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text 2013-11-14 11:10
Keep Your Notes Organized - New Options for Notifications


This week brings changes to notification system. Now you can choose whether to receive notifications or not. And we know you've been waiting for this change :-)


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Updates and tips

- Now adding book and writing a post about a book from Book Page is easier and faster, just create a post or add book to your bookshelf directly on the page.  


- You can easily search your Shelf with book Title, Authors, ISBN or Kindle ASIN. Just select magnifying glass icon in the search box on the top and type the phrase. If the book is on your Shelf it will pop up. 


- If you would like to create a Profile page or About me, you can use Add Page option which allows you to create additional pages and add it to your webpage. To add new page go to Settings/Pages fill up the page title, your text, images and Save. The new webpage will be added to your menu and will be visible under Blog, Shelf and Timeline in public view. You can edit, add new and remove additional pages any time in Settings/Page. 

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review 2013-10-27 18:37
The Book of Ebenezer Le Page (New York Review Books Classics) - G.B. Edwards










Time, which changes people, does not alter the image we have of them.

- Marcel Proust



The Book of Ebenezer Le Page was completed in 1974; it was never seen published by its author, Gerald Basil Edwards (1899-1976)


Ebenezer's memoir relates provincial life on the Isle of Guernsey, in gradual inevitable motion, affected by The Great War and the German Occupation in WWII, on toward the second half of the twentieth century.  His haunted memories are ironic, humorous, melancholic, deeply touching and securely kept all those years in a place of loneliness. His thoughts pour out unchecked, his remembrances ramble into each chapter with dissolute abandon and run unrestrained as time passes unnoticeably.


He notes the changes on the island, the pastoral Guernsey life he has loved and lived- of cows and farms and close relationships, its community of people whom for generations have been on the island, such that perhaps inbreeding might have occurred more frequently than said. He acknowledges begrudgingly, the unstoppable process that, after the devastation of war and the loss of loved ones, is slowly replacing the old. This is difficult to consider for Ebenezer, the oldest citizen on Guernsey.


He is an ornery soul, difficult to budge from his set ways, sometimes pessimistic and bad tempered, tough of spirit, intensely self-sufficient and loyal to his friends. But there's something about his agedness that's wise and sincere; the reader realizes it comes from a good heart.


“I doubt everything I hear, even if I say it myself; and, after things I have been through and seen happen to other people on this island and known to have happened in the world, I sometimes wonder about the existence of God: but I know I am Ebenezer Le Page."


G.B.Edwards blended prose with the native patois and idiomatic English, making the story so authentic to Guernsey life, some critics have said the novel may be autobiographic. Ebenezer's frankness and humor, the arduous labor and the foolishness all lend originality:

“I didn’t want to wake up and find myself dead;" or "It take all sorts to make a world, my boy; or you, for one, wouldn’t be allowed to live in it." My favorite 'Ebenezerism': "Whatever you do in this life, keep away from doctors and lawyers or else you'll end up dead and have nothing left."

Within the novel emotion is wholly recognized through a life of anger, deprivation and sobering loneliness. There is regret for the loss of his friends slaughtered during the two World Wars, and the loss for the opportunity to have spent his long life with the woman he had always loved. 



As Ebenezer wraps up his book, he reflects on his life's worth with sentimentality, and dares to hope with the powerful spirit that he has lived with all his life.


"I don't want to die me! I want to stop alive for ever, if only to see the ships pass… But now it is death and what come after I am thinking of. ..
I wish I could live my life again. I wish I could write my story again. I have judged people. I want to bless. I want to bless every soul who has ever lived and laughed and suffered on this whore of an island, this island in the sun, this Island in God's sea...


Ah well, that is all for now. À la prochaine!"



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review 2012-11-16 00:00
The Book of Ebenezer Le Page (New York Review Books Classics) - G.B. Edwards I will start this review with an excerpt. For me, it is the words and the writing style of an author that are the most important aspect of a book. Eighty year old Ebenezer, who has spent every day of his life on Guernsey, tells here of what happened one afternoon:

It was sun and cloud and wind and very cold, and yet for some reason I thought I would go in a churchyard before I went home. It don’t make me sad. It cheers me up to see the graves. I feel here at last I’m among Guernsey people. I had to look at my grandfather’s. The gravestone is old and greenish, and there are others of my father’s family buried there, but my grandfather was the only name I could make out. Ah well, I thought. I will be under there myself before long. I didn’t mind, but I got the feeling I wanted to go in the church. I don’t go in for services, but that don’t mean I wouldn’t like to sometimes, only I can’t bring myself to stand up and say with everybody I believe this and I believe that when I am not at all sure in my own mind I do, ay. I pushed the heavy door and went in……

For hundreds of years people have gone there to worship and sing praises and say prayers and sleep through the sermons and be hypocrites for the rest of the week. But then who isn’t, ay?
(Part 3: chapter 14)

What does this excerpt show you? It shows you the author’s general writing style and how Ebenezer speaks to his audience. It shows how he often interjects “ay”, how he questions himself, his world and all that around him. The excerpt shows Ebenezer’s view of religion. His thoughts are not just disparaging. Remember he says he would maybe go to services if he could only do it with a clear conscience. I like that! Does the satire amuse or annoy you?

