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Helen Graham, the enigmatic new tenant of Wildfell Hall, has a dark secret – but not the one circulating amongst local gossips. Gilbert Markham, who falls for the young “widow” will be shocked to realize her truth, which is revealed to him through her dairies. Mrs Graham has fled with her young son, Arthur, from a cruel marriage. Her writings tell the story of the physical and moral decay of her husband, his alcoholism, and their marital breakdown. In order to be spared the unbearable pain of watching her son be raised in his father’s image, Helen has done what was unimaginable to the Victorian woman and has fled both husband and home. Under an assumed name, she travels to a location that remains secret from all but her brother.

Not surprisingly, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – a hard-hitting critique of the position of Victorian women in society – shocked contemporary readers. Both critics and readers alike were stunned by its coarseness. Truthfully, though I am not a stranger to the plight of Victorian women, the novel still retains its power to shock, or in the very least disturb. A most memorable passage on a “confiscation of property”:

"My painting materials were laid together on the corner table, ready for to-morrow’s use, and only covered with a cloth. He soon spied them out, and putting down the candle, deliberately proceeded to cast them into the fire: palette, paints, bladders, pencils, brushes, varnish: I saw them all consumed: the palette-knives snapped in two, the oil and turpentine sent hissing and roaring up the chimney. He then rang the bell.

'Benson, take those things away,’ said he, pointing to the easel, canvas, and stretcher; ‘and tell the housemaid she may kindle the fire with them: your mistress won’t want them any more.'" (Ch 40)

But I do not wish to leave prospective readers with the impression that all is gloom and doom in The Tenant – such is not the case at all! Other central themes in the novel include the power of faith, forgiveness, repentance – and “the infectious theme of love.” (Ch 51) Highly recommended, particularly to lovers of Victorian classics.
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7 vote lit_chick | 108 other reviews | Mar 22, 2017 |
Ghost stories (without any ghosts) religious fervour, spiritualism, acrophilia, passion, mystery and an uncanny weirdness set these tales apart, from anything I have read before. Algernon Blackwood makes his readers believe in events that probably exist just in the minds and heightened senses of his characters; does anything really happen? no nothing happens Blackwood repeatedly tells us in the longest story: “The Damned”. These stories are all about mood and atmosphere and the writing is fine enough for the reader to be caught up in the mysteries and then wonder at the denouement….. they linger afterwards.

The Regeneration of Lord Ernie is the first story and is set in an Alpine village. Hendricks is a tutor to the young Lord Ernie and they are travelling back to England after a year long European tour, where Hendricks has been trying to find something that will spark some life into his pleasant, amiable companion. The Alpine village is a last throw of the dice and Hendricks arranges for them to stay at a catholic priests house that he remembers from his own youth, and an unrequited love affair. It is the season of wind and turbulence in the mountains above the village where a tribe of mountain people take part in pagan like rituals. Their huge bonfires are clearly visible from the village and messengers arrive sporadically from the mountains to lure villagers up to their dancing rituals. Lord Ernie for the first time has found something of interest and the priest suggests that they hike up and observe the rituals for themselves the next evening. Lord Ernie is literally captivated and a fight ensues to summon him back down to normality.

The second story: “The Sacrifice” is also set in the high mountains. Limasson is a man who has dabbled in all sorts of religions and a series of personal tragedies has led him to the high mountains, which are the only places where he can find peace. He plans a series of solo expeditions to fully engage his skills and more importantly his mind. One evening at the hotel he meets a couple of other climbers who coincidently are planning to conquer an unclimbed peak that Limasson is thinking of tackling, they agree to climb together. There is a brilliant description of setting off in the dark of the early morning for a strenuous climb, but who are Limasson’s two companions, do they really exist or are they a fantasy invented by a man who is seeking some sort of answer to his life difficulties.

The third story: “The Damned” is the longest and is a curious tale of a haunting. Mabel Franklyn has been widowed for a year and her late husband (Samuel) was a larger than life lay preacher of hell and damnation. She is desperately alone in her large house and invites Bill and Francis (brother and sister) who are old friends to stay with her for a month. We observe the events through Bill’s eyes, who finds that he cannot settle in the house and sees that Mabel is both physically and mentally ill. Both Bill and Francis believe that it is the after presence of Samuel who is causing a psychic disruption and Bill has a feeling of layers of people damned through the ages who are seeking to drag down the current occupants of the house. This is the story where nothing happens it is all in the minds of the occupants and after a fruitless panic one night when a strange noise upsets everybody and Bill goes on a midnight exploration of the house things seem to settle down.

A Descent into Egypt is my favourite story of the five here. Again written in the first person; the unnamed speaker travelling in Egypt meets an old friend George Isley. George has just returned from an archeological dig where he has spent the last couple of years and the speaker has an impression that part of George is still out there amongst the ruins. He stays in the hotel with George who seems to need his company, but observes that less and less of the old George is evident, he seems to be lost in the landscape. The speaker is also affected and Blackwood ramps up the atmosphere with some fine writing describing the two men gazing out of the dinning room in the hotel:

“Across the glare and glitter of the uncompromising modern dining-room, past crowded tables, and over the heads of Germans feeding unpicturesquely, I saw—the moon. Her reddish disc, hanging unreal and enormous, lifted the spread sheet of desert till it floated off the surface of the world. The great window faced the east, where the Arabian desert breaks into a ruin of gorges, cliffs, and flat-topped ridges; it looked unfriendly, ominous, with danger in it; unlike the serener sand-dunes of the Libyan desert, there lay both menace and seduction behind its flood of shadows. And the moonlight emphasised this aspect: its ghostly desolation, its cruelty, its bleak hostility, turning it murderous. For no river sweetens this Arabian desert; instead of sandy softness, it has fangs of limestone rock, sharp and aggressive. Across it, just visible in the moonlight as a thread of paler grey, the old camel-trail to Suez beckoned faintly. And it was this that he was looking at so intently.”

A sense of danger and fear is evoked and when another character from their past: Moleson joins them and talks of the old religions and the sun worshippers; the speaker feels that George is barely functioning in the present; his mind is with the sun worshippers. Moleson breaks the introspection by playing the hotel piano, but his playing of popular tunes segues into a chant that evokes old Egypt and the three men are back under the influence of the past. They walk trance like out of the hotel into the desert and the speaker imagines his two companions expanding in size to take on the stone like qualities of the statues of the old Gods. Blackwood’s story brilliantly captures a sense of something different, something from the past that is taking over the minds of these men heightening their senses and feverish imaginings.

The final story Wayfarers is the shortest and its simple telling harks back to the subject matter of the previous four stories. A man is travelling in a motor vehicle on the way to a climbing expedition; there is a crash, he blacks out and wakes up in a familiar room. He is being nursed by a woman who is the love of his life but is married to his best friend, they kiss they declare their love. He slips in and out of consciousness and the woman becomes more remote, as his health improves from the bullet wound, she finally says that they must part for the time being. He awakes to find his mountain climbing friend by his bedside.

How much of these stories are in the feverish imaginings of the minds of Blackwood’s characters is anyones guess, but this goes a long way in building the mystery, however some excellent writing and observations of the natural world give them a unique feeling of time and place that provides tension and frisson to all that happens (or doesn’t happen). These tales may be a little slow for some readers and a lack of plot may frustrate, but I found them incredibly exciting in the way that they build levels and layers of mystery. I read this as part of my reading novels published in 1914 project, but I will certainly be dipping into more of Algernon Blackwood. A five star read.
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2 vote baswood | Mar 28, 2017 |
The Dark Flood Rises drew me in from the first lines: "She has often suspected that her last words to herself and in this world will prove to be 'You bloody old fool' or, perhaps, depending on the mood of the day or the time of the night, 'You fucking idiot." Fran Stubbs, in her seventies, is struggling to stay busy and relevant in a world that tends to dismiss the elderly. She still works, inspecting senior care facilities. Her work takes her all over England. She has also begun to care for her dying ex-husband.

In fact, a lot of Fran's friends are dying, a hazard as one hits one's seventies. In the course of the novel, we meet Fran's friends and connections, all aging in various ways. This wonderful novel shows the challenges as one gets older. Should one continue to drive? Should one move to a retirement community? All of these are questions that arise; each person answers differently. Toward the end of the novel, after the death of some friends, Fran wonders whether she can keep it up: "She's in despair, but she can't help but be a little interested in what is going on out there, and the manner in which it's being relayed to her. It's part of her and she's part of it. Her life has been full of failure and defeat and triviality and small concerns, and at times she fears it is ending sadly. Her courage is running out, her energy is running out. She has lived vicariously, in the small concerns of others. The larger themes are leaving her."

This is a wonderful, honest novel. It shows the variations of aging and gives one hope that one can age with dignity.
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2 vote BLBera | 3 other reviews | Mar 27, 2017 |
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger is a stand-alone novel rather than part of his Cork O'Connor series. This book is a wonderful mixture of a coming of age story and a mystery with an extraordinary sense of place and time. It delivers the reader to the small town of New Bremen, Minnesota during the summer of 1961 as thirteen year old Frank Drum is about to learn how secrets, lies and betrayal can rip a family apart.

Frank is the middle child of the town’s Methodist minister. His mother is a beautiful and passionate woman who is particularly proud of Ariel, his older sister, who is set to leave for New York and the Julliard School of Music in the autumn. Frank and his younger brother, Jake look forward to their long summer vacation. Everything changes as the two brothers find the corpse of a hobo under the railway bridge. Through a series of tragedies the story unfolds in a slow, circular manner as eventually the family experiences a violent loss of it’s own.

