Cheever, A Life, the biography of the writer, John Cheever was fabulous and I’m not sure why I liked it so much. He was a lonely bi-sexual, a drunk fo...moreCheever, A Life, the biography of the writer, John Cheever was fabulous and I’m not sure why I liked it so much. He was a lonely bi-sexual, a drunk for most of his life, an unhappy man, but I loved this book. It was honest and told his life clearly, yet no one seemed to know him well as he lived it. Everyone seemed to think of him as a nice and kindly man except for his wife who despised him for most of his life and his children who didn’t understand him. These were the people, incidentally, he wanted to please most, but he didn’t seem to know how. Relationships of all kinds seemed to elude him.
I think I love the beauty of the writing of this book and the mingling of that with the beauty and honesty of the writing of John Cheever himself is what got me. I don’t really know if I’ve read much of John Cheever’s work at all. I’ve read much of his rivals’ works: John Updike, whom I love, Saul Bellow, John Irving.
Cheever is mostly known for his short stories. But I’d heard so much about this biography that I had to give it a shot and I’m so glad I did. I still may not try much of his work as it has settled back into obscurity a bit, but his life I love. (less)
From the ridiculous to the sublime, I finish first Cheever, then Churchill. I enjoyed Cheever more but certainly admired Churchill much more.
He was th...moreFrom the ridiculous to the sublime, I finish first Cheever, then Churchill. I enjoyed Cheever more but certainly admired Churchill much more.
He was the only British Prime Minister to have received the Nobel Prize in Literature and the first person to be recognizes as an honorary citizen of the United States. He singularly impacted the twentieth century as no one else could. He is quoted to this day. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/aut... He was Prime Minister of England twice, he was listened to by everyone, loved by his countrymen, inspiring, though certainly not loved by all, but a brilliant, and incredible speaker and writer.
But Churchill taught me one thing: I knew next to nothing about the World War I from the point of view of the British. Plus, I really knew relatively little about World War II from the perspective of the British.
I've studied World Wars I and II a bit since and plan to do more. I must read this book again after I do. (less)
William Tecumseh Sherman’s storied march through the south to free the slaves is wonderfully told by E.L. Doctorow in his The March, richly and clearl...moreWilliam Tecumseh Sherman’s storied march through the south to free the slaves is wonderfully told by E.L. Doctorow in his The March, richly and clearly illustrated by various persons and stories, placed together, sometimes harshly, sometimes gently, never without us caring about each, giving us yet another view of another war and its hideousness, compassion, wildness and death.
Pearl, a white slave, is particularly fascinating character as is Sherman himself. So are many, many other members of the cast who make up this story whose lives were heroic or callow to say the least.
I couldn’t believe how much I cared about these people and what was happening to them. There were the slaves, those medical people who were were working to patch together the lives and bodies of military men, both on the side of the Union and the Rebels, the freed slaves trying to get to the north and those slaves who couldn’t see their ways to freedom, the inhabitants of the south run through by the armies passing by.
E.L. Doctorow won the National Book Critics Circle award for fiction and the PEN/Faulkner award for The March. Also he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and nominated for the National Book Award for this book. Needless to say, others feel his work is a literary achievement of the first rank as well.
Those interested in the history of the Civil War and in the history of the United States might give this book a chance as it more than gives a great view of what took place in a small part of the final days of that piece of the history of our country. (less)
I read this book twice. I will probably read it again. I loved it that much. I can't tell you why I love John Irving but there is something about his...moreI read this book twice. I will probably read it again. I loved it that much. I can't tell you why I love John Irving but there is something about his writing that resonates with me. This story is especially magical for me. It does teach me that our lives prepare us all along for the destinies that we have.(less)
I read this book in the earlier 70s and just finished it for my bookclub. I enjoyed it very much both times. It is the story of a cult of personality...moreI read this book in the earlier 70s and just finished it for my bookclub. I enjoyed it very much both times. It is the story of a cult of personality led by teacher, Miss Jean Brodie, who teaches in a girls school in the early 30s. She imposes her views sharply and sternly on these children, making sure that they view art, literature and, music in the way that she views them looking down on more modern courses of study such as mathematics. Rather than molding proper girls however, she loses them. And in doing so she turns them against each other and tears them down within themselves. This book loses some of its edge as we move along in history. Fascism really is the target of all of this. However it's theme isn't really important in that regard. It does stand alone as a good story. People should really be allowed to develop on their own. They should not be developed as someone else or some group feels they should be.(less)