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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bluets
Nelson's book is rife with deep honesty, sensible confession, dark(-ish) humor, and enough sadness to tear viscera asunder. Nelson confesses she wanted to compose a book that would be a complete, comprehensive encyclopedic index of blue. What the reader gets is a book about compassion, mourning, hope, happiness, sex, and, as one might expect, one blue coat. What the...
Published on October 3, 2010 by WT Jamison

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Creative
An interesting sensibility and approach though I did not find it compelling. Probably would benefit from a second reading which shouldn't be a problem since it is slight.
Published 15 months ago by James Housman


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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bluets, October 3, 2010
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This review is from: Bluets (Paperback)
Nelson's book is rife with deep honesty, sensible confession, dark(-ish) humor, and enough sadness to tear viscera asunder. Nelson confesses she wanted to compose a book that would be a complete, comprehensive encyclopedic index of blue. What the reader gets is a book about compassion, mourning, hope, happiness, sex, and, as one might expect, one blue coat. What the reader gets is Bluets - nothing like any other book out there. Beautifully written, compelling, believable, deeply felt.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading, September 17, 2011
This review is from: Bluets (Paperback)
This is a brilliant little book that does its best to defy classification. Part of it is memoir, looking back on an ended relationship while living in the emotional aftermath of it. What's interesting is how this is explored in tandem with a philosophical investigation of the color blue, and it is this exploration that dominates the 240 numbered section of the book. More specifically, it is about Maggie Nelson's love of the color, and how that love informs her understanding of other forms of love. I'm realizing as I write this that the book may be beyond my explanation. I think I'll let it speak for itself in a few select quotes, ending my own thoughts here by saying that you should read Bluets, probably twice.

"It is, perhaps, my way of making my life feel "in progress" rather than a sleeve of ash falling off a lit cigarette."

"And it must also be admitted that hitting the wall or wandering off in the wrong direction or tearing off the blindfold is as much a part of the game as is pinning the tail on the donkey."

"And if 'saturation' means that one simply could not absorb or contain one single drop more, why does 'saturation' not bring with it a connotation of satisfaction, either in concept, or in experience?"

"But a bouquet is no homage to the bush."

"Imagine someone saying, "our fundamental situation is joyful." Now imagine believing it."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blue Feeling, April 28, 2014
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This review is from: Bluets (Paperback)
I am the target audience for this book. A girl in art school in her 20s who likes girl bands and talking about feelings. I've never read anything else by Maggie Nelson but she hits the right tones for me. I would want to sit at her table in the cafeteria or skip school to smoke cigarettes with her. Bluets is not specifically about anything except a love letter to the color blue. Mostly about the constant ping ponging of depression, finding yourself up against it and remembering when you were in it.
Here's excerpt that prompted me to buy this book, "Of course, you could also just take off the blindfold and say, 'I think this game is stupid, and I'm not playing it anymore'. And it must also be admitted that hitting the wall or wandering off in the wrong direction or tearing off the blindfold is as much a part of the game as is pinning the tail on the donkey". I read that in 2011 and I was sold. It became my bath book, my beach book, my bus book. It's like reading someone's grocery list; it's easy and short and if you like sitting in a pool of sorrow once and a while Nelson's right there with you, until you choose to get out of it.
I also brought this book to jury duty. I went though security and put it in the plastic tub which smelled like pee and went through the metal detector- Stepped out to the wood paneled hallway, which seemed to be making fun of itself it was so ugly- sat in a large room with people pretending to be way too important to be there. My name was called, I went with my group to the court room. It's like the first day of school where no one talks to each other. The judge comes out and starts speaking another language. (We should all really know more about the law). It was a DUI case. And so I read Bluets in between excuses to get out of jury duty. The law student with the Berkeley shirt said "I hate cops", the frazzled grey haired woman "unemployed and sick". I looked down to Bluets, "I have been trying, for some times now, to find dignity in my loneliness. I have been finding this hard to do". Up again to the anthropology major, "Serving on a jury would be an honor". I remember really not wanting my name to be called, and it wasn't. This book got me through jury duty, and also a more self-indulgent time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly Beautiful book., May 31, 2014
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This review is from: Bluets (Paperback)
Seriously one of the most heartfelt pieces of poetry I've ever read. Maggie Nelson was a professor of mine so I am a little bias but it is a singular piece of work that is absolutely extraordinary. I would recommend everyone read it if they have ever fallen in love or been in love. I've read this book till the cover has fallen off and bought it over and over again. Always one of my go to books.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Blue at All, December 10, 2012
This review is from: Bluets (Paperback)
Maggie Nelson's break-out book Bluets utilizes memoir, philosophy, quotation, analysis, scientific exposition, query, meditation, and much much more, each of which is employed in stylistic miniature. Subjects in the book include an ex-lover and a friend who's been paralyzed, but the majority of the text features her analyzing what she's reading, often deferring to others' comments (including Leonard Cohen, Joseph Cornell, and Joan Mitchell) on blue. She's not the only artist so smitten by a color. Nelson combines spiritual inquiry with erotic obsession, searches for beauty, and gets hung up on memories. As she crisscrosses sorrow and wonder, doubt and desire, her tone darkens.

