Thursday, April 28, 2011

Totalitarianism and paprika cheese.

Billiards at Half-Past Nine is a fairly readable story of a few generations of a German family coping with their opposition to totalitarianism in the early to mid 1900s. It dragged at times, but wasn't too bad. Definitely a book more for literature/ history types instead of the mainstream reader though.

Gross: the grandfather wants to be remembered at the restaurant where he hopes to become a regular, so he orders paprika cheese. Cream cheese mixed with paprika. Yuck!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

An anthropomorphic frog. And Billy Budd too.

Lately Peanut has been liking for us to read her Froggy Plays Soccer by Jonathan London. In Froggy Plays Soccer, an anthropomorphic young frog plays in the big soccer game. But he keeps forgetting the rules and using his hands! Will Froggy remember the rules in time to help his team beat the Wild Things and win the City Cup? You'll have to read it to find out!

I would estimate that I have read Froggy Plays Soccer 963 times this week. I also kept putting off starting Billy Budd this week. I remember being assigned to read Billy Budd in high school, really struggling with it, and not really giving it the effort it deserved. My second reading of Billy Budd was pretty much the same. You know how I summarized Froggy Plays Soccer just now? Well, I am not sure I can even summarize Billy Budd that way. I think basically Billy is this sailor? And he manages to irritate his superior, who trumps up some b.s. accusation against him. And when the captain confronts Billy about the accusation, he punches his superior, accidentally killing him, rather than defend himself. So then he is put to death. Of course it takes Melville 4 pages to write a simple sentence, so this just dragged. And dragged. And dragged.

I think I will stick with Froggy Plays Soccer. At least I have some clue about what is going on.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Before the Sopranos...

...there was Billy Bathgate. This is a really interesting story about a young kid trying to get into a life of organized crime. I normally don't really enjoy crime and violence in books but this one really was good and the violence, while definitely there, didn't ruin the story for me.

It was weird, as I read the book I kind of realized that something was going to take place, that the characters weren't all going to continue to live their lives as they were doing so, so there was this sense of foreboding. Was the main character going to get knocked off?

I really enjoyed this one and even though it was long, I went through it really fast!

Monday, April 4, 2011

I would be a terrible detective.

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler is a fun detective story. I like the 1930s historical details like the phone exchanges, people wearing hats, etc. I really enjoyed reading this. The one thing about detective stories is that I can never figure out how the clues are fitting together and then the detective is like, aha! And I'm slightly confused and feel like I missed something. Very clever...I guess that is why I wouldn't be a good detective. That, and the getting shot at all the time.