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Special Topics in Calamity Physics by…

Special Topics in Calamity Physics (edition 2007)

by Marisha Pessl

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5,372260813 (3.65)299
Title:Special Topics in Calamity Physics
Authors:Marisha Pessl
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (2007), Paperback, 528 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:2007-10, fiction, literature, growing up, father, daughter, high school, philosophy, night watchmen, the night watchmen, conspiracy, laurie

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Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl

Recently added byarpentec, MarijeAniek, rochelle12, private library, Mortal_Elf, BarbaraJane, ceb115, ellidaver
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    lyzadanger: Precocious young women in small towns.
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    The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (zhejw)
    zhejw: I loved both books, but Pessl's is a notch up in language, character development, and plot. Lockhart's is the place for teens to start.
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    SqueakyChu: Both books look at issues encountered by one particular student.

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» See also 299 mentions

English (245)  Dutch (7)  French (5)  German (1)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (261)
Showing 1-5 of 245 (next | show all)
This book received a lot of hype. In my opinion it can best be compared to the television show SEINFELD. Not because of the topic, but because the first two thirds of the book are about nothing. It tells the story of the everyday life of a high school student and her, somewhat eccentric, university professor father. While their lives were not boring to read about, I kept expecting something to happen. Then, when something finally did happen, I was drawn in for a little while. It became interesting. Alas, in the resolution, the book went so over the top that I really didn't care about the outcome any more. In my humble opinion this was just a book that tried too hard and became a mish-mash. I would be really interested in hearing from others who have read it.
( )
  ChristineEllei | Jul 14, 2015 |
I really liked this book -- it's one you have trouble putting down for the night! I probably would suggest that the very last chapter "Final Exam" seems a bit of an afterthought; like something written for a book club. But otherwise a real charmer, full of unique turns of phrase, unexpected hi-jinks, an ending that I truly did not see coming, and more historical & literary allusions than I ever thought could be packed into a single book. ( )
  Phyllis.Mann | Jul 13, 2015 |
Abandon ship! Abandon ship! Sorry, I couldn't take it anymore, the narrator droning on and on in that preternaturally precocious tone of hers. Over-wrought writing. Pessl's narrator makes constant writing-clogging literary and cultural references. It's just the epitome of literary writing gone bad. It strains, it over-preens.

I agree with one reviewer who said: "The laborious process of reading this book felt like 514 pages of a precocious child shrieking, 'Aren't I clever?' into my face, only they were pronouncing clever incorrectly because they were not, in fact, very bright, and also projecting spittle into my face every single time." Except, kudos to that reviewer for finishing. I made it only half way. There are some riveting sections here and there, and the premise is great. So many other readers found this novel brilliant and were enamored with the writing style. BUT...I just couldn't move past the main character without entertaining homicidal thoughts. Yeah, it was that bad for me.

For a good, brainy mystery steeped in academia and the antics of blue bloods-behaving-badly, stick with Donna Tartt's The Secret History. ( )
1 vote gendeg | Jan 11, 2015 |
Tra le 3 e 4 stelline, il testo ha un che di irritante per i continui (a volte falsi) rimandi. E' senz'altro ricco di spunti, sintatticamente interessante, pieno di similitudini frizzanti. Dopo i 2/3 il registro cambia e il libro diventa un'altra cosa rispetto a quello che pensavo fosse.Ad ogni modo, la P. oltre ad essere giovane, bella, ricca, brava, nelle quasi 700 pagine ogni tanto fa pure sorridere. C'e' quanto basta per odiarla. ( )
  bobparr | Dec 14, 2014 |
I thought this was a fun read. Interesting father-daughter dynamnic in the vein of veronica mars (with a little inspector gadget, twin peaks, and weather underground thrown in for good measure). ( )
  Michelle_Detorie | Nov 18, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 245 (next | show all)
Her exhilarating synthesis of the classic and the modern, frivolity and fate — “Pnin” meets “The O.C.” — is a poetic act of will. Never mind jealous detractors: virtuosity is its own reward. And this skylarking book will leave readers salivating for more.


» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Marisha Pesslprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Card, Emily JaniceNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dad always said a person must have a magnificent reason for writing out his or her Life Story and expecting anyone to read it.
"Unless your name is something along the lines of Mozart, Matisse, Churchill, or Bond--James Bond--you best spend your free time finger painting or playing shuffleboard, for no one, with the exception of your flabby-armed mother with stiff hair and a mashed-potato way of looking at you, will want to hear the particulars of your pitiable existence, which doubtlessly will end as it began--with a wheeze."
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Book description
Special Topics in Calamity Physics, the dazzling debut of Marisha Pessl, is a buoyant combination of comedy, tragedy, mystery, and romance, a story of disturbing secrets and the eccentric high school student who uncovers them. It is a coming-of-age tale and a disturbing mystery. a snapshot of the dark relationship between ideology and violence but also the poignant tale of a young woman learning to stand on her own.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143112120, Paperback)

?Dazzling,? (People) ?Exuberant,? (Vogue) ?marvelously entertaining,? (The Dallas Morning News) Marisha Pessl?s mesmerizing debut has critics raving and heralds the arrival of a vibrant new voice in American fiction. At the center of this ?cracking good read?4 is clever, deadpan Blue van Meer, who has a head full of literary, philosophical, scientific, and cinematic knowledge. But she could use some friends. Upon entering the elite St. Gallway school, she finds some?a clique of eccentrics known as the Bluebloods. One drowning and one hanging later, Blue finds herself puzzling out a byzantine murder mystery. Nabokov meets Donna Tartt (then invites the rest of the Western Canon to the party) in this novel?with ?visual aids? drawn by the author?that has won over readers of all ages.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:57:51 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

In a plot modeled after the syllabus of a college literature course, teen narrator Blue Van Meer and her father Gareth end ten years of wandering by settling in Stockton, N.C. There, Blue befriends, sort of, a group of eccentric geniuses (referred to by their classmates as the Bluebloods) and their ringleader, film studies teacher Hannah Schneider. As Blue becomes enmeshed with Hannah and the Bluebloods, the novel becomes a murder mystery when a friend of Hannah's dies at a party the kids have crashed.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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