Saturday, October 15, 2011

#111 The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Three brothers— Dimitry, Ivan and Alexei— seem to have nothing in common apart from their father: Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov, an aging buffoon leading a life of debauchery who has never concerned himself with his children, until each brother in adulthood decides to visit their father’s home. Mitya, the hothead, goes because he needs money. Ivan, the intellectual, goes to test his dark ideas about evil and faith. Alexei, the young saint, goes to guide his wayward kin back onto the path of good. This epic tale is rife with every imaginable emotion, every possible subject and every conceivable type of personality, making it as near perfection as any novel can get.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

#110 Blindness by Jose Saramago

Imagine that everyone around you goes blind. Confusion and chaos reign. No one is spared, no one that is, except for you. Such is one woman’s fate in this gripping story about a epidemic of white blindness that spreads in the blink of an eye. The Doctor’s Wife, as she is called, becomes the eyes for a hodgepodge group of newly blind people, as a band of armed thugs (also blind) takes over the government-enforced quarantine and demands their last bit of dignity. The Doctor’s Wife has her eyes opened, to her own capacity for ruthlessness, and to the savagery exhibited by many when they no longer believe they are seen.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

#109 Missing Mom by Joyce Carol Oates

“Here’s to moms. Without moms, where’d we all be?” quips Nikki Eaton, toasting her mother Gwen on Mother’s Day. Two days later, Nikki is suddenly, though an act of inexplicable violence, without her mother. This novel tells the story of Nikki’s first year missing her Mom. It is a year of moving back into her mother’s house and wearing her mother’s clothes. It is also a year in which Nikki discovers some startling secrets of Gwen’s past. These revelations are difficult for Nikki to reconcile with the sparkly Gwen, her bread-baking, craft-making, church-going, loving mother, but at last Nikki can fully know the mother she must miss all her life.

Friday, October 7, 2011

#108 The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson

Reading this book is like stepping into another dimension. Nothing is as it seems. Take the story “Daemon Lover”. Is it really the laughter of her missing betrothed the woman hears behind the closed door of that otherwise-empty building? Or in “The Dummy,” does the ventriloquist insult his companion in the green dress, or can the dummy talk by itself? Did the stranger in “The Witch” actually commit the gruesome murder he describes to the little boy? In “The Lottery”, Jackson’s most famous story, the inhabitants of a village gather for an annual drawing. The village’s location is unstated, but, considering the prize it must lie somewhere within The Twilight Zone.

#107 The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

Domineering father

+ Controlling, pill-popping mother

+ Depressed, alcoholic, mixed- grill-making son

+ Desperate, swindling, couch-humping, running-off-to-Lithuania son

+ Sleeping-with-both-husband-and-wife-of-same-married-couple, celebrity chef, emotionally masochistic daughter


The Lamberts, one of the most dysfunctional families in contemporary American literature. Alfred, the patriarch of the family, is suffering from advanced Parkinson’s disease, which, among other debilitating things, makes him hallucinate that he is being taunted by a talking turd. His wife, Enid, is convinced that having her children come home to spend one last Christmas in the house they grew up in will fix everything. Christmas is time to hope for a miracle, but barring that, there’s no quick fix for this family.

Monday, October 3, 2011

#106 A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Sung to the tune of the “Good Times” theme song:

The Youngers!

Will be getting a big payment

The Youngers!

From an insurance policy

The Youngers!

Walter Sr. passed some years ago

Now they’ll get out of the ghetto with the money he left them

Mama takes some of the money and goes out and buys them a house

But Brother buys a liquor store—Mistake!

The money then gets ripped off—Heartbreak!

A white man doesn’t want them buyin’ ---No Doubt!

In an all white neighborhood—Stay Out!

Will they stay in or move out of the ghetto? --- Youngers!

A postwar “Good Times”, with few good times, but plenty of hardy hope.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

#105 A Room With a View by E.M. Forster

A kiss among the violets on a hilltop near Florence, Italy would cause any young woman to lose her head, especially if that young woman were anything like Lucy Honeychurch. Miss Honeychurch, stepping out from the confines of her small English country society, is hoping for adventure in Italy in spite of having her cousin, Charlotte, a persnickety spinster, as a chaperone. Lucy craves an awakening; she yearns for something to happen to her. This something comes in the form of George Emerson, a quiet, melancholy young man whose dormant passions Lucy arouses and who sends her headlong into a muddle by arousing hers with that impetuously stolen, though welcomed, kiss.

