An amusing story written in 1949, featuring life of the British aristocrats in the thirties. The characters are all grossly exaggerated but make for aAn amusing story written in 1949, featuring life of the British aristocrats in the thirties. The characters are all grossly exaggerated but make for a lot of fun. The novel is described as subversive, funny, and comforting. The most exaggerated character, plainly gay, is introduced, has a life of total pleasure and makes those around him have fun too. He even is allowed his own lover in the end. Lady Montdore is called Mitford's finest creation, a person who is greedy, self centered and rude. This book is about love, marriage, aging and snobbery. The author tells the story of Polly through Polly's distant relative and friend, Fanny. Fanny is the daughter of parents who abandoned her, she is raised by relatives. She lives an ordinary life as she tells the story of Polly, the only child and daughter of Lady and Lord Montdore. ...more
A story of a young man who lives in the high plateau of Albania under the rule of Kanun. This was a very interesting tale of a culture and a mores thaA story of a young man who lives in the high plateau of Albania under the rule of Kanun. This was a very interesting tale of a culture and a mores that operated under an economy of blood. The prose is very good and the story compelling. The first part starts out with Gjorg and his fulfilling the Kunan as intrusted by his father to avenge his brother's death, then he has to pay the blood tax and he has 30 days before he can be killed by the avenging family of the man he has killed. The next section involves a husband and wife on a honeymoon trip to the high plateau where the husband tells his wife all about the Kunan. She becomes more and more withdrawn. The next section involves the steward of the blood. I found it very interesting that this rule allowed the fields to be fallow while the hunted men hide. It also explains the economy of the blood compared to the taxes on crops. Then it switches back to the husband and wife and finally back to Gjorg who has stayed gone too long and the 30 day truce has expired at noon. One of the truly great reads on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list. ...more
Written in 1932 by German author Joseph Roth, the book tells the story of the decline and fall of the Hapsburg Republic through the Trotta family. ItWritten in 1932 by German author Joseph Roth, the book tells the story of the decline and fall of the Hapsburg Republic through the Trotta family. It is a part of 1001 Books you must read and is an early example of a story that has a recurring historical figure. Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria who ruled from 1830 to 1916. I read the newer translation of 1995 by Joachim Neugroschel. During the battle of Solferino (1859, Italy) Franz Joseph I is almost killed. Infantry Lieutenant Trotta causes the Emperor to fall from his horse and prevents his being killed. Trotta is awarded honors and ennobles him. The Trotta family origins in Slovenian peasant. The award while appearing to be a good thing leads to the ruin of the Trotta family which parallels the ruin of the Austrian Hungarian dynasty and eventual collapse. The story follows the The grandfather, his son who becomes a civil servant and the grandson who joins the cavalry as an officer. The grandson is mediocre. He never rides well, he can't make decisions, he only desires to be heroic like his grandfather but instead, people around him die because of his actions. The title is from the Radetzky March, by Johann Strauss. This is a political novel and tells the story of not only the Trotta family but of the Ethnic groups within the Hapsburg Republic; Moravia, Serbia, Ukrainia, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Bosnia Herzegovina and the Jewish people. It heralds the changes from the 1800's to the 1900's and takes the reader to the start of the WWI. While the book was all of this, it should have been good and it was good but it was not engaging. I could sit and read once I started but it was not a book that drew me back once I set it down. I am glad I read it. I appreciate it and will give it 3 1/2 stars because it is an important novel but it loses a 1/2 star because it work to read. ...more
This book by Thomas Mann is a novella that can give the reader a taste of the author's style. Thomas Mann writes with beauty and depth. The story is oThis book by Thomas Mann is a novella that can give the reader a taste of the author's style. Thomas Mann writes with beauty and depth. The story is of an older artist, author who is suffering from writer's block. He decides to travel. At first he goes one place but "it isn't right" or he still can't write, so off to Venice he goes. On the way, he is annoyed by an older man trying to look young and hang out with youth. In Venice, he again feels suffocated and thinks to leave but circumstances occur and he stays where is obsession with a adolescent youth takes away any sense, logic and replaces it with passion and poor judgement. Nothing ever occurs, yet this love affair of the mind, leads to decay and death. A short but powerful story. ...more
