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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A List

Because once again I am several books behind. Has it really been nearly a month since I last blogged? Shocking and shameful.

The Hawk and the Dove; The Wounds of God; The Long Fall, a trilogy by Penelope Wilcock. I thoroughly enjoyed each one and highly recommend them to any fiction reader. This trilogy tops this list of books; it is my favorite selection here.

It's Probably Nothing, by Beach Conger, MD. Fun and mostly true recollections of a country doctor. The author also wove in some history of medicine. I would recommend this to those who enjoy reading true medical anecdotes.

Gargantua, by Rabelais. This reminded me of Sterne's Tristram Shandy, in terms of the bawdiness and the frenzied pace of its humor.

The Long Walk, by Slavomir Rawicz. A true account of a bid for freedom from a Siberian concentration camp. Seven men escape; who makes it to British India? They have recently made a movie of this book, but I can't speak to that, as I haven't watched it yet. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in accounts of survival in extreme situations.


  1. If you like true life books such as the medical one you reviewed, you may enjoy "THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DALE" by Gervase Phinn. It is simply a delightful book about an English school inspector. I'd call him the "James Herriot of school inspectors".

    I read "The Long Walk" with my bookclub. It was a great read, however, I was saddened to learn that the book was probably fabricated. Here's my review:
    sorry to toot my own horn, hate to do that generally, but it was easier than linking to the newspaper article.

  2. I'll look up "The Other Side of the Dale." Thanks for the suggestion; I'm always on the lookout for book suggestions.

    Thank you for putting in the address of your review. That's not tooting your own horn, that's dialoging with me. ;-)

    I had not known there was such suspicion of that book's authenticity. It does make me sad. I read the article you mention, thanks to the link in your review. Many of those who commented on the article seem to believe that even if Rawicz didn't make that long walk, plenty of Poles did.

    One thing that caught my eye in an introduction Rawicz wrote in 1993 was that he called his book propaganda: "If this little book has served in a small way as propaganda to understand the past years of our history under the Soviets..."

    I would like to think it's a true story. I certainly don't know enough to judge. I will accept it as true in spirit, broadly true to the experience of many Poles, even if not specifically true of Rawicz himself.

  3. Thanks!

    I would also like to think that the story was true. It certainly cannot be denied that the Soviet regime was doing the terrible things it did and not beyond belief that this could have happened. There were certainly similar stories of desperation and heroism throughout the 20th century to make it plausible.