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[PDF] Let Me Tell You What I Mean PDF Free download

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Book: Let Me Tell You What I Mean PDF Free download

Type: Fantasy

Size: 19MB

Let Me Tell You What I Mean was an anthology of essays written by Joan Didion from 1968 through 2000 that just kept me enthralled with her beautiful writing where she addresses the sweep from the mythical 1960s to the country’s reaction to the events of September 11, 2001. Her writing is not only the lovely and poignant prose but searing words to the truth. I am looking forward to reading more of her works.

In the words of Hilton Als in the Foreword to the book I read and dated July 2020:

“Her narrative nonfiction is a question about the truth. And if her nonfiction is synonymous with anything says Didion in work after work, it is with the idea that the truth is provisional, and the only thing backing it up is who you are at the time you wrote this or that, and that your joys and biases and prejudices are part of writing, too.”

There were so many riveting and thought-provoking essays about so many subjects. One of the most poignant was the essay, Fathers, Sons, Screaming Eagles. Didion was in Las Vegas in 1968 interviewing a man in his early forties who had been at Bastogne in 1944 with the 101st Airborne Division and there for their twenty-third annual reunion. His son was missing in action in the Vietnam War and there were the contrasts to that military action and World War II. This was a father in agony.

“And of course there it was, that was it. They had indeed a great adventure, an essential adventure, and almost everyone in the room had been nineteen or twenty years old when they had it, and they survived and had come home and their wives had given birth to sons, and now those sons were nineteen, twenty, and perhaps it was not such a great adventure this time. Perhaps it was hard to bring quite the same urgency to holding a position in a Vietnamese village or two that they had brought to liberating Europe.”

Another favorite essay was Last Words where Didion talks about Ernest Hemingway and his book A Farewell to Arms, Didion states that “this was a man to whom words mattered. He worked at them, he understood them, he got inside them.” As noted in the Foreword to this book by Hilton Als:

“She has a great deal to say about the craft in her 1998 essay about Ernest Hemingway, parts of which feel like a a self-portrait of Joan Didion herself. The very grammar of a Hemingway sentence dictated, or was dictated by, a certain way of looking at the world, a way of looking but not joining, a way of moving through but not attaching, a kind of romantic individualism distinctly adapted to its time and source.”

And one that we should all heed was her unforgettable essay On Being Unchosen by the College of One’s Choice. Didion, being a California girl, at age seventeen, applied and expected to be accepted to Stanford University. Upon receiving a letter of rejection, she was devastated and, in her words, “spent the rest of the spring in sullen but mild rebellion.” 

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She went on to the University of California at Berkley in the fall. The next year a friend at Stanford asked her to write him a paper on Conrad’s Nostromo, and she did. While her friend got an A on it, Didion got a B- on the same paper at Berkley. It was then that she was free of the stigma of not being accepted at Stanford University and realized that because of her education at Berkley, she was a better writer than she may have been.

This is an important essay as she assesses parents’ expectations for their children and the unfair burden that may result and how getting into college has become an ugly business. As Didion relates, “When my father was told that I had been rejected by Stanford, he shrugged and offered me a drink.” Indeed! 

I did end up enjoying this, and it started out rather slow. This is part of the Rick Riordan Presents. Rick doesn’t know some of the other world mythologies as well, so he set up other people to write them in his sort of universe.

Here’s the thing with it. I wish Rick would have just gone ahead and co-written these books and used the formula he already established. The humor was missing from this story. I mean it does have some humor, but it’s few and far between. There doesn’t feel like a whole lot of joy in the pages, but there is plenty of teen-angst and some self-pity. It is nice that our main character has a handicap, and because it is so much a focus of the main Character that it begins to feel like this self-pity and there is some transformation of that toward the end, but not enough. I’m sure that is totally like real life is and how people feel, so it’s really good to have that out there. The reader is not drawn in enough to Zane to really see things from his perspective. I felt like an outsider looking in at this world and so much of it just wasn’t fun.

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I think it would have been very helpful if Rick could have infused his humor and characters and madcap situations into this story. The fun was missing and it felt like work in some ways.

Still, I was introduced to completely know mythology stories I know little about and I still want to know more. I’m interested in reading some more and finding out more about these archetypes. The god of Death is our big bad and he is made up of maggots which I find interesting. He also smells really bad.

There are good ideas here and much promise, but it was only at the end I got a little invested in the story. It felt a little like work to read at the beginning. There was action and twists and turns to keep my interest, but the pacing was a little slow compared to other Rick mythology stories.

I will explore more of the Rick Riordan presents stories and mythologies and I wish he would have more to do with them as a co-author. Just help guide them and kick up the humor. Still, I never would have read anything about Mayan mythology without this book and I’m glad I got the chance to do so. I hope the next book is even better. There are lots of cultures with mythologies out there and I hope he adds a ton of them. I want to know more. I want to own them just to have references to the stories.

Let Me Tell You What I Mean PDF Free download

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