The Descent

I had to give up on this one after 120 pages. It’s clever-ish, but the whole point of the book is lost on someone living in 2002. Underground nuclear bomb shelters are quaint nowadays, and I can’t muster enough excitement about the book itself to finish this. It might have something to do with not being the best book to read on the beach, which is where I was when I gave up.

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the life of A. A. Milne (Alan) takes you from his Little Lord Fauntleroy days as a child through his life as a writer. The early sections are the best, telling of adventures with beloved brother Ken and mathmatical aptitude. This made me want to explore his oevure further. Besides Winnie the Pooh, he wrote plays and novels. Soon after finding a wide audience for his children’s books, he tired of writing them. Bless him for continuing on in his own way.
Born in 1882, book written in 1939

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Into a Desert Place: A 3000 Mile Walk Around the Coast of Baja California

Thoroughly entertaining travelogue of a Brit’s walking journey around Baja. Miraculously, he alternated between dying of thirst and drinking alcohol heavily. Cheesed it up at the end by proclaiming he would drink no more as a New Years Resolution. I’m reading Erle Stanley Gardner’s account of wandering the wilderness next to see how much MacKintosh ripped off.

A House for Mr. Biswas

(I read this over a year ago, just wanted to add comments because I still remember part of this work)
Some stories fade quickly from my memory because they have nothing which lodges them in my mind. Mr. Biswas is an exception. Scenes that stick in my mind: him building his house, sheltering from the huge rains, moving his family in away from the crowded extended family house. Working in the newspaper, helping his son study to be accepted as an engineer. His column “Deserving Destitutes” in the Trinidad newspaper. Making sure his son drank milk, which was a luxury.

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The Prime of Miss Jean Brody

Miss Jean Brodie is a teacher in her “prime” who teaches what she thinks is important. She picks six girls as her favorites (know to everyone as “The Brodie set”) to teach art, love, and how to be a proper woman. She encourages the girls to become sexually active and tells them stories of the love of her life. The book details the lives of the girls until they are older and no longer talk to Miss Brodie.

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The City in Mind

Unfortunately, didn’t write my thoughts down at the time of reading, so I’m logging on now to give you the scoop from the Library Journal:
“Cities are good. Suburbs are bad. Paris is good. Las Vegas is bad. Boston? Stay tuned. Kunstler, a vociferous, highly opinionated critic of the urban landscape, takes an uncompromisingly hard look at how eight cities (Paris, Atlanta, Mexico City, Berlin, Las Vegas, Rome, Boston, and London), either through inspired ideas or chaotic greed, became sublime expressions of the human spirit or of gigantic monstrosities and perversion. The subtitle is appropriate, for the author makes little attempt to be systematic or comprehensive in his discussions. Although he never raises the analysis above the level of a popular magazine article, his writing is admittedly bold and thought-provoking throughout. One can learn a great deal about Louis Napoleon’s renovation of Paris, Hitler’s and Albert Speer’s megalomaniac architectural plans for Berlin, Bugsy Segal’s “setting the tone” for Las Vegas, and more. The real charm of the book, however, is not Kunstler’s rambles through each city’s historical and geographical spaces but his plea for a more human-focused urban landscape.”
–Glenn Masuchika

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Molly Lane is dead. Clive and Vernon were Molly’s lovers long ago, and meet at her funeral. Clive is a successful composer and Vernon is a newspaper editor. Other lovers include Julian Garmony, the foreign secretary. After the funeral, Clive and Vernon make a euthanasia pact; compromising pics of Molly & Julian find their way into the press.
Bland, boring, obvious.

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