Archives for the month of: August, 2014

A couple of weeks ago I learned from this Slate article that The New Yorker paywall is down for a couple of months, and all articles from 2007 to the present are available for FREE reading! I’ve read several of the pieces on Slate’s list and the reporting and writing is so good. I knew this; I’ve read the magazine before, but I guess I had forgotten. I started with “Taken” and “The Apostate”–both pieces of great reporting, if somewhat troubling. Actually, “Taken” is more than somewhat troubling. It was a total bummer. But I’m still glad I read it.

The articles on this list are all fairly long. Like most people, I’ve become accustomed to much shorter reads, so these articles felt like a real commitment. But they were worth following through. I’ve so enjoyed these longer articles that I subscribed to Longreads, and now I get a weekly email with looks to some of the best online longreads of each week.

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This summer is my summer-of-trying-to-read-the-book-before-I-see-the-movie-based-on-the-book. The first book in that category (longest name of a category ever) was Gone Girl, which I read a few weeks ago while on vacation. That was perfect timing, really, because it’s a complete page turner and it was fine for me to keep reading till the wee morning hours. Seriously, I think I stayed up until 3 the first night.

The novel is a mystery-thriller, and I don’t often read mysteries or thrillers, but because this book was included in at least half a dozen summer reading lists back in May, I thought I’d give it a try. Also, the trailer didn’t hurt, seeing how the movie looks great. Also, Ben Affleck. But getting back to the book. There I was, a non-mystery reader, reading this mystery and gleefully–gleefully!–anticipating every little reveal in the plot. The pacing was so good and the plot so skillfully developed that I wished I could read the various drafts of the book that would show how it all took shape.

Gone Girl is about a wife who goes missing and how the public blames her husband. At least, that’s the top layer of the story. Really it’s the story of a marriage. By interspersing flashbacks with the novel’s current-day mystery, Flynn lets us get to know the characters and their story slowly, over time. The fact that I spent half of the book in denial (“No–he isn’t that stupid! He can’t be such a jerk! No way she’s smart enough to . . . “) is proof of the shifting tensions and the steady conflict in the novel. And the ending was a surprise (Me: What . . . ? No… What?). But no more about that; I must avoid spoilers.

I can’t say that I loved the characters. They were too imperfect for love, which is imperfect enough to be really interesting. And the novel didn’t have me contemplating heavy themes. (But there were heavy themes, believe me.) I was simply engrossed and entertained, which is, for me, more than good enough. I’ll be looking forward to seeing how Flynn adapted her novel for the screen.