NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009


by Philip Roth

Now in his 60's, stage sensation Simon Axler's life falls apart when he suddenly and inexplicably loses his ability to act. An unexpected, unconventional relationship with a woman 25 years his junior appears at first to be a chance at a happy new life, until he is painfully reminded that the stage is not the only place where people act.

If you're feeling a little bad about yourself and need a great pick-me-up to return you to starry-eyed optimism, The Humbling is not your book. It can only be considered a light read due to it's novella page count of 140 and Philip Roth's easy-reading style. It's not a depressing book, but it doesn't leave the reader feeling good.

I liked The Humbling because I enjoy Roth's writing in general. He always gives me something to think about when I turn the final pages. I plan to read many more of his books in the coming months. However, if you're looking to explore Roth's work for the first time, I don't recommend starting here. It's worth the short time it takes to read, but for first-timers I would suggest The Plot Against America or American Pastoral.


Andi said...

I added Exit Ghost to my stacks a while back and Deception this past weekend. His early stuff is far better, but his themes are so strong, I always have to read the new stuff, too. I'll get to The Humbling one of these days!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Great review. I have it from the library.

Unknown said...

Lezlie -
I saw this a couple days ago and was curious.
You said you only enjoyed it... I felt that you were perhaps a bit ambivalent about it?

Thomas Hogglestock said...

I am not sure how I feel about Roth. The first book of his that I read was The Plot Against America, which I loved. The second was American Pastoral, which I not only didn't like, I gave up after about 100 pages. And it is put me off Roth. I am not sure if I want to try again.

Gilion at Rose City Reader said...

I'm a huge Roth fan and working my way through all of them. His first book, Goodbye, Columbus is as good of an introduction as there is. For the newer stuff, I Married a Communist is my pick.

Good review! I'll get to this one in time. Maybe when I am in a good mood, though.

Lezlie said...

Andi ~ I haven't read any of his older works, and I really need to. I have The Ghost Writer and The Great American Novel high on the "soon" list. Any recommendations? Which were your favorites?

Diane ~ I can't wait to see what you think of it! I haven't seen any other bloggers thoughts on it, and I'm very curious.

Shellie ~ I did like it, but I didn't think the messages from this one were as strong as some of his other books I've read. Or maybe it was just different. The others felt much more multi-layered, whereas this one felt thoughtful but thin. Does that make sense?

Thomas ~ I would have to say The Plot Against America has been my favorite so far. I liked American Pastoral, but it wasn't nearly as engaging. Andi says his early work is the best, so I want to reach back and see what I think. I also have a book of critical essays on his work that I'm eager to dive into. Sometimes books like that give me a new perspective that make certain works more interesting. I'll let you know if I come up with others that hold up to Plot Against America.


Lezlie said...

Rose City Reader ~ Definitely wait for a good mood. I read it while I was in the midst of a small but hurtful personal crisis, and it did *not* help. :-) I will add your suggestions to my "soon" list. He has so many that look interesting!


Anonymous said...

I haven't read anything by Roth. Sounds like I should start with The Plot Against America though.

Lezlie said...

Carol's Notebook ~ You can't go wrong with that one. :-)


Rebecca Reid said...

HAven't read any Roth. Won't start here! Thanks for the warning...

Lezlie said...

Rebecca ~ It's worth the read later, but, yeah, I'd start elsewhere. He has thirty books, so there is a lot to choose from!


Ladytink_534 said...

I tend to have problems reading anything after a book like this. I'm glad you enjoyed it though!

Lezlie said...

Ladytink ~ I'm thinking I'm going to need some Georgette Heyer soon. Something to make me laugh! :-)