You will learn that Ebenezer is a very good person. Well, that is my opinion. It may not be yours. He is straight-forward, he doesn’t approve of people who take on airs. He admits his own weaknesses and admires this quality in others. He is humble. I think you have to like Ebenezer to like this book. He is never arrogant in his speech, manner or actions. As he himself points out, one has to sometimes read between the lines. A comment may seem accusing and harsh, but does that make the speaker a mean person? Not always. The reader comes to know Ebenezer very well by the last pages of this book. The reader also comes to know very well the personality traits of the other important people in his life: Jim and Liza, Father Darcy, Raymond and Christine, his sister Tabitha, his cousin Mary Anne. The English professor, Dudley Wayne, will make you laugh. This book is best for those who enjoy character studies. Liza is Ebenezer’s one true love and also the woman he always ends up arguing with every time they meet! But he also has eyes for other women. Will that annoy you? It doesn’t me….. You will soon find out he remains a bachelor all his life.

I was attracted to this book because I thought I would learn about Guernsey. Well I have fallen in love with life on Guernsey, but it is not the modern Guernsey of today that I love. I have fallen in love with the “Old Guernsey”. It seems just like Brittany, France. :0) The history of Guernsey during the Great War and during the German Occupation of the Second World War, all of this is covered, but not with lots of historical dates and facts. If you want a real history book go elsewhere. If you are looking to understand how the Guernsey people felt during the Great War, at the Armistice and during the Occupation, you will be satisfied. The story does not follow a chronological order. Ebenezer is telling us of his life, of the people he has known and he mentions historical details as they fit into his friends’ lives. This book is about people more than about history.

The book is filled with humor. He speaks of a woman with a ridiculously short skirt: she has her skirt “around her neck”! He is a bit old-fashioned, but I don’t care. He wants his women dressed in dresses or skirts, and certainly not pants! Yep, he prefers women with thicker legs rather than thin skinny ones. He realizes when he went to buy a book to write his life-story in that he had “lost his knack with women” that he had had when he was younger; they didn’t rush to help him in the store and more! He remarked, on hearing the blank book’s price: “That’s a lot for a book with no writing in it.” And then there is this line, which isn’t funny but is just so wonderful: “It takes two to make a painting: the chap who paints it and the one who looks at it.” Ebenezer’s view on art, well it is the same as mine. You do not have to understand art. You just have to look at it and enjoy it. You should get the real “feel” of the actual thing.

I love the lines. I love the thoughts expressed in this book. And seriously I fell in love with some of the characters. Jim, he is named on a war monument. Ebenezer sadly thinks that no one anymore remembers him……but on hearing his thoughts I exclaimed, “I remember him. I remember him because you have written this book! Thank you Ebenezer.”

I cannot more highly praise the audiobook’s narration by Roy Dotrice. Roy is Ebenezer, at least that is how it feels when he speaks!!! Dotrice speaks with the Guernsey patois. The French is not translated and it should not be. It would wreck the feel of the book. I recommend that you listen to rather than read this book. If you have never listened to an audiobook, this would be a great one to start with. It is not difficult to follow.

Others say this book has three parts: the old life, life during the Occupation and then the part about modern Guernsey and tourism. I do not agree. It is about the people in Ebenezer’s life and it is about Ebenezer himself. He is such a wonderful old guy. Don’t you want to meet him?

I was going to give this book five stars…..until the very last chapter. I can point to two things I did not like about the last chapter. There are a few paragraphs that are just too religious. These lines do not fit the character of Ebenezer really. Anyhow I did not like them. Secondly, that Nevil turned out to be a descendant of Liza was just too cute. That could have been skipped! I did like the book’s conclusion, i.e. what happens to Ebenezer at the end, but two small details annoyed me so the book lost one star. I highly recommend listening to this book, or reading it if you cannot listen to it. Five stars must be saved for those books that are absolutely perfect. This was almost perfect.


Through chapter three:

This is good. I haven't listened to much yet but I highly recommend the audiobbok version narrated by Roy Dotrice. I have to keep reminding myself that it isn't really Roy who is speaking of himself! The narration is absolutely perfect.

The lines are funny. When his grandmother dies, the will is read and "possessions" have to be dealt out to the kids.... Isn't it always the weirdest things that we get upset about. In our family it was the photo albums. All hell broke loose about the photo albums. In his family it was the wedding dress. You relate to what he speaks of.

What else? He says history is only dates, and he has forgotten them except the two most important: 55 B.C. when Julius Caesar arrived in England and 1066 A.D. when they conquered England. They? Who is they?