Monday, September 26, 2011

#104 Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

Living with The Damp and The Sickness is wretched enough, but add to that The Hunger and you’ve got misery that goes beyond the beyonds. It was in this state of abject poverty that Frank McCourt passed his childhood in 1940’s Ireland. Frank, born in New York, was four when his parents moved the family to their native Ireland following the death of their infant daughter. Frank’s father, an indolent alcoholic, did little to support his family and in Ireland their lives were dogged by despair. McCourt writes also of The Shame, which tore at him as a boy. He finally defeats it with this searing telling of his life story.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

#103 The Beatles: The Biography by Bob Spitz

Only one word describes the phenomenon that drove millions of teenagers to scream, writhe, cry, tremble and faint: Beatlemania. For a decade, John, Paul, George and Ringo-- to say nothing of their music—captured hearts and minds worldwide. This book gives an extraordinarily detailed account of the lives of the four Scousers from Liverpool, England—their turbulent childhoods, larger-than-life musical influences, and the fateful meeting between John and Paul that was the beginning of one of the most legendary songwriting collaborations of all time. The stories behind the music are absolute gems of Beatle’s trivia. (For instance, the guitar we hear gently weeping on George’s haunting song? That’s Mr. Eric Clapton.)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

#102 Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

A great book for the jolly summer time, or anytime. Pippi Longstocking is a kid superhero. She can wrestle a grown man, tackle a bull, and rescue children from a burning building, all before bedtime. She lives in a house called Villa Villekulla with a horse and a little monkey named Mr. Neilson. She never goes to school and plays all day with her friends Tommy and Anika. She also has a suitcase full of gold coins, so she never has to worry about money. Her life would be every kid’s dream, except she has no parents, so she does as she pleases. Wait a minute…her life is every kid’s dream.

#101 Little Bee by Chris Cleave

The blurb on the back of this book instructs the reader not to tell anyone what the story is about. Therefore, all I will say is that this book is about a Nigerian girl and a British woman whose chance meeting on a beach changes both their lives. The story’s intelligent and candid reflections, such as this from the Nigerian girl about horror movies, “Horror in your country is something you take a daily dose of to remind yourself that you are not suffering from it,” give the reader an uncommon dose of compassion for these two brave women, as they suffer through the nightmarish events that have bound them together.

Friday, September 2, 2011

#100 The Princess Bride by William Goldman

True love saves the day in this fantastic, romantic and sarcastic novel. Fantastic, because a dead man is brought back to life; romantic because farm-boy-turned-pirate Westley, climbs one thousand feet, battles a giant and nearly gets eaten by enormous rodents all to be with his true love, Buttercup; sarcastic because Goldman constantly interrupts the story to give fictitious accounts of how the Princess Bride was written—or as Goldman alleges, “abridged.” Goldman writes that S. Morgenstern is the original author of the story and he, Goldman, abridged it to this ‘good parts’ version, but that’s just a literary device used to build suspense and leave the reader hanging at the good parts.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

#99 The Help by Kathryn Stockett

It’s 1962 in Jackson Mississippi, and the times they are a’ changin’. That’s what Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter are hoping, anyway. They’ve risked many lives, including their own, to write a book, in which the black maids of Jackson tell what it’s really like working for white families. The stories these women tell range from touching—a maid who considers her employer a true and dear friend, to horrifying—a maid tricked into washing her own hands with straight bleach. The three writers must watch out for Hilly Holbrook, Skeeter’s erstwhile racist friend, who is paid back for the lies she spreads by being served a healthy helping of humble pie.

