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Lawrance Bernabo (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota)

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Madame Bovary
Madame Bovary
par Gustave Flaubert
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 3,00

5 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Pour mon argent, la traduction préférée du roman de Flaubert, 18 juillet 2006
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Madame Bovary (Broché)
Quand j'enseignais la littérature du monde nous avons commencé la classe lisant tous les ans Gustave Flaubert's "Madame Bovary." Le problème est que vous vraiment devez lire ce roman dans la langue originale. C'est parce que Flaubert a choisi les mots pour son roman avec la précision d'un poèt. Mais s'il y a un roman qui devrait être lu dedans son langue originale, alors ce roman serait "Madame Bovary." Je ferais comparer à mes étudiants les paragraphes d'ouverture du roman de plusieurs différentes traductions en anglais. Tous les ans mes étudiants arriveraient à la même conclusion que j'avais déjà tirée dans le choix que la version du livre ils devaient lire: Cette traduction par Lowell Blair est la meilleure que vous pouvez trouver. Il est facile de lire et il donne un sens de la puissance de la langue de Flaubert. Par conséquent je dis que si vous êtes la lecture "Madaem Bovary" pour le plaisir ou pour étudier pour l'école, ceci est la traduction que vous voulez acheter.

Le roman controversé de Flaubert est le premier des nombreux "de femmes tombées" romans écrits pendant la période de réalisme (Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" et Chopin's "L'éveil" étant deux autres exemples classiques). Il est difficile d'apprécier que c'était l'un des premiers romans pour offrir une simples, non romantiques représentation de vie quotidienne et peuple. Beaucoup de lecteurs ne peuvent pas apprécier un roman où ils trouvent l'"héroïne" pour être un caractère si unsympathetic. Les événements dans la vie d'Emma Bovary sont le prototype de tous les opéras modernes de savon. Toujours, avec Scarlett O'Hara, vous devez considérer Emma Bovary un des caractères archétypaux femelles créés en dernières 200 années de la littérature. "Madame Bovary" est une des plus grande et les romans les plus importants, avec "Don Quixote" et "Ulysse." Je souhaite seulement que je pourrais lire ce roman dans la langue française originale, mais cette revue montre que je n'ai pas la compétence qui est nécessaire.

Cell: A Novel
Cell: A Novel
par Stephen King
Edition : Relié
Prix : EUR 25,60

2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Stephen King gives us the reason "cell" rhymes with "hell", 11 février 2006
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Cell: A Novel (Relié)
Like Stephen King, I do not own a cell phone. For that matter I do not have long distance, call waiting, call forwarding, a list of friends, a running total of available minutes, or anything approaching a calling plan. I suspect that if there is a reason in common why King and I do not own a cell phone it would be that the idea of anybody being able to reach us at anytime does not appeal to us (and, in point of fact, may horrify us). I would have to add that I do not like to hold a phone in my hand, having become addicted to my headset to the point that answering a regular phone makes my entire arm hurt at the unfamiliar use of muscles. So owning a cell phone does not appeal to me.
If we needed another reason not to want to own a cell phone, the Harvard University Center for Risk Analysis estimates there are as many as 1.5 million crashes annually in the United States, resulting in 560,000 injuries and 2,600 deaths, "due to phone use in moving vehicles" (so, to be fair, these might not all be cell phone related because you could get hurt trying to reach a pay phone by leaning outside your car window). In "Cell," King comes up with another reason not to want to own a cell phone when on October 1, God is His heaven, the stock market stands at at 10,140, and somebody somewhere launches what will come to be known as The Pulse and unleashes Hell on Earth.
This is not the same sort of Pulse that turns Seattle and the rest of America into a Third World nation in James Cameron's "Dark Angel." It is not an electromagnetic pulse that blanks computers and kills electronics. In fact, this Pulse requires the electronics to be functioning because it is transmitted through cell phones. You have probably heard about the conflicting claims regarding the dangers of cell phone radiation, and it is this particular ugly thought that King exacerbates in his story. When the Pulse happens those who are on cell phones or make the reflex action of getting on their cell phones to find out what is happening get their minds fried. Basically the Pulse turns them into gibbering homicidal zombies (only they are not really dead and they are definitely not gone). Clayton Riddell, a graphic (nee comic book) artist from Maine sees all of this happen in front of him on Boylston Street in Boston.
Surviving the moment is the immediate concern and Clay is able to do so because he hooks up with a couple of other survivors, a man named Tom McCourt and a young girl named Alice. Then the main agenda is staying alive, but Clay also wants to get back to Maine to find out what happened to his wife and son (although his imagination is well aware of the worst possibilities). They meet more survivors along the way, the most important of which turns out to be Jordan, a young boy at a military academy who knows enough about computers to have pieces together a hypothesis as to not only what happened with the Pulse but what is starting to happen in its aftermath. Jordan thinks the pulse wiped out brains like they were hard drives, which would explain why they are down to the biological imperative to kill or be killed. But it turns out things are worse than that, because those brains are now being reprogrammed and that 98 percent that is untapped is starting to come into play.
"Cell" is dedicated to Richard Matheson and George Romero, and if you want to do the horror genre math that would be "I Am Legend" and "Night of the Living Dead," only Clay is not the last man alive and these zombies are not flesh eating corpses. In Stephen King terms we are talking post-apocalyptic nightmare ("The Stand") combined with the dark side of untapped human potential ("The Tommyknockers") with the fatherly imperative to save a child who has been lost ("Pet Semetary"). I like novels about how society tries to come back from the edge of extinction, but "Cell" is not really one of those because it turns out to be about avoiding extinction. Like most King novels the journey is superior to the destination and reading this book in bed after midnight the past week certainly heightened the impact of the dark parts, which is the main point, and why I rounded up on this one. Having trouble getting to sleep after what happened on the road to KASHWAK=NO-FO counts for something.

