Novellas in November Update #2: Memories of my Melancholy Whores and a Vlog

Novellas in November continues! If you’re new to this concept, well, it’s pretty self-explanatory. Previous posts:

I was catching up on The Moonstone this week so I only finished one measly novella. And I vlogged! May I just say that I hate the word vlog?

Memories of my Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Reminiscent of Love in the Time of Cholera but ickier due to 75 year age difference between the romantic leads, I’m not sure what to make of this book. Familiar themes of unrequited love, the passage of time, mortality, and love as disease and cure are here. Certain passages are so beautiful that they sweep away the reservations, but the reservations creep back in.

It’s not just that this 90 year old man falls in love and, well, sexually assaults a 15 girl old girl. It’s that the girl is an object, a thing to be projected on; to be named, and watched, and dressed and posed like a doll, and rejected and pined for. I am at once relived that the “Maestro” doesn’t consummate his passion (I don’t think he did, anyway) and disappointed that the girl is so loved but never gets to participate in any way other than as a passive… not even observer, because her eyes are always closed.

Someone suggested to me that this would not be a good choice for your first Marquez and I agree. Read Cholera first, then give this a try. Here are some quotes so you may judge for yourself.

Real talk, Marquez style:

I discovered that my obsession for having each thing in the right place, each subject at the right time, each word in the right style, was not the well-deserved reward of an ordered mind but just the opposite: a complete system of pretense invented by me to hide the disorder of my nature. I discovered that I am not disciplined out of virtue but as a reaction to my negligence, that I appear generous in order to conceal my meanness, that I pass myself off as prudent because I am evil-minded, that I am conciliatory in order not to succumb to my repressed rage, that I am punctual only to hide how little I care about other people’s time.

Not sure if this romantic or cheesy as hell:

Blood circulated through her veins with the fluidity of a song that branched off into the most hidden areas of her body and returned to her heart, purified by love. Before I left at dawn I drew the lines of her hand on a piece of paper and gave it to Diva Sahibí for a reading so I could know her soul.

Why you can’t resist those “OMG remember the 90s” Buzzfeed lists:

The adolescents of my generation, greedy for life, forgot in body and soul about their hopes for the future until reality taught them that tomorrow was not what they had dreamed, and they discovered nostalgia.

Vlog: Novellas in November Library Haul
One thing about having kids is you are almost never alone in your house, which makes vlogging rather difficult. I found myself alone for a couple hours on Friday and rather than do something rational like sleep , I decide to do this. Thanks for the inspiration, Fourth Street Review!

As always, thank you to Novellas in November host Another Book Blog! Chat with us at #NovNov on Twitter. 


  1. Thomas at My Porch

    Normally I steer clear of vlogs, but the screen capture shows you holding up the Darcy O’Brien book which I love so much I had to hear what you had to say about it. It most certainly is about a boy trying to deal with Hollywood parents but it is done in such an intelligent, wry, witty, way. I hope you love it too. And I enjoyed the vlog, made me think of doing the same. Maybe.

    • lauratfrey

      Ha, sorry I had so little to say about it!

      I was inspired by someone who thought she’d never do a vlog either… so if I can pass it on, that’s cool. I usually avoid them too. I like my reading/blogging quiet.

  2. Charl

    I really enjoyed your vlog! Thanks for drawing my attention to Bonjour Tristesse too. I’ve never heard of it before but Catcher in the Rye is one of my favourites so I’m certainly eager to give it a try.

    Just to be especially weird, you have a really nice, relaxing voice which always helps in videos.

    • lauratfrey

      Thank you! I’ll watch for a review if you decide to write about Bonjour Tristesse. I just Googled “Bonjour Tristesse Catcher in the Rye” and it seems my comparison was not very original – lots of people calling it the French or the female version.

  3. Rory

    Thank you!

    And I loved you’re vlog. I’m semi-considering doing another one for the end of the year, for my top ten favorite reads. It’s weird, I don’t like doing it, but I do enjoy that it’s uncomfortably challenging for me. So i say yes, do it again sometime. And you have no reason to be jealous of my hair, it looks exactly like yours. 🙂

    Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I agree about the ick factor there.

    And finally, weird fact, I read a short-ish book recently written by Novella Carpenter. If that’s not a name dictating a career path, I don’t know what is.

    • lauratfrey

      I feel the same way! I was really excited to try it once I had an idea in mind, but once I was actually sitting down to do it, I was super uncomfortable and that was probably my fifth “take” and I was so “ugh let’s get this over with already.” Plus I had to put makeup on even though I wasn’t leaving the house which was annoying.

      Hah, Novella is a great name!

  4. Rick @

    In regards to the book: and I thought Philip Roth was a dirty old man. A plot like this actually proves to me, more than anything, that Marquez is fantastic at what he does. How many writers could approach a subject like this and have people call him a genius?

    As for the vlog: I love vlogs from bloggers! Such a cool way to pull back the curtain. It reveals so much about them. I would definitely encourage you to do more. I feel like the more comfortable you got the more sarcastic you’d get (which is awesome :D).

    Novellas in November FTW! We make non-vloggers vlog!

    • lauratfrey

      Well dirty but not dirty… there’s nothing graphic and not even anything implied but it’s still very uncomfortable.

      You could tell I was nervous eh? You know you’re an introvert when you are uncomfortable speaking even when you’re alone haha.

      I seriously love this event! Got some good feedback on it from Mr. Hingston this weekend as well. I took all the credit, naturally 😉

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  8. Brie @ Eat Books

    Ah, somehow I missed this post! I had seen you talking about doing a vlog and kept waiting to see one pop up, and then my mom told me you had done one so naturally I had to go back to find it 😉 You did great – so well composed! That Wizard of Oz book is gorgeous – I love owning beautiful books like that.

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  11. Tressa

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