This is the first Graham Green I have read and won't be the last. The reader is thrust into the struggle of the French Indochina War (which as its aftThis is the first Graham Green I have read and won't be the last. The reader is thrust into the struggle of the French Indochina War (which as its aftermath divided the region into an unstable North and South Vietnam and eventually led to the Vietnam War.) In the Quiet American, a doggedly naïve, innocent and well intentioned American is out of his depth and understanding trying to manipulate a situation he is not equipped to grasp. Greene’s writing is spare and unsentimental.
I would recommend reading this with "Brief Encounters with Che Guevara", a wonderful collection of short stories I read last year by Ben Fountain. Brief Encounters deals predominantly with well-intentioned Americans who find themselves in countries such as Columbia, Sierre Leone, Haiti and Myanmar. They are idealistic and become entangled in situations of political and social conflict in countries they don't understand....more
I've had this cookbook for just a few days now. One doesn't really read a cookbook of this type and size from cover to cover, but I've looked throughI've had this cookbook for just a few days now. One doesn't really read a cookbook of this type and size from cover to cover, but I've looked through it quite a bit and read parts.
Yesterday I made some delicious home-made granola (wow- so easy) and apparently it will keep in the refrigerator in a container indefinitely. This morning I made some waffles and my son and daughter said they liked it better than my old waffle recipe (which they really liked). What I didn't tell them was that instead of one of the cups of flour, I used a combination of half a cup of whole rolled oats (which disappeared into the waffle without leaving a trail) and half finely ground cornmeal. I also used agave nectar instead of sugar (that was my own idea). The whole book seems to geared towards creative options and alternatives and that is the way I cook anyway. The granola had a table where you choose your own options in addition to a number of recipes with different options. This book has really great ideas for that type of cooking which I love. It is also HUGE. So many recipes to try!
I love reading books about women in historical China- ever since reading Pearl Buck in my younger days (and re-reading The Good Earth later- what a grI love reading books about women in historical China- ever since reading Pearl Buck in my younger days (and re-reading The Good Earth later- what a great book).
I was very drawn into "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" and liked the characters. Many of them (including the protagonist Lily) were a sometimes painful mix of kindness and cruelty (written of gently and not with a jackhammer). I did not think this book was heavy handed. Much of the cruelty sprung from a sense of duty, tradition or despair which sometimes led to misunderstandings. Lily's sworn lifelong companion (her laotong) Snow Flower, had more empathy for others and seemed to see situations more clearly- probably because of her background. This did not make her life easier. I can't see that there were any clear heros or villians among the main characters- just humans struggling to live in a culture where fates were very much cast in stone apart from uprisings and overturning governments.
This book also goes into a fair amount detail about how footbinding was accomplished- what it was really like to go through it for both the mother and daughter. I have to say it made me really think about how something like that can come from nowhere and suddenly be next must-have fashion. There is certainly some womens' footwear (think stiletto heels with pointy toes) that reminds one not only of footbinding, but that women may be willing to give up functionality for fashion. It's a scary concept.
Twelve year old Stanley Yelnats just can’t seem to catch a break. Bad luck just rains upon him and his family and it’s all on account of his “no-good-Twelve year old Stanley Yelnats just can’t seem to catch a break. Bad luck just rains upon him and his family and it’s all on account of his “no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather”. The hapless Stanley finds himself at Camp Green Lake after he is wrongly accused of stealing a pair of prized sneakers. Camp Green Lake is lakeless, not green and not exactly a camp. It is in this barren and unlikely location that Stanley’s ancestral history becomes entangled with his current situation. The stories of the past and present are woven together skillfully and Stanley’s choices determine the outcome. Amidst the mystery and struggles at Camp Green Lake, Stanley learns about friendship, loyalty, prejudice and courage. He finds redemption. What a wonderful book!...more
Owen Meany has many unique challenges in life. He is unusually small, HIS VOICE IS LOCKED ON SHOUT MODE, and he grows up breathing the dust of and worOwen Meany has many unique challenges in life. He is unusually small, HIS VOICE IS LOCKED ON SHOUT MODE, and he grows up breathing the dust of and working in a granite quarry. He is however blessed with the gift of being absolutely certain that there is a greater reason for his challenges and for his life. He has his faults, but his life is an unwavering trajectory towards fulfilling the purpose to which he was born. This is a very imaginative, complex, yet easy to read story with many interesting, multidimensional characters. This is one I'd like to re-read in the future. Very highly recommended. ...more
Almost every bit of action in this novel occurs inside the tortured head of the underground man-- a rationale egoist extraordinaire. He comically (andAlmost every bit of action in this novel occurs inside the tortured head of the underground man-- a rationale egoist extraordinaire. He comically (and tragically ) overthinks every minutest occurrence rendering him incapable of acting in any way that may reflect what lays buried in his heart. He is socially and morally impotent, a prisoner of his own inescapable psychology. Dostoevsky seems to have had a lot of fun with this one-- especially since he got to poke fun at some of the popular thinkers of his time....more