On the Beach
On the Beach
par Nevil Shute Norway
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 10,53

4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Arguably the most significant of nuclear holocaust novel, 9 février 2006
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : On the Beach (Broché)
"On the Beach" was one of the first novels to describe what the aftermath of a nuclear war would be like, although the genre of post-apocalyptic novels goes back at least to Robert Cromie's "The Crack of Doom" in 1895. Edgar Rice Burroughs's Martians used radium bullets in 1912's "A Princess of Mars" and Upton Sinclair's 1924 novel "The Millennium: A Comedy of the Year 2000" involved atomic weapons. J.B. Priestly's "The Doomsday Men" in 1938 used radioactive material to disrupt the earth's crust. There was a nuclear war in the background of George Orwell's "1984," and the same can be said for the Ray Bradbury collection of short stories, "The Martian Chronicles."
Nevil Shute's "On the Beach" was published in 1957, which was the same year that the Soviets launched Sputnik and Nikita Khrushchev boasted of a super bomb that could melt the polar icecaps. That might explain why this became the most prominent nuclear war novel of the decade, if not for that entire generation. Shute quotes T.S. Eliot's "The Hollow Men" on the title page with the famous lines "This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper," and indeed the novel is not about surviving the war but awaiting the end of the world. Given what we now know about nuclear winter, Shute's pessimism is actually somewhat understated, but that does not make it any the less disturbing.
"On the Beach" is set in Australia, two years after the war of which all anybody knows is that it put so much radioactive fallout into the atmosphere that there are eight months left before it reaches Down Under, where humanity is making its last stand. Unlike books like "Alas, Babylon" by Pat Frank in 1959, which deal primarily with how people try to keep on living civilized lives in the wake of an all-out nuclear exchange, "On the Beach" is about facing the inevitable end. Jonestown was still a couple of decades away and the story of the mass suicides at Massada was a minor historical footnote, so when the book was published there was nothing to color the horror of a continent of human beings choosing to end their lives with pills rather than succumb to the slow death by radiation poisoning (for that matter, there was not an active cultural debate on euthanasia either). There might not be anything more unrealistic in the novel than the idea that the scientific inevitable of the coming radiation is universally accepted. Yet that is a major factor in creating the depressing nature of the novel.
The focus of the novel is on a group of characters. Scientist John Osborne provides the necessary scientific details while tuning his racing car for the world's last Grand Prix. Peter and Mary Holmes are spending their final days taking care of their baby daughter and planning a garden they will never live to see. Their friend Moira Davidson chooses to sedate herself by constantly drinking, until she meets Dwight Towers, captain of the U.S.S. Scorpion, which makes him the highest ranking officer in what is left of the U.S. Navy. The two are able to provide some comfort for each other, but Towers still heeds the call to duty. When a mysterious message is received, being transmitted from Seattle where it is assumed every one is dead, Towers takes his submarine back to see if there is still reason to hope as time runs out.
Part of the problem with this novel is that most readers come to it after seeing the powerful 1959 film made by director Stanley Kramer, with its haunting use of the song "Waltzin' Matilda" and its insistent warning that "It's Not Too Late, Brother!" Shute's characters are much less compelling on the page and the screenwriters were remarkably faithful to many of the key elements of the novel so you do not really get the sense of reading it to get more of the story. There are those who complain that what little Shute has to saw about the war and its weapons of mass destruction does not make sense, but as was the case with the television movie "The Day After" such concerns are negligible because both narratives need the war to allow them to tell their stories. Paying attention to the details definitely misses the larger picture here.
Ultimately, "On the Beach" is more important historically than it is critically. This is not great literature, but it inspired many of the post-nuclear war novels that followed, such as Peter Bryant's "Two Hours to Doom" (which later became "Dr. Strangelove"), Helen Clarkson's "The Last Day," and John Brunner's "The Brink." If you have to choose between the two, watch the movie rather than read the book. But if you are a student of this genre, then you have to read this book simply because of its impact in this field. It is for that reason that I round up on this one.

