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Tomfoolery again! – a review of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain Sunday, 2 October 2016

Posted by greyowl in Rezensionen / Reviews.
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screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-08-34-41I took advantage of my bedridden state to remedy one of my childhood lapses – and quite enjoyed it.

Exciting, silly, rather harmless and quite preposterous adventures. The insight into white hypocrisy – preaching love and conducting a bloody feud at the same time – and racial injustice, whereby Blacks are treated little better than animals, is rather salutary.

We love Huck and Jim, and join them wholeheartedly in their various escapades. On the other hand, the criminal deception shown by the gate-crashing pranksters rather disgusts us.

When Tom suddenly turns up, his ridiculously romantic ideas about how a real escape should be orchestrated cause the plot to drag for a while, until the final showdown.

Uncanny – a review of The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler Thursday, 29 September 2016

Posted by greyowl in Rezensionen / Reviews.
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screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-08-38-50Vogler seems to know all about my novel, Aquila! Or is he saying that all stories are basically the same, whether it’s The Wizard Of Oz, Star Wars or Titanic? Then how can anyone write anything new? [But that would be like arguing that since most sentences consist of a subject, a verb and an object, with a few adjectives, adverbs and subordinate clauses thrown in here and there, no one can ever write or say anything original!]

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Gently provocative, very inspiring – Review of We Make The Road By Walking by Brian McLaren Sunday, 25 September 2016

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screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-08-38-50My wife and I used this book for our weekly devotions over an extended year. We found it both challenging and at the same time reassuring. Each time it led is into an extended time of prayer for friends, family, neighbours and the world in general.

Each chapter starts with several Bible passages, which I would highly recommend taking the time to read. Some that particularly spoke to my heart were on Love, the Holy Spirit and Death.

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Two Streams Saturday, 3 September 2016

Posted by greyowl in Jesus-Familie, Society.
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Jesus told His followers: The world hates you. I’ve been thinking about that.

Is it true? Surely, not everyone hates us. Recently, I have observed two different streams within western society – the ‘Lorders and Hoarders’ and the ‘Carers and Sharers’. (more…)

Intimate insights into a devout community – review of the Gilead trilogy by Marilynne Robinson Monday, 29 August 2016

Posted by greyowl in Rezensionen / Reviews.
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Gilead – Deep but a bit tedious screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-08-34-41

This is a very unusual book in that it doesn’t follow any recognised structure. This makes sense when one realises it’s an old preacher man jotting down his reminiscences about significant events and minor incidents, while trying to impart wisdom to his young son in a letter he intends him to read after he has died. (more…)

Battling Prejudice Monday, 8 August 2016

Posted by greyowl in Society.
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They invited me to their house-warming party, though I’d never met them. They aren’t even married.

Loud rock music greeted me before I entered the garden. Other guests clustered around beer cans. The hostess was smoking, her bare arms boasting brazen tattoos. She introduced me to her partner – equally tattooed, equally smoking. In his free time he’s a DJ at a seedy nightclub. He was offering guests Red Bulls with vodka. I helped myself to tiramisu and found a seat. At the end of the table sat a person of undefined gender, equipped with a massive German Shepherd dog. A seven-year-old girl with a coy look revealed her underwear as she pranced around and fluttered seductive eyelashes at the menfolk. (more…)

Intriguing insight into Neapolitan girls’ lives and feelings but too long and too complicated – Review of My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Posted by greyowl in Rezensionen / Reviews.
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screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-08-44-18This book is captivating from the start and very well written. We feel we get to know unfathomable Lila in spite of her contradictory character and also Lenù, the narrator. We feel their strife, their longings, their first attempts at love, the inevitable rivalries.

But there are too many characters to keep track of and by chapter 45 we begin to wonder where this is all taking us. It’s a big disappointment – and too much like hard work – that we are supposed to read the next three books in the series before getting any real answers.

A war story with a difference – Review of All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr Friday, 24 June 2016

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screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-08-34-41This very sensitively written book brilliantly captures the character and emotional struggles of the main players through a series of parallel cameos. Through the eyes of blind but bright Marie-Laure, we feel the desperate plight of the Parisians who flee from the advancing Germans, their struggle to survive in occupied Saint-Malo, their fifth column acts of resistance. Meanwhile, technically brilliant orphan Werner and his young sister Jutta face the harsh upbringing of a nation which is beginning to realise it’s aggression is failing. They enjoy a brief but emotional encounter when American bombers liberate the town.

Questions of conscience concerning the morality of war, the maltreatment of a weak fellow student and the cold-blooded killing of resistance fighters are well developed, and recurring themes such as radio broadcasts, the Sea of Flames diamond and the intricate city models form intriguing subplots.

Marie-Laure’s life is carried forward to the time when Werner’s faithful wartime companion brings her his few remaining possessions. At the end she’s a grandmother. Her grandson is not worried about dying in his online wargame – “I can always begin again”  – and she reflects on what the characters who left their mark on her life are doing in the afterlife. A touch of spirituality. And the mysterious legend of the Sea of Flames proves true.

Poetically autobiographical – Review of ‘As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning’ by Laurie Lee Thursday, 26 May 2016

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screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-08-34-41A very personal, sensitively written account of a naive young Englishman’s encounters with ordinary people as he spends a year walking the length of Spain. We gain a vivid insight into the harsh realities of life in Spain in the 30s, as the author faces poor but kind natives, coupled with blatant immorality, seething unrest and fervent faith competing with hostility toward a dominant and uncaring Church. After experiencing the first life-threatening clashes of the Civil War, he is fortuitously whisked out of danger by the British navy. The language is evocative, beautiful at times, and masterfully captures the spirit and character of the places and people along the way.

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin Sunday, 8 May 2016

Posted by greyowl in Rezensionen / Reviews.
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screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-08-34-41This book is amazing in terms of its complexity and vivid action. The main characters are very well developed and the action scenes are 51UbZ8Kt7LL._SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_captivating, even if somewhat incredible at times. As the first of a series, it builds up a huge cast of players in multiple locations, the relationships between which become quite a challenge to unravel. And, of course, many subplots remain unfinished; actually, (more…)