Tag Archives: DWS Around the World challenge

Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam by Omar Khayyam

Rubaiyat of Omar KhayyamRating:

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

Khayyam struck me as a man with a love-hate relationship with the old vino, which sort of implies that perhaps he wasn’t the strictest Muslim. I wonder if that was a such terrible thing 900 years ago when he was alive.

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The Golden Ass: Or Metamorphoses by Lucius Apuleius

The Golden Ass: Or Metamorphoses (Penguin Classics)Rating:

Bestiality. Kidnapping. Mugging. Ye olde carjacking. Burglary. Assault. Murder. Female paedophiles. Incest. Male rape. Adultery. Animal cruelty. Serial killers in the making. Poisonings. Homosexual priest gangbangs. Shapeshifting. Gods and goddesses. The Seven Deadly Sins. Evil mother-in-laws. Drama. Comedy. Tragedy. Adventure. Romance. Horror. Urban legends. Stories within stories. Inspiration for that Hannibal episode where a person was sewn into a dead horse’s belly.

What doesn’t The Golden Ass have?

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Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales

Nelson Mandela's Favorite African FolktalesRating:

Do not read this, listen to it.

Besides the veritable buffet of Hollywood A-listers from various ethnic backgrounds providing narrations, there’s beautiful music and songs in the interludes between stories and in the stories themselves. I’ve derived much enjoyment from the imaginative and enthusiastic performances from the narrators, most of whom possess great skills with accents. Even if you don’t recognise a couple of the narrators’ names, odds are you’d recognise their faces.

Whoopi Goldberg and Hugh Jackman’s performances were outstanding though most were above average.

Urban legends, origin stories, fables, parables, myths, magic, time travel, African versions of well-known fairy tales, clever and devious characters, and emotionally touching stories – what more could you want?

Well, the publisher has donated 100% of its takings from the audio to Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and Artists for New South Africa who work with children affected by HIV/AIDS.

Here’s a rundown of the folktales:

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The Plague by Albert Camus

The Plague

Human beings tend to cling to convenient obliviousness – ‘I haven’t seen it, so it can’t really exist!’ – in spite of embarrassing, burgeoning bodies of evidence to the contrary. In order for this comfortable bliss of ignorance to be maintained, it follows that any flagging up of the problem will be met with denial: so naturally you get accusations of lying, or exaggeration. These aren’t always intentionally unkind – I think they’re often motivated by a horrified inability to accept the severity of the problem as by a deliberate attempt at dismissal. – Laura Bates, Everyday Sexism

This quote explains perfectly the ignoring of all the warning signs in The Plague, especially by Dr. Rieux and his colleagues. A stampeding immigration of thousands of infected, dying rats doesn’t raise an alarm, really?!

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The Tinderbox by Joan Cameron

The Tinder Box (Well loved tales grade 1)

Reading this shortened children’s edition once again along with the full version in The Complete Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen. The only real difference is the violence. Here, the old witch is ‘killed’ by the soldier with his sword, the soldier is imprisoned for periodically kidnapping the sleeping princess each night before summoning the three dogs for help who scare the king’s men into fleeing, and the king and queen are ‘seized’ by the dogs who then run away with them, the royals never to be seen again. Whereas in the full version, the witch is beheaded by the soldier with his sword, he’s about to be hanged before summoning help, and the King and Queen – along with the judge and all the council members – are tossed many feet into the air by the dogs, dying when all of their bones are broken upon landing.

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Review: The Library of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges

The Library of BabelRating:

Completely confounding. An intriguing idea poorly executed. Even reading slowly didn’t improve understanding. Beautifully written sentences were meaningless without much background or context.

I honestly didn’t perceive the allegory; the library representing the universe, its books filled with information detailing everything within it, though in an incomprehensible manner – multiple languages represented in each volume.

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