The Hopes and Fears Of Future Years: Loss and Creation : Thine Alabaster Cities Gleam, A Quartet : A Story of the Last Half of the Twentieth Century
The Hopes and Fears Of Future Years: Loss and Creation : Thine Alabaster Cities Gleam, A Quartet : A Story of the Last Half of the Twentieth Century
par Lawrence R. Velvel
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 27,79

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Lionel Wolfe and friends start their own law school, 6 janvier 2006
"The Hopes and Fears of Future Years: Loss and Creation," Volume III of Lawrence R. Velvel's "Thine Alabaster Cities Gleam, Quartet: A Story of the Last Half of the Twentieth Century," is the longest of the first three books but for me turned out to be the quickest read. The first volume, "Misfits in America," resonated with me on such a personal level that I would have to absorb each chapter or two and translate it into my own life experiences. The second, "Trail of Tears," focused on the chain of disastrous events by which Velvel's protagonist Lionel Wolfe is fired four times by little people with little minds, big egos, and more often than not deep voices. At the end of each episode your sense of moral outrage has to abate a bit before you can stand to read about Wolfe's next downfall. There is a fifth firing at the start of this third volume, but Velvel makes it clear that out of the ashes of this final defeat would come the seeds for success so it is possible to read about Wolfe's experiences at the Free State Law School without a sense of despair.
The focus of this book is primarily on how Wolfe became the dean of Free State, which was supposedly an attempt to provide a legal education to working class students. When he was fired Wolfe realized that while the school was a sick joke perpetrated by a criminal, the dream of such a school was worth pursuing. This leads to the creation of the North New England Law School. Most of the book, like most of Wolfe's life at that point, is devoted to the creation of NNELS and the attempt to get the school accredited (without the ability to confer law degrees its students could never take the state bar exam). However, there is also an interlude in which we finally get to the resolution of the massive securities litigation spawned by the Skywaukee Port Authority debacle detailed in the previous volume. This is fitting because the case is what finally provides Wolfe with the financial security he has been denied while the creation of NNELS represents his success at creating a model of legal education superior to the sorry state of affairs covered in the first volume.
At this point my assumption is that the final volume of the quartet would be more about the practice than the theory of this idealized legal education to show its pragmatic value, but by this point in the fictionalized narrative I know full well that those whose lives and work are being challenged by the policies of NNELS are not going to suffer implicitly being called fools lightly. So I am sure there are more travails for Wolfe to come, but also anticipate getting to read about the success of the innovations at NNELS. But clearly by the end of this book Wolfe is looking at the Promised Land, so even if we have to wait a while for Velvel to publish his final volume at least we are doing so from what is clearly the happiest point in the narrative to date.
One of the things that I have enjoyed about reading these books is that Velvel crosses his T's and dots his I's with respect to his characters. You always get to find out what happens to people and I appreciate the sense of narrative completeness. I was also happy to see that Lillian Wolfe, whom I was convinced would be staying behind in Washington, D.C. when her husband went off into the world to try and make a living, not only moved but found something worthy of her abilities being NNELS's one person registrar office. It was also heartening to see that Wolfe had assembled a group of allies that would offer various means of support and that finally justice was prevailing in his professional life, both in and out of the courtroom. That makes the several instances where Wolfe notes the testimonials that have mean the most to him more poignant.
But the highpoint of this book was when I finally figured out the real world identity of one of the characters in Velvel's drama. That allowed me to start unlocking more of the actual locations involved and I am sure with some due diligence I could figure out more of the characters, but ultimately such things do not matter. The truth of Velvel's narratives lies in the details and not in the names, which apparently have been changed to protect the guilty more than the innocent (when you meet a "real" person, such as Robert Bork in the previous book, you wonder if there is more to it than the fact the man's last name became a verb). That is probably why Velvel did not choose to construct an autobigraphy that was more thinly veiled (e.g., Eric Severaid's use of the Winnie the Pooh story of the Heffalump to ridicule the McCarthy witch hunts). He was not interested in having his readers play the game. He just wanted us to get the morals of his stories.

