Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Another Off-Topic "Book Review"

I'm on a literary roll.  Before I read "War and Peace," I read "Anna Karenina," also by Tolstoy.  It, too, is a great book.  It's a dark book for the most part but talks a lot, too, about the life of both gentry and peasant Russian people in the 1800's.  In addition to a great, but tragic for some characters, story line, it discusses the class system in effect in the 1800's, how the lives of the various classes differed, how farms were managed, and generally about life and the different ways people choose to live it. 

Again, as with War and Peace, I highly recommend this book.  Don't let the length of these books stop you; I promise you that you will want them to be even longer than they are once you are reading them.

Another great, great (but oh-so-depressing) author I can recommend very, very highly is Emile Zola, an amazing French author who wrote mostly of the lives of ordinary - or even "sub-ordinary" - people in the late 1800's.  Every single book I've read by him - and I've read many, many - has been great.  But I might add that my family would always ask me when I was down if I was reading yet another Zola book.  Some of my favorites have been:  L'Assomoir, L'Oeuvre, Germinal, Nana, La Bete Humaine, just to name a few.  Although I read them in French, I'm sure there are English translations easily available. 

Okay, that's it for now!  I'm currently reading (or sometimes re-reading) a whole stack of Charles Dickens novels.  The first in this list is "Bleak House."  I'll give reports later.  Comments?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Way, Way off Topic - Another Passion of Mine - reading

Okay, I know I'm way, way, way off topic with this post, but I just have to do it, anyway.  I am a very, very avid reader, and I'm finally getting around to reading all the books I should have read long ago.  So I'm going to mention just a couple right now and will add more as I have the time -- and if anyone is interested!

I just finished yesterday Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace," and I couldn't recommend it more!  It was l-o-n-g! (Around 1300 pages).  But, you know what?  I kept checking to see where I was in the book because I wanted to see how much more time I could spend with this amazing author.  I couldn't put it down! 

Well, I must add one thing, though:  I couldn't put it down until I got to the epilog, which I must admit I struggled to get through.  The first 1200-something pages were an amazing story -- and more, much, much more!  The story centered around, both before and after, the War of 1812, fought between Napolean Bonaparte and Russia, which he invaded in his attempt to acquire all of Europe for France.  But it wasn't only about the war and about war in general; it was about the lives of Russian people:  their lives both before, during, and after this horrendous war. 

The epilogue was interesting, but it did require a lot of focus and concentration, something I often don't have for over short periods of time, especially as I read at night before I go to sleep each evening.  It was generally about his analysis of what factors move historical events.  He discusses the importance of rulers, generals, ordinary people, events at the time that may or may not affect the directions historical events take, etc.  I highly recommend the book and would love to hear your comments on it if you've read it already or if you read it after my very, very brief review of it.

Weimaraner Commissioned Painting Finally Completed!

I've done something different this time with my commissioned painting posts:  I'm showing you both the painting and the photo from which I worked.  As you can see, I worked fairly directly from the photo but had to adjust the color a bit based on other photos I had of this beautiful dog. 

This was a really challenging painting for me, and it took me weeks to complete.  She's a beauty, I think.  Her name is Zoey.