This was a hilariously bad read (after the scene where the murderer computer animates the killing of his victims I knew I was in for a treat), but som...moreThis was a hilariously bad read (after the scene where the murderer computer animates the killing of his victims I knew I was in for a treat), but sometimes it's just the thing I want.(less)
It really shows that this was written to be a movie. I can see how it'd make a wonderful film, but as a novella it seems ... lacking, and definitely n...moreIt really shows that this was written to be a movie. I can see how it'd make a wonderful film, but as a novella it seems ... lacking, and definitely not up to the quality of Greene's other writings. It did however make me curious about seeing "The Third Man".(less)
I rarely read fantasy or history; my best friend calls me "picky". Consequently I wouldn't have picked up this book if I didn't have some sympathy tow...moreI rarely read fantasy or history; my best friend calls me "picky". Consequently I wouldn't have picked up this book if I didn't have some sympathy towards the author thanks to his Witcher series. The book didn't disappoint, but then again the 15th century would make it hard on anyone to be depicted in a boring way.
Plotwise, the books very repetitive: They get themselves into a mess (most likely due to the monumental stupidity of Reynevan, the main character), they get rescued, they get themselves into the next mess, they get rescued again. This very simple concept, however, gives the author the possibility to explore all the important aspects of the 15th century, creating a marvelous panopticum of a truly terrible, terribly interesting time. Admittedly, I've only superficial knowledge of the late Middle Ages (and would be geographically out of my comfort zone as well), but Sapkowsky seems to hit all the right buzzwords. I especially loved the focus on the Hussite movement, that got my inner history nerd indecently excited. I should probably admit that I also have a thing for meeting historical characters in novels - (view spoiler)[Gutenberg, Nicolaus Cusanus and Copernicus (hide spoiler)], oh my!
I wasn't really into the fantastical element, though. In fact, I was rather disappointed when I first realized that this wasn't 100% historical, a fact which is conveniently NOT mentioned anywhere. I kind of came around to it thanks to (view spoiler)[the magic transportation device parking space at the witch sabbath (hide spoiler)], because that made me laugh and what makes me laugh is alright in my book. Speaking of which, Sapkowsky's trademark bawdy sense of humor is very present in this book, possibly more so than in the witcher series. (Whose grimdark machismo I probably couldn't stand if it weren't for that humour.) It contrasts starkly with the Reynevan's Lancelot attitude, which would be unbearable if he didn't regularly get his ass kicked running after the next beautiful dame.
Speaking of which, I love about Sapkowsky (despite the machismo!) that his female characters aren't tropes, but always have their own agenda. In general I enjoyed all the minor characters and their gorgeous ugly faces immensely, even though the buttload of names got kinda confusing at times. (This book isn't for you if you can't stomach too many weird-sounding names, as the author heaps German, Polish or Bohemian character upon character and he isn't shy to throw around phrases in a couple of languages. There are translations at the back of the book, thankfully.) The book's a quick read nevertheless because of its breakneck pace. I laughed a lot at Reynevan's constant misfortunes and was genuinely scared for him at the same time ... a very becoming mix of schadenfreude, suspense and sympathy for the main character indeed.
tl;dr Author did his research. Magic aspects regrettable, but tolerable. Promising treatment of female characters, overall a very entertaining and colourful cast. Plot not exactly original, but very, very enjoyable. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Elser hat unter den Widerstandskämpfern gegen den Nationalsozialismus immer eine besondere Faszination auf mich gehabt, vermutlich aus demselben Grund...moreElser hat unter den Widerstandskämpfern gegen den Nationalsozialismus immer eine besondere Faszination auf mich gehabt, vermutlich aus demselben Grund, warum seine Tat so lange in Deutschland nicht anerkannt und gewürdigt wurde: er gehörte nirgends dazu, ließ sich für keine Ideologie einspannen.
Dieses Buch liefert ein ziemlich umfassendes Bild von seinem Leben vor dem Attentat, Planung und Vorbereitung des Attentats sowie von seiner Verhaftung und seinem Schicksal nach dem Scheitern. Außerdem gibt es noch einen Überblick über die Rezeption seiner Tat vom Deutschland der Nachkriegszeit bis in unsere Tage, und, was ich besonders schön fand, einen Anhang mit allen von und zu ihm existierenden schriftlichen Quellen. Es sind natürlich wenig, und teilweise durch die verblassten Schreibmaschinen-Texte auf den Abbildungen schwer zu lesen; deshalb war ich auch mehr als froh, dass das lange Gestapo-Verhörprotokoll in Form einer Abschrift vorlag.
