i was hoping for a wee bit more of a contiguous narrative from this, but alas, it's a collection of ruminations with the flying creatures being the fii was hoping for a wee bit more of a contiguous narrative from this, but alas, it's a collection of ruminations with the flying creatures being the first.
some of the vignettes were interesting enough, but some fell flat for me, and none were as memorable as the angelico piece. a definite mixed bag, but a short read, and a beautiful little book to hold. ...more
if this book didn't have Zola's name on the cover, i might not have been able to guess he wrote it (with the exception of a brief reference to Sidonieif this book didn't have Zola's name on the cover, i might not have been able to guess he wrote it (with the exception of a brief reference to Sidonie Macquart). seriously, i didn't think Zola had it in him to write anything stranger than The Sin of Father Mouret, but this exceeds it in every way. i had to give it three stars just for being so bizarre.
my astonishment aside, however, this is not a great book; enjoyable on some levels, but too inscrutable to make me want to invest time in analysis. some other readers have called it a fairytale, but i think it's just a 200-page condemnation of religious hysteria as written by an outsider who by all appearances seems weirdly jealous. for a man who was so adamantly against the power of the Church, Zola's obsession with Catholic mysticism is obvious. he positively roils in the details of ceremony and ritual here: processions, vestments, and extreme unction. part of me wonders if he was just fascinated by what he would have considered absurd, but part of me thinks he was searching for something through this exploration. it's a set of religious themes he comes back to again and again: self-negation, obedience, and spiritual ecstasy.
it took me two weeks to read The Earth. it took me two days to read The Dream. that alone definitely puts this book ahead of the last. ...more
i liked this more than i expected in terms of the storytelling. thompson's achievement in the art is extraordinary (no question about that ~ though ii liked this more than i expected in terms of the storytelling. thompson's achievement in the art is extraordinary (no question about that ~ though i do think a critical moment left undrawn toward the end felt like a cheat somehow). but the story is intriguing and kept me reading straight through the end even though i only expected to maybe get a taste of a chapter to begin with.
some of it comes together marvelously, but other pieces felt, to me, a bit bloated (and even pretentious ~ the ideas of storytelling, language, and writing never really came together for me; whereas themes of sacrifice and faith were woven beautifully throughout). one particular revelation surprised and impressed me so much i went to bed meditating on it after the book was done. but after i had thought about it, i began questioning what it meant in relation to the story's theme of sacrifice ~ and in a strange way the impact of the epiphany stole impact from the characters in a way that ultimately enfeebles the whole journey.
so, that this is a book that might make you think deeply, i laud it. that you might draw conclusions that could ultimately weaken the power of its own narrative is strangely its biggest flaw. i would explain myself, but i don't want to give anything away ~ this is certainly worth reading for yourself and coming to your own conclusions....more
this slim volume is deceiving ~ it looks slight, but it's very well packed. only after several readings did i really appreciate what it includes. overthis slim volume is deceiving ~ it looks slight, but it's very well packed. only after several readings did i really appreciate what it includes. overall could not have asked for a better place to begin understanding the beliefs of this culture. felt a little thin on broader customs, but one gets the impression that the simplicity of the Moravians doesn't particularly lend itself to deeply documenting special habits....more
anti-Catholicism was quite the national pastime in antebellum America and here's a great book that demonstrates how and why that prevalent attitude slanti-Catholicism was quite the national pastime in antebellum America and here's a great book that demonstrates how and why that prevalent attitude slowly began turning around in the 19th century.
here is a book full of real heroes; nurses, student soldiers, and clergy who rendered aid to a country that didn't want them; helping to alleviate prejudices through their dedication and service. there are some great portraits throughout and excellent details not only of those who left Notre Dame to assist in the fields, but also those who remained at the college. it was especially interesting to read about the aftermath of the war.
a great overview of an underwritten subject, with numerous interesting anecdotes and quotes from primary source documents. one description of a general absolution before battle at Gettysburg was especially affecting.
also a nice starting place for those interested in reading more about general w. t. sherman, whose Catholic wife insisted on raising their many children in the faith (and whose son Tom eventually entered the priesthood despite his father's objections).
excellent photos and notes round this book out very well. as with schmidt's other book (Lincoln's Labels), i only wish it could have been longer!...more
Zulli can do no wrong in my book, so it's hard to review this. You will either roll with it or you won't. A meditation on dreams, the creative processZulli can do no wrong in my book, so it's hard to review this. You will either roll with it or you won't. A meditation on dreams, the creative process, and sovereignty, I could relate on certain levels, but like Zulli says, this is about questions rather than answers, so some might find it short on revelation. The artwork is astonishing. For me, that's sufficient....more
This is truly the height of bizarre sentimental Victorian moralistic gibberish. Since I don't recommend it, I'm going to spoil it for you: Jakey is blThis is truly the height of bizarre sentimental Victorian moralistic gibberish. Since I don't recommend it, I'm going to spoil it for you: Jakey is blind. He's pitiable, but smart, industrious, and has a heart of gold. He reads Pilgrim's Progress and strives to be of good moral character. Naturally, he's the perfect child save for being blind. So exactly what is the moral of the story when he wishes he could die so he could be in heaven with his mother and then he subsequently (while out playing with his over-privileged little sighted friends), gets run over by a train? If you're blind, be good and hope for death?
So yes, he dies, but what a happy ending, right? Because in heaven, nobody is blind!...more
Heavy handed first book in the Drayton Hall Series. Laurence Bronson is a young man whose father is bankrupted by an unscrupulous business partner. ThHeavy handed first book in the Drayton Hall Series. Laurence Bronson is a young man whose father is bankrupted by an unscrupulous business partner. The father has an accident and Laurence must swallow all manner of pride to support his family. Fortunately his goody-two-shoes nature means everyone bends over backwards to see that he succeeds. In the middle of all of this, his best friend Frank Austin has a bizarre conversion experience that has little to do with anything else in the story. Entertaining mostly for its plucky saccharin writing and some nice engravings. I've spent more time reading worse books....more
such a huge disappointment. it reads like turgid biography: stilted, rhythmically predictable and monotonous, and, well, just hugely boring. i love thsuch a huge disappointment. it reads like turgid biography: stilted, rhythmically predictable and monotonous, and, well, just hugely boring. i love the idea (about the various layers of exile we suffer/endure), but there's no reason for it to have been so incredibly dull. i don't understand how Hansen could take someone whose inner life was so rich and poetic and spiritual and turn him into such a colorless bore. boo. i honestly don't know where the rave reviews are coming from because this book is not one fifth of the awesomeness that was Mariette in Ecstasy. maybe it's not fair to make the comparison, but i can't help it.
all that vented, there's some nice stuff in here. once the cataloging of characters is dispensed with (after about 100 pages), the story starts to form up a bit, but ultimately there are no surprises here, and no revelations. i almost wish Hansen had been more heavy-handed on the theme of exile ~ to give it at least that in more vivid color. ...more