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Monday, December 25, 2017

#79 - The Prophet and Other Stories - Kahlil Gibran

Title:  The Prophet and Other Stories
Authors:  Kahlil Gibran
Genre:  Philosphy 892.7
Read by:  Jonathan Reese
Originally published:  1923, 1920, and 1918
Publisher/Date:  Blackstone Audio/2005
Dates listened to:   12/22/17 - 12/25/17
CDs/Hours:  3/3
ISBN:  078617584-2

The three sections of this book read like parts of the Bible – the psalms, the proverbs and the parables of Jesus.  You will even hear a bit of what sounds like Aesop and his fables.  No wonder it was a best-seller in 1923 when The Prophet was first published.  “…the book begins with a discourse on love and then turns to everyday concerns and to such high matters as good and evil, religion, and death.”  Published in 1920, Gibran makes clear in the next story, The Forerunner, that we are masters of our own destiny, not toys of a blind fate.   The last story, The Madman, “asserts that we tend to be what society expects from us, even when these expectations might be detrimental for the development of our self-identity.”  All in all, these homilies are very apropos in this generation nearly 100 years later, and like the Bible are timeless.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

#78 - A Wedding in December - Anita Shreve

Title:   A Wedding in December
Author:  Anita Shreve
Genre:  Fiction
Read by:  Linda Emond
Publisher/Date:  Time Warner Audio Books/2005
Dates listened to:   12/11/17 - 12/19/17
Downloadable Audiobook:  10 hours
ISBN:  1594832579

Anita Shreve, at one time, was my favorite author and then I must have tired of her or was diverted elsewhere.  In my quest to find a December book I came across this one in which she tells a story within the story, something which I didn’t at first quite catch on to as I listened!  

I liked what Agnes, the character who was writing the book within this story said, “What was the point of fiction … if not to edit reality, if not to re-write history, if not to soothe one’s fevered dreams.”  The story Agnes was writing paralleled her own life.  And it is this quote upon which much of fiction hangs and, in the case of Shreve's books, makes for such a great love story!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

#77 - A Single Man - Christopher Isherwood

Title:   A Single Man
Author:  Christopher Isherwood
Genre:  Fiction
Read by:  Simon Prebble
Originally published:  1964
Dates listened to:   12/9/17 - 12/16/17
CDs/Hrs:  4/4.75
ISBN:  9 781615 730582

From the back cover – “After the sudden death of his longtime lover, George must adjust to life on his own as a professor in Southern California in the early 1960s.  During the course of an ordinary day, George is haunted by memories as he seeks connections with the world around him.  Wry, funny, and melancholy.  A Single Man is a moving portrait of a gay man in midlife.”

This is also a movie starring Colin Firth and Julianne Moore.  Another Isherwood work is his collection of short stories Goodbye to Berlin, which inspired the musical and film Cabaret.