Trail Of Tears: A Story Of The Last Half Of The Twentieth Century
Trail Of Tears: A Story Of The Last Half Of The Twentieth Century
par Lawrence R. Velvel
Edition : Broché

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Lionel Wolfe suffers the trials of his own trail of tears, 3 janvier 2006
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Trail Of Tears: A Story Of The Last Half Of The Twentieth Century (Broché)
"Trail of Tears" is commonly used to refer to the forced relocation of the Cherokee Native American tribes to the Western United States in 1838. An estimated 4,000 Cherokees died on the journey, which in the Cherokee language is called "Nunna daul Isunyi" ("The Trial Where We Cried"). When I first glanced at the title for this volume, which is Volume II of Lawrence R. Velvel's "Thine Alabaster Cities Clean: A Quartet," I transposed the vowels in the first word and thought it was entitled "Trial of Tears," which would be somewhat apropos because it is about the legal profession. But the real title still applies because the volume tells of the forced relocation of Lionel Wolfe. The second protagonist to Harry Brontz in Volume I, "Misfits in America," Wolfe is the hero of "Trail of Tears," although we are clearly talking a tragic hero rather than an epic one.
If "Misfits in America" was an indictment of what constituted a legal education when Wolfe and Brontz attending the University of Michigan Law School, then Velvel turns in "Trail of Tears" to the problematic practice of law. Set in the Washington, D.C. of the 1970s and 1980s, we read in growing horror as Wolfe is hired and fired time and time again because he is intelligent, ethical, self-effacing, and afflicted by a sense of justice. Given the way the world works it is clear that it sees these qualities as being faults and the idea that getting along with people is more important than being right or even being competent really turns my stomach. That those people are not worthy getting along with and must be dealt with only because of their positions rather than their value as human beings is but a final insult added to the accumulated injuries. Then again, ever since I first went to graduate school is became clear to me that merely being competent at your profession in this world would put you not just in the top half but the top quarter (at least) of most professions.
I find Lionel Wolfe to be a kindred spirit. I was the only person on my college debate team not to go on to law school and become a lawyer and I would drive my debate partner to distraction by wanting to find and run an affirmative case (consumer product safety) in which I really believed (mandatory seat belts and air bags). When I considered law school I assumed I would have to be a prosecutor, since I would, like Wolfe, want to be on the side of truth and justice, even if that turned out not to be the American way. But if there is one thing I learned about debate, as a competitor and as a coach at both the high school and college levels, it would be that all the world is a game, which is exactly how most lawyers approach the profession. Velvel touched on the impact of college athletics as it changed the university environment in his day, and the importance of winning competitions certainly carried over into the practice of law he details in this volume.
A single instance of being lied to, taken advantage of, and then fired would be enough to drive most men over the edge, so reading as Wolfe goes through the experience four times is downright depressing. Because his wife and children are quite happy living in the Washington area, Wolfe keeps trying to find work there and I became so concerned for Velvel's protagonist that I found myself actually entertaining the hope that Wolfe might leave his family before he is crushed like a bug (he might be better able to support them in the lifestyle to which they had become accustomed by finding employment some place else). When Wolfe actually entertains such thoughts himself it struck me as a clear indication that he had reached his professional and personal nadir, but it is noteworthy that "Trail of Tears" ends with a pointed parable that proves beyond a shadow of doubt that despite his declining fortunes professionally and economically, Wolfe finds himself at the end of his personal trail of tears with his soul intact. Besides, Robert Bork thinks highly of Wolfe as a lawyer, and that is no small endorsement.
One of the aspects of Velvel's fictionalized memoirs that I have come to really enjoy in the way he reconstructs Wolfe's perspective from distinct points in the chronology. Each firing in the narrative cycle compels Wolfe to reconsider what has happened to help discern the true motivation for his termination, and while Velvel does engage in some foreshadowing on each score, I like the way Wolfe's thoughts are contemporaneous to the events and not imbued with the omniscience that retrospective reexamination entails. To put it another way, I like not only what Wolfe thinks but the way that he thinks. I know that Velvel is the co-founder and Dean of the Massachusetts School of Law and am looking forward to see how we get from where poor Lionel Wolfe is left at the end of this "Trail of Tears" to the ongoing attempt to redefine what it means to get a legal educational and to practice the law in this country.

