Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

I have come to appreciate why Goethe is considered, probably, the greatest German writer. The Sorrows of Young Werther is considered the first great tragic novel of European literature. I will read more of Goethe! An interesting look at the decent of the title character into deepest depression.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Pulitzer Prize winner for the year. There was some big surprise because the book beat out others by authors such as Philip Roth and John Updike. Here is what the Pulitzer Prize judges said about the book:
The Pulitzer judges said the book "packs a cumulative emotional wallop, bound together by polished prose and by Olive, the title character, blunt, flawed and fascinating."

I found their assessment right on. I loved how humanely the characters were portrayed and developed. Do you like or not like Olive? I think that as people really think about all of the characters in the book, they will see the struggles they have as they take the personality and character traits that came to them naturally and add in life's experiences and how they affect the way we deal with our lives and the people around us. I saw so much of myself in Olive and understand what it is like to be judged by people for outward things that they see, neglecting the true heart that is underneath that has trouble expressing itself.

I highly recommend this novel to others. Be warned, however, that there is some very bad language in the book, at times.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The True History of Paradise by Margaret Cezair-Thompson

Interesting story portraying life in Jamaica during from its beginning through the 1970's. I was not aware of all of the turmoil and violence there and the mixture of cultures.

A neat quote from the story: 'I want to say I never stopped loving Monica. But age bring me wisdom. I stopped loving her when I lost the courage to stand up to my father. You understand? The love you have in you [sic] heart for somebody--that is not enough. I remember them teachin' me in school the difference between a noun and a verb: a noun is, and a verb does. Well, love don't count one rass [sic] unless it's a verb. I stopped loving Monica.' (pg. 271)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Stolen Lives by Malika Oufkir

Stolen Lives is the amazing story of Malika Oufkir, her brothers and sisters, and mother as they are punished by King Hassan II of Morocco for the failed coup be her father, General Oufkir. Malika recounts her life story as she and her younger siblings (the youngest 3 years old) are imprisoned because of their father's actions. An incredible story of the violation of basic human rights...the victims, in this case, innocent children!

The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois

The Twenty-One Balloons was such a fun, fantasy-filled book! The story captured my imagination like the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory did. I think it was one of the better Newberry Award winners that I have read. It is sad that I took so many years to discover this story of Professor William Waterman Sherman and the magical island of Krakatoa!

I need to spend more time in my life "traveling by balloon"--leaving where I am taken "to nature" in an unrushed, free, spirit of awaiting what new worlds there are to discover around me.