Agostino Scafidi

I'm an author from Montreal, Canada. My 3rd eBook Dreams, Fiction and Me is available at http://agostinoscafidi.bigcartel.com in all major formats. I have others on the Kindle Store.

Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson

Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson - George L. Jackson, Jean Genet, Jonathan Jackson Jr. Maybe I'm racist, maybe I should of given it more of a chance... But I did not enjoy the point of view of Mr. Jackson. He is a communist, a black supremacist (does that even exist?) and he basically hates Europeans.

All of his views are completely understandable given his position and his race, but I do not sympathize with him nor his cause. Especially not the communist leanings. It became rather clear quite early on in the book what I was in store for and I just couldn't bear to sit through a barrage of insults because I happen to be of European heritage and I am not a communist either.

Freedom from the Known

Freedom from the Known - Jiddu Krishnamurti I don't need to go on much about this one, it's a great read. It has a lot to offer if you're interested in honesty.

Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Alex Jennings, David McDuff This book. Wow. It's a monster. It's a behemoth. It's a trip into darkness, boredom, excitement, frustration. I can't say that I loved it and I don't think I can even say that I liked it, there were definitely many times where I hated it. There were just a few moments throughout this book where I really enjoyed what I was reading, the rest to me was what I considered to be just shy of rubbish. Blabbering. Pointless literature.

I admit that this was my first foray into Russian literature. I am not however averse or unfamiliar with challenging writing. For example I have read various 19th century literature, I've read Dickens too, not to mention some Honoré de Balzac. I think I had a bit of a hard time dealing with the pressure that classics can impose on a reader. What I mean by that is if you were to take epics like War and Peace, The Count of Monte Cristo or even Crime and Punishment, there seems to be a consensus out there that these books are "must reads". You simply might look like an ignoramus or something if you dislike or even avoid reading classics such as those, at least that's what I had in mind before delving into this book.

If there is one thing I've taken away from this book, one thing I've truly learned, it's that I will never wonder or feel guilty about putting a book down halfway through ever again. I will never feel like I am missing out if I refuse to read a 1000 page "classic".

I had to force myself to finish Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. I don't regret doing it because I have this blog post and this personal lesson as a result.



**Copied from my original blog post at http://thehermitrant.blogspot.ca

Candy

Candy - Mian Mian, Andrea Lingenfelter This book is like jazz to me. I loved it. Even though it was like jazz to me, there was no mention of jazz in Candy. What this book is about is drugs, sex, the pursuit of self-definition, raw and honest poverty stricken lost souls. Oh and it's about music too, a cross between romantic Taiwanese pop songs sung in booze soaked nightclubs and the new but overdue and clandestine influx of rock and roll from the West like The Doors.

All of this, clashing amongst despair, hope, love, friendship, loneliness and fear.

If there's any way for an outsider to glimpse what life might be like in the underbelly of China, this might be it. Smuggled in through Hong Kong, banned in Beijing, Candy is a must read for the adventurous reader.

The Color of Heaven

The Color of Heaven - Julianne MacLean, E.V. Mitchell This book does deserve the four stars I am giving it, even though I found it overall to be a little bit too easy, a little bit too shallow, and a little bit cheap in some of the detailed accounts of the some of the characters romantic experiences.

I know that paints a bit of a grim picture for the book, but all that being said it really was an enjoyable read. It didn't affect me as deeply or profoundly as the subject matter might lead one to feel, but it wasn't devoid of quality or worthiness either. There was a number of shining moments that surprised me along the way and I don't want to make it seem like I was just waiting for another excuse to keep reading, because I wasn't. The surprises along the way delighted me instead of serving as something to convince me to continue.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read one of those books with one of those stories in one of those writing styles that just makes it so easy to keep turning the pages, but I wouldn't delve any further into this author's catalog unless you really are a romance fan.

The Return of the Native

The Return of the Native - Thomas Hardy, Alexander Theroux Oh my God I hated this. Got to page 70 and said, "Enough already!"

Maybe I'm stupid? Maybe I didn't give it enough of a chance?

But... I read Dickens and loved it. De Sade and loved that too. Eugenie Grandet... check. So why didn't I love this one too? Oh my God how painfully this book is written! Would you believe me it took me almost to page 30 to realize the story took place in England?! (No I didn't read the book's description. I simply started reading it based solely on a recommendation.)

