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Gold Gato has commented on (426) products.

War and Peace (Vintage Classics) by Leo Tolstoy
War and Peace (Vintage Classics)

Gold Gato, May 21, 2015

This is Mount Everest for readers. Newsweek labelled this the greatest novel of all time. And it's, you know, Tolstoy.

But I had a heck of a time making it just to base camp. The characters drove me batty. Natasha. Don't get me started on Natasha! V-A-M-P don't spell Ringo. And Pierre was a turd. Poop or get off the pot, Pierre.

The first hundred or so pages flummoxed me with the interweaving of the various Russian families. It wasn't until Tolstoy began his section on military history and the old general Kutuzov that I eagerly turned the pages. Excellent.

Anyway, I'm letting my fatigue get the best of me in this review. The battle scenes, the potential serf uprising, the what's-up-with-Tsar-Alexander moments were thrilling, but the family whinging undermined my trek back to base camp. Tolstoy still ranks high with me, just not with this trek.

Book Season = Winter (eat the horse meat)
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Love's Labour's Lost (Oxford World's Classics) by William Shakespeare
Love's Labour's Lost (Oxford World's Classics)

Gold Gato, May 17, 2015

The King of Navarre and his travelling companions swear to stay away from the company of females and it is a rollicking ride after that. Based on true historical figures (Henri IV of France), this is one of the earliest Shakespeare comedies and one of the least performed of his plays.

The first time I read this, it was a required reading (school), so as with anything 'required', I paid little heed. Later, when life provided opportunities for voluntary reading, I went back and gave it a whirl and found it far more enjoyable. Rather like french fries, in fact.

Book Season = Year Round (lions roar)
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Grace: The Secret Lives of a Princess

Gold Gato, May 16, 2015

Published in 1987, five years after Grace Kelly's death, this book may have been more of a shocker than it is now. Up to her death, Kelly's image was of an ice princess with high morals. As this book revealed, the truth was otherwise, but it really is more of a 'whatever', as it seems the author wanted to make a mountain out of a molehill.

Grace Kelly was the daughter of Jack Kelly, a hardworking Irish-American who raised himself to become one of the most powerful men in Philadelphia. He didn't seem to have much love for his shy daughter, preferring his other children. The father's comments throughout Grace's life confirm that he never felt she was the best and ended up surprised that she not only became a movie star and award-winning actress but also, you know, a fairy-tale princess.

I learned more than I ever knew about Grace Kelly which isn't saying much as I didn't know anything about her. Her life as Monaco royalty is chronicled here, too, and the gist of the message is that she missed making movies. Or something like that.

Standard celebrity tell-all bio written after-a-celebrity-is-dead. Okay. But no Hitchcockian fireworks.

Book Season = Winter (ice ice baby to go)
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New York Review Books #05: Lolly Willowes: Or the Loving Huntsman by Sylvia Warner
New York Review Books #05: Lolly Willowes: Or the Loving Huntsman

Gold Gato, May 14, 2015

By the time the Great War had ended, the world was a bit tipsy. Perhaps the strongest survivors were the women who had worked in the factories and found themselves with extra money, more freedom, and a yearning for more rights. The 1920s brought somewhat liberated young women to the forefront, as they were the remaining half of the wiped-out generation. This book is really a reflection of that new fast-moving world, as young Lolly Willowes decides to start doing her life the way she wants it done and not pre-war style.

Is this how one becomes a witch? And what is a witch in the scheme of it all? Lolly strikes out on her own and meets the Sly One and it's all involved page-turning from there.

I enjoyed the economical writing and the fluid storyline. The NYRB catalogue seems to be making its way into my collection because of such wonderful selections and such wonderful printed books. This trade paper was set in Trump Mediaeval, with an elegant frontpiece. Hard to ignore, easy to read.

Book Season = Autumn (brooding woods)
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Devastating Boys

Gold Gato, May 10, 2015

Quiet desperation. Lonely lives played out against cups of tea and marmalade. Elizabeth Taylor wrote of the 'silent majority', those (us) who go to work, raise their children, pay their taxes...yet have issues and yearnings, all kept hidden behind tidy front lawns. This is what it is to be middle-class in a 'nation of shopkeepers'.

There are eleven short stories in this collection, probably her best. Each story has its own angle, of course, but never far from tea rooms and shy, sheltered living. The oddy is "The Fly-Paper" which is a bit of a horror story. Macabre. Taylor was a lovely writer, extremely under-rated. Crafty prose, clear details, and that constant craving.

Book Season = Autumn (hints of darkness)
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