This is a devastatingly powerful little novel. Over the past six months I have been slowly, but surely, winding my way through the macabre world that...moreThis is a devastatingly powerful little novel. Over the past six months I have been slowly, but surely, winding my way through the macabre world that is the fiction of Emile Zola. I have always kind of viewed Zola as the 'father' of Naturalism, and Therese Raquin is a prime example. It surely is not hard to make the leap from France and Therese Raquin to the 'Wessex' countryside of Thomas Hardy and Tess of the d'Urbervilles.
There's a dirty, seamy, grimy feel to this novel...actually, come to think of it, to all of the Zola novels I've read so far. There is a side of human life and human nature that Zola wants to thrust right in your face and under your nose, and the reader can't help but feel and smell everything. And no matter how squeamish or sensitive we are, we can't help but keep reading...it is human nature, we want to see the murder occur, the trains collide, the adulterous pair get caught out. Zola is the novelist for the voyeur in each of us. Seriously scary shit here, folks!(less)
Personally, I believe that this is the best and most powerful translation of Aeschylus's brilliant triptych known as The Oresteia. While Peter Meineck...morePersonally, I believe that this is the best and most powerful translation of Aeschylus's brilliant triptych known as The Oresteia. While Peter Meineck's translation may be best suited for the stage, and Ted Hughes's rendition most poetic, it is my sincere opinion that Robert Fagles's translation is the most visceral and resonates most powerfully for me. The inclusion of William Bedell Stanford's introduction within this edition is simply a bonus as it is nothing short of brilliant!(less)
Juan Luis Arsuaga's The Neanderthal's Necklace: In Search of the First Thinkers (2002) is an excellent and compelling addition to my collection of pal...moreJuan Luis Arsuaga's The Neanderthal's Necklace: In Search of the First Thinkers (2002) is an excellent and compelling addition to my collection of paleoanthropological books. Dr. Arsuaga is a Spanish anthropologist and has spent much of his career at the famous archaeological sites at the Sierra de Atapuerca. He and his team are known for discovering the largest collection of pre-Neandertal hominins--some 2,000 human fossils, comprising maybe as many as thirty-two individuals. According to Professor Arsuaga, all of these fossils are likely an ancestral species to both the Neandertals (Homo neandertalensis) and anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens), and are classified as either Homo heidelbergensis or Homo antecessor. This human species occupied the Iberian peninsula and other portions of western Europe for a very long period of time, from approximately 780,000 years before present to perhaps 130,000 years before present.
What Professor Arsuaga accomplishes in this book is to eloquently tell the history of the early human species that occupied western Europe, especially the Iberian peninsula from the Middle Paleolithic through the early Upper Paleolithic and the extinction of the Neandertals. What I particularly appreciated was Dr. Arsuaga's melding of the data associated with regional climatic and ecological conditions in telling the story of these early hominin species who occupied these habitats so many millenia in our past in Spain during those fluctuating periods of extreme world-wide glaciation and interglacials. Over the years that I have been reading books and technical papers about human origins, I have come to better understand and appreciate that data and information associated with the effects of global and regional climate change and regional ecological conditions are every bit as important as the fossil and genetic evidence.
Personally, I think Professor Arsuaga's book, The Neanderthal's Necklace: In Search of the First Thinkers, is an important book and goes far in helping fill in the details about our human origins between what we currently know about the dispersal of Homo erectus from Africa between approximately 1.5-1.2 million years ago, and the arrival of fully-functioning anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens) in western Europe about 45,000 years ago. I also strongly suggest that Professor Arsuaga's book makes an excellent companion to Clive Finlayson's relatively recent (2010) book entitled, The Humans Who Went Extinct: Why Neanderthals Died Out and We Survived. In reading both of these books, the reader will come away with a clear understanding of the role of the early hominin species in western Europe and the role that climate change and ecological conditions played in ultimately reaching the point that only one human species--Homo sapiens--remained on the planet.(less)
I saw the movie with my wife recently and was completely enthralled. I immediately ordered the books and began reading. This is off-the-hook good stuf...moreI saw the movie with my wife recently and was completely enthralled. I immediately ordered the books and began reading. This is off-the-hook good stuff, folks! Lisbeth Salander is my hero! She is one of the most unique feminine fictional characters I think I've ever encountered, and I just love her to death! All I can say is read the book, see the movie, and just enjoy the pleasure of experiencing a truly great story on the printed page and on the big-screen. A real stem-winder of a mystery, and Lisbeth is simply priceless!(less)
If anything, this second volume in Stieg Larsonn's 'Millenium' series was even better than the first book! This book really provides a lot more backst...moreIf anything, this second volume in Stieg Larsonn's 'Millenium' series was even better than the first book! This book really provides a lot more backstory to the character of Lisbeth Salander, and makes me root for her even more. Once you get going on this book it becomes damned hard to put down. I have to say that I really think the translator (Reg Keeland) did a terrific job. Largely these first two books essentially feel like they were written in English. Are these great literature? Probably not, but they are well written and absolutely great fun to read, and Lisbeth Salander is one kick-ass heroine.(less)
I finished The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest this morning on the train to work. This was a terrific novel and may, in fact, have been the best boo...moreI finished The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest this morning on the train to work. This was a terrific novel and may, in fact, have been the best book of the entire series! I almost hesitate separating the three books as individual entities (especially the last two), as the story-line and characters pretty seamlessly flows from the first page through the last page. In my opinion, Larsonn's writing got better and better with each volume too (although that could also be a function of the translator as well). I very much enjoyed reading Larsonn's The Millennium Series; and because of Larsonn's untimely death it is a real pity that there may not be any more adventures of Lisbeth Salander to read.(less)
This review is associated with the translation of Beowulf by Howell D. Chickering, Jr. (1977, 2006)--
This is simply a superb translation that feels an...moreThis review is associated with the translation of Beowulf by Howell D. Chickering, Jr. (1977, 2006)--
This is simply a superb translation that feels ancient and mystical. This is such a great story--the monsters, the dragon, and the treasure and all--and Chickering's translation really makes the reader feel like they are in the smoky mead hall listening to the bard sing this tale. I need to go back and read Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf again, but I really think that this stacks up very well with Heaney's. And like Heaney's translation, Chickering's translation also includes the original Anglo-Saxon text on the facing page for comparison. He also has a couple of hundred pages of background information about the poem, in-depth analysis and commentary, and an extensive index and glossary. I highly recommend having a copy of this is edition of Beowulf on your bookshelf(less)
This review is associated with J.R.R. Tolkien's translation--
In my opinion, this is one of the best translations of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight ou...moreThis review is associated with J.R.R. Tolkien's translation--
In my opinion, this is one of the best translations of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight out there. Tolkien was a master of writing alliterative poetry (e.g., see his long epic poems published in The Lays of Beleriand), and also spent time in the 1920s editing the original Middle English text of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight with E.V. Gordon (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight). This was a very well-crafted translation and fun to read.(less)