I read just about everything Caroline Gordon wrote starting 1992 when we moved into the Clarksville house she and Allen Tate lived in from 1932. For s...moreI read just about everything Caroline Gordon wrote starting 1992 when we moved into the Clarksville house she and Allen Tate lived in from 1932. For some reason I've been moved to read much of her work again recently. I remember loving NONE SHALL LOOK BACK, but I realize now I'm confusing it with PENHALLY and perhaps other works as well. I give high marks to almost everything Caroline Gordon writes, and this book is no exception; however, I feel the need to make a distinction regarding it's comparison to GONE WITH THE WIND.
This is Gordon's major Civil War novel that came out in 1937 shortly after Margaret Mitchell's GONE WITH THE WIND. Apparently it has been thought that timing would have made all the difference... in other words, that if NONE SHALL LOOK BACK had beat Mitchell's book to the press it would have enjoyed the that success. I don't agree with that conclusion.
NONE SHALL LOOK BACK has been touted by some as a major Civil War novel, perhaps surpassing Mitchell's. I recognize it is phenomenal in coverage of battles, details of the soldiers' lives and struggles. Gordon did her research and has written an exemplary book in that sense, a description of battles that is historically correct but fictionalized by adding her own characters and a bit of plot about how they were affected by the war. GONE WITH THE WIND, on the other hand, is a love story that takes place within and around the setting of the Civil War and its aftermath. There really is no comparison. Mitchell's book is always going to have the upper hand in terms of romantic poignancy and character development, while Gordon's book is a masterpiece from the historian's point of view.(less)
I'd consider adding this book to my "dystopia" bookshelf if it wasn't a description of true rather than fantasy events and situations. In reality The...moreI'd consider adding this book to my "dystopia" bookshelf if it wasn't a description of true rather than fantasy events and situations. In reality The Bookseller of Kabul is not fantasy but true-life Afghanistan, an actual scenario although dystopic as all get-out by our standards. The four star rating is not reflective on the author's ability - which I admire - so much as my own inability to "love" thoroughly a book so gloomy and contrary to our own cultural standards, all the more so due to the apparent truth in its telling. Notwithstanding the despair, I recommend the book for its astute and illuminating historical gaze into the area where we have sacrificed so much in economics and human life.(less)
Oh my goodness, I loved this book! Beautifully written and spanning the entire life of the the main protagonist, Ivy Rowe Fox, an Appalachian woman bo...moreOh my goodness, I loved this book! Beautifully written and spanning the entire life of the the main protagonist, Ivy Rowe Fox, an Appalachian woman born roughly the turn of the century (1900), Fair and Tender Ladies is an epistolary novel, i.e., Ivy's story told entirely through letters she wrote throughout her life. The depth of Ivy's perception and her brutal honesty; her love of nature and the wild mountain scenery around her; the poetic quality she lends to the tales that spin out her lifespan - all of these make this narrative a piece of writing that completely swallowed me, caught me up in the remarkable story that is Fair and Tender Ladies.
The historical aspect of the story, an intimate and inspired description of a disappearing culture that was so recently the southern mountain life of Appalachia, appealed strongly to me, a southern woman myself raised within a few hours distance of the area described. I saw enough residual "old ways" growing up in Tennessee to harbor a deep appreciation for - and in fact a sometime intense and poignant yearning for - the times and values that Lee Smith describes through her beautiful character Ivy. The lyrical prose descriptions of the beauties of the natural setting that was the Appalachian region before the rape of the large trees, coal, clear mountain streams, and rich farmland are so beautiful as to approach poetry which Lee Smith also uses.
Ivy's perspective and insight ring so true. In her Lee Smith has developed a strong, intelligent and beautiful character with whom I could deeply - almost painfully at times - resonate. Through her eyes other characters are also well presented, knowable. Annie Dillard wrote "This is about as moving a work of literature as has ever been written. " I have to agree.(less)
This is a beautiful coffee table book with lovely illustrations of some of Warhol's most striking pieces. The author has researched thoroughly to gain...moreThis is a beautiful coffee table book with lovely illustrations of some of Warhol's most striking pieces. The author has researched thoroughly to gain a grasp of the vast scope of religiosity to be found within the body of Warhol's work. She does a fine job of describing various of the Warhol series and interpreting through her own vision the religious significance of colors, patterns, line, subject matter he has utilized in individual pieces. The book is more about the work than the man insofar as it can be separated from the personal; in Warhol's case much IS very personal which does emerge in Dillengerger's treatment. I did enjoy reading this, although it took me a while to get through it. I found for myself that taking it in separate sessions spread out over time helped in digesting earlier concepts and readying for later efforts to progress through the book.(less)
Rosemary Zibart has written a story bound to appeal to younger readers' yearning for adventure and new experiences. Told from the viewpoint of main ch...moreRosemary Zibart has written a story bound to appeal to younger readers' yearning for adventure and new experiences. Told from the viewpoint of main character Beatrice, the tale is based on factual events connected with the Nazi invasion of Europe and siege on London during the beginning months of World War II. Beatrice is a twelve-year-old English girl sent, as many children were during that period, to the United States for safety during the terrifying days of the German blitz. Her story is interesting and informative, both of her life in London before the departure and then later adapting to a very different kind of life in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The comparison of cultural differences is exciting to Beatrice and will be through her eyes to other youngsters reading about her experiences, some difficult for her but also many very rewarding.
