Being the first book in the series I thought this was an average middle book with potential. I thought Enola's story was distant enough from the Sherl...moreBeing the first book in the series I thought this was an average middle book with potential. I thought Enola's story was distant enough from the Sherlock Holmes' stories to make it on its own, but her character has a long way to go. There were some typographical errors that stuttered the flow of my reading. I was not pleased that Sherlock actually pesters the police to find his sister. That doesn't seem very Holmsian and also ruined the flow of the story for me.
As of this review there are several sequels. I'm hoping that the author introduces and weaves more difficult words into the books. The young readers who seek out this genre of books filled with mysteries and ciphers deserve a broader lexicon. These books have potential and I'll read the next book in the series. I'm hopeful.
The tone and story is not particularly clever, poignant or poetic, but I did enjoy the the following observation of London by Enola: "Lead-colored clouds hung low while the setting sun oozed molten light between them; the Gothic towers of the city stood festive yet foreboding against that glowering sky, like candles on the Devil's birthday cake."(less)
I was pretty darn sure I would never read a Sherlock Holmes story in my life. I was ok with that. I was ok watching the Jeremy Brett TV series. Enter...moreI was pretty darn sure I would never read a Sherlock Holmes story in my life. I was ok with that. I was ok watching the Jeremy Brett TV series. Enter the BBC Sherlock series. I wanted to understand how these modern versions of the stories were different from the TV shows. The Benedict factor helps immensely. I enjoyed the stories and the dynamics within the relationship between Holmes and Watson.
Notes and quotes:
p.20: "Women are naturally secretive, and they do their own secreting." It's painful (on the verge of amusing) to read how women were thought of at the the turn of the 19th century.
p. 29: "I know, my dear Watson, that you share my love of all that is bizarre and outside the conventions and humdrum routine of everyday life."
p. 43: "What are you going to do then?" I asked. "To smoke," Holmes answered. "It is quite a three pipe problem."
p. 57: "We have in our police reports realism pushed to its extreme limits, and yet the result is, it must be confessed, neither fascinating nor artistic." Still true today even with social media.
p.56 L'homme c'est rien l'oeuvre c'est tout-Man is nothing. Mankind is everything. Flaubert to George Sand.
p. 121 "Well, as I said then, that a man should keep his little brain attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can but away in the lumber room of his library."
p. 149: "I confess that I have been as blind as a mole, but it is better to learn wisdom late, than never learn it at all."
p. 207: "Violence does, in truth, recoil upon the violent, and the schemer falls into the pit which he digs for another."
Love me some Ruby Redfort. The wildly clever and intelligent teen does it again. I love decoding the codes in the book and I concure with Ruby that "r...moreLove me some Ruby Redfort. The wildly clever and intelligent teen does it again. I love decoding the codes in the book and I concure with Ruby that "raisins have no business being in breakfast cereal." I am on my way to reading the third installment of the Ruby Redfort series.
Notes and quotes: p. 160 "Jeepers, Froghorn, did your mommy not love you enough? You got some serious ego issues, man."
p. 203 "She remembered reading an article about something, something that might help her chase down the thought she couldn't catch." -- I LOVE this line. I'm constantly referencing my mental rolodex trying to remember where I saw this or read that and connecting to some current random thought.
RULE #12: ADJUST YOUR THINKING AND YOUR CHANCES WILL IMPROVE. RULE #36: ALWAYS COME UP WITH A PLAN BEFORE YOU HAVE EMBARKED ON PLAN A. RULE #21: DON'T THINK BACK; DON'T THINK AHEAD; JUST THINK NOW. RULE #32: TELL ONE LIE AND GET READY TO TELL A WHOLE LOT MORE.(less)
Meh. Not too impressed with this book. DiCamillo is a mastermind of Anthropomorphism when it comes to her animal characters. Ulysses missed the mark f...moreMeh. Not too impressed with this book. DiCamillo is a mastermind of Anthropomorphism when it comes to her animal characters. Ulysses missed the mark for me. I love books about girls who love animals. I love books about squirrels. Flora is a self-diagnosed cynic who saves the life a squirrel who happens to have super powers after an unfortunate incident with a state of the art vacuum cleaner. What's not to love? I did appreciate the unique story. The book introduces some new, more difficult vocab words for middle-readers. The book even mentions Pascal's wager. Introducing harder words and philosophy to young readers is a big plus for me. I thought the characters were underdeveloped. I loathed the mother and I guess if I loathe a character that much the author did a good job. Flora and Ulysses are super cute. The illustrations are great.
