translator coverdaleDra– got impac award for translation of jelloun book This Blinding Absence of Light, but so this one by deck is a bit of a mystery...moretranslator coverdaleDra– got impac award for translation of jelloun book This Blinding Absence of Light, but so this one by deck is a bit of a mystery, mysterious like dra_____ . viviane is a recently abandoned mother, her husband just couldn;t take it anymore. so viviane juggles her career, her baby daughter, her shrink, her entry into social security. author uses unique and tricky pov's, from you, to tu, to us, to her, to them, to me in such a fascinating way, those become just as much of the plot/motivation as the 'facts'. delightful experimentation of describing the grinding, fine grinding of modern life. and of course, he deserved it, right? (less)
an easy to understand history of rome's takeover of greece and macedonia (and west coast of turkey and northern levant) from about 200 to 167 AD. how'...morean easy to understand history of rome's takeover of greece and macedonia (and west coast of turkey and northern levant) from about 200 to 167 AD. how'd they do it? overpowering navy, land army, and power politics. they tried to convince the different city states and kings to do what rome wanted, ie. indirect rule, or crush them out. finally they even crushed macedonia and took over western turkey this strategy was so successful. so a lot of history in 300 pages/, wonderful addition for pop hist, undergrad and public library collections. has maps, great photos, cool endnotes,and incredible bibliography
the roman square beat the hoplite phalanx, everytime.(less)
the third in fermor's famous trilogy of walking from uk to turkey in 1933-35. though he actually wrote most of this 3rd one first (see the fascinating...morethe third in fermor's famous trilogy of walking from uk to turkey in 1933-35. though he actually wrote most of this 3rd one first (see the fascinating introduction by colin thubron and artemis cooper) and this portion of his walk, bulgaria, rumania (north to north moldavia?), back to bulgaria, finally finally to 'istambul", then to the 'holy mountain' athos in greece for an extended stay in many of the monasteries there (this taken from his only surviving journal, not the actual book he was writing [when he was 96!] about his original walk) . has all fermor's trademarks: long paragraphs, long subordinate sentences, good cheer, unstoppable energy, occasional depressions, quite a bit of luck, some real trials, and no sense whatsoever of the coming cataclysm of wwii (though as he was re-writing this again after 50 years or so, he does slip in poignant statements, mainly that of all the people he met in all the countries, from the richest princesses to the lowliest shepherds, none survived, or survived in a radically different world than that of 1934). has two maps and one picture of young fermor at rila .
dyer has written some fascinating books, honest, quirky, sexy, here you can see his range in essay collection of book reviews and sex and doughnuts Ot...moredyer has written some fascinating books, honest, quirky, sexy, here you can see his range in essay collection of book reviews and sex and doughnuts Otherwise Known as the Human Condition: Selected Essays and Reviews and he's written book length essays on john berger Ways Of Telling: The Work Of John Berger and a book length essay on not writing about d h lawrence (but he did find a lovely beach in mexico) Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling With D.H. Lawrence so his assignment of reporting on the life of a usa nuclear powered air craft carrier in the persian gulf recently sounds excitig. and he does come to some insights. but you will not learn the speed of the boat, the size, the missions. he does look into the food a bit, the teamwork, the captain;s chef, pilots, exercise regimens, bunks, off hours, lack of sex. so this is for a new series run by alain de botton and could be quite exciting, http://www.writersinresidence.org/boo... putting writers in interesting places to report back to us, of possibly, the inner workings and interesting bits of airports, imf, air craft carriers...