This book is the first in a Far and Away series which will continue to follow the adventures of children during World War II. I'm looking forward to the next one about a young boy in New York City, a tale described to me as gripping by the author's husband.(less)
I've just read this book for the second time; I didn't intend to read it again and actually had it in a box to take to the local library's book sale....moreI've just read this book for the second time; I didn't intend to read it again and actually had it in a box to take to the local library's book sale. Somehow it fell out of the box and has been in the car several weeks. Yesterday I picked it up, glanced at a few pages opened randomly and somehow got completely hooked again. I really can't say why the book had such pull for a second reading; it leaves a bit of a sad taste in the mouth. There is searching and pain in the telling of her tale as interwoven with that of her Quaker father. They had been close, and there was much love between them; yet somehow the relationship became challenged by large events that make up much of the telling of the story, namely the close brush with death that she and her fiance experience when becoming lost and without food for many days on a mountain climbing adventure. I am not satisfied with the outcome of their ensuing estrangement and his death without overcoming it; she does manage to come to terms with it herself in the closing pages of the book, but it left me feeling sad and frustrated for what she must have put her parents through.(less)
I started off being highly skeptical of this book, maybe somewhat due to many poor reviews by other readers - but also because from the start it seeme...moreI started off being highly skeptical of this book, maybe somewhat due to many poor reviews by other readers - but also because from the start it seemed repetitive and simplistic. I prejudged and gave it three stars early on in the reading. I have to say that I did reevaluate this and found more of interest in Stout's treatise than I'd imagined I would. This is largely due to her connecting Conscience beyond strictly psycho-babble cognitive premise to the larger spiritual realm and most especially the introduction of Eastern philosophy into the equation.
I found I liked the book more than I'd anticipated so upped to four stars, then realized I'd still only LIKED rather than disliked the book, bringing me back to three stars. Despite some interesting points and connections made, Stout still takes us on a helluva long and repetitive wade through some rather elementary storytelling to arrive eventually at the greater outcome of her premise - and that only toward the final pages of the book - and to me oddly different in context from the original concept and title. (less)
Compact and distilled, this little Collins Gem Series book has been an invaluable quick source of information about the line of British royalty and hi...moreCompact and distilled, this little Collins Gem Series book has been an invaluable quick source of information about the line of British royalty and history of reigns. It is too small and handy as a quick reference to be more than that; individual rulers are assigned a page or two at most, but the essentials are there at your fingertips: dates, parentage, marriages and offspring - and a few details about the events or tone of the reign. I go to Google or other historical sources for more in-depth coverage, of course, but this little pocket-sized book is a quick and ready source for getting a handle of lineage at your finger tips. I keep it handy and pull it down at least several times a year, as tonight to give a quick over while in the midst of doing the BBC series of eleven episodes of The Monarchy through Netflix on Roku. Anyone interested in keeping track of the English sovereignty without a quantity of heavy tomes can start with this true little "gem" of quick and ready history easy to access.(less)
This is a delightful little book four inches square and at 368 pages about an inch thick; it is a very comfortable fit in the hand. Some of the writin...moreThis is a delightful little book four inches square and at 368 pages about an inch thick; it is a very comfortable fit in the hand. Some of the writing is explanatory prose that seeks to share the meaning of Wabi Sabi, an eastern (Japanese originally) concept that means loosely " the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete... a beauty of things modest and humble ... a beauty of things unconventional" (as defined in English by Leonard Koren).
The majority of pages, however are singular unto themselves, i.e., each holding a different short passage by a large and varied assortment of authors - such as Goethe, Mahatma Ghandi, Benjamin Franklin, Epictetus, Chuang Tse, to name only a very few. These writings are divided according to subject among chapters: Simplicity, Contentment, Sincerity, Impermanence, Humility, Imperfection, Harmony, Purity and Tranquility.
It is not a book needing to be read through, nor even desirable so, I'd think. It can be picked up and thumbed through in any order: a page here, a page there; several together or just one. The passages are poignant and inspiring, comforting and thought-provoking, affirmative and consoling and calming. It is a beautiful addition to my collection of small books I like to keep nearby for just a moment of reading something that may transfix my mood and day, center me for moving forward. It's an easy fit in a pocket or bag so can be a helpful travel companion as well.(less)