Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Candide by Voltaire

Original Post - February 2.2007
>>>>This book is considered Voltaire's masterpiece and Voltaire was considered by many to be the greatest mind of his era. I believe if I were more familiar with the mid 1700's, I might have understand what Volatire was trying to say about his society and enjoyed the story more. He is scathingly sarcastic and there were numerous place that had me chuckling. However, overall, I found the book very silly. Candide is an easily swayed young man who first follows the tenets of his teacher, Dr. Pangloss, who believes he lives in the best possible world and all things happen for the best. Later, in his many travels, Candide meets Martin, an extreme pessimist, who thinks that man "is born to live either in the convulsions of distress or the lethargy of boredom." Candide struggles to reconcile the two philosophies. The book moves at a breakneck pace, hopping from one country to the next with characters supposedly dying along the way. He falls in love immediately with the beautiful Lady Cunegonde, but can't match her 72 generations of nobility and is banished. Never fear, they reunite several times over the course of this 113-page novel. While Voltaire plays lightly with the love scenes, the illustrations in this particular edition leave nothing to the imagination. I was a little shocked because I bought this book from a LDS book store. Voltaire is equally irreverent about Muslims, Christians, the concept of God the Creator, the nobility, the Spanish Inquisition, innocence, riches, and human suffering.
The last paragraphs of the book are as follows: "Pangloss often said to Candide, 'All events are interconnected in this best of all possible worlds, for if you hadn't been driven from a beautiful castle with hard kicks in the behind because of your love for Lady Cunegonde, if you hadn't been seized by the Inquisition, if you hadn't wandered over America on foot, if you hadn't thrust your sword through the baron, and if you hadn't lost all your sheep from the land of Eldorado, you wouldn't be here eating candied citrons and pistachio nuts.'
Well said,' replied Candide, 'but we must cultivate our garden.' "
In the appreciation written at the beginning of the book by Andre' Maurois, he interprets that last statement to mean: "The world is mad and cruel; the earth trembles and the sky hurls thunderbolts; kings fight and Churches rend each other. Let us limit our activity and try to do as well as we can the small task that seems to be within our powers."
I think it means that we can't control every aspect of our lives, but we can control our attitudes and work to make our lives the best we can.
Rating: 3.5
Posted by Framed at 6:46 PM

booklogged said...
Wow, what a great review! I like the meaning you came up with after reading this book. Being that it's a short book, maybe I'll consider it the next time I decide to tackle a classic.
8:37 PM
jenclair said...
I still want to read Candide, but I'm glad I recently read a biography of Voltaire because his satire is topical. Not that I would recognize all of it anyway...!
9:51 PM
Orange Blossom Goddess (aka Heather) said...
An excellent review. It is a very silly book isn't it? That was what I liked best.
3:45 PM


The time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

by Audrey Niffenegger

When I found this picture, it accompanied a review from Play.com, an English online book shop similar to amazon.com. Looks like an interesting site. You can visit it here: http://play.com/HOME/HOME/NAVMAIN/5-/Home.html
I think this review summed the book up very well.
This extraordinary, magical novel is the story of Clare and Henry who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-two and Henry thirty. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself pulled suddenly into his past or future. His disappearances are spontaneous and his experiences are alternately harrowing and amusing. The Time Traveler's Wife depicts the effects of time travel on Henry and Clare's passionate love for each other with grace and humour. Their struggle to lead normal lives in the face of a force they can neither prevent nor control is intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.
I know I've read reviews of this book on other blogs and some of really liked it and others not so much. I loved it! I thought it was very nice of Niffenegger to include dates and the ages of Clare and Henry at the beginning of each chapter so I could figure out who and when and what is happening. It is a little mind-boggling if you try to follow the ramifications of Henry's visit through time. I was captured right from the opening chapter in this fantastic love-story. It is romantic, creative, riveting, and appealed to so many of my emotions. I consider it a compliment to the book that I cried at the end, because I had become so involved with the characters, even though the author warns far in advance of the outcome.
Rating: 5
Posted by Framed at 5:10 PM