Monday, August 15, 2011

#98 So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell

Friendships, sadly, sometimes come to an end. Lloyd Wilson and Clarence Smith were neighbors and good friends. Tenant farmers in 1920’s Illinois, each worked hard on his own rented land, and on his neighbor’s as well. Marriages also, sadly, sometimes come to an end, and this happens when Lloyd and Clarence’s wife, Fern, fall in love. The marriages on each farm fall apart as does the friendship between the two men. The narrator, who was a young boy at the time of these events, tells this tale of endings, explaining how his own friendship with Cletus Smith, Clarence’s son, abruptly ended when Clarence brings about Lloyd's final end with a gunshot.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

#97 Carrie by Stephen King

Every picked-on, bullied, powerless teenager dreams of revenge. Carrie White had been bullied almost every day of her life by the kids at school. Ol’ Praying Carrie, they called her, and dogged her every step with taunts, kicks and tricks. Her mother, a religious fanatic, had often told people they that had a special burning seat waiting for them in hell. She was the worst bully of all, routinely locking Carrie in a closet so the girl would be purged of sin. But this time they have all gone too far. Carrie isn’t powerless after all. On prom night she’ll have her revenge. No burning seat will be left empty.

Friday, August 5, 2011

#96 July's People by Nadine Gordimer

The servant becomes the master in this intense novel about the fictional demise of apartheid in 1980s South Africa. July had worked for white South Africans, Bamford and Maureen Smales, for 15 years. The Smales were liberals who never wanted July to call Bamford “master” as was the custom. The power shift starts with the Bakkie, the vehicle that the Smales use to flee to July’s very rural home when war reaches Johannesburg. The car is the Smales' only means of escape if rebels search July’s home. But July has taken the car from them and what can they do? They owe him their lives and are wrapped around his finger.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

#95 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The richly-formed cast of characters in this book gives the reader new insight into the personalities of people in their own life, despite many changes in manners and mores. Elizabeth, thoughtful and opinionated, never speaks without thinking, but also never hesitates to tell people the truth. Mr. Darcy, handsome and brooding, disdains common courtesy, until Elizabeth knocks him from his high horse. Mrs. Bennett, Elizabeth’s mother, is the opposite of her reflective daughter, unashamed that her only concern is marrying off her five daughters to any bachelor who comes along. Beautiful Jane, boy-crazy Lydia, sycophantic Collins, spoiled Lady Catherine, and affable Bingley all help to make this book an enlightening read.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

#94 The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein

Adventures…nasty, disturbing, uncomfortable things that make you late for dinner. So says Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who lives a comfortable life in his deluxe hole in the ground. But adventure comes knocking when Gandalf the wizard thrusts a perilous quest onto the reluctant homebody. Bilbo journeys to the Lonely Mountain with thirteen dwarves, to retrieve their dragon-stolen treasure. He soon finds himself dodging trolls and captured by goblins, rescued by eagles and battling spiders as big as Volkswagen Bugs. Will he ever see his cozy hobbit hole again? Either way, this adventure has made Bilbo a better hobbit than he ever could have been, warming his well-combed toes by the fire.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

#93 Linden Hills by Gloria Naylor

Luxury cars, swimming pools and caviar. The people of Linden Hills have “made it”, but at what price? Willie Mason finds out. Willie, a thoughtful, observant young man, lives in Putney Wayne, a poor neighborhood nearby. For him, Linden Hills is a dream with its palatial homes all owned by black people. But soon the dream becomes his nightmare. The residents of Linden Hills care only about “making it,” and the further down the hill they move, towards the most desirable sections, the further they sink into corruption and depravity. Luther Nedeed, the perpetual landlord of Linden Hills, relishes each devastating fall, and holds the key to the neighborhood’s terrible secrets.

Monday, June 27, 2011

#92 Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Orphaned and condemned to a life of poverty and misery before drawing his first breath, Oliver Twist makes his way into our hearts. Brutally beaten by those assigned to care for him, Oliver miraculously survives to see his ninth birthday, when he flees to London. There he falls in with a gang of thieves, and soon the innocent Oliver learns the art of pickpocketing. Throughout the book, Dickens protests against the horrific conditions of the poor and critiques England’s system of “helping” poor people with workhouses and prisons. But it isn’t called Oliver Twist for nothing. There are more cases of mistaken identity, underhanded evil-doing and secret love than a soap-opera.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

#91 The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino

Pre-teen rebellion reaches new heights in this whimsical novel. One evening when Cosimo, a young Italian baron, finds snails as dinner’s main course, he says “no” to the escargot and takes to the trees, resolving to never come down. His family thinks at first that his escape will end when he gets cold or hungry or lonely, but the determined Cosimo soon adapts to life above ground. He learns to hunt, bathe and even answer nature’s call from the trees. He grows into a man respected by all and his arboreal world is almost heaven. Suddenly, Cosimo falls. Not from a tree, but in love, and is brought swiftly, harshly back to earth.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

#90 The Best of Simple by Langston Hughes

1950s Harlem. Two men walk into a bar.