Ein faszinierendes Buch über eine faszinierende Persönlichkeit, über die letztendlich durch die problematische Quellenlage (keine Briefe oder Tagebücher von ihm sind überliefert & das Gestapo-Protokoll ist zwar umfassend, aber aus offensichtlichen Gründen nicht unbedingt glaubwürdig) wohl immer Fragen offen bleiben werden.(less)
Ein gutes Überblicks- und Einstiegswerk. Behandelt erst die griechische, dann die römische Antike. Der längere Teil beschäftigt sich mit dem Alten Tes...moreEin gutes Überblicks- und Einstiegswerk. Behandelt erst die griechische, dann die römische Antike. Der längere Teil beschäftigt sich mit dem Alten Testament, dem Neuen Testament und alphabetisch geordneten Heiligenviten. Jeder Eintrag umfasst eine kurze Zusammenfassung der Geschichte, die dazugehörigen Quellen sowie einige bekannte Bildbeispiele. Abbildungen gibt es auch, sie sind jedoch schwarz-weiß und in recht schlechter Qualität, was angesichts des doch recht stattlichen Preises des Buches bedauernswert ist.(less)
I first heard about this book in a class with the awesome title "I'm not a feminist but ...". We watched US American movies from The Sound of Music to...moreI first heard about this book in a class with the awesome title "I'm not a feminist but ...". We watched US American movies from The Sound of Music to Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland and discussed the role of their female characters afterwards. So much fun! It has always fascinated me that you can get an idea of the thought patterns of a time from the fiction that was written during it. I didn't read the book at the time, even though it was highly recommended reading, because the only copy at the library was checked out and the university book shop needed ages to order it.
Since I've decided to read more feminist and gender theory after lurking around on SJ blogs for years, this was naturally the first book that came to mind. It was really interesting to see how she studied magazines geared towards women to see how they had changed over the decades; and that they had indeed changed: while the 1920s/30s/40s focused on women not only finding a man, but finding true self-fullfilment and freedom through their career and their interests, the stories and articles in the following decades narrowed down to a manual of How To Become the Perfect Housewife. Shows how much fiction and entertainment don't exist in a vacuum as people often like to pretend, but mirror and shape possibly toxic ideas within a society.
As a historian, this was of course highly interesting to me. However, since Betty Friedan is a social scientist, there was bound to be disagreement at some point; there is a reason why historians say social scientists generalize too much, while social scientists say historians are obsessed with details. I did very much appreciate her overview of American feminism, which reminded me how many obstacles and hardships, how much ridicule and rejection women had to face during the last two centuries in their struggle for equality, and how today we thoughtlessly take the rights for granted they had to fight hard to achieve.
Her chapter on Siegmund Freud however bugged me immensely. Is it really possible to equate Victorian England with Austria-Hungary? In short, I don't think so. Everyone who has read Spring Awakening knows that sexual repression was absolutely prevalent in Austrian society as well, prudery was more a characteristic of the Bürgertum than of other social classes, who lived a rather frivolous life all in all. Victorianism ... well, it's named after Queen Victoria for a reason. (Of course, I'm painting with broad strokes here, but you get my problem, right?) Additionally, the chapter on sex was fucked up on so many levels. I think I'm not completely wrong when I say that homosexuality doesn't mean that a man is so afraid of his mother that he can't sleep with other women. It usually means that a man is attracted to other men. (Female homosexuality is mentioned in passing in one sentence, because apparently there aren't as many lesbian women as there are gay men, so it's not important. Kinda ties right in with the collective denial by Western culture when it comes to female sexuality, huh.)
That said, she argued very convincingly that women need to develop their own identity and follow their own path instead of being solely a wife and a mother to someone. I mean, duh, but I guess that argument was rather revolutionary for that time. Her stories of all those unhappy women who just felt emptiness no matter how hard they tried to fullfil their time's ideal of feminity were rather heartbreaking, too ...(less)