Misfits in America: A Story of the Last Half of the Twentieth Century
Misfits in America: A Story of the Last Half of the Twentieth Century
par Lawrence R. Velvel
Edition : Broché

5.0 étoiles sur 5 The first volume in Lawrence R. Velvel's provocative series, 28 décembre 2005
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Misfits in America: A Story of the Last Half of the Twentieth Century (Broché)
"Misfits in America" is Lawrence R. Level's first volume in his series, "Thine Alabaster Cities Gleam: A Story of the Last Half of the Twentieth Century." The final chapters of the book have to do with the illegality of the Vietnam War, specifically in terms of constitutionality issues regarding the failure of Congress to declare war and abrogating its detailed responsibilities to the president. However, in a larger sense Velvel is explaining not only why the country is the way that it is and why Vietnam became what it became, but also why his main protagonist, Harry Brontz, is the man that Velvel writes about. It is that personal journey that inspired deep thoughts regarding my past and I think this volume will inspire others to do the same, especially if they did not go on to law school and its attendant rituals of passage.
"Misfits in America" constitutes an argument, more than a narrative. Although arranged chronologically overall, Velvel will jump back and forth in time to make a point, rather than to simply tell a story. His personal experiences serve as both the evidence and the rational for his scathing critique on what is wrong with the American legal system, from the hallowed halls of "elite" law schools to the failure of the United States Supreme Court. The latter is particularly damning because Velvel is able to castigate the court from both the liberal and conservative perspectives (debaters particularly enjoy arguments where you win either way). The evidence for these arguments comes from both the real world and the world of academe, with the personal experiences of the protagonists in the book, Harry Brontz and Lionel Wolfe, who are presented as law school classmates and fraternity brothers at Michigan.
The term "protagonists," used to describe Harry Brontz, Lionel Wolfe and other characters in this book, is important because although this is a memoir you can forget about spending your title Googling their names to find out what these former graduates of the Michigan Law School are up to today (Velvel cites Abraham Lincoln early on as a key role model, but his approach here brings to mind Silence Dogood). Those who are so inclined and who are in a position to do so can do their own annotations as to which school is Midwest State, unmask the various characters, and settle the argument as to who had the highest GPA in the history of Harvard Law School. Such points are moot for me because I am more concerned with what is "real" than what is "true," and Velvel's book rings "real" (perception is key, a point made implicitly but repeatedly in this book). Ultimately I see his position as being more anti-conservative than liberal, a natural consequence of the political system being inherently conservative. That all three branches of government are currently controlled by political conservatives only strengthens this particular point, and it also means incumbents invariably get to bear the brunt of these attacks. But Velvel had harsh words for just about everybody in Washington, D.C., with the notable exception of William O. Douglas, so I see a plague being called down on all of their branches.
I freely admit that I am focusing more on what Velvel has to say about the causes behind the problems that exist today, and clearly I am playing it out in my own mind on much more of a personal level than on the social. After all, there are two books to go in this series and I expect my thinking to progress to dealing more with effects and solutions as I continue to read. Because of my occupational psychosis I will be thinking more in terms of academia than of legal issues, but dealing with students who act more like consumers and who demand to be entertained as a prerequisite to being educated pretty much forces such issues upon me. I know that the Rosie the Riveter experiences of World War II and the creation of the birth control pill were the key causal elements in liberating women in our culture, and Velvel comes up with something equally as important as a paradigm shift in the G.I. Bill. That the legislation was intended to have a big impact on housing for veterans but ended up transforming colleges because of the educational provisions seems obvious, and the fact that such profound changes were unintentional another one of those ironies that confronts you with a choice between deep laughter and bitter tears. The impact of sports and the self-perpetuating machine that are the nation's law schools come into play as well.
Until I reached the final set of chapters, which on balance are considerably shorter than the early ones, I was reading this book a chapter at a time before going to sleep. The reasoning behind this approach was that after reading each chapter I needed to go through a personal dialectic, critiquing Velvel's claims in terms of my own knowledge and experience to come up with how it all makes sense to me. The fact that Velvel refers to Professor Kingsfield from "The Paper Chase" as Professor Kingsbury may well be a pun rather than a typographical error or mistake of recall, but Velvel also quotes one of the most significant philosophers of the 20th century, Lawrence Peter Berra, THREE times in the book, so he comes out ahead in my ledger. Obviously I personalized reading this book more than others, but doing so does not preempt your ability to apply the lessons of "Misfits in America" to current constitutional crises or undeclared wars. It was just how I worked through the arguments and I think there is value for everybody in knowing how they were shaped and molded. Meanwhile, Dean Velvel's latest blog has to do with the current events topic of electronic surveillance, and I bet if you read this book you can hazard a guess as to what he is arguing with regards to that particular issue.