At heart this is a meditation on the nature of grace in a time of crisis wrapped in the guise of a mystery novel but Ordinary Grace is written with such a quiet beauty and strength that this story of family, faith and empathy is lifted to a very high level.
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2 vote DeltaQueen50 | 98 other reviews | Mar 27, 2017 |
I really enjoyed The Graveyard Book while I was reading it. The story and characters held my attention and it was a short, fast read. Having finished it, I do wish there had been more meat to it. The story had a reasonably satisfying if bittersweet end, but there were things that could have been fleshed out better and I wish the book had a sequel or two. I’d really like to see the characters again and find out what happens next for them. It feels like I was with them for too short of a time.

The story begins just after the parents and older sister of the main character, Nobody, have been murdered. Nobody is a toddler when the book begins, oblivious to what’s going on, and the only reason he isn’t murdered with the rest of his family is because he has a tendency to escape his crib and wander off. Since the murderer left the door to the house open, Nobody is able to wander out of the house and up the hill to a graveyard where he’s protected and raised by the dead who inhabit the graveyard. The author was inspired by The Jungle Book, which explains the title.

One particular complaint I have now that I’ve finished is that the underlying motivation for the murder wasn’t explained sufficiently at all. We were given an explanation, yes, but it’s one that brings up more questions than it answers. There were also great secondary characters in this book, and I wish we had seen more of them and learned about them in more detail. That’s really my only complaint with this book. I really enjoyed it, but I was left wanting more.
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2 vote YouKneeK | 1,019 other reviews | Mar 26, 2017 |
This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything and linked at Goodreads & Mobileread by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Dreams of Distant Shores
Series: ----------
Author: Patricia McKillip
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 290
Format: Digital Edition


A collection of short stories and a novella showcasing McKillip's writing style and preferred story content.

My Thoughts:

The majority of this book is taken up with the novella, Something Rich and Strange. I read that back in '05 and wasn't very impressed then and this time around nothing improved. That is the reason for the 1 Star deduction.

Now, the rest of the stories, they were excellent. They were what I EXPECT from McKillip. My favorite was about an artist who draws the Gorgon's mouth and it becomes his muse, until it convinces him to fall in love with a real life girl who then becomes his true muse. Not being an artsy guy myself, most of the time I poo-poo stories dealing with art. However, this story, appropriately entitled The Gorgon in the Cupboard, drew me in and made the artist character sympathetic enough that even I was able to like him. The counter-story about the woman who becomes his muse, is poignantly sad and heartwrenching and provides a sad canvas upon which a happy story is drawn.

The Forward by Peter Beagle I could have done without. I am not a fan of Beagle, so his musings on meeting McKillip at various times came across as self-serving and very faux-humble.

If I ever read this again, I'll just skip the novella and concentrate on the short stories.

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1 vote BookstoogeLT | 6 other reviews | Mar 28, 2017 |
A highly informative book on Schubert's famous song cycle (the greatest piece of classical music ever, as far as I'm concerned) by the eminent British singer Ian Bostridge. I admit I'd have preferred if he'd delved a bit deeper into the musicological side of things, but he makes up for that by putting his historical education to excellent use and presenting the reader with a wealth of information on not only Schubert's life and times but also on the broader context of early 19th century Austria.

Bostridge proceeds song by song and has something interesting to say about each of them, on a very wide range of subjects - whether he interprets Wilhelm Müller's poetry, takes a look at a song's structure, places it in a biographical context, considers possible political implications or elucidates it from his extensive experience of performing the cycle. This is no deep analysis and is not meant to be; rather it is someone who loves Schubert's songs and knows them intimately chatting about them in an almost conversational tone. I assume that there probably is not very much new here for the Schubert expert but for the layman it is a treasure trove of both information and insight. The author is not afraid to go off on a tangent, either, and his frequent digressions are just as rewarding as when he is staying on subject. The book contains many illustrations, too, although that part did not come across too well in my Kindle edition. As, judging by other reviews, the book is quite beautifully designed, too, I'm regretting a bit that I did not invest in a hardcover version, but the book was well worth it for the written content alone and is recommended to everyone who wants to explore the background of Schubert's Winterreise in more depth than the liner notes of a CD generally provide.
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1 vote Larou | 5 other reviews | Mar 28, 2017 |
After Inventing America: Jefferson's Declaration of Independence, Garry Wills noted an intention to complete an overarching analysis of U.S. politics under the general title America's Political Enlightenment. The underlying theme was to be the influence of the Scottish Enlightenment upon North American political theory, and so upon its political landscape overall. The second in the series was Explaining America: The Federalist, which included a "Plan of the Series" and briefly identified four books.

It would appear the series was never completed. If not wholly abandoned, possibly the promised volumes on the Constitution and the Supreme Court transformed into a work on Henry Adams's history of the U.S. -- and into this work, Cinncinnatus, an examination not of the courts but of political culture. In any case, it's not clear how Wills understands Cincinnatus to fit with the series, as a digression or perhaps a pendant, or not at all.

Evidently Wills's arguments came under strong criticism among U.S. political scientists, perhaps in part accounting for the unfinished Series. I find his approach an exceedingly interesting way to learn about U.S. politics and history, both in the broad expanse of the American experiment, and in personalities such as Washington. Certainly I was little motivated by the orthodox approaches I learned in school.


The argument here is narrowly defined: first to describe how artists & propagandists "shaped a didactic image" of George Washington [xxi], and then to assess both the role Washington played in forming the new American Republic, and the public's expectations for that role [xxiv]. Wills relies on a discussion of myriad portraits of Washington in making this argument: that is, literal portraits on canvas and in marble or bronze, and also some storybook myths such as Parson Weems' tale of the apple tree.

Wills's assessment of Washington's own intentions involves a focus on three primary events in Washington's biography. Chronologically they are:
1 - Washington's resignation of his commission as Commander of the Continental Army
2 - His support of the new Constitution, despite its unorthodox genesis
3 - Washington's Farewell Address following his second Presidential term

The book is divided into three parts, each separately examining one of these three events and its meaning for Washington, and for U.S. political culture.

In Part 1: Wills first looks at Enlightenment principles (secularism, republican ideals) and applies them to Washington's habit of "giving up power as a means of gaining power". Wills then reviews paintings and sculpture to see how those principles describe Washington's public persona.

Part 2 jumps out of sequence and looks to the importance of Washington's Farewell Address, linking it to Washington's policy of Nonalighment and its relevance for National Character.

Part 3 examines Washington's decision to support the new Constitution, and yet reconcile it with the republican ideals already defined, which were publicly and deliberately taken up by his supporters, and purposefully by Washington himself.

Along the way, Wills provides many discussions of events, personality, and theory of public service & civic virtue, swirling around the symbol of American identity and ideal.


The propagandist symbol, and the intentional actions on the part of Washington himself, coalesce around an American concept of Republicanism, "Roman but not Christian". [25]
• The ideal leader displayed a "considered reluctance to exercise power" [23], and was granted power for a limited duration, with a circumscribed ambit, and relied upon the People to be free of corruption (so their selection of a leader would not compromise these ideals).
• The Roman myth of Cincinnatus, the citizen soldier under orders but with individual genius to implement those orders, was taken up among Colonists as the embodiment of an ideal leader, leading eventually to the establishment of the Society of Cincinnati.
• The Society emphasised the importance of a social code in which ideals are acted out, and witnessed by the public, and so emulated (the "spectatorial" function). The love of glory as an Enlightenment ideal, and so fame being a laudatory goal for a gentleman. Instill virtue by depicting it, depict virtue and in so doing, realise it. Fame as the conspicuous reward for virtue. (Cato was an ideal alongside Cincinnatus, and one favoured by Washington.)
• The symbol and the Society itself were broadly influenced by the Scottish Enlightenment.
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1 vote elenchus | Mar 27, 2017 |
It has taken me many years to begin to undo the habits authors like Edmund Crispin set me into. My motto has been for many years that of The West Wing's Jed Bartlett: never say in one word what you can say in one hundred. I also follow Dead Poets Society's Mr. Keating's advice to avoid common phrasing. So when Edmund Crispin trots out words like "steatopygic" or "suilline", I'm content (even if I have to look them up). And when someone not only explained, but "He explained at great length. He explained with a sense of righteous indignation and frustration of spirit" – well, that's a kindred spirit, that is. And when Fen uses variations on the White Rabbit's exclamations, I sigh and know that yes, Crispin is in part to blame for the fact that I don't speak – or write – like anyone else I know. It takes great concentration to write an email shorter than a thousand words (or in one draft).

Maybe books like this are one reason I didn't swear for a good portion of my life (at least until I started driving regularly). "'– you,' Mr Sharman said viciously."

Maybe books like this are one reason I love a pretty simile. I love an "open window where the porter leaned, like a princess enchanted within some medieval fortalice". And "Wordsworth resembled a horse with powerful convictions".

And I don't read like anyone else I know, not in "real life" at least. That's why blogs and book-centric sites are so valuable – I know there are people out there whose standards are – well, Edmund Crispin high and not Stephanie Meyer high.

"'Sorry. It was a quotation from Pope.'
"'I don't care who it was a quotation from. It's really rather rude to quote when you know I shan't understand. Like talking about someone in a language they don't know.'"
- I wonder if that's a backhanded slap at Dorothy L. Sayers and Lord Peter's habit of pulling out mass tonnages of quotes, often in random languages. In the only other Crispin I've read in recent years, The Case of the Gilded Fly, there was a remark I very definitely took as such. (I wonder if the "speaking disrespectfully of the immortal Jane" was indicative of the author's real feelings.

It felt very much like the moving toyshop of the title was merely a vehicle (so to speak) for Fen to sail through and show off his effortless brilliance. And for various characters to break the third wall with disconcertingly hilarious references to the author, the publisher, and the fact that they're not, technically, real persons. ("'Let's go left,' Cadogan suggested. 'After all, Gollancz is publishing this book.'" That would have flown about fourteen miles over my head when I originally read this, lo those many years ago.) The flippancy flows fast and glittery – and then when you least expect it come a deeper stretch that achieve deadly seriousness. "Euthanasia, Cadogan thought: they all regard it as that, and not as wilful slaughter, not as the violent cutting-off of an irreplaceable compact of passion and desire and affection and will; not as a thrust into unimagined and illimitable darkness."

