Moo - by Jane Smiley


Moo - by Jane Smiley

Read: 2023-09-06

Recommend: 2/10

I began reading this book with enthusiasm, especially given that the author is an English professor formerly affiliated with Iowa State University. The early sections captivated me more than the subsequent chapters. Admittedly, I found it challenging to continue at certain points, but having completed 30% already, I felt compelled to finish.


Here are some text that I highlighted in the book:

  1. (unless you included the recently constructed Vet School two miles to the south, which threw everything off),

  2. no one travelled unless lost.

  3. he noted Bob’s arrival, acknowledging the young man with a flick of his ears and a switch of his little tail.

  4. Earl Butz had been eating for eighteen months, which was just exactly how old he was.

  5. The confidence and anticipation that had brought her here now looked like a series of misjudgments,

  6. where you learned how to talk to strangers, men and women, but especially men, with just the right mixture of enthusiasm, courtesy, and flirtatiousness,

  7. she tried, rather ineffectually,

  8. He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and noted this sensation for later inclusion in a book.

  9. Even so, a good job, an enviable job, two courses a semester, little committee work.

  10. too found the Midwest eerie,

  11. On all sides, her neighbors were dead quiet, the hum of air conditioners substituting for conversation and argument.

  12. Anyway, what could be bad about a town with low rents and no crime?

  13. All the best faculty were known to be looking for other jobs, and this was known to be a matter of indifference to the state board of governors.

  14. It was well known to the students that the chili served in the dorms every Thursday noon contained all the various kinds of leftover meat from the preceding week, even meat left on plates. Some students found it tasty anyway.

  15. his habit of referring to the students as “our customers.”

  16. biting the eraser of his pencil

  17. actually paying for the university out of state funds was irresponsible, or even immoral, or even criminal (robbing widows and children, etc., to fatten sleek professors who couldn’t find real employment, etc.).

  18. some billionaire on his deathbed was longing for a respectable home for his wealth,

  19. “Critical thinking is to a liberal education as faith is to religion.”

  20. Couples kissed passionately every time the line paused. Fingers went to noses, hands to rears.

  21. here exactly was her task, the task set by Jesus, to love the sinner even though you might hate the sin.

  22. if you faced up to some horror and wrote about it, you felt better about it, you made it yours, and smaller than you.

  23. for goods were good, which was why all men had an insatiable desire for them.

  24. [心有余而力不足] As far as insatiability was concerned, the spirit may be willing, but the flesh was weak, time was limited, the purity of desire was fettered by circumstances.

  25. knotty logical points

  26. Some of these buildings were notable for their architecture, others notable because they needed to be rebuilt and modernized,

  27. She would never publish again, but most assuredly, given her root cellar, freezer, and food dryer, neither would she perish.

  28. “Ears cannot be closed.” Something would get through, and something was a beginning.

  29. ignorance was the prime element of boredom.

  30. [见光死] opinions would be discounted as soon as he opened his mouth.

  31. travelled through so many latitudes and longitudes

  32. I know perfectly well who here has a high school diploma and who here has a pee aitch dee!”

  33. He had to be a man in order to be human.

  34. Everybody in her church was always talking about how happy it made them that Jesus was right there, at your elbow, helping you along and keeping you on the right path. What could be better than a personal savior? But Marly resented the way Jesus counted on you needing Him like that. He never stepped back. He always wanted something from you. You always had to do something to please Him.

  35. And the university shamelessly promised everything to everyone, and charged so much that prospective students tended to believe the promises. While a state university, unlike an Ivy League institution, did not promise membership in the ruling class (Wasn’t that the only real reason, Ivar thought, that four years at Harvard could cost $100,000?)