not boring. Never boring.
Also, I think I should mention that the whole time I was reading  this, I was imagining Hand in my head as James Franco (particularly, as  his character in “Pineapple Express”. It seems so fitting!). This  book—with its awesome depiction of friendship between two very tormented  boys (they don’t seem like men to me) and its exciting narration of an  almost world adventure—is one of the best I’ve read. Ever. It’s funny,  exciting, depressing, exhausting, and well worth your time.

You Shall Know Our Velocity
By Dave Eggers

(Because I tend to rattle on, I have a feeling this will be long, so I apologize in advance.)

Before anything else, I should start this review with the obvious - I love Dave Eggers’ writing. And with that, it’s no surprise how much I enjoyed this book. If anyone asked me to rank all the Eggers books I’ve read, this would easily top the list.

From the first page until you reach the end, he’ll have you laughing despite the characters’ circumstances. The protagonist, Will, has decided to travel the world in a week with his buddy, Hand. Their trip takes place months after their best friend, Jack dies and months before Will and his mom dies. No, these aren’t spoilers because Eggers supplies you this information at the very beginning. Which I found unusual, actually. But anyway.

Their plan is ridiculous and impossible. Which is to say I never really expected them to go through with it (but a part of me hoped for the best). Will has about $30,000 to get rid of and he wants to do it by giving it away to people from obscure countries, particularly in Africa. The brotherly (but sometimes, not-so) bond between Will and Hand is reminiscent of that of Dave and his younger brother, Toph in “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius”. Their ignorance and earnest foolishness is evident in their many conversations which brings me to this. Dave Eggers is so good at writing dialogues and making them interesting. Some of the conversations take up to three pages and they’re emotionally tedious at times, but not boring. Never boring.

Also, I think I should mention that the whole time I was reading this, I was imagining Hand in my head as James Franco (particularly, as his character in “Pineapple Express”. It seems so fitting!). This book—with its awesome depiction of friendship between two very tormented boys (they don’t seem like men to me) and its exciting narration of an almost world adventure—is one of the best I’ve read. Ever. It’s funny, exciting, depressing, exhausting, and well worth your time.

How The Water Feels To The FishesBy Dave Eggers
Reading a short story collection by Dave Eggers while reading one of his novels didn&#8217;t seem like a good idea at first. I was worried I&#8217;d get sick of his writing by doing this and also, I wanted to focus all my attention to &#8220;You Shall Know Our Velocity&#8221;. My worries turned out to be unwarranted because let&#8217;s face it, Dave Eggers writes so well like it&#8217;s the most natural thing in the world. He could never bore me.
This is the thinnest book of the bunch and contains less stories. They vary so much in length unlike Sarah Manguso&#8217;s collection. Some stories are only three sentences long while some can take up to three pages. The topics are even more wildly random - from horses, to vinyl players, to foreign commercials. What they do have in common though is the fact that they are all entertaining and fun to read. You may call me biased because I obviously love Dave Eggers with a passion - but no! I&#8217;d never finish something that&#8217;s even remotely boring (Ehem.. The Savage Detectives?). My attention span is incredibly lacking and sometimes, these short short stories are just what I need to amuse myself. So please, I beg you. Read some of Dave Eggers&#8217; short short stories. You will love them!
Two out of three collections done! I read somewhere that Deb Olin Unwerth&#8217;s collection is the best one so we&#8217;ll see about that.

How The Water Feels To The Fishes
By Dave Eggers

Reading a short story collection by Dave Eggers while reading one of his novels didn’t seem like a good idea at first. I was worried I’d get sick of his writing by doing this and also, I wanted to focus all my attention to “You Shall Know Our Velocity”. My worries turned out to be unwarranted because let’s face it, Dave Eggers writes so well like it’s the most natural thing in the world. He could never bore me.

This is the thinnest book of the bunch and contains less stories. They vary so much in length unlike Sarah Manguso’s collection. Some stories are only three sentences long while some can take up to three pages. The topics are even more wildly random - from horses, to vinyl players, to foreign commercials. What they do have in common though is the fact that they are all entertaining and fun to read. You may call me biased because I obviously love Dave Eggers with a passion - but no! I’d never finish something that’s even remotely boring (Ehem.. The Savage Detectives?). My attention span is incredibly lacking and sometimes, these short short stories are just what I need to amuse myself. So please, I beg you. Read some of Dave Eggers’ short short stories. You will love them!

