The Steel Flea af Nikolay Leskov. Little Black Classics #40.
He gave orders that they were not to get any hot glum pudding in flames, for fear the spirits in their innards might catch fire… The Steel Flea is an uproarious and alcohol-soaked shaggy-dog story from one of Russia’s great comic masters.
Queen of Spades af Alexander Pushkin. Little Black Classics #110.
‘Hermann waited for the appointed hour like a tiger trembling for its prey.’ One of Pushkin’s most popular and chilling stories, ‘The Queen of Spades’ tells of a young man who develops a dangerous obsession in pursuit of the wealth he craves.
My Life Had Stood a Loaded Gun af Emily Dickinson. Little Black Classics #114.
‘It’s coming – the postponeless Creature’. This title features electrifying poems of isolation, beauty, death and eternity from a reclusive genius and one of America’s greatest writers.
have never read anything by Emily Dickinson before. This collection is very clearly i spores by Death and how it is a constant companion and the same for everyone, but I found some of the poems to be too weak or weird to understand. I did enjoy “I’m nobody”, “it’s a mouldering pleasure” and “i feel a funeral in my brain” and a handful or two others, but there were quite a lot that didn’t evoke any response in me that I simply read and immediately forgot.
The Night is Darkening Round Me af Emily Brontë. Little Black Classics #63.
‘… ever-present, phantom thing; My slave, my comrade, and my king’
Some of Emily Brontë’s most extraordinary poems.
What is up with the fascination of Death? Anyway, I really enjoyed reading this selection of poems. Many of them left me with images in my head and my brain full of thoughts of Death as perhaps a natural companion to man and I was intrigued by the idea of resting or dwelling with Death. I especially enjoyed the title poem “the night is darkening round me” as well as “to imagination”, “the prisoner”, “often rebuked, yet always back returning” and “the old stoic”. I want to read much more by Emily Brontë and this little selection has been a great introduction to her work. Beautiful poetry putting words on some really difficult topics and perhaps considering them from a new perspective. There’s much to admire here.
How To Use Your Enemies af Baltasar Gracian. Little Black Classics #12.
‘Better mad with the crowd than sane all alone’
In these witty, Machiavellian aphorisms, unlikely Spanish priest Baltasar Gracián shows us how to exploit friends and enemies alike to thrive in a world of deception and illusion.
Well the book is called “How to Use Your Enemies” so if anyone was expecting something nice or cosy or pleasant really, I can see why they’re disappointed. The book is basically a set of rules (maxims) for how one should behave and think and so on. It reminded me a lot of Machiavelli’s the Prince, in the sense that it’s all about being manipulative, distant, self-serving and really not that good of a person. And I wish I knew more about why. Why did he write this, why does Mankind have to be such awful people, why why why? I did find the book very easy to read though, he doesn’t use many examples or go on rambling tangents, so even if Id never follow any of his “rules”, it was easy enough to understand the writing. Still, I can only barely manage 3 stars, because it’s just plain awful the kind of person he thinks people should be.
Why I Am So Clever af Friedrich Nietzsche. Little Black Classics #102.
‘Why do I know a few more things? Why am I so clever altogether?’ Self-celebrating and self-mocking autobiographical writings from Ecce Homo, the last work iconoclastic German philosopher Nietzsche wrote before his descent into madness.
Nietzsche is not for me and studying his texts on several occasions at uni did not change that. I still hate his writing style, find his arguing tedious and messy and seething with arrogance. He might have proposed theories that had impact in some ways, but he is not for me. Even though this book was only 50 pages, it was so draining, I wanted to sleep when I finished it. It’s too confusing and caught up in it’s own line of thinking and my experience with the longer/full texts are just the same. Id say maybe one day, but I’m not fooling myself. This is not for me. And you know what? That is okay.
The Nightingales are Drunk af Hafez. Little Black Classics #27.
‘Drunk or sober, king or soldier, none will be excluded’
Sensual, profound, delighted, wise, Hafez’s poems have enchanted their readers for more than 600 years. One of the greatest figures of world literature, he remains today the most popular poet in modern Iran.