'Sauve qui peut', mes amis – save yourself if you can. If you want to sound like everyone else, it's probably best not to steep yourself in clever, eccentric, carelessly witty British Golden Age mysteries. Oh, my ears and whiskers, it's not easy fending off the philistine.

The usual disclaimer: I received this book via Netgalley for review.
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1 vote Stewartry | 40 other reviews | Mar 27, 2017 |
Sinclair Lewis, the first American to receive the Nobel Prize For Literature, wrote a form of naturalistic satire that at its best (see Main Street, Babbit, or Arrowsmith) was worthy of the accolades that he received. This satirical political novel was written in 1935 after he had already published fifteen novels. It was a time when the United States and Western Europe had been in a depression for six years and Lewis asked the question – what if some ambitious politician would use the 1936 presidential election to make himself dictator by promising quick, gimmicky solutions to the depression.

The protagonist of the story is Doremus Jessup, a small-town newspaper editor in Vermont. Doremus struggles for a year with the new government’s attempts to censor his paper and ultimately ends up in a concentration camp. When he escapes from the concentration camp, he finds himself part of the resistance movement because that is all there is left for him to do. He blames himself for the failed revolution because he did not take Buzz Windrip more seriously when there was still a chance to stop him.

While Doremus Jessup is a generic character, the identity of Buzz Windrip, the power-hungry senator who makes himself dictator, would be obvious to any American in 1935. Parallels are made in his dictatorial control of his own unnamed state with someone who many critics consider to be a reference to Huey Long, who was preparing to run for president when the novel was being written.
The identity of the main ally of the fictional dictator would be equally obvious, Bishop Peter Paul Prang, the popular radio preacher who endorses Buzz Windrip’s campaign, is based on Father Charles Coughlin, the most popular radio speaker of the thirties who had a weekly program on which he denounced President Roosevelt and the Jews for causing and perpetuating the depression. (In his novel, Lewis foresees that TV would have even greater propaganda potential than the radio – this fictional dictator introduces mass coast-to-coast TV broadcasting in 1937 - something that did not happen in reality until 1948.) In the real world President Roosevelt used the radio in a similar way and exerted censorship via his political control over the FCC which held the major networks in thrall through licensing requirements.

Meanwhile Windrip defeats Roosevelt for the democratic party presidential nomination, and after winning the election, establishes a dictatorship with the help of a small group of cronies and a ruthless paramilitary force. Although the fictional dictator Windrip ran for President as a Democrat, any implied attack on Hitler’s Germany was seen as Democratic party propaganda in 1935, since Jews, Hitler’s enemies, mostly voted Democrat. Any discussion of the politics of It Can’t Happen Here should keep in mind that Sinclair Lewis, the author, was a political liberal who toyed with the left wing for a while in his youth. In his novel, Lewis's satire was a confused and over-the-top mixture buffooning small town conservatism with progressive politics. The populist Windrip was both anti-semitic and anti-Negro among other views that could best be described as an irrational hodge-podge with no apparent ideological foundation.

Doremus Jessup, is a moderate Republican newspaper editor whose motto is: "Blessed are those who don’t think they have to go out and Do Something About It!" But then Jessup, like his creator Sinclair Lewis is plunged into the chaos of the Depression, when American society seemed to be falling apart. When Americans looked for solutions to the Depression, the great majority went no further than the progressive platform of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. But for many, these changes were not effective and they looked for something more drastic. Lewis believed that most of those who wanted more radical solutions would not turn to the small American left wing, but elsewhere.

It Can’t Happen Here is not a revolutionary book. It is speculative fiction that posits the rise of fascism in the United States during the 1930s, an eventuality that many people felt couldn't happen here, and so were not on guard against. Lewis's prose is stuffed with florid description and turgid prose, dating the novel and making it hard to plod through. While some of the statements made by many characters seem prescient in that they could be spoken by any political hack today, many of the novel's assertions strain belief, so that I wasn't entirely convinced that it could "happen here". However, in spite of this I still consider It Can't Happen Here to be a noteworthy example of dystopic alternative history.
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1 vote jwhenderson | 39 other reviews | Mar 27, 2017 |
Who doesn't need help overcoming obstacles? Recognizing opportunities, who'd ever want to miss one of those ? I expected the usual self help guide with steps examples and mantras to follow. I got a memoir with real life experiences. The author dealt with blindness slowing becoming one of his realities. In this books he bravely walks his reader through his fails, wins, stumbles, and triumphs over himself and his awakening to what is real not an illusion. His going blind, forced him to focus on other parts of life and judge them with a clearer vision. He had to reevaluate his actions, finding very surprising reasoning behind them.
I respect this mans journey and his strength to open his world to help others. I got some excellent points to work on for opening my own eyes. Truly listening is a big one I struggle with. "Tell it to my like I'm a 5 year old" His made a comment about how we listen only to react. I had that gasp moment, yes that is sadly true. I've been working on this and it is a hard one to break. the mind/ego wants to wander and dominate the conversation. For me this is the most important lesson I got from the book. I'm a work in progress. While I didn't get what I expected from this book based on the title I did get at least one great thing from it. I suspect each person will pick their own lesson to grab ahold of or maybe all of them ?
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1 vote TheYodamom | Mar 27, 2017 |
Harietta Cynster is famously known as the matchbreaker, she investigates the motives of various men for other women and helps women escape ill-fated nuptials. When she disrupts James Glossup's match she finds that he has a reason to want to marry suddenly and she offers to help him, proximity causes them to find that they have an attraction to each other and maybe have a future together, that is until she starts to suffer from some accidents.

Survival may be the hardest thing.

It was charming and the mystery worked for me, including having complicated plotting that was logical and intense and wasn't insulting to the intelligence of the characters.
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1 vote wyvernfriend | 17 other reviews | Mar 27, 2017 |
One of the best books I read in 2016 was about octopuses and consciousness so when I discovered this one I bought it almost immediately and almost immediately it annoyed me. The other book is more about the joy of discovering how smart octopuses are and this one is about why they are. It’s more on the hard science side than the story of one person’s experience. I was surprised that it has a simplistic approach and language and it explained basic concepts that almost any scientifically-curious reader would already know. So I changed my expectations. Then there was this on page 8 -

“Assume we found this animal, and are now watching the departure, the branching, as it happened. In a murky ocean (on the sea floor or up in the water column) we’re watching a lot of these worms live, die and reproduce. For an unknown reason, some split off from the others, and through an accumulation of happenstance changes, they start to live differently. In time, their descendants evolve different bodies.”

Happenstance? The author doesn’t believe it is true, but he basically characterized adaptation and evolutionary change as happenstance. It is anything but. Or is he characterizing an environmental event as happenstance? That I can buy - a tree falls into a stream and causes a disruption of flow, animals and plants living in that stream have to adapt to the new conditions and given enough time, evolutionary change will occur. But it’s unclear which part is happenstance and I hate that. Later he stressed the fact that a simpler or older animal isn’t necessarily lower or lesser and redeemed himself.

Then the writing itself almost did me in. Every time I picked up the book I was irritated. Mostly at the fact that his noun/object relationships didn’t agree a lot of the time (example - octopuses will often reach out their arm to explore...what do they share an arm? ugh!). Then he referred to an earlier point with a different name than he gave it. The brain power conclusion on page 50 was weak, too, but there was enough interesting stuff that I kept going despite sentences like this -

“I think the problems with the old Peter Dews experiment, such as they were, came in part by the assumption that an octopus would be interested in pulling a lever repeatedly to get pieces of sardine, collecting piece after piece of this second-rate food. Rats and pigeons will do things like that, but octopuses take a while to deal with each item of food, probably can’t cram themselves, and tend to lose interest.”

Can’t cram themselves? Where did that come from? Why is that there? OMG. But wait, there’s more -

“When you’re around an octopus, it’s impossible not to think they can also direct considerable attention on objects, especially new ones.” p 101

“Nearly every time this has happened, it has happened only once.” p 114

“We think that a first octopus, of a few of them, made a den at the found object, and began bringing scallops in to eat.” p 188

You get the picture? Anyway, despite the numerous clunkers, there are great bits of information and ideas about consciousness and how it might have evolved. By the end of the book I felt comfortable with consciousness as a spectrum and many places to land. If we can let go of consciousness being just a human trait, we can see it in many animals. Partly it’s because the octopus is so very different from any vertebrate you can think of that Godfrey-Smith says that octopuses are the closest we can get to meeting an intelligent alien.

“In an octopus, the nervous system as a whole is a more relevant object than the brain: it’s not clear where the brain itself begins and ends, and the nervous system runs all through the body. The octopus is suffused with nervousness; the body is not a separate thing that is controlled by the brain or nervous system.” p 75

And this observation by Stanislas Dehaene was really insightful - that the demands of novelty jolt us from unconscious routine to conscious reflection. That is exactly what happens when an octopus becomes curious about something and pauses in its routine to examine it. Oh how I love them.

For a while he switches to giant cuttlefish and their remarkable ability to make mesmerizing kaleidoscopic displays of color which are made all the more remarkable because they are, so far as we can tell, colorblind. There’s an idea that because there are photoreceptor cells present in cephalopod skin that the skin itself can see after a fashion. Part of this seeing might be the ability to separate light into wavelengths and filter it in much the same way colored filters work in black and white photography; for example a red filter will block waves that aren’t red. It’s a reasonable hypothesis that cuttlefish and octopuses sense specific wavelengths of light, then make camouflaging color they cannot see by reproducing the wavelength itself, not the end result (the color).

