I liked this book a lot, but I felt sections were a bit unclear. The chapters of the book could have been used to give clarity, for example to distingI liked this book a lot, but I felt sections were a bit unclear. The chapters of the book could have been used to give clarity, for example to distinguish between Russian, British and French nursing methods.
You learn about the Crimean War, and I haven't read much about this war so that in itself made it very interesting. The battles are covered, but there is only a little about the cause of the war. The central theme is the role women played - Florence Nightingale, the colored Jamaican nurse Mary Seacole and others. Not only British nurses but also French and Russian counterparts are discussed. A thorough description of the conditions that prevailed during the war is also given. The conditions were appalling - high fatalities, disease (particularly cholera and typhoid) and generally medical, logistical and tactical mismanagement. The book is well researched. There are many direct quotes; you get the feel and the language of Victorian times and also Queen Victoria's role in the war. This is the last war where women were allowed to accompany the men to the front. This is the first war covered by the press, relying on modern technologies, the telegraph, railways and explosive naval shells. This is the first war women were officially organized as nurses, although French nuns, the Sisters of Charity, had in times past followed their men into war, giving them succor and aid. In fact this was an embarrassing point to the British.
Not only were the war conditions appalling but that the war became a tourist attraction was for me even more appalling. I had a hard time comprehending why women even contemplated following their men into war! Perhaps to care for them, given that medical aid was so lacking?!
This book is an eye-opener about the role Florence Nightingale actually played. She was based at the British hospital in Sutari, which is in Turkey, not the Crimea. Her primary task was much more organizational than actually caring for the sick or wounded. She vehemently opposed all and any interference. She didn't work well with the other women, neither with Mary Seacole nor the nuns. Why has so little acclaim been given to the other nurses who functioned independent from Nightingale? Why is it that Nightingale alone has received recognition and acclaim? Militarily the French and the English fought together against the Russians, but in caring for the sick and wounded there was a complete schism. I sense an underlying discord between Catholicism and Protestantism that is not openly discussed, and I wish this had been more clearly analyzed. Nightingale avoided recruiting nurses of the Catholic faith and she did not want them proselytizing. Does religion explain why so little has been said of the other nurses and why so little recognition has been given them?
The narration by Eunice Roberts is clear and fits the Victorian language of the numerous quotes. ...more
Where to start? How to explain why I like it so very much?
I like Ayn Rand's style of writing. Her language is strong, clear and not in the least subtlWhere to start? How to explain why I like it so very much?
I like Ayn Rand's style of writing. Her language is strong, clear and not in the least subtle. I think I could recognize it in the future. The reader observes what the characters do. Very little introspection. The plot fits the language and the behavior of the characters. Strong, determined people - no not people, just one character, but she is the central character. Kira is her name. This book is autobiographical, but only in the sense that it speaks of the author's life philosophy. The characters and the plot are all fictional. How Kira thinks is how Ayn Rand thinks....and if that doesn't appeal to you, well then the whole novel may not appeal to you. Do strong, determined people appeal to you?
This is a book that describes the Bolshevik era. It is set in Petrograd / St. Petersburg / Leningrad, predominantly the 1920s. It is a book about how Bolshevism destroyed people. It is also a love story.
The ending! It ends perfectly. Ayn Rand's writing, her description of places and events is so sharp and clear. The ending dazzles. You see it and you feel it and it moves you. The events fit the language. You want to know what will happen. You say, "Get to the end! Tell me! Tell me!" But at the same time you know you have to wait because Kira's path takes time too. That is what I mean when I say the words reflect the events.
Is the book realistic? Yes, I think so.
Mary Woods narrates the audiobook. She changes the speed with which she reads the story. Dialogs are read slowly so you can listen and think about what each is saying. Past events are read in a speedy blur. I have never run into such a technique before, but it is effective. I came to recognize the different characters by the different tones used. ...more
I cannot cope with short stories, even fabulous ones. Don't do as I did and read them all in a row.
The twelve stories that are said to be in this colI cannot cope with short stories, even fabulous ones. Don't do as I did and read them all in a row.