Emily of New Moon
Emily of New Moon
par L.M. Montgomery
Edition : Poche
Prix : EUR 5,57

3 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Introducing the aspiring writer Emily Byrd Starr of New Moon, 27 décembre 2005
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Emily of New Moon (Poche)
After the beloved "Anne of Green Gables" books the next longest series penned by L. M. Montgomery would be the "Emily of New Moon" Trilogy. This first volume was written in 1923, with "Emily Climbs" being published in 1925 and "Emily's Quest" in 1927. These works were all written after Montgomery had finished her initial run of the "Anne" books, which ended with "Rilla of Ingleside" in 1920 (Montgomery would not expand that series until years later, writing "Anne of Windy Poplars" in 1936 and "Anne of Ingleside" in 1939). Consequently, Montgomery was able to focus on the Emily books, with only "The Blue Castle," her one "adult" romance, written in 1926, intervening.
Although the major thread of the three books is how Emily Starr learns to become a successful writer, that element is a minor one in this first book. Once again, Montgomery presents us with a spirited orphan who has to live with her mother's relatives after her father dies (although Emily is young and less mature than Anne Shirley). But the twist here is that nobody wants Emily and it is only out a sense of duty that they make the young girl draw lots to see where she will live. Emily ends up with Elizabeth Murray, her mother's sister, at New Moon Farm on Prince Edward Island. Aunt Elizabeth disapproves of Emily's father and the way she was raised, and has no trouble communicating that to the child. Fortunately, while Aunt Elizabeth is the boss of New Moon, Aunt Laura treats Emily more kindly and Cousin Jimmy Murray "ain't quite all there," but is a gentle soul as well.
At the heart of "Emily of New Moon" are the heated confrontations between Emily and Aunt Elizabeth over matters ranging from the little girl's bangs to her love of writing and the letters she writes to her father "On the Road to Heaven." Apparently Emily has enough of the Murray blood to affect the look of her grandfather when her dander is up, so she does not lose all of these battles. The most notable is when Aunt Elizabeth discovers the letters Emily has been secretly writing to her father. When she confronts her neice, expecting Emily to show dismay, shame, or fear over what she has done, Elizabeth is stunned by the righteous indignation from Emily that turns the tables with a vengeance.
There is also a touch of mysticism in each of these books, for Emily has the second sight, which sets up the moving climax of this first book when Emily is taken ill. In her fevered imagination the curtain is lifted and she sees what happened to the mother of her friend, Isla Burnley. The worried adults say whatever they think Emily wants to here, but she knows they are lying. When Aunt Elizabeth agrees to go and get Isle's mother out of the old well, Emily calms down. "I know you'll keep your word," she says. "You are very hard--but you never lie, Aunt Elizabeth." Emily's second sight comes into play in each of the three novels, but never to as great effect as it does in this first one.
Because they deal with the art of writing, the three Emily books are seen as being the most autobiographical of Montgomery's works. Certainly if anyone reading the Anne books or any of Montgomery's works is interested in pursuing a career as a writer, they should read the Emily books to get a real feel for how hard it is to be a good writer. But the stories can be enjoyed on their own even if you have decided you are going to be a reader and not a writer. Once young readers have gone through the Anne and Emily books, there is still "The Story Girl," "Magic for Marigold" and many other L. M. Montgomery novels (and short story collections) for them to enjoy. I did not read any of them until I was in my thirties, so I can assure you it is never too late to start.

