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Dreams Of My Russian Summers Andrei Makine


In an era when everything is an event, and nothing just happens naturally, it's hard not to be suspicious of the a novel that is the first ever to win both the Prix Goncourt and the Prix Medicis, by a Russian émigré who has been compared to Nabokov, Pasternak, and Proust. Add in the fact, repeated in the novel, though apparently true, that after being turned away by French publishers, the author pretended to be only the translator of the novel, and that it was then published, and you've got a book that can't possibly live up to the hype that precedes it. Makine, who fled the Soviet Union in 1987 when he was thirty, tells the semi-autobiographical tale of a young man who, along with his sister, spends summers in Siberia with his French grandmother, Charlotte Lemonnier. Trapped there after the death of her Russian husband, Charlotte shares a world of memory with the children, memory of France prior to WWII. In the intensely paranoid world of Soviet Communism, Charlotte 's very Frenchness…


The Crime Of Olga Arbyelina Andrei Makine


Olga Arbyelina is a princess who fled Russia during the revolution; now she lives in a town near Paris tending to her hemophiliac son, keeping ghosts at bay-an existence hollowed out by history. The town gossips obsess over her, making her into the prime character in their "game of a thousand voices." They "had a fleeting dream of figuring in a poignant melodrama called The Exiled Princess." When she is found lying next to a dead man on the local riverbank, her fame only increases. The Crime of Olga Arbyelina begins with this grim discovery and moves backward, trying to find the erotic transgressions and terrible secrets that separate this exile from the tired and ordinary world. Andrei Makine resembles his heroine in that he is a kind of runaway; born in 1958, he fled the Soviet Union for France. There he wrote about his homeland in his adopted tongue. The well-received novels Once Upon the River Love and Dreams of My Russian Summers first appeared in French and have since been translated…


Nothing lasts forever Sidney Sheldon


The Incomparable Sidney Sheldon Best known today for his exciting, blockbuster novels, Sidney Sheldon is the author of The Stars Shine Down, The Doomsday Conspiracy, Memories of Midnight, The Sands of Time, Windmills of the Cods, If Tomorrow Comes, Master of the Came, Rage of Angels, Bloodline, A Stranger in the Mirror, and The Other Side of Midnight. All have been number one international bestsellers. His first and only other book, The Naked Face, was acclaimed by the New York Times as "the best first mystery of the year." Most of his novels have become major feature films or TV mini-series, and there are 150 million copies of his books in print throughout the world. However, before he ever authored a book Sidney Sheldon had won a Tony Award for Broadway's Redhead and an Academy Award for The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer. He wrote the screenplays for twenty-three motion pictures including Easter Parade (with Judy Garland) and Annie Cet Your Cun. In addition, he penned six other Broadway…


Agile Software Development Alistair Cockburn


The agile model of software development has taken the world by storm. Now, in Agile Software Development, Second Edition, one of agile’s leading pioneers updates his Jolt Productivity award-winning book to reflect all that’s been learned about agile development since its original introduction. Alistair Cockburn begins by updating his powerful model of software development as a “cooperative game of invention and communication.” Among the new ideas he introduces: harnessing competition without damaging collaboration; learning lessons from lean manufacturing; and balancing strategies for communication. Cockburn also explains how the cooperative game is played in business and on engineering projects, not just software development Next, he systematically illuminates the agile model, shows how it has evolved, and answers the questions developers and project managers ask most often, including · Where does agile development fit in our organization? · How do we blend agile ideas with…


The Drought J. Ballard


'The world, without rain, is drying up. Rivers are a trickle and we see the shrivelling of the species far from its sources and headed lemming-like for the sea. Time has burst its dams and seeps inside the race-structure with bizarre results A strange and rather wonderful book full of haunting landscapes, phantasmagoria and disaster that clangs on the mind. An impressive novel at any level. Its obscurities and surrealist flourishes only heighten the dreamlike atmosphere.' Guardian This is the third of Ballard’s informal quartet of books that nod in cursory fashion toward the elements. Like the others, it might be described as a science-fiction novel of the sub-genre ‘disaster’. But like every other Ballard novel it is so much more. When toxic waste dumped into the oceans is cooked into a molecular layer that prevents evaporation, drought inevitably follows. Not the parched summer of an English countryside, but the blistering furnace of a tropical desert. Society collapses, draining…


