Self ConsciousnessOne of our finest novelists now gives us his most dazzling creation his own life In six eloquent and compelling chapters, the author of The Witches of Eastwick and the wonderful Rabbit trilogy gives us an incitingly honest look at the makings of an American writer and of an American man.Here is Updike on his childhood, on ailments both horrible psSelf ConsciousnessOne of our finest novelists now gives us his most dazzling creation his own life In six eloquent and compelling chapters, the author of The Witches of Eastwick and the wonderful Rabbit trilogy gives us an incitingly honest look at the makings of an American writer and of an American man.Here is Updike on his childhood, on ailments both horrible psoriasis and hilarious his experiences at the hands of a dentist , on his stuttering, on his feelings during the Vietnam War, on his genealogy and on that most elusive of subjects, his innermost self What emerges is a fascinating, fully formed portrait candid, often very, funny, and always illuminating.John Updike
Self Consciousness Self ConsciousnessOne of our finest novelists now gives us his most dazzling creation his own life In six eloquent and compelling chapters the author of The Witches of Eastwick and the wonderful Rabb
Updike is a terrific writer He exhibits this self consciously in these reflections on his life, times and family It s humbling to read someone whose narratives seem to flow with such ease, and with such felicity He led a special life, and his ability to describe it so fluently gives away why I especially appreciated the chapter regarding life during the sixties, On Not Being a Dove.
Having stuck with JU through his formative years,enduring his self admittedly plebian sufferings over his psoriasis and his dental issues,his painful articulation of his anti pacifist stance,butI almost chucked the whole thing in my frustration with his egocentric rambling in his chapter dedicated to his two African grandchildren This book in no way endeared me to the man, nor his writing.However, I chose this book not out of any affinity with JU, but rather my fasciination with the topic of the [...]
Without trying, I was always reading something by John Updike It was hard not to, especially if you read The New Yorker, where his fiction, essays, and reviews appeared for fifty years I love his memoir, Self Consciousness, much of which explores what made Updike awkward and shy his introverted boyhood, his stutter and his many adult afflictions, especially psoriasis and bad teeth It s a fascinating inquiry into the nature of subjectivity and memory.Early in Self Consciousness Updike unfolds a s [...]
For my money, if the Dallas Cowboys are America s team John Updike was America s writer He writes with such elegance it s a pleasure to read an Updike sentence Near the end of Self Consciousness Memoirs he describes watching Olympic ice dancing on television and being struck by the poetry of the moves as the dancers glide and shift through their routines The same could be said of Updike s writing, the fluid movement from thought to thought.Self Consciousness is a memoir written in his mid fiftie [...]
I skipped his letter to his mixed raced grandsons as they seemed a little bit self congratulatory white guy for my taste Look at me My DNA is in a brown person How bohemian of me etc etc , so my thoughts are about the remainder of his essays.I found Updike most compelling when his pieces were grounded in a physical place, and or at least involve scenes into which I could plant my mental feet This offers a hint to how I can improve my own writing, i.e plagiarize off Updike write about my childhoo [...]
For the Updike reader, this is an indispensable volume He s not afraid to show some of his warts along the way of writing this memoir I think it s clear that his relationship with his mother was very important as she too was a writer Along the way, he admits to reading comic books and science fiction as a young boy He often had choking fits at dinner nervous swallowing habit which may also have been brought on by being too self conscious In total, it feels like a pretty honest account and it s a [...]
A life view by the living can only be provisional Perspectives are altered by the fact of being drawn description solidifies the past and creates a gravitational body that wasn t there before A background of dark matter all that is not said remains, buzzing.I became determined to hunt down John Updike s Self Consciousness after coming across this article , and was quite relieved that I managed to locate it at a nearby local library glad to have avoided the pains of my 3 month search for William [...]