The book is a philosophical and personal exploration of what the color blue has done to Nelson. Despite the exhaustion, Bluets wears its hybrid/fragmented dress well, showing its seams and much enthralled by its wanderlust, an aesthetic runway that constantly leads Nelson to find new ideas, images, and expressions.

The text is fragmentary but not disconnected, certainly not a series of discrete contextless meditations or aphorisms in the style of Marcus Aurelius. Nelson lists insights, hers and others', to convey her learning and her vexation. She discovers links between many blues and their associations. As a result, the boards and nails she uses to build the edifice are readily apparent.

It's also admirable for Nelson to have taken on "blue" considering the work William Gass already achieved in his magnificent meditation "On Being Blue." That Nelson's Bluets holds its own is proof of the value of this incredible book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and strange, September 19, 2013
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This review is from: Bluets (Kindle Edition)
I admire so many aspects to this book and all of its beautiful power. Maggie Nelson's metaphors and imagery are clearer than the subjects could ever be themselves-- those all encompassing abstractions, love, loss, hope, color. I think that towards the end of the book, the text becomes a little too weighed down with quotes. The spark dimmed a little in the end. Still, Bluets is a magnificent book, and I enjoyed reading it. I highlighted many passages to read over again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cornflowers, January 8, 2014
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This review is from: Bluets (Paperback)
They are American, they are shaggy, they are wild, they are strong. They do not signify romance. They were sent by no one in celebration of nothing. I had known them all along.
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17 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unremitting genius!, September 1, 2009
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This review is from: Bluets (Paperback)
I was excited about this book since reading an excerpt in The Hat. I read that poem 2x and went online and ordered it, knowing only it would come in the fall, and it did. I read the entire thing today sometimes skipping excitedly along at a pace maybe a bit too swift to really be taking it all in, but i was excited and it made me hungry for the next pages wit and frankness and it's the sort of work that just makes you hungry for more. You want to know all of it right now. I laid the book down for a minute to finish tending to what I had in the oven and my boyf. picked it up and started reading different parts aloud, loving it, laughing, we discussed the "depression is not like a fire" bit. I am so tremendously stoked this book exists, that it scratches the poetry itch I have for something lyrical and smart and feminist and libidinous and real and very alive. It is revivifying and truly great work. Perfect present for the cool woman in your life. Or the uncool woman in your life. Both. Either. All.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensing blues, March 8, 2013
This review is from: Bluets (Kindle Edition)
Nelson's book is a wonderful combination of fact and fiction - told in a poetic, often disturbing, language. Constructed as anseries of fragments the text is transforming the Everyday into a mystery of colors and light.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blue Lover, June 2, 2014
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This review is from: Bluets (Kindle Edition)
Love story to the color blue, truly a lovely read. As an artist, this book must be read. Excellent book.
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Bluets
Bluets by Maggie Nelson (Paperback - October 1, 2009)
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