Together in Spirit

An online reading group ('TIS a reading group!) to bring together friends, and friends of friends, who aren't able to be in a conventional reading group due to constraints of time or geography.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Two Books!

Yes, I do. to answer Emily's last question. Though only as my initial response. It was an effective method of bringing a human scale to it, second to actually reading diairies of the time. After all only half the population of St Petersburg died, so there were a few happy endings! This was my second read of this book. Therefore this time it had lost a little of the grip and horror of the first. However I still find it hard believe that members of the highly civilised, and educated Germany and Austria, home to Mozart, Bach, Beethoven and Schubert could behave as they did there and elsewhere and it is good to be reminded that they did and it might happen again somewhere. (Beethoven wasn't too nice now I come to think of it, and showed a complete disregard of others' feelings.) I am inclined to try and read a factual account sometime. I know a well regarded history was published a few years ago but cannot remember the author. Does anyone know it?

I am hoping that the follow up will tell us how the city recovered under Stalin and the psychological effects of principles lost in the fight to survive, affected the consciences of those that did survive. Also living under another monster's rule, if they were then aware that that was what he was. I agree that it was very well written. I continue to have visions of the glazed corpses in the unheated rooms. I have just found a letter from Latvia received last year where the temperature in Daugaspils, Latvia was minus 33. How do they manage!

The other book was Kate Grenville's The Lieutenant, recommended by Val. I loved her Idea of Perfection, read a long time ago, but was rather disappointed in this. She tells us at the end the known facts of William Dawes (Daniel Rooke) and his journeys which Daniel's story follows quite faithfully. I felt that the story lacked depth and power to make me really care for the characters. One began to be hopeful that it would improve when there was some relationship developing between him and the aboriginal girl and her tribe. This fizzled out so quickly that I was left disappointed and the short author's notes would have done on their own.

I think I am still in thrall to the Raj Quartet and Staying On and other books haven't yet managed to measure up.