1st Man: How are things?

2nd Man: Terrible. Wife won’t pay for divorce, my main-girl actin’ cold, side-girl drinks up my money, landlady wants rent, my bunions hurt, and me bein’ a Negro, white people won’t let me get ahead.

1st Man: What are you going to do?

2nd Man: Get you to buy me a glass of beer. At least there will be a head on that.

Jesse B. Semple, the affable Simple character of Hughes’ stories, would be that second man. Uneducated, but not simple-minded, Simple muses on everything from the A-bomb to the A-Train— simply, humorously, talkin’ the blues.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

#89 The Stranger by Albert Camus

“The sun was in my eyes,” is an excuse one gives for not catching a ball in the outfield. In this novel, however, it amounts to Monsieur Meursault’s defense for committing murder. It was hot and bright the day Meursault, a Frenchman living in Algeria, shot a young Arab five times on the beach. Perhaps Meursault was suffering from heatstroke. The strange thing is not only this flimsy defense; it is Meursault himself. His mother’s death, a proposal of marriage, the fact that he has killed a man, it’s all the same to him, for he feels no emotion. Meursault’s indifference ultimately saves him, though not from the hand of justice.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

#88 Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding

"No Emotional Fuckwittage!", cries Bridget Jones as she charges onto love’s battlefield. It is a new year and Bridget, a single woman in London, is on a mission to change her life. Every diary entry begins with updates on her New Year's resolutions which are: 1) Lose weight 2) Quit smoking 3) Cut down the drink. She also wants to find a relationship free of fuckwittage, which means committment-phobes, cheaters, drugies and like need not apply. Bridget's year is full of ups (getting involved with boss) and downs (getting chucked by boss), but with the help of her feminist, feng-shui-ing, flamboyant fabulous friends, the emotional f-word doesn't keep her down long.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

#87 Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrl Revolution

The rise and demise of Riot Grrl, a feminist punk movement formed in the 90's, is the subject of this rockin' book. If you've never heard of Riot Grrl, you'll be amazed that a group of such bold and angry young women who rocked, existed. If you have, and even consider yourself one of them, you'll find Marcus's fly-on- the-wall account enthralling. Mysteries will be revealed, such as how the band Bikini Kill was formed and became Riot Grrls. The girls weren't just angsty-teenaged punks in Doc Martens. Riot Grrls were political: pro-choice and anti-male dominance eveywhere, not least in the mosh-pit. And they were pro-revolution, girl-style, now.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

#86 Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

In this dystopian science fiction novel possessing a book is a crime punishable by fire. Guy Montag, is a fireman. He burns books and occasionally, the people who read them. Guy has burned books with gusto for 10 years, but something has changed. He has begun to steal the books he is supposed to be burning. And then Guy meets Clarisse, a girl who rubs dandelions under people’s chins to see if they are in love. Turns out, Guy is not in love. Not with his wife or his job and certainly, not with himself. Suddenly Guys finds that he would kill to satisfy his burning desire to read a book.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

#85 Anne Frank: the Diary of a Young Girl

Anne Frank’s diary, published after her death, has touched and inspired millions. These entries are not merely the “unbosomings of a thirteen year old school girl”. They are lessons in character building; instructions for how not to behave toward others and, funnily enough, how young girls should proceed in matters of romance. Being in hiding for two years from Hitler and his loathsome “final solution” for the Jews of Europe perhaps made Anne wise beyond her years. Though the world has learned much from her recorded thoughts and feelings, it is hard not to imagine what the world might have learned from Anne herself, had this young girl survived the war.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

