On Beauty

by Zadie Smith | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 014101945x Global Overview for this book
Registered by Tregossip of St. Austell, Cornwall United Kingdom on 11/20/2006
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10 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Tregossip from St. Austell, Cornwall United Kingdom on Monday, November 20, 2006
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2005
Winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction 2006

Going on an Int'l Ray and usual guidelines apply

Please make a journal entry on receipt
Please PM next person for forwarding address
Please add your thoughts on this book
Please don't keep for more than a month

Will post after Christmas
Tregossip (me)sent 29/12/06 airmail
eloisamos - Brazil (post USA, Can, Lat America)arrived 18/1/07
bartonz - USA (post anywhere)arrived 19/2/07
mikime - Italy ( post anywhere)arrived 28/3/07
CatharinaL - Finland ( post EU)arrived 18/4/07
aava - Finland (post EU)Book is here 24/9/07

And a few more

fushmush UK post UK prefered Arrived 10/10/07
SpikeTheLobster UK no posting preferences
rapturina Netherlands post EU/Int'l
JamsODonnellToo Germany EU surface
Be good to see if this ray can go on - - -

Journal Entry 2 by Tregossip at -- Controlled release in St. Austell, Cornwall United Kingdom on Friday, December 22, 2006

Released 13 yrs ago (12/29/2006 UTC) at -- Controlled release in St. Austell, Cornwall United Kingdom



On it's way to Brazil for eloisamos as first stage in the ray (the newspaper article is for you eloisamos)it's about a tagged turtle who swam from Brazil to Cornwall UK and is now on it's return journey

Journal Entry 3 by eloisamos from São Paulo, São Paulo Brazil on Thursday, January 18, 2007
Iarrived.thank you!
I´m finishing a ray and this book will be next!
PS: Thank you for the newspaper!! It is really amazing! I hope it will be able to
reach Brazil again!!!!

26/01/07 - I loved this book!
It is large and I expend some days to finish and could say that a cople of that days I was verry sad because of that book...
Sending for bartonz `s address...
Thank you!

Journal Entry 4 by eloisamos from São Paulo, São Paulo Brazil on Saturday, January 27, 2007
It is going to bartonz.

Journal Entry 5 by wingbartonzwing from Bellevue, Washington USA on Monday, February 19, 2007
It's here! We forgot to check the mailbox on Saturday, so just found it. I have another short one to finish first and then I'll get started.

Journal Entry 6 by wingmikimewing from Roma, Lazio Italy on Thursday, March 29, 2007
I got this yesterday and already started! :) I think I really really love Zadie Smith's writing!

Journal Entry 7 by wingmikimewing from Roma, Lazio Italy on Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Thanks for letting me read this!
It's a novel about illusions and delusions, broken vows and broken hearts, about families and individual lives on the verge of breaking and yet stubbornly sticking together. English, American, Haitian, white and black people, they all fail to match other people's and their own expectations and illusions, betraying themselves and/or the ones they love and/or what they believe in, again and again. By the end of the book each of them has woken up to their own not that perfect reality, everyone wiser though not necessarily happier. I loved this book, anyway, though I still wonder where the beauty issue fits in al lthat....is it about the illusion of beauty? And learning to see what's behind appearances, maybe? Or is it about how difficult it is to see where real beauty lies in our lives? And about how easy it is to shatter it in countless pieces?

Finally, a couple of very good wuotes (though they're not actually by this autohr, she uses them a lot):
"Time is how you spend your love" - Nick Laird
"There is such a shelter in each other" - Nick Laird

I'll send it to next one on the list as soon as I get her address!

Journal Entry 8 by CatharinaL from Pirkkala, Pirkanmaa / Birkaland Finland on Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Thanks! The book arrived this morning & I'll get to it asap.

Did I mention how much I love the cover of this book--in every edition I've seen?

Journal Entry 9 by CatharinaL from Pirkkala, Pirkanmaa / Birkaland Finland on Monday, April 30, 2007
Absorbing, totally entertaining, infinitely quotable... A fragmentary collage of people, of love and the world, of multiculturalism... A delicate mull and a twist to traditional storytelling.

I'm forever a full-blown fan of Zadie Smith's talent: her way with the intricate beauty of words & patterns leaves me quite speechless & staring blank each time. I'm thinking of Smith nearing classics such as E.M. Forster and Henry James; I'm thinking "For the characters, with love"; I'm thinking "Something not quite there in essence, but a very perfect gem as such"; heck, I'm thinking fractals; but can't quite surpass/pinpoint my vague and shifting experiences... yet. I have no choice but to quote Mikime's JE above for my inexpressable thoughts exactly:

[--] I still wonder where the beauty issue fits in all that....is it about the illusion of beauty? And learning to see what's behind appearances, maybe? Or is it about how difficult it is to see where real beauty lies in our lives? And about how easy it is to shatter it in countless pieces?

A million thanks again for the ring!


The book will travel to Aava at the BC summer event here in Tampere in June.