Ugh... Then I found out that some poor folks had to read this in high school! Oh my goodness! You poor souls!

Books like these make dropping out of school seem like a good alternative!

Maybe I just needed something to bash? To let out some anger that's built up inside me from some other thing in my life, and here I am taking it all out on this book.

Or maybe not. One thing's for sure... I hated every page I read of The Return Of The Native and I am glad I quit when I did.

Kate: The Future Queen

Kate: The Future Queen - Katie Nicholl I heard about this book via a recommendation and review by a blogger I follow and since I have always been a casual fan of British royalty, I decided it would be a good idea to check this book out. I thought it was quite enjoyable! I enjoyed learning about Kate and getting to know her background and upbringing. It was also pretty cool to get some details and insight about William, royal protocol and bits and pieces of other family members too. There were a few inspirational things about it all, and I found it refreshing to read a story about an earnest rise to a prominent lifestyle instead of perhaps a recounting of a more negative or abused past.

If you're a fan of the royal family or even of royalty in general, I think you'll enjoy this friendly and sympathetic telling of Kate's life story.

Rilla of Ingleside

Rilla of Ingleside - L.M. Montgomery What a beautiful ending to a masterful, emotional series. Rilla of Ingleside was outstanding in so many ways.

The really incredible characteristic of this novel was the depiction of World War I and how those on the home-front living through those times experienced it.

The pain, the loss, the enduring hope, the victories were all so deeply touching and engagingly written. Of all the novels in Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series, this last book was uniquely special. There was so much emotion, so many happenings. From Rilla and her war-baby, to the mixed fates of the Blythe and Meredith children and the loves that flourished and developed and succeeded, there was a lot in this book. I'm really very happy I took the time to read all eight books in this series. Rilla of Ingleside was in many ways a reward to the reader.

Rainbow Valley

Rainbow Valley - L.M. Montgomery I give it three stars simply because it was the furthest from the well-worn path all the other novels have traveled, but 3.5 stars may be more accurate and Rainbow Valley is still worth reading if you're making your way through the whole series.

I finally see what so many other readers have been saying about how this instalment may be their least favourite in the series, but I did enjoy it quite a bit. Sure, Anne was not a focal point and even her children took a backseat to allow the children of the manse to shine more. Once you swallowed that comfortably, the novel really is charming!

Anne of Ingleside

Anne of Ingleside - L.M. Montgomery Another pleasant novel in this series. It continues the story splendidly. The ending was particularly charming but the book had numerous pleasantries and fun stories revolving around Anne's children and their experiences as well as some of the other members of the Glen community. I'll keep my review brief because this book felt like it should be read by someone who is making their way through the series and if you're at this point by now, well there's not much that really needs saying!

Anne's House of Dreams

Anne's House of Dreams - L.M. Montgomery This was a really nice continuation in the series. I found the whole new landscape very refreshing and it was a wonderful perspective that I never thought I'd get to enjoy, because before embarking on Anne series my only exposure was to the films. Anyone who has seen all the films starring Megan Follows will sympathize with me about the "Continuing Story" version. I believe Anne's House of Dreams should have been the content of that last motion picture instalment.

Anyway, here it is in its original form. Lucy Maud Montgomery has provided the reader a wonderful insight into Anne and Gilbert's new home and new life. The new friends accompanying them are endearing and delightful. The events in this novel are uplifting but also very uncompromisingly tragic. There has been tragedy in the previous novels as well, but the particular events that transpire in this one have a particular sting to them. It was refreshing yet also grounding to see Anne develop a friendship with someone who has lost a good measure of their innocence. I feel like it teaches a new lesson to Anne in regards with relating to people.

Anne of Windy Poplars

Anne of Windy Poplars - L.M. Montgomery The fourth in the series and another beautiful instalment it was. The style of this one is different from the previous three. I noticed some reviews by other readers reflecting this fact. I personally enjoyed the refreshing approach to telling Anne's story of her experiences at Summerside. I thought it quite romantic that the majority of the novel was told to the reader in the form of her letter to Gilbert.

Whenever the story was not told within the context of letters, it was told in Montgomery's regular fashion the reader would be used to. I enjoyed the many tales and experiences that involved fellow Summerside residents. There were so many interesting and unique temperaments to get acquainted with. Anne also seemed to have a knack for really getting herself involved in the lives of the people around her and changing them for the better.