#84 The Dive From Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer

Should she stay or should she go, now? Carrie Bell, a young woman living in Madison, Wisconsin decides to go. It’s no small decision: her boyfriend of eight years (also her fiancé) has just had a diving accident that has left him a quadriplegic. Long before the accident, Carrie knew she no longer loved Mike. Tired of the banality of her small town life, Carrie flees to New York hoping to “find herself”. What she finds is a lover, Kilroy, an older man with a mysterious past. It's said, “Home is where the heart is.” Carrie must decide where her heart is to answer a new question: stay, or go back?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

#83 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

This here book is ‘bout a white boy (Huck) and a runaway slave (Jim) gettin’ into a right smart o’ trouble raftin’ down the Mississippi. Oncst, Huck gets caught up in a Hatfield ‘n McCoy type feud, and he and Jim fall in with the “King” and the “Duke,” the two beatenest rapscallions a body ever come across. Betwixt all this whoopjamboreehoo, Huck and Jim has some bully times livin’ on the Old Muddy. Huck reckons only a low-down person such as himself would help a slave run away, but if every person was as “low-down” as Huck , wouldn’t be no need for Jim to run nowhere a’ tall.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

#82 Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

On February 13, 1945 British and American Air Forces bombed the city of Dresden into ruin. This historical event plays a central role in the unhinging of Billy Pilgrim’s mind in this semi-autobiographical novel. Vonnegut, like Billy, was a soldier during WWII. And also like Billy, Vonnegut witnessed the firebombing of Dresden. But unlike Billy, Vonnegut never traveled through time, nor did aliens from the planet Tralfamadore ever kidnap him. Least ways, if these last did occur, Vonnegut never told anyone, unlike Billy who tells of these experiences, much to his daughter’s outrage, on late night radio. War. What is it good for? Throughout this book, Vonnegut vehemently shouts, “Absolutely nothing!”

Sunday, May 1, 2011

#81 Light in August by William Faulkner

Imagine living in 1930s Mississippi, not knowing if you were black or white. This is the riddle facing Joe Christmas, an orphan raised by whites, but consumed by the possibility that he is black. He himself is a riddle, containing both the desire for love, and a simmering, violent malevolence. Christmas’s tragic story intersects with others’: Lena Grove, a saint-like woman searching the South for the father of her unborn child, Byron Bunch, the sawmill worker who falls in love with her, and Reverend Hightower, a preacher obsessed with the Civil War.

Faulkner’s frequent use of the “n” word, while undoubtedly realistic to the time and place, feels hateful and oppressive.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

#80 Othello by William Shakespeare

Iago. The name means supplanter, but after reading this play, demon seems more fitting. Everyone believes this inhuman dog is the soul of honesty. This belief is Othello’s downfall. Damn'd Iago has but to hint that Desdemona, Othello’s devoted young bride, is an adulteress, and her husband, a man known for his steadiness of character, is completely undone. At first, Othello is merely slightly troubled by the thought. But as Iago pours his poisonous potion of lies into Othello’s ear, the Moor becomes a brooding, violent, wretched thing, collapsing into seizures brought on by Iago’s “medicine”, which proves its potency in the number of corpses left behind at the play’s end.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

#79 Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

There’s no “spoon full of sugar” in the Mary Poppins of Travers’ classic novel. Cross, snappish and vain, the magical nanny is a far cry from the sweet, smiling Julie Andrews of the movie. So why do Jane and Michael Banks adore her? Is it because she takes them around the world in a matter of minutes using an enchanted compass? Or because she celebrates her birthday with a midnight trip to the zoo, where the animals talk and walk about freely, looking at humans in cages? In a word, yes. When Mary “pops-in” to number 17 Cherry Tree Lane, every day of Jane and Michael Banks’ lives becomes an adventure.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

#78 Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

In Oedipus Rex, Sophocles writes, “Hide nothing, for time, which sees all and hears all, exposes all”. In Middlesex, it is a hidden mutation in the genes of the Stephanides family that sees all, hears all, and exposes the family’s secret past. Cal Stephanides, raised in 1960s Detroit, reaches back in time to a Greek village in 1920s Turkey, the time when his grandparents, Desdemona and Lefty Stephanides, lived together after their parents were killed. Yes, their parents. Desdemona and Lefty were brother and sister. This secret shame bestows upon their grandchild life as both female and male. Like Tiresias of Oedipus Rex, Cal is first one thing, and then another.