[EDIT 17/06/07] Aava cancelled her participation in the all-Finland summer convention, so I didn't have a chance to meet her, but the good news is that the book is currently on its way to Jyväskylä and it should reach Aava in no time :-)

Journal Entry 10 by katyan from Detroit, Michigan USA on Monday, September 10, 2007
Hi! courier here! I'm so sorry it has been taken so long for this book to reach aava, I got it at the beginning of the summer, but then I have been traveling and so did aava so we never met. And now we both couldn't go to the local bc-meetings. And somehow I thought (as I normally don't journal the books I'm couriering :)) that this was a rabck book so I didn't hurry with it, trusting we'll meet soon with aava. And now I heard everybody has been worrying about the travels of this book...So I wanted to tell that I'm sorry for all the confusion and that the book is safe and sound with me and I'll try to reach aava asap and give the book for her... Anyway, happy reading for you all!!!

Journal Entry 11 by katyan from Detroit, Michigan USA on Thursday, September 13, 2007
The book has been dropped in aava's mailbox a couple of days ago!

Journal Entry 12 by aava from Dals-Ed, Västergötland Sweden on Monday, September 24, 2007
The book has been with me for a few days and I've already started to read it. Thanks so much Tregossip for sharimg this book and being so patient with us Finnish Bookcrossers. There's plenty of good karma for you around here:)

Journal Entry 13 by aava from Dals-Ed, Västergötland Sweden on Monday, October 01, 2007
I have read Smith's other books and not been totally sure if I really like her style. This was by far the best book she has written and yet I find that I still have those reservations. I admire her writing, it flows perfectly and she has her unique voice. But what makes me irritated every time are her characters. I know that you don't have to like all the characters all the time, but just give me one really likable charaters, please Zadie? I had my sympathies here with Kiki, but in a way I felt that she was just too much a stereotype to be real.

All in all, there so much stuff here about families, cultures, universities and everything that it's almost too much. Like some of you have said there are dozens of delicious quotes to go by.Maybe the whole idea of beauty is just there under surface, an idea that I find beautiful...

Thanks Tregossip for letting me read this, I've contacted the next in line for her address and will mail the book as soon as hear from her.

edit 2.10.2007: Just mailed the book so its now on its way back to England and fushmush. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 14 by fushmush from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Arrived today! Thanks for sharing :D I'm in the middle of a book at the moment. This is next on the list.

Journal Entry 15 by fushmush from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Sunday, October 21, 2007
Quite enjoyed this one. Although I do agree with Aava. One likeable character would be nice!

It's strange. Reading the amazon reviews, everyone says how much they enjoyed White Teeth and how much they hated this one. I'm the opposite. Didn't like White Teeth at all and this one was ok.

Thanks for sharing. I have PMed the next in line and will post when I receive an address.

update 1/11/2007: No reply. Will try again.
update 4/11/2007: No reply. Will PM the next in line.

Journal Entry 16 by rapturina from Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Friday, November 16, 2007
Arrived today in an explosion of bookrings! Funny how that works, I don't get any for weeks on end and today there's three in my mailbox... I will try my best to get to this one quickly! :D

Journal Entry 17 by rapturina from Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Thursday, November 29, 2007
Finished reading this a couple of days ago. At first it was a little difficult to get into as I didn't particularly care about the characters, but after a while - when you got to know them a bit better - the book got a lot more interesting.

I think Zadie Smith definitely is very talented - I love her style, though I didn't love this book as much as I did "White Teeth". "White Teeth" really blew me away and is one of my favourite books ever, but this one is only so-so. I'm not sure why though. At first I thought it was the subject matter, but it's actually kind of similar - family life, relationships, religion, differences between people, intercultural issues, etc. Then I thought, like others have mentioned, maybe the characters are just a lot less likeable, but I did actually like Zora, so that can't have been it either. :D

The one thing that I can point out that I didn't like about this book was the rather abrupt ending. It didn't feel like the story was finished - I felt there were too many unresolved issues somehow. And even though I hate having to compare books all the time, it's kind of difficult not too when one of them is one of your favourites :D, and I thought "White Teeth" had a very good and satisfying ending, kind of went out with a bang I suppose, and I had perhaps expected the same in this book. And when the bang didn't happen and the book was finished all of a sudden, I felt rather let down. But that's always the problem with expectations, isn't it?

Anyway, so I did enjoy this book and I would recommend Zadie Smith to others - though perhaps I would suggest they read this one first and save "White Teeth" for later. :D

Sending this on to JamsODonnellToo tomorrow!

Journal Entry 18 by JamsODonnellToo from Köln, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Wednesday, December 05, 2007
"On Beauty" has arrived in JamsLand, where it will probably stay for a while. I'm the last participant on this ray, I have quite a few bookring-books in the pipeline, and I'm five months pregnant, so it looks like I may have to postpone reading this one for a while. But I promise it will keep traveling, sometime late next year I suppose. Promised! :)

Thanks a lot Tregossip for sending it around, and Rapturina for mailing it on!

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