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review 2018-08-18 16:21
Stat rosa pristina nomine: "The Name of the Rose" by Umberto Eco
The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco


"Stat Rosa pristina nomine, nomina nuda tenemus"


In "The Name of the Rose" by Umberto Eco




As a novelist Eco blends the style of Arthur Conan Doyle with that of Cervantes in a most intellectually entertaining way but with surprising heart, also. It makes me keen to explore the labyrinth of his philosophy, which seems to exist in a realm of its own immune from the tedium and drudgery of most contemporary attempts at philosophy. Do you remember pictures in which you can see a nice girls or an old woman depending on the perspective you are using: What I like of Umberto Eco's books is the indeterminate aspects of described situations which often are a surprise for readers. You can never predict how the story will develop and this is true for his first "The Name of the Rose" and his last "Numero Zero" book.

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-08-15 19:57
The Silent Ships: "Childhood's End" by Arthur C. Clarke
Childhood's End - Arthur C. Clarke


“No one of intelligence resents the inevitable.”

In “Childhood’s End” by Arthur C. Clarke



One of my favourite long novel is `Childhoods End`, but commenting on it without revealing the ending is difficult. That is the whole point after all, but still, think the early 80`s TV mini series/series of `V` - with Jane Badler as a seriously sexy, sociopathic alien - think they really were benevolent and took humanity to generations of peace and prosperity. Well, not exactly many `generations`!

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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text 2017-11-20 19:49
16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Square 4
The Unyielding - Shelly Laurenston
A Wreath of Snow: A Victorian Christmas Novella - Liz Curtis Higgs
The Berlin Wall: 13 August 1961 - 9 Nove... The Berlin Wall: 13 August 1961 - 9 November 1989 - Frederick Taylor
Forgotten Voices of the Great War - Max Arthur,Imperial War Museum

Square 4, Part 1: Penance Day

Book: A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs

Task: 5.5 Theses of Book Blogging

 

1. Don't sell ARCs. Donate them to a charity or stock a free little library with them, but don't sell them. I don't read ARCs for a bunch of personal reasons, yet I feel really sorry for the authors who have their ARCs sold.

 

2. Stop the "real" books versus e-Reader/app debate. We all know you are just doing it for page views/social engagement and it is a tired argument. Some bloggers bring this up at least monthly so their numbers look good - ESPECIALLY on FB. Reading is reading and some readers have disabilities/conditions that technology has helped to read more/read again. The argument is classist and ablest and I will unfollow a blogger in a hot minute if I start seeing this.

 

This goes double with audible books. Some people like to read and do crafts/garden/cook/clean at the same time and a lot of them don't have the time in their day to schedule all the things as individual tasks.

 

3. Don't be afraid to review/talk about books from your personal stash, freebie books found in the Nook or Kindle store or even *gasp* the books from your local library. In the daily push to promote NEW! sometimes bloggers get burnt out. Give yourself permission to once a month write about those long cherished books and why they hold/don't hold up. Don't lose your blog's personality in the quest to look good for publishers/blog tour operators.

 

4. Don't be afraid to address serious topics in your review. Authors really need to get over having their book babies get criticized for racism, homophobia, etc that the reader finds. Authors should coral their fans and let's not start in with death threats and slurs directed at the book blogger. And GR/BL, Twitter, and FB could give a helping hand to the blogger/reviewer when shit hits the fan.

 

5. Don't feel the need to be on every social media platform so that your blog gets noticed. Seems like an awful lot of work in creating and maintaining a page on FB for your blog for nothing, since a lot of FB's algorithim will keep your post/page hidden from readers feed. Twitter is one big garbage dump fire. Other platforms seem more in line with helping book bloggers.

                         5.5 However, if a blogger really likes a social media platform, say Instagram, and enjoys coming up with photos of books and bookish stuff, MORE POWER TO YOU. Honestly I am a big fan of "bookstagram" and love to see what you guys and gals come up with. Keep them coming!

 

***************************************************************************************************

Square 4, Part Two: Thanksgiving

Book: The Unyielding by Shelly Laurenston - I read it but my review got eaten by BL's bug fixing and I don't feel like re-writing my review. I gave it 5 stars and will probably gush about the entire series for at least the rest of the year.

 

Task: Picture of my new books. The family and I went to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford on Veterans' Day/Armistice Day (cause we know how to party, lol) and let's just say I can't be left in a museum gift shop by myself....I picked up The Berlin Wall 13 August 1961 - 9 November 1989 by Frederick Taylor; most likely the inspiration was seeing a piece of the Berlin Wall on display at the museum.

 

On a different day earlier in the month I went shopping at my favorite local charity shop for a White Elephant gift for the upcoming library staff and volunteer holiday party. I picked up Forgotten Voices of the Great War: A New History of WWI in the Worlds of the Men and Women Who Were There by Max Arthur.

