I am done with all of my challenges for 2012! Upon completion of this book I wrapped up the Back to the Classics Challenge, so keep an eye out for the wrap up post on Thursday; this book also counts for the Classics Club.
I originally chose Lysistrata as my “Classic Play” for the Back to the Classics Challenge, but when I realized how short it was I felt guilty so found this version of the play accompanied by The Acharnians and The Clouds. I had a vague idea of Lysistrata‘s themes and story and I’m glad I read it. The other two I’m pretty sure I could’ve done without. It has been so long since I read an Ancient Greek play that these really were a struggle and although I’m glad I read them, I will not go out of my way at all in the near future to read anymore Ancient Greek works.
Doctor Zhivago counts for three challenges, and actually wraps up one of my 2012 Challenges! It counts for the Back to the Classics Challenge (6 of 9), The Classics Club (12 of 100), and is my final book for the Tea and Books (8 of 8) challenge! I will do a wrap up post for the Tea and Books challenge early next week. For the Back to the Classics Challenge, this book was the novel from a place I realistically wouldn’t visit. After reading Doctor Zhivago and Anna Karenina I can say my aversion to visiting Russia is less, but I still would list it as not likely to travel to.
One thing I’ve learned that is vitally important when reading a classic novel is that you have to read the introduction. Sure it might tack on 20-30 extra pages, but they are there for a reason and they reveal so much information that is incredibly useful when reading a book, not to mention they give you a head’s up of what to look for as you read. For example, in the introduction to Doctor Zhivago, the following quote points out how the novel is written.
“Pasternak’s vision is defined by real presence, by an intensity of physical sensation rendered in the abundance of natural description or translated into the voices of his many characters.” (loc. 146)
I stumbled across The Secret Lives of Codebreakers on NetGalley and decided to request a copy as I planned on reading David Leavitt’s The Man Who Knew too Much, and I am glad I did. This book tells the stories of the individuals of Bletchley Park—not just what they were working on, but what they did in their spare time, where they came from and where they went after the war. In essence, it does everything I wanted The Man Who Knew too Much to do about Alan Turing but didn’t.
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley from the publisher. This response to the novel is my honest opinion and I did not receive any compensation for it. Penguin Group USA is releasing The Secret Lives of Codebreakers by Sinclair McKay in September of this year.
My background reading on Bletchley Park was incredibly limited, as in I had a vague recollection of having heard of it before and knew Turing was associated with it and that’s about it. I found this accounting of Bletchley Park to be riveting and I couldn’t put it down for the most part. There were a few things that were off-putting, but overall if this is the only book I ever read about Bletchley Park I feel like I’ve taken something from it. I thoroughly enjoyed the mixture of the history of the war, the technology, the social existence and the personal stories.
Where to begin…seriously. I finished this novel Monday night after a whirlwind read—I could not put it down. I stumbled across this novel on Net Galley and requested a copy from the publisher and I am incredibly glad I did! The following is my honest response and the views/opinions are my own. I did not receive compensation to review the novel.
I’ve divided my response into three parts: my response to the novel, a brief comparison and my (rambling) thoughts and questions to those who have also read the novel. If you have any desire to read the novel (WHICH YOU SHOULD ALL BE!), don’t read part three. I’ll try not to say explicitly, but it may give some parts away. Sorry it’s such a long post, but it’s such a good book! I will definitely have to re-read it as I didn’t come close to discussing everything I wanted to discuss!
My Response to The Absolutist
WHOA…for once, it is fairly simple to describe my feelings about a novel I knew nothing about going in: I fell in love. The overall story is incredibly gut-wrenching and heartbreaking by the ending, but you have to fall in love with it and the characters (even those you want to hate) because of the story and Boyne’s writing. I have never read Boyne, but have seen The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.
Everybody loves a quick read, whether it’s because it’s light or because it’s well written everyone loves one! I would not have gone out of my way to read this book, especially with the cover looking as it does, but my Books into Movies book group chose to read it and here it is. As usual it will be very interesting to hear what book group has to say about the novel and the characters!
Taking place over a span of 3-4 days we follow John Rambo, a former Marine back from Vietnam, and Will Teasle, a veteran of the Korean war, and their battle in Kentucky. The premise makes sense – a soldier with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is picked up for being a vagrant and when pushed around a bit too much he snaps. And the mayhem that follows is what this book is all about.