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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 21, 2006

     

    Wrapping up War and Peace

    I'm wrapping up War and Peace in class today with a few closing comments. It's difficult to discuss in minute details a novel that affords innumerable nuances of relationships, philosophy of the mind and chronology of war. But I do wish to make a remark about some new meaning and thought that radiated out of this reading. The French gained a victory near Moscow, took over the city, burned it and trampled under their feet the abundant provisions, munitions and wealth, and made no further engagement before their fatal retreat. Peace in this sense might seem a collective element--peace from war, delivery of the country. But I find it very paradoxical that it was during the daunting time of his being taken a prisoner that Pierre finally attained to the peace and content with himself for which before he had always striven in vain. He had spent long years in search for the tranquility of mind and the inner harmony. How ironic that it is through the extreme limits of privation a man can endure that one attains this tranquility of mind. The satisfaction of one's needs roots--now that Pierre was deprived of what appeared to him to constitute the perfect happiness. It seems to him an easy matter that he forgot a superfluity of the comforts of life destroys all joy in gratifying one's needs. I ponder at how the same idea can tag into relationship. It's usually when people lose the love and bliss do they finally realize how much they have taken love for granted.

    3 Comments:

    Anonymous Danielle said...

    Wow! Did you guys fly through this book, or what! And I am just finishing the first book!! Of course I am taking my time reading it, and reading about five other books at the same time! I take it Russian lit must be your specialty! How many classes do you teach? And what sort of response did you get from your students about W&P?

    7/24/2006 7:59 PM  
    Blogger Matt said...

    Ha! We're on the fast track, took three weeks to finish W&P. Some students say it's a tapestry of love stories against the backdrop of war. Others think "peace" has such poetic, figurative meaning that is more than the much anticipated peace from war. It'll be interesting to read their papers. :)

    7/25/2006 12:17 PM  
    Anonymous Danielle said...

    I think I am not far enough yet into the book to see the patterns/meanings yet. What other books are your students reading?

    7/27/2006 10:16 AM  

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