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Showing posts from August, 2014

Civilwarland in Bad Decline by George Saunders

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Summary from Goodreads:

Six short stories and a novella. Set in a dystopian near-future in which America has become little more than a theme park in terminal disrepair, they constitute a searching and bitterly humorous commentary on the current state of the American Dream.

Funny, sad, bleak, weird, toxic - the future of America as the Free Market runs rampant,the environment skids into disarray, and civilization dissolves into surreal chaos. These wacky, brilliant, hilarious and entirely original stories cue us in on George Saunder's skewed vision of the legacy we are creating. Against the backdrop of our devolvement, our own worst tendencies and greatest virtues are weirdly illuminated.

George Saunders is one of those wonderful discoveries I had last year. His Folio Prize winning Tenth of December blew me away and I knew I had to read more, if not all, of his works. I wanted to go down the line of his fiction books, with Civilwarland in Bad Decline being the earliest, published 17 y…

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

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Summary from Goodreads:

The story is set in the late 18th century against the background of the French Revolution. Although Dickens borrowed from Thomas Carlyle's history, The French Revolution, for his sprawling tale of London and revolutionary Paris, the novel offers more drama than accuracy. 

The scenes of large-scale mob violence are especially vivid, if superficial in historical understanding. The complex plot involves Sydney Carton's sacrifice of his own life on behalf of his friends Charles Darnay and Lucie Manette. While political events drive the story, Dickens takes a decidedly antipolitical tone, lambasting both aristocratic tyranny and revolutionary excess--the latter memorably caricatured in Madame Defarge, who knits beside the guillotine. 

When former aristocrat Charles Darnay learns that an old family servant needs his help, he abandons his safe haven in England and returns to Paris. But once there, the Revolutionary authorities arrest him not for anything he has d…

Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman

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Summary from Goodreads:

"The distinctive storytelling genius of Neil Gaiman has been acclaimed by writers as diverse as Norman Mailer and Stephen King. Now in this new collection of stories--several of which have never before appeared in print and more than half that have never been collected--that will dazzle the senses and haunt the imagination. 

Miraculous inventions and unforgettable characters inhabit these pages: an elderly widow who finds the Holy Grail in a second-hand store...a frightened little boy who bargains for his life with a troll living under a bridge by the railroad tracks...a stray cat who battles nightly against a recurring evil that threatens his unsuspecting adoptive family. In these stories, Gaiman displays the power, wit, insight and outrageous originality that has made him one of the most unique literary artists of our day."

Smoke and Mirrors is a delightful collection of short stories and poems that are retellings of fairy tales and folklore of old. Re…

Required Reading: August 2013

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JULY REQUIRED READING REPORT

1. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens - (5/5 Stars) I initially thought this would be a stuffy read because I tend to view classics that way. But it wasn't like that at all. I mean with all the excitement of the revolution, and the stirring speeches...my best classic read to date. 

2.  Superman for all Seasons by Jeph Loeb, Tim Sale & Bjarne Hansen - (4/5 Stars) Loved the artwork, it's clean and light. The story too is pretty compelling, one gets to follow Clark's journey to being Superman, depicted in 4 seasons.

3. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, Klaus Janson & Lynn Varley - (4/5 Stars) Excellent story. Batman dealing with aging and a whole lot of ghosts from his past. 

4. Various X-Men Comic Books from Marvel - (an average of 2-3 Stars) I realized Magneto and Professor X gives a lot of speeches in the older volumes. Sometimes my eyelids droop when I come across those. I did enjoy the Wolverine vs Gambit issues best.

A…