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text 2017-07-31 22:36
Booklikes-Opoly - BrokenTune's Final Game Wrap Up
Making History - Stephen Fry
The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World - Andrea Wulf
A Single Man - Christopher Isherwood
Die So Geliebte. Roman Um Annemarie Schwarzenbach - Melania G. Mazzucco
The Thorn Birds - Colleen McCullough
Howards End - E.M. Forster
Dry Store Room No. 1: The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum - Richard Fortey
Journey to the Center of the Earth: A Signature Performance by Tim Curry - Jules Verne
The Day Of The Jackal - Frederick Forsyth
Around the World in Eighty Days - Jules Verne, Brian W. Aldiss,Michael Glencross

July 31st:

 

Bank account: $215

 

Many thanks to Obsidian Blue and Moonlight reader for hosting this game. It was so much fun! Both playing and watching everyone else's updates - a special shout out to Magnetic Monkey and Penni, who have been quite the entertaining duo.

 

My personal goal for this game was to tackle my TBR shelves, both physical and electronic, and try and read as many books that I already own as I could. 

 

In that, I think it has been a resounding success. I managed to read 

 

40 books. Which added up to an amazing 12205 pages! And I loved many of them. Even ones that were outside of my normal reading comfort zone - Hello Sci-fi! and time travel. 

 

In fact, I managed to re-connect with one of my favourite childhood authors - Jules Verne. Not that Verne is a children's author. I just happen to have had my first encounter with Verne when I was a child. Now I want to read more of his works. They are just amazing!

 

Overall, not all of the books I have read over the game have been impressive. There have been 3 DNFs, and all the books together averaged a 3.36 rating.

 

However, there were some honourable mentions which I have linked above.

 

The Thorn Birds, Howards End, and Journey to the Centre of the Earth were re-reads, so the most surprising or best discoveries of the last three months have been Making History by Stephen Fry and The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulff.

 

Again, many thanks to OB and MR and to all the other BLikers who have taken part or cheered from the sidelines. You all rock!

 

 

Below (after the page break) are all my game updates.

 

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review 2017-07-29 20:54
A Single Man
A Single Man - Christopher Isherwood

Waking up begins with saying am and now.

That which has awoken then lies for a while staring up at the ceiling and down into itself until it has recognised I, and therefrom deduced I am, I am now. Here comes next, and is at least negatively reassuring; because here, this morning, is where it had expected to find itself; what’s called at home. But now isn’t simply now. Now is also a cold reminder; one whole day later than yesterday, one year later than last year.

Every now is labelled with its date, rendering all past nows obsolete, until – later or sooner – perhaps – no, not perhaps – quite certainly: It will come.

 

For its brevity, this book is packed with ideas and story. It's such a fine example of an author making every word count.

 

Making things count is also on the mind of George, our MC, who is trying to come to grips with life after the death of his partner, Jim. Right from the start of the book, he is looking for a way to emerge from his loss and live again as a single man. But in a setting where he cannot be openly himself, where he even feels like his best friend does not understand him, it is difficult for him to express himself and to be acknowledged. Instead, he feels invisible.

‘You’re going to walk home like that? Are you crazy? They’d call the cops!’

Kenny shrugs his shoulders good-humouredly.

‘Nobody would have seen us. We’re invisible – didn’t you know?’

Invisibility is a theme in that run through the book from George's bathroom window a few pages from the start to the invisible inner workings of his heart at the end of the book.  

It's an invisibility that is heartbreaking: George's expression of shock and grief at learning of Jim's death gets mistaken for ambivalence, and even when he breaks down at his friend Charlotte's it happens under the cloak of darkness. No one sees him. No one sees Jim. 

 

Christopher Isherwood is one of the writers that I would like to read more of. I had mostly thought of him as the creator of Sally Bowles and the Berlin novels that inform so much of our pop culture view of the 1920s, but this 1960s novel of his makes me really want to revisit the Berlin novels from the point of looking at his writing. I really loved how much he could make happen in a such a concise way.

But is all of George altogether present here? Up the coast a few miles north, in a lava reef under the cliffs, there are a lot of rock pools. You can visit them when the tide is out. Each pool is separate and different, and you can, if you are fanciful, give them names – such as George, Charlotte, Kenny, Mrs Strunk. Just as George and the others are thought of, for convenience, as individual entities, so you may think of a rock pool as an entity; though, of course, it is not.

The waters of its consciousness – so to speak – are swarming with hunted anxieties, grim-jawed greeds, dartingly vivid intuitions, old crusty-shelled rock-gripping obstinacies, deep-down sparkling undiscovered secrets, ominous protean organisms motioning mysteriously, perhaps warningly, toward the surface light. How can such a variety of creatures coexist at all? Because they have to. The rocks of the pool hold their world together. And, throughout the day of the ebb tide, they know no other.

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text 2017-07-24 22:43
Books
A Single Man - Christopher Isherwood

The living-room is dark and low-ceilinged, with bookshelves all along the wall opposite the windows. These books have not made George nobler or better or more truly wise. It is just that he likes listening to their voices, the one or the other, according to his mood.

 

Christopher Isherwood - A Single Man 

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review 2017-01-03 12:20
Jacob's Hands
Jacob's Hands: A Fable - Aldous Huxley,Christopher Isherwood,Laura Archera Huxley

Deceivingly simple. Loved it! Simple and at the same time multiple layers that deal with ethical questions, faith, sense of self (and) love. Gorgeous.

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review 2016-08-20 21:12
A SINGLE MAN Review
A Single Man - Christopher Isherwood

Synopsis: Welcome to sunny suburban 1960s Southern California. George is a gay middle-aged English professor, adjusting to solitude after the tragic death of his young partner. He is determined to persist in the routines of his former life. A Single Man follows him over the course of an ordinary twenty-four hours. Behind his British reserve, tides of grief, rage, and loneliness surgeā€•but what is revealed is a man who loves being alive despite all the everyday injustices.

 

When Christopher Isherwood's A Single Man first appeared, it shocked many with its frank, sympathetic, and moving portrayal of a gay man in maturity. Isherwood's favorite of his own novels, it now stands as a classic lyric meditation on life as an outsider.

 

*****

 

Never before have I identified so much with a character in a book than I did with George, the protagonist and titular character of A Single Man. Reading this book was an extraordinary experience for me because the author said things I've thought, but have never said aloud. It is a story which the inspiration for seems to have come straight from my own head. We all have that experience from time to time, and A Single Man was mine. George is a shy, introspective man. He compartmentalizes. He doesn't reach out, and hates that about himself. This book is a meditation on loneliness and 'outsiders'. 

 

This is a short book, detailing a day in the life of a lonely, gay college English professor who is still mourning the death of his lover. He's introverted and filled with rage, grief . . . He wants happiness. He wants peace. He wants stability. By the story's end there are hints that he could have that, that there is a possibility for him of moving on . . . but there might not be. This book is cold and honest, which I appreciate. The reader is not cheated.

 

George is a fascinating character, drawn remarkably by Christopher Isherwood. Written in the early '60s, the topic this novel most deftly covers — homosexuality — was, of course, highly controversial when this was published in 1964 and is still questionable in some corners of the world today. The subject matter is handled with loving care, never coming up short or crossing unnecessary lines. It all feels true.

 

This is a beautiful, moving, daring, and wholly original work worth reading at least once. I finished it in about four hours, and I was tempted to flip to the beginning and start again. This is a quiet, subdued work that yields many treasures, and is certainly among my very favorite reads of this year.

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