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.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

#70 The Otterbury Incident by C. Day Lewis

“The Incident” is what the boys called the mass of rubble that was left when a bomb fell in the middle of Otterbury, a fictional town in which the “incidents” of this story take place. It is a tale about a group of youngsters who like to play war during wartime. Ted and Toppy each command their own company of boys in whatever the game may be. During their childish though realistic play--the boys pretend to be soldiers, lawyers and detectives—they stumble upon actual criminal activity. Think The Goonies set in England, circa 1945: counterfeit money; cool kid-crafted inventions and a secret hideout.

Incidentally, C. Day Lewis was Daniel’s father.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

#69 White Teeth by Zadie Smith

Most families are related by blood, but some families are related though history. Archie, Samad, Clara, Alsana, Magid, Irie and Millat make up two separate families whose lives are linked through their shared past: an unlikely friendship between Archie Jones, a white Englishman, and Samad Iqbal, a man from Bangladesh. The two become friends as mere boys, during WWII, but in middle age, Samad and Archie would rather relive the wars of the past than face the wars raging within their own families. Both have married much younger women, and as each man’s children grow up, Archie and Samad find themselves on one side of a generational gap that seems unbridgeable.