I thought this book was reaching. Reaching for the status of those books that contain wit, charm and cleverness. Maybe I was wrong going into the book thinking that's what I was going to get. I know I'm in the minority because as of this review DiCamillo has just won her second Newbery for Flora & Ulysses. "Holy bagumba!"
A very nice story about an intelligent and clever girl who is ignored by her parents. She has a special gift of being able to see ancient curses on Eg...moreA very nice story about an intelligent and clever girl who is ignored by her parents. She has a special gift of being able to see ancient curses on Egyptian antiquities. A nice tween read about a girl who says "I shuddered. Once again mother had sent us an artifact positively dripping ancient, evil curses." (less)
I've tried many, many times to read The Master and Margarita. Each time I could never get past the Pontius Pilate chapter. I recently stumbled across...moreI've tried many, many times to read The Master and Margarita. Each time I could never get past the Pontius Pilate chapter. I recently stumbled across the translation by Diana Burgin and Katherine Tiernan O'Connor and loved it. Not only was this translation more readable than any translation I'd discovered in the past, but the commentary in the back of the book explained the small details of each chapter. The book is annotated by Bulgakov's biographer Ellendea Proffer. There are details about how personal jokes between Bulgakov and his third wife made it into the novel. There is also a valuable afterword by Proffer in the back of the book.
Three stories are being told throughout the book. Satan and his retinue wreak havoc in Moscow while the Master and Margarita struggle with their own demons. Pontius Pilate sends Yeshua Ha-Notsri aka Jesus Christ to his death and now he lives with the guilt of his decision.
This books meets all critera of my perfect novel. Deeply philosophical (gotta love that Russian good vs. evil dichotomy!), political, allegorical and a well-done story line and plot. The book might be a little fantastical for some but I didn't mind the supernatural elements as they were balanced and grounded by other aspects of the novel. Add a splash of Bangsian fantasy at Satan's annual ball and Danine is pretty darn happy.
The Master's forlorn state due to his novel being rejected was annoying. His woman went to hell and back (literally) forced to wear a heavy, sleezy iron-clad outfit and painful heels that only Lady Gaga would sell her soul for. I wanted to slap the Master out of his depression and tell him that his book was rejected by ONE publisher. Then I understood that the Master is the literary mask of Bulgakov. Stalin protected Bulgakov from execution and imprisonment, but no one wanted to publish his work. Depression set in. Bulgakov and the Master ended up in different versions of hell, but hell nonetheless.
Thanks to Youtube, I watched the Russian mini-series of TM&M in instalments after I read each chapter. It did help put the characters and story into perspective. The mini-series is very well done. It was true to the book and there were a couple of scenes that did make it into the movie but I think they were justified as it was minutia. Due to it's subject matter and annotation this book took me a little longer to read but was worth it.
I loved, loved, LOVED this book!
Notes and Quotes:
“But would you kindly ponder this question: What would your good do if evil didn't exist, and what would the earth look like if all the shadows disappeared? After all, shadows are cast by things and people. Here is the shadow of my sword. But shadows also come from trees and living beings. Do you want to strip the earth of all trees and living things just because of your fantasy of enjoying naked light? You're stupid.” -Woland
“Everything will turn out right, the world is built on that.”
“You should never ask anyone for anything. Never- and especially from those who are more powerful than yourself.”
“Is that vodka?" Margarita asked weakly. The cat jumped up in his seat with indignation. "I beg pardon, my queen," he rasped, "Would I ever allow myself to offer vodka to a lady? This is pure alcohol!”
"Well, as everyone knows, once witchcraft gets started, there's no stopping it."
"I woke up with the feeling that the octopus was nearby." -The Master. A personification of his depression?
"And he drank his cognac as all good men do, that is, drowning each glass in one swallow, without eating anything." Azazello does this.
