Showing posts from April, 2018

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon - Hourly Updates, April 2018 edition

Hour 19

The good news - I finished The Castle!
The bad news...I wasn't expecting it to be such a struggle.  Can you believe, I was ready to give up on it, with just 10% or less left?  It was pretty terrible.

However, The Castle was on my to-finish backlog since freshman or sophomore year in college, so I am very excited to have read it all the way through, even if it was painful.
Anyways, after that, I found myself looking around for something "lighter" to read.  Only I could choose Eugene Onegin as "lighter" fare.  But I love this story - you might remember my Eugene Onegin Read-Along from a few years back.  Roger Clarke's translation is new to me, and it's already proving to be interesting.
This might be my last blog check-in for the night... I may post some more on Instagram later, though, depending how long I can keep my eyes open.  Thanks to all who've stopped by and offered encouragement - it's been fun!
Hour 13

After a scrumptious lunch (T…

My Blog's Name in Books - TBR!

Saw this neat meme/tag on O's blog, On Bookes:

The rules:
1. Spell out your blog’s name.
2. Find a book from your TBR that begins with each letter. (Note you cannot ADD to your TBR to complete this challenge – the books must already be on your Goodread’s TBR)
3. Have fun! 

noonlight Nostromo by Joseph Conrad On the Eve by Ivan Turgenev Open Heart by Elie Wiesel The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee The Last Days of Pompeii by Edward Bulwer-Lytton The Inheritors by William Golding Getting to Green: Saving Nature: A Bipartisan Solution by Frederic C. Rich Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

reads Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds Either/Or by Soren Kierkegaard Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald Death and the Dervish by Mesa Selimovic Shackleton's Boat Journey by Frank Worsley
With 500+ TBR books, this was easier than perhaps it should be.  I tried to choose a mix of fiction and nonfiction, and ended up surprising myself with a few titles I'd forgotte…

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon: TBR stack, April 2018

It's that happy time of year again, the biannual Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon!  I am somewhat of a casual participant, in that I don't get up at 5am and I do let myself take long breaks.  Even so, it's still great fun!

As ever, I'll be posting updates to Instagram and Goodreads.

The lineup:
Finish The Kill / Emile Zola Finish The Castle / Franz Kafka - library ebook & can't renew! CEO, China / Kerry Brown Ben-Hur/ Lew Wallace The Undead / Dick Teresi
Stretch goals:
Something off my "short books" list Little Women / Louisa May Alcott - reread The Sickness Unto Death / Soren Kierkegaard Philosophy 101 / Paul Kleinman Various books for work

In other news, I am gearing up for Season 2 of Classics Considered.  April has been far, far too busy and short... I'd meant to release at least one episode this month but could not make it happen.  Anyways, from this list you can see a sneak peek of things to come.  I am finally going to be talking about Kafka and …

A King, a Boy, and a Sailor's Wife - Three Films of WWII

The past couple of weeks, I've enjoyed three very interesting, yet vastly different, films which take place during or leading up to World War II.  I haven't shared a movie review in a while, so I thought I'd just mention these before I forgot about them.

First up is The King's Choice, a Norwegian film released in 2016.  This historical drama begins with the disturbing attack on Norway by the Nazis, who justify the invasion by claiming to offer "protection" against the British.  From there, the movie centers on the response of its government and, more especially, the role of the aging King Haakon VII in what became the resistance movement.

I can't speak for historical accuracy, since I came into this knowing nearly nothing about Norway during WWII.  As a drama, it kept my family and me glued to the screen for its whole 2+ hours, and that's with (somewhat poorly formatted) subtitles.  The acting (including the extras') is some of the very best I hav…

Xi Jinping and the Addictive Quality of Biographies

Apologies for my two weeks' radio silence...  Work has been intense, so I haven't mustered up the energy to blog until this weekend.  Happily, I've been reading, and there is plenty to catch up on!

My current obsession reading focus is an unlikely one: CEO, China: The Rise of Xi Jinping(2016) by Kerry Brown.  I picked this up last Saturday and just ordered my own hard copy - yes, it's that interesting.

Brown is a professor at King's College, as well as a contributor to The Diplomat.  This combination of academia and journalism means his writing carries the best of both worlds and is well annotated, particularly for a book geared towards the general public.  (One or two reviewers complained he is too challenging to read... from my perspective, Brown's prose is more digestible than Michael Korda's, no offense to Korda.)

To be sure, the well-written biography is my favorite way to consume history.  There's several reasons for this:
Certain individuals influenc…

The Accusation: Forbidden Stories from Inside North Korea

A man with a wife and family, Bandi risked all he had to publish this book. When his relative offered to help smuggle the manuscript out of the country, he chose to accept, ultimately trusting his and his family's lives to the success of the plan.  Handing the secret pages over to the liaison must have been agonizing, but his gamble paid off: the book survived the journey out.

Bandi, much like Jang Jin-Sung, held a position of literary eminence in North Korea.  Disillusioned by what he saw in the Kim Il-Sung regime, Bandi decided to start writing the truth in secret, placing himself in potentially fatal danger.  The Accusation is a collection of short stories penned in the early-to-mid 90s, in which Bandi exposed Communist abuses through fiction and the lives of characters who feel more real than imagined.  The book was first published in English hardcover edition in 2017, and the spare yet vivid writing suggests Bandi could have shared more, had he had the ability to do so.


Ben-Hur - 1: "The happiness of love is in action..."

Previously: Introduction
The happiness of love is in action; its test is what one is willing to do for others.
Lawyer, soldier, governor, and diplomat, Lew Wallace seems the unlikely writer of one of the most successful Christian-themed novels of Western literature.  It may help to realize that Wallace did not consider himself religious at the time he began the book, though he was open to further learning and particularly fascinated by the story of the three wise men.  While the internet was nonexistent and foreign travel not as easily done in the 1870s, Wallace's education as a law student must have helped him in his extensive, careful research, just as it may have aided Jules Verne in crafting his stories of travel and adventure.

With this interesting mix of experience and self-admitted ignorance, Wallace begins Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ with what intrigued him from the beginning: the birth of Jesus.  Book I covers the meeting of the wise men, the coming of Mary and Joseph to …