Our Man In Havana (Graham Greene)

Havana, frozen as it is in time since 1959, is a special, exciting and fascinating place to be. The Havana described by Greene from this 1950s slice of fiction is still very much there to see, albeit in its 21st Century version. Anyway, this light hearted novel is uncannily reminiscent of The Tailor of Panama. A spymaster and an expat on the ground in Cuba manage to concoct between them, but entirely without each other’s knowledge, a fantasy international plot, which allows the “source” to receive generous ex-gratis payments, and the spy to convince his masters in the UK that he is doing something useful, thus worthy of a generous budget. The joke wears off when people start to get killed; but they’ve started so they have to finish.
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Meditations (Marcus Aurelius)

marcus aurelius meditations“…because most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time and more tranquillity. Ask yourself at every moment, is this necessary…” Approximately 1,900 years after this was first published, I wonder how the author would feel to know his collection of thoughts are currently at number 2 on the Amazon best seller list for the category Society/History/Philosophy. It would certainly be something for him to ponder. [Read more…]

The Three Musketeers (1973/74 Spain/Panama/UK)

61163_Raquel_Welch_0_The_Four_Musketeers_16_122_34Of the countless screen versions of this classic French tale, this one (paired with the sequel “The Four Musketeers”) comes closest to the vision and spirit and story of the novel. There are still some variations, but, for the most part this succeeds very well, even improving on things occasionally. Director Richard Lester pulls off a marvelous adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’s venerable classic cloak and dagger novel.
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The Water Babies (Charles Kingsley)

charles kingsleyGive this book a go if you are interested in 19th century satire. It does read similar to `Gulliver’s Travels’ because of this social commentary and the fantastical world created. If you have always been curious about this story and what it has to offer, then I would definitely recommend dipping in and out to fully appreciate what Kingsley is trying to say. The second half does meander too much though and my interest did wander off. [Read more…]

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