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Let the Great World Spin
Colum McCann
Jeri Johnson, James Joyce
The Illuminated Prayer: The Five-Times Prayer of the Sufis
Coleman Barks, Michael Green
Selected Readings from the Portable Dorothy Parker (Abridged)
Marion Meade
The Complete Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales
Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm

Sunset Gun

Sunset Gun - Dorothy Parker
Lamenting love lost, dreams broken, the cycle of hope and inevitable disappointment, tears that follow and that vicious inner voice that laughs at you telling you that you should have known better... Cursing yourself because you know you're caught in an endless loop doomed to make the same mistakes again and again, and yet accepting it, because that incurable hope, that things will work out , is the only thing that makes life slightly more bearable, even if it leaves only pain behind.

Hope. Foolish, reckless, thrilling, disappointing hope. That's what most of her poetry is about. But instead of the usual flowery descriptions and romantic idealism, her writing is cynical and full of dry humor and quotable epigrams that insist on making you smile through the pain. Hers and yours.

Dorothy Parker is a must read for anyone who finds poetry boring. But don't take my word for it, here are a couple of my favorites from this book:


Her mind lives in a quiet room,
A narrow room, and tall,
With pretty lamps to quench the gloom
And mottoes on the wall.

There all the things are waxen neat
And set in decorous lines;
And there are posies, round and sweet,
And little, straightened vines.

Her mind lives tidily, apart
From cold and noise and pain,
And bolts the door against her heart,
Out wailing in the rain.
Dorothy Parker

The Red Dress

I always saw, I always said
If I were grown and free,
I'd have a gown of reddest red
As fine as you could see,

To wear out walking, sleek and slow,
Upon a Summer day,
And there'd be one to see me so
And flip the world away.

And he would be a gallant one,
With stars behind his eyes,
And hair like metal in the sun,
And lips too warm for lies.

I always saw us, gay and good,
High honored in the town.
Now I am grown to womanhood....
I have the silly gown.
Dorothy Parker

The Diary of a Nobody (Oxford World's Classics)

The Diary of a Nobody - George Grossmith, Weedon Grossmith A pleasantly amusing read. Although, if I ever feel the urge to read about awkward misunderstandings, clumsy accidents, embarrassing situations and the not-remarkably-funny jokes, of an unconsciously snobbish, inarticulate, fairly ridiculous, self important nobody in a middle class household I can always flip through my own diary.

Which, quite naturally, leads me to wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Pooter, "Why should I not publish my diary? I have often seen reminiscences of people I have never even heard of, and I fail to see--because I do not happen to be a 'Somebody'--why my diary should not be interesting."
Coming soon to a bookshop near you: The Diary of a Yet Another Nobody

Bridget Jones's Diary

Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding

She's in her 30s, overweight, very self conscious, talks too much, drinks too much, smokes too much, tends to be socially awkward AND she has two good looking guys fighting over her?

In order to make the stretch of imagination slightly more palatable to the rational mind, I suggest it should be read as "Bridget Jones Dream Journal".

Pride and Prejudice (Modern Library Classics)

Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen, Anna Quindlen For the Celebrity Death Match Review Tournament, Pride and Prejudice (1) versus Mary Poppins (32)

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that while girls will quickly outgrow a nanny, they almost never tire of single men in possession of a good fortune.

A Thousand Splendid Suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini I felt this was just a female version of the kite runner with pretty much the same concept: the story of unlikely yet great friendship and the sacrifices made for it...

I was disappointed, not necessarily because it was so bad, but perhaps because the kite runner was so much better, in my opinion, that it overshadowed (pun not intended) A thousand splendid suns.

In contrast, the characters in this book lacked the depth and complexity displayed by those in the Kite runner. A thousand splendid suns seemed pretty much a cliche of how the feminist west views the east through the goggles of the media as well as other literature such as 'Afghanistan, where God only comes to weep', 'Bookseller of Kabul', etc.

It just gets redundant after a while.

The Little Prince

The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Richard Howard By the time I actually got round to reading this, I was too jaded by the realities of life to take the book's idealism and naive wonder at the insane workings of human nature seriously. The author portrays completely one dimensional ideas which really don't work in a three dimensional world... no matter how cutesy.

So, who is this book written for? Despite the writer's claims, I have a hard time deciding. It seems to be too self righteous and full of platitudes to be really enjoyable to an older audience. As for the children, I really don't think they would understand any of the books ideologies. To them, I guess, its just a strange story about a little prince, in love with a flower. Although, I do imagine they find the opinions about adults quite relatable. I'm no fan of adults myself.

There maybe something wrong with me, but I like my children's stories with a little bit of an edge, a little bit of darkness, a little bit like life, a little bit like A little Princess. It holds no qualms about the fact that shit happens, even if you are a wealthy, sweet, seven year old girl with a bright future. Your dad can die leaving you a penniless orphan, forced into child labor on your birthday. And all this BEFORE you even get a slice of your own cake! Oh, the humanity! Yet, at the same time it teaches us the magic of imagination, having a positive attitude and not giving up your dignity. We should give kids enough credit to acknowledge that they know that the world is both terrible and beautiful. And it would be a much better place if everyone realized, like Sara, that having a crappy life does not justify being an ass.

A little Princess would probably make it in the real world, and The Little Prince would probably get kidnapped while accepting candy (or really bad art work) from a stranger.

Although, the following might have made for a more exciting story line...

(xkcd comic)

Eclipse (The Twilight Saga, Book 3)

Eclipse (The Twilight Saga, Book 3) - Stephenie Meyer As a friend of mine once said, 'Making fun of twilight is like beating up a 6 year old kid. It's not that difficult, no one is impressed, and the people who liked the six year old before, tend to still like him after.'

So I won't bother.