Hummingbirds

  • Title: Hummingbirds
  • Author: Joshua Gaylord
  • ISBN: 9780061769023
  • Page: 445
  • Format: Paperback
  • Hummingbirds Those of us who love Muriel Spark s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie will now have to make room next to it on our shelves for Joshua Gaylord s winning debut Brock Clarke author of An Arsonist s Guide to
    Those of us who love Muriel Spark s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie will now have to make room next to it on our shelves for Joshua Gaylord s winning debut Brock Clarke, author of An Arsonist s Guide to Writers Homes in New England Hummingbirds positively glistens with erudition and insight Whether writing about prep school girls or the adult men who walk among them, G Those of us who love Muriel Spark s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie will now have to make room next to it on our shelves for Joshua Gaylord s winning debut Brock Clarke, author of An Arsonist s Guide to Writers Homes in New England Hummingbirds positively glistens with erudition and insight Whether writing about prep school girls or the adult men who walk among them, Gaylord s stunning writing elevates his subject matter with equal parts humanity and elegance Jonathan Tropper, author of This Is Where I Leave YouIn the tradition of Francine Prose s Blue Angel, Curtis Sittenfeld s Prep, and Alan Bennett s The History Boys, Joshua Gaylord s Hummingbirds reveals the intertwining and darkly surprising relationships between secretive students and teachers at an all girls prep school in New York City.

    • Hummingbirds >> Joshua Gaylord
      445 Joshua Gaylord
    • thumbnail Title: Hummingbirds >> Joshua Gaylord
      Posted by:Joshua Gaylord
      Published :2019-05-07T07:32:26+00:00

    About Joshua Gaylord


    1. Joshua Gaylord lives in New York Since 2000, he has taught high school English at an Upper East Side prep school a modern orthodox co educational Yeshiva Since 2002, he has also taught literature and cultural studies courses as an adjunct professor at the New School Prior to coming to New York, he grew up in the heart of Orange County Anaheim, home of Disneyland He graduated from Berkeley with a degree in English and a minor in creative writing, where his instructors included Bharati Mukherjee, Leonard Michaels and Maxine Hong Kingston In 2000, he received his Master s and Ph.D in English at New York University, specializing in twentieth century American and British literature.


    246 Comments


    1. I just learned that Joshua Gaylord and Alden Bell are one and the same. This is way different from zombies but I have to check it out.Okay, so now I've read it. It's possible I would have given this book 4 stars if I weren't reading it on the heels of Exit Kingdom by Alden Bell. I could find no commonalities in writing style between the two. Gaylord said as much in a review. He took on the name Alden Bell when he wrote The Reapers because he knew he was writing for a different audience. Fans of [...]

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    2. Joshua Gaylord is a fantastic writer. There are paragraphs in Hummingbirds that I reread 2 and even 3 times because they were just so well written as to warrant it. For the use of the word "palimpsest", which is one of my favorites and criminally underutilized, 10 points are awarded in my book. However, just as man does not live on bread alone, the author does not work with words alone, he must also be a storyteller. This, in my opinion is where Gaylord is less strong.[return][return]I have to a [...]

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    3. As a former all-girls school student at a New York City prep school, I was probably more engaged by this book and for longer than I would have been if I weren't compelled naturally by the subject matter. It was an interesting exploration of the awkward tension between the often-rare male teachers and the adolescent girls at schools like this but the writer seems to suffer from a poor balance between "showing" and "telling" - too often, he manhandles his characters into forced revelations and mom [...]

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    4. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Overly crafted, pretentious, writerly writing. I suppose I'm not "Liz Warren" enough to get it. Honestly, from the character names to the neurotic main characterwhat was there to like? Everything in this book took forever and yet happened. Some characters seemed to be forgotten by the end. I couldn't care about anyone, even when I wanted to. I can just see this book forced upon an English class somewhere, as the only people I think would like it are sadistic English teachers wh [...]

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    5. I think JG is a better writer than this is a book, and I would recommend it to someone who can enjoy a book for its prose even if they aren't really enthusiastic about the characters or plot. I do think it works well as a character study of a man who is dealing with growing up (as an adult), identity and jealousy -- but the circumstances are a bit contrived and it's never a total delight to read a book with no character you can just outright love. Not a strong recommendation, but I'd borrow it o [...]

