- Author: Graham Greene (1904 – 1991)
- Title: The Quiet American (210 pg)
- Genre: novel
- Published: 1955
- Trivia: 2019 BBC News lists The Quiet American
- ….as on of the 100 most influential novels
- List of Challenges 2020
- Monthly plan
- This was an excellent book. (reading time: 4 hrs)
- I needed to detach myself for one day
- from the political turmoil on TV #Election2020 USA.
- Novels are a means to escape reality…
- yet they describe in ‘fiction’ what many don’t want to acknowledge.
- I wanted discover Graham Greene’s view of U.S. foreign policy.
- USA –> ill-advised and ill-informed
- …sounds still very relevant in 21st C!
- Greene portrays the French/British colonialism and American involvement in the
- Vietnam War ….as a love triangle: Fowler – Phoung – Pyle
- Central issue: the politics of intervention in a foreign nation.
- Strong point: characters
- …Britain (Fowler), America (Pyle), France (Vigot) Vietnam (Phoung)
- Fowler:…..repeating “I’m not involved. Not involved.”
- Pyle:…naive as he stumbles around Vietnam creating havoc wherever he goes
- Inspector Vigot: “We are fighting your (US/UK) wars, but you leave us the guilt”.
- Phoung: treated like property, to be passed among different nations.
- Author: Alice Munro
- Title: Runaway (8 stories, 352 pg)
- Genre: short stories
- Published: 2004
- Trivia: 2013 winner Nobel Prize (first female since 1901)
- List of Challenges 2020
- Monthly plan
- Good news: Munro develops the characters and
- creates the mood with a sense of place: small town Canada.
- Bad news: These are NOT short short stories!
- Ms Munro writes short stories exclusively.
- Just because these stories are less than novel-length
- …does not mean they are simpler.
- IMO Ms Munro is a skillful writer, winner of Nobel Prize 2013
- …but I did not experience the reading pleasure I hoped for.
- Her stories are not intensely compressed and
- seem…to be endless. I lose interest very quickly.
- I don’t think I will attempt another Munro collection soon, sorry.
- I hightly recommend Amy Witting
- ….for some TOP short stories.
- She is an Australian writer who you probably never heard of!
What trends did I find in the stories?
- Protagonists are all women.
- Story is usually about 4 main characters.
- Ms Munro likes to start a story
- ….then jump 40 years to the past revealing memories. (Tricks, Passion)
- 3 stories form a ‘novella’ (Chance, Soon, Silence) with a 40 yr timeline
- The story Powers moves from beginning to end covering 40 years.
- 7/8: stories a character dies.
- 2/8: stories are coming of age stories (Passion, Tricks)
- 6/8: are about marriage
- …ties that bind, yet sometimes the ties can chafe – and strangle
- 8/8: stories …at the end Munro’s women characters are left alone.
- You can feel loneliness even in a marriage!
- POWERFUL ENDING
- Ms Munro retains a feeling of complexity and mystery about
- The marriage of Carla and her husband.
- The greatest reading pleasure is leaving it up
- To the reader to decide what is going to happen.
- Themes: freedom
- … Carla runs away from the marriage
- …at the end Carla runs away from the truth!
- When will Carla get her revenge?
- Ending suggests she will contain her rage….for now.
- This was the kick-off story
- …the literary ‘amuse’ before
- the main course!
Chance – Soon – Silence
- Strong point
- Munro really knows how to describe
- a character, physiology and attire.
- She describes people with all their quirks.
- Themes: freedom, faith, elderly parents, distant daughter, where is your HOME?
- Strong point: Very powerful ending….a moving stories.
- Writing skill: snapshot of a love affair, family life, parent’s marriage (Soon)
- …looking back at the pain (loss of contact with daughter Silence)
- …and the pleasure of remembering. (Chance)
- I would consider these 3 stories a beautiful novella!
- CHANCE – beginning of affair with Eric. BEGINNING
- SOON – 13 months later visits mother….she is dying ENDING
- SILENCE – daughter cuts off all communication….ISOLATION
- Coming of age….flashback
- What was Grace really looking for?
- Memories of her first feeling of passion….that summer?
- 20% dialogue that reveals very little about the people in the story.
