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Literacy and Longing in L.A. Kindle Edition

50 customer reviews

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Length: 352 pages

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Kaufman, a former L.A. Times staff writer, and Mack, a former attorney and Golden Globe Award– winning film and TV producer, check in with this solid, thoughtful chick lit debut. Dora, at 35, is a twice-divorced former young reporter on the rise at the L.A. Times. Second ex-husband Palmer is now head of Sony Pictures, and still supporting her. Dora's depressed, and she only leaves the house to stalk Palmer and buy more books. At the bookstore, she meets elegantly scraggly comp lit Ph.D. Fred, and they begin an unlikely courtship. Dora is soon surprised by Fred's invitation to meet his mother, Bea, whom Dora likes instantly, all the more so when she learns Bea is also raising Harper, the six-year-old daughter of Fred's troubled sister. The bond between Bea and Dora gives Dora something she never had with her own, alcoholic mother, and helps her make decisions that bring her life back into focus. Dora is the kind of deadpan and imperfect heroine with whom readers can easily identify. Kaufman and Mack mishandle the abrupt ending and epilogue, but are most likely setting up a welcome sequel. (June 6)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Book lust meets chick lit in this tale of a love-challenged bookworm. Dora, named for Eudora Welty, confesses, "I collect new books the way my girlfriends buy designer handbags." Estranged from her husband and living in a luxurious L.A. high-rise, she deals with melancholy by taking long baths while drinking wine and reading paperbacks. Luckily, her habit must be fed, requiring frequent trips to the local bookstore, where she meets tall, handsome Fred--a starving playwright who ekes out a living by providing book-group recommendations to Brentwood housewives. Soon they're involved in a heated romance, but things begin to sour when Dora meets his family. Then Dora's husband pops up, and confusion creeps in. Dora is a charming character, and readers will appreciate some of her more neurotic tendencies, such as her debilitating fear of driving on freeways. No literary masterpiece, this cowritten debut reads instead like a gossipy e-mail from a witty, intelligent friend. A list of referenced books and authors is included at the end. Emily Cook
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 245 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0385340184
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press (May 30, 2006)
  • Publication Date: May 30, 2006
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000GCFWOG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #925,589 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Tina on May 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
At first this book kind of turned me off. The main character came across as a snob and I thought this would be yet another chick lit with a snobby heroine.

I am so glad I continued reading. I think what got me really into this book was the descriptions of the main character secluding herself in her house with her books. She would avoid the world and here life by hiding behind her books - I especially love the bathtub scene. This hooked me. Every bibliophile can identify I think.

I also thoroughly identified with the main character trying to explain to her family her love of reading and how it was NOT a hardship to sit home and do it. That she actually preferred doing it than to socializing!!!!!!!!!!!!!! yes!!!!!!!!!!

The writing was intelligent and while, obviously, there was romance, none of it was really over the top or too "sugary".

I thought this was a chick lit with a twist, written with wry humour and intelligence.

BUY IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!and bring on the next book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kharabella on July 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I could not resist a novel about a person woman who binges on books to avoid her problems and the real world! The premise alone merits four stars for me!

I really liked the character Dora, and I loved her story. I also apppreciated the fact that she wasn't crazy, self destructive, stupid, or childish. I didn't roll my eyes at some of her antics -- something that happens all to often in some women's fiction these days. More than anything, I understood her procastination towards stressful tasks when she could be reading instead.

I also loved it that Dora doesn't really discriminate or limit herself to one genre of book -- Dora devours classics, contemporary, poetry, romance, and mystery. She loves books, period, and I share that. Like Dora, I enjoy long train rides and lines and waits in airports, because I ALWAYS have a book, and I never mind buying a new one.

But there were some drawbacks. The writing seemed rushed; the book started off better and cleverer and funnier than it ended; often the characters were not as developed as I might have liked; and I could not fathom what Dora has been doing for all these years that she has not had a job. She could not have been reading ALL the time!

And at first I thought to myself, "How does she have time to lock herself in her apartment reading for days at a time? Doesn't she need to go to work?" But then I discovered that she had a trust fund. Aha! So for Dora, bingeing on books was a had she could afford only because she was already wealthy! That small detail made reading seem the escape of an eclectic rich person, and it was the only thing that I didn't like about Dora. Was that really the only way that the authors could make the book work, by making her a trust fund kid?
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By melianthusmajor on December 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
As a former metropolitan journalist who turns to books and the duvet in times of crisis, I couldnt wait to get my chops around this one, but I found it sort of patchy. The heroine's life was somehow unbelievable, what with the the husband who is the head of Sony (not just average Joe who works there) the best friend who is a teamstar, the apparently posh parents, the hokey new best friends who have their house trashed by drug users and quote the Bible.

Run that one by me again?

I cant help wondering if this has got something to do with having two writers: "Hey Jen, lets make the boyfriend...". Ironically, given that the book is about the intimate relationship we readers have with books and their authors, this more film script approach left me feeling disinterested and uninterested.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Susan Tunis TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
On Saturday, I plowed through Literacy and Longing in LA, a debut novel by Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack. To be honest, it is basically chick lit. Good chick lit, but chick lit nonetheless. The protagonist is Dora, named after Eudora Welty, of course. She is a hard-core bibliophile. When life gets her down, she locks herself in her apartment with stacks of literature. She goes on book binges. She takes two-hour baths with a stack of books next to the tub. (People are calling asking if these authors know me.)

The real joy of this novel is Dora's ruminations on books, reading, different categories of readers, book clubs, specific books she's read or is reading. I turned every page wanting to know if I'd read what Dora had, and if I agreed with her assessments. And there were so many quotations I wanted to read aloud to bookish friends. I'll restrict myself to just two here:

"I collect new books the way my girlfriends buy designer handbags. Sometimes, I just like to know I have them and actually reading them is beside the point. Not that I don't eventually end up reading them one by one. I do. But the mere act of buying them makes me happy--the world is more promising, more fulfilling. It's hard to explain, but I feel, somehow, more optimistic. The whole act just cheers me up. "

And here:

"I like stories about lovers, seduction, sex, marriage, violence, murder, dreams, and death, and also stories that focus on the family with all its dysfunction and grief. I love writers who make their women characters independent, smart, and courageous but also passionate and romantic. I love plots about bitter old men and women who turn all soft and mushy for the love of a child. I love writers who focus on women who reach middle age and ask, 'Now what?
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