Super-Cannes J.G. Ballard


Super-Cannes – a Sunday Times bestseller in hardback – was the winner of the 2001 Commonwealth Writers Prize for the Eurasian region. 'Sublime: an elegant, elaborate trap of a novel, which reads as a companion piece to Cocaine Nights but takes ideas from that novel and runs further. The first essential novel of the 21st century.' – Nicholas Royle, Independent 'Possibly his greatest book. Super-Cannes is both a novel of ideas and a compelling thriller that will keep you turning the pages to the shocking denouement. Only Ballard could have produced it.' – Simon Hinde, Sunday Express 'In this tautly paced thriller he brilliantly details how man's darker side derails a vast experiment in living, and shows the dangers of a near-future in which going mad is the only way of staying sane.' – Charlotte Mosley, Daily Mail 'Vintage Ballard, a gripping blend of stylised thriller and fantastic imaginings.' – Alex Clark, Guardian 'Ballard at his best. Truly superb: the best book he has…


Crash J. Ballard


This powerful and often terrifying novel, the fruit of J. G. Ballard's obsession with the motor-car, will shock and disturb many readers. Few products of modern technology excite as much fascination and interest as the automobile, but each year hundreds of thousands of people die in car crashes throughout the world, millions are injured. Yet attempts to regulate the motor-car and reduce this slaughter constantly meet with strong and almost unthinking resistance. Ballard believes that the key to this paradox is to be found in the car crash itself, which contains an image of all our fantasies of speed, power, violence and sexuality. 'Three years ago, I held an exhibition of crashed cars at the New Arts Laboratory in London,' he says. 'People were fascinated by the cars but I was surprised that these damaged vehicles were continually attacked and abused during the month they were on show – watching this, I decided to write Crash.' The novel opens with the narrator recovering in hospital…


High Rise J. Ballard


J.G. Ballard's 1975 novel "High Rise" contains all of the qualities we have come to expect from this author: alarming psychological insights, a study of the profoundly disturbing connections between technology and the human condition, and an intriguing plot masterfully executed. Ballard, who wrote the tremendously troubling "Crash," really knows how to dig deep into our troubling times in order to expose our tentative grasp of modernity. Some compare this book to William Golding's "Lord of the Flies," and there are definite characteristics the two novels share. I would argue, however, that "High Rise" is more eloquent and more relevant than Golding's book. Unfortunately, this Ballard novel is out of print. Try and locate a copy at your local library because the payoff is well worth the effort. "High Rise" centers around four major characters: Dr. Robert Laing, an instructor at a local medical school, Richard Wilder, a television documentary producer, Anthony Royal, an architect, and the…


The Bluest Eye Toni Morrison


Originally published in 1970, The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison's first novel. In an afterword written more than two decades later, the author expressed her dissatisfaction with the book's language and structure: "It required a sophistication unavailable to me." Perhaps we can chalk up this verdict to modesty, or to the Nobel laureate's impossibly high standards of quality control. In any case, her debut is nothing if not sophisticated, in terms of both narrative ingenuity and rhetorical sweep. It also shows the young author drawing a bead on the subjects that would dominate much of her career: racial hatred, historical memory, and the dazzling or degrading power of language itself. Set in Lorain, Ohio, in 1941, The Bluest Eye is something of an ensemble piece. The point of view is passed like a baton from one character to the next, with Morrison's own voice functioning as a kind of gold standard throughout. The focus, though, is on an 11-year-old black girl named Pecola Breedlove, whose…


To the Lighthouse Virginia Woolf


Introduction One does not have to read very much of To the Lighthouse before one realizes that Woolf has chosen here a very particular style, a way of telling the story which exerts a strange and compelling effect upon the reader. In this lecture I wish to focus upon some aspects of this style in order to consider some of the ways in which a few very important aspects of what this novel has to reveal are directly linked to the author's decisions about point of view and language. One of my major purposes in this lecture is to offer some suggestions about why we might consider Woolf a major modernist writer and link her to other modernist artists we have been considering in Liberal Studies, even to those who, at first glance perhaps, don't seem to share quite the same style: Kafka, Eliot, and certain modern painters. I shall be trying to establish as my major point the idea that what does link Woolf to these other modernists is the way in which her style compels us to recognize a fundamental…