Friday, April 8, 2011

#77 Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Life in Umuofia was difficult. Sometimes too little rain fell and yam crops could not grow. Children were born and suddenly died. Disputes were common between a man and his wives. Yet, the people of Umuofia celebrated life. Their customs and sense of fellowship gave them strength. Even in his youth, Okonkwo, a fierce Ibo warrior and village leader, had been strong. He worked hard and ruled his wives and his children with a heavy hand. He was a man of action, for, to Okonkwo, a real man could be nothing less. Then, missionaries arrive in this fictional village, setting Okonkwo’s fiery spirit ablaze. A most desperate, tragic act extinguishes it.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

#76 Bone by Fae Myenne Ng

Everyone in Chinatown knows the Leong family’s secrets: Mah’s failed first marriage, her affair with her boss and youngest daughter Ona’s suicide. But guilt remains the family’s true secret, the bone whose marrow they all continue to suck after their lives have been picked over by neighborhood gossipmongers. Leila, eldest of the three daughters, tells her family’s story in hope that the guilt does not turn sweet, like the seed of a dried plum, a thing savored. Leila acts as archeologist, piecing together the fragmented events that make up the sorrow her family has endured over many years. Once whole, however, she must again bury it in order to find peace.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

#75 The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The wind kicks up, howling steadily, fiercely across a dry, gray landscape. Dust, billowing in great, merciless waves rises from the ground, blocking out air, light and hope. Such was life on the prairie lands in 1930’s America. Steinbeck shows us the hardships thousands of families faced during this dark time through the story of the Joads, Oklahoman sharecroppers.
Tom Joad, the hero of this novel, has just been released from prison. Though imprisonment did not harden him, Tom struggles to check his rage as the family falls apart, and it seems as if all compassion in the world has been blown away by the wind and smothered by the dust.

Friday, April 1, 2011

#74 Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs

The atrocities committed against millions of black men, women and children during the slave trade are unspeakable. Yet Harriet Jacobs (Linda Brent in the book) speaks boldly about her life as a slave girl in this heartrending narrative. A slave girl soon learns that her duties include more than working in the kitchen or toiling in the fields. Her master may demand the use of her body for his own pleasure. To escape her depraved master’s attentions, Linda takes refuge in a crawl space in her grandmother’s house and lives thus, unable to sit or stand, for seven years. This imprisonment is the first step on her long journey toward freedom.

Monday, March 28, 2011

#73 King, Queen, Knave by Vladimir Nabokov

Lights up on a large, bright bedroom. Franz and Martha lie naked on the bed. They have just finished disporting themselves. Franz, wears a pair of tortoise shell glasses.

Martha: How shall we kill him? Poison? A gun?

Franz: Yes. I want you.

Martha: Later, my love. We must find a way to kill my husband, who is also your uncle.

Franz: Right. (Pause) Wait. What are we talking about?

Martha: Oh, Franz, you’re such an idiot. Perhaps that’s why I love you.

Franz: I feel like I could kill for you.

Martha: Yes. About that, how shall we do it?

Franz: Well personally I prefer the couch…

Martha: Concentrate, Franz!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

#72 Emma by Jane Austen

Emma Woodhouse would be a perfect role model for young women, if she weren’t such a snobby busybody. True, Emma—witty, beautiful, rich, and at the pinnacle of society in her small country village—has reasons to be a snob. In matters of love, however, she is a bit Clueless. Declaring that she herself shall never marry, Emma spends her days interfering in the love lives of her friends—especially Harriet Smith, a shy young woman with little sophistication, whom Emma magnanimously decides to take on as a protégée. Emma’s attempts to direct Cupid’s arrows always hit the wrong mark, until, at last, to her own surprise, she is struck in the heart herself.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

#71 Equus by Peter Shaffer

My horse’s hooves are nothing like the sun;

Velvet is far more soft than his ears soft.

If snow be white, then his teeth are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow upon his mane.

I have seen horses dappled, brown and white,

But no such dapples are in his coat;

And in some perfumes there is more delight

Than in the sweat that from him reeks.

I love to hear him neigh, yet I know

That music hath a more pleasing sound;

I saw a god once go;

My horsey gallops above the ground.

And so, by Equus, I think my horse more rare than any stallion anywhere.