Two out of three collections done! I read somewhere that Deb Olin Unwerth’s collection is the best one so we’ll see about that.

What I’m currently reading.  Dave Eggers’ “You Shall Know Our Velocity”.
I’ve given up reading Roberto Bolaño’s “The Savage Detectives”.  Here’s the thing: I’m sure it’s a good book and that he’s a great  author, considered one of the best by many, but I just can’t get into  this. I’ve tried for more than a week to get myself absorbed or involved  into the story, but for some reason, I just couldn’t. It’s been  bothering me for a while, really, how I’ve been slacking off. I guess  it’s just not for me. This is the first book I’ve given up on this year  and it makes me sad! I don’t want to force myself though. /fail

What I’m currently reading. Dave Eggers’ “You Shall Know Our Velocity”.

I’ve given up reading Roberto Bolaño’s “The Savage Detectives”. Here’s the thing: I’m sure it’s a good book and that he’s a great author, considered one of the best by many, but I just can’t get into this. I’ve tried for more than a week to get myself absorbed or involved into the story, but for some reason, I just couldn’t. It’s been bothering me for a while, really, how I’ve been slacking off. I guess it’s just not for me. This is the first book I’ve given up on this year and it makes me sad! I don’t want to force myself though. /fail

ZeitounBy Dave Eggers
I have been trying to write a review for this, but have been suspending it for some reason. It&#8217;s definitely different from the other stuff I&#8217;ve read by Dave Eggers.
In Zeitoun, he acts as merely a narrator, a neutral one at that, of the experiences of the Zeitoun family pre-, during and post-Katrina, the hurricane that shook not only New Orleans, but the world as well.
What I liked about this book: The Zeitouns themselves. They&#8217;re exactly the kind of neighbors I&#8217;d want to have. They&#8217;re such nice people, but at the same time, they do not allow anyone to take them for granted. I especially liked Kathy Zeitoun for her strong will to carry on and take care of her four children (now five) despite the horrors that they were facing. She&#8217;s an exemplary woman. I also liked how Dave Eggers would mention the little details that would make you feel like you&#8217;re actually in it. The little stories as well that jump from Zeitoun&#8217;s childhood in Syria, to his adulthood in the sea with Ahmad, then to his life in New Orleans were nice to read. This book filled me in as well to just how wretched the Bush-era government was without actually saying it outright. There&#8217;s no &#8220;I hate Bush damn it&#8221; or anything explicit like that. Eggers leaves it all up to you to judge for yourself.
Prior to reading this, I had vague ideas about the Hurricane Katrina. I knew that a lot of people died and that houses were destroyed. But I didn&#8217;t have any strong feelings about it because I live so far away that it all just seemed so irrelevant to me at the time. But upon reading this and after last year (details to follow), I just could not help but feel so sad and so sympathetic to everyone who had to experience it.
Here&#8217;s why: Last year, the Philippines experienced its own version of Katrina called &#8220;Ondoy&#8221;. Me and my family were one of the thousands who were affected by this. Our own home, where we keep everything we own and where we sleep every single night, was submerged with two to three feet of water. Outside our house, the water was five to six feet high. All our cars were underwater, I carried my dog all night, our beds were all wet, etc. You get the idea.
Reading this book felt like reliving last year&#8217;s tragic storm and it almost made me cry. Not because of what happened to our house, (our house was flooded, but it was fine after a few days of cleaning up) but because of the many, many people who had to say goodbye completely to their homes. A close friend of mine who lived in Marikina (the place that suffered the most during the storm) lost her two-floor house and even her dog. :( It was really terrible.
The experience of reading this book was intensely personal for me. I felt anger towards the US government, compassion towards Abduhlraman, and admiration for Kathy. In the end, I was just glad that it was all over and that the Zeitouns are fine and doing well in New Orleans, their home still.

Zeitoun
By Dave Eggers

I have been trying to write a review for this, but have been suspending it for some reason. It’s definitely different from the other stuff I’ve read by Dave Eggers.

In Zeitoun, he acts as merely a narrator, a neutral one at that, of the experiences of the Zeitoun family pre-, during and post-Katrina, the hurricane that shook not only New Orleans, but the world as well.