Omega Джек Макдевитт


Having mastered the big, sprawling adventure stories called space opera in books like Chindi, McDevitt extends the form in this feel-good SF novel that earns its hopeful conclusion. Priscilla «Hutch» Hutchens, heroine of several of McDevitt's previous novels, has had a full career as a space pilot and is now administrator of the government agency in charge of space research. Like most people, she's only mildly concerned with the long-range threat of the omega clouds, masses of energy floating through the universe that detect and pulverize artificial structures (and the intelligent creatures that live in them). After all, the cloud headed for Earth is 900 years away. This situation changes when a charmingly innocent young alien race is discovered just a few months before a cloud will obliterate it. Hutch has to juggle resources to save the cute creatures, at the same concealing the human intervention in order not to disrupt the alien civilization's development. The cloud's implacable…


Alternate Generals III Esther Friesner


With its dual portrait of generals Grant and Lee on opposing sides of the Roman Civil War, the jacket of editor Turtledove's solid third alternative military history anthology neatly evokes this popular subgenre. While there's no such story, Robert E. Lee must decide, as the ambassador to Britain of a victorious but ostracized Confederacy, where his true loyalties lie in Lee Allred's provocative "East of Appomattox." Similarly, Roland J. Green's " 'It Isn't Every Day of the Week' " shows how altering the outcome of a few minor incidents can turn history on its head, making General "Old Hickory" Jackson and the Cherokee Nation allies when the U.S. is drawn into the Napoleonic wars. Chris Bunch's "Murdering Uncle Ho" vividly demonstrates the wisdom of "be careful what you wish for" in the book's most intensely drawn battle sequences; this tale of an alternative Vietnam War draws some disturbing parallels with Iraq, as does Turtledove's own "Shock and Awe." Esther M. Friesner's "First, Catch…


Barabbas Par Lagerkvist


Nobel Prize Winners The central crisis of the Modern Age is the crisis of faith, the failure of our belief in God. Our disbelief is an inevitable outgrowth of increased scientific understanding of the world around us, particularly in the realms of Physics and Evolutionary theory. It is a predictable corollary of the individualistic political and economic doctrines we have adopted with such success. And to a little appreciated degree, it is a function of the material comfort that we enjoy. Taken together, all of these factors have removed ignorance, superstition, subservience and desperation as reasons to believe in religion. Since Reason would require proof of God's existence, which it is probably impossible to provide, all that's really left is simple faith and, from what we've seen this past century, faith is not enough. There is much that is good about this liberation, the freeing of man from God, but there are also some terrible consequences. The most important consequence is the removal…


The Stand Stephen King


In 1978, science fiction writer Spider Robinson wrote a scathing review of The Stand in which he exhorted his readers to grab strangers in bookstores and beg them not to buy it. The Stand is like that. You either love it or hate it, but you can't ignore it. Stephen King's most popular book, according to polls of his fans, is an end-of-the-world scenario: a rapidly mutating flu virus is accidentally released from a U.S. military facility and wipes out 99 and 44/100 percent of the world's population, thus setting the stage for an apocalyptic confrontation between Good and Evil. "I love to burn things up," King says. "It's the werewolf in me, I guess.... The Stand was particularly fulfilling, because there I got a chance to scrub the whole human race, and man, it was fun! ... Much of the compulsive, driven feeling I had while I worked on The Stand came from the vicarious thrill of imagining an entire entrenched social order destroyed in one stroke." There is much to admire in The Stand: the…


Vernon God Little DBC Pierre


The surprise winner of the 2003 Man Booker Prize, DBC Pierre's debut novel, Vernon God Little, makes few apologies in its darkly comedic portrait of Martirio, Texas, a town reeling in the aftermath of a horrific school shooting. Fifteen-year-old Vernon Little narrates the first-person story with a cynical twang and a four-letter barb for each of his diet-obsessed townsfolk. His mother, endlessly awaiting the delivery of a new refrigerator, seems to exist only to twist an emotional knife in his back; her friend, Palmyra, structures her life around the next meal at the Bar-B-Chew Barn; officer Vaine Gurie has Vernon convicted of the crime before she's begun the investigation; reporter Eulalio Ledesma hovers between a comforting father-figure and a sadistic Bond villain; and Jesus, his best friend in the world, is dead-a victim of the killings. As his life explodes before him, Vernon flees his home in pursuit of a tropical fantasy: a cabin on a beach in Mexico he once saw in the movie Against…