- 80% POV 3rd person backstory about the characters.
- Strong point again….POWERFUL ending.
- That is Ms Munro’s trademark.
- She knows the last few lines will linger in the reader’s mind
- Writing technique: Flashback….40 years ago
- 70% dialogue
- 30% POV 3rd person
- Themes: Children, adoption, misunderstandings, loneliness
- Writing technique: frame story
- Ms Munro begins at the end and moves into a flashback.
- This way she tells how the characters came to be where they are.
- The story being drawn out by an eager listener, the teen-age daughter Lauren
- …demanding the her story from her parents…am I adopted?
- Title: says it all….Trespasses = sins
- 15% dialogue
- 85% POV 3rd person
- ….very touching story
- starts in the past….then jumps 40 years.
- Star-crossed lovers
- Robin and Daniel who meet
- …for a brief intense moment
- …like ships pass in the night.
- The last story in the collection is a curious mix of
- diary and third-person narration.
- with the focus on Nancy,
- …an impertinent, egocentric woman
- who never seems to understand what is occurring. (OOPS!)
- 2 married couples
- whose lives intertwine….but in a sad way.
- This was the LONGEST story
- ….and IMO not very good.
- It does not adhere to the basics of a short story.
- Author: Ayn Rand (1905 – 1982)
- Title: Atlas Shrugged (1168 pg)
- Genre: fiction
- Published: 1957
- List of Challenges 2020
- Monthly plan
- You either LOVE the book or you HATE it.
- I can’t state it more simply.
- This is crystalline capitalistic philosophy spun in the
- warm cocoon of a novel to make it more digestible.
- I continued to soldier on being pummeled by waves and waves
- of soap opera stuff, profound statements and superfluous details.
- I read with my cat in front of the fireplace
- …and keep falling asleep!
- The cat slept as well.
- Sorry I have to agree with one of my GF Friends ‘Bridget’
- and give this book a score of 1!
- I read Atlas Shrugged to understand
- why a friend of mine liked it so much.
- Bad News: I did not like Atlas Shrugged
- Good News: We are still friends!
- The book is 350 pages too long.
- It is unnecessarily padded with character sketches
- of some of the politicians, engineers, scientists and activists involved.
- A swirl of useless descriptions and
- facts makes this book….unbearable.
- …I wasted many reading hours.
Chapters are too cynical, too sour, too claustrophobic.
- Worst book I’ve read in a very long time!
- Who wants to hang out with these awful people?
• Author: Edgar Allan Poe
• Genre: short story in the horror genre
• Title: The Imp of the Perverse
• Published: July 1845 in Graham’s Magazine
• Length of story: 4 pages [16 paragraphs]
• Published by Penguin Books
• Setting: 1830-1840’s in prison cell, narrator tells his story…how he got on death row
• Theme: an impulse forcing people to act irrationally
• The Imp of the Perverse is a short story that begins as an essay.
• It discusses the narrator’s self-destructive impulses, embodied as The Imp of the Perverse.
• Poe wrote it to justify his own actions of self-torment and self-destruction.
• Many of Poe’s characters display a failure to resist The Imp of the Perverse.
• Murder in The Black Cat
• Narrator in Tell Tale Heart
• The opposite is displayed in the character C. Auguste Dupin.
• He exhibits reason and deep analysis.
• Part 1 Is written in essay style mentioning subjects
• in philosophical terms (primum mobile, à posteriori) ), logic (phrenology) and mysticism (Kabbala)
• Poe cleverly reveals the ‘narrator’s own ‘imp’ by being so wordy!
• The narrator admits he has always wanted to anger the listener (reader) with confusing language.
• “The impulse increases to a wish, the wish to a desire, the desire to an uncontrollable longing….”
• “I am one of the many uncounted victims of the Imp of the Perverse.” (pg 281)
• Part 2 contains the narrators story….
• He inherits an estate after murdering its owner.
• He ends up on death row after a perverse impulse causes him to confess the murder.
• The Narrator: An apparently demented man who appears intelligent and well educated.
• The Listener: Unnamed person listening to the narrator’s story.
• Madame Pilau: Woman who died after inhaling the smoke from an accidentally poisoned candle.
• The Murder Victim: Unnamed person whose property passed to the narrator.
