Recent reads

I should read more non-technical literature - being human means I need stories. In order to remind me of that (and let others use the titles below as suggestions or maybe inspire them) I came up with this transparent approach.

Date [Language] Title Author ISBN Opinion (short)
2017 - Mar, Apr, May [en] The short stories
=> only read a couple of them
Ernest Hemingway none; published 1953, New York, by Charles Scribner's Sons The Light of the World - 2 young men (or should call them teenagers?) wandering around, enjoying their youth, observing the world and teasing the people they interact with. In the Preface, Hemingway states that no one seems to have liked this story - well, I only started liking it after 1 day or so :)

A Clean, Well Lighted Place - It is about truly understanding your business model and/or job, and caring enough to do it right.

The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber - Funny. Nice story. A classic (published 1936), given the great number of what we may now consider cliches and/or the predictability of the story. I won't reveal how it ends - it is so good, written so well by Hemingway... :)

The Capital of the World - The storyline develops slowly - there's not much of a story, in fact :) - rather describing the lives (routine, challenges, problems etc.) of about a dozen people, and one's rather stupid death.

The Snows of Kilimanjaro - Sweet. Well written. Flows smoother than other of his stories. Indeed, it feels like a classic :)

Hills Like White Elephants - Starts funny; yet short, it is funny many times... but the young couple actually has a serious conversation on her doing an abortion (referred as "a simple operation"): he wants her do it, but she'd rather not.

Old Man at the Bridge - A brief moment in life, a brief encounter of two strangers because of the war. I feel it resembles, in a strange way, The Light of the World, but cannot actually put my finger on it. The very last phrase is absolutely brilliant.

Up in Michigan - Love between idiots who lack (1) communication skills, (2) clear objectives/desires and (3) the self discipline to implement anything.

On the Quai at Smyrna - A collection of weird/terrible things happening in that harbor, in 1922 (during the Greco-Turkish War). However, Hemingway makes some funny remarks from time to time.

Chapter I - Indian Camp - Deep. Really worth reading. Different from most things you might have read. Develops as a cascade: (1) The doctor performs a caesarean (using a knife and without anaesthetics) to an Indian woman who's been in pain for 2 days now; (2) The woman's husband who can't take he screams and commits suicide; (3) The doctor's son Nick (brought as an intern) experiencing (or at times hiding from) all this and drawing his own conclusions.

Chapter II - The Doctor and the Doctor's Wife - Boring.

Chapter III - The End of Something - Nick's break-up with Marjorie is a classic by now. The end is a bit weird (and has been used and reinterpreted since then in literature, movies, soap operas etc.), with Nick's friend, Bill, entering the scene some time after Marjorie left.

Chapter IV - The Three-Day Blow - Nick and Bill talking about baseball, literature, and Nick's break-up with Marjorie, while trying to get drunk, but also trying to show at the same time they can handle drinking and "be practical".

Chapter V - The Battler - Nick mets former prizefighter Ad Francis, now crazy, and his black friend Bugs. Just another Hemingway story with characters bumping into each other...

Chapter VI - A Very Short Story - The very first & long paragraph following the chapter number, about Nick and Rinaldi, is so funny... The main story - about love and the paths people's lives take - is short, dense, yet a lot of things happen. Interesting. A classic. Worth reading.

Chapter VII - Soldier's Home - The very first paragraph following the chapter number is so funny... The main story: Harold/Krebs, a young soldier who has fought in France and Germany during WWI, returns to his Kansas town; he's got no objectives any more, no desire to do anything with his life. A classic. Worth reading.

Chapter VIII - The Revolutionist - Same style as A Very Short Story - short, dense etc. - but regarding a communist (?) party member travelling through Europe. Quite boring.

Chapter IX - Mr. and Mrs. Elliot - A couple behaving rather stupid with respect to love matters etc. Should be read as a warning :)

Chapter X - Cat in the Rain - Women... they want something and... somehow life makes it happen :) Sweet. Worth reading.

Chapter XI - Out of Season - The story is both predictable and unpredictable. One could interpret and/or comment it in many ways. I'm not sure what Hemingway has had in mind regarding this story...
2016-Iun: 2/3 din carte
2017-Mar: integral
[ro] Flash-uri din sens opus Marian Godină 9786065888609 Carte frumos scrisa, sincera.
Te binedispune.
Te pune pe ganduri cateodata.
De multe ori, povestea are o morala.
[Review integral pe blog.]
2011 - Oct [en] A Farewell to Arms Ernest Hemingway 1857151496 Hemingway has a strange way of telling a story. It is like his thoughts flow onto the paper - it is not the classic & careful storytelling, you know; it is like he is telling the story besides you there, at times making mistakes, at times being slightly incoherent, or remembering things randomly.
The funny parts of the novel pop up suddenly.
Frederic Henry and Catherine Barkley make a crazy match.
It is a sad/bitter novel overall, due to WW1 and characters' suffering because of it. Nevertheless, you shall enjoy it, so I recommend you to read it.
[Full review on my personal blog]
2011 - late March, early April
[en] Nineteen Eighty-Four

(Complete book title: The Complete Novels; the last novel, i.e. the 6th, is Nineteen Eighty-Four)
George Orwell 0141185155 Captivating. Interesting.
Explains the _how_ (parts 1 & 2) and then the _why_ (part 3) regarding the paranoid & schizophrenic society described in the book - you must read the novel to understand.
A really good novel to read; all details fit perfectly. Orwell constructed a very coherent & plausible world.
[Full review on my personal blog]
2010 - Nov
(+late Oct, +early Dec)
[en] Losing My Virginity (The Autobiography)
Sir Richard Branson
0753506483 Great book.
Great insights on the world of business & banking/financing. Now I understand why when a crisis strikes things tend to collapse although they seemed to work just fine until then.
Branson proves himself as a skilled entrepreneur in the sense he always had the flair to choose the people to empower and/or risk money (money which many times he had to borrow :p so to invest).
[Full review on my personal blog]
2010 - Aug [en] The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide Douglas Adams 0517226952 Extremely funny in its sequence of improbable events. Strange things keep happening all the time - Don't panic! but enjoy it.
2010 - Jul [en] Peter Pan J.M. Barrie 0670841803 Great/Sweet novel (fiction) for children. Great story for a grown-up - do read it to enjoy being a child again!


Note: This list completely and deliberately ignores the bits & pieces of technical (ranging from computer science to finance/economy to politics to human behavior etc.) literature I get my hands on. For example, if it tells a story about people then it gets on the list, but if it's about explaining human body language then it's technical, therefore doesn't count.
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