Pairs of Books

The month of Jewish festivals is ending, and I’m back at work on Monday, so my flatmate and I are going away for the weekend. Unfortunately I still haven’t found the cable to recharge my camera battery, so unless it turns up while I’m packing there won’t be any pictures, even ones for me (rather than the world), unfortunately.

Guliver Beal is going to move on today, as well. He’s been a great guest, and I’m looking forward to the next teddies when they come my way.

I’ve finally done some more crocheting, although it was a trim I did for a friend‘s knitted garment, so not mine to show you. I hope she likes what I’ve done!

So, for the books. There are five there, because I haven’t yet finished the pair for one of them, but the comparisons can be made already, I think. Hm, what does it say that that’s the pair of physical books, rather than the other four Librivox audiobooks?

271. The Tale of Grandfather Mole by Arthur Scott Bailey
A children’s garden tale, where Grandfather Mole interacts in his iconoclastic way with the other wildlife. I particularly like the way the animals behave as animals – rather than as miniature humans – although they do talk to each other. The reader is Australian (I’m pretty sure), and the author American, although the animals are basically those traditionally found in British literary gardens.

272. The Biography of a Grizzly by Ernest Thompson Seton
This one is more specifically the potentially real tale of a bear’s life. This bear doesn’t speak as a human, although he has a name and some basic emotions. It sounds well researched.

273. Graustark by George Barr McCutcheon
This one came up as a newly completed work on Librivox, and referenced The Prisoner of Zenda as a more famous example of the genre, so I listened to that next, and have now downloaded the sequel. Hopefully the Graustark sequels will come up eventually too. Anyway, they aren’t as similar as I thought they might be, and I greatly enjoyed both.

I didn’t find it that hard to guess many of the upcoming plot points, but it’s hard to know is that partly because the genre has become so classic these days. There are some stereotypes that are not so acceptable these days (particularly the harping on the difficulties of the Princess being both ruler and girl – rarely woman) but that is to be expected over a century later. I just wish I saw less of it in modern novels…

274. And Rachel Was His Wife by Anonymous (ed. Marsi Tabak)
This is a modern classic among Jewish novels, and I’m pairing it with a real classic, that I’ll probably finish this weekend, Akiva by Meir/Marcus Lehmann, since they tell the same tale, of the Talmudic Rabbi Akiva and his wife Rachel, who inspired him to learn and become the great scholar, teacher and leader. Both are working from the somewhat scanty historical record. The Gemara does not set out to tell these people’s life stories; it gives over their teachings, and uses anecdotes from their lives to show specific points. Perhaps because of this, while both books show mostly the same events, Rabbi Lehmann makes his couple about a decade younger when each historical event happens than they are in this book.

This book is written as the occasional journal of a fictional friend of Rachel’s, who changes and grows over the years, and tells the dramatic communal as well as personal events of these important decades. Highly recommended.

275. The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope

This one is another reflective first person account, that shows the emotional impact of the (rather fantastic) events. It deserves to be the classic it is.

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2 Responses to “Pairs of Books”

  1. Ridiculous Avoidance « Kaet’s Weblog Says:

    […] Kaet’s Weblog Just another WordPress.com weblog « Pairs of Books […]

  2. Frustrated « Kaet’s Weblog Says:

    […] good, really, and made me think of The Prisoner of Zenda and Graustark (especially since I’d just heard them shortly before), with the imaginary Eastern European country in political turmoil. I’m […]

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