I also liked the concept of a cuttlefish’s constant state of changing colors as a reflection of internal processes rather than of conscious thought or direction. It’s noise, not signal. Godfrey-Smith did a good job distinguishing that.

In the other book I read about octopuses, the fact that they have short lifespans is brought up, but not explained and it mystified me. Most other animals we consider intelligent live much longer; parrots, dogs, dolphins, chimps and that intelligence and the social arrangements it facilitates make sense to us, but such brain power in an animal that only lives a couple of years seems like a waste. Godfrey-Smith puts forward an explanation that hinges on the fact that evolutionary adaptation made the higher functioning thought processes necessary for the octopus to live and forced it into a ‘go for broke’ style of breeding; that is it happens all at once. Then it’s done and the animal died. It’s more complicated than that, of course, but it made a kind of sense.

It’s a short book and enlightening if you can get past the writing it is definitely worth your time if you’re interested in ideas about sentience and consciousness and how evolution produced it on three separate occasions; twice in cephalopods and in humans and animals like us.
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1 vote Bookmarque | 1 other review | Mar 27, 2017 |
I really wanted to like this book. I tried to pick it up several times but I found that I could never truly engage with the text. The subject is fascinating, I love walking and traveling, and I have several such "psychogeography" memoirs among my favourite books, but I found MacFarlane impossible to follow. The description of his travels are intertwined with lofty literature commentaries and historical innuendos that are too much for mere mortals like us. Also, why aren't there any maps in that book? A nice map of each trail could maybe have saved the book for me, but that was the last straw.… (more)
1 vote timtom | 26 other reviews | Mar 27, 2017 |
The companion book to the documentary of the same name is based largely on notes from James Baldwin's non-fiction work "Remember This House", which he began writing in 1979 but did not finish before his death in 1987. Baldwin's aim in writing this book was to tell the story of the United States through the lives of three seminal figures in the Civil Rights Movement, all of whom were close friends of his: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., who were assassinated in 1963, 1965 and 1968, respectively. In this book, Baldwin's excerpted words from "Remember This House" are converted into poetic form, which lends them greater power. Interspersed between these "poems" are portions of past speeches and interviews, photographs that accompany the text, and a limited number of current references, most notably the sequence that consists of apologies by Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Anthony Weiner, the former US congressman who was forced to step down after sexual misconduct and was further disgraced by additional misbehaviors, Thomas Jackson, the former chief of police of Ferguson, Missouri, and others.

Raoul Peck's compilation does a superb service in bringing James Baldwin's unflinching words to light for those of us who revere him, and to newer audiences who are unfamiliar with him and the searing power of his words. I look forward to seeing the documentary, and to returning to this excellent compilation.
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1 vote kidzdoc | 1 other review | Mar 27, 2017 |
FULL REVIEW: https://youtu.be/NctAVyMKUDg

Honestly, I really didn't like this collection of poetry. The poems lacked structure and they just didn't click with me. The theme was supposed to be dark, but I feel like the author tried too hard. Instead of aiming for quality, she settled for shock value. I hate that I didn't like it because I love poetry, but that's just how I feel.… (more)
1 vote BookAddict3000 | 7 other reviews | Mar 26, 2017 |
This is a lively tale of Robert Louis Stevenson's brief sojourn in Monterey, California, after his arrival from Scotland.
In pursuit of his married lover, Fanny Osbourne, he makes many good friends who helped him to survive. Jules Simoneau offered food, wine, money, and a backroom filled with joy, love, and chess.

A wonderful romantic (if at times moony) suspense alternates with insights into RLS' personality, sicknesses and near deaths, great humor, temper, and use of 'Scots' to captivate his lover.

Readers may wish that, once famous, RLS would have returned to Monterey to find Jules Simoneau.
(As well, we wish not to have heard that he once beat his donkey.)

The end photographs and citations offer a rare chance to compare actual events with this fictional interpretation. The author created a memorable combination.
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1 vote m.belljackson | 1 other review | Mar 26, 2017 |
If you’d like to watch this but haven’t seen Season 1 of the K anime yet, stop what you’re doing and go watch that first, because this movie isn’t going to make any sense to you otherwise. Characters briefly mention events that happened in the past, but no one bothers to explain things in any depth.

All right, so K: Missing Kings takes place about a year after the events of Season 1 of the anime. Scepter 4 is still acting as sort of the police force of the various clans, and they rush to the Gold Clan’s main building after hearing reports of an attack. Green Clan members are trying to locate Yashiro for some reason and are attempting to do so with Gold Clan’s resources (I think - honestly, Green Clan’s plan was a little confusing).

The Green Clan is also trying to get Anna from HOMRA to help them, but her powers have been unstable for a while. No matter - the Green Clan attempts to kidnap her anyway. Kuroh and Neko, Silver Clan members who have been trying to locate their King, Yashiro, since after the events of the anime, join forces with the few remaining members of HOMRA in an effort to protect Anna.

I don’t know why, but I expected this movie to be better than it was. Unfortunately, it felt more like an extended first episode for a second season of the anime than a movie that could stand on its own. Many of the complaints I had about the first season of K applied here as well.

The pacing was terrible. It took ages for anything worthwhile to happen. First viewers had to watch Scepter 4 running around - that entire clan was still basically Munakata, Seri, Fushimi, and a bunch of interchangeable pretty boys. The supposedly unbeatable Gold Clan was getting its butt kicked, and its King was nowhere to be found. Did anyone bother to check the same place people were hiding a year ago? No, of course not.

Seeing HOMRA in shambles was depressing. Apparently Mikoto was the only thing holding them all together. And I was annoyed by the developments with Rikio. Rikio was the only overweight guy in the TV series. In this movie, he was suddenly a slender hottie just like all the other guys. His explanation for the change? “I couldn’t eat after Mikoto died, and now it’s summer and I’m still skin and bones.” And I’m still shaking my head. That explanation might have made sense if he had also looked haggard and ill, but in the end it was just a flimsy excuse to add another pretty boy to the cast since most of them were either gone or dead.

If pretty character designs and appearances from everyone in the TV series that mattered are all you care about, then K: Missing Kings might work fine for you. Unfortunately, I was hoping for a bit more substance. I mean, the cardboard slip art promised Yashiro, who didn’t actually appear until the last few minutes of the movie. And the DVD container art included characters in outfits they never wore in the movie. ::sob:: (Okay, so that's less "substance" and more "shallow," but I remember seeing a clip of Seri and Izumo in those outfits and was hoping that scene was in this movie.)

Viewers got to see Anna come into her own for a few minutes, a nice fight between Kuroh and an old clan member of his, bits and pieces of a fight between Yata and a Green Clan ninja (or “masked man,” as Fushimi repeatedly insisted on calling the person), and a weird fight involving Neko, a bunch of giant lucky cats, and a parrot. There was also a snippet after the credits that indicated Munakata’s Sword of Damocles was damaged when he killed Mikoto.

I don’t know. I guess I was expecting a more complete story. The Green Clan trying to capture Anna in order to find Yashiro, some explanation beyond “he might try to stand against us” for why they were trying to find him in the first place, and then a big battle at the end in which Anna and Munakata were joined by Yashiro. It would have been nice if Kuroh and Neko had gotten an onscreen reunion with Yashiro. And if the pacing had been tightened up, there definitely would have been time for that.

All in all, this was disappointing. I’m sure it would have been better as a stepping stone from Season 1 of the anime directly into Season 2, but it just doesn’t work on its own (I don’t own Season 2 and don’t think it’s on Netflix). The flashy battle between Kuroh and his former clansman was nice, but not nearly enough to satisfy me.


Not much: two short Japanese trailers for K: Missing Kings and trailers for six VIZ releases, including Season 1 of the K anime.

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)
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1 vote Familiar_Diversions | Mar 26, 2017 |
I'm giving this book three and a half stars mostly because I'm more of a literary type than a science fiction fan, and there are stretches in "City" where it feels like the author is more interested in making an argument than relating a story: telling instead of showing, in other words. But "City" is still full of interesting ideas, and once in a while, especially in the book's latter stories, the author manages to communicate them in a way that might leave the reader feeling spooked and perhaps saddened. "City" is a good example of how science fiction can help answer both literature's most important question -- what does it mean to be human? -- and one of science's central imponderables -- will the human race survive?

"City was written in the shadow of the Second World War, and it shows: Simak's view of human nature is exceedingly bleak. He sees humanity as fundamentally self-destructive, the bearer of an ineradicable tragic flaw. The book spends much of its time wondering what sort of civilization might have better chances of survival in the long term. A race of mutant humans? Dogs? Robots, perhaps? The idea that humans might be replaced by some other civilization seems not to trouble the author at all, which suggests a commendably clear-eyed view of things, considering the fact that the book was written in the late nineteen forties, and shows an excellent understanding of what often calls deep time. What's a thousand years to a robot, after all? The author's literary executor notes in the introduction, "City" was perhaps one of the first works of science fiction to shift its focus from humanity to a more inclusive view of life in all of its forms. Simak deserves credit for putting real effort into imagining into a society run by these other beings might be like and what its values might be. In other words, he writes these non-human races from the inside out, which takes real imagination.

