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Book Review: “The Overcoat” and “The Nose” by Nikolai Gogol

theovercoat

Hi everyone! I hope you are all doing all right. Here I am once again with a book review. As I had promised in my last one, I’m going to talk about “The Overcoat” and “The Nose” by Nikolai Gogol.

This was my first book by Gogol and I absolutely loved it. They are both short stories but they are both meaningful and very deep in my opinion.

Let me start with “The Overcoat”, which is my favorite of the two. I guess the main character of the story, as the title suggests, is the overcoat that Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin, a rather poor government copyist, has to buy in order to keep himself warm during the cold St. Petersburg winter. Basically what happens is that Bashmachikin, a dedicated worker who is the subject of his coworker’s jokes for his overly used coat, takes his coat to the tailor to have it repaired but the tailor says that he needs to buy a new one. Since Bashmachikin lives a very basic life and does not have a lot of money he doesn’t really know what to do but, in the end, he finds a way to get the money he needs for his new overcoat.

Now I’m not going to reveal the ending because you have to read it, seriously, but somehow this story spoke a little bit to my heart. Probably because I could relate to Bashmachikin situation, which is what I really loved about this story because as I understand Gogol drew a lot from his personal experiences in order to write it.

This is a universal story, and it reminded me a little bit about Dostoyevsky’s “White Nights”. I think that it’s because both of these stories are about a feeling of isolation from the rest of society, and I think that everyone who ever felt alienated or alone will really love them. In fact, there’s a famous saying attributed to Dostoyevsky: “We all come out from Gogol’s Overcoat.”

This is my favorite quote from “The Overcoat”:

“And for a long time afterwards, even during his gayest moments, he would see that stooping figure with a bald patch in front, muttering pathetically: “Leave me alone, why do you have to torment me?” And in these piercing words he could hear the sound of others: “I am your brother.” The poor young man would bury his face in his hands and many times later in life shuddered at the thought of how brutal men could be and how the most refined manners and breeding often concealed the most savage coarseness, even, dear God, in someone universally recognized for his honesty and uprightness…” – Nikolai Gogol.

The other short story is called “The Nose”, and frankly, it’s one of the strangest stories I’ve ever read. It kind of funny, but it’s a very dark sense of humor I guess. It’s an absurd story about a man who basically loses his nose and has to go through a lot of tribulations to get it back to its place since the nose has decided to wander around the city.

It was really fun to read, I recommend it. Here’s my favorite quote:

“But nothing is permanent in this world. Joy in the second moment of its arrival is already less keen than in the first, is still fainter in the third, and finishes by coalescing with our normal mental state, just as the circles which the fall of a pebble forms on the surface of water, gradually die away.” –  Nikolai Gogol.

Now I just want to say something about Russian literature, in general: the more I read about it the more I love it. It’s so dark and twisted but also incredibly deep, it’s really amazing, I have no idea why I thought it was too hard to read I’m completely fascinated by it, and I recommend it to everyone.

As always if you want to tell me something about your thoughts let me know in the comments.

"Aren't the clouds beautiful? They look like big balls of cotton… I could just lie here all day, and watch them drift by… If you use your imagination, you can see lots of things in the cloud formations… What do you think you see, Linus?" "Well, those clouds up there look like the map of the British Honduras on the Caribbean… That cloud up there looks a little like the profile of Thomas Eakins, the famous painter and sculptor… And that group of clouds over there gives me the impression of the stoning of Stephen… I can see the apostle Paul standing there to one side…" "Uh huh… That's very good… What do you see in the clouds, Charlie Brown?" "Well, I was going to say I saw a ducky and a horsie, but I changed my mind!" Charles M. Schulz 🖤🌬💨 #quotes #quotesgram #quoteoftheday #charlesmschulz #charliebrown #nature #naturelovers #gooutside #outdoor #outdoorlife #italy #italia #franciacorta #sky #bluesky #daydreaming #clouds #shapes #immagination #neverstopdreaming #creativity #wandering #exploring #wanderlust #explorer #wanderess #lookatthesky #lookup

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Book Review: The Queen of Spades by Alexander Pushkin

Queen-of-Spades

Hi everyone! How have you been doing? Today I’d like to write about a book I finished recently. The book is called “The Queen of Spades” and it’s by the famous Russian author Alexander Pushkin. In the book edition that I got there was also another short story, also by him, called “The Shot”.

I really liked both of these short stories, particularly “The Queen of Spades” which is a story about a young officer, named Hermann, who watches other gamble but never play himself. One night one of his friends tells him the story of his grandmother, who a long time ago was able to win back the fortune she had lost at cards by using the secret of the tree winning cars. The countess never played again and Hermann becomes obsessed with learning the trick from her.

