It was time to revisit the Cemetery of the Book, as the summer is perfect for a mystery, gothic and love stories, characters trying to find out who th...moreIt was time to revisit the Cemetery of the Book, as the summer is perfect for a mystery, gothic and love stories, characters trying to find out who they are, a novel of novels set just after the Spanish Civil War. All describe THE SHADOW OF THE WIND.
It's the story of Daniel who is brought to the Cemetery of the Book by his father to choose a book that he will guard from extinction of memory. Carlos Ruiz Zafon's novel is bathed in the magical atmosphere of Barcelona with lights flickering on the cobbled streets, mist after the rain, and a Stranger who threatens to end Daniel's quest to save his chosen book, THE SHADOW OF THE WIND.
There are many characters who spill onto the pages from the mind of the author; some are moral centers of the story who help others become who they will become while others are morally corrupt, devilish, and despicable. The author's capable backstories of the characters flesh out motives to explain their behavior.
It is obvious that Zafon treasures the written word, and for readers who feel similarly, this is a unique and satisfying stimulus for the imagination. Highest recommendation!
HAMLET is certainly an artistic failure. T.S. Eliot
This once-fashionable judgment of Shakespeare's huge play is not shared by the majority of those wh...moreHAMLET is certainly an artistic failure. T.S. Eliot
This once-fashionable judgment of Shakespeare's huge play is not shared by the majority of those who have experienced it on the page or in the theatre. In fact, it is compared with "The Divine Comedy" or "Paradise Lost", "Ulysses" or "In Search of Lost Time" as essential intellectual experiencing.
What is the reason for the play's transcendence over other western classics? In my opinion, Hamlet stands alone as a character who is so charismatic, he is larger than the play. Could his presence on the page mimic Shakespeare's in life as Harold Bloom suggests?
With contradictions galore, a puppet and a prince with fits of starts and stops, explosive emotions, and unbridled grief, HAMLET displays all of human nature.
Slouch down in your easy chair, put on some vinyl (jazz will do), open a bottle of brew and drift back to the time when life was lived on the edge. It...moreSlouch down in your easy chair, put on some vinyl (jazz will do), open a bottle of brew and drift back to the time when life was lived on the edge. It's the 30's in LA when women's share came from smooth talking, silk stockings and holding back nothing to get what you want. The Law was just like the grifters only with a badge. They moved back and forth between the courthouse and the seedy part of town with money to slap the hand of anyone with news to sell.
Money was the goal anyway you could get it. Blackmail was the way to solve all problems unless murder did it better. Everyone was packin' and all talked trash before the flash went off and gun power burned your face.
Deals were done over blackjack tables, in gumshoe offices, on street corners, and in back rooms. The moral lines were blurred or not even there. Danger was everywhere, from the guy you notice following you, to your hire's crazy daughters.
Your words better hit their mark before the bullet sends you to THE BIG SLEEP.
Chandler created this world, populated it with grey characters, and transported readers to crime noir.
Gustave Flaubert's DICTIONARY OF ACCEPTED IDEAS was a supplement to his last novel Bouvard et Pecuchet which was translated into English for the first...moreGustave Flaubert's DICTIONARY OF ACCEPTED IDEAS was a supplement to his last novel Bouvard et Pecuchet which was translated into English for the first time in 1954.
How did this anthology of absurdities, anecdotes, and satires originate? Flaubert, from an early age refused to suffer fool's lightly. He would write down on scrapes of paper the inanites of an old lady who visited his parents; by age twenty he knew he would compile his disdain for the bourgeois, his contempt for cliches, and his attack on misinformation and prejudice into a dictionary of "moral realism".
Arranged from "A" to "Y", less than one hundred pages, this commentary on the accepted ideas of his era (and, in some cases our own), is a fun read and fodder for self examination:
"Novels. Corrupt the masses. Are less immoral in serial than in volume form. Only historical novels should be allowed, because they teach history. Some novels are written with the point of a scalpel. Others revolve on the point of a needle."
"God. Voltaire himself admitted it: If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him."
"Erection. Said only of monuments."
"Science. A little science takes your religion from you; a great deal brings you back to it."
"Workman. Always honest---unless he is rioting."
What are the accepted ideas of our age; how often do we conform, speak lazily and ignorantly of issues related to cultural norms? How many of our beliefs are timeless truths unconnected to any specific age, and how willing are we to question simplistic thinking and prejudices? These are just some of the challenges offered in Flaubert's DICTIONARY OF ACCEPTED IDEAS. Highly recommended! (less)
'Hey, Boo' are two of the most perfect words in literature because they salute the "other" we all are asked to fold into our awareness. This is a univ...more'Hey, Boo' are two of the most perfect words in literature because they salute the "other" we all are asked to fold into our awareness. This is a universal, a spiritual truth that humans have the capacity to experience in life, and Harper Lee tapped it in Scout's salutation to Arthur Radley in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. What are we to do with those unlike us?
Ms. Lee said she wanted to be the Jane Austen of Southern Alabama. Instead, with one novel, she has caused readers everywhere to enlarge their sense of right with each reading.
Few writers achieve what literature is capable of...changing reader's minds. Even when a belief has been taught at the dinner table, confirmed by institutions, and backed by laws, minds can be changed by Atticus Finch's demeanor in a Maycomb County courthouse. This is the potential power of an author's words held in the hands of millions of readers facing universal truths.
Ms. Lee wrote beautiful letters to friends, some essays, but she never published another book. She seems to have told her story in 1960 and believed she couldn't please herself with another narrative.
Re-reading this classic causes readers to evaluate how they have measured up to its truths, a kind of American scripture, I suppose you could call it. FAVORITE! HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!