• Pedestrians: People who witness the narrator’s confession.
Style: first person point-of-view with an unreliable narrator
• Had I not been thus prolix, you might either have
• misunderstood me altogether or […] fancied me mad. (pg 283)
• This is a spirit that tempts a person to do things….they would normally not do.
• Poe explains that the ‘imp’ is an impulse in each person’s mind.
• Alliteration: laconic and luminous language (pg 281)
• Climax: Poe uses a climax words that are arranged to increase their importance.
• “The impulse increases to a wish, the wish to a desire, the desire to an uncontrollable longing, and the longing ( to the deep regret and mortification of the speaker and in defiance of all consequences) in indulged.” (pg 282)
Voice of Poe:
• Poe states we use the word ‘perverse’ without really knowing what is means.
• Perverse = headstrong, obstinate, contradictory
• Poe is a master when it comes to entering human thoughts.
• He describes how we ‘put off until tomorrow that we could do today’ because we are perverse.
• With each passing day the anxiety grows.
• I do exactly what Poe describes…
• when I have to make an appointment for the dentist!
• “The clock strikes, and is the knell of our welfare.” (pg 282)
Voice of Poe:
• In paragraph 6 we read one of the famous lines:
• “ We stand upon the brink of a precipice.”
• Poe describes the uncontrollable urge to jump.
• I could only think of the Austrian, Felix Baumgartner.
• In 2012 he stood who on the ‘precipice’ of space before making his famous skydive from the stratosphere!
• This is one of Poe’s lesser known works.
• I expected great writing and got loopy sentences going on and on about nothing!
• After further reading I realized this was Poe’s intention….to irritate the reader!
• The story just kept getting better and better.
• Weak point: the first 4 paragraphs are difficult to get through.
• This almost deterred and discouraged me…but I did not stop!
• Strong point: the story in itself is ‘perverse’ .
• Poe deliberately uses confusing writing and structure to irritate the reader.
• A writer usually wants to please the reader!
• Poe preforms this “perverse” act that defies logic and reason.
• I thought I would just breeze through 4 pages of The Imp of the Perverse.
• How wrong I was.
• I have read each and every word in this story…twice!!
• That is an accomplishment in itself.
• Below is a summation of each paragraph.
• Read it ….or read the story first ……your choice.
• I was surprised by the style, structure and plot.
• Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe are works of art….
• …and deserve a high score.
Author: Alain-Fournier (1886 – 1914)
Title: Le Grand Meaulnes
Contents: 200 pages (3 parts)
Trivia: Le Grand Meaulnes was shortlisted for Prix Goncourt 1913 but lost by 1 vote.
Trivia: Today the book is nr 9 on Le Monde’s list 100 best books of 20th C.
Trivia: …and the Prix Goncourt winner “Le peuple de la mer’ has been long forgotten!
Available in English “The Lost Estate”
- Le Grand Meaulnes is the only novel by French author Alain-Fournier.
- Fifteen-year-old François Seurel narrates the story of
- his relationship with seventeen-year-old Augustin Meaulnes
- as Meaulnes searches for his lost love.
- Impulsive, reckless and heroic,
- Meaulnes embodies the romantic ideal,
- the search for the unobtainable, and
- the mysterious world between childhood and adulthood.
1. Explain the title. In what way is it suitable to the story?
Augustin Meaulnes, called ‘Le Grand Meaulnes’ fascinates the students with his mysterious personality.
2. What is the predominant element in the story?
Setting: (estate) The setting is the central focus of the book . The village of Sologne and its school, the mysterious ‘domain’/chateau with the surrounding paths , ponds, slopes, reeds, marshes. The characters are running away from the village school (Augustin), running away from the ‘domaine’ (Frantz), running away from village where young Yvonne waits for her new husband (Augustin).
3. Who is the single main character about. whom the story centers?
Main character is Augstin Meaulnes.
There are friendships: Augustin/François and Augustin/Frantz
There are loves: Augustin/Yvonne – Frantz/Valentine – François/Yvonne
4. What sort of conflict confronts the leading character or characters?
a. External – Augustin discovers an ‘enchanted forest’ meets a ‘princess’ (Yvonne). They part abruptly.
b. Internal – Augustin moves from childhood to adulthood, but never stops looking for his vanished beloved.
