Book Review: The Queen of Spades by Alexander Pushkin

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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.

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Book Review: Teutoburgo by Valerio Massimo Manfredi

teutoburgo

Hi everyone! I hope you guys are doing all right. Today I want to talk about a book I just finished reading. The book is called “Teutoburgo” and it’s from the Italian author Valerio Massimo Manfredi, I don’t know if the book has already been translated into English yet, I read the Italian version.

Overall I liked this book, I had never read anything by this author before and I enjoyed his style. This is a historical book that revolves around the famous Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, an event in Roman history that has always interested me. For those of you who don’t know what it was, basically, it was one of Rome’s greatest defeat. Three entire legions were destroyed by an anti-roman alliance, made up of different German tribes and led by Arminius, a prince from the Cherusci Tribe who was taken hostage in his youth and served in the Roman Army after receiving military education and the Roman citizenship.

Since I have found out about Arminius, a few years ago, I have always been fascinated by him. In fact, he fascinates me so much that I decided to use him as a character from in of my books. So, when I saw this book about the Teutoburg Battle at the library I immediately decided to pick it up.

The book is a fictionalized version of the events, it starts with Arminius and his brother getting captured by the Romans, as young boys, and it basically ends with (spoiler alert) Arminius death.

It basically covers that part of the story which led to this incredible battle, and then, of course, it covers the battle and the aftermath. The writer is also a historian and archeologist so his fictionalized version is pretty accurate historically. I saw that he has written a lot of other novels so I might check them out in the future, some of them look particularly interesting.

How about you guys? Have you heard of this battle before? Does anyone have some suggestions about books from this author? What do you think of him? And what do you think about historical book? As always, let me know in the comments.

Right now I just started another book by Pushkin and then I have a few more by other Russian authors but I’m always open to suggestions if you have some let me know in the comments below, until next time.

Who would be on my dream panel of authors?

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Hi everyone! For this blog post I’m writing about something that was brought to my attention thanks to Eventbrite, an event planning software company that helps people find and plan events. If you want to check out their website here’s their online event registration page.

So the idea is very simple: Who would be on my dream panel of authors?

Let me just say that it’s hard to choose only a few authors because I’m such a bookworm and there are just too many authors that I love and admire. I chose to make a list with only living authors because otherwise, it would be too long to fit into one blog post XD… Okay so let’s get right to it, here’s my list:

  1. NEIL GAIMAN

Neil Gaiman is probably my favorite author, I’ve had the honor of listening to him speak live in Mantova, nearly ten years ago, and to this day I still remember vividly the night I went to listen to him. Hearing him read his words is a unique experience, I just love his dark and twisted imagination. He is a very inspiring artist, I could listen to him speak for hours.

  1. GEORGE R.R. MARTIN

George R.R. Maring is probably “the author” of the moment, so I definitely would love to have him on my dream panel. He is very wise and clever, nothing he does or says is accidental. I love how rich his characters are, so I would ask him lots of question about how he builds characters.

  1. STEPHEN KING

I cannot have a dream panel of authors and not invite Mr. King. He is an amazing writer that I respect and adore. Unfortunately, I haven’t read a lot of his writings but what I would love to see is him interact with both Gaiman and Martin, that would be awesome.

  1. J.K. ROWLING

Yes, I am a Potterhead and of course, I would have J.K. Rowling on my dream panel. She is such a great writer. She is so inspiring and also very witty, I just love reading her replies on twitter. I’d love to ask her what is she working on right now, and if there are any other stories, not set in the Harry Potter world, that she would like to tell.

  1. MARGARET ATWOOD

I discovered Margaret Atwood only recently actually, and I really like her. “The Handmaid’s Tale” is such an interesting novel. But I think I would rather ask her about her life and her view on things, what does she think about our society and stuff like that.

  1. CHUCK PALAHNIUK

I’d love to have also Chuck Palahniuk on my panel, he is a unique author and I love him, and even if I’m not that familiar with his writings I would just love to hear his point to view on things.

  1. KHALED HOSSEINI

I’d like to have Khaled Hosseini just because I love his books so much, they are very sophisticated in my opinion. I have to hand it to him that he was able to completely change my point of view on something, and trust me, make me change my mind about something is not easy… I think I would ask him about Afghanistan and how it was before the war.

  1. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON

Last but not least I would have Neil deGrasse Tyson as a moderator, and I would just let him talk about the stars and the universe. It’s just amazing listening to him speak about those subjects.

This is it. What an exciting panel this one would be. What do you guys think? What would be your dream panel? Which author would you choose? Let me know in the comments below.