As a parent I have a responsibility of teaching my kids how to take care of themselves and how to treat others with respect and kindness. I also must...more As a parent I have a responsibility of teaching my kids how to take care of themselves and how to treat others with respect and kindness. I also must teach them how to handle their emotions. I do not handle my own reactions well and most often than not my reactions come from an angry, unhappy place that reacts out of negative habit. I teach my kids to read and write but I'm also teaching them the wrong way to handle their angry emotions through my own wrong way and it simply must stop. Buddhism has seen me through many lessons in life so I sought out Buddhism to tackle my anger. This book did not disappoint. This book is basic and simple just like a Buddhist text should be. There are chapters and there are exercises to be done to practice anger awareness. When I feel angry or jealous I now understand that some kind of demand is not being met. I stop to ask myself what demand is not being met that makes Danine turn into the Hulk. Sometimes it's so obvious and painfully ridiculous. Sometimes the demand is so deeply embedded that I simply do not know. And that's where I get my rubber gloves on and search inside my muddy soul for a reason. Stopping, searching and identifying a demand is new to me. It's terribly uncomfortable because I have to stop instead of hitching a ride on the habitual adrenaline rush that is my anger fuelled reaction. According to the book there are four types of demands. The book only goes into detail about helping resolve one type which are unspoken demands. My problems lie within reasonable but unimportant demands. I wish there was more emphases on how to deal with these types of demands. The exercises are simple yet effective. A big plus for me. After reading this I feel that I'm actually using some of the techniques. This is enlightening and terrifying at the same time. I have a lot of work to do. (less)
I bought this book 17 years ago because there was a picture of a bowler hat on the cover. As an art student I loved Rene Magritte's paintings of bowl...more I bought this book 17 years ago because there was a picture of a bowler hat on the cover. As an art student I loved Rene Magritte's paintings of bowler hats. I knew nothing of the story but I bought the book. I read the book and was not impressed at all. I thought it was an ok book. I thought this way because at the age of 19 I did not have the experience to comprehend the subject matter and philosophical contexts of the novel.
Reading this at age 36 I get it now. At 36 I have experience to understand and relate to the characters in a way I simply could not at 19. The title is mystifying and somewhat pretentious. What exactly is"The Unbearable Lightness of Being"?
Nietzsche resurrected the antiquated idea that of eternal return. The idea that everything (the universe) recurs over and over across infinite time and space. Having to relive an event(s) can be burdensome as one begins to think about and perfect the experience for the next time it happens. Think baggage. This process is heavy on the psyche. The other side to this philosophical coin is accepting that events only happen once. Because they happen only once we base decisions on what we know in that moment. This is lightness. The lightness of just being. Living in the moment I suppose.
The four main characters are Tomas, Tereza, Sabina,Franz, and Kerenin. They each have their own complicated stories (except Kerenin) as they live through the soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Thomas is a womanizer who eventually marries Tereza but never stops womanizing. Tereza is a photographer who can never stop agonizing about Thomas' womanizing. Kerenin is their dog. Sabina is an artist and Tomas' lover and close friends. Franz is briefly the lover of Sabina who eventually deserts him without warning.
If you can't get over unbearable occurrence of infidelity this book is not for you. This book does not get into the consequences of infidelity. That would be the antithesis of lightness. You must take the infidelities as objectively as you can. The book gets into the minds and lives of the characters at the moments when they make their decisions. This book is about man, woman, wife, husband, war, sex, insecurities, tough decisions, philosophy, and a dog.
I loved this story. I loved being an observer to the lives of these characters. I loved that there was dog in the book too.