The twelve stories that are said to be in this collection are the following: 1. A Story Without a Title 2. Art 3. The Student 4. Ivan Matveyitch 5. The June Premier 6. A Slander 7. The Beggar 8. A Malefactor 9. Minds in Ferment 10. The Looking Glass 11. Old Age 12. On Trial
Please note the fifth story is NOT included!
William Coon narrates all of the twelve eleven stories. Each story is followed with a pause and a little music. This is very good since you need time to think about the story just completed and start afresh with the next one. STILL, do NOT read one after the other!
OK, I love how Chekhov writes. With just a few descriptive words he manages to draw distinct characters. You cannot mistake what makes each one tick. You are given their attire, how they move and how they think.... or don't think. Each story has a message. Many of the stories are filled with humor. Some with irony. Some of the stories I did not know what was being said; I hadn't a clue.
I am just going to tell you just about the first story, but only in general terms. It was my absolute favorite. I wish all had been this good, but they weren't. I loved it because it has humor. I mean it is really, really funny. (view spoiler)[A hunter comes to a monastery and exclaims that the monks are just sitting on their butts doing nothing about the problems in the cities around them. He tells them to get off their butts, to go out into the world and DO something about all the problems out there! (hide spoiler)] I loved it because it allows each reader to interpret the facts as they wish. I believe a religious person, which I am not, can equally well draw completely different conclusions than those I have drawn...and yet we can both love it. It has irony. And at the end you can sit and talk about how one can interpret the "loose" ending. This is why people of different beliefs can all love it!
One more thing - Chekhov draw a picture of the Russian people, the common people, that will stick with you forever. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
So this was a Tolstoy...... Hmph, the story doesn't say much except to reiterate how difficult and painful death can be, both physically and emotionalSo this was a Tolstoy...... Hmph, the story doesn't say much except to reiterate how difficult and painful death can be, both physically and emotionally. The story is way too short to establish empathy for Ivan Ilyich! He was a judge. A game of bridge was his favorite amusement. All his life he conformed to proper decorum, becoming with age aloof and irascible. What was the point of life - both he and the readers may ask?! Talk about a depressing book!!!!
The narration by Walter Zimmerman was certainly not bad, but it didn't add anything....more
Oh, I do like how Turgenev writes. He gets to the core of characters. You understand who they are, why each one acts as they do. He also has great abiOh, I do like how Turgenev writes. He gets to the core of characters. You understand who they are, why each one acts as they do. He also has great ability to draw a place so it comes alive and you see it , feel it and almost smell it. Like a park at night....... and what Vladimir discovered that night!
Back track: this is about a sixteen year-old's first love. (Do you recall yours?!) He falls head over heels for a self-centered, manipulative, pretty girl. She knows she is pretty and she has her own agenda. He is not the only one who is charmed by her wiles. In this very short novella you get to know several people and come to understand their choices. Each character has a unique personality. That is what I liked best! Still, I would have given it more stars if it had been longer. I have a definite preference for long books. You will love this if you happen to prefer short books.
The audiobook's narration by David Troughton was excellent. You have no trouble with the Russian names. You know who is who, and I didn't even have to make a list to keep track of them.
On completion of this thick book you know everything that happened in Chekhov's life. It is thorough. It is detailed. His life is told through lettersOn completion of this thick book you know everything that happened in Chekhov's life. It is thorough. It is detailed. His life is told through letters and diary entries written by Chekhov himself and his friends, acquaintances, work associates, siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, spouses.... There exist numerous letters and diary entries. This is how people communicated at the end of the 1800s. Chekhov was born in 1860 and died in 1904 of TB. Much of these entries read as today's telephone conversations. Sometimes hearing the grumbles and mundane thoughts of what one ate for breakfast and how much the train ticket to Moscow cost and how cold it was and how a new maid had been employed and how the last one got pregnant and had to leave and how the crane died in the kitchen and ...... You get details, LOTS of details. These details give the reader a real understanding of life in Moscow and St. Petersburg and the Ukraine too. He was constantly traveling between these cities or to his country house. There he became a farmer. Later he bought a house in the Crimea.
These letters and diary entries and the resulting events are presented in chronological order. Each chapter often covers only two months! You hear what he does just about every day of those two months. Rarely are months skimmed, except maybe the beginning years of his life. They are covered but not in such detail. You learn exactly when each of his stories and plays were written. How he took one play and altered it to become another. You learn how what happened in his life is retold in these stories and plays. I have the feeling not one is missed.