 

 

 

 

 

Total points for this square: 4

 

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review 2017-08-13 09:00
East West Street: On the Origins of "Genocide" and "Crimes Against Humanity" - Philippe Sands

Of all the books I've read thus far this year, "EAST WEST STREET: On the Origins of 'Genocide' and 'Crimes Against Humanity' " is perhaps the most powerfully affecting and well-written. At times, as I read deeply into this book, it felt as if I was reading a family history, mystery novel, and story of the development of 2 key legal concepts from 2 remarkable men from Poland (Hersh Lauterpacht and Rafael Lemkin) which revolutionized the study and practice of international law - with respect to human rights - in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War.

 

This book gets its impetus from a visit the author (a British law professor and international lawyer) made in 2010 to Lviv, a city in the Ukraine that over the past century changed hands and names several times. Prior to November 1918, Lviv was known as Lemberg within the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which had a rich, diverse Jewish culture and distinguished university and law school in Lemberg University (now Lviv University). Then with the dissolution of the Dual Monarchy, Lemberg became Lwów within a newly independent, re-established Poland. But with the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, Lwów fell under Soviet control as a result of the Soviet-German non-aggression pact, which carved up Poland between Berlin and Moscow. This control proved to be shortlived, for once Germany invaded Soviet Russia in June 1941, Lwów became German and its Jewish population between 1941 and 1944 (when the Soviets retook the city, renaming it Lviv) was ghettoized and largely wiped out in the Holocaust.

 

What makes Lviv significant in this book is the connection the author's family and both Hersh Lauterpacht and Rafael Lemkin have to it. Sands' maternal grandfather Leon Buchholz and the families of both Lauterpacht and Lemkin lived in or near Lviv. Through sheer determination and lots of what can be likened to detective work, Sands shares with the reader the histories of his family through Leon's long, challenging and varied life (which took him from Poland to Vienna to Paris in January 1939) and that of Lauterpacht and Lemkin. Lauterpacht made a life for himself in Britain, where he achieved renown as a law professor and legal mind whose development of the concept of 'crimes against humanity' became widely adopted within international law during the Nuremberg war crimes trials of 1945-46. Lemkin, who was slightly younger than Lauterpacht, was a polyglot who spent most of his working years in Poland as a successful lawyer til he was forced to leave the country shortly after the beginning of the German occupation. In contrast to Lauterpacht who asserted that "the individual human being ... is the ultimate unit of all law", Lemkin developed during the Second World War the concept of "genocide", a deliberative action by a state to exterminate a people (along religious, racial, national, or ethnic lines). Indeed, Lemkin coined the word and tried throughout the war crimes trials in Nuremberg to have "genocide" formally adopted and accepted as a part of international law.

 

"Lauterpacht never embraced the idea of genocide. To the end of his life, he was dismissive, both of the subject and, perhaps more politely, of the man who concocted it, even if he recognized the aspirational quality. Lemkin feared that the separate projects of protecting individual human rights, on the one hand, and protecting groups and preventing genocide, on the other, were in contradiction."

 

Sands also sheds light on Hans Frank, Hitler's former personal lawyer who later was named Governor-General of Occupied Poland, where he figured prominently in the disenfrachisement and murder of Jews. In this capacity, Frank made a stop in Lemberg in August 1942, where he made a speech promoting his anti-Jewish policies. Frank later was tried for war crimes along with a number of top surviving members of the Third Reich (e.g., Hermann Göring, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Rudolf Hess, Wilhelm Keitel, Ernst Kaltenbrunner of the SS, and Alfred Jodl who had been Chief of the Operations Staff of the Armed Forces) at Nuremberg, where Lauterpacht and Lemkin watched him testify.

 

This was a book I enjoyed reading from start to finish. It embodied all the attributes of a novel and mystery thriller. And yet the fact that "East West Street" is a true story made my reading experience even more rewarding.

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review 2016-11-26 23:26
JUDGMENTS AT NUREMBERG
The Nuremberg Interviews - Leon Goldensohn

The chief value in "The Nuremberg Interviews" comes from the views, perspectives, and at times, candid reflections offered by the 33 defendants and witnesses whom Dr. Goldensohn (then a U.S. Army psychiatrist) interviewed during 1946. In reading this book, I felt as if I were in company with Dr. Goldensohn and his interpreter as he carried our his enquiries of each person. Hermann Goering, nominally the Number 2 man in the Third Reich, didn't strike me as a person given to much introspection or regret. Rather, he came across as a man who enjoyed wielding power and showed no contrition about the Holocaust and several of the other crimes committed by Hitler, whom he regarded largely as a genius.

On the other hand, Rudolf Hoess, the commandant of Auschwitz, showed no evasiveness when speaking about his responsibility for the extermination of 5 million people. He fully accepted his guilt and the likelihood he would be hanged for his crimes (which took place in Poland in 1947).

For any reader interested in understanding the mindsets and philosophies of individuals who served a totalitarian state, I strongly recommend this book.

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