My second time of reading this book. A science fiction work by Polish author Stanislaw Lem written in 1961. I have a quite long review for me on thisMy second time of reading this book. A science fiction work by Polish author Stanislaw Lem written in 1961. I have a quite long review for me on this book but I am not going to put that all here. Kris Kelvin is coming to Solaris to work with another scientist on the planet Solaris. Solaris is an ocean without atmosphere. The question is whether Solaris is a sentient being. When Kelvin arrives he finds that the scientist he was going to work with has committed suicide. The other two are holed up in their rooms and will barely leave for short periods of time. Something is not right about the space station. Soon Kelvin finds out what the others already know. This is also a philosophical work that explores human memory and communication with non human. I read the audio and want to add that this was narrated by Alessandro Juliani who does such a superb job of making each voice unique. He even does an excellent female voice. ...more
A work of fiction that tells the story of John Brown of Harper's Ferry fame. The story is told by his Owen Brown. It was interesting, good work of proA work of fiction that tells the story of John Brown of Harper's Ferry fame. The story is told by his Owen Brown. It was interesting, good work of prose but it was a bit of work to get through. It was a refresher of history that I did not have much recall. The author is pretty adamant that it was a work of fiction, but if this is anywhere near the truth, this family suffered from mental illness. Another thought I have on this book is that while John Brown may have been passionate about antislavery, and claimed to be hearing from God, he was twisting scripture to fit his need and another point is he may have been fighting for blacks, he did not understand blacks. This may this be the John Brown of the book and not the real John Brown but he was violent and judgmental and did not follow the scriptures commandment to love others.
I do think this is a work of prose and not one of plot. Characters were developed in general. The story goes back in history as it is being told in the present old age of Owen who is the narrator. As the narrator, I mostly found Owen to be unlikeable. He had a lot of issues. The son seems to think everything is about him and that his dad liked a black man more than he liked his son (Owen).
Famous people mentioned in the book include Frederick Douglas, Nathanial Hawthorn (the sister-in-law in the book was not a real person), Grimke Sisters.
Quotes: "Ameria is a Christian nation. She is indeed, he said, or ought to be. It was surely meant to be." Pg 383 "negroes did not need white people to love them" page 413 "The matter of deference and sameness", "If you yourself are not a victim, you cannot claim to see the world as the victim does", "Amongst negroes, a white man is always white. Page 420
The author writes about people on the fringe of society, marginalized people. The Brown family especially Owen was such a person. Owen Brown was the third son of John Brown. He managed to escape from Harper's Ferry and according to info on line he served in the Civil War for the Union Army. He died at 64 of pneumonia and was living in California. ...more
A fine example of Middle Eastern storytelling. This story of life in Midaq Alley in Cairo, Egypt presents a microcosm of a small community of people wA fine example of Middle Eastern storytelling. This story of life in Midaq Alley in Cairo, Egypt presents a microcosm of a small community of people who make up the community. Each person is described to us in a larger than life of soap opera style. This is the early forties, the world is engaged in the battles of WWII but other than that, the people of the alley really have little regard for the war except for how it can profit them, either as employees of the British or the black market. This book presents a people of Islamic faith but also as they are being influenced by Western ideas. This is a time before the rebellion against Western influence has progressed to where it is today. It was an easy read with humor but lots of truths that are timeless. ...more