Underworld Don DeLillo


Amazon.com Review While Eisenstein documented the forces of totalitarianism and Stalinism upon the faces of the Russian peoples, DeLillo offers a stunning, at times overwhelming, document of the twin forces of the cold war and American culture, compelling that "swerve from evenness" in which he finds events and people both wondrous and horrifying. Underworld opens with a breathlessly graceful prologue set during the final game of the Giants-Dodgers pennant race in 1951. Written in what DeLillo calls "super-omniscience" the sentences sweep from young Cotter Martin as he jumps the gate to the press box, soars over the radio waves, runs out to the diamond, slides in on a fast ball, pops into the stands where J. Edgar Hoover is sitting with a drunken Jackie Gleason and a splenetic Frank Sinatra, and learns of the Soviet Union's second detonation of a nuclear bomb. It's an absolutely thrilling literary moment. When Bobby Thomson hits Branca's pitch into the outstretched hand of Cotter-the "shot…


Terrorist John Updike


Terrorist by John Updike is a timely piece of contemporary literature that is well-written and dense with observation and description. Updike takes readers into the mind of a terrorist and helps us understand the possible motivation and mindset of those involved in terrorism. Terrorist is an important piece of social literature, but it is not light or easy reading. It is slow at points and requires concentration to read. Terrorist by John Updike is about Ahmad Ashmawy Mulloy, an 18-year-old boy in Northern New Jersey who is devoted to Islam. Ahmad was raised by an Irish-American mother after his Egyptian father disappeared when he was three. Ahmad converts to Islam at age 11 and is instructed in the Qur'an by a local imam. Ahmad is a sympathetic character. Updike lets readers into his head, forcing us to view American materialism and morality from his viewpoint. Updike also draws us into other characters' lives-Ahmad's mother, a high school guidance counselor, an African-American teenage…


Dissolution Ричард Байерс


Book 1 of War of the Spider Queen By R. A. Salvatore. The War of the Spider Queen begins here. The first novel in an epic six-part series from the fertile imaginations of R.A. Salvatore and a select group of the newest, most exciting authors in the genre. Join them as they peel back the surface of the richest fantasy world ever created, to show the dark heart beneath.


You Shall Know Our Velocity Dave Eggers


"Headlong, heartsick and footsore…Frisbee sentences that sail, spin, hover, circle and come back to the reader like gifts of gravity and grace…Nobody writes better than Dave Eggers about young men who aspire to be, at the same time, authentic and sincere." – The New York Times Book Review "You Shall Know Our Velocity! is the work of a wildly talented writer… Like Kerouac's book, Eggers's could inspire a generation as much as it documents it." – LA Weekly "There's an echolet of James Joyce there and something of Saul Bellow's Chinatown bounce, but we're carried into the narrative by a fluidity of line that is Eggers's own." – Entertainment Weekly "Eggers is a wonderful writer, bold and inventive, with the technique of a magic realist." – Salon "An entertaining and profoundly original tale." – San Francisco Chronicle "Eggers's writing really takes off – his forte is the messy, funny tirade, stuffed with convincing pain and wry observations." – Newsday "Often rousing…achieves…


The Secret History Donna Tartt


'The Secret History tells the story of a group of classics students at an elite American college, who are cerebral, obsessive and finally murderous… it is a haunting, compelling and brilliant piece of fiction' The Times Tartt's erudition sprinkles the text like sequins, but she's such an adept writer that she's able to make the occasional swerve into Greek legends and semantics seem absolutely crucial to the examination of contemporary society which this book undoubtedly and seriously is, for all the fun it provides on the way… Brilliant' Sunday Times 'A highly readable murder mystery; a romantic dream of doomed youth and a disquisition on ancient and modern mores… Tartt shows an impressive ability to pace and pattern her novel' Independent 'A huge, mesmerizing, galloping read, pleasurably devoured… gorgeously written, relentlessly erudite' Vanity Fair The skill with which Tartt manipulates our sympathies and anticipations is… remarkable… A marvellous debut' Spectator 'Implicates…


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