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A Guy's Moleskine Notebook

Thoughts and reflections on works of fiction and literature. Pondering of life through pictures and words. Babbling about gay rights. Travelogues and anecdotes.

  • [1] Annie Proulx: Brokeback Mountain
  • [2] Arthur Golden: Memoirs of a Geisha
  • [3] Yu Hua: To Live
  • [4] Alan Hollinghurst: The Line of Beauty
  • [5] Colm Toibin: The Master
  • [6] Carlos Ruiz Zafon: The Shadow of the Wind
  • [7] William James: The Varieties of Religious Experience
  • [8] Charles Higham: The Civilization of Angkor
  • [9] Graham Greene: A Burnt-Out Case
  • [10] Dai Sijie: Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch
  • [11] Alan Hollinghurst: The Swimming-Pool Library
  • [12] Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita
  • [13] Colm Toibin: The Blackwater Lightship
  • [14] Alan Hollinghurst: The Folding Star
  • [15] Ross King: Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
  • [16] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Brothers Karamazov
  • [17] Jonathan Franzen: The Corrections
  • [18] Colm Toibin: The Story of the Night
  • [19] John Banville: Shroud
  • [20] Leo Tolstoy: Resurrection
  • [21] Peter Hessler: River Town, Two Years on the Yangtze
  • [22] Ian McEwan: The Atonement
  • [24] Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Love in the Time of Cholera
  • [25] Ignacio Padilla: Shadow without a Name
  • [26] Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose
  • [27] Richard Russo: Straight Man
  • [28] Fyodor Dostoevsky: Notes from Underground
  • [29] Alan Hollinghurst: The Spell
  • [30] Hermann Broch: The Death of Virgil
  • [31] James Baldwin: Giovanni's Room
  • [32] Ken Kesey: One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • [33] Xingjian Gao: One Man's Bible
  • [34] C. Jay Cox: Latter Days
  • [35] Harper Lee: To Kill A Mockingbird
  • [36] William Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew
  • [37] Daniel A. Helminiak: What The Bible Really Says about Homosexuality
  • [38] James Baldwin: Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone
  • [39] Kenji Yoshino: Covering - The Hidden Assault of Civil Rights
  • [40] Italo Calvino: If, On a Winter's Night A Traveler
  • [41] Arthur Phillips: The Egyptologist
  • [42] George Orwell: 1984
  • [43] Michael Warner: The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and Ethics of Queer Life
  • [44] Andrew Sullivan: Virtually Normal
  • [45] Henry James: The Wings of the Dove
  • [46] Jose Saramago: Blindness
  • [47] Umberto Eco: The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
  • [48] Dan Brown: Da Vinci Code
  • [49] Kazuo Ishiguro: Never Let Me Go
  • [50] Ken Follett: The Pillars of Earth
  • [51] Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace
  • [52] Michael Thomas Ford: Alec Baldwin Doesn't Like Me
  • [53] Jonathan Franzen: How To Be Alone
  • [54] Jonathan Lethem: The Fortress of Solitude
  • [55] Matthew Pearl: The Dante Club
  • [56] Zadie Smith: White Teeth
  • [57] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Double
  • [58] Jose Saramago: The Double
  • [59] Andrew Holleran: Dancer from the Dance
  • [60] Heinrich von Kleist: The Marquise of O & Other Stories
  • [61] Andrew Holleran: In September, the Light Changes
  • [62] Tom Perrotta: Little Children
  • July 06, 2006


    Reading War and Peace

    My third time reading Tolstoy's epic moves quite swiftly--the story itself may not be the most captivating, like The Master and Margarita (my all-time favorite piece of literature), but it affords a tapestry of the society and its throbbing life. By the end of Part 2 in Book 1, we see extensive scenes of domestic life, familial dealings, and seditious plot of seizing a count's fortune. All these are juxtaposed with scenes of the war. It might be a presentiment of the imminent changing fortunes of all the characters.

    The bloggers at Reading...War and Peace raise a very broad but significant question: What is the novel about? Tolstoy gives us a diverse picture of characters who come to grasp their fate and destiny--whether it was out of free will or not. For some conforming to fate will deprive them of all power of thought and make them incapable of anything but habitual compliance. Tolstoy might have exposed readers the military schemes, familial gatherings, and domestic life, he doesn't show us the characters' fate and their decision--decision that leads to happiness and filfillment of life. We are, therefore, in the same shoes with the characters to gingerly, with fear and trembling, to see what's in store for them.


    Anonymous Jordan said...

    I have huge admiration who sits down to read that monster for the third time in his life. I can't wait to read it for the first time.

    7/06/2006 9:34 AM  
    Blogger Matt said...


    Thanks. Like Italo Calvino says, the timing makes every reading of a novel unqiue. A certain part of the book might appeal to you because it truly hits home and bespeaks your mind.

    So is this reading of W&P. I'm on p.465 and pondering about living for myself vs. living for others.

    7/07/2006 11:32 AM  
    Anonymous Danielle said...

    I am looking forward to getting farther into the novel--I am just starting out and trying to sort out characters at this point. I suspect I will be reading it slowly--hopefully a bit each day.

    7/07/2006 12:52 PM  

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