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review 2018-11-20 17:22
Unforced Intimacy: "Buchmendel" by Stefan Zweig
Invisible Collection (Old ISBN) - Stefan Zweig


(Original Review from the German and English editions, 2002-06-03)



Someone might say that there is a danger of a kind of blinkered euphoria surrounding a writer like Zweig, the mobilising of an army of too easily won over devotees, Sunday supplement blurb believers who can recognise a compelling novel or novella, but misjudge the modernist credentials of writing which an experienced critic is seeking, so that someone can line that writer up alongside the true innovators of twentieth century literature, in German terms Musil, Mann, Kafka et al. But then what really matters in the end, whether a few axe grinding critics are convinced or whether a won over reader is inwardly rewarded?

 

 

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

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review 2018-11-18 13:27
AN ABSOLUTE MUST READ FOR ANYONE WHO LOVES LARGER-THAN-LIFE TRUE STORIES
Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America's Most Powerful Mobster - Stephen L. Carter

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hearing at a local bookstore the author Stephen L. Carter speak about his paternal grandmother Eunice Huston Carter (1899-1970). Sometime later, after the Q&A session, I had the opportunity to speak with Professor Carter as he autographed my copy of this book.

"INVISIBLE: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America's Most Powerful Mobster" puts the reader into an era in U.S. history barely half a century behind us, when African Americans were restricted by law and what was accepted custom from realizing their full potential in what was an overtly racist America (Jim Crow segregation). Notwithstanding all that, what I found to be deeply inspirational from reading this book is learning about the life of this most remarkable woman - as well as the lives of her parents (who were both fully engaged social activists; Eunice's father with the YMCA (its 'colored' section) for whom he worked tirelessly both in the U.S. and abroad til his death in 1916 and her mother Addie was a graduate of Boston Latin School, and a college graduate who later served as a teacher and worked with a variety of organizations promoting racial and gender equality til her death in 1943) and younger brother, from whom she became estranged. 

This is a book that would be instructive (as well as inspirational) to any reader who wants to learn about the value of living -- in spite of the obstacles and challenges arrayed against someone because of his/her color and/or gender -- a purposeful, committed life wholly dedicated to advancing socio-economic justice, as well as racial and gender equality.

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text 2018-10-10 17:38
So Many Books, So Little Time... Early October 2018 Edition

I think I need an intervention.

 

I love books & reading- always have.  Reviewing is a bonus and the advent of ebooks was a mixed blessing.  As of this moment I have about 30gb of ebooks sitting on an external drive...

 

Not a typo: 30 Gigabytes. And I'm always acquiring more.  

 

Between purchases, giveaways, ARCs, freebies, NetGalley, Kindle listings & promos I've got a TBR pile that would make Sisyphus shake his head and wonder what the fuck was wrong with me.  It's only Wednesday and check out what this week's haul already looks like:

 

37792766

38136877

33898873


AlS
42036782

36995589

7066033
37503259

 

Oh, and did I mention I'm getting ready for NaNoWriMo?

 

...send help... or at least a shitload of coffee.

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review 2018-09-24 21:50
The Invisible Man / H.G. Wells
The Invisible Man - H.G. Wells

This masterpiece of science fiction is the fascinating story of Griffin, a scientist who creates a serum to render himself invisible, and his descent into madness that follows.

 

I read this book to fill the Classic Horror square of my 2018 Halloween Bingo card.

I remember owning the Classics Illustrated comic book of this title as a child and being rather fascinated by the idea of an invisible person. I remember being captivated by Griffin’s fake nose! If I’m remembering correctly, though, I don’t think the violence in the comic was equal to Wells’ original work. It was probably watered down a little to be suitable for a juvenile audience (although nowadays I’m not sure that would be necessary).

I spent a great deal of last year on the cataloguing of a very large collection of books by and about Herbert George Wells and I was interested to read another of his fictional works. I’ll work through more of them as I can. He was an interesting person and a prolific writer.

This is definitely horror-lite. The most horrifying part is actually the behaviour of Griffin, the invisible man of the title. His lack of empathy for his fellow human beings (and the cat that he tests his invisibility device on) is scarier than his actual achievement. During the reading I kept wondering, was he mentally ill and became fixated on this idea or was he fixated on the idea before he became mentally ill? Someone with more empathy could have charted a far different course—co-operating with his fellow beings, rather than trying to terrorize them.

Reminiscent of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, another tale of a scientist making dubious moral choices.

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text 2018-09-03 07:18
Returning to a fondly remembered book
Memoirs of an Invisible Man - Harry F. Saint

Tonight after returning bloated from the potluck I attended, I decided to pick up my newly-acquired used copy of H. F. Saint's Memoirs of an Invisible Man. It's a book that I hadn't read in nearly thirty years (!) but i had retained fond memories of from when I had. It didn't take long for me to lose myself in its pages, and as I transitioned from browsing casually to reading in earnest, I found myself asking the question, "How well does it hold up today?"

To my pleasant surprise I found much of what I had liked about the novel still enjoyable. I remember being impressed with how well Saint had puzzled out the complications of someone suddenly discovering that he was invisible, and that element was still every bit as entertaining as it was even after a reread. The challenge facing the narrator from a team led by a supremely competent federal agent was also there and still every bit as gripping, even knowing what the outcome would be. What surprised me, though, was the build-up; I had forgotten that Saint spends nearly a quarter of the book building up to the event that turns his narrator invisible, and the middle of the book is taken up with the initial weeks of him simply working out how to survive.

 

And then I hit the sex scenes. And no. no, no.

 

I remembered that coping with loneliness was one of the central attributes of Saint's narrative, and thus was generally well done. But there are two scenes (I'll leave out the details) where the narrator commits what amounts to sexual assault. I had completely forgotten this part, and rereading the passages was more than a little shocking. It's hard for me to imagine a book like Saint's becoming so popular today with such passages, no matter how well-written it might be.

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