Notes and quotes: "But when we ignore the body we are victimized by it." p.39
"The difference between the university graduate and the autodidact lies not so much in the extent of knowledge as in the extent of vitality and self-confidence." p. 55
"Her life was split. Both day and night were competing for her." p.59
"Anyone whose goal is "something higher" must expect some day to suffer vertigo. What is vertigo? Fear of falling? Then why do we feel it even when the observation tower comes equipped with a sturdy handrail? No, vertigo is something other than the fear of falling. It is the voice of emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves." p.60
"Hearing the word now made her desire to obey even stronger, because doing a stranger's bidding is a special madness." p.66
"While people are fairly young and the musical composition of their lives is still in its opening bars, they can go about writing it together and exchange motifs (the way Tomas and Sabina exchange the motif of the bowler hat), but if they meet when they are older, like Franz and Sabina, their musical compositions are more or less complete, and every motif, every object, every word means something different to each of them." p.89 --This explains why I could not understand the book at age 19. My composition was merely beginning. At the age of 36 with education, love, lovers, marriage, children and my own dog dying of cancer the composition that is my life is further written with experience. My experiences are different from anyone else's. It makes perfect sense!
"Betrayal means breaking ranks and going off into the unknown." p.91
"There are things that can be accomplished only by violence. Physical love is unthinkable without violence." p.111
"The brain appears to possess a special area which we might call poetic memory and which records everything that charms or touches us, that makes our lives beautiful." p.208
The story wraps up with Kerenin getting sick. Maybe this was not even a thought by Kundera but I think dogs always live in the lightness of being. Dogs are not burdened by decisions humans make for themselves. Dogs live in the moment for that is what they must do. "The very beginning of Genesis tells us that God created man in order to give him dominion over fish and fowl and all creatures. Of course, Genesis was written by a man, not a horse. There is no certainty that God actually did grant dominion over other creatures. What seems more likely, in fact, is that man invented God to sanctify the dominion that he had usurped for himself over the cow and the horse. Yes, the right to kill a deer or a cow is the only thing that all of mankind can agree upon, even during the bloodiest of wars." p.286
"And that is the Nietzsche I love, just as I love Tereza with the mortally ill dog resting his head on her lap. I see them one next to each other: both stepping down from the road which mankind, "the master and proprietor of nature," marches onward." -p.290 --I remember taking of picture of my dog a month before he had to be euthanasized for having cancer. This quote made me miss him.
The love between a dog and man is idylic. It knows no conflicts, no hair-raising scenes; it knows no development. Kerenin surrounded Tereza and Tomas with a life based on repetition, and he expected the same from them...Human time does not turn in a circle; it runs ahead in a straight line. That is why man cannot be happy: happiness is the longing for repetition." -p.298
"Sometimes you make up your mind about something without knowing why, and our decision persists by the power of inertia. Every year it gets harder to change." p.309
One event. Six different versions of what happened. A unique story about humanity, the lies we tell and how we tell them. I like the unique and creati...moreOne event. Six different versions of what happened. A unique story about humanity, the lies we tell and how we tell them. I like the unique and creative premise of the story. The story is of a murder of a samurai and the violation of his wife.
The police commissioner listens to a woodcutter, a Buddhist monk, the infamous bandit Tajomaru, The mother of the wife, wife of the samurai, and the samurai through a medium. I like this story because the reader has no idea what the truth is and will never know. No dramatic irony here. There are no pretty ribbons tied up perfectly to make happy ending. The story is of an event.
After reading the story I did watch Akira Kurosawa's version of the movie (Rashomon)and it did help with perspective. Akira added his own style and elements to make his version unique and I loved the ending. (less)
I've always enjoyed the saying "Hell is other people". I finally decided to read the play that contains this lovely quote. Sartre's "No Exit" did not...moreI've always enjoyed the saying "Hell is other people". I finally decided to read the play that contains this lovely quote. Sartre's "No Exit" did not disappoint. Three people who have done despicable things when they were alive find themselves in a Second Empire style furnished room in hell.
All of them expect a torturer, but they are met with each other. Each eventually tells his or her life story and speculate why they have been strategically placed with each other. The characters are Garcin, Inez, Estelle, and the valet. Garcin is the only male who is a philanderer and deserter. Inez is a lesbian who worked as a postal worker. Estelle is from high-society who married an older man for his money. The valet is an employee of hell who takes the characters to their room as the enter hell.
Inez is my favorite. She is very realistic and wants everyone to come clean from the get go. A woman after my own heart. Estelle was the most disgusting. A high-maintenance, selfish, well to do snatch who has done the unthinkable. As they try to find out why they are put together forever, the reader too is slowly discovering the same reasoning. It comes down to Inez is a lesbian who finds Estelle attractive. Estelle finds Garcin attractive but he has no sexual desire. He just wants everyone to shut up and I can't say that I blame him.