par Dan Simmons
Edition : Relié

7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 The science was too much but I liked the "mythology", 24 décembre 2005
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Olympos (Relié)
To be honest, I was pretty much lost on the science part of the story Dan Simmons was spinning in "Ilium" from the very beginning and when I picked up "Olympos" to read it was not in the hope that I would be able to catch up in that regard. By the time I finished the 735-page book I had really assumed that I just did not understand the science and how the three main plotlines of this sprawling narrative came together in the end. However, seeing all these reviews bemoaning a coherent conclusion that ties up all of the major threads leads me to believe that is not just my lack of understanding of quantum physics and the like that was why I was not really sure what it all meant in the end.
Certainly these two novels constitute an ambitious effort by Simmons. I was attracted to "Ilium" because I teach Classical Greek and Roman Mythology, look for any opportunity to teach Homer's "Iliad," and am even working on my own retelling of the Trojan War on the off chance that I can actually write something besides instructor's notes and reviews. So I found the idea of posthumans masquerading as the Greek gods, living on Mars, and playing games with the real Trojan War, rather compelling because Simmons was using hard (and futuristic) science to duplicate the powers of the gods. Besides, obviously I was going to identify with Thomas Hockenberry, the classics professor who had been resurrected as a scholic and not because he ends up in the bed of Helen of Troy (I find Andromache to be a lot more attractive as a human being and what would Cassandra think of somebody who actually believed her?).
But Simmons is not content to combine up Greek epic poetry and quantum physics, but also throws in Shakespeare's play "The Tempest" and even more literature into the mix. If anything, the attempt is already overly ambitious at that point and we still have all of those additional elements like the moravecs and voynix on the science fiction side of the equation. I end up thinking that more would be less because all of this is too much. Maybe the second time through I will be able to better pick up how it all fits together better, but right now that idea is rather daunting.
Speaking as a student of mythology I will say that I really liked how Simmons played out his revision of the "Iliad." I had noted in my review of "Ilium" that there was a point where clearly we were not in the "Iliad" anymore, so when Hockenberry noted that this was literarily the case because what was happening was from Virgil's "Aeneid," that was my biggest laugh in reading "Olympos." Beyond that I really liked the idea that the invulnerability of Achilles, son of Peleus, came not from being dipped in the River Styx or having his mortality burned away (except for the heel in both cases), but from being a quantum singularity who is "fated" to be killed by Paris (and also by not being the son of Peleus). Once Paris is dead, Achilles is doing well. I also liked the scientific explanation for why he falls hoplessly in love with the Amazon Queen Penthesilea and what Achilles does about that love after he kills her (I really liked the idea that Penthesilea is armed with the knowledge of Achilles' fatal flaw and realizes at the key moment that she does not know WHICH heel to strike).
Ultimately the problem for me is simply that I never cared about any chapter that did not have Achilles, Hockenberry, or the gods in it (I hung in there with Odysseus for a while, but the more he became Noman it seemed the less I was interested). As interested as I was in the parts playing with mythology I would find myself zoning out way too often while reading the other parts of the novel. Since only one of the three worked for me and it really did not come together in a way that completed a sense of wonder at the massive narrative, that became the logic by which I came up with my rating for this book. I still think "Olympos" is worth reading, especially after you have invested time in "Ilium," but also because of what he does in making the "Iliad" his own.

The Dragon Queen: Tales Of Guinevere Vol 1
The Dragon Queen: Tales Of Guinevere Vol 1
par Alice Borchardt
Edition : Broché

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Guinevere, the Dragon Queen meets Arthur, the Summer King, 22 décembre 2005
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : The Dragon Queen: Tales Of Guinevere Vol 1 (Broché)
When I saw the sub-title "The Tales of Guinevere" for Alice Borchardt's "The Dragon Queen," I assumed she was going off in a new direction and since I was waiting for her next wolf book I just got around to reading it and discovering that it is, tangentially, a wolf book. What this means is that Maeniel is a character, albeit, a supporting character. He dominates the scenes in which he is present, but they are relatively few. This story is indeed about Guinevere, about to reach puberty and apparently intended to be the concubine of young Arthur, the summer King.
The most interesting part of this book are the ideas of kingship and queenship that drive Arthur and Guinevere. Borchardt may or may not be dealing with authentic notions of kingship from this period of history, but that hardly matters. The idea that the Dragon Queen has the duty of bringing her people a worthy king makes Guinevere a player in the power politics of her world where there is a growing need to bring order out of chaos. Reading "The Dragon Queen" is as much about finding out the rules of the game and the possibilities in play as it is about learning about the abilities and intentions of the characters. Consequently, Maneniel's presence is perhaps something of a hindrance because this book is certainly less grounded in the history of the times than "The Silver Wolf" or Borchardt's other novels. Then again, there is a logic to this, since Arthur and Guinevere are more figures of legend than Charlemagne or Julius Caesar.
Having read "The Dragon Queen" I keep asking myself one key question, and I do not mean whether Borchardt will ever have a book that does not have a quote from Anne Rice on the cover. No, my question is why is this story about Guinevere and Arthur? Of course, the fact that "The Dragon Queen" is the first of a planned trilogy is enough to suggest that at least the title character would make it to the final volume, but once you make it about Guinevere and Arthur we pretty much know the endgame, and while I definitely appreciate the idea of making Guinevere more than a trophy wife there has to be more of a payoff to this idea down the road, especially given that this Arthur seems more given to pragmatics than idealism. Additionally, there needs to be some sort of a significance to turning Merlin into a villain. However, at this point my enjoyment of the characters and the story has little to do with that fact it is Guinevere and Arthur. The only important thing is that I will be around for the rest of the tale.