5. How is the conflict resolved?
Frantz: finds his ‘amour absolu’ (Valentine)
Augustin: finds his ‘amour libertine’ (Valentine) and ‘amour idéal’ (Yvonne)
François: finds his ‘amour impossilble’ (Yvonne)
7. Who tells the story? What point of view is used?
François is the narrator of the book. His parents are the teachers at Sainte Agathe in Sologne.
8. Where does the primary action take place?
Village of Sologne, Vierzon, Vieux-Nancay
9. How much time does the story cover?
I estimate that the story takes place over 10 years. It begins when Augustin arrives as a boarder with the Seruel family in Sologne. It ends as Augustin returns from a long trip.jaar.
10. How does the story get started? What is the initial incident?
Augustin arrives at the school. His arrival is going to change François’s calm and lonely life.
11. Briefly describe the rising action:
Augustin loses his way during a walk, discovers a beautiful estate, pre-wedding party and the love of his life.
12. What is the high point, or climax, of the story?
The writer uses language to indicate that Meaulnes and the ‘bohémien’ finally trust each other: (pg 92)
“Puis cessant d’ employer ce <vous> insolite chez des écoliers de Sainte-Agathe.”
Stop using ‘vous’ …unusual for students
The writer uses a mini-climax at the end of each part to move the story along. Part 1 gunshot in the forest; Part 2 letter from Augustin to François. The main climax in on page 104-105.
The illusions and pantomime disappear. Frantz removes the scarf. We see the scare of his attempted suicide. The tone in the book swings from an enchanted world of youth to harsh word of adulthood. “…enlève son bandeau pour être reonnu de nous.”
13. Discuss the falling action or close of the story.
François, Augustin and Frantz try to put the pieces of their ‘past youth and lost loves’ back together ‘…perhaps everything will be as in earlier times. Can the past return? Who knows! (Mais le passé peut-il renaítre? Qui sait!) (pg 159)
14. Does this story create any special mood?
Alain-Fournier creates through his atmospheric images a feeling of:
nostalgia: – tormented and cherished days ebb and flow against the rocks like waves, our adventures. (pg 11)
eeriness: – you hear the whistles and moans of the shipwrecked in the attic. (pg 164); “un vent noir et glacé soufflait dan le jardin mort” (pg 36)
enchantment: – I’m looking for something very mysterious. This passageway mentioned in books, the ancient hidden path, the one the exhausted prince was too tired to find. (pg111) (..famous quote from the book)
15. Is this story realistic or true to life?
We know that Alain-Fournier grew up far from the sea but had a life long desire to join the navy. The sea was his ideal and he used many nautical images in the book. Mysteriously he changed the little houses in the village of Sologne into ships, boats and sails. On page 57 the author describes men at the festive meal, freshly shaven who could have been ex-sailors. But he tells us they never sailed the seven seas…..only weathered rains and wind while making furrows in the fields and returning home in their carts. These are only a few nautical descriptions of the villages and people where the story takes place.
Yvonne de Quiévrecourt was born in 1885 in Paris.
In 1905 Alain Fournier was suddenly faced with the girl of his dreams.
This encounter changed Fournier’s life and provided the basis for Le Grand Meaulnes.
16. What is the structure of the book?
Part 1: (30%) Meaulnes’s arrival and departure in the village Solonge + strange adventure.
Part 2: (22%) Gypsy ‘Frantz’ – Meaulnes’s departure for Paris
Part 3: ( 37%) Wedding – Journal intime – lost happiness
The last chapter which reveals the intrigue, secret and its impact is only 3 pages!
17. What is the general theme of the story?
Adventure and discovery: Meaulnes and Yvonne after their wedding are ready to set out on an adventure. Like two passengers adrift in a boat (nautical image), in the winter wind, two lovers enclosed in happiness. (pg 170)
“Comme deux passagers dans un bateau à la dérive, ils sont dans le grand vent d’hivier, deux amants enfermés avec le bonheur.”