Some of the highlights of this book were Katherine Brooke, the two siblings from hell that Anne babysat, and of course Pauline and Mrs. Gibson. There were many adventures to enjoy in Anne of Windy Poplars.

Anne of the Island

Anne of the Island - L.M. Montgomery This book in the series has to be a highlight, and I haven't gotten around to reading book 4, 5, or 6 yet! There were some truly special moments in this instalment. I won't go into any real detail about these moments, but let me point to them using some more broad strokes. In life, there are significant moments. Especially, relating to growing up out of youth and into adulthood. There are moments of change, in your own life and the people around you. There is gain and there is loss. Unfortunately, it's the loss that sometimes leaves the biggest impact, yet also provide for the best fodder for stories. There is love and there is rejection. There are happy endings and there are sad endings. There is death and there is life.

So, that being said... Anne of The Island contains all those things and more. There is truly a multitude of wonderful ups and downs and twists and turns to get lost in and enjoy.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love Lucy Maud Montgomery's writing style and I'm growing to love it even more the more I read on.

Anne of Avonlea

Anne of Avonlea - L.M. Montgomery I probably would give it a 4.5 star rating if I could. I don't mean to demean the book in any way by not giving it 5 stars, for surely it does deserve such a rating in some ways, but in other ways a 4 star rating is a more realistic one to give. ;)

Anyway, suffice it to say I loved this book. I thought it was a wonderful sequel to the first one and I am going to continue on in the series because it's turning out to be a wonderful journey well beyond what I imagined it would be. I seem to be very affected by the comings and goings, the deaths and celebrations and the closeness I feel, a friendship almost to Anne herself as she is growing up. I look forward to cheering her on in the third novel as well as enduring with her pain and loss just as equally as her victories and accomplishments.

Lucy Maud Montgomery has truly written a classic series here, which I'm sure many are already aware of and I'm just arriving late to the party. It's also a real service to readers everywhere that these books are freely available on the internet. A true gift of words herein.

The Golden Road

The Golden Road - L.M. Montgomery What a truly delightful little story. I'm referring not only to The Golden Road but also its first part The Story Girl, which should be read first to truly appreciate this novel, not to mention to be able to make sense of it.

I find The Story Girl series to be light, fun and full of imagination. I've grown to love Lucy Maud Montgomery's writing style and The Golden Road offers you plenty of pleasant reading without forcing you to get into too much character history. It's kind of like diving into a world of youthful fun and delight without having to invest much of yourself into it. I mean this in the best possible way. It's like you're allowed a peek into these childrens' world and you are welcomed as one of their own. I alluded to this sense of camaraderie in my review of The Story Girl as well.

What really delivers memorable writing in The Golden Road are the life events that affect the individual characters and subsequently the group as a whole. There are plenty of bittersweet yet necessary occurrences. You truly wish they didn't have to be, but Lucy Maud really brings forth the feelings of pain and understanding that come along with growth masterfully well.

There really are special moments in this novel that far outweigh some of the bittersweetness, namely the group's literary adventures with dream journals and their very own newspaper.

I recommend this book and this series if you are one to appreciate a story being offered up not only for enjoyment but with the aim to get you to admire and reminisce alongside it (even if you didn't grow up in that time). You'll need to let your inner child out too in order to fully appreciate this splendid little two book series.

The Story Girl

The Story Girl - L.M. Montgomery It was a wonderful little story and there were lots of wonderful little stories within it as well! The beginning kind of just threw you in and got you acquainted with the characters right away. Mind you, there were some introductory efforts but the author put trust in the reader to have an open mind and feel welcome enough to approach each character freely.

I've only recently delved into the writings of Lucy Maud Montgomery, namely with the Anne of Green Gables series. I happened to read some good things about her other novel The Golden Road and decided to try that out as well, so after learning that it was imperative that The Story Girl be read first, I acquiesced and am now looking forward to what's next!

The character of "the story girl" herself in this novel is a very endearing one. By the time you get almost halfway through the book you're already feeling close to all of the kids in the group. I often thought about how lucky they are to grow up in such a place. I only wish I could have had a similar childhood, to have such camaraderie at a young age is a beautiful thing.

Currently reading

The Chrysalids
John Wyndham