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“Some people read for instruction, which is praiseworthy, and some for pleasure, which is innocent, but not a few read from habit, and I suppose that this is neither innocent nor praiseworthy. Of that lamentable company am I. Conversation after a time bores me, games tire me, and my own thoughts, which we are told are the unfailing resource of a sensible man, have a tendency to run dry. Then I fly to my book as the opium-smoker to his pipe. I would sooner read the catalogue of the Army and Navy Stores or Bradshaw's Guide than nothing at all, and indeed I have spent many delightful hours over both these works.”
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Piet Barol, the titular pleasure seeker, is a priapic, ambitious young man come to seek his fortune in belle époque Amsterdam. Unlike Frédéric Moreau in Flaubert's L'Éducation sentimentale (to which this book owes no meagre debt), Piet is magnificently gifted, not only "extremely attractive to most women and to many men," but also a fine pianist, draughtsman and lover. We first meet him interviewing for the role of tutor to the son of the wealthy hotelier, Maarten Vermeulen-Sickerts. All is not well in his gilded household. Egbert, the son, is agoraphobic.
Anarchy rules in Britannia as the Roman Empire collapses,and two men fight to build stable lives among the chaos. After more than four hundred years of Roman rule, the island its conquerors called Britannia was abandoned—left to its own devices as the Roman empire contracted in a futile effort to defend itself from the barbarian hordes encroaching upon its heart.
In the spring of 1839, the British invaded Afghanistan for the first time. Led by lancers in scarlet cloaks and plumed shakos, nearly 20,000 British and East India Company troops poured through the high mountain passes and re-established on the throne Shah Shuja ul-Mulk. On the way in, the British faced little resistance. But after two years of occupation, the Afghan people rose in answer to the call for jihad and the country exploded into violent rebellion.
Here is a sparkling collection of Crown jewels--from amusing tales that humanize their subjects to dramatic stories of martyrdoms, palace intrigues, and bloody battles. Elizabeth Longford, intimate of the royal family and biographer of Victoria and Elizabeth II, has assembled the best anecdotes ever written and reported abut the kings and queens of England, across the full range of Britain's history from the first century A.D. to the present day.
U.S. Marine Logan Thibault carries a picture of a woman he’s never met because it brings him good luck. But when he sets out to find the woman, he is met with unexpected circumstances surrounding his new love and his shrouded past. Though not Sparks’s most original tale, the story flows well and narrator John Bedford Lloyd delivers a solid performance. Lloyd’s deep bass tone is perfectly suited for Thibault, a manly man if ever there was one. Lloyd’s supporting characters are rich and interesting in their own right, some speaking in comical Southern drawls, others with a raw reality.
After narrowly surviving his last operation, Gabriel Allon, the wayward son of Israeli intelligence, has taken refuge behind the walls of the Vatican, where he is restoring one of Caravaggio’s greatest masterpieces. But while working early one morning in the conservation lab, he is summoned to St. Peter’s Basilica by his friend and occasional ally Monsignor Luigi Donati, the all-powerful private secretary to his Holiness Pope Paul VII. The body of a beautiful woman, a curator from the antiquities department, lies smashed and broken beneath Michelangelo’s magnificent dome.
Gone Girl By: Gillian Flynn
A beautiful woman is snared by a young man who can't believe his good fortune. She is well off and adores him. What can be better? Both are writers living in New York but they lose their jobs. In addition, the woman's parents become financially bereft and ask their daughter to borrow her money. Poor, they use the last of her money to buy a bar in his hometown which is run by her husband and his twin sister.