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    6. 1.) Horribly poetic. Too many metaphors.2.) Each chapter started without any indication as to who was speaking, thinking, observing, etc.3.) As a teacher, I was very uncomfortable with the parts of the book that implied teachers are attracted to their students. 4.) Constantly predictable. You know exactly what's going to happen way before it happens. Makes for a very boring read.

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    7. It took me a long time to finish this book. That's pretty normal for me, since I am a student and generally have a lot of reading on my plate to do that isn't just for fun. However, I had to actually goad myself to keep reading this book instead of reading another because I just didn't see the point in it. Sure, there was conflict, but I wasn't sure where the book was trying to go with it.I also had a problem with some of the character development. Although the book tried to get me to sympathize [...]

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    8. I didn't care for Hummingbirds. It's a novel about teachers and students at an exclusive all girls prep school in New York City, and about the gossip, jealousy and speculation that runs rampant after a new male teacher joins the faculty. Once again, I have to concede that the book wasn't bad, per se, although I found it rather tedious.My internal conversations tended to go like this:Would I rather watch Desperate Housewives on Netflix or read more of Hummingbirds? (Housewives won.)Would I rather [...]

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    9. I had a lot of thoughts about this book but still cannot put all of them into words but first I would like to say I like the voices of the book. It is very contemporary. Even though there is a lot of poetic scandal (?) in the book you are never quite on anyones side and that is what I liked most about the book. You didn't hate anyone nor did you feel bad for anyone. Things just happened and I never really felt against anyone and I thought that was kinda nice. It's nice to read a book for pleasur [...]

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    10. The writing captured teenage girls in an evocative, Nabokovian (Is that a word? It should be. . . ) way. And the plot kept me asking "What's next?" And the writing was exquisite. But the resolution veered off in an unrealistic way. I thought the climatic scene where everyone's identity was revealed didn't make sense. Why were the two infidels (I know, it's not the right word, but it should be . . .) made at the man they had betrayed? It seemed odd that after all that time, they would immediately [...]

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    11. This man [Joshua Gaylord/Alden Bell] can write a menu and I will read it. I want to be him when I grow up. I want to write like him. He is my hero.

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    12. I picked this book up because I thought the cover looked old, but it turns out it was published in 2009. Huh. The word that comes to mind is "labored". It had an interesting story, but every page had about fifty metaphors and similes and every detail felt so conspicuously placed so that the reader could pick it out and savor the meaninglessness or something. As if it wasn't enough that the book is by an English teacher and about an English teacher, the main character thinks of his life as if he [...]

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    13. I've been reading a lot of books this summer. And since I love writing reviews on , I've been looking for ways to make my reviews more comprehensive. So I've started carrying my little yellow and black Charlie Brown spiral notebook and a pencil with me wherever I'm reading my current book and jotting down ideas, likes and dislikes, themes, and quotes to put in my reviews. It has been very useful, and I planned to continue with my writing while I read Hummingbirds. But unfortunately, I did not wr [...]

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    14. Very descriptive with most of the book taking place in the minds of the characters. I felt empathy towards Binhammer and confusion when others were upset with him. Ted Hughes just seems like a teengager himself and I found their friendship unlikely in the real world. The girls of the prep school seemed more adjusted than the instructors teaching them.

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    15. Leo Binhammer is an English instructor at Carmine-Casey Academy, a private high school for girls. Adored and admired, Leo finds great contentment and solace in his profession as the only male teacher in the English department, doting girls following his every move. But Leo's world is disrupted when, one day, a charismatic new teacher named Ted Hughes arrives. This teacher is also a young and attractive man, and although he is friendly and amiable, Leo begins to feel displaced from his high perch [...]

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    16. Note to author:Not all high school girls have alliterative names.Not all male high school teachers have a sexually charged classroom.Audiobook narrators should pronounce all words correctly. Sheesh!

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    17. I have no words for this Lolita-esque, teen gossip novel.