But there is little analysis. What Chekhov wanted to say is described by what he did and what happened. The whys are left up to the reader to figure out from Chekhov’s actions. Chekhov himself did not did not give many explanations. History is mentioned briefly - Czar Alexander II, Czar Alexander III died, Nicholas the II came to power. Literature was censored and his too, but there is no discussion of why or how the government used censorship. There is no discussion of historical events. This is not a book of history but you do get a good look at Russian life.
Health or rather illness is a huge part of the book. So many died. This is not a "fun" read. By the time Chekhov reached some success he was sick, very sick. Watching how his TB, the “White Plague”, as it was then called, gets worse and worse is not easy reading. And he saw his friends die of the very illness he was suffering from. How does that feel? I must have gotten emotionally attached to him because his dearth at the end was horrible.
Chekhov first became a doctor, then only later a writer....and he writes about what he saw and experienced, i.e. Russian life. At the end he was supporting both emotionally and economically his whole family and so many others too. He was no angel. Choose one woman; now that was not his style. He did finally get married, but what happened then?! And he had things to do - doctoring or writing or farming - and as he saw it that came first! In his defense, people depended on him. You will learn about how he traveled to Sakhalin to document prisoners and their existence in Siberia. To write about this he had to know about it. He fought cholera, he set up schools, he…... He was a very busy and a very sick man. His life is extremely interesting.
One word about the narration by Fred Williams. He reads it slowly and steadily. The French pronunciation is laughable, but there isn't much French. It bugged me that dates are read in the following fashion: May 2, 1891 is read as "May two, rather than "May second".. Remember there are tons of dates! June 6-8 is read "June six slash eight", no not dash! This is rather petty of me......
I am very glad I read this book. It is not JUST about his books! I have one misgiving. I should have stopped and read each story and play as it is mentioned in the book. Had I done that I think perhaps I would have given the book more stars. I kick myself in that I didn't think of doing this until the very end. I also believe the more you know about Chekhov before you read this book the more you will appreciate it. If you are writing a paper for school, here is the book. I was just reading for fun, and honestly it did get a bit tedious at times. ...more
Just to clear things up: this book is the same as Dostoyevsky's Demons and The Devils!
No, I am not finishing this book. I have listened to 1/3. My reaJust to clear things up: this book is the same as Dostoyevsky's Demons and The Devils!
No, I am not finishing this book. I have listened to 1/3. My reason is very simple: the discussion/theorizing about nihilism and God, with a spicy murder or two, suicides, and the “who-dunnit” question thrown in, are elements common to all four of the four books I have read by Dostoyevsky:
I have had enough, particularly since I have already read Dostoyevsky's last novel, Brothers Karamazov, which clearly summarizes his beliefs. This was the last one he wrote before his death. A fellow GR reader (Dely) described the four as rising to a crescendo, and she is absolutely right. If you wish to read all four read them in the above order.
Being who I am, it would have been better if I had not continued beyond Crime and Punishment and The Idiot, both of which I loved. They are more ambiguous, less preachy, less didactic. They let the readers decide for themselves what they want to think. On the other hand if you are out after Dostoyevsky's views you need only read Brothers Karamazov. I personally don't want to be told what to think.
In addition the narration by Constance Garnett was not good. You cannot tell who is speaking. The French is really off. No, find some other narrator if you want to listen to this book. This audiobook also lacks the chapter called either "By Tichon" or "Confessions of Stavrogin", which has important information for a better understanding of the events. Wiki does provide information about the content of the chapter though. The chapter was censored in the first publications of the book. I have not finished the audiobook, so there remains the possibility that it is added at the end as an appendix. ...more
I personally am without religious faith. Some books demand that you be religious to understand how the characters think and behave. I just finished ThI personally am without religious faith. Some books demand that you be religious to understand how the characters think and behave. I just finished The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra. The religious faith of the girls and their mother is all encompassing and totally comprehensible…even to me. I really like books, like this, that let you experience a whole new way of looking at the world around you; I saw their world through their eyes.
You know what hits me? Everyone is reading horror stories for Halloween. Well, this is a horror story too, a real one.
