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review 2017-11-24 16:26
Unresolved conflict
Ghost Waltz: A Family Memoir - Ingeborg Day

I read Ghost Waltz: A Family Memoir by Ingeborg Day on recommendation from a patron. She assured me that I would love it and that it was right up my alley as it was a nonfiction book that covered events from WWII. What hooked me into reading it was that it was covering the events of WWII from the perspective of someone who was on the 'other side' aka the Nazi perspective (as opposed to the 3rd person nonfiction narrative or survivor memoir). Ingeborg wanted to uncover the secrets of her father's past and hopefully work out exactly what his role was as a member of the Nazi Party and SS. She revisited old memories of times spent living in shared accommodation with other families, rationing, and the charged silence around the dinner table. She continually reiterated that she had no memories of her parents ever saying anything about Jewish people or showing any violence whatsoever toward anyone...and yet the undertones of the book were very anti-Semitic. I honestly found this a very uncomfortable book to read especially considering that she seemed to vacillate on her own beliefs and feelings towards those who were slaughtered en masse while her father served as a member of the Nazi party. (Her conflicting beliefs made this a very disjointed read.) For those interested in knowing just what his role was and his innermost beliefs, you will be sorely disappointed. There is no clear cut conclusion to be found among the pages of Ghost Waltz. The author herself couldn't seem to work out her own feelings much less those of a man who she had no contact with as an adult (there was an event after she left home which led to a rift). This wasn't my favorite read of the year for multiple reasons but mostly for those stated above: anti-Semitic sentiment and unsatisfactory conclusion. It's a 2/10 for me. :-/

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2014-01-06 12:25
The Venetian Ghetto
The Venetian Ghetto: The History of a Persecuted Community - Riccardo Calimani

bookshelves: net-galley, autumn-2013, italy, venice, translation, anti-semitic

Read from September 05 to 11, 2013

ARC from NetGalley: Open Road Integrated Media/Mondadori

Translation by Katherine Silberblatt Wolfthal

First published in Italy as 'Storia del ghetto di Venezia'

Dedication: For Anna-Vera and Davide

Opening: "The Jews must all live together in the Corte de Case, which are in the ghetto near San Girolamo; and in order to prevent their roaming about at night: Let there be built two gates, on the side of the Old Ghetto where there is a little Bridge, and likewise on the other side of the Bridge, that is one for each of two said places, which gates shall be opened in the morning at the sound of Marangona, and shall be closed at midnight by four Christian guards appointed and paid by the Jews at the rate deemed suitable by Our Cabinet."

How serendipitous; just reached the Ghetto in Ackroyd's 'Venice: The Pure City' when I received this. HUZZAH.

This is wall-to-wall erudite writing and I doubt there is a knowable fact or statistic missing from the pages.

You need to know about the backdrop to The Merchant of Venice? This is your baby.

The history of Usury of the Jews in Venice is your bag? Then here it is, laid out like a dissertation with all references footnoted and sources hattipped.

The translation is good and I have come away with more than enough information to fox the pants off the rivals at the next table at a pub quiz so that should make for a happy reader, yes? Not precisely, some sparkle is needed to make future purchasers feel not only better informed but reached out to aswell.

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review 2014-01-04 23:23
The Gargoyles of Notre-Dame: Medievalism and the Monsters of Modernity
The Gargoyles of Notre-Dame: Medievalism and the Monsters of Modernity - Michael Camille

bookshelves: published-2007, summer-2013, e-book, under-20, nonfiction, paris, france, art-forms, architecture, history, medieval5c-16c, reference-book, cults-societies-brotherhoods, ghosties-ghoulies, gothic, anti-semitic, mythology, philosophy, racism

Read from July 25 to 26, 2013

Opening: There are many churches dedicated to Notre Dame but only one Notre-Dame de Paris. Located on the east end of the Île-de-la-Cité, the cathedral is the spiritual and geographic center not only of Paris, but of the whole of France. Built between 1163 and 1250, it remains one of the first and most innovative Gothic structures in Europe.

Le Stryge: the unique and the single most memorable creation of the nineteenth-century restorer and architectural theorist Viollet-le-Duc. Though not a gargoyle in the proper sense of the term (since he does not serve as a drainpipe) he has nonetheless become the very essence of gargoyleness, the quintessence of the modern idea of the medieval.

Charles Méryon Le Stryge.

Gargoyles remove 'all the body, filth, and foulness that is ejected from the edifice'

'Romanesque architecture died. . . . From now on, the cathedral itself, formerly so dogmatic an edifice, was invaded by the bourgeoisie, by the commons, by liberty; it escaped from the priest and came under the sway of the artist. The artist built to his own fancy. Farewell mystery, myth and law. Now it was fantasy and caprice. . . . The book of architecture no longer belonged to the priesthood, to religion and to Rome; it belonged to the imagination, to poetry and to the people. . . . Now architects took unimaginable liberties, even towards the Church. Monks and nuns coupled shamefully on capitals, as
in the Hall of Chimneys in the Palais de Justice in Paris. The story of Noah was carved in full, as beneath the great portal of Bourges. A bacchic monk with asses’ ears and glass in hand laughed a whole community to scorn, as above the lavabo in the Abbey of Boscherville. At that time, the thought that was inscribed in stone enjoyed a pivilege entirely comparable to our present freedom of the press. This was the freedom of architecture.'
Victor Hugo

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