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review 2018-04-19 05:23
New beginnings
Four Ways to Forgiveness - Ursula K. Le Guin

These are four loosely connected but independent short stories set at the start of Yeowe's independence from Werel, after 30 years of revolutionary war. They are the stories of people as different as they can possibly come, coming to terms. With loss, with cultural differences, with a place in society, with the past. They are all also big on starting anew. And, of course, feminism. The right to freedom, to a voice, to vote, to an education, to not be raped. These are all discussed and are an important part of the book, given the planet's recent upheaval and it's heavy history of slavery and male-dominated environment.

 

I found it bittersweet and lovely, and ended up with a huge bunch of quotes saved and a lump in my throat that I know not what to do with. There is so much wrong with this planet, so much hurt, and yet... it is so hopeful. I guess forgiveness is a kind of hope. Another chance. Much like love; another thing that permeates the book and is ever-present in every story.

 

I have closed it, as so many stories close, with a joining of two people. What is one man’s and one woman’s love and desire, against the history of two worlds, the great revolutions of our lifetimes, the hope, the unending cruelty of our species? A little thing. But a key is a little thing, next to the door it opens. If you lose the key, the door may never be unlocked. It is in our bodies that we lose or begin our freedom, in our bodies that we accept or end our slavery. So I wrote this book for my friend, with whom I have lived and will die free.

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review 2017-09-04 06:05
Better than I remembered
The Drawing of the Three - Stephen King

Second volume of this saga is sooo much better. Better than the first volume and better on second read.

Better than the first because it felt more grounded somehow. Despite the whole "magic doorway" thing, it was way less surreal than "The Gunslinger". The writing was more rounded too, and I connected better with the characters.

Better on second read because there was a dimension of meaning and character growth I could not appreciate first time around (having read it as a stand-alone), and because I'm older, and no matter how mature you think you are, there is a lot you can't really understand when you are a teen.

Despite remembering almost everything, I was not bored. At all. I actually sped through 3/4 of it before my brain revolted clamoring for sleep. That's a "good stuff" stamp, if there is ever one.

I'm full on board of this train now, and will be reading the next install soon.

 

 

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text 2017-05-06 09:04
Reading progress update: I've read 214 out of 768 pages.
Vicomte de Bragelonne - Alexandre Dumas,David Coward

"How did you conceive that idea?"
"It came to me one morning on the banks of the Loire, whilst our beloved king, Louis XIV., was pretending to weep upon the hand of Mademoiselle de Mancini."
"Monsieur, I declare the idea is sublime. But--"
"Ah! is there a but?"
"Permit me! But this is a little like the skin of that fine bear--you know--that they were about to sell, but which it was necessary to take from the back of the living bear. Now, to take M. Monk, there will be a bit of a scuffle, I should think."

 

Lol! So D'Artagnan is about to lit a powder keg under Europe trying to sell his bear skin, Athos might unknowingly deprive him even if their aims aren't incompatible because they have very different reasons, and we still don't know what Aramis is scheming. God, I love these guys.

I also love the fact that D'Artagnan, while quick and observant (he did notice the king's bit of acting, I had wondered), is not the most intelligent politically or long-term wise. He also has a rotten luck, lol.

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review 2016-09-08 02:31
The sinking and the after shakes
Hearts in Atlantis - Stephen King

Damned tearjerker. To paraphrase Bobby's mom "life is unfair". And boy, do I have mixed feelings about her character. Most of my screaming-at-the-page moments came thanks to her. Anyway, the first story ripped my heart out, and I loved it. 

 

The second was a mix. Kinda' like the characters, their age and the era. Jumbled and confused, almost angels and petty devils. Liked it. Not as much as the first.

 

The third was the puzzler. Interesting bridge, but wtf. Also, he has a good life, life isn't fair. Maybe.

 

The fourth took time to hit it's stride, but really got to me on the last two to five pages. Had my waterworks well primed and going. Ready for the last story.

 

The fifth was  the coda. Full circle. And maybe life is unfair, but sometimes is kinder than we expect.

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review 2015-11-11 22:35
The local spirit in the outsider's eyes
The Viceroy of Ouidah (Vintage Classics) - Bruce Chatwin

This was a surprising little thing. It was was a beautifully written account of the history of a family, of a time, of two places, of tragedy on the heels of fortune or more tragedy.

 

Beyond the exquisite evocative quality, what came as a surprise was how it reminded me of  Latin-american writing in general and Gabriel García Marquez in particular.

 

Like "100 años de Soledad"'s opening:

 

"Muchos años después, frente al pelotón de fusilamiento, el coronel Aureliano Buendía había derecordar aquella tarde remota en que su padre lo llevó a conocer el hielo"

 

Then, we have a paragraph down the middle in Chatwin's that's eerie in it's similar air.

 

I admit I had to stop for  bit and try to find more about the history of this book then. I don't yet know more about a deliberate attempt at homage.

 

There was also the twisting-in-time narrative, the magic-realism feel of the whole, the overblown characteristics of the places and people. I'd never thought I'd find such writing from a foreigner. Then again, he did write an insightful book about my Patagonia, so maybe he's got a very permeable soul.

 

At any rate, It was awesome.

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