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A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters by…

A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters (original 1989; edition 1990)

by Julian Barnes

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3,182502,516 (3.81)129
Title:A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters
Authors:Julian Barnes
Info:Vintage (1990), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library

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A History of the World in 10½ Chapters by Julian Barnes (1989)


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English (43)  Dutch (4)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (49)
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
This is a weird book and that's why I loved it and read it twice in 15 days. The book is about exactly what it says in the title: history of the world. Not entire history of the world obviously, just some stories. While at first these 10 stories may seem random, each of them has something that connects them. It's usually some form of an a ship (an ark, a boat or a raft) and woodworms. I love each story. (with the exception of the sixth) Just like "The Sense of an Ending", this book is also philosophical.
The "half chapter" is not a story but rather an essay on love. It's probably one of my favorite chapters of all time. One of the funnies stories is the trial of the woodworms.
The other chapters seem to tell us that the history always repeats itself. People will always divide each other (by the type of an animal, nationality or religious beliefs) There will also be love. And love will always help us. Barnes analyzes and sometimes overanalyzes everything. And as an overthinker myself, I must admire his way of telling a coherent story.

2nd read:June 28-July 2 ( )
1 vote aljosa95 | Mar 27, 2018 |
What a fun and thought-provoking read! Julian Barnes gives us a "history of the world" via short stories and even non-fiction, which can be read separately but which also have some recurring themes: the woodworm, animals, the Biblical story of Noah, the clean and the unclean, and more. It's an exercise for the author in many different writing styles, and he pulls each off beautifully. Love this book! ( )
2 vote glade1 | Jan 16, 2018 |
Includes a Gericault painting in colour
  stevholt | Nov 19, 2017 |
Short stories tied together : Couldn't finish it ( )
  keithgordonvernon | May 1, 2017 |
I neglected to review this ages ago. How? This book was Formative and started my Julian Barnes kick. His prose is whose mine most resembles (or would like to resemble). The scope in this book is brilliant. In particular the "Shipwreck" chapter stood out as something I have always desired to read without knowing I desired it, which to me is always the sign of a good book. And I love that themes are the history of the world. I went ahead and read some of the reviews on this site, many of them bad and missing the point, and it doesn't matter whether you agree with it but the history of the world as a ritual separation of "the clean from the unclean" is a refreshing way to put all that capital-H History into a different perspective. I don't think Barnes novels are perfect but I love them deeply and I'm actively searching used bookshops for [b:Flaubert's Parrot|2176|Flaubert's Parrot|Julian Barnes|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320522093s/2176.jpg|1414912] since I must have it and read all of the Barnes. ( )
1 vote likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (27 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Julian Barnesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Géricault, ThéodoreIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Courtois-Fourcy, MichelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
De Juan, MaribelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gyllenhak, UlfTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoog, ElseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jennings, AlexNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jennings, AlexNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lynn, JennyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mitchell, SusanDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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to Pat Kavanagh
First words
They put the behemoths in the hold along with the rhinos, the hippos and the elephants.
These are grand words. We must make sure we deserve them. Listen to them again: 'I love you.' Subject, verb, object: the unadorned impregnable sentence. The subject is a short word, implying the self-effacement of the lover. The verb is longer but unambiguous, a demonstrative moment as the tongue flicks anxiously away from the palate to release the vowel. The object, like the subject, has no consonants, and is attained by pushing the lips forward as if for a kiss. 'I love you.' How serious, how weighted, how freighted it sounds.
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Haiku summary
These simple stories
Connect mountain and shipwreck
Through people and dreams.

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679731377, Paperback)

This is, in short, a complete, unsettling, and frequently exhilarating vision of the world, starting with the voyage of Noah's ark and ending with a sneak preview of heaven!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:50 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Offers an idiosyncratic, revisionist history of life on planet Earth, from a playful account of Noah by a stowaway on the Ark, to the spiritual odyssey of a American astronaut.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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