Tag: Fabulous Ones

Dec 07 2017

Conversations with Stalin by Milovan Djilas

Listening in on Conversations with Stalin involves stepping back into numerous vanished worlds: one in which Communists were imprisoned by kings’ secret police forces; where Communism is new and for large numbers of people a source of hope; where the inner workings of the Soviet Union are largely unknown; where Yugoslavia exists as both a …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/12/07/conversations-with-stalin-by-milovan-djilas/

Dec 06 2017

Premature Evaluation: Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman

I first came to Vasily Grossman via excerpts in Ivan’s War, Catherine Merridale‘s amazing book about how ordinary Soviet soldiers experienced the Second World War. That prompted me to pick up A Writer at War, dispatches and stories that he wrote while working as a journalist near the front. I thought it was one of …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/12/06/premature-evaluation-life-and-fate-by-vasily-grossman/

Nov 16 2017

Wilhelm Tell by Friedrich Schiller

Wilhelm Tell, a five-act drama in verse, was Friedrich Schiller’s last major work. It tells the story of the start of the Swiss Confederation as the people of four inner cantons — Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden and Luzern — joined forces, swearing an oath to drive out a Habsburg ruler who is intent on limiting traditional …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/11/16/wilhelm-tell-by-friedrich-schiller/

Oct 09 2017

The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin

I put down The Obelisk Gate for about three and a half months when I was four-fifths of the way through. One of the main characters, a girl not yet in her teens, did something horrible, and I just couldn’t anymore. I haven’t had that strong a reaction since Elric killed Moonglum near the end …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/10/09/the-obelisk-gate-by-n-k-jemisin/

Jun 16 2017

Postwar by Tony Judt

Two things stand out for me about Postwar, by Tony Judt. First, it is a stupendous historical synthesis that aims to tell a mostly political history of all of Europe — East and West, North and South — from 1945 through its publication in 2005. Second, I should have been writing reflections about it as I …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/06/16/postwar-by-tony-judt/

May 10 2017

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

The Fifth Season is a very bleak book. It is riveting, engrossing, engaging, compelling, thought-provoking, and more, but it is also very, very bleak. When I was finished, I picked up a slim Soviet-German comedy (not an oxymoron!) by way of lightening the mood. The Fifth Season begins with a mother still tending the body …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/05/10/the-fifth-season-by-n-k-jemisin/

Feb 25 2017

Wallenstein II by Friedrich Schiller

“Schiller’s Wallenstein is so great that there is nothing else like it.” — Goethe How’s that for a blurb? Goethe didn’t just offer praise, he directed the premiere of all three parts of Schiller’s Wallenstein trilogy. The third, Wallenstein’s Death (published as Wallenstein II, as the two previous plays comprise the first volume), comes from …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/02/25/wallenstein-ii-by-friedrich-schiller/

Jun 20 2016

Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter is three hundred pages of wonderful, unadulterated squee. It’s a companion to the musical that I’ve been listening to nearly non-stop since last September, a documentation of the development of a show that’s clearly going into the canon of American theater and has already burst the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2016/06/20/hamilton-the-revolution-by-lin-manuel-miranda-and-jeremy-mccarter/

Jun 03 2016

The Philosopher Kings by Jo Walton

Jo Walton, writing at the height of her powers, has solved the second-book problem, or at least this one instance of the problem. The Philosopher Kings is in fact the middle book of a trilogy, but it is so much its own thing that although it has the advantages of a sequel—less time setting up …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2016/06/03/the-philosopher-kings-by-jo-walton/

Apr 15 2016

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

Like the human aliens of the planet Gethen, The Left Hand of Darkness is first one thing and then another, encompassing all of them yet remaining bounded by its humanity. The inhabited worlds of Le Guin’s interrelated Hainish novels are tied together by membership in the Ekumen, eighty-odd planets in something like a trading federation, …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2016/04/15/the-left-hand-of-darkness-by-ursula-k-le-guin/