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Posts Tagged ‘Literature’

The Man Who Knew Too MuchThe Man Who Knew Too Much by G.K. Chesterton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think I like Chesterton’s non-fiction more than his fiction. This is (if I recall) the second book of fiction that I’ve read from the great GKC. I have read more of his non-fictional work, and I like it more.

This book, like many mysteries, was a confusing ride. GKC’s word crafting is gorgeous – at points, simply startling. He was a man who knew how to use language. He had a purdy mouth.

The story is full of murder, political intrigue, and interpersonal difficulties. The author worked in some scathing criticism of “Capitalism,” as he saw it in his day. You know, the book was fun, but not super fun. Truth be told, when it comes to someone like GKC, if it ain’t really, really good, it just don’t match up with my expectations. I guess I just expect a great deal from GKC, and this book was, therefore, a slight disappointment.

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The Great GatsbyThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book. Fitzgerald’s style is pleasing. I like the setting (the Lost Generation) a great deal. Interestingly, the characters were semi-likable, but mostly I’m pleased I don’t know them personally. I’m glad not to be Jay Gatsby’s neighbor. Fitzgerald did a good job capturing the destructive selfishness of his generation and sad paradox that, as they strove to move forward, they were inescapably losing ground. The last chapter was my favorite. Fitzgerald painted a haunting picture of the slow-moving and expansive Mid-West and of its children trying to make their way in the urbane East.

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The Mote in God's EyeThe Mote in God’s Eye by Larry Niven
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My friend, Bob, tossed this book at me a few years back. I finally read it and enjoyed it a good deal.

I have only read one other Sci-Fi type novel (Dune), which I have to admit that I liked more (actually, far more) than this book. (Oh, yeah, I also read Dune Messiah, but it simply did not rock as hard.) As to Mote, it took me about 200 pages really to get into it, which is far too long. However, once the alien action kicked in, I thought it was fascinating. I really enjoyed how it turned from meet-the-aliens Sci-Fi to a political plot in the last hundred pages. Now that we’ve met these aliens, what in the world are we supposed to do?!

I don’t doubt that there are a whole host of things that I missed in this book, unread as I am in this genre. Even so, overall, it was a good read. ‘Nuff said.

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The GodfatherThe Godfather by Mario Puzo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a joy. I’ve loved the movies, but the book was especially wonderful. I felt like I got to know that Corleone family a whole lot better than I had from just watching the movies a score of times. I thought that maybe Puzo’s fame was based upon the movies, and that he wasn’t a good writer. To the contrary, he is a good writer, indeed. This book is a bit obscene at points (more so than the movies), but if you can blow past that, this book is a great read. Both Vito and Michael are powerful examples of men who, par excellence, put their trust in princes and in the power of horses. This proves to be poison and death to them and their families.

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Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of MeaningLiberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning by Jonah Goldberg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book attempts to define the most significant elements of “The Fascist Moment” of the early 20th century. He shows that Fascism spawned American Progressivism, which in turn gave birth to modern American Liberalism. Goldberg attempts to show that Liberalism still retains some of the significant elements of Fascism (but certainly not all of them).

The book is very interesting, but seems scattered at points. Thus, it sometimes reads like Goldberg simply strung Wikipedia articles together. That said, it was well worth the time.

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