John Updike s writing always meant a lot to me because, early in his career, he focused on the part of Pennsylvania where he and I both were born, he some 20 years earlier This self portrait renews his encounter with southeastern Pennsylvania, its fertility, simplicity, directness, friendliness, modesty and self absorption.Shillington, Pa his hometown, is a suburbanized nothing sort of place whose metropolis is Reading, an urban nothing sort of place, but in his childhood, it was intensely fasci [...]
At the public library a few days ago, having time on my hands while waiting for my grandson to finish looking at the HO model railroad display featured this week, I browsed the nonfiction section of John Updike s work, in part an homage on the occasion of his recent death, in part out of my interest in reading something other than his novels of which I have read several, the beauty of his language always having failed to compensate for what I felt was the banality of his subjects, leaving me dep [...]
This is a fine memoir, reflections on a few topics of his life than a traditional then in 1971 I did this type of memoir There are sentences that stop you in your tracks Especially good is A Soft Spring Night in Shillington, a walking tour of the Pennsylvania city of his youth and his childhood memories, and On Being A Self Forever One compelling sentence from the latter Not only are selves conditional but they die Each day, we wake slightly altered, and the person we were yesterday is dead So [...]
I ve never been a huge fan of John Updike, although I admire his writing talent and skill, his perceptiveness, and his compassion for ordinary people This memoir confirmed all of that and also surprised me in its revelation of the extent to which his fiction draws on his life.
There s an awesome essay in here about his skin condition and how it maybe influenced his prose style, how he tries to make the language as clean gleaming as possible compared to his skin .
3.5 stars There are six essays that provide some interesting comments on who John Updike is I particularly liked that essay on psoriasis, where he discusses the affect the condition had on his life choices His statements about his life in the 1960s are interesting in providing his political views at the time and their basis The Updike family history was a little too detailed for me though I can understand other readers finding it interesting how unique the name is in the USA There is little disc [...]
Interesting You would never know what a private fellow.
This book has significantly lowered my opinion of Mr Updike it really represents everything that is good and bad about him On the good side, it is very well written On the bad side there is much to say I came across an interview of Gore Vidal the other day which raised the two central objections to Updike firstly, he describes to no purpose secondly, his work shows a bland acceptance of authority Once I had this pointed out by Vidal, I couldn t help noticing it in almost every sentence of this c [...]
Lo m s profundo que hay en el hombre es la piel En el segundo cap tulo de su autobiograf a, Updike habla de su psoriasis, enfermedad que le sobrevino con seis a os y fue arrastrando durante toda su vida Esta afecci n de la piel fue uno de los motivos por los que termin siendo escritor Desde la perspectiva de la piel, Updike se explica la mitad de su vida Su temprano matrimonio, su hu da de Nueva York y de sus sombras urbanas, los constantes y fugaces vuelos al sur en los meses de invierno, cuand [...]
Magical MemoirIt is fashionable among some intellectuals and critics to deride dead white authors, but reading John Updike s unusual and revealing memoirs remind me of his now past greatness As an avid reader, Updike is one of the great stylists I have read, a chronicaler of ordinary lives and times, a man who sees through the detail of everything he confronts with a clarity that defies comparison He was great, and this memoir, strange as it is, is great.Updike chooses to tell fragments of his l [...]
Terrific book by a superb stylist and writer much missed I did not like it when my first books met the criticism that I wrote all too well but had nothing to say I, who seemed to myself full of things to say, who had all of Shillington to say, Shillington and Pennsylvania and the whole immense mass of middling, hidden, troubled America to say, and who had seen and heard things in my two childhood homes, as my parents giant faces revolved and spoke, that would take a lifetime to sort out, particu [...]
Updike, John Self ConsciousnessSelf Consciousness opens with the author s protest that his reason for writing this memoir was that he had heard that someone wanted to write his biography, to take my life, my lode of ore and heap of memories from him This disingenuous apology for writing is merely an excuse for self indulgence like all memoirs and probably the most dishonest thing in the book Of course one might say that Updike is being ironical, but why bother You want to indulge yourself, then [...]
