I liked the unusual, story-telling, almost biblical style of this story. You have the feeling that you are sitting near the chimney at a time when tv,I liked the unusual, story-telling, almost biblical style of this story. You have the feeling that you are sitting near the chimney at a time when tv, radio and the internet did not exist and that you are listening to a story told by a wise elder. I also liked Doris Lessing's observation of the human nature, the description of women that "are" and men that "do", of women that give and care about life and men that are restless and seek to discover and conquer. The description of this fundamental human desire to always want to change the status quo yet the desire to come back to what one knows and comfort us. I liked, at the end of the book, the main male character's discovery of human compassion: "Tenderness is not a quality we associate easily with young men. Life has to beat it into us, beat us softer and more malleable than our early pride allows." I really liked the beginning of the book but thought that the middle part when men go to explore their island (their world) was too long. All in all, an interesting book to read for the points mentioned above....more
I found this book in a second-hand bookshop and as always with Conan Doyle, it transported me to a whole different world. This is the first Sherlock HI found this book in a second-hand bookshop and as always with Conan Doyle, it transported me to a whole different world. This is the first Sherlock Holmes' novel and it mixes the crime genre with the travelling-to-uncommon-places narration that I am fond of in Conan Doyle. I particularly liked the first encounter with Sherlock Holmes, the description made by Dr. Watson of his new peculiar "flatmate" and the discussion they have about the brain-attics. Sherlock Holmes explains to Dr. Watson that brains are like attics and should therefore not be crowded with facts and concepts that are useless to a man's ultimate goal in life (whatever this goal is). Indeed, the walls of the brain-attics are not elastic and when one learns one additional fact, it has to take the place of another one in this limited place. As a result, Sherlock Holmes prefers to forget straight away such useless ideas as the Copernican Theory and the fact that the earth turns around the sun. I also like the story that lies behind the crime that is being elucidated by Holmes. We are transported to Utah and Salt Lake City when the first mormons (Latter Days Saints) arrived in those plains and decided to elect the Great Salt Lake as their new home. An unfortunate American love story unfolds with Wild West landscapes, ranches, and gold hunters. We also learn about those first settlers and the creation of this American sect. This story is probably more fascinating to me since, like Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, I am a Londoner but have also been several times to that part of the world called Utah and heard many Mormon stories. When I read Conan Doyle's Study in Scarlet, I can't help but imagining those beautiful wild landscapes from Utah, the majestic Great Salt Lake with Antelope Island in its middle and the bordering Rockies as well as the strange Salt Lake City with its Temple Square and pioneer feel. Overall a nice short Conan Doyle's story with nice little pieces of wisdom to enjoy too!
Set in London and Paris (mainly) during the Revolutionary period of the early 1790s, “A Tale of Two Cities” is a vivid description of the circumstanceSet in London and Paris (mainly) during the Revolutionary period of the early 1790s, “A Tale of Two Cities” is a vivid description of the circumstances that brought about the reign of “Terreur” in France. Through the Manette family, Lucie and her father Dr Manette (who spent several years imprisoned in the infamous Bastille), Dickens portrays the relationship between the Haves and the Have-nots in a quasi-feodal society. On the one hand, the “Aristocrats”, like the Marquis of Evremonde, have nothing but contempt towards the populace. On the other hand, the common people, like the Defarges, endure the misery and mistreatment from their masters and secretly brood revenge. A knitting Madame Defarge (knitting allows you not to think about the hunger) thus whispers in the ear of a road-mender as they watch the King and Queen parade through the roads of Paris among screams of “Long live the King!”:
“These fools know nothing. While they despise your breath, and would stop it forever and ever, in you or in a hundred like you rather than in one of their horses or dogs, they only know what your breath tells them. Let it deceive them, then, a little longer; it cannot deceive them too much.”
Against this large historical canvass, Dickens superimposes stories of love and sacrifice. The love of a father for his daughter, which brings Dr Manette to suffer in silence when he consents to his daughter marrying the son of his persecutor. The love of Charles Darnay for Lucie Manette and her father. And finally, the love of Sydney Carton for Lucie, which brings him, the true hero of this tale, to make the ultimate sacrifice. As he climbs up to the “guillotine” to take part in an act designed to satisfy the blood-thirst of a Parisian crowd, his last thoughts reflect his calmness and the belief in his selfless deed:
“it is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.” ...more