Reading War & Peace #10: One Woman’s Journey to Healing a Broken Leg

* translation: Louise and Alymer Maude, WORDSWORTH EDITION (for page # references)

I’m starting to think last week’s desire for a tribute post was not my best idea, because now Andrew is actually dead. Didn’t really mean for that to happen. I was actually rocking my invisible #Team Sonya shirt this week, the #team that promotes not dying so that you can marry your past lover and prevent her brother from marrying your sister. Or, in other words, Nicholas Rostov, five weeks ago you said “suppose I loved a girl who has no fortune, would you expect me to sacrifice my feelings and my honour for the sake of money?” [pg. 407] and now you’re all “Mary this, Mary that” and that was not the plan, young man.

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Reading War & Peace #9: One Woman’s Journey to Healing a Broken Leg

* translation: Louise and Alymer Maude, WORDSWORTH EDITION (for page # references)

I thought Prince Andrew Bolkonski was dead, but then it turns out he’s still alive. So much for the tribute post. Prince Nikolas Bolkonski is actually dead, but he doesn’t really deserve a tribute post so that’s no use either. If this were a different book, written in different times, maybe we would’ve gotten a special episode following Mary as she discovers herself and becomes an independent women who doesn’t need no man now, that her abusive father is dead, but it’s 1812 Russia and Moscow is burning so no has time for that.

In 2011, during Hurricane Irene, I was in New York. I got to experience something unheard of – empty Manhattan. It was unbelievable. Deserted. Silent. This past week, that memory took on a new form, with some fire and some French.

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Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg

  • Title: Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
  • Author: Fannie Flagg
  • # of Pages: 497

The day Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison opened the Whistle Stop Cafe, the town took a turn for the better. It was the Depression and that cafe was a home from home for many of us. You could get eggs, grits, bacon, ham, coffee and a smile for Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe25 cents. Ruth was just the sweetest girl you ever met. And Idgie? She was a character, all right. You never saw anyone so headstrong. But how anybody could have thought she murdered that man is beyond me.

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is a mouth-watering tale of love, laughter and mystery. It will lift your spirits and above all it’ll remind you of the secret to life: friends. Best friends.


I wonder why we decided to limit ourselves to just five. What if I need a sixth star? Where am I supposed to get it from? Just bringing up some serious issues the book community needs to sit down and figure out.

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Reading War & Peace #8: One Woman’s Journey to Healing a Broken Leg

* translation: Louise and Alymer Maude (for page # references)

War is a big thing where I live. It happens way too often (2014, 2012, 2008, 2006, to name a few) and involves way too many people we all personally know (since Israel has mandatory conscription: three years for men, two for women). The obsession with the Holocaust, and its occurrence being the main reason for founding a Jewish state, has formed a violent, angry, and quite terrified society, that lashes out at everyone and anything without distinction, room for constructive criticism or rational thought. The religious concept of “the chosen people” has not helped much either.

There’s a big agreement here that every war that takes place is necessary, framed by a phrase that would roughly translate into “no choice war”. It’s never a choice. It’s never our fault. I had a friend who once said to me, “the problem is that between one ‘no choice war’ and another, there’s never any attempt to prevent the next one.” Hopefully, one day, that will change. Hopefully, one day, people will realize that in the end everyone just wants to live their life, and that dying is not the only way to achieve that.

I will never know what Tolstoy thinks of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but this week, in between tales of the rich and the famous, and philosophical musings on individuality and human will, someone finally stopped to consider for a moment what this is all for.

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Some More Books I Really Don’t Need But Will Soon Own Anyway

This week I bought a bunch of books online. Only, of course, after committing to not doing so a couple of weeks back. So much for that. Well, anyway, I thought I’d share with you all my newest additions to the already double shelved bookcases. This would also be a good time to recommend a website called The Book Depository for all you international folks out there. An angel sent to Earth in the form of a bookstore salesperson told me about it a couple of years ago, and life’s never been the same. So when the lovely second hand book stores fail you, go ahead. They sell brand new, very reasonably priced books with FREE INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING. Yep. You heard correctly. No more of that $12.99 Amazon bullshit.

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It Does Not Matter That This Is Just A Book Blog.

I’ve been wondering how to address the news in Charlottesville for the past few days, how exactly do I put my thoughts into words. After all, this is a just book blog. I’m not even American. But I think that at this point neither of those matter anymore, because something needs to be said. It does not matter that this is a just book blog and it does not matter that I am not even American, because there are neo-Nazis walking down the streets in broad daylight, with assault rifles and swastika flags. It does not matter that this is a just book blog and it does not matter that I am not even American, because the president of one of the strongest countries in the world would like to “know all the facts” before he denounces the KKK. It does not matter that this is a just book blog and it does not matter that I am not even American, because we have a problem. All of us. And it did not start on Saturday, and it was not invented by America.