The author's not afraid to blur his categories, either, which sometimes makes the book truly fascinating. Throughout the book, and even as millennia pass, some traces of values and practices that their human creators imparted to the races they created -- super-intelligent dogs and robots -- remain. Like Brian Aldiss's "Galaxies Like Grains of Sand," "City" imposes a eons-long plot structure on what was originally a collection of stories, and it's a much better book for it, and not just because a text written hyper-intelligent canines arguing about whether the human race ever existed is slyly humorous in its own right. In "City," dogs and robots pass down myths and stories whose origins are unknown to them. They keep traditions and protect places and things whose original purpose has been forgotten. Simak seems to be asking how history turns into myth and how the values that myth creates can help hold a society together. Robots take on human attributes, while dogs, try as they might, struggle to eradicate their past roles as pets and helpmates to humans. Simak shows how cultural tendencies might echo down the centuries. The prose may be workmanlike, but there's a lot of food for thought in these stories. Recommended to readers who, like myself, are trying to escape the carefully delineated preserve of literary fiction to see what's out there in other genres.
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1 vote TheAmpersand | 45 other reviews | Mar 26, 2017 |
This was a pretty good read for me. Lee's prose is hauntingly descriptive and a bit reminiscent of Poe. The three storeis I enjoyed the most were Beautiful Lady, Lost in the World, and The Glass Dagger. A couple of the other stories were also worthwhile. The remaining tales struck me as somewhat lackluster.
1 vote ScoLgo | Mar 26, 2017 |
Superb. Amazing collection of really inventive and imaginative science fiction stories. All of them are clever, all of them have some relevance to modern life, all of them branch out in an unusual and clever manner. Some are of course better than others, but even the least good of the stories is still much better than so many others I've read.

It's very difficult to review collections of short stories, especially one covering such diverse themes as this. The title 'Story of your Life' was recently adapted into a film, and I can see how that would have worked although I haven't seen it. Aliens have arrived on earth, but communication has not been achieved until your heroine changes how she sees the world. Many of the other stories sort of follow a similar theme - changing your view of how you see religion, death, fashion etc. The title story is great, but some of the others are probably even better, 'Liking what you see:A Documentary' is my favourite. A series of interviews with college students leading up to a vote on whether or not to apply a mental block against physical beauty. This is true of all the stories - the science is hand wavy. It's there to provide a concept, and a context not for rigorous understanding of the physical universe we live - and yet even better, as far as I could tell, none of the "Laws of Nature" we know about have broken. There's no FTL etc.

Some of the best SF I've read in a long time. Thought provoking, unique, clever, relevant, fun and well written. What more could you ask for? I just wish he'd write a novel, or a LOT more stories.
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1 vote reading_fox | 64 other reviews | Mar 26, 2017 |
This near future science fiction story talks about a future world that has changed immensely because of developments in biology and genetic engineering. In this world genes can be edited to create the baby you want. Kenneth Durand works with Interpol to shut down illegal labs that are custom-designing babies. He has been too successful. He has drawn the attention of the cartel who controls this illegal genetic engineering.

Ken is injected with a "change agent" which rewrites his DNA and makes him genetically and physically the identical double of Marcus Demang Wyckes, the head of the Huli jing who is wanted all over the world for his many crimes. Ken survives the transition which wasn't what the Huli jing actually wanted. Only, now he needs to convince his colleagues in Interpol that he is not Wyckes. Since the technique used on him was supposed to be impossible, this isn't easy. He is also on the run from Wyckes' right hand man who wants him dead to get the heat off the real Wyckes.

Meanwhile, Ken wants to stop Wyckes and his society-changing plans and get his own body and DNA back. He wants to get back to his beloved wife and daughter and will do what is necessary to make it happen.

The story takes place in Southeast Asia which has become the center of the new science and society. On his journey to find Wyckes, Ken finds colleagues and assistance from a variety of sources including rebel ethnic groups who are fighting corrupt governments and scientists who might just be on the shady side.

The story was fast paced but a little to scientifically detailed for this non-scientist reader. I have no idea how much of the science is possible but I found it all disturbingly plausible. Fans of hard science fiction will enjoy this story.
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1 vote kmartin802 | 1 other review | Mar 26, 2017 |
Make no mistake about it, this is Part 1 of 2 (or maybe 3 or 4). The Collapsing Empire establishes a universe where a collection of human colonies are connected by The Flow. Only one of those colonies is on a planet and therefor self-sustaining. Every other colony is dependent on things that can only produced on other colonies to survive. Which is, of course, the basis for a trade Empire with a ruling class, mandated monopolies, alliances and so forth. In the distant past, the Flow connection to Earth collapsed cutting the Empire off from the homeland. In the less distant past the Flow to one of the colonies collapsed resulting in the slow death of that colony. Add that to the title and it's not hard to see that The Flow is going to Collapse and ruin The Empire.

And that's it. That's this novel. Sure, a bunch of characters are sketched in, and the outlines, no more, of future conflict are set. There is the foul-mouthed, sex-obsessed one, the evil manipulative one, the young naive reluctant ruler, the young honest scientist, the wise old man (offstage), and a supporting cast of red shirts, loyal retainers, soldiers and pirates.

How will Humanity survive? Who will control the new order? Who will live, who will die? All of these questions will be answered in part 2. Or maybe part 3.

The very last line (of the Epilogue, because an unfinished story clearly needs an Epilogue as well) is "'I think it needs to end with another one,' she said."

That's the problem. This is the set up and backstory for a novel, but it isn't a novel. Which might not be so bad if any of the characters were given any real life or depth enough to care about them and what happens to them. Frankly, this book reads like a money-grab and fulfilling a contractual obligation while stalling to figure out what the actual story is going to be. There's not much of a beginning, and definitely no ending. Scalzi doesn't need the money, and by now seems to have the clout that if he'd wanted to, he could have waited and put out a longer novel that didn't end like the cliffhanger of a TV series that is desperately hoping not to be canceled.
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1 vote grizzly.anderson | 3 other reviews | Mar 26, 2017 |
I tried again and again to read this book, ultimately finishing while gritting my teeth with the effort. The themes of love, loneliness, longing, and the irresistible draw to our roots, both location and biology, are classic. But, the characters are so unhappy and controlled by their past. The writing style is difficult to engage with. Often, the images are unnecessarily disturbing. Palacio is not going to be an author I follow.… (more)
1 vote joyceBl | 64 other reviews | Mar 26, 2017 |

Im November 1948 wird Ulrich Schmied, Polizeileutnant von Bern, tod in einem Wagen aufgefunden. Kommiär Bärlach, alt und magenkrank, soll sich den Ermittlungen annehmen. Hilfe holt er sich von Tschanz, einem jungen aufstrebenden Kriminalisten. Erste Verdachts-Momente hält Bärlach für sich.

Wie sich herausstellt, hat Schmied in seiner privaten Zeit inkognito ermittelt, und zwar beim mysteriösen Industriellen Gastmann, der regelmäßig in seinem Haus illustre Gesellschaften gibt. Doch Gastmann ist ein alter Bekannter von Bärlach und sie haben einander ebenso eine Rechnung offen.

Geschickt lenkt Kommissär Bärlich den wahren Mörder Schmieds in eine Falle …

Mein Fazit:

Ich habe dieses Buch seit 2009 im Regal stehen, weil mein Großer es damals in der Schule lesen musste und ich das Buch danach auch mal lesen wollte. Ich war einfach neugierig, was der große Literatur-Kritiker Marcel Reich-Ranicki so toll fand und hoch lobte.

Nun, sprachlich fällt der kurze Roman gleich auf. Friedrich Dürrenmatt war Schweizer und dieser Roman entstand in der Nachkriegszeit. Und so ist die Ausdrucksweise deutlich gehobener und geschliffener. Die verschachtelten Sätze machten mir zuweilen Probleme und die vielen Dorfnamen, die auftauchten, perlten ohne Regung an mir ab. Auch bei den vielen Personen, die immer wieder mal kurz auftauchten, verlor ich schon mal kurz den Überblick.

Der Verlauf der Geschichte ist jedoch durchaus bemerkenswert. Bärlach, ein alter Hase, der eher nach eigenen Instinkten ermittelt als Protokolle zu lesen oder gar die Leiche im Leichenschauhaus zu besuchen, zeigt hier eine grandiose Auffassungsgabe und Kombinationsfähigkeit. Auf den Mörder wäre ich wahrlich nicht gekommen, dafür fehlten mir von Anfang an einige Informationen, die erst am Ende zu Tage kommen.

Sehr unterhaltsam entwickelt sich die Geschichte und man bekommt fast das diebische Vergnügen selbst zu spüren, welches Bärlach letztendlich empfindet, als er den wahren Mörder stellt und konfrontiert. Sehr geschickt sind hier die Fäden zusammen gezogen.

Wie jedoch schon erwähnt, waren für mich die verschachtelten Sätze gelegentlich schwierig zu lesen, daher gibt es auch nur vier Sterne. Ansonsten ist der Kurz-Krimi wirklich ein Klassiker und den zweiten Fall werde ich demnächst auch noch lesen.
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1 vote ElkeHannover | 12 other reviews | Mar 26, 2017 |

Recent Firsts

"First" are first reviews for previously-unreviewed works.

I was torn between rating this book at 4 stars or 5. It really is a great book with a variety of different symbols in it, there are many symbols it is missing, for obvious reasons though, it would take a much larger volume. I absolutely loved the section with different types of cyphers, especially the Masonic cyphers, and the tables with the Greek, Hebrew and Rune alphabets. Still great for any ones collection, and I would strongly recommend it.… (more)
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  JCNeuman | Mar 27, 2017 |
Super helpful! I appreciated the lively tone, also. It could have been a bore, but it explains Processing in simple and relatable terms.
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  hungrylittlebookworm | Mar 27, 2017 |
This book covers the 10 most important days of Lincoln's life (according to the author). It covers the death of Lincoln's mother, the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, his assassination, and everything in between. Although the cover says that it's the 10 most important days, that's not exactly the case. In some cases, it starts off with one important day and then goes on to cover the days/weeks that followed.

