I think cute is the best way to describe it. It somewhat looses steam at the end so it might be just as well this is more of a novella than a novel. A...moreI think cute is the best way to describe it. It somewhat looses steam at the end so it might be just as well this is more of a novella than a novel. And since I love Jane Austen and Persuasion I of course had to adore this story (but not to spoil anything, I won't say why). (less)
More like 2 stars for most of the book (time hasn't been kind to this book, I guess) - but there are glimmers of fun and originality from time to time...moreMore like 2 stars for most of the book (time hasn't been kind to this book, I guess) - but there are glimmers of fun and originality from time to time which saves it from being totally forgettable, like when Jerry tries to pass off Anglo-Saxon as Hungarian(!). (less)
Those who have and those who have not - the central theme of the story. Or perhaps even those who have too much and those who have not. The conflict b...moreThose who have and those who have not - the central theme of the story. Or perhaps even those who have too much and those who have not. The conflict between the fat and the thin in everyday life, illustrated by fascinating descriptions of the most luscious food on sale at Les Halles, a lusciousness that soon enough border on the repulsive when the abundance just becomes too much.
Florent as the main character is rather weak (both in the book and on the page), but it matters very little, the descriptions themselves make this book well worth reading. (less)
My favourite Zola - and I have read a few of him, loving them all.
The story of my love for this book dates back to when I was around 12 and first came...moreMy favourite Zola - and I have read a few of him, loving them all.
The story of my love for this book dates back to when I was around 12 and first came across it. I read it several times and loved it. And was quite unhappy when I noted that my Swedish translation was an abridged version. I wanted to read the full book, and as such I absolutely hate abridged book, I hate the concept of it because it will always be a corruption of the real thing. But since I don't know enough French to read a whole book I still had to find a translation. Couldn't find a complete one in Swedish (I don't think it exists), and it took me a few years to realize I might try for an English translation. So, now, finally, I have read the full story.
Beautiful, scary, fascinating - might be a bonus to be interested in fashion history too. The old against the new, with Zola rooting for the new, but also wanting to humanise it (which is most clearly seen in his creation of Denise Baudu).(less)
Och en mycket snabbläst sådan - man drivs hela tiden framåt av viljan att veta vad som egentligen händer. Lite melodramatisk, me...moreEn riktig liten pärla!
Och en mycket snabbläst sådan - man drivs hela tiden framåt av viljan att veta vad som egentligen händer. Lite melodramatisk, men inte bara för att boken är ett barn av sin tid (först publicerad 1824 och påbörjad av författaren långt tidigare) utan också för att det handlar om svartsjuka och svartsjuka kan göra folk till riktiga offer för stormande känslor.(less)
First of all, the Goodreads' title of this book is wrong - there is no story called "Return to Cranford", it is actually "Return to Cranford - Cranfor...moreFirst of all, the Goodreads' title of this book is wrong - there is no story called "Return to Cranford", it is actually "Return to Cranford - Cranford and other stories". The stories are "Cranford", "The cage at Cranford" (a short story) and "The Moorland cottage" (a novelette, I believe is the right term). The last story has actually nothing to do with Cranford, but the story was chosen in this compilation as it was filmed as a part of the Cranford stories when BBC made a TV-series.
Second of all, "Cranford" is an excellent novel. Well worth 4 stars, if not more. It's not much of a story, but that's not the point of it - it is instead to paint a picture of an England disappearing already by the middle of the 19th century. It is quite fascinating and well written, and a reminder of why I like Gaskell so much (because I do).
But the other two stories... "The cage at Cranford" is meant as a laugh with some well established figures from "Cranford". You can read it and smile a little, or you can skip it and you won't really loose anything. Then there is "The Moorland cottage". Oh dear... *spoilers* *spoilers* It is that kind of drama that was so popular in the Victorian era, but doesn't always stand the test of time (we're talking tyrannical fathers, deserving and better-than-this-world girls, swindling good-for-nothing brothers and even a ship wreck! and it's not so well written that you'll forgive it). (less)
This book is semi-biographical, as in Colette being a divorcée when she wrote it and she worked on cabarets to make end meet - as does Renée Néré, the...moreThis book is semi-biographical, as in Colette being a divorcée when she wrote it and she worked on cabarets to make end meet - as does Renée Néré, the main character in this book. The story in itself is quite simple, but simple as in uncomplicated and straightforward focusing just on Renée and her thoughts against the canvas of her work - NOT as simple as in the writer was trying to get away with making things easy for herself. It's quite the gem!
(I read the book in a Swedish translation - just to lazy to add that edition here on Goodreads, and to read it in some sort of translation was unavoidable in any case. The only thing I want to comment on that is the title. The word 'vagabond' exists in Swedish, it has the same meaning as the word both in English and French. Still, the book was given another title 'Varieté' - focusing more on the being on stage than the wandering spirit of the book and its narrator.)(less)
Murasaki Shikibu is mainly known for her The tale of Genji, but she has made another important contribution to the literary heritage of old Japan, and...moreMurasaki Shikibu is mainly known for her The tale of Genji, but she has made another important contribution to the literary heritage of old Japan, and that is her diary, or nikki as they are called in Japanese. A nikki is a collection of reflections and describtions of events, but not perhaps in a way a modern diary-writer would understand the task. Fair enough, this is written a little over a thousand years ago, conventions on writing change over time.
This diary is written in the first years of the 11th century, in a period called Heian. She is recently widowed and has a place at the imperial court, and the first part (and the end) is a description of life in the imperial household. The diary begins when the second consort of emperor Ichijo, Shoshi, was expected to give birth to her first child, and then revolvs around this, the rituals surrounding birth and newly borns, but also court life as such. The second part of the book has the shape of a letter, both telling of Murasaki's thoughts on life (which come across as rather gloomy) and her opinions on other courtiers.
The main focus is descriptions. She describes rituals, people, nature and clothes. Everything is very beautiful and to the point in a way any modern writer could take notes from. But this is an old text and to a modern reader that can present a problem, you have to know quite a bit to be able to fully appreciate the text. That is why I would recommend any reader to sit down with a version with extensive footnotes. It might sound a bit boring, but it really isn't, and if you don't you will soon see the problems: not only are the officialls mentioned only by their titles and in a way that hints very little of who they were, but even the colours of the ladies in waiting's robes are described in ways unknown to most modern readers (not to mention non-Japanese), and let's face it, most of us know precious little about rituals and their shape and meaning in Heian Japan.
All in all a beautiful read and an important document! (less)