There are not “many sides” to this story. There are never “many sides” to this kind of story, no matter where or when it’s taking place. There is one. It’s very easy to spot, because by the time we’re all listening they’re not even running away anymore. There’s no where to run to. They always notice it first, yell, shout, try to make us see. But we humans like to look the other way, until the last possible point, when we can’t anymore, because eventually there isn’t anywhere else to look.

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Reading War & Peace #7: One Woman’s Journey to Healing a Broken Leg

* translation: Louise and Alymer Maude (for page # references)

As Bon Jovi once said “OHHHHHHHH WE’RE HALF WAY THERE OH-OHH”. I admit I wasn’t around when Jon said it, but I have this feeling deep inside somewhere that he was talking about hitting page 541. Just a hunch.

“Better stand tall when they’re calling you out”, Emperor Alexander wrote, with slight rephrasing of my own, in his message to the Russian people. “Don’t bend, don’t break, baby, don’t back down”, they all shouted back. It’s 1812. Time for war. Except this time everyone seems to have switched places.

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The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

  • Title: The Neverending Story
  • Author: Michael Ende
  • # of Pages: 445

SPOILER ALERT: mentions main characters and touches on major events, includes quotes without names or direct comments about the plot but that may give away points to attentive readers


Bastian Balthazar Bux is shy, awkward, and certainly not heroic. His onlThe Neverending Storyy escape is reading books. When Bastian happens upon an old book called The Neverending Story, he’s swept into the magical world of Fantastica—so much that he finds he has actually become a character in the story! And when he realizes that this mysteriously enchanted world is in great danger, he also discovers that he has been the one chosen to save it. Can Bastian overcome the barrier between reality and his imagination in order to save Fantastica?


I recently read Momo, also by Michael Ende. A quick Google investigation led me to the conclusion that my review of it was going to be the only non-five-star review on planet Earth, which reminded me – I never liked The Neverending Story, when I read it as a kid, either. I also didn’t like the movie. (Fun fact: Michael Ende didn’t either. He asked the production to stop, or at least change the name, because in his opinion it was too different from the original book. He sued and lost.) I thought the book really was neverending. As with Momo, I seem to be the only person who thinks this way. So naturally I decided to read it again and attempt to solve this mystery once and for all.

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Reading War & Peace #6: One Woman’s Journey to Healing a Broken Leg

This week I read eighteen pages. Eighteen. Slightly less than my 140-page-per-week plan. I had a tough week in terms of my general mood. Spending six weeks at home seems fun at first, but eventually it gets old. Old and tiring. Old and tiring is not a good mood for some intensive reading.

So I’ve hit reader’s block and I have nothing to discuss. Instead, I spent the day wondering how I get out of it. I’ve made it this far, and so some self reflection seems like a worthy investment.

  1. Don’t give up. It takes me twenty minutes to walk half a kilometer on crutches. My dad always takes the wheelchair with us just in case. In my high school gym “finals” we had to run two kilometers. Not a complicated task for people who run. Needless to say, I don’t. I set myself one rule. Don’t stop running. Even if you find yourself running at a pace that’s slightly slower than walking, run. And I did. So I walk alongside him as he wheels the empty chair home. Eighteen pages is less than one hundred and forty, but it is definitely more than zero.
  2. Change your goals. I can’t walk one hundred meters without stopping. I actually need to rest about once every fifty meters. Otherwise my palms burn, and then I’m stuck, because my hands have turned into another leg for the time being. One hundred pages a week is just as good. So it’ll take longer to get to the finish line. Who cares? It’s not a race. It’s just me. The gold medal will be waiting for me when I get there.
  3. Find new ways. At first I had a cast on my left arm. I’m left handed. A person can’t just not shower for a week. So I did. Somehow. Maybe reading this type of thing doesn’t work for me past sunset. Maybe I should try hanging out with the Rostovs and the Bolkonskis at lunch instead.
  4. Forgive yourself. Who knew you could break a bone just accidently slipping? And now you can’t play soccer for months. Your greatest skill is pointing your toes, flexing them, and then back again. Don’t look for the goal, the goalie, the net. Focus on the next move. Not every week is going to be a fancy analysis or a pat on the back. Go back to the small things. The joy of reading. The story.
  5. Just relax. That goes for everything. Just a generally good rule.

Maybe I’ll start a workout blog once all of this is over.

Hadas.

Just kidding.


previous entry here

 

Reading War & Peace #5: One Woman’s Journey to Healing a Broken Leg

* translation: Louise and Alymer Maude (for page # references)

So this week, instead of war and peace between countries, we had some war and peace between hearts. Lots of proposals, engagements, disapproving parents. In a world with issues of class, hierarchy, and not much gender equality love can become a very unpleasant game. But let’s start at the beginning.

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