I enjoyed this book very much, and so have given it four stars. It is by no means my first book on the last Russian czar and his family. I love Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra and highly recommend that too. What Rappaport's book has that is lacking from Massie's is a glimpse at the personalities of the four Grand duchesses: Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia. Having read this book, I feel I know them. The beginning isn’t focused on them. I was muttering, “But this is just the same thing as all the other books on the Romanovs! When am I going to be given the details on the girls?!” Be patient; it comes. Their characters are not simplistically summarized; you follow them from their birth to their death. Some personality aspects change; others remain stable. You see how they react in different situations and at different ages. You get different people's views of the four girls and their brother and mother and father too. Lots of quotes are given so you hear how they responded to each other in varying scenarios. I loved hearing how they girls behaved as children and then later as they worked as nurses in WW1 and finally when imprisoned first in the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo , then in Tobolsk and finally at Ekaterinberg. You learn about the whole family. It was a very close family. Family relationships are a central theme too, but you learn much more about the girls and their mother than father or son. You leave the book with a good understanding of what made each one of them tick and how outside events shaped them into who they were. Nature and nurture, both!
You also get an easily told story of the historical events. You don't get a political analysis of the situation in the Russian Empire. You are delivered a character study with the historical events as they unfold. If you want more go to Massie's book.
You cannot read this book without being horrified. You cannot read this book without getting emotionally invested. You cannot read this book without coming to understand the importance of faith and spiritual belief and love of family and country to Nicholas, Alexandra and their children. Personal decisions and choices affect history.
When I started this audiobook I was displeased with the narration by Xe Sands. She reads rapidly. She reads with emotion. You hear in her intonation her own emotional reaction to the events. She is not giving an unbiased presentation of the lines. There is gossip and she reads these lines with just such a tone. She sounds herself like a gossip when she relates what is being said about the Romanovs. BUT, I grew used to the speed. As I progressed I began to feel the lines simply HAD to be read with emotional fervor. How can you just read without passion....given what was happening? It works because her emotions reflect the author's lines very well.
You cannot read just one book about the last Romanovs. This is worth reading and it is easy to follow. Its strongest focus is on the girls' personalities, with all the rest told too. It has an epilogue that states what happened after the deaths, that is to those who aided them and also those who enhanced their suffering. ...more
It feels ridiculous to voice an opinion about this book. Who am I to say anything about the great Dostoyevsky? Nevertheless, here follow my thoughts oIt feels ridiculous to voice an opinion about this book. Who am I to say anything about the great Dostoyevsky? Nevertheless, here follow my thoughts on completing this book:
It shows that this is Dostoyevsky's last novel, his grand opus, and that he had important things to say to his readers. The book was to be the first of a series, but he died the year following its publication in 1880 at the age of 60. His writing is of course a reflection of his own life experiences. This shows very clearly in the multitude of themes tackled: fatherhood, the existence of God, sibling rivalry, jealousy, passion and the struggle between evil and goodness. His son had died two years earlier. In 1849 he was sentenced to death and thought he would be killed. At the very execution field he was pardoned. He writes of epilepsy, which he too had. He spent four years in Siberia. No, I have no intention of summarizing his life, but all these events are covered in this novel. He knows what he is writing about, and it shows. He is an elderly man and he wanted to say clearly what his own life had taught him. This book sometimes reads as a religious tract. There are long sections where one idea is espoused... to the point where it feels didactic. I never felt that in his other books. Can one not forgive a wise elderly man for speaking his mind?
So even if at times I thought I couldn't take the lecturing any more, I did continue. The book concludes with the trial. You must know that The Brothers Karamazov is about a father killed by one of his sons. Which one is the question. One is passionate, one is intellectual and the third is spiritual. There is an illegitimate son too. The book basically concludes with the trial. (This being a work of Dostoyevsky there are other side plots too, of course!) The trial is riveting. I listened to the prosecutor. I listened to the defense attorney's arguments. BOTH are amazingly convincing. You hang on to your seat; you have to know how it will end. The arguments are both philosophical and tied to the facts. I cannot possibly give this book less than three stars after this exposition. It is clear and logical and emotionally riveting. And the relationships are messy, as with all of his books.
