Sunday, February 24, 2013

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

One Day in the Life of Ivan DenisovichOne Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can certainly understand why this book is on the 1001 Books list. It is hard to believe that what is described is truly one day in prison life. So much happens even though so little happens. The constant jockeying to survive. Getting an extra portion, begging a last drag, working in freezing temperatures. It is mesmerizing. I am going to have to track down a copy of The Oak and the Calf to learn more about Solzhenitsyn's life.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Casino Royale

I actually picked this book up at the library solely because Ian Fleming and Raymond Chandler were good friends, and I had never read any of the Bond books. Imagine my surprise, when I found that it was also a 1001 Books list book! My French is a little rusty as I only took it in 7th and 8th grade, so I feel that I might have missed some details (important or not, I don't know), but I enjoyed the story and having seen the movie first (which I usually try not to do), the story was familiar, but the movie was remote enough in my mind that I don't really know how closely it compares. It is dark, but that is unsurprising, and the details of the drink and the car come through very well in the writing, so you do not miss out at all on the 007 experience. I would recommend it. 3 out of 5 stars

Sunday, February 10, 2013


I had a hard time getting into this book, but once I figured out the ties between everyone and could better track the myriad of characters, I did enjoy the appearances of various historical figures like Freud, Houdini, JP Morgan, and others as an interesting twist. I did not care for the ending, or I might have given it 5 stars. It just seemed abrupt and unsatisfying after following the lives of these characters with such intensity. However, the story was quite well done and I enjoyed it. Another one checked off from the 1001 books to read. I am glad that the group chose this one, as I don't know that I would have gravitated toward it on my own. I rated it 4 stars.