I picked up this book hoping for a quick, straight to the point, easy to read summary of Lincoln's life but that's not exactly what I got. I learned that you can't summarize a person's life into 10 quick points, especially President Lincoln. It was hard to follow at some parts and the author gave additional information that I thought was unnecessary. I think this book is best for someone who's trying to learn more about President Lincoln that is past picture books but not quite ready for massive chapter books.
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  JessicaGarcia6 | Mar 26, 2017 |
OK but I was hoping for a bit more. Lots of formulas which passed me by and felt it could have been more for dummies than it was.
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  infjsarah | Mar 26, 2017 |
Could have been easier to follow.
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  hungrylittlebookworm | Mar 27, 2017 |
When I was a Boy Scout lo these many (many, many) years ago I was first introduced to Brinley's Mad Scientists' Club through installment stories in "Boys' Life" magazine and I loved them. Here the original stories have been bound into a single collection. While they are a bit dated in technology they are still wonderful stories especially for teens and young adults. I don't know what that says about me since I still love them! The gang of boys uses science and technology to haunt a house, rescue a downed Air Force pilot and cause a general uproar in their sleepy little town of Mammoth Falls. But it's all in good fun and it is all about serving others. Now so many years later I am enjoying them again in this volume. Still a great read!… (more)
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  Al-G | Mar 28, 2017 |
  BarbieAnn | Mar 26, 2017 |
The author discusses the similarities and differences she found when her Catholic family moves into a neighborhood with many Orthodox Jewish families.
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  mojomomma | Mar 27, 2017 |
I loved this book because of the photographs and the educational story. The photographs in this book are of Weimaraner's dressed up as humans. It gives the book a funny twist and makes the dogs have a human persona. This is very unique. I also like how the author incorporates an educational aspect about farms into the story. Overall, the purpose is to inform.
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  adietr3 | Mar 27, 2017 |
another good place for recipes http://gormandizewithus.blogspot.mx/2015/05/burmese-eggplant-salad-khayan-dhi-po...; still looking for one that might yield something like the squid I used to eat at Burma House (RIP) in San Francisco
  lulaa | Mar 26, 2017 |
This is the second part of Bowen’s [Prince and Heretic] about the Prince of Orange (1533-1584). Because I am so interested in the history, I was enthralled with the first part, giving it five stars. Perhaps the writing wasn’t up to that, but my enjoyment of the book definitely was. Here in the second part sees William up through his murder in Delft.

A few things troubled me in the two parts. (1) The use of a seer to foretell the deaths of the brothers. Even though the author had the hindsight of history, that didn’t seem to belong. Would intelligent people in that time have had anything to do with that kind of nonsense? (2) One gets to read way more about fashion at the time than any but a researcher could stand. (3) Use of the second wife’s handmaid to provide the narrative throughout the story. Whether the style of writing in the 1910s when this book was published, or just an awkward device, it resulted in sections like this:
”She walked slowly along the causeway, thinking of her own story interwoven with the great events among which she moved, of the Prince, whose life had come so near to her yet from whom she was for ever separated, of the nation coming, with throes and agonies, into being about her, of whom she was part, yet in which somehow she seemed to have no interest.” (kindle location 9961)

Overall, I found the first installment to be better written, though I very much enjoyed this second part, too. It’s the story, itself, with which I am fascinated.
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  countrylife | Mar 27, 2017 |
Review of: Atlas of Slavery, by James Walvin
by Stan Prager (3-26-17)

An atlas is typically a go-to reference rather than a cover-to-cover read, but there are rare exceptions, such as the Atlas of Slavery, by James Walvin, which turned out to be so notable for both its maps and accompanying narrative that I carefully read and studied every page. My interests lean decidedly towards the American Civil War as well as the antebellum African-American experience; Walvin’s fine treatment neatly dovetailed with each of these. Moreover, the skilled graphical treatment in this work both adds perspective and enhances comprehension on a macro level.
My ongoing complaint with many books of history is a dearth of good maps or sometimes any maps at all. It can be maddening to read about key events in an unfamiliar geography without a suitable visual frame of reference. One way to mitigate this frustration is to assemble your own collection. And I have: I own a podium-sized atlas stand and its one great shelf is mostly stocked with historical atlases, which as a category generously spills over to other adjacencies. The atlas genre, of large and small formats, tends to fall into three categories. The first is the traditional book of reference maps, with little or no accompanying text. The second features maps and an abbreviated, complementary text. The third is an atlas in which the maps and the text are integral to one another. The latter is the case with Atlas of Slavery, a smaller format trade paper volume featuring a highly informative, well-written narrative as well as finely detailed black-and-white maps that serve as an essential foundation to the author’s account.
While Atlas of Slavery sets the stage with an overview of slavery in the ancient world, the focus of the book is on the Atlantic slave trade and its consequences for the millions of Africans swept up in it, as well as the Europeans who exploited their labor. The author correctly identifies the African slavery made manifest by that trade as entirely distinct from human chattel slavery as it existed elsewhere in time and geography. Slavery for life based solely upon race and color which extended to subsequent generations was something very different from that which preceded it. Most welcome here is both a textual and graphical exploration of the political entities of Africa and how the traditional slavery of Africa and the Arab world was radically transformed by European demand. The racist and the ignorant have been known to feebly defend the institution of African slavery by declaring that: “They sold their own people.” Walvin soundly corrects this flawed assertion by pointing out that “The concept of being an African had no meaning for the people involved. The terms African and Africa were European terms … Africans felt no more uneasy about enslaving other Africans, from different cultures, then European traders felt uneasy when buying Africans on the coast.” [p57] In other words, people from different tribes or different kingdoms on the African continent had as little in common with each other as citizens of England and France had in that same era.
At the same time, the author unflinchingly underscores how the dramatic increase in demand by Europeans fueled a rapid expansion in the aggressive procurement of slaves from wider environs and their subsequent transport to the west coast of Africa for sale. Prior to 1700, gold and other commodities made up the bulk of African exports, before human beings became the dominant currency. This change was primarily driven by the explosive growth of the highly profitable but labor-intensive sugar cultivation in the Americas, where there happened to be a shortage of cheap labor. Not only did the pathogens unleashed in the Columbian Experience decimate indigenous populations in the New World, but the Roman Catholic church had officially proscribed enslaving the natives. At the same time, disease and climate in Africa proved a death trap for Europeans, making sugar cultivation there untenable. The confluence of these factors generated a perfect storm for those helpless victims brutally forced into the holds of slave ships bound for the Middle Passage and destined for an uncertain future in faraway lands where they were often literally worked to death on sugar plantations.
Walvin, Professor of History Emeritus at University of York, has written extensively on slavery and the slave trade and thus brings an expertise to the task often lacking by those who treat slavery on the periphery of related studies. The reward for the reader is a number of insights that probe frequently overlooked aspects of the institution, especially as it later developed in North America. Historians have long noted the bitter resistance of African-Americans in the nineteenth century to schemes that would “colonize” them back to Africa. While their ancestors may have been cruelly stolen from the African continent, these descendants, slave and free, identified with America rather than a foreign land on the other side of the Atlantic. According to Walvin, the origin of this sense of identity can be traced to specific circumstances:

Until the 1720s, the black population in North America grew via imported Africans. Thereafter, it began to increase naturally rather than via the Atlantic slave trade. The consequences of the diminishing importance of the Atlantic slave trade on North America were enormous. Africa and its multitude of cultures receded as a demographic force in the lives of local slaves: there were fewer and fewer Africans in slave communities. This had the effect of inevitably reducing the cultural influence of Africa … [p 100]

Likewise, the author connects the development of slavery in colonial North America to its post-Revolution evolution into the essential building block of the southern cotton plantation economy:

When the American colonies broke away from Britain in 1776, they took with them half a million blacks; by 1810, that had increased to 1.4 million, overwhelmingly in the old South. It was this established American slave population that was to make possible the development of the enslaved cotton revolution of the nineteenth century and the consequent westward movement of slavery from the former colonies to the new cotton frontier. When cotton thrived in the new states of the South and the frontier in the nineteenth century, the new cotton plantations turned for their labour not to Africa but to the slave populations of the old slave systems on the east coast . . . In the process, slavery was thus transformed from a British colonial institution into a critical element in the early growth and expansion of the infant republic. The slavery of British colonial North America gave birth to slavery in the USA. [p107]

Walvin’s often brilliant analyses frequently point to ironies and unintended consequences. One is that while “. . . the forms of slavery that Europeans created in the Americas proved to be among the most hostile and repressive in recorded history . . . [t]he paradox remains that Europe saw the gradual securing of individual rights to ever more people in Europe at the very same time that Europeans expanded and intensified slavery across vast tracts of the Americas.” [p15] Another is that the majority of those ripped away from their homelands and shipped to the Americas as property came via British ships, yet it was the later conscience-driven dedication to abolition in England that eventually not only shut down the Atlantic slave trade but also sparked a multinational movement towards emancipation. [p121-23]
There is a great deal more. In fact, more than enough to encourage others with interest in this topic to find this book and devour it with relish the way I did. Of course, something should also be said of the wealth of superlative maps included here—there are eight-seven of them—all derived from a variety of historical atlases and other sources, which as previously noted are absolutely integral to the narrative. For all of his achievements, Walvin’s otherwise magnificent book is not without a couple of glaring flaws, one of fact and the other of interpretation. The first is his claim that slaves built the pyramids of ancient Egypt, [p16] which historians know was not the case. The other is his contention, repeated more than once, [p110, p124] that the American Civil War was not caused by slavery. In fact, the scholarly consensus is that slavery was indeed the central cause of southern secession and the war that act triggered. Still, there are few such imperfections. Much of this fine book begs for readers seeking a deeper perspective of this unique variation of human chattel slavery that tragically proved to be the very foundation for economic development of the modern western world.

