An excellent collection of short stories. Very well-written. Some of my favorite quotes:
"But too often she lay awake, wondering. There was something mAn excellent collection of short stories. Very well-written. Some of my favorite quotes:
"But too often she lay awake, wondering. There was something missing. Something wasn't happening to her, or was it to him? All through the summer, the thunderstorms set the sky on fire while she lay there, listening for the train sound of a tornado, which never came--though the lightning ripped open the night and lit the trees like things too suddenly remembered, then left them indecipherable again in the dark." from "Community Life"
"Such a life required much exaggerated self-esteem. It engaged gross quantities of hope and despair and set them wildly side by side, like a Third Wold country of the heart. Her days grew messy with contradictions." from "Agnes of Iowa"
"Her mother smiles exuberantly, her face in a kind of burst; she loves affection, is hungry and grateful for it. When she was younger, she was a frustrated, mean mother, and so she is pleased when her children act as if they don't remember." from "Charades"
"This taboo regarding age is to make us believe that life is long and actually improves us, that we are wiser, better, more knowledgeable later than early. It is a myth concocted to keep the young from learning what we really are and despising and murdering us. We keep them sweet-breathed, unequipped, suggesting to them that there is something more than regret and decrepitude ahead." from "Beautiful Grade"
"In general, people were not road maps. People were not hieroglyphs or books. They were not stories. A person was a collection of accidents. A person was an infinite pile of rocks with things growing underneath." from "What You Want to Do Fine"...more
This is a tremendous book about Africa. The author is a Polish journalist who covered Africa from the 1960s to the 1990s. He was in various parts of tThis is a tremendous book about Africa. The author is a Polish journalist who covered Africa from the 1960s to the 1990s. He was in various parts of the continent, and reported on the climate, the wars and tribal conflicts, and the terrible poverty. I feel this book really educated me on the state of Africa, and why it is the way it is. The continent is an extreme environment for humans. Kapusicinski describes the climate as "murderous", with a "frenzy" of tropical growth. At midday, almost all human activity ceases. Africans never developed the wheel because of this environment. Pack animals, such as horses and camels, cannot survive south of the Sahara. This is why the continent depends on humans to act as beasts of burden. The author describes why Africa is so inaccessible: "For centuries, its interior was successfully defended by a difficult tropical climate, long incurable diseases (malaria, smallpox, sleeping sickness, leprosy, and the like), the lack of roads and means of transport, and, also, the frequently fierce resistance of its inhabitants. This inaccessibility of Africa gave birth to the myth of its mystery..." One thing I found kind of confusing was the way the author goes from one time period to another, back and forth. Also, I would have benefited from a map. Overall I liked this book very much, and I feel that I learned a tremendous amount from it. The author has a very engaging writing style. A very well-done book....more
This play for 2 actors, a black man and a white man, is incredibly intense and well-written. The black man saves the white man from throwing himself uThis play for 2 actors, a black man and a white man, is incredibly intense and well-written. The black man saves the white man from throwing himself under a train, the Sunset Limited of the title. They then go to the black man's apartment and have a comprehensive discussion about life and death and what it means to be a human being. The black man gives a lot of credit to Jesus, but this is not an overtly Christian play. It examines what it takes to give meaning to life, and how each life has a purpose. It's intellectually demanding and emotionally searing reading. This is one of the best pieces of literature I have ever read....more
The Berlin Stories is actually 2 novels, The Last of Mr. Norris and Goodbye to Berlin. Both are fascinating and very well-written. They really evoke 1The Berlin Stories is actually 2 novels, The Last of Mr. Norris and Goodbye to Berlin. Both are fascinating and very well-written. They really evoke 1930s Berlin with the rise of the Nazis and all that that entails. Isherwood was one of the first openly gay writers, and you can see homosexuality hinted at in these novels. There is nothing overt, you have to read between the lines. The character Sally Bowles and the origins of the musical Caberet are found in Goodbye to Berlin. A very satisfying read....more
A wonderful compilation of poems from this former U.S. Poet Laureate. It spans all types of poems, from the deeply dramatic to the amusing. Great funA wonderful compilation of poems from this former U.S. Poet Laureate. It spans all types of poems, from the deeply dramatic to the amusing. Great fun to read, many great poems to remember....more