18. Did you identify with any of the characters?
François Seurel: Despite his unwavering loyalty to Augustin, his support of the abandoned Yvonne, his care of a nameless young child….he is left with nothing at the end. In ch1 we read of François’s sad and lonely days in the village. Augustin came and brightened his life. But after losing his best friend and the girl he had secretly fallen in love with (Yvonne) his days were again…sad and lonely.
19. Does this story contain any of the following elements?
Metaphor: sea, boats, sails, anchors, waves used to enhance the theme of an ‘adventure’.
The classroom is like a ship. (pg 23)
The village houses are boats anchored with their sails ready to be unfurled. (pg 142)
Symbol: Meaulnes is Robinson Crusoe on the brink of an adventure.
“Peut-être le gout des aventures plus fort que tout…” (pg 183)
The taste for adventure….stronger than everything.
Meaulnes reminds his young friend of Crusoe in the basket shop. (pg 22)
The title of ch 3 part 1 is a quote from Robinson Crusoe:
“Je fréquentais la boutique d’un cannier” .
Simile: Meaulnes is like a sailor keeping watch at night. (pg 36)
“comme ces marins qui n’ont pas pu se déhabituer defaire le quart…”
He is like a soldier on alert sleeping in his clothes. (pg 35)
“soldat au cantonnement d’ alerte”
All these actions increase the adventurous feeling of the book.
20. Does the story contain a single effect or impression for the reader?
Sadness: François is carrying Yvonne’s dead body. The only time he held her in his arms as the bridegroom he longed to be. “ Je baisse la tête sur la tête de celle que j’emporte, je respire fortement et ses cheveux blonds aspirés m’entrent dans la bouche, ces cheveux morts qui not un goût de terre.”
I lowered my head onto the head of the one I was carrying,
I breathed deeply and inhaled her blond hairs into my mouth,
these dead hairs that have a taste of the earth.
This book is more about rich images than tense action.
Because of author’s poetic style the words seem to float over the pages.
Weak point: part 2 the pantomime, band of roaming gypises….
This was diffcult to place in the narrative. I needed some help to understand why
Alain-Fournier included it. It is a mise-en-abyme, (frame story).
Pierrot struggling to grow up. (keeps falling and speaking in cries and hoots).
This parallels the struggle of the three main characters
…Francois, Augustin and Frantz – moving from youth to adulthood.
This is a very easy book to read, vocabulary is not difficult.
Strong point: I learned some beautiful words and wonderful expressions!
à la cornette! – a mock directed to a nun in reference to her headgear!
- Author: Eduard Douwes Dekker (Multatuli) (1820 – 1887)
- Genre: novel (satire)
- Title: Max Havelaar ( Language: Dutch)
- Published: 1860
- Table of Contents: 20 chapters, 315
- Timeline: 1842 ( Sumatra). 1856 (Lebak) 1860 (Amsterdam)
- Setting: Dutch East Indies
- Trivia: E. Douwes Dekker was one of Sigmund Freud’s favorite writers.
- List of Challenges 2019
- Monthly reading plan
- Eduard Douwes Dekker is better known by his pen name Multatuli.
- It is from latin ‘multa tuli’ meaning I have suffered much.
- This is a satire denouncing the abuses
- …of colonialism in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia).
- 1838 Douwes Dekker became a civil servant in Java.
- All the secrets of Dutch administration were known to him.
- Disgusted with the actions of the Dutch in Java,
- …he had begun to about the abuses.
- Threatened with dismissal from
- …his office for his openness of speech.
- Dekker resigned his appointment.
- He returned to the Netherlands and wrote this
- scathing criticism of Dutch colonialism.
- In 2002 the Society of Dutch Literature proclaimed
- ….Multatuli the most important Dutch writer of all time
- This is a grim depiction of life in a European colony, namely Indonesia.
- The description of web of hypocrisy of church-going Dutch.
- …and the repression of the natives under their rule endure.
- The Dutch derived benefits from others misery.
- Max Havelaar was beacon of hope.
- He was in a position of unquestionable power, Assistant-Resident.
- Havelaar struggled with the colonial government leaders ….to no avail.
Theme: exploitation; colonialism
Title: Dubble title “Max Havelaar or Coffee Auctions Dutch Trade Company”
- I had to research this information
- …..it would never have caught my eye!
- Irony: the title tells Mr. Droogstoppel that this book contains
- …information that he would be interested in: coffee auctions.
