Virginia Woolf defined a common reader as someone who is not a scholar; not a critic. A common reader "reads for his own pleasure rather than to impart knowledge or correct the opinions of others. Above all, he is guided by an instinct to create for himself, out of whatever odds and ends he can come by, some kind of whole.
What's a Common Reader -- and what is Uncommon Reading? In the wake of the slaughter of a dozen people in Paris, ten of whom worked for the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo , by Islamic terrorists yelling "God is great! But while this horrific attack is clearly the action of a lunatic fringe, it is one of a string of similar assaults, and has provoked a debate over whether this is simply extremist violence that has nothing whatsoever to do with what is happening within France or the Netherlands, or other Western European nations.
On the other hand, some commenters have also taken note of the fact that the terrorists spoke fluent French, and that France has a large and too often marginalized population, some second and third generation French citizens, who are descendants of immigrants from former French colonies in Muslim nations in North Africa and parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Study after study has shown they face discrimination in the job market and in housing -- they can even find it hard to open a bank account.
But let's not venture down this rabbit hole.
Instead, I think it's time to take a step back. That is that the fact that the decades-long tensions between these communities have produced some great novels, many of which Europa Editions has translated and brought to the attention of English language readers.
Here are a handful of the highlights. Monday, November 24, Mystery Monday: "There are people who should die Labels: Mystery.
The Empress of the Angel
Tudormania Lives -- Part Deux. The Call of the Wild , by Jack London Buck is a dog, kidnapped from his home and forced into slavery as a sled dog. Hiding behind a mask, Blakeney becomes the Scarlet Pimpernel, using his fighting skills and quick wit to rescue his fellow nobles—with style. Tarzan, orphaned in the jungle of Africa and literally raised by Apes, rises to become king of the beasts while learning about his English heritage—a story brimming with blood, violence, and the thrilling idea that a hidden world awaits.
While Sabatini certainly took the story further than reality, much of the bones of the novel actually happened to various people, giving it an air of verisimilitude. As Don Diego de la Vega, the character feigns disinterest in swordplay, romance, or adventure, but this is all in service of protecting his secret identity.
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This sort of dual life has become a staple of many adventure stories, of course, but few have been done with such style and panache. Conan the Conqueror , by Robert E. Howard The only novel-length Conan story Howard published, this was originally titled The Hour of the Dragon and begins with a middle-aged Conan defeated on the battlefield and imprisoned in a dungeon filled with monstrous threats.
His defeat secured via dark magic, Conan must seek unlikely allies and fight and fight, and fight his way back to his people in order to reclaim his throne.
As the story progresses, Christianity asserts itself, supplanting the traditional pagan religions of the Vikings, coloring and influencing everything that happens. If you like the TV show Vikings and wish there was more Viking-related entertainment, this book is for you. The Cruel Sea , by Nicholas Monsarrat Set during World War II, Monsarrat manages somehow to capture a thoroughly realistic view of the monotony and boredom of military service while spinning an exciting story of inexperienced sailors serving in the North Atlantic over the seven years of the war.
The bond between the men and the tension of war on the sea offer plenty of nail-biting and emotional beats in this classic novel that remains the gold standard for stories of modern-day naval exploits. Lieutenant Hornblower , by C.
Beginning with Hornblower as a freshly-minted officer and ending with an aged Baron Hornblower appointed Admiral of the Fleet, each novel details classic adventures where Hornblower must think on his feet, risk his life, and always protect the men under his command. A team of ultra-competent, experienced soldiers must come together and find a way to destroy the guns so the rescue can be attempted. This no-nonsense plot is based on actual events, and established a template for the team of experts working together in grim determination, with plenty of danger, violence, and surprise betrayals for any fan of adventure stories.
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The Coney Island Warriors are a street gang who find themselves stranded in enemy territory one night after a chaotic meeting of New York Gangs. Yurick brilliantly offers the idea of unfamiliar neighborhoods as alien planets the gang must fight their way through. A lost city in the jungle of Africa, a legendary diamond mine, and a heretofore unknown breed of gorilla resulting from ancient experiments all come together to challenge a team seeking to claim a fortune that has already killed a lot of people. Sahara , by Clive Cussler Cussler is probably the king of the modern adventure novel, and Sahara remains his best effort.
This book, the original compilation and rewriting of the existing stories, will remind you that at their heart these are adventure stories—there are kingdoms to be carved out of the ground with your swords, there are dangers in the shadows, and there is a Holy Grail out there to be claimed. The Sheltering Sky , by Paul Bowles An adventure novel or a dark tale of psychological breakdown and ennui?dayrafimolmi.tk
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A drifting New York couple flee the modern world and head into the desert of Northern Africa, along with a friend. Set in British India, this novel is first in the chronology and includes pitched battles, torture, and espionage in equal measure, taking place during a time when all a man needed was determination and bravery to get ahead. The Beach , by Alex Garland One reason classic adventure stories have dried up in the modern world is the sense that there are no more mysteries out there, but Garland solves this problem by keeping things small-scale: an American backpacker is given a map to a hidden beach in Thailand, so well secluded tourists have never found it.
Making his way there with some like-minded souls, he discovers a thriving community of backpackers living a simple, communal life in a spot unknown to most of the world. From that premise Garland explores a universal truth: the biggest threats to any society come from within.
List of fiction employing parallel universes
Harvey slowly accepts his fate and becomes a valuable member of the crew until they finally put into port and he contacts his parents. Celebrated as a testimonial to the American spirit, the book remains thrilling to anyone who has ever sat in a boring lecture or meeting and wished fate would intervene with a dose of adventure. After the death of his parents, he visits his miserly, paranoid uncle at the family estate known as the House of Shaws. Learning that he might be the rightful heir, David confronts his uncle—who tricks him onto a ship, where he is knocked unconscious and taken to sea.
The Mysterious Island , by Jules Verne Five men escape from a Confederate prison during the Civil War in a hot air balloon, and crash onto an uncharted island.
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A sequel to 20, Leagues Under the Sea , the mystery of the island is directly linked to that earlier novel, which just makes it all the more awesome. Set in the early 19th century, it tells the story of young Leon Courtney who joins the army in the midst of an early-life crisis. He is eventually recruited as a spy, apprenticed to a master hunter in Africa as a cover, and slowly evolves into an effective and enthusiastic agent as World War I slowly revs up around him.
All of this is set against the backdrop of one of the most politically and militarily unsettled periods of European history—a moment when it seemed literally anything might happen, lending the story an urgency that still pops off the page today. Self-taught, imposingly strong, and bitterly intelligent, Wolf sees no value in existence beyond survival and sensory pleasure. Seeing in Humphrey the chance at a conversational partner, he makes Humphrey part of the crew.
Humphrey has to learn to be savage and aggressive in order to survive—but it is Wolf who dominates the story, and rightfully so.