Friday, May 7, 2010
Book List: Reading this week.
My book lists change all the time... These 4 books are sitting on my bedside table this week.
The Devil and Miss Prym: A Novel of Temptation by Paulo CoelhoA community devoured by greed, cowardice, and fear. A man persecuted by the ghosts of his painful past. A young woman searching for happiness. In one eventful week, each will face questions of life, death, and power, and each will choose a path. Will they choose good or evil? In the remote village of Viscos -- a village too small to be on any map, a place where time seems to stand still -- a stranger arrives, carrying with him a backpack containing a notebook and eleven gold bars. He comes searching for the answer to a question that torments him: Are human beings, in essence, good or evil? In welcoming the mysterious foreigner, the whole village becomes an accomplice to his sophisticated plot, which will forever mark their lives. Paulo Coelho's stunning novel explores the timeless struggle between good and evil, and brings to our everyday dilemmas fresh perspective: incentive to master the fear that prevents us from following our dreams, from being different, from truly living. The Devil and Miss Prym is a story charged with emotion, in which the integrity of being human meets a terrifying test.
The Princess Bride by William GoldmanThe Princess Bride is a true fantasy classic. William Goldman describes it as a "good parts version" of "S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure." Morgenstern's original was filled with details of Florinese history, court etiquette, and Mrs. Morgenstern's mostly complimentary views of the text. Much admired by academics, the "Classic Tale" nonetheless obscured what Mr. Goldman feels is a story that has everything: "Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles." Goldman frames the fairy tale with an "autobiographical" story: his father, who came from Florin, abridged the book as he read it to his son. Now, Goldman is publishing an abridged version, interspersed with comments on the parts he cut out. Is The Princess Bride a critique of classics like Ivanhoe and The Three Musketeers , that smother a ripping yarn under elaborate prose? A wry look at the differences between fairy tales and real life? Simply a funny, frenetic adventure? No matter how you read it, you'll put it on your "keeper" shelf. --Nona Vero Orlando, A Biography by Virginia WoolfOrlando has always been an outsider...His longing for passion, adventure and fulfilment takes him out of his own time. Chasing a dream through the centuries, he bounds from Elizabethan England amd imperial Turkey to the modern world. Will he find happiness with the exotic Russian Princess Sasha? Or is the dashing explorer Shelmerdine the ideal man? And what form will Orlando take on the journey - a nobleman, traveller, writer? Man or...woman? On Beauty by Zadie SmithWinner of the 2006 Orange Prize for fiction and from the celebrated author of White Teeth comes another bestselling masterwork Having hit bestseller lists from the New York Times to the San Francisco Chronicle , this wise, hilarious novel reminds us why Zadie Smith has rocketed to literary stardom. On Beauty is the story of an interracial family living in the university town of Wellington, Massachusetts, whose misadventures in the culture wars—on both sides of the Atlantic—serve to skewer everything from family life to political correctness to the combustive collision between the personal and the political. Full of dead-on wit and relentlessly funny, this tour de force confirms Zadie Smith’s reputation as a major literary talent. Named one of the Ten Best Books of the Year by the New York Times Book Review, Entertainment Weekly, Time , and Publishers Weekly A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Denver Post , and Publishers Weekly bestseller A Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Atlantic Monthly, Newsday, Christian Science Monitor , and Minneapolis Star Tribune Best Book of the Year Short-listed for the Man Booker Prize.