- He agrees to finance the rewriting of a final draft and publication of the book
- But it appears that there is nothing in the book about coffee or the Dutch Trade Company!
- The author misled Droogstoppel and the reading public!
- In 1860 coffee and trade were in the news.
- Multatuli wanted to have his book read. (pg 57)
- “Mijn boek moet de wereld in!”
- He was probably the first Dutch “whistleblower” !
- He used this ‘clever piece of irony’
- …to capture the public’s interest.
- Multatuli TRICKED the readers with a dubble title.
- He lured them to buy the book and
- …revealed the abuses he thought must be made public.
Narrators: 3 characters
- Droogstoppel: coffee broker at Last & Co.
- Stern: assistant Last & Co. ( = author Multatuli)
- Sjaalman: is thecharacter of Max Havelaar incognito in Amsterdam.
Structure: frame story (stories-within-stories)
- Story: Commentary in journals of Max Havelaar who abhors the exploitation of the Dutch East Indies natives.
- Story: Havelaar returns to Amsterdam with his exposé in rough draft and wants it to be published.
- Story: In the last chapter:
- Multatuli, the author himself, takes over the narrative.
- Droogstoppel is written ‘out of the book’.
- Multatuli writes what he wants to achieve.
- He wants the readers to share his outrage.
Breaking the 4th wall
- Multatuli speaks directly to the reader and ‘confronts’ him.
- Speaking to the reader acknowledges that this is a book or a story.
- Mr. Droogstoppel coffee broker is characterized by exaggeration and bragging.
- Multatuli satirizes the coffee merchant, Droogstoppel, by simply letting him speak!
- The use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning.
- Droogstoppel tells the reader ( pg 18) that the Dutch are successful because:
- …they conduct business honorably and maintain exemplary Christian beliefs.
- Irony: Mutatuli reveals that the Dutch say one thing in public and act differently in business!
- Droogstoppel gossips about other business partner’s family. (pg 25)
- Irony: But reminds us that he would never knowingly slander anybody!
- There are some great examples of humor in Multatuli’s writing:
- The repetition in Droogstoppel’s emphatic dialogue
- reminding the reader that he always speaks the truth
- ” heus de zuivere waarheid” (pg 24) and
- conducts himself at all times with civility
- ” fatsoen gaat voor mijn boven alles” ( pg 31).
- In a bouncing carriage over a hobbley road Multatuli brings the choppy conversation
- before our eyes with one-word sentences. You can just hear it!
- I. Did. Not. Dare.To. Agree.
- ” Ik. Durfde. Het. Haar. Niet. Toezeggen.” ! (pg 101)
- Weak point:
- This book was complicated with its intricate narrative structure.
- There is no chronological order, many flashbacks and 3 narrators.
- Weak point:
- Many pages of out-of-date style of dialogue which makes the reading difficult.
- Strong point:
- The shock effect caused by the author in chapter 20.
- This was his pulpit. It would be his chance to send a message to the Dutch and the world.
- Multatuli refers to the barbaric division in American society on pg 103.
- He must have read Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852, H.B. Stowe) that exposed the abuse in USA.
- Multatuli shares Stowe’s social realism in his writing of Max Havelaar.
- I could relate to this book because
- of my knowledge of the ‘Dutch mentality’.
- I wonder if this book would appeal to
- a wider audience outside The Netherlands.
- I read the book in Dutch
- I liked the book but a recommendation to read it
- …..that’s a hard call.
- Dutch is the 7th most spoken language in Europe..
- The study of foreign languages
- …is simply the gift that keeps on giving.
- Playwright: Samuel Beckett
- Title: Waiting for Godot
- Preformed: 1943 5 January Théâtre de Babylone
- Wikipedia link: Samuel Beckett (1906 – 1989)
- List of Challenges 2019
- Monthly reading plan
- Play: nr 7 on list Best 50 Plays
- ….in past 100 years!
- Reading time: 1 hour 40 min
- Waiting for Godot is theater of absurd.
- Beckett thought the audience
- …MUST feel what it is like to be in an ABSURD world.
- Beckett used bizarre characters speak in what sometimes
- …appears to be illogical, banal, chit chat.