My review of: “Atlas of Slavery,” by James Walvin, is live on my book blog … https://regarp.com/2017/03/26/review-of-atlas-of-slavery-by-james-walvin/

Short url: http://wp.me/p5Hb6f-cL
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  Garp83 | Mar 26, 2017 |
I didn't realize when I picked up this book that it's actually a novelization of the film. As many times as I saw the original film as a kid, I don't think I ever saw the sequel, so I don't have the same nostalgia for it, and it's definitely different to the original book, which I just finished reading and is thus much fresher in my mind than the film, which I haven't seen in thirty years or so.

The first chapter was a real disappointment, as just right off the bat it had a totally different feeling than the first book. Not only were many key points different (which to Key's credit, he did do his best to try and explain away, such as "oh, we'd thought Uncle Bene was dead but he survived" and "while we were gone Tia learned to speak vocally", but there was also a weird overuse of scientific terms for their powers that just felt out of place.

But as I continued reading, I got sucked into the story and the annoyances faded away and I did end up enjoying it. Though the addition of a psychic goat who helped save the day definitely made me feel like yeah, this is an old Disney movie all right.
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  kyuuketsukirui | Mar 28, 2017 |
movies, comedies, fighter pilots, military missions, parodies
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  RecklessReader | Mar 26, 2017 |
A fascinating guide to some of the most remarkable natural wonders on our planet, this is a book which captivated me when I was a young kid. I read it again today, partly for nostalgia but also because it is really good. It has lots of interesting facts and evocative photographs of each wonder. Both as a kid and now as an adult, I am quite taken by the beauty of many of these places and hope to visit them at some point in my life. The Norwegian fjord of Sognefjord, the Königssee lake in the Bavarian Alps, Milford Sound in New Zealand and the Iguaçu Falls on the Brazil/Argentina border have always been at the top of my wish-list of places to visit, simply because as a kid I was entranced by their beauty and tranquillity as captured in this book.

It is not a traveller's guide, and focuses more on the geographical and geological side of how these wonders were formed over millennia. This is what I am most fascinated by: the awesome power of nature in forging these striking places. The sheer scale of the Grand Canyon has always been staggering, and consequently Arizona has always been high on my wish-list, particularly as it is also home to other intriguing wonders detailed here, including Meteor Crater and Monument Valley. One can never cease to be impressed by how our world was formed, and the human imagination cannot truly comprehend the true might and force of tectonic plates crashing together, forming mountains, never mind the changes wrought over millions of years by rivers, like the mighty Colorado forging the Grand Canyon. Though Rupert Matthews, the author of this atlas, sticks to facts and figures, he nevertheless conveys this, the awesome power of nature, very well and allows you to marvel and indeed wonder at these phenomena.

The author also draws on anthropology and archaeology to address the human impact on these natural wonders, and there is an awareness of environmental and conservation issues which is earnest but, refreshingly, never preachy. Matthews just demonstrates how remarkable these wonders are and, simply by virtue of their beauty, power or uniqueness, you reflexively agree with any attempt to ensure they remain unspoilt. He also notes, through the text and also extremely helpful diagrams, how these wonders have formed and how, over time, they will change. Niagara Falls, for example, will in about 25,000 years have retreated fully into the Great Lakes. Lake Baikal in Russia (or the USSR, as the atlas - showing its age - refers to it) will in a few million years split Asia into two. It is stuff like this which really gives you an appreciation for the changing nature of our world and an understanding of just how small a space humankind occupies on a timeline of the Earth's existence. The natural phenomena that this atlas describes really show you that the world was undergoing mind-boggling changes long before we were here, and will long after we are gone. Our race will be witness to just a tiny moment of that evolution, but it is fascinating for us to even contemplate such changes.

These were the kind of thoughts that were swirling around in my head while I was reading this book, and I imagine it is a book that will give any reader an appreciation of the staggering power and beauty of the natural world. Overall, the atlas was an illuminating guide to a choice selection of natural phenomena, which will engage any reader in feelings of awe and wanderlust.
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  MikeFutcher | Mar 28, 2017 |
After Inventing America: Jefferson's Declaration of Independence, Garry Wills noted an intention to complete an overarching analysis of U.S. politics under the general title America's Political Enlightenment. The underlying theme was to be the influence of the Scottish Enlightenment upon North American political theory, and so upon its political landscape overall. The second in the series was Explaining America: The Federalist, which included a "Plan of the Series" and briefly identified four books.

It would appear the series was never completed. If not wholly abandoned, possibly the promised volumes on the Constitution and the Supreme Court transformed into a work on Henry Adams's history of the U.S. -- and into this work, Cinncinnatus, an examination not of the courts but of political culture. In any case, it's not clear how Wills understands Cincinnatus to fit with the series, as a digression or perhaps a pendant, or not at all.

Evidently Wills's arguments came under strong criticism among U.S. political scientists, perhaps in part accounting for the unfinished Series. I find his approach an exceedingly interesting way to learn about U.S. politics and history, both in the broad expanse of the American experiment, and in personalities such as Washington. Certainly I was little motivated by the orthodox approaches I learned in school.


The argument here is narrowly defined: first to describe how artists & propagandists "shaped a didactic image" of George Washington [xxi], and then to assess both the role Washington played in forming the new American Republic, and the public's expectations for that role [xxiv]. Wills relies on a discussion of myriad portraits of Washington in making this argument: that is, literal portraits on canvas and in marble or bronze, and also some storybook myths such as Parson Weems' tale of the apple tree.

Wills's assessment of Washington's own intentions involves a focus on three primary events in Washington's biography. Chronologically they are:
1 - Washington's resignation of his commission as Commander of the Continental Army
2 - His support of the new Constitution, despite its unorthodox genesis
3 - Washington's Farewell Address following his second Presidential term

The book is divided into three parts, each separately examining one of these three events and its meaning for Washington, and for U.S. political culture.

In Part 1: Wills first looks at Enlightenment principles (secularism, republican ideals) and applies them to Washington's habit of "giving up power as a means of gaining power". Wills then reviews paintings and sculpture to see how those principles describe Washington's public persona.

Part 2 jumps out of sequence and looks to the importance of Washington's Farewell Address, linking it to Washington's policy of Nonalighment and its relevance for National Character.

Part 3 examines Washington's decision to support the new Constitution, and yet reconcile it with the republican ideals already defined, which were publicly and deliberately taken up by his supporters, and purposefully by Washington himself.

Along the way, Wills provides many discussions of events, personality, and theory of public service & civic virtue, swirling around the symbol of American identity and ideal.


The propagandist symbol, and the intentional actions on the part of Washington himself, coalesce around an American concept of Republicanism, "Roman but not Christian". [25]
• The ideal leader displayed a "considered reluctance to exercise power" [23], and was granted power for a limited duration, with a circumscribed ambit, and relied upon the People to be free of corruption (so their selection of a leader would not compromise these ideals).
• The Roman myth of Cincinnatus, the citizen soldier under orders but with individual genius to implement those orders, was taken up among Colonists as the embodiment of an ideal leader, leading eventually to the establishment of the Society of Cincinnati.
• The Society emphasised the importance of a social code in which ideals are acted out, and witnessed by the public, and so emulated (the "spectatorial" function). The love of glory as an Enlightenment ideal, and so fame being a laudatory goal for a gentleman. Instill virtue by depicting it, depict virtue and in so doing, realise it. Fame as the conspicuous reward for virtue. (Cato was an ideal alongside Cincinnatus, and one favoured by Washington.)
• The symbol and the Society itself were broadly influenced by the Scottish Enlightenment.
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1 vote elenchus | Mar 27, 2017 |
A very well written book by a professor of history on his recollections of World War II's final months.
This book is interesting since does not fall into pure history, memoir, nor fiction as a literary category. It transcends several genres much like several of the more renowned Vietnam war works do. It is a hybrid which he calls "feigned history."
Manuel did not see front line combat duty so his reflections are from a rear echelon intelligence officer who has time to mock the tragic deaths of others and philosophize on the self serving rationalizations of the Germans. His summations are still fairly accurate although one does need to know a little about WWII history to appreciate this short work (135 pp.). This book was published in 2000 but will probably be forgotten which is too bad since it's quite good. The author is a Boston Jew and his account weaves in his own feelings about the holocaust. Manuel has a bias against Christians. He writes thus about a German Catholic officer which may be fabulous since Catholic clergy were often sent to concentration camps late in the war: "I really could not endure it any longer. My conscience plagued me day and night. I sought refuge in a confessional box and asked the chaplain about my responsibility. 'O father, shall I continue to send these boys to their death when I know that it is futile? I do not believe anymore'. And the priest refined my duty. 'My son, doesn't you remember the rules? Just obey. You are not responsible. It is not for you to determine. It is for you to obey and in turn be obeyed and so turn the wheels of obedience that there may be order and light and darkness and a world. Responsibility rests with your superior and his superiors and so on through channels until the highest. Go, my child, with an ashy heart and fire your weapon in clear conscience, for in the eyes of the judge you are blameless'. And so it was. I had my honor, my conscience, my obedience, and my salvation. Now my duty is done."
This may have happened as the German officer stated but not likely. As the war came to a close everyone came to see it as every man for himself. If the futility of men as cannon fodder was an issue then the war was by then lost. If the pangs of guilt were afflicting this officer's conscience then the winnable war was a thing of the past. In any case, this seems to be included as it showed the moral superiority of the Nazis as coming from a religiosity close to something attributed to pseudo Catholicism. But in reality, Hitler had no affinity with the Roman church since it never endorsed the idea of a Fuhrer over and above the Pope.
A book jotting down all the rumors that swirled around the German staff officers once they saw the Americans would easily destroy the German Axis forces.
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  sacredheart25 | Mar 29, 2017 |
What a treasure! Thank you, Rizzoli New York for this marvelous coffee-table book with hundreds of large color plates of the creations of American multimedia artist Red Grooms (Born 1937), without question an artist possessing one of the most spectacular, outlandish, over-the-top visual imaginations of all time. Also includes are three essays - from author/painter Timothy Human, art critic Marco Livningstone and philosopher of art Arthur C. Danto. The essay by Danto is nothing short of brilliant and it this essay The World as Ruckus – Red Grooms and the Spirit of Comedy I quote below along with adding my own modest comments.