Six autobiographical essays The first three essays are on his earlier life As I suspected in reading them, many of his early stories and novels are essentially autobiographical, especially The Centaur, which may be why, despite the fantasy elements, it seemed to me the most realistic and the best of his books In these essays, the events are presented nostalgically than in the stories what I liked about the stories was that they were not nostalgic.The fourth, On Not Being a Dove , was reminisce [...]
Rather than a classic autobiography that might offer a chronological account of one s life, this memoir contains a series of essays on aspects of John Updike s life that he considers fundamental, though they might seem and in certain cases are superficial For example, a chapter is devoted to the writer s lifelong struggle with psoriasis, a skin condition that disappeared with heavy doses of sunshine, only to reappear and embarass in wintry climates Updike argues that psoriasis was responsible fo [...]
John Updike wrote a lot of fiction over several decades so he should know a little bit about it when he says he believes that most of the best fiction is written out of early impressions, taken in before the writer became conscious of himself as a writer, He begins by going to the source of his own early impressions and in this book subtitled memoirs he includes six vignette like essays about his life The first chapter is familiar to readers of his short stories since in A Soft Spring Night in S [...]
I am very surprised to report I like this collection of memoirs as much as I do I expected smugness, and got it, but I did not expect it to be self conscious see title or rueful Updike is honest about his flaws as a writer and a human being He also offers a number of insights on those subjects that I, myself, find useful I did not expect, even for a second, I would feel sorry for Updike, but he engaged my sympathies almost immediately It s surprising for the obvious reason that Updike, by his ow [...]
I adore Updike His writing is so singularly brilliant, so beautifully, uniquely cadenced and metered, it has a music of its own one that is, without question, sublimely unique In short, he could write a shopping list and it would still send shivers down your spine But beautiful writing alone is not enough there must be substance to the words, to the mellifluous perfectly weighted phrasing, and Updike s sharpness of insight and wit is than enough to sustain even the most demanding of appetites H [...]
A somewhat complex memoir of a somewhat complex writer I actually met John Updike once he lived in our town and I played soccer with his son David He was the mysterious Pulitzer prize winning author of the books we were assigned in high school This series of six chapters, each focused on a different element of his life including, oddly enough, his persistent skin condition and stutter , removes some of the mystery, but not all Overall an interesting window into an extraordinary writer who turns [...]
I really appreciated the revelations by Updike in this informed and informal description of his growing up from childhood to beyond When I read it, I was absorbed in the Rabbit books and wanted to know about the author and his upbringing Self Consciousness provided the links In separate but related chapters he conveys exactly the notions of moving through childhood His descriptions are everywhere vivid and often poignant His content riveting Here is a gifted author telling a little of his own s [...]
Here I am, the reader who never read Updike I read his current biography, and now I am seeking out Updike, but rather the poems and non fiction work rather than the novels this point Once you know how immediate and intimate his life was woven into his work, you find it everywhere once you read him All signs point to Ipswich and Shillington Youthful fame, and yet, ever questioning even in old age and chewing over his past again and again That past, those ancestors, gave him plenty of fuel.
Nobody writes better about anything than John Updike The Washington PostOhmygod that is so true John Updike could have been born a prince and we would all read about royalty Instead he writes fascinating prose about suburban life and growing up in middle America This is his first book about himself and in six essay one is technically about war but it ends up being, of course, about John Updike I still have no idea who this stuffy old man is But I like him.
Some amazing discourse on the sentimentality of our youthful remembrances, how we deal with our inexorable death, and why humans need religion for reasons less to do with death than you would suppose All wonderfully written in a great autobiography that would have been better with less begats and family history, and how Updike thinks Spiderman is the only comic worth reading and why the need for religion is the same as the need for hyperbole in art and writing.
Can t Miss Memoirs For Every PersonalityJohn Updike s collection of essays, Self Consciousness, showcases his masterful prose alongside his unique take on what it s like to be him and what it s like to be human Even a retelling about his lifelong battle with bad skin is something much greater than the sum of its parts, and his piece on our shared desire to live and keep on living is one of the most deeply moving things I ve read in years.