sikander7 (sikander7) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

23 to 26

A few days of holidays and I can really get stuck in to some reading. I have made some good inroads into my heavyweights, but have only finished off three. So without further ado;

Book 23 was The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope. It was set in Elizabethan times, though the 'fairy' aspect of the story goes back further in time. The story ended happily after the fairy host are outwitted. I am not sure that I would use it with a class, but a good read.
Book 24 was Rescuing the New Zealand Economy by Bryan Gould. As you can guess, this was not for English literature, but for background knowledge of economics. I liked his dismissal of monetarist economic policies, which did not work in the UK, in the USA and in various other countries, but which are still the cornerstone of NZ political and economic thinking.
Book 25 was The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. This novel is very much young adult writing, and I could not help feel that the plot was rather similar to W. Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Still, a good book to read and I can see that it would be popular with a class of teenagers.
Book 26 was Colonization; a global history by Marc Ferro. Early on I found the writing torturous and difficult, and I felt that the director of studies at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes really should have got a good editor to check his language and his style. To give an example, let's have a look at page 300 (Routledge edition, published in London, 1997):

"If Ho Chi Minh and Mao Tse-tung were the successors of Lenin, a third generation of nationalist revolutionaries has since come to the fore. It adopts arguments and the techniques from both the former European model and from the anti-colonial model. Pol Pot represented it in Cambodia. But at the present moment it is most intensely active in Andean America. Central America follows the Cuban model, while Peru especially, Columbia, Bolivia, display a syncretism made up, on one hand, of the Marxist theory advocated by Jose Mariategui who views Peruvian society as a colonial society, and, on the other hand, of the terrorist practices which, in Peru, recall those of the Algerian FLN, backed by a Leninist rationale. In Columbia guerilla activity is the dominant feature."

What is the "it" that Pol Pot represented? I guess the third generation of nationalist revolutionaries, but wouldn't that be they, especially when "it is most intensely active", where the concept of "a third generation" is difficult. The sentence "while Peru especially, Columbia, Bolivia, display..." is all over the place and I have to guess that Peru is the 'especial' case. One extremely irritating error is that of "Columbia". I am not sorry to point out that the country is called "Colombia" in both Spanish and English, while "Columbia" could refer to the 'British' province in Canada. Then the same sentence weaves a torturous path and frequently I have to reread in order to understand that Peru's terrorists draw inspiration from Mariategui's Marxist theories and from Leninist rationale. And once I have grasped that, I return to the topic sentences and wonder how those terrorists can be seen as a third generation of nationalist revolutionaries, given that they draw on Marx and Lenin... I would suggest some serious editing.
It won't be a surprise that it was a slow and frustrating read. I am unsure of many of his arguments, and feel the major benefit was that I was reminded of a great deal of history.

Still, 26 books, and now I have turned over 6962 pages, at an average of 267 pages per book. On, on.

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