But the best is the narration. Ebenezer and Roy are one and the same.
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review 2012-06-24 00:00
The Book of Ebenezer Le Page (New York Review Books Classics) - G.B. Edwards My impression of Guernsey, from spending a few weeks there as a journalist some years back, was that it was an island with sixty-five thousand people and barely a dozen surnames between them. You get the same idea reading The Book of Ebenezer Le Page, all the characters of which are continually discovered to be distant third or fourth cousins of each other. I like this novel, but it didn't make quite the impression on me that it seems to have made on others – I wonder if the dramatic story of how it came to light at the very end of the author's life just made me want it to be more than it is. What it is is enough – a good book with a likeable and genuine central character.

It has the feel of a sprawling family saga, even though it only covers the lifespan of one (enviably long-lived) Guernseyman down to the 1960s. The narrative mode is simple and declarative, and a good example (pace the advice of countless writers' groups) that telling rather than showing can be a nicely effective way of writing a novel when the narrative voice is sufficiently interesting. Themes and encounters occur and recur in different iterations through the story as Ebenezer circles around the things that seem to have had the most meaning for him. Although he is not a big thinker – he's a practical person rather than a philosopher – he still reasons his way to a kind of simple epiphany at the end, and in fact the ending is one of the most accomplished and moving parts of the book. The language throughout is simple but endearing, larded with Guernsey terms like ‘ormering’, ‘terpid’ or ‘green-bed’ as well as with flashes of that peculiar Romance dialect called by Ebenezer patois and known to linguists as Guernésiais. It's certainly the most interesting novel to come out of Guernsey since Hugo's [b:Les Travailleurs de la Mer|146943|The Toilers of the Sea|Victor Hugo|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347516325s/146943.jpg|141821], and contains an interesting potted history of the island through two world wars and the start of the tourism boom. It's a good old-fashioned novel – wise, gentle, engaging, and a window on a part of Europe and a style of life that doesn't usually get much literary attention.
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review 2010-03-22 00:00
The Book of Ebenezer Le Page (New York Review Books Classics) - G.B. Edwards i have learned many things over the course of my life. now that i am older, knowledge comes in fits and spurts; and lately i have been seized, shaken like a fist, with new thoughts, and ideas about myself, and the order of things. and i seem to see the reflection of these views everywhere. i see them here, in the book of ebenezer le page, presented as the reminisces of a very old man, who is from the channel island of guernsey, and has watched the world change from his little stone house, as it moves through some of the most chaotic moments in history. the characters relay not only their everyday concerns, but their fears for what the world is constantly becoming, at what progress will do to their little island, and so all the world, in its inexorable march. it is a deeply sad, and nostalgic work, and while there are many moments that are committed to concern about technology, and people, it is at its core, also a fundamentally pragmatic book, echoing the values of the world before. as ebenezer says:

Mind you, I am not one of those who say living on Guernsey in the good old days was a bed of roses. I think living in this world is hell on earth for most of us most of the time, it don't matter when or where we are born; but the way we used to live over here, I mean in the country parts, was more or less as it had been for many hundreds of years; and it was real....When I think what have happened to our island, I could sit down on the ground and cry.

but as tabitha puts it most directly, "Ah well, there is only one way of living in this world, and that is to go on from day to day, and see what the next day bring." it is the only choice left to anybody who wants to live, even if they fear the changes that inevitably come, that are out of our control.

this is also a book that made me cry like a broken-hearted child, and yet it partly hates me, because i am a woman, and so it cannot understand me, or expect me to understand. even when the women in this book claim that men have understood them, they are deceived. liza is as complex as character as i've stumbled across but she is never understood, even by raymond, the radiant and tortured soul at the heart of this book who distrusts women, and rails against them. ebenezer himself, a self-described skirt chaser defends them to raymond, but then spews forth his own rage. i should say this alienation is really only evinced in dialogue. in characterization the women aren't shells, or interchangeable, or one dimensional: they are strong, and brave, and weak, and silly, and wise, and many other things besides. but the author's antipathy to women is never fully submerged even as he presents them with complicated, differentiated characters. in contrast the love relationships between men in this book were a revelation to me. one might at first, see the depth of love between the boon comrades recounted in these pages as homosexual, and there is no doubt in my mind that some of these characters do feel that kind of love. but it also reminds us that there was a time when men felt they could never find an equality in love with women, who were so different than they, and that they shared their lives with other men, who understood them as women could not, who shared experiences with them that women could not. one could perhaps see this as a triumph of the progress feared in the novel, that the women in pants that ebenezer reviles, the women of today, might have been the kind that he could have loved as equally, as companionably, as he did jim.

the depth of all these characters, women and men, is a spectacular feat: these characters truly breathe. they are rational, and irrational, and step through these pages as a vivid pageant of complex people that you come to know, as ebenezer did. i went to live with ebenezer when i read this book. i stayed with him at les moulins, and i shared his pain, and his loneliness, and revelled with him at the top of a greasy pole, and whether he wanted me or not, i loved the rascal, and his book too.
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