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text 2017-11-20 23:12
My Brilliant Friend ★★☆☆☆
My Brilliant Friend - Elena Ferrante,Ann Goldstein

I really wanted to like this, and stuck with it much longer than I ordinarily would have, hoping that at some point I would just fall into the story. It wasn't terrible, and it had moments of description or character that I enjoyed. But the story simply wasn't going anywhere, and the characters were not interesting enough to carry it along while waiting for some kind of plot to happen. DNF at 32%

 

Audiobook, borrowed from my public library. I don't know if it was the narrator's reading or the source material, but the audio performance contributed to my abandoning the book unfinished. Her voice just kept droning on and on, until I'd realize that my attention had wandered and I had to rewind. After almost 6 hours of listening, I just couldn't face another 12 of the same.

 

I was reading this for The 16 Festive Tasks square 7: International Human Rights Day: Read a book originally written in another language. I don't have another book lined up for this one. I might find a "Light Joker" to use instead.

 

Since I couldn't use this one for any of the squares, I decided to make my own square:

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text 2017-11-15 21:13
My Brilliant Friend - 11%
My Brilliant Friend - Elena Ferrante,Ann Goldstein

Children don't know the meaning of yesterday, of the day before yesterday, or even of tomorrow. Everything is This. Now. The street is This, the doorway is This, the stairs are This. This is Momma. This is Poppa. This is the day. This is the night. I was small, and really, my doll knew more than I did. 

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text 2017-11-14 18:41
I Am Malala - 5/327pg
I Am Malala - Malala Yousafzai

We went to school six mornings a week, and as I was a fifteen-year-old in Year 9, my classes were spent chanting chemical equations or studying Urdu grammar, writing stories in English with morals like "haste makes waste" or drawing diagrams of blood circulation - most of my classmates wanted to be doctors. It's hard to imagine that anyone would see that as a threat.

 

 

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text 2017-11-14 16:33
Sq10 World Peace Day / Sq14 Quaid-e-Azam
I Am Malala - Malala Yousafzai

I'm getting started with I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, which can fit both Square 10: World Peace Day (Malala Yousafzai was a co-recipient for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014) and Square 14 Quaid-e-Azam (she is Pakistani and much of the book is about and takes place in Pakistan) for The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season. I haven't decided yet which square I'll use it for, since I don't have any alternatives for either yet. I don't have any books about any other Nobel Peace Prize winners, and my library has some unappealing options, mostly children's books. 

 

 

Square 10: December 21st: World Peace Day is the day the United Nations General Assembly has declared as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. Book themes for World Peace Day: Read a book by or about a Nobel Peace Prize winner, or about a protagonist (fictional or nonfictional) who has a reputation as a peacemaker.

 

Square 10: December 25th: Quaid-e-Azam(‘Great Leader’) Day is the Pakistan holiday celebrating their founder’s -Muhammad Ali Jinnah - birthday. 

Book themes for Quaid-e-Azam:  Pakistan became an independent nation when the British Raj ended on August 14, 1947. Read a book set in Pakistan or in any other country that attained sovereign statehood between August 14, 1947 and today (regardless in what part of the world).

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review 2017-11-13 02:17
Up Front ★★★★★
Up Front - Bill Mauldin,Stephen E. Ambrose

This is a fascinating collection of Bill Mauldin’s cartoons, drawn while serving as an infantryman, then later as part of the press corps for the US Army in Europe during WWII. The cartoons are accompanied by the personal stories and recollections behind their inspiration and creation. These cartoons wouldn’t have made much sense to me, otherwise, having never served in the military or had family who served during WWII. He tells his stories with humor and empathy, but does not pull punches in describing the infantryman’s experience on the front lines of the war – fear and hunger and exhaustion and foxholes and trench foot and screaming meemie bombs and butterfly bombs and potato mashers. But he also speaks of courage and camaraderie and duty and brotherhood, the sort of commitment that keeps the men together and fighting their common enemy. And in this book, the common enemy is the German soldier, and Mauldin is explicit in describing the GI’s point of view.

 

Some shells scream, some whiz, some whistle, and others whir. Most flat-trajectory shells sound like rapidly ripped canvas. Howitzer shells seem to have a two-toned whisper.

Let’s get the hell off this subject.

 

 

 

It would take a pretty tough guy not to feel his heart go out to the shivering, little six-year-old squeaker who stands barefoot in the mud, holding a big tin bucket so the dogface can empty his mess kit into it… But there is a big difference between the ragged, miserable infantryman who waits with his mess kit, and the ragged, miserable civilian who waits with his bucket. The doggie knows where his next meal is coming from. That makes him a very rich man in this land where hunger is so fierce it makes animals out of respectable old ladies who should be wearing cameos and having tea parties instead of fighting one another savagely for a soldier’s scraps.

 

 

 

They go on patrol when patrols are called for, and they don’t shirk hazards, because they don’t want to let their buddies down. The army couldn’t get along without them, either. Although it needs men to do the daring deeds, it also needs me who have the quiet courage to stick in their foxholes and fight and kill even though they hate killing and are scared to death while doing it.

 

 

They are very different now. Don’t let anybody tell you they aren’t. They need a lot of people speaking for them and telling about them – not speaking for fancy bonuses and extra privileges. You can’t pay in money for what they have done. They need people telling about them so that they will be taken back into their civilian lives and given a chance to be themselves again.

 

 

  

Hardcover edition, loaned to me by my father. I read this for The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 3 November 11th. Book themes for Veterans Day/Armistice Day: Read a book involving veterans of any war, books about WWI or WWII (fiction or non-fiction).  –OR– Read a book with poppies on the cover.

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