Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Beezus and Ramona

by Beverly Cleary

I don't review every book I read--some small tomes I'll just run through to kill time, or sate my curiosity, and then never give them a second thought. This was going to be one of those books, until I laughed out loud. What had happened was that I was killing time in my daughter's second grade classroom. (She's a teacher, by the way, not a student.) I noticed this book in the classroom library, and since I had fond memories of reading Ramona the Pest when I was a kid, I figured I'd read a bit of this instead of the book I had in my backpack. Anyway, Beezus and Ramona is about Beezus Quimby, a nine year old girl in 1950s Oregon, and the troubles she has with her four year old sister Ramona. At first I enjoyed reading a book written in the 1950s--a different world in many ways. Soon enough, my enjoyment was garnished with chuckles over Ramona's antics. She is the chaos bringer, the one who manages to see and act in the world in a way that is different from the average person and who is quite disconcerting to those, like Beezus, who expect a certain order to their lives. Anyway, a few chapters in I got to the laugh out loud joke--an incident which revealed to me that not only is Ms. Cleary able to write about crazy shenanigans, but she has a clever wit in her tool kit as well. So from that point, I knew that I wanted to finish reading the book (easily done) and tell you all to check it out.

LibraryThing link

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Friday, May 19, 2017

The Brothers Karamazov

by Fyodor Dostoevsky

I've enjoyed many authors from the 19th Century. It's good to shift gears, to read at a different pace, and to experience a different world that those authors offer. Over the years, I've enjoyed authors from America, England and France. One thing I hadn't tackled, however, is any of the 19th Century authors from Russia. I'd heard that the classic Russian authors have a dense, dark style all their own and was slightly hesitant to just grab a volume and start reading. But eventually I put trepidation aside and decided to tackle some Dostoevsky.

I can't really say that I found The Brothers Karamazov to be dense. But I did get a sense that I missed a lot of content as I tried to tune my brain to the flow of the narrative. It's the tale of the three sons of Fyodor Karamazov, a cantankerous old man who managed to amass a tidy estate and raise a dysfunctional family. The book revolves around the brothers and their relationships with their father, each other, and their friends and neighbors. Like I said, I think I missed a lot that Mr. Dostoevsky was trying to say, but I found it an interesting tale. I especially like his musings on God and religion, which are woven throughout the narrative. I'll definitely have to check it out again in the future to see if a second reading would let me delve deeper.

LibraryThing link


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