"Finally," this is what all my goodread friends are saying. I started this book seven months ago. What took me so long. First, I don't actually read t"Finally," this is what all my goodread friends are saying. I started this book seven months ago. What took me so long. First, I don't actually read that much. Secondly, I often found myself pausing while reading to look up some piece of information. I was led down many a wikipedia trail reading this book. Finally, the printer printed on big pages in a small font.
Ok all my excuses are finished, what about the book. I personally prefer learning about history through the lens of biography. Given that caveat, I consider The First American to be one of the best historical books I've ever read. We get an intimate portrait of the greatest thinker of his time if not one of the greatest thinkers in all of history. The author exposes us to a very human Franklin. We see witness his sadness at the breaking of relations with his son, who chose loyalty to the crown over loyalty to his father.
Beyond Franklin himself we encounter a treasure of information about the milieu that produced the revolution and eventually, the United States. I learned more about what lead to the revolution reading this book than I did in all the schooling I had. I highly recommend it to anybody with an interest in the period
"Go on doing great things and loving pretty women" ...more
The Artist as a Young Man consists of a series of autobiographical snippets as the author comes of age in Ireland at the turn of the century. It conce
The Artist as a Young Man consists of a series of autobiographical snippets as the author comes of age in Ireland at the turn of the century. It concerns itself with his sexual, artistic, and spiritual awakenings. To be fair, it's not much concerned with plot. I can sum up what I think happened quickly. A young artistically gifted man grows up under a religious education. He then comes into some money when his family sells their land. He spends it on prostitutes. He then has a religious conversion, almost becomes a priest, falls in love, and wanders out into the world to become an artist. None of that matters.
Joyce focuses on wordcraft. He writes far more like poetry than prose. In fact, the artist in the book describes himself as a poet not a prose writer. The results are magnificent.
His soul was all dewy wet. Over his limbs in sleep pale cool waves of light had passed. He lay still, as if his soul lay amid cool waters, conscious of faint sweet music. His mind was waking slowly to a tremulous morning knowledge, a morning inspiration.
This book has been extensively studied. There are cliff notes and I am sure many hours have been spent by dusty professors rambling on about the meaning of this and the symbolism of that. It seems to me almost an offense to read this book in that way. As if one sees a butterfly and contemplates the symbolic aspects of lines. No! You just enjoy the beauty.
It was not thought nor vision, though he knew vaguely that her figure was passing homeward through the city. Vaguely first and then more sharply he smelt her body. A conscious unrest seethed in his blood. Yes, it was her body he smelt: a wild and languid smell: the tepid limbs over which his music had flowed desirously and the secret soft linen upon which her flesh distilled odour and a dew.
The past is consumed in the present and the present is living only because it brings forth the future.
And the air is thick with their company as they call to me, their kinsman, making ready to go, shaking the wings of their exultant and terrible youth.
I want to make one comment not about the book but about how I read it. My printing is a 1928 modern libraries printing. Who supersized our books? This book is 6 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches. It's a perfect small size to slip into a bag or even a large pocket. Yes the printers used a smallish font but we have reading glasses these days. I look over at my bookshelves and the hardcovers I have are huge. Even paperbacks are now being printed in odd sizes. I know they do this to charge more. I wish they'd think more about the reading experience.
My first introduction to the character of Kurt Wallander was not the books or the popular BBC versions starring Kenneth Branagh. A local pbs station sMy first introduction to the character of Kurt Wallander was not the books or the popular BBC versions starring Kenneth Branagh. A local pbs station shows foreign mysteries one day week. Despite being in Swedish and subtitled I enjoyed the character. With the success of the BBC version I decided to finally pick up a Wallander book. The Pyramid features a series of stories that take Wallander from a new cop in 1969 till right before the start of the first Wallander novel. These stories are not traditional who done its. We follow Wallander from an unsure young cop with dreams of being a great detective, through his mentoring and maturation to a dedicated, even obsessed, but burned out cop. Along the way see the deterioration of his marriage and the ups and downs of his relationship with his eccentric painter father. ...more
I am not that big of a fan of hard science fiction. I prefer space opera, fantasy and pew pew pew. It’s a thousand years in the future and humanity ha I am not that big of a fan of hard science fiction. I prefer space opera, fantasy and pew pew pew. It’s a thousand years in the future and humanity has expanded to many worlds but has never encountered another sentient species. This all changes. A solar sail arrives from a previously unreachable star system. The single crew member is dead but extremely alien in physiology. The Human Empire sends out an expedition to find a way to the planet and make first contact. There are a couple of things that could have ruined my enjoyment of this book. For the general setting the authors have have chosen to take the 19th century British Empire and stick it a thousand years in the future, complete with the morality and sexual ideas of the time. They have chaplains on the ships doing services. There is a Russian planet full of people with russian accents. Heck, the main engineer is Scottish. I paused early on in reading and thought to myself, “I should find this absurd.” But I didn’t. The characters are one dimensional and thin. The book moves at a very deliberate pace as things are worked out slowly. But all that is secondary to the purpose of the book. The authors put a great deal of effort in making the science realistic. It deals in depth with what space flight and combat would actually be like. The alien race is cleverly thought out and relatable enough to still be able to interact with the humans. ...more