Morrie was one of Mitch Albom's college professors and one of the unique kind that seems to occur if you studied the humanities, one that becomes a me...moreMorrie was one of Mitch Albom's college professors and one of the unique kind that seems to occur if you studied the humanities, one that becomes a mentor, a special friend, a kindred spirit.
Mitch didn't keep in touch with his professor, until many years later when he saw him on television and realised he was dying. He goes to see him and so begins a ritual meeting and sharing the older mans last days and some of the most pertinent things his 78 years has taught him.
It is a well edited conversation between two men, it gets to the point quickly and is a wake up call for the younger man and to all of us of what is important in life versus what we tend to give our attention to. It might seem obvious, but it is also true that we often need reminding of the those things we already know but rarely practice.
I read this now as background research as I am working with a 78-year-old woman writing a similar kind of book, only she is bot on her death bed, far from it, but she is equally inspirational and her boo might just be as popular as Mitch Albom's when it comes out. We certainly can learn a lot from our 78-year-old friends.(less)
Four wives and an addiction to marriage. Despite the difficulty he had remaining faithful, Hemingway didn't like being single, he liked his women to b...moreFour wives and an addiction to marriage. Despite the difficulty he had remaining faithful, Hemingway didn't like being single, he liked his women to be contracted to him and then to have his liberty.
The book is structured in four equal parts, each dedicated to one wife and starts with the beginning of the end, before giving us the beginning of their relationship. It is a study of how he entered and exited these relationships and doesn't dwell at all on the middle or the mundane. That structure keeps up the pace and instills a sense of anticipation in the reader, wanting to know what happened in between times to change things.
Zelda la Grange served Nelson Mandela for around 20 years and you could say she gave her life to him as she had little existence outside her working l...moreZelda la Grange served Nelson Mandela for around 20 years and you could say she gave her life to him as she had little existence outside her working life, so loyal was she to the man who handpicked her when his Presidency ended as the one person he wanted to keep in his employ. Ever the strategist, he chose a woman whose skills complimented his own, she compensated for his weakness and allowed him to continue to focus on his strengths by taking care of all the things that needed to go on behind the scenes to ensure safe passage and no surprises. She was a perfectionist, though she doesn't actually say that in the book, she would rather work through the night than have anything go wrong and was completely obsessed with every little detail.
The book reads a little like a diary of events, which can get a little tedious, and the language is quite business-like or pedestrian as others have mentioned, just as the job must have been at times, except that she is clearly passionate about serving such an icon, a man she referred to as Khulu or Grandfather and he referred to her as Zeldini. Their relationship was extremely close, but always the respectful distance, as was both their natures.
It is an incredible record of those years, even if we miss the perspective of the man himself, it is more of a tribute to her boss and a record of her great respect and need to ensure that all those associated with him, from friends to celebrities to politicians were adequately taken care of. She never stoops to gossip, takes care not to say anything negative about the family, although you can sense the unspoken tension underneath, after all they did bar her from the funeral activities and if it wasn't for the generosity of Mandela's wife, Mrs Machel, she would not have attended at all.
An interesting account and makes me even more curious to read Mandela's own words and gain an insight into what was going on inside his mind during these years.
A multi-layered novella of one woman's realisation of the illusion of her marriage, a mirage so strong and enduring, she continues to live with the il...moreA multi-layered novella of one woman's realisation of the illusion of her marriage, a mirage so strong and enduring, she continues to live with the illusion, long after her husband has passed on.
The lasting effect of close childhood friends, a relationship misunderstood until one of their passing and that which is passed on from mother to daug...moreThe lasting effect of close childhood friends, a relationship misunderstood until one of their passing and that which is passed on from mother to daughter to granddaughter. Thought-provoking novella and interesting characters, seen from within and from the outside.
A delightful, life-affirming read inspired by the true story of Camp 60, Italian POW captives at Lamb Holm, Orkney Islands, building the causeways and...moreA delightful, life-affirming read inspired by the true story of Camp 60, Italian POW captives at Lamb Holm, Orkney Islands, building the causeways and then a chapel, saved from destruction and still standing today.
The author has added some fictional characters where information has been lost, but many of the events are based on actual events that took place, its tragic, funny, uplifting and somewhat reassuring in terms of humanity and its underlying need for building bridges between people and maintaining hope.
Would make a fabulous film!
Totally recommend for summer reading. I read the kindle version.
The Toga and The Rose is Sheighle Birdthistle's latest collection of heartfelt poetry.
An Irish poet who founded the Poetry Corner in Aix-en-Provence,...moreThe Toga and The Rose is Sheighle Birdthistle's latest collection of heartfelt poetry.
An Irish poet who founded the Poetry Corner in Aix-en-Provence, a group that meets monthly in the English bookshop, Book and Bar, Sheighle's work is a wonder to read and arresting to listen to.
As I said to her after reading the collection the first time, there were moments when I realised I was holding my breath until the end of the poem, as if breath or movement would break the spell and silence might help ensure an ending I could cope with.
Her poems navigate the roller coaster of life's event and emotions and she captures many of them with a choice of words that invoke powerful meaning and create suspense. From the darkest depths to the cusp of enlightened contentedness, it is a ride worth taking.
