A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
I love Xenophon. He is a rare breed: philosopher, soldier, historian and mercenary. I imagine him as a 4th century BC combination of Teddy Roosevelt and William T. Vollmann. Memorabilia is a nice piece to read along with Plato's dialogues. While Plato's remembrances of Socrates are more philosophic and cerebral, Xenophon presents a slightly different and more down to earth picture of the great ethical philosopher.
Nabokov's violin playing in the void of a totalitarian nightmare. Invitation to a Beheading belongs in those 20th Century novels by Orwell, Huxley, Kafka and Koestler that explore the individual revolting against an absurd totalitarianism. Cincinnatus C is an opaque prisoner being punished by a translucent society for his gnostical turpitude. With a Gogol-like playfulness and a Kafkaesque absurdity and a linqusitic inventiveness that belongs solely to Nabokov,
'Invitation to a Beheading' explores the many ways the state (and society) acts to destroy or force conformity on those whose vision is different. Beware those who transgress social norms, your days are both numbered ... and infinite
While this isn't my favorite Nabokov novel and I have to leave room and stars for its better, it is stil bold and amazing. Nabokov is one of those writers I will never tire of. He is imaginative, funny, tight and always just a little naughty. Despair is a false double novel that at once mocks, parodies and honors Crime & Punishment. It was like Nabokov set out to write a fanciful doppelgänger novel of Crime and Punishment, but felt like he would prefer to dress Raskolnikov up a bit; bend the mirror and make him fancy, turn him into a Russian emigre candy dandy.
The History of Tom Jones remains a delightful romp through the adventures and travails confronted by the young male.This book can still make me laugh out loud with its dry commentary on the absurdities of human nature. Some listeners may find the author's "philosophizing" at the beginning of each book a bit tedious (though these sections really are hilarious)-- for those listeners I can only echo the author's own suggestion that they skip these sections and go directly to the action in the next chapter.
A wonderful narration, complete with colorful accents and intonations, helps make this classic sparkle once again!