I’m not going to reveal the ending but I have to say it was quite unpredictable to me, I mean I thought it was going to end in a certain way and it ended in the opposite way. I really like Pushkin style so far, I find it easier than I expected it to be, yet it always kind of sophisticated, and it’s never boring. I highly recommend this short story.

The other one, “The shot” was the story of a retired soldier named Silvio, who seeks revenge against a man who disrespected him a long time ago.

I really liked this story as well, it was very short, even shorter than the first one but it was still entertaining. What I have found interesting is that, sadly, Pushkin life ended tragically in a duel, and I thought about what a sad set of circumstances had to take place in order for that end to happen. It’s such a shame that one of the greatest writers of all time had to die in such a way, I think of what more he could have done if things would have been different.

The next stories I will be reading next are two short stories by Gogol: The Overcoat and The Nose. I don’t think it will take me that long to finish them because they are very short as well, so expect a review in the next few days.

This is it for now, let me know in the comments if you have read these stories and what did you think about them, and also if you have any suggestion about what to read next, I not sure if I should start with some of the longer novels first, for example, I want to start reading “The Brothers Karamazov”, “The Idiot” and “Demons” by Dostoyevsky, “War and Peace” by Tolstoy, or if I should go for other short stories first, if you have any suggestion please let me know in the comments below, thanks.

I live you with my favorite quote from “The Queen of Spades” (if you haven’t read the story yet, let me warn you that it contains a spoiler):

“Lizaveta listened to him in terror. So all those passionate letters, those ardent desires, this bold obstinate pursuit—all this was not love! Money—that was what his soul yearned for! She could not satisfy his desire and make him happy! The poor girl had been nothing but the blind tool of a robber, of the murderer of her aged benefactress! … She wept bitter tears of agonized repentance. Hermann gazed at her in silence: his heart, too, was a prey to violent emotion, but neither the tears of the poor girl, nor the wonderful charm of her beauty, enhanced by her grief, could produce any impression upon his hardened soul. He felt no pricking of conscience at the thought of the dead old woman. One thing only grieved him: the irreparable loss of the secret from which he had expected to obtain great wealth.” Alexander Pushkin.

"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles." Anne Frank 📚☀️🍃🌿#quotes #quotesgram #quoteoftheday #wanderlust #wander #wandering #wanderess #nature #naturelovers #photography #love #sky #beautiful #green #blue #shadows #gooutside #outdoor #openair #exploring #explore #travel #franciacorta #italy #italia #italiangirl #literature #annefrank

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TV Show Review: The Handmaid’s Tale

thehandmaids tale

Hi everyone! Today I’m going to write about something I had promised you a while ago but I never actually did.

A couple of months ago I wrote a post about “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood, in the post I explained that I started to read the book after I saw the TV show, and I promised to write a separate post for the show, but I never did. That was because even after I finished the book I waited before seeing the last episode because I didn’t really want the show to end.

Well, I finally decided to watch it last week, right before the Emmys, and as I imagined, I wasn’t disappointed. After reading the book and seeing the show I can honestly tell that I believe they did an amazing job. Just so you know there may be a few spoilers in this post, you have been warned, if you haven’t seen the show or read the book I suggest you do it, they are really interesting.

They added a few things in the show, but they did it in a way that made sense so I wasn’t bothered by it. All the actors were incredible even the ones that had small parts. I mean “The Handmaid’s Tale” is a story set in a very closed environment, there aren’t really that many characters and I really have to say that Elisabeth Moss did an incredible job as Offred. She is the main character, the whole story is told from her point of view, and I think Elisabeth nailed the performance, after watching the show, as I was reading the book, I couldn’t imagine a different Offred. The Emmy she received is so well deserved.

Speaking of Elisabeth Moss I think she is a tremendous actress I loved her in Mad Man and in Top of the Lake, she is so good at portraying badass female characters, I got nothing but love for her. Peggy’s evolution in Mad Man was something amazing to watch. And also in this part, she was amazing in portraying the very subtle way Offred shows her strength, for example when she looks at Serena Joy after she finds out she is pregnant, and tells her “Do you think I prayed for this?”, scenes like this one were the ones where we see the true strength of her character.

The whole season was so cool to watch but there were a few cool scenes in the finale that I really liked: the first one was when Offred is insulting Serena Joy in the car, that was so cool, another one was when she refused to throw the stone at Janine, that was a really powerful scene, and I also love the scene when Moira reunites with Luke, it was really touching, and finally the ending that was cool as well.

What about you guys? Have you seen the show or read the book? If you did, what did you think about it? Let me know in the comments.

After seeing the Emmys I started to watch Big Little Lies, I’ve only watched the first two episodes and so far I’m really digging it.

“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum, bitches.”