Category Archives: book reviews

Review: Equal Rites

Equal Rites
Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Review: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Review: How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it for Human Consumption:

How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it for Human Consumption:
How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it for Human Consumption: by George Washington Carver

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Interesting to read the work of this iconic American figure. The most interesting part for me was the set of recipes he collected: “105 ways of preparing the peanuts for human consumption, with the hope that every farmer will learn to appreciate them and raise large quantities for his own consumption; and also with the hope that the city folk will find the diet not only wholesome, satisfying, healthful and appetizing, but very economical.” I really do have an urge to eat more peanuts now, although I’m still doubtful about some of the recipes, like no. 42, a fake sausage made with peanuts and bananas. I guess I shouldn’t knock it till I’ve tried it, though…

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Review: A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories

A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories
A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O’Connor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Perhaps because I read this in Russia, I couldn’t help being reminded of some Russian authors, especially Chekhov (for the mixture of comedy and harsh realism) and Dostoevsky (for the glimpses of compassion and mercy amidst scenes of extreme cruelty). I hesitated between four and five stars, because a couple of the stories felt underdeveloped, but others I wouldn’t hesitate to call masterpieces, especially the title story, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” (best read without spoilers). “A Circle in the Fire” offers chilling examples of the “creepy child” character type. I also especially enjoyed “The Displaced Person” and “A Late Encounter with the Enemy” for their historical interest: the former deals with the arrival of Polish immigrants on a farm after World War II, and the latter with the confused memories of a Civil War veteran. All the stories delve into the whirlpool of rural and urban life, race, class, religion, and tradition, without offering comforting solutions. I will definitely check out more of O’Connor’s work at some point.

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