|I cannot live without books. -Thomas Jefferson||Reading Lists|
|From so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved. -Charles Darwin||Quotes|
Book Book Review, Title A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories, Author Flannery O'Connor, Rating 3.0,
A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories
Within Flannery O'Conner's short story collection, A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories, a good man is not just difficult to find, but impossibly so. Thank God I am not Flannery O'Connor. I would not trade her ability to tell a story, and she was uncommonly good in some ways, for her brutal and dismissive view of the world. Harshness, of circumstance and character, formed her viewpoint; what is also redeeming found little place in her stories. It appears in O'Connor one can only find redemption outside of humanity, and that is dispensed grudgingly, with the great violence of the Old Testament God.
Book Book Review, Title Heart Of Darkness, Author Joseph Conrad, Rating 5.0,
Heart Of Darkness
In Joseph Conrad's classic novella, Heart of Darkness, the sailor Marlow serves as the author's version of Coleridge's Ancient Mariner, compelled to tell his story of conscience to whatever audience he finds. The story he tells is indeed dark, and indeed about the heart, albeit mostly the lack thereof. Conrad takes apart the European colonial enterprise, particularly the carving-up of Africa in the nineteenth century, and strips bare all of the tales of adventure from those times and places, along with the high-flown language of imperialism which was used to mask the utter barbarity of the undertaking.
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Book Book Review, Title The Sot-weed Factor, Author John Barth, Rating 4.0,
The Sot-weed Factor
The Sot-Weed Factor is a satirical tour-de-force with so much going on that I could hardly follow it all. The style is bawdy, witty, and often funny, a full-fledged imitation of a 17th century novel, complete with the full English vocabulary of the times, which by itself is a welcome challenge to parse. It has been described as a picaresque novel, and the main character is Eben Cooke, an over-educated and under-employed poet and virgin, a Candide-like character constantly bewildered by the world, swept along by events, too curious to make a decision about anything.
Book Book Review, Title The Things They Carried, Author Tim O'Brien, Rating 4.0,
The Things They Carried
Tim O'Brien's Vietnam War combat memoir describes the harrowing emotional toll taken on combat veterans. O'Brien's combat experience and facility as a writer helps to illuminate the pervasive fear he and other combat veterans experienced, and the resulting distortions it had on their behavior. I found it difficult and compelling reading.