so dyer, did he find some interesting bits? yes, and no. the awesome power of military indoctrination building loyalty, striving for perfection, bravery, can doism, even and including female "tips of the spear". but also, the rather tawdry and gross prevalence of usa evangelical chistianity in all aspects of on-board life (nightly broadcast prayers and wholehearted believers in all positions, in a detached observer come across as fundamentalists no different than osama and taliban, but if you live in middle usa you already know that and not too surprising if you have paid attention to the weird military scandals during its decades long wars and the role of evangelicals, sheesh). he also addresses the reasons some (many? most? see we don;t really get too many facts, but more haphazard encounters of the author with the sailors)joined the navy/military to start with: school dropouts, in trouble with the law, poverty due to higher education, dead end life of usa etc... so there is a real difference between the careerists and the EC-1's. also, dyer did not address the waste and pollution except as it affected his clothes and possessions. so if they don;t dump stuff in the ocean, which the captain got super pissed off about as somebody was throwing stuff over the side and they thought it was 'man over board'. so where does all that waste go to? maybe taken off by helicopter but not sure. i did like that dyer both was respectful about h w bush and got in his digs at that screwy, very sad and typical usa family. has a super funny line about shrub in this book, almost worth reading the whole thing just for that. no spoiler here though. not perhaps one of dyer's most brilliant efforts, but still lots of his special angles of looking, unique ideas of a thinking person visiting behemoths of human culture. four stars for old times sake geoff. (less)
an entertaining historical novel, perhaps unique in its portrayal of early pennsylvania railroad building. starts in 1832 ireland where poor share cro...morean entertaining historical novel, perhaps unique in its portrayal of early pennsylvania railroad building. starts in 1832 ireland where poor share cropper kills the local 1%er, then hies off to usa. moody and lyrical writing style at times beautiful at other times a bore and slows down the action. but there is action, a trans-oceanic chase scene over many years and trials with many interesting historical tidbits of 1830's ireland and penn. (less)
interesting philosophy of art and war. a modern war photographer gives up his world traveling and moves to an island off costa brava into an old pirat...moreinteresting philosophy of art and war. a modern war photographer gives up his world traveling and moves to an island off costa brava into an old pirate lookout tower and is in the process of painting a huge mural in the round, of the battle of battles, his summation of all he has seen, made money off of, thought about, from yuogslavia to romania, chad, congo, lebanon, somalia, and all he has dedicated his life to thinking about. and then, a croat soldier he snapped a pic of (and sold to lots of news magazines) shows up on his island, to kill him for the repercussions of that photo. the novel is a conversation between the painter's memories, the croatian's, history, humans seemingly inexhaustible talent of killing and war.
the 1965 edition. the back cover has the back of a horseman with black sombrero with six bullet holes in it, a red shirt, purple cantle, black dragoon...morethe 1965 edition. the back cover has the back of a horseman with black sombrero with six bullet holes in it, a red shirt, purple cantle, black dragoon looking pistols on each hip, red horse's rump, all on a lilac background. a spoofy western with multiple plot lines that almost stampede away from the author, but he eventually herds em all together and gets em into the corral, i reckon. egregious use of squaw and buck referring to comanches, kiowas, pueblos and navajos, but typical of that time, i reckon (1965 or 1895 same same). but some actual and insightful research into the 'real' happenings of western usa in late 1800s. fun use of cuss words, mule-sniffing son of a bitch, etc etc so, outlaws, lawmen , cavalry, docs, whores, school marms, evil step parents, indians, miners, preachers, sheriffs, cowboys, sheep men, etc and dingus, the alleged bad hombre was more of myth of gossip and 'journalism' whose real claim to greatness was his ability to fuck 17 people in 20 hours, twice, i reckon. (less)
this i think is the 3rd franck book i've read recently. this is his "1st" and big one, he more or less decides spur of moment to travel around the wor...morethis i think is the 3rd franck book i've read recently. this is his "1st" and big one, he more or less decides spur of moment to travel around the world, on foot, with no money. so a vagabond, and interestingly enough, most of the vagabonds of 1906 or so were from germany, and they were beggars and cons, living the 'easy' life in italy, cario, jerusalem, tokyo, hong kong etc etc. franck tried to not beg or pass off false stories to get money from missionaries or working people or usa embassy folks. he tried to get jobs and use that money to eat and travel. so he walked, a lot. for ex from levant to damascus, to Galilee to jerusalem. every body said, impossible, but he did it. then to cairo, then to sri lanka, then all over india, where he did pull some fast ones on british policy of giving bums and vagabonds train passage through their territories. then franck had the fantastic idea to walk from 'bangladesh' to burma. that probably would have truly did him in, but then met an irish buddist priest and he helped him get to rangoon, then franck had the idea to walk to thailand, which he did, impossible or not. then on to hong kong, and japan. his trip home to califa on a windjammer would make a book inself, truly horrifying and a lost world now. informative for its historicity and vagabond side of things. a bit disgusting with the racism and generalizations on religion and culture. but all n all a not bad book. i wish his one on spain in 1914 was as in depth as this one or as detailed as his panama canal cop book. has some pictures (his kodak went with him all round the world and really was his only permanent possession for many years) (less)
modernist, involved short stories to author's lover, moscow, and shes a cold bitch he can't leave. so how to live in the city on 10 kopeks a day (no b...moremodernist, involved short stories to author's lover, moscow, and shes a cold bitch he can't leave. so how to live in the city on 10 kopeks a day (no booze, tobacco, or mass trans for you, just walk until you hallucinate) amazing that his stories were never published, never. until after gorbachev. they stayed in his lover;s closet for all those years. god blees her.