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    18. Great writing but too slow for me, no plot :(

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    19. It could get wordy at times, but overall beautifully written and not predictable in the same way of most bildungsroman pieces.

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    20. Not as entertaining as I had hoped.

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    21. I first encountered Joshua Gaylord in a zombie novel (this is me so really that fact should not be surprising) however his name then was not Gaylord but rather Bell. It says something about a book when it is so good that you simply cannot help but look up the author and their history. It turned out that Alden Bell had not always been Alden but instead had been Joshua. " The reapers are the angels" also wasn't his debut novel, but rather his second one. All of this of course, had me ordering his [...]

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    22. I actually abandoned this book after a few chapters. Having lived through NYC private schools, I just found it too annoying to revisit the people and circumstances.

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    23. This debut novel takes place in the backdrop of an elite girls' day school in Manhattan, the Carmine-Casey School for Girls. Here we find a heated and flurrying mixture of adolescent girls, the men and women who teach them, and the occasional visitors from the local boys school.As in every school, there are stars. The star students here are Dixie Doyle, the lollipop sucking, pigtail wearing popular student with her cadre of followers. There is also Liz Warren, the studious, non-smiling student w [...]

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    24. The Short of It:A perfect mix of wit and self-doubt.The Rest of It:Carmine-Casey is a swank, all-girl prep school in Manhattan. There, girls like Dixie Doyle and Liz Warren walk the hallways, somewhat innocent of the effect they have on others but at the same time, aware that somewhere within them, lies the power to take grown men down.Enter Leo Binhammer. Binhammer, as he is affectionately called, is the only male teacher in the English department and prides himself on the fact that nearly ever [...]

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    25. Why I wanted to read this book: * I was totally intrigued by the dynamics of an all-girls school and seeing it from the male teacher perspective.What worked for me: * Have you ever read a book that you really really liked, but yet you had an incredibly hard time describing it well enough to someone else so that they would be excited about it too?? Yep, this is one of those books. * Call me crazy, but about 50 pages into this book I was vividly reminded of the movie 'The Virgin Suicides.' There i [...]

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    26. Leo Binhammer is one of the few male faculty at an all-girls Prep school in New York. And he's the only one of an 'agreeable' age to the students. That's until Ted Hughes shows up on the scene. He eventually rises in the girls' opinion, not usurping Binhammer, but certainly taking away much of his attention. An interesting relationship grows between the two men, even more abstract due to several points in both their pasts. I don't want to write a synopsis so I won't go any farther. Other people [...]

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    27. Joshua Gaylord is Alden Bell, the writer of my beloved "Reapers" Duology, once I figured that out I knew I had to check out his contemporary writing asap. The parallels are obvious: the best thing about "Hummingbirds" is its writing, God, the guys is good. Less gruesome here but just as insightful, beautiful and touching. Gaylord has a hand for details in his characters and writes wonderful little scenes of interaction between them and great observations on them. Some scenes in here were so good [...]

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    28. I'm starting to have a problem in my reading life. Or maybe I've always had it. As I grow to appreciate writing in the hopes of becoming a writer myself one day, I get seduced and bedazzled by sentences. I allow those sentences to draw me into the story, and somewhere in the middle of the book, I realize that I hate the characters and the plot.That's what happened here, and I was even more entranced because this is the story of a teacher! Though the public magnet school where I teach is worlds a [...]

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    29. I'm determined not to fall behind on reviewing again. This was extremely well-written. I questioned the style a little when I first began the novel but quickly grew accustomed to the rhythm of the prose. There are some beautiful metaphors and phrasing used to describe the most mundane and everyday things. The most impressive thing about the novel is the intricate relationships explored. I'm always looking for novels that successfully depict the very complicated push-pull relationship between a t [...]

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    30. I’m glad I’m not Joshua Gaylord. Imagine the pressure of being EdgarAward-winning novelist Megan Abbot’s husband. Yikes! But ya gotta give Gaylord credit for trying and having a good start.In his debut novel, Hummingbirds, Gaylord sets his contemporary story at an exclusive all-girls prep school in New York City. It seems much like the one he has taught at for the past nine years. Write what you know, they say. Gaylord does take a chance in this work by not writing the story from one of th [...]

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