Constantine Gregory's narration of the audiobook was good, although I wasn't thrilled with his women voices. The father, who is murdered, is a buffoon. With Gregory's intonation he certainly sounded annoying, but that was who he was, so I really cannot complain.
Dostoyevsky can write and became so very wise, but at 60 his religious beliefs were much stronger than mine. I think like this: these Russians needed to believe in God; otherwise they just could not go on. Is that so wrong? Take the time to read some Dostoyevsky quotes here: https://www.goodreads.com/author/quot...
Depressing. I thought I would love everything by D…… I have yet to give up. Could it turn around? I am trying to like this, but I feel so destroyed b/c an author I loved has fallen. Sigh. There is no way I ever thought D could write like this!
In a nutshell, D is forcing his religious beliefs down my throat and his characters represent "types" of people.
There are love entanglements. I know there will be a murder, and I bet I know who did it. Let's see if I am right. (view spoiler)[ Will it be Pavel Fyodorovich Smerdyakov, the illegitimate son? That is my guess. Of course he is jealous of his brothers and would hate this father who made him a servant of the house! Pretty easy to guess. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
ETA: For clarity’s sake – this is not a novel (with a plot you start and follow to the end), it is a very interesting report. See it as non-fiction.
*ETA: For clarity’s sake – this is not a novel (with a plot you start and follow to the end), it is a very interesting report. See it as non-fiction.
Read this if you are interested in hearing a detailed account of life in a Siberian labor camp during the mid-1800s. After Dostoyevsky's mock execution in 1849, he instead was sent to a Siberian labor camp for four years. This book is written as fiction, but it is based on his real life experiences. It is detailed; it is factual; it is amazingly enough written with utter detachment. It is an exposé of what happened there in the camp: the food, the sleeping arrangements, the different classes of people, escape attempts, holiday celebrations, jobs allotted and the people -peasant convicts and upper-class prisoners, political dissidents and murders. The crime of the convicts varied largely but the punishment was the same although for different lengths of time. Incarceration, loss of freedom and unbelievably hard conditions is what they all faced. It was the House of the Dead!
Dostoyevsky makes up a story where a fictitious man's notes, a prisoner accused of killing his wife, are edited and presented to us in this document, the document which is this book. Occasionally the editor leaves comments in the notes we are reading. Keep in mind the notes themselves are supposedly written by the fictitious prisoner, while what they really are is Dostoyevsky's own experiences. Kind of a complicated set-up, wouldn't you say?!
There is a lot of discussion about the different classes of people in the camp. This is because D himself felt discriminated against due to his own high class when he was imprisoned. He was always lonely, he was never accepted as being one of the other convicts; he never was accepted as a comrade. There were far fewer of the upper-class gentlemen incarcerated. Dostoyevsky was imprisoned for political reasons, for being a member of the Petrashevsky Circle. One result of this loneliness was his appreciation of the animals in the camp? No, they were not allowed but they were there: a few dogs, a goat, an eagle. One dog, well he became lining for a pair of shoes....... What is going on in prisoners' heads is analyzed and analyzed and analyzed. I am warning you. Some people may go nuts with all the analysis, but the facts are interesting.
Besides what each prisoner is assigned to do in the day, to mentally survive, each must find an occupation for their free time at night when locked in the barracks. Remember they are all fettered, and cramped, and hungry and dirty and crawling with bugs. You might forge passports, or make shoes or whatever, but you needed to make money and keep busy. With money you could buy food or even someone to cook it for you. Or a mistress in town. And Vodka! Of course your money was usually stolen, but then it was only to earn some more. A jingle of coins in your pocket meant choices, the choice of where to spend your money. All of this and more is discussed, not really in chronological order - there are repetitions and backtracks and sometimes the thought sequences are confusing and abruptly change direction.
I am trying to give you an idea of what you will read about.
At the end I thought parts were too repetitive, parts too unclear and jumpy and I could never feel I really KNEW any of the people, only one man’s opinion of them. I felt no empathy for them. And how reliable were his opinions?! I am glad I read the book. It was interesting and it details thoroughly D's (and others’) labor camp experiences.
The narration by Walter Covell didn’t blow me over. The production of the audiobook was poor; the volume jumped around; I heard background noises. Covell just plain read the text in a rather stilted voice. No inflection whatsoever. ...more