Essential Ghost Rider - Volume 1
Essential Ghost Rider - Volume 1
par Roy Thomas
Edition : Broché

1 internaute sur 1 a trouvé ce commentaire utile :
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Johnny Blaze becomes a flaming skeleton motorcyclist, 20 décembre 2005
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Essential Ghost Rider - Volume 1 (Broché)
"Ghost Rider" was one of several horror comic books that Marvel put out in the early 1970s where you got hooked on the title because Michael Ploog was drawing the book and then he moved on to something else and it was just not the same with the replacement artist. This happened with "Werewolf By Night," "Monster of Frankenstein," and "Ghost Rider." No wonder the fact that Gene Colan was the artist on "The Tomb of Dracula" from start to finish was one of the reasons that comic book was far and away Marvel's best horror title. Ploog's distinctive style made him ideal for drawing horror titles (only Berni Wrightston was better, but he was working for DC), which is why the four issues of "Marvel Spotlight" that he drew that introduced the character of Ghost Rider are the best in this collection of black & white reprints.
As our saga begins we meet Johnny Blaze, the son of the famous stunt motorcyclist Barton Blaze, who is the headliner at Crash Simpsons' Daredevil Cycle Show. After Barton is killed doing a dangerous stunt, the orphaned Johnny is raised by Crash and his wife Mona. Traumatized by the death of his father it takes Johnny a while to ride one and look death straight in the eye, and when he does at the age of fifteen his motorcycle catches on fire, explodes and kills his foster mother. She makes him promise never to ride in the show. Johnny keeps his promises, but Crash and his daughter Rocky think it is because he is a coward, but Johnny practices on his own (he only promised not to ride in the show, right?). The he learns that Crash Simpson has less than a month to live.
So Johnny calls on Satan to spare Crash from the deadly disease that is killing him. The Prince of Darkness agrees and will be back one day soon to collect his fee. Crash decides to go for the world's cycle jump record (22 cars) and is killed (he did not die from the disease did he?). Johnny then performs the jump himself, which does not exactly endear his to the distraught Rocky, and then Satan shows up and intones: "From this day forth...you will walk the earth as my emissary in the dark hours, and in the light, you will join me in Hades!" Rocky intervenes to send Satan back to Hell, but each night Johnny Blaze becomes a burning skeleton. He just usually wears biker leathers so that all you see is his burning skull.
Actually it is not Satan but the demon lord Mephisto, but we do not learn that for a while and it really does not matter unless you are trying to reconcile the Marvel Universe with Judeo-Christian traditions. What is important is that while Mephisto was forced to leave without Blaze's soul, he was able to graft the essence of the demon Zarathos to Blaze's body. It takes Johnny a while to learn this and he thinks the Ghost Rider is just his own dark side manifested as a burning skeleton. The early stories keep the focus on what is now Johnny Blaze's Daredevil Cycle Show, and Mephisto brings back Crash Simpson as a slave to sacrifice his daughter to his dark lord. Unfortunately, by the time we get to the end of that storyline Ploog has been replaced by Tom Sutton as artist and it is just not the same. Part of the problem is that coming up with stories that bring together Satan and motorcycle each month becomes a bit difficult, which would explain why the comic featured more multi-issue storylines than most Marvel titles. This is why we get stories like "Death Stalks the Demolition Derby" ("Ghost Rider" #4) and our hero riding against the Stunt-Master (#7). Then there is the powerful stranger with the long hair and bear in "Ghost Rider" #9. Could that be....Him?
After that point the Ghost Rider takes on the Hulk (#10-11), the Phantom Eagle (#12), the Trapster (#13), and the Orb (#14), as he ends up in Hollywood as a movie stuntman and gets romantically involved with the actress Karen Page. This explains why Daredevil pops up at the end of this collection. By the time we get to the point where the Ghost Rider is fighting Spider-Man, the Thing, Hercules and a bunch of other superheroes in Hell to try and rescue the mysterious Jesus-like figure and save Karen (#18), "Ghost Rider" has jumped a whole lot more than the shark. Writer Tony Isabella creates one of the most convoluted storylines of all time and when the Son of Satan returns to help our hero (#17) trying to figure out what it all means is just not worth the effort. However, of the artists that replaced Ploog I have to say that Frank Robbins did give the book a unique look and his name should be included on the cover instead of Herb Trimpe (Robbins drew four issues included here and George Tuska three, while Trimpe just did the Son of Satan origin).
"Essential Ghost Rider Volume 1" collects together "Marvel Spotlight" #5-12, "Ghost Rider" #1-20, and "Daredevil" #138, which is the penultimate story in the collection because it is a crossover with "Ghost Rider" #20. Also, "Marvel Spotlight" #12 ends up being another crossover because Ghost Rider has his own comic book at that point and the spotlight is now on "The Son of Satan." Chances are that is one Marvel comic book that is not going to get the Essentials treatment, so this may well be the only time you see this "Ominous Origin Issue!" reprinted. In case you were wondering, yes, "Ghost Rider" was better than "The Son of Satan," a note on which I have to end.

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