What I liked about this book: The Zeitouns themselves. They’re exactly the kind of neighbors I’d want to have. They’re such nice people, but at the same time, they do not allow anyone to take them for granted. I especially liked Kathy Zeitoun for her strong will to carry on and take care of her four children (now five) despite the horrors that they were facing. She’s an exemplary woman. I also liked how Dave Eggers would mention the little details that would make you feel like you’re actually in it. The little stories as well that jump from Zeitoun’s childhood in Syria, to his adulthood in the sea with Ahmad, then to his life in New Orleans were nice to read. This book filled me in as well to just how wretched the Bush-era government was without actually saying it outright. There’s no “I hate Bush damn it” or anything explicit like that. Eggers leaves it all up to you to judge for yourself.

Prior to reading this, I had vague ideas about the Hurricane Katrina. I knew that a lot of people died and that houses were destroyed. But I didn’t have any strong feelings about it because I live so far away that it all just seemed so irrelevant to me at the time. But upon reading this and after last year (details to follow), I just could not help but feel so sad and so sympathetic to everyone who had to experience it.

Here’s why: Last year, the Philippines experienced its own version of Katrina called “Ondoy”. Me and my family were one of the thousands who were affected by this. Our own home, where we keep everything we own and where we sleep every single night, was submerged with two to three feet of water. Outside our house, the water was five to six feet high. All our cars were underwater, I carried my dog all night, our beds were all wet, etc. You get the idea.

Reading this book felt like reliving last year’s tragic storm and it almost made me cry. Not because of what happened to our house, (our house was flooded, but it was fine after a few days of cleaning up) but because of the many, many people who had to say goodbye completely to their homes. A close friend of mine who lived in Marikina (the place that suffered the most during the storm) lost her two-floor house and even her dog. :( It was really terrible.

The experience of reading this book was intensely personal for me. I felt anger towards the US government, compassion towards Abduhlraman, and admiration for Kathy. In the end, I was just glad that it was all over and that the Zeitouns are fine and doing well in New Orleans, their home still.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering GeniusBy Dave EggersI was really excited to start on this book, actually, because I enjoy Dave Eggers&#8217; writing style - his scattered thoughts that make up long paragraphs that require more than a page or two, the seemingly boring paragraphs that are just laugh out loud funny and annoyingly clever. That&#8217;s his style and I love it so much.The book is the thickest I&#8217;ve read this year so far, with more than four hundred pages, and it was rather confusing at first, but had gotten quite used to his unconventional ways. His preface, acknowledgements, etc took up more than ten pages and I opted to read them right after the novel itself (just to avoid any possible spoilers or whatever). It&#8217;s about a rather morbid time in his life when both of his parents died of cancer, five weeks apart, and he&#8217;s left to care for his little brother while his sister goes to law school and his brother works. But what makes you not feel too bad about him is the hilarity of the conversations, his overly neurotic thoughts, his violent imaginations, and his (really too funny) pride in himself and Toph, his younger brother. I LOLed so many times, I swear.I loved every minute of this book and am looking forward to reading more by Dave Eggers (I still can&#8217;t decide which to read first - What is The What, You Shall Know Our Velocity! or Zeitoun). It&#8217;s an extraordinarily unique book that lets you in on his many, almost-too-real experiences with his family, friends, career, and life, in general.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
By Dave Eggers


I was really excited to start on this book, actually, because I enjoy Dave Eggers’ writing style - his scattered thoughts that make up long paragraphs that require more than a page or two, the seemingly boring paragraphs that are just laugh out loud funny and annoyingly clever. That’s his style and I love it so much.

The book is the thickest I’ve read this year so far, with more than four hundred pages, and it was rather confusing at first, but had gotten quite used to his unconventional ways. His preface, acknowledgements, etc took up more than ten pages and I opted to read them right after the novel itself (just to avoid any possible spoilers or whatever). It’s about a rather morbid time in his life when both of his parents died of cancer, five weeks apart, and he’s left to care for his little brother while his sister goes to law school and his brother works. But what makes you not feel too bad about him is the hilarity of the conversations, his overly neurotic thoughts, his violent imaginations, and his (really too funny) pride in himself and Toph, his younger brother. I LOLed so many times, I swear.

I loved every minute of this book and am looking forward to reading more by Dave Eggers (I still can’t decide which to read first - What is The What, You Shall Know Our Velocity! or Zeitoun). It’s an extraordinarily unique book that lets you in on his many, almost-too-real experiences with his family, friends, career, and life, in general.

This is what I&#8217;m reading now.

This is what I’m reading now.