From Hand of God Gloved
'a life that should have been yellow, coloured grey'
to the desolation of Syria where
'the falling leaves drop like huge tears of sorrow,
On the poppies scattered at their roots.'
and the absence of words in A Starry Night,
'Words, stars, words blending
And rending us poets rigid with wonder
As we ponder.'
The poems of the Son and Daughters, those
Four Souls of My Body
'we love each other, in different ways,
tempests and gentle torments,
Flowing like angels wings'
From family to humanity, we are affected by emotions both familiar and far from the hearth.
The Lady hostage of Burma,
Katrina of New Orleans
interspersed with many starry nights, sometimes bearers of hope, on other occasions harbingers of catastrophe, predictable only in their unpredictability.
Identical twins, stolen children, political poisonings, learning through storytelling, healing in nature - Carrots and Jaffas is a fabulous story that...moreIdentical twins, stolen children, political poisonings, learning through storytelling, healing in nature - Carrots and Jaffas is a fabulous story that has something of everything, a love story, an immigrant story, a special connection between identical twins, colonial government theft of children and the work of an outback doctor trying to save lives through improved hygiene, himself learning from the ways of Aboriginal elders, well one in particular.
Unforgettable characters and a story that is guaranteed to stay with the reader.
Christine wakes up in the morning and doesn't recognise the man sleeping in the bed next to her. Nor do the photos of them posted in the bathroom to a...moreChristine wakes up in the morning and doesn't recognise the man sleeping in the bed next to her. Nor do the photos of them posted in the bathroom to assist her, evoke any memories. Every day she wakes with the same feeling, she remembers nothing of the past 20 years and is surprised to find herself middle aged. Her doctor suggests she begins to write things into a journal that she can read each morning, and suggests she keeps it to herself. Can she trust him, can she trust her husband? The journal both helps and confuses her, until ultimately it reveals what she needs to know.
It's not the kind of book I usually choose which probably best explains why it was only an ok read for me, it's a suspense novel so I shouldn't expect to find anything other than suspense, but because a large portion of the novel is taken up with the reading of the main characters journal, it is as if the suspense is delayed until the last 50 pages. If I do read a thriller or suspense novel, I prefer that the suspense carries through the entire novel. And I enjoy highlighting passages throughout a book, literary gems, this is not that kind of book. But looking forward to the bookclub discussion!
Another great read from Tove Jansson during #TOVE100 her anniversary year.
Quite different from her other collections which are set on and around the...moreAnother great read from Tove Jansson during #TOVE100 her anniversary year.
Quite different from her other collections which are set on and around the island, these stories delve deeper into the psychological state of mind of the characters she depicts, all of whom are somewhat eccentric and living in different environments.
More of a study of the human condition in its various forms and reminds me in parts of The True Deceiver, which is like one of these stories taken forward and developed into a novel.
I should never have read this while not lounging by the sea, I would have been far more tolerant if I had done so. This book annoyed me all the way th...moreI should never have read this while not lounging by the sea, I would have been far more tolerant if I had done so. This book annoyed me all the way through with its cliches, attempt at satire, its twists,annoying and unbelievable characters, it tried too hard to be too many things and didn't succeed in drawing me into any of its magic or suspense. Did it succeed in flattering a publishers ego?
It did make me pick up Lolita, and I am wondering if there is a link beween Humbert and Quebert and Lola and Nola, but will have to proceed more with Nabakov to find out, that could be its only redeeming feature. Well, I was entertained by all the editors notes throughout, that was a bit of a bonus, I'm sure they don't appear in the final printed version though.
Thank you to the publisher for the kindle copy and although clearly not for me, it is indeed great to see a French translation getting hyped and talked about in the English reading world.
2014 is the 100th anniversary since the birth of Tove Jansson, so I'm reading more of her work in recognition of this.
The True Deceiver is the story o...more2014 is the 100th anniversary since the birth of Tove Jansson, so I'm reading more of her work in recognition of this.
The True Deceiver is the story of an aging woman artist Anna Aemelin who lives alone on the outskirts of small village, snow bound as the opening pages reveal its stillness and propensity for chatter.
Anna keeps to herself and is content that way, her post and necessary supplies are delivered, there is minimal disruption to her way of life and the inspiration that feeds her artistic leanings, which awaken with the Spring and her venturing into the woodland beyond her home.
One of the villagers, Katri Krill, known to all as being good with numbers, one who can sniff out the slightest hint of corruption or exploitation, dreams of financial security for herself and her brother Mats.
Despite her trustworthiness, her sudden interest in the aging artist sets tongues wagging in the village, as she takes over more and more of Anna's business affairs, bringing her out of an oblivious state of denial regarding her situation, an interference that is both appreciated and resented equally.
The True Deceiver is Tove Jansson at her best, struggling and yet persevering to put into story form, the battle of those two states of mind, objectivity and aesthetic sensibility, constantly at war with each other, unlikely companions just as Anna and Katri, the rabbits and the dog.
Brilliantly evocative of the artistic struggle, it is a story that invites discussion and keeps the reader thinking long after that last page is turned. And wondering what those rabbits might have looked like, Moomins perhaps?