logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: every-time
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-11-15 16:33
The Outcasts of Time by Ian Mortimer
The Outcasts of Time - Ian Mortimer

This novel is beautiful in its prose, fascinating in its historical detail, and emotive in its themes on humanity and the passing of time. I was first drawn in by the promise that renowned historian Ian Mortimer would be taking readers on an adventure through time. Finding that this book does that while also making thought provoking statements on the human condition, I was helpless to put it down once I started it.

The story of John of Wrayment and his brother begins in 1348 during a devastating outbreak of the plague. One would think that any time might be preferable as an escape from the fate of man during that time, but such does not prove the case through John's eyes. He sees the plague as 'a second Flood. God is clearing the land. Not with water but with pestilence.' Yet, he is even more horrified by what he discovers when he accepts a supernatural offer to live his remaining six days on earth, each 99 years further into the future than the last.

The brothers explore Exeter and its surrounding area through the ages, the cathedral where John has sculpted those he loves into the faces of angels and disciples, serving at their centering point regardless of the century. John at first finds comfort in finding the face of his wife there, but his fear and anxiety is enhanced as the statues that seemed so permanent crumble and wear away the further he gets from his own time. Out of all the changes he sees, this seems to impact him the most. The loss of his own work and what was supposed to be eternal memorial of his family.

When we think about traveling into the future, I think we expect to see progress and increased happiness. Certainly, we would think that one leaving the time of the plague would see that, but that is not what John notices. He is confused by what we would call advances. 'We worked long days and had straightforward pleasures. But now, so many things are easier - yet what does the world do? It revels in causing suffering and killing.' John is horrified at the loss of faith that he observes. 'We were far more united and accepting of God's will. In this new century, people are all divided and unsatisfied, hoping that God will smile on them personally.' 

John wishes only to do good in order to please God, but the further he gets from his own time, the more he realizes that is no longer a key goal of the people. He is also frustrated by his inability to perform a heroic deed in any era. Due to his bedraggled state and lack of possessions, he finds himself at the mercy of others rather than able to help them. 'If Christ were living in this day and age, would He not have ended up in a workhouse?'

'Every day is composed of . . . of an unpredictable horror - no, of a horrific unpredictability.'

It seems that time travel is not all it is cracked up to be.

Each day/century brings John closer to his death and he grows eager for it. Though he is disappointed in his failure to do a great deed for God, he cannot tolerate what he witnesses occurring in the world. 'Men are starting to direct things that rightly only God should control.....Men've strived to compete and outdo one another, as if nothing is the will of God and everything is the will of man.' Instead of being impressed by progress, John sees only disintegration of faith and character.

Thankfully, there are a few bright spots included in John's six day journey. He meets at least one kind person in each time, and it is these small comforts that enable him to move forward.

I was eager to discover what would happen to John once his time was up, but I will not reveal it here. I will only say that the ending was satisfying and reiterated the message that John had already taught us, 'What is important is what does not change - that mothers and wives are so happy when they hear that their sons and husbands are alive that they run around the house yelling for joy; that men do their duty in the face of great danger not purely for themselves but for all their community.'

An amazing read - my favorite of this year.

The man who has no knowledge of the past has no wisdom.

I received this book through NetGalley. Opinions are my own.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-11-13 17:52
Another random graphic novel
Criminal Volume 7: Wrong Place, Wrong Time - Ed Brubaker

I didn't realise when I picked it up that it was volume 7 but it was an interesting mix of comics and real-life criminal enterprise.  Vengeance is a strong point in this.  I'm a bit curious about what the rest of the series is like.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2017-11-12 22:44
Book of the Month Winter Catch-up
The Mothers: A Novel - Brit Bennett
All at Sea: A Memoir - Decca Aitkenhead
Swing Time - Zadie Smith
The Most Dangerous Place on Earth: A Novel - Lindsey Lee Johnson
Exit West - Mohsin Hamid
American War - Omar El Akkad
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI - David Grann

Usually, in November I do Nonfiction November. But since It ran long and I have been neglecting my Book of the Month selections, I'm skipping the November reads and going right into my December pile. December is dedicated to catching up on what selections I didn't get around to reading through the year. Well, I still have some from 2016, let alone 2017. Yeah.... I need to get that stack down. Let's see how many of these I can knock out. I can' even remember what some of these are about.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-11-12 14:14
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian ★★★☆☆
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie,Ellen Forney

I had heard so much about this book that I’ve really been looking forward to reading it. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t connect with it. I understand that it’s semi-autobiographical, so it must be an accurate portrayal of a 14-year-old boy’s thoughts and concerns. And teenage boys are a little bit gross. So maybe that’s why I was a bit put off by it – the MC’s relationships with and reactions to the female characters are definitely off-putting, no matter how realistic, and the humor, while perhaps accurate to the 14-year-old protagonist, is also juvenile. But the story itself is both funny and sad, that of a boy living on the “rez” and dealing with the fallout of asking to transfer to a town school where he will be the only non-white student. The book doesn’t pull punches in portraying alcoholism, violence, bullying, tribalism, and racism. It’s a lot to pack into a relatively short book. But the ending contains a redeeming message of hope, too, which helps to rescue a story that threatens to sink under the weight of these heavy themes.

 

Hardcover version. I read this book for The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 11: December 21st-22nd. Soyal (December 21st) is the winter solstice ceremony of the Zuni and the Hopi (Hopitu Shinumu), The Peaceful Ones, also known as the Hopi Indians. It is held on the shortest day of the year to ceremonially bring the sun back from its long winter slumber. Book themes for Soyal: Read a book set in the American Southwest / the Four Corners States (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah), –OR– a book that has a Native American protagonist. This book fits the square, as the main character is Native American.

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-11-12 13:25
In Three-Quarter Time by Pam Lecky
In Three-Quarter Time: A Short Story - Pam Lecky

So much happens in these few pages that I found myself wanting more. The characters were just starting to feel like friends when suddenly my time with them was over. What greater recommendation can I give than that?

Lecky gives readers a glimpse of life in Dublin during WWI, the excitement, the romance, the tragedy, the loss. There's a lot of emotion packed into this short story with the main character's sister suffering long-term illness, her brother enthusiastically volunteering to take his part in the glorious war, and the man she secretly loves hoping to find his fortune in America.

Did I say that I wish it was longer?

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?