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Gabriela, Cravo e Canela
Jorge Amado
Progress: 157/358 pages
Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph (The Authorized Doubleday/Doran Edition)
T.E. Lawrence
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The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve
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Progress: 41/608 pages
Peter the Great
Robert K. Massie
Progress: 472/934 pages
Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty
Bradley K. Martin
A Time for Trumpets: The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge
Charles B. MacDonald
Progress: 191/712 pages
The German Army 1933-1945
Matthew Cooper
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Corporal Hitler and the Great War 1914-1918: The List Regiment
John F Williams
Progress: 22/238 pages

A THOROUGHLY AWFUL NOVEL BRIMMING WITH OVERBLOWN, NAUSEATING PROSE

A Soldier of the Great War - Mark Helprin

Never was I MORE RELIEVED to be done with reading a book as I was with this one. This tale, in which Alessandro Giuliani, an aging First World War veteran in his dotage, speaks about his life to a young lad (Nicolo) in his late teens while the 2 make their way on foot from the countryside to Rome during August 1964, is ponderous and tiresome. Alessandro, who grew up and lived a life of ease and comfort up til the First World War, loves to pontificate on just about any subject. In this respect, he comes across as very annoying and pompous.

The prose also had a tendency to be clunky and superfluous. This novel I had had in a closet for almost a decade. But it was only a few weeks ago that I felt compelled to read it because it touched on the First World War (a subject I am more eager to learn about) and it had been a New York Times Bestseller. So, the more I read this novel, the more I found myself fighting it, hoping that I would find a more engaging tale. Alas, it was not to be.

To quote the character McBain from "The Simpsons": 'BYE, BOOK!' Begone! To the local library this book goes.