I find myself slightly on the back foot as I write this hasty next book post. I am really enjoying The Woman in Black, but not more than Out of Chingford. I gave Out of Chingford a 5/5 rating on goodreads, but that will round down to a 9/10 on the final review (well, you can’t give a 10 can you!!) I really like the goodreads rating system BTW. I’m finding myself using that and doubling it for my ratings. Silly I know, but I started rating out of 10 and it would be a pain up the proverbial to change it now! For info, goodreads ratings are, and I paraphrase here:-
- Don’t touch it, even with someone else’s!
- OK, take it or leave it.
- Good Book, I enjoyed reading it.
- Great Book, I recommend it and you should really read it if you can.
- READ IT! rush out and buy it or you will not be able to breath tomorrow. It is fantastic!
So, Out of Chingford was a really good book. I think I will rate Woman in Black a 4/5, but although I’m not rating it as highly, I cant put it down! I have been reading it while walking along and took the opportunity to read at lunchtime today, both are things I haven’t done for a long time, at least since starting this blog. There is of course the possibility that I subconsciously want to get it over and done with, but I don’t think that is really the case. I am finding that I’m actually goading myself into being scared by it and doing it anyway…
Sorry, just realised that I have digressed. Quick post to announce the next book, then back to the reading!
My next book is The Periodic Table by Primo Levi. I chose it because I didn’t want to dive back into another fantasy or go towards sci-fi at the moment. Something based in reality felt right, maybe because I enjoyed Out of Chingford so much, but I think this is going to be wholly different! When I bought this book I actually thought it was about the periodic table, but on reading the blurb I am really interested to find out about Primo’s life and experiences. I get the feeling that it is going to be a very well written book, written in a slightly quirky style that partly diffuses the hard reality of a life that has seen some great suffering. Partly, but from the short reviews on the cover the book is “brave” and honestly confront and describes the facts of a life partly led in WW2 and the holocaust. Lastly, there is a review on the front cover. It starts “The book it is necessary to read next…” OK, so be it.
Here is my quick and dirty list of references from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. They are of limited value without the book, but there is some interesting stuff to go and find out about if you wanted to 🙂
- 1st page of the book, about Louis de Bernieres – His first novel was called “The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts” Interesting title 🙂
- P4 Paragraph 2 – Dr. Iannis is having trouble finding the correct voice to use in his writing. I know that feeling.
- P5 all – This book is full of long words. Helps with descriptions, but can be harder to penetrate. (much later on there is reference to Greeks using the longest words that they can, so this may be a reason. Also the book blossoms in this regard
- P5 – lots of Greek history:- Demeter was raped by Poseidon disguised as a horse. She gave birth to a horse and a mystical daughter who’s name was lost when Eleusinian Mysterys were suppressed by Christians.
- P6 top – more greek history that I hadn’t heard before.
- P9 top 1/2 of page – first use of the word fascism. “…Fascism is not merely a social and political revolution, it’s cultural as well”
- P9 lower down – “…I want Fascist book-clubseven in the small towns…”
- P27-29 provides a good insight into the rationalisation of a dictator
- P40 3/4 way down – “Machian variey of materialism”
- P44 & 45 – a comparison of communism and capitalism. One can’t exist without the other, communism is supposed to be the end of capitalism, but if the whole world was communist the global economy would grind to a halt!
- P53 4th Paragraph – “be a good communist” and the page mentions the word “Utopia”
- P77 Bottom – An Atheist is moved by the remains of a saint healing a mad person.
- P81 – A description of a funny race.
- P111 “Stalin cannot be a true communist”
- P113 just above 1/2 way “stiffened into adamantine inflexibility” isn’t that what wolverine is made of??
- P127/8 – “… the pleasure of homecoming was more than recompense for the pains of setting out, and that therefore it was always with departing”
- P169 – half way down “there would be no tyrant, captain, and no wars, if minions did not ignore their conscience.”
- P185 Persichini Polka is music of the mandolin.
- P189 1/2 way down – “In Roumeli there was a small British team of enthusiastic amateurs” … “dropping in by parachute, using an innovative type of parachute which had supplies and radios tied into the upper chords…” Interesting
- P209 book – what is to be done by Lenin.
- P210 top – capitalists. Here we go!
- P217 – “nonetheless he had the moral authority of someone who refuses to compromise an ethical principal in the name of an ideal”
- P220 “scientific socialism” I think this is a reference to socialism’s use of logic
- P221 description of Mussolini’s life. Very interesting if true?
- P222 bottom- the duce gained much notoriety by accusing Jesus Christ of copukating with Mary magdelen and by penning a pamphlet entitled “good does not exist”
- P223 HWD – ” beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and possibly the duce is astygmatic”
- P230 out ism’s me by about 3:1
- The depth of knowledge of so much of how WW2 came about and played through is astounding.
- P250 pax Romana – the longest period of civilisation known to man.
- P265 1/3WD- communist description
- P274 bottom – the British soldier sons like the traveler in the colour of magic
- P285 hwd – “it’s obvious to me that ethics change with the times as science does.”
- P289 top – style of planning in different countries
- Beautifully poignant passages throughout
- P345 top – “exactly the same thing happened in Italy, they all joined the fascists to see what they could get.”
- P361 – “the tragedy was that this was yet another steep along the fated path by which communist was growing into the Greatest and Most Humane Ideology Never to Have Been Implemented Even When it Was in Power, or perhaps The Most Noble Cause Ever to Attract the Highest Proportion of Hooligans and Opportunists.” I have no idea why the capitalisation is as it is??
- P391 – chapter 68. Beautifully poignant part of the book. Very sad and only possible because of the layers of story that came before it. “The earthquake changed lives so profoundly that to this day it is still the single greatest topic of conversation. When other families elsewhere are arguing about whether or not socialism had a future…”
- P396 – “she discovered that her basic understanding of economic processes was Marxist, but that, paradoxically, she thought that capitalism has the best ways of dealing with the problems.” (added Marxism to the ISMs page)
- P401 – “…Antonia’s support of Papandreou’s socialist government” must find out more about that and other times where socialist (or other more radical ideas) have been tested???
- P404 top – talking about Antonia’s shop “handmade rugs that were really made by machines in north Africa”
- Various pages up to and including 399-405. A description of Alexi moving from socialism that may have become conservative to capitalist.
- Didnt get a page number, but look up about the Anti-fascist alliance
- And finally, somwhere hidden in the book is a section about the Albanians: “one of them electrocuted himself in the penis by urinating on a transformer” ’nuff said!
I also found a great website called bookdrum
that has commentaries for quite a few books that actually make sense!!
This review by The Guardian highlights that there was some backlash from the book when it first came out. Either a it was a bit to blasé with its use of characterisation, or plain wrong in the portrayal of certain groups, or maybe a bit to close to the truth?