SuziQoregon said...
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found myself flipping back to check dates a lot, but just loved it.
9:19 PM
Lisa said...
I loved this book, too. I thought it was amazingly clever for a first book. At the time I read it, though, I was convinced the author had made one mistake. I can't remember what it was now, unfortunately, so I guess it didn't bother me enough to mar my memory of the book!
8:23 AM
Les said...
Me, too! Me, too! I know a lot of readers didn't care for this book one iota, but I sure did. Definitely up for a re-read this year.
11:15 AM
3M said...
I loved this book. I just wish it would not have been so explicit in some areas. The story was great, and I cried at the end, too!
8:23 PM
Framed said...
Suzieq, I flipped around checking dates also. My mind sometimes just wouldn't grasp that Henry was here and then there, but I was completely captivated.Lisa, I think I wondered about a mistake also, but lost track of it. My daughter is reading it now. I'll ask her to see if she catches something.Les, I agree, thiis is one I will want to read again. But sho has time??3M. I was jarred by some of those scenes as well. And I found it odd that with her beautiful prose, she threw in some really crass words, not just profane but cheaply vulgar. That was my biggest complaint.
8:51 PM
Literary Feline said...
*Hanging head down in shame*: I still haven't read my copy. A friend was nice enough to give me her copy in a trade a couple of years ago and I've yet to read it. I'll have to pull my copy off the shelf and read it sometime in the next few months!
9:55 PM
Joy said...
Well...I'm one of those that didn't like it. There's always one in the bunch, huh? :)
6:20 PM
Framed said...
Feline, I don't think you will be disappointed. Joy, You're not alone. Was there something particular you didn't like or just the whole story?
6:35 PM
booklogged said...
I didn't care for it either, Joy. So there's 2 of us. I do recall being captivated with the concept of the book, though. Hearing that it was this author's first book, I am awed by the complexity of the plot. But, all-in-all, I still didn't like it.
8:40 PM
Cassie said...
I am loving the book as I am reading it right now. I was talking about it last night with some people in book club who were having a hard time getting all the time changes but I love it. I kind of know what is going to happen at the end now but we'll see my reaction.
11:53 AM
Bellezza said...
I LOVED IT!!! I picked it up when it was first released and just plain didn't get it. Then, when it came out in paperback I tried again and was hooked. I recommended it to both my book clubs. The "younger" one also loved it, the one with women my mother's age didn't even read enough to be able to lucidly comment in our discussion. They even felt it had some pedophile aspect, if you can imagine, because he comes to Claire naked when she was a child. Go figure. Anyway, I was a bit bewildered by the fragmentation of time, and it is definitely worth a second read to get a better grasp, but I was completely taken with this book. It's so unique, and such a love story. I'm glad to hear you liked it too, framed. And a few others!
8:18 PM


Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya

~~~Markandaya tells this story in a very low-key kind of way although it is quite tragic. She has a wonderful way with words, beautiful descriptions and analogies. Rukmani tells her story in a quiet, matter-of-fact voice, beginning with her marriage to a stranger at the age of 12. Within in a year, she gives birth to a daughter and eventually adds six sons to the family. She and her husband, Nathan, rent a piece of land where they grow rice and vegetables. They have so little control over their lives, affairs are constantly being shaped by the weather, disease, more modern ways and those around them with power and money. Part of their tragedy is that, no matter how hard they work, they are never going to better their lives. "This is one of the truths of our existence as those who live by the land know: that sometimes we eat and sometimes we starve. We live by our labours from one harvest to the next, there is no certain telling whether we shall be able to feed ourselves and our children, and if bad times are prolonged we know we must see the weak surrender their lives and this fact, too, is within our experience. In our lives, there is no margin for misfortune."
~~~Rukmani is an exceptionally strong woman, and never seems to give in. Her trials keep coming and she bears it and moves on. "What if we gave in to our troubles at every step! We would be pitiable creatures indeed to be so weak, for is not a man's spirit given to him to rise above his misfortunes?
~~~Ultimately, this is a love story of two stranger coming together and learning love and respect for the other by building a life together. Even though it is an incredibly hard life, they support each other through it all. "He suffered for me, not so much for himself, and I likewise, so that although together there was more strength there was also more suffering, and if each had been alone the way might not have seemed so hard; yet I knew neither could have borne it alone."
~~~Even though there were some beautiful passages in this book, and I learned a little about the changing way of life in India in the 50's, I don't believe this is a book that I would ever be drawn to read again. It's such a sad story, yet not very compelling.
Rating: 3
Posted by Framed at 8:51 PM

Orange Blossom Goddess (aka Heather) said...
I hadn't heard of this book before. Sounds interesting but I am definitely not in the mood for a sad book anytime soon.Heatherwww.thelibraryladder.blogspot.com
8:32 PM
nessie said...
have you ever tried A Fine Balance? The writing is Superb and the tale even better though there is a bitter sweetness to it.
8:31 PM
Lotus Reads said...
Framed, I agree with Nessie, "A Fine Balance" is a truly wonderful book and Mistry is a fabulous writer.I have read "Nectar in a Sieve" and I found it much too depressing. Nothing ever seemed to go right for the characters, there was no hope - it was sad.
5:54 AM
Framed said...
I haven't read "AFinae Blance" yet, but it has been on the TBR list for quite some time now.
7:10 PM

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