I usually like books about aging. This quick read, by Barabara Pym, is a story of four older office workers approaching retirement, two men and two woI usually like books about aging. This quick read, by Barabara Pym, is a story of four older office workers approaching retirement, two men and two women. The story is set in the seventies. The women are the first to retire. We know that one was born in 1914. She will turn 65. Since both women are retiring, both must be 65. It appears retirement is mandatory. They are retiring with just the government retirement plan. All the characters are alone; one man was previously married and now a widow. He actually is the most active of the four and obsessed with finding catholic services to attend for various saint holidays. The other man is shorter and angrier. One woman is more active, enjoys going to libraries, shopping and buying clothes. She has one lady friend. The other woman, is alone, has no friends, recently had a mastectomy and in description she is quite "odd". While I like stories about aging, this story is not fun or pleasant. I think reason for this might be that sixties really isn't old now. Another reason might be that I was a young adult in the seventies. Still, this was well done study of four single people approaching the autumn of their lives. I think it would be an excellent book to read for a discussion group. ...more
The book is the story of Leopold Bloom, a middle aged married man, father of one adult daughter who spends one day wandering around Dublin. We also meThe book is the story of Leopold Bloom, a middle aged married man, father of one adult daughter who spends one day wandering around Dublin. We also meet Stephen Dedalus a young university graduate, want to be author and current educator of young men. Much of the story is told by internal dialogue (stream of consciousness) as the characters travel the streets of Dublin. It is really a story of paternity. Leopold thinks about his dead son. Stephen thinks about his conflicted relationship with his father and Leopold takes on a surrogate father relationship with Stephan. Other stories include infidelity of Bloom's wife Molly. If the story was only that simple. Joyce uses the book Odysseus to form the segments of the book and each segment is a whole new and sometimes not very enjoyable experience. I won't bother to describe because you can read Jen's review (excellent) or go through the questions and get an idea of each section but I agree that this book is best enjoyed if taken on as a project and not a reading experience. It takes work but it can be rewarding. I like the aspect of working at something. Reminds me of researching and studying which I enjoyed. I am glad I read the book. It would have been very controversial at the time with its sexual content (mostly just words) but it does not feel gratuitous like so many books. I give it 4 stars because I did enjoy it and I appreciated the genius of the author but I also felt that Joyce was also flaunting his intelligence towards the readers. The person who deserves 5 stars is the narrator of this audible work. Jim Norton did a splendid job of reading this book. It took work because you can't just read this book and know when to sing, when to give certain styles to the words. What a marvelous job. Marcella Riordan does the voice of Molly. A steady stream of consciousness without much pause or change. Marcella's part does nothing to endear you to Molly. First Sentence: Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. Last words: unable to do this one as it would be the entire last chapter I am afraid…. but goes something like this …..I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes....more
This novel is called a transcultural novel. It is like a story in a story. It starts with the story of a long sense dead Korean girl. She is telling tThis novel is called a transcultural novel. It is like a story in a story. It starts with the story of a long sense dead Korean girl. She is telling the story from the other side. The second story is the story of the female who is reading the story of the Queen. She goes to Korea to a conference and she seeks to experience the history and cultural of this Korean girl. She comes home to England after the man she shares time with passes away. She finds his wife and helps her adopt a Chinese girl that he had planned to adopt for his wife. ...more
The book is a 1991, police procedural mystery by Swedish author Henning Mankell and translated from the Swedish by Steven T. Murray. It is the first iThe book is a 1991, police procedural mystery by Swedish author Henning Mankell and translated from the Swedish by Steven T. Murray. It is the first in the series featuring the senior police officer Kurt Wallander. The story is set in Sweden, it is January 1990 and Wallander is covering for the chief who is on vacation. He is called out to an isolated farmhouse and discovers a heinous murder of an old farmer and his wife. There is no clues except for a word spoken by the woman prior to her death. This word causes an outbreak of racial hatred when it is leaked to the press. As the first book of a series, we are introduced to Wallander, a man in his forties, his wife has left him, his daughter is not talking to him and his aging father is ornery and possibly senile. It's a decent mystery of the police procedural type and like most mystery thriller's easy to read. It is a 1001 Book You Must Read Before You Die but other than being Swedish I am not sure what it offers in the development of the novel. The theme of racial hatred stems from the influx of foreigners seeking asylum and the political and social problems that occur. ...more