Main Entry: sat·ire
Etymology: Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin satura, satira, perhaps from (lanx) satura dish of mixed ingredients, from feminine of satur well-fed; akin to Latin satis enough — more at sad
1 : a literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn
2 : trenchant wit, irony, or sarcasm used to expose and discredit vice or folly
Summary: News of the suicide of volatile artist Vincent van Gogh rocks Parisian baker and artist Lucien Lessard and his good friend Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. Compounding issues is the sudden reappearance of Lucien’s MIA girlfriend, Juliette and the nasty little guy who’s known as The Colorman. Lucien and Henri take the reader for a ride on the crazy train, encountering figures in the French art scene along the way.
What I Liked : Author Christopher Moore is uproariously humorous. There were numerous “ROL” (read out loud) moments throughout this novel. Characters such as fictitious Lucien and Juliette appealed greatly. The physical book is gorgeous with images discussed in the narrative and has blue typing.
What I Disliked : Some curse words here and there don’t bother me but the language used by various characters was beyond nasty. Also, I thought sometimes Moore crossed the line between amusingly irreverent and crazy wicked. One point late in the novel made a reference to bestiality that had major cringe factor.
Austen, J., & Gibson, F. (2000). Pride and prejudice. Recorded Books classics library. Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded Books. 9780788749148
I was on one of my bursts of wanting to read more of the 1001 Books list when I saw Austen’s Pride and Prejudice among the audiobooks shelf at one of the HCPL branches. Since so many of my friends and colleagues raved about this book and I enjoyed Bride and Prejudice, I finally listened to Austen’s great novel of manners.
In early nineteenth century England, the Bennet family faces the daunting consequences of fee tail. Mr. Bennet has five daughters (lovely Jane, clever Elizabeth, plain Mary, silly Kitty, and frivolous Lydia) and no sons. None of the Bennet women can inherit from Mr. Bennet; his estate will go to his closest male relative. Compounding the issue is his vacuous wife, Mrs. Bennet, who singlemindedly wants her daughters to marry well.
When wealthy bachelor Mr. Bingley rents a nearby estate, he and Jane quickly like each other. Of course, it takes they don’t realize that the feeling’s mutual. It doesn’t help that Bingley has ornery friend Mr. Darcy advising him against pursuing Jane. On top of that, Darcy is the coldest, most prideful person Elizabeth has ever encountered. . . or so it seems.
This work, like many of Austen’s others, formed the definition of the modern novel. Excellent characterization, plot development, dialogue, and slice of life all can be found within the covers of Pride and Prejudice. These characters are so familiar that we can see them in our contemporary lives.
Voltaire, & Donnelly, D. (1986). Candide. Charlotte Hall, MD: Recorded Books.
Candide is the illegitimate nephew of Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh of Westphalia. Yet, Candide lives in the Baron’s castle is under the tutelege of Pangloss. Thanks to his optimistic tutor, Pangloss, Candide thinks everything is hunky-dory wonderful. Life is good for Candide until he kisses the Baron’s lovely daughter, the Lady Cunégonde. Candide then finds himself out in the cold, cruel world with no skills for survival. Throughout the book, Candide experiences out-of-this world tortures and deprivations. Will Candide maintain his “glass is half-full” optimism, only the end will tell us.
A precursor to Pollyanna, Candide seems set upon thinking the best will prevail. Yet, catastrophe pursues him and those he knows. Obviously, life isn’t so grand. While those around him adapt, Candide never seems to get the hang of the “real world.” He’s just a good, ignorant guy. Often, the adage “No good deed goes unpunished” rules the life of Candide.
This was pretty good; a tongue in cheek sort of tale which highlights the absurdity of philosophical bents towards optimism. Of course, pessimism isn’t what’s needed, either. No, what is a essential is a balance of happy and sad.