entertaining historical/science fiction of Margaret mead, reo fortune, and bateson, ground breaking anthropologists starting their careers in papau ne...moreentertaining historical/science fiction of Margaret mead, reo fortune, and bateson, ground breaking anthropologists starting their careers in papau new guinea in the 1930's. author has done some good integration of history of science, psychology and art in the modernizing western world with some fictional tribes just meeting westerners for the first, or at least, fisrt sustained meetings, and a love triangle of egg heads in the sweaty woods. has nice supplemental reading list. for further reading of this 'old science' genre see andrea barrett Servants of the Map: Stories and Archangel: Fiction(less)
i totally flipped for rupert thomson book about sci fi uk divided into 4 different colors Divided Kingdom so was maybe overexcited about this historic...morei totally flipped for rupert thomson book about sci fi uk divided into 4 different colors Divided Kingdom so was maybe overexcited about this historical novel of 1699 florence and art, but while very well done, and lots of cool details, a nice illicit love interest, very interesting art talk, and evil priest slash sadist-murderer, it seemed hard to get into. a bit slow on all facets, the characters, the plot, the history. maybe really, and i'm not enamored with the whole new tread of making novels 400, 500, 600 pages now, this one at 377 pages could have been a lot longer to flesh out all the subplots and history and art. about an wax artist who gets a commission from the rich leader of florence in 1699. see leslie forbes for a similar idea, and although hers is much lighter and 'zany' it seemed at least to be more propulsive. Waking Raphael(less)
idk, i guess you could say this is subtle, but others could come away underwhelmed by this prequel to a great western/noir novel 'cottonwood'. we lear...moreidk, i guess you could say this is subtle, but others could come away underwhelmed by this prequel to a great western/noir novel 'cottonwood'. we learn what 'bill' does after he kills the richest man in cottonwood and vacates with the beautiful widow in tow. they end up in colorado territory, he as photographer, she as acolyte utopian in greely. he quickly decamps to denver and sets up his photography studio and lives the life. solves are murder mystery, saves an old chinese guy in hop alley during a race riot, gets arrested for murder, busts jail and takes the train to san francisco (where cottonwood starts) author phillips has become famous for his brutal truthful look of motivations, morals, murders, what really moves us. this one really for scott phillips fans and not the neophyte, but if so inclined, do do read cottonwood too and it'll be a five star historically accurate noir of unique gritty style, lots of sex, avarice, and violence. just like it is. Cottonwood
btw phillips uses his tropes in interesting ways= war vet back to square life, sees the pettiness and corruption of 'everyday american life' , figures he is due a living too, and takes it by their rules; through duplicitous, violence, con, friendship, hard work, using people, forging partners, ... so author plugs this 'formula' in to books taking place in 1980, 1950, 1850, 1880
a memoir and study in place (sw montana) by a peripatetic and smart college couple facing the first world questions of what-do-we-do-now and which opt...morea memoir and study in place (sw montana) by a peripatetic and smart college couple facing the first world questions of what-do-we-do-now and which options, of the myriad we have, should we pick? dull? could be, oh the poor poor white upper middle class world travelers, what, just what should they do? but then, molly may caro does something in this telling, she tells herself the truth. and that truth is pretty hard to take. her myth of herself was just that, and really, when you start telling the truth to yourself it can get pretty ugly. and it's not easy either, as humans are the best at this,to ignore and gloss over what is 'real'. even to our outer reality. ok, so a test: what were those birds singing outside this morning? it was reality, did you miss it? or, how much do it rain this week? oh, that much?
so author starts paying close attention, a thoreau attention sort of, to her outside and her inside. so much so that she and her partner decide to not take all those options due to usaers, but rather stay on a little place in backwoods montana, live in their homemade yurt, and watch the cottonwoods, and see what THEY do.
no pics, no maps, no index, no bibliography. book needs all that really. maybe next time.(less)