- One cannot read Godot for the story because there is no story
- Waiting for Godot does not tell a story
- It explores a situation….2 tramps..waiting for Godot.
- What are the abusrd characteristics?
- No plot, no recognizable characters, no beginnings no ends,
- …reflections of dreams and nightmares, incoherent babblings.
- The only way to gain any insight is to
- read a summary before starting this play.
- I used this LINK at Free Online Dictionary website.
- This is an excellent summary.
- Waiting for Godot
- …left critics bewildered and is now a classic.
- Nr. 7 on List 50 Best Play in Past 100 yrs.
- I was absolutely dreading this play...
- Need #Heineken
- Author: Robin Dalton (1920)
- Title: Aunts Up the Cross
- Published: 1965
- Genre: memoir
- List of Challenges 2019
- Monthly plan
- Aunts up the Cross is about Daltons’s childhood with her
- …eccentric extended family in Sydney’s Kings Cross.
- Her father was an open-all-hours doctor, known affectionately as “the gun doc”.
- Dr Eakin, Mrs. Eakin, Nana….and the close relationship the author had
- …with Aunt Bertie and Aunt Juliet.
- Robin Dalton is now 99…and still going strong!
- I loved this quote I found…
- Being old is not a problem, and the future not really a consideration:
- “I haven’t got a future, I’m practically tottering off the edge …”
- I haven’t laughed so much about a book in years!
- This is an absolute gem!
- Tears of laughter while reading the theatrics the Eakin’s supper table.
- Tony ‘the bookmaker’ McGill is seated next to Mrs. Eakin’s aged governess Sally.
- Suddenly Tony unabashedly makes Sally ‘an offer she can’t refuse’! (…read the book!)
- Robin Dalton’s father was a tease
- .….and the book if filled with his practical jokes!
- But nothing, no nothing can compare to
- …the laughter I enjoyed while reading
- ..how Mrs. Eakin killed the plumber and
- ..the best joke about a fish I have heard in YEARS!
- All can be found in …chapter 3…and much more!
- No spoilers….just a enthusiastic recommendation
- Aunts Up the Cross!
- Light, funny memoir…perfect book
- to lazily sit in the garden with a G&T…and laugh!
- You can read it in a few hours, just 142 pages!
- Author: M. de Montaigne (1533-1592))
- Title: The Complete Essays
- Published: 1580
- Edition: Penguin Classic (1344 pages) + audio book 49 hrs 56 min
- List of Challenges 2019
- Monthly plan
- Classic Club Master list
- Michel de Montaigne explores the human condition
- …in a very personal and clever manner.
- His essays chart the course of 20 yr of self-investigation.
- He pretends to most of the vices.
- If there be any virtue in him, he says, it got in by stealth.
- I enjoyed the most personal essays:
- Book I
- This selection of essays is ‘the hook’.
- They are personal and frank.
- Unfortunately there are also many essay in
- book II and III …. I consider ‘duds’.
Happiness not be judged until after our death
- …including 140 pages entitled “Apology for Raymond Sebond’
- The “Apology for Raymond Sebond” is
- three times as long as any other essay that Montaigne wrote
- The essay has been seen as an attack on authoritrian religion and
- a covert threat to Christian faith.
- It was a slog to listen to….and
- I just started to do some household chores
- …and let the words go in one ear and out the other!
- This essay sticks out like a sour thumb
- If you encounter this essay and feel as I did
- …just skip it!
Affection of fathers for children
On resemblence of children to fathers
Book III (…there were only 3 essays I liked)
- Montaigne is the frankest and honestest of all writers.
- He does have opinions that still ring true today.
- Strong point: Montaigne writes about themes that charm the
- reader ( see my list of favorites).
- We relate to them.
- Strong point: Montaigne’s style is not dry….but daring
- …filled with depth and witty observations.
- Weak point: don’t approach these essays expecting
- that they are an easy read (21st C standard)…they are not!
- The book was published 1580 and
- …written to one sex only.
- A certain nakedness of statement was permitted
- …which our manners of a literature addressed
- …equally to both sexes, do not allow.
- Montaigne could have used the advice of one of his
- favorite authors:
- “The eloquence that diverts us to itself harms its content.” (Seneca)