“The term ruckus in any case fits the style – the way Grooms applies and uses cartoony exaggerations. In a way, his characteristic works are three-dimensional cartoons, and, whatever its motivation, the ruckus is intended as a form of comedy, by contrast with the typical piece of installation art, which in general takes itself pretty seriously.” ----------- Some years back I had the good fortune to see a Red Grooms exhibit - many where the times I smiled; many where the times I laughed. A gallery should put up a sign at the entrance to a Red Grooms exhibit: SOURPUSSES KEEP OUT.

“I would dearly love to see Grooms make a piece based on Plato’s Symposium, showing Alcibiades staggering in with the help of a flute-girl, ivy twisted in his golden hair.” --------- So would I, Arthur! Anytime you encounter an event or activity where the participants are taking themselves and others much too seriously, imagine the whole thing rendered as a Red Grooms.

“A lot of Groom’s work is about art; he has an immense and an affectionate knowledge of art history, and he likes to use his art to make statements about its history and his own relationship to it. Often these meta-artistic works are extremely illuminating about the work they take as their subject.” ---------- Jackson Pollock, Willem De Kooning, Piet Mondrian. I'm especially fond of the sculpture where Mondrian is enclosed in a three-dimensional version of his painting.

“Grooms’s art has the form it has because of the response it is intended to have, with laughter as the outward manifestation of the change of inner state.” ----------- Once you make a connection with a Red Grooms creation, it will stick with you for years.

“Grooms in some way makes his figures look ridiculous, even laughable, but he does not give himself an air of superiority in doing so because he makes his own work look proportionately ludicrous or laughable. ---------- There's nothing condescending about the artist's humor. Red Grooms puts his heart right out there along with his imagination and lives, via his art, with the men and women he creates.

“When the elevator doors of the Whitney Museum opened on Groom’s retrospective exhibition in 1987, I felt such an inrush of pleasure that I could not help but think – after all, mine, as you can tell, is in large measure the world of the professional philosopher – of Thomas Hobbes’s piquant definition of laughter in The Leviathan: laughter is “sudden glory.” For in a way that is what I felt: a flash of aesthetic glory.” ---------- Bulls-eye, Arthur! My experience exactly. And there's no aesthetic experience like one of aesthetic glory. If you spend a good hunk of time with Red Grooms, you will feel ten years younger. Guaranteed!

“In order for comedy to do its therapeutic work, it has to be accessible. The audience has to recognize what the work is about, and recognize itself in the work, as if in a mirror. The truth cannot be hidden, or be obscure.” ----------- There's no question, like the stories and art in the books of Dr. Seuss, the art of Red Grooms can be instantly understood.

‘His wonderful comic style was not intended at any point to degrade or ridicule its subjects but to present them with warmth by removing what might have been taken as fearful. The subway can be seen as a great iron dragon that worms through the dark underground beneath the city. Grooms shows it instead as comical and ingratiating, noting to be afraid of but as embodying, to use again Hegel’s description, “a fundamentally happy craziness, folly, and idiosyncrasy in general.”” ---------- Red Grooms's subway sculpture allows the viewer to get on the subway and walk through. Yes, that's right - life-size and life-like. What a blast and a half.
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  GlennRussell | Mar 28, 2017 |
The English Way is a nice collection of biographical essays covering English saints and other holy worthies, stretching from St. Bede to John Henry Cardinal Newman. The focus is probably on medieval luminaries, Because each essay is written by a different author, some famous like Chesterton and Belloc; others who were well-known then but have since faded into obscurity, they are somewhat uneven in quality, but none of them are truly bad. If you're looking to learn a bit more about English saints as part of devotional reading, this is a very useful volume to have.… (more)
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  inge87 | Mar 26, 2017 |
upstairs neighbor Sam proposes an arrangement with single Mom Mandy - a no-strings affair, and no falling in love. Only it doesn't quite work out that way in this humorous read
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  nancynova | Mar 26, 2017 |
A creative cookie book featuring five different cookie recipes, as well as one for icing and instructions on how to make lovely cookie creations for every season.
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  TheCelticSelkie | Mar 28, 2017 |
This is a collection of fictional and nonfiction writings connected to Berlin. Some are about the city itself, some about its people, its history, its atmosphere. Like any collection, some of the selections are better than others. Overall, the book gives the reader a sense of the city that is entertaining and thought-provoking.
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  LynnB | Mar 26, 2017 |
Aimed at a young audience, there was not a lot of meat in these brief biographies. However, there was enough to illustrate how the brutal and hard life of a pirate was also enjoyed (?!) by women. Some inherited the position from their husband and some eagerly sought out a life of adventure on the high seas. Many were caught and executed but a couple spent their last days peacefully ashore. The stories were enhanced by paintings depicting the periods and there was even a photograph of the most recent pirate, a Chinese woman named Lai Choi San.… (more)
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  mamzel | Mar 27, 2017 |
Het boek is heel erg schattig en lief geschreven. Het is een geweldig boek om voor te lezen in de klas, en zelfs om te combineren met een drama les is heel leuk om te doen. Het verhaal is niet alleen zoetsappig, tussendoor bevat het ook veel humor.
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  Elisty | Mar 28, 2017 |
An investigation into the period when the Mafia was in power in Las Vegas, and Nevada as a whole. I'm not sure they have ever really gone away. Like a lot of true crime writing, the prose is clear, and the message is very discouraging.
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  DinadansFriend | Mar 27, 2017 |

Adrian Lindhout ist ein hochgeschätzter Professor der Chemie und Nobelpreisträger, da einen bedeutenden Fund gemacht hat: Einen Morphin-Antanogisten! Damit kann man einen Heroin-Süchtigen besser bei der sonst so schmerzhaften Entwöhnung helfen.

Am 23. Februar 1979, kurz vor seiner Abreise nach Stockholm, um dort einen Vortrag über seine Arbeit zu halten, kündigt sich bei ihm Besuch an: Kaplan Roman Haberland. Adrian beginnt sich an sein Leben zu erinnern und geht zum Ursprung dessen zurück, wo alles begann: Im Jahre 1944, als er mit der kleinen Truus in Wien ankam und seinen ersten Antanogisten entdeckte.

Im Laufe seines Lebens muß Adrian Lindhout private und berufliche Rückschläge verkraften. Dennoch sucht er wie besessen sein Mittel gegen Heroin! Viele Menschen begleiten sein Leben und seine Arbeit.
Als schließlich der angekündigte Besuch von Kaplan Haberland eintrifft, wird Adrian an eine Schuld erinnert und fällt – nach 34 Jahren – die Entscheidung zur Sühne dieser Schuld!

Mein Fazit:

Der Roman von Johannes M. Simmel ist in meinem Empfinden die klassische Literatur schlechthin. Bedauerlicherweise ist die Handlung so komplex, das ich den Inhalt nur grob anreißen kann. Dennoch fällt es einem nicht schwer, den ganzen Dingen zu folgen. Ein Spargat, der nicht jedem Autor gelingt.
Es beginnt gleich spannend mit zwei Zeitungsartikeln, dessen Aussagen sich wie ein roter Faden durch den gesamten Roman ziehen.

Das Buch kann ich nur wärmstens empfehlen – ein Muß für jeden Fan der klassischen Literatur!

Anmerkung: Die Rezension stammt aus September 2002.

Veröffentlicht am 23.05.16!
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  ElkeHannover | Mar 26, 2017 |
Incredibly accurate novel about naval experience during WWII combat. Tensely written, accurate detail- a great read. This book gives a real sense of what it was like for those onboard ship during battle and the difficulties of war. One of the best renditions of naval combat and the feeling of the men aboard that I have ever read.
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  aRIELbRIESSE | Mar 27, 2017 |
This first volume of the Cambridge History of American Literature (Colonial and Revolutionary Literature, Early National Literature: Part I) covers American literature from it's inception with the documented exploits of the travelers and explorers to first map the region, through to the transcendentalism movement and the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, A very in-depth and informative work.
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  smichaelwilson | Mar 28, 2017 |
This is a review of the complete Bjørndal triology, where this is the third book

Once read, you never be in doubt of which of the three books in the trilogy comes first and last: The story is told by the three titles alone, to anyone having knowledge of the Bible.

In "Beyond sings the Woods" the wood that is singing in the people from the Bear valley, has sung in Man since Adam was chased into the wilderness. Old Dag is fighting the bear in himself most of his life.

In the second book, "The wind from the Mountain" his son, young Dag is exposed to death, both by loosing loved ones and by just surviving death himself.

The third book in the trilogy is worked into the second book in the English translation. If translated from Norwegian it would be something like "What you cannot Escape". The book is what becomes the law of young Dag´s life after coming down from the mountain, how his way of thinking is affected by his experiences, and how it translates into practical life, and even more what reactions his actions gets from the surroundings.

As an allegory of the Christian creed, Gulbranssen´s Bjørndal Trilogy matches Dostoyevsky novel "the Idiot". Only the inner and outer fight is not taking place at the Russian court, and young Dag is not prince Myshkin. The story is set in Norway; the tone is more subdued, young Dag is not hysterical, he is as down to earth as the landscape he lives in. The choices that has to be made is not theoretical, not about something far off, but practical choices about daily life, being done on daily basis.
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  Mikalina | Mar 27, 2017 |
Great photography, street scenes, bridges, snow, etc. Good information. All U. S. Regions and Canada. Market at $27 on Amazon 3/17.
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  JFGABCIK | Mar 26, 2017 |
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