I love the ending and how non-chalant they eventually become to their fate. Hopefully they managed to work it out by now.
"So this is hell. I'd never believed it. You remember all we were told about the torture-chambers, the fire and brimstone, the "burning marl." Old wives' tales! There's no need for red-hot pokers Hell is-other people!"
I'd like to add a never ending loop of country music in hell would be quite terrible too. Another reviewer mentioned that this play reminded them of "The Breakfast Club". I had that same thought too.
I very nice book found at random at my library. The graphic novel is about an Indian-American teen and her high-school life. Her life revolves around...moreI very nice book found at random at my library. The graphic novel is about an Indian-American teen and her high-school life. Her life revolves around family and friends and the dramas of each world.
Tina is given a class project in Existentialism and making a journal of her life and finding out how to be is the goal of he project. Tina writes letters to the late Satre in an attempt to understand herself and what is happening in the big high school world around her.
Tina performs in the school play Rashomon which is based on Akira Kurosawa movie. I found the movie on Youtube and it's in the public domain. Tina also reference's Satre's play "No Exit" which is the source of the misinterpreted quote "hell is other people".
This book is the the prelude story to the first episode of Luther. As a general rule I don't read movie tie-in novels that come after the the screen p...moreThis book is the the prelude story to the first episode of Luther. As a general rule I don't read movie tie-in novels that come after the the screen production. However, this book was written by the creator/writer of Luther and the book had a picture of Idris on the cover so it couldn't be *that* bad.
I don't read many crime novels so I don't have much to compare to. Please don't judge me because I really enjoyed this book. This is very dark novel. Not exactly a beach read, especially for women who happen to be preggers. Yikes.
John Luther fascinates us because he is brilliant at what he does. Throw in some unorthodox tactics in the name of justice and we admire him for beating the crap out of child abusers and sidelining bureaucracy. But with all brilliant minds there is a price. His marriage is failing. He can hunt down a killer, but he cannot communicate with his wife even though she means the world to him.
Notes and quotes:
-Numerous cultures have mythical bogeyman who is portrayed as a man with a sack on his back that carries naughty children away (Krampus!) Netherlands-Zwarte Piet meaning Black Pete. Zwarte Piet is a servant of Sinterklaas and delivers presents on December 5th. There's El Hombre de la Bolsa (Sack Man). Torbalan (Bulgaria) zsakos ember (Hungary). Bori Baba (N. India). Abu Kees (Lebanon).
-We all know it is morally wrong to buy or sell people. The character, Sava, had a business buying and selling children. He explains that he saw a demand (childless couples wanting to adopt). He mentions the blue uniforms and Romania. He is talking about Nicolae Ceausescu's Decree 770. This decree banned abortions in communist Romania(Hello religious conservatives). Women were forced to have children they didn't want and punished physically and financially if they did not produce many children. This left the excess of Romanian children without proper healthcare in filth and dying. Was it so bad that Sava bought these children and sold them to rich western families? I'm not defending such child trafficking but that is something to think about minus the disgusting anti-humanism factor. You might think that a legit adoption agency could meet this demand but you are missing the point.
"The people who want to do this, English people desperate to adopt children. They're not monsters. The people they buy children from are not monsters, either-not for the most part. And people like me, people whose only crime is to introduce supply to demand, I'm not a monster either." -Sava
"Luther looks down at his hands. He knows this woman's madness has seeped into him like the stink of cadaverine. It's impossible to wash off. You can wash and wash and wash. You have to wait until it fades away."
"He always says how remarkable he finds it, that people are more polite to strangers than to the people they love." --This is so true especially with women. We can be curt and rude to the people that we love because they are safe. We know that we will be forgiven because we are family. I think we are polite to strangers because we have something to prove, some facade. We are not obligated to be nice to strangers.
"Anxious people are compelled to fill silence." God, is that true. Please, shut up.
"Human feet created a system of paths through the trees. They're called desire paths."(less)