The Warden by Anthony Trollope

The Warden is the first of six novels in Trollope's Chronicles of Barsetshireseries. Mr. Septimus Harding is the warden of Hiram's hospital, founded by a John Hiram four centuries ago. In his will, Mr. Hiram left his estate to the Church, intending it to be an almshouse providing decent life for twelve bedesmen. After four centuries, the estate's income has much increased, and so, besides for the bedesmen,...

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Margaret Hale has been living happy and peacefully in a Southern small village: Helstone, when suddenly her father - a parishioner - announced that he has decided to leave the Church due to his "miserable doubts". As it was disgraceful in 19th century, he must leave Helstone, and consequently with the whole family, to live in a Northern industrial (cotton manufacturing) city called Milton.Like the...

Black Count and The Man in the Brown Suit [Mini Reviews]

Black Count by Tom ReissThe subtitle of this biography of General Dumas (Alexandre Dumas's father): Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo, tells you exactly what this book, written by Tom Reiss, is about.General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas was a son of a renegade nobleman: Marquis de la Pailletarie and his slave: Marie-Cessete Dumas. He was born in 1762 in French sugar colony:...

His Excellency Eugène Rougon by Émile Zola

Reading a political novel right after election (in Indonesia, where I live) is really not a good choice! But it's Zola, and I thought if there's any writer who could make politics - the most boring subject for me - slightly interesting, it should be Zola (he wrote about miners poetically in Germinal, after all!) I'm not entirely wrong, this sixth book of Rougon-Macquart cycle provides some enjoyable...

The Bright Side of Life by Émile Zola

The twelfth novel of the Rougon-Macquart cycle turned out to be the most autobiographical of Zola's. He wrote The Bright Side of Life when he was 44 years old, and was in one of his much mental instability cases caused by the death of his two friends – one of them was his mentor: Gustave Flaubert – then followed by his mother's. From age 30, Zola too has been suffering from necrophobia(irrational...

Zola: Photographer

Near the end of his life, Émile Zola became a passionate photographer. He learned the subject from his journalist friends, and along the way he even perfected a shutter release system that allowed him to take a selfie – sorry, the word hasn't even been invented that time :P – I mean to photograph himself. Like his writing, Zola always worked wholeheartedly. This book is a compilation of 208 photos,...

This Earth of Mankind by Pramoedya Ananta Toer (An Indonesian Clasic)

Finally, I came to read this book which is considered one of the highest achievements in Indonesian literature. Set in the end of 19th century during Dutch colonialism in Indies (Indonesia), this book highlights the injustice imposed upon Indonesians (particularly the Javanese) by the Dutch for three and a half centuries.Before continuing to plot summary, let me explain first about the ladder of social...

Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens

Mr. Dombey is a proud gentleman. And being proud in Victorian-England terms also meant calculating, stiff, unyielding; without passion, love, or affection. For Mr. Dombey, money and honour are his gods, and he lives solely to achieve them. Mr. Dombey has founded a counting house, and if this company should have had a vision-mission, it would have been: "Dombey and Son"—a company ruled by father and...

RIP XIII: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

Someone has mentioned to me that The Turn of the Screw is 'interesting'. Normally a gothic-horror-ghost story is labeled as scary or dark, rarely interesting. But after finishing the book for R.I.P XIII challenge, I agree that this book is, indeed, interesting!The Turn of the Screw is a novella (my copy contains 96 pages—excluding introduction and preface). And if you are familiar with Henry James'...

The Origin by Irving Stone

Charles. Darwin. A name so familiar in modern world, yet so little had we known about the person. I have read his magnum opus last year: On the Origin of Species, yet then I have only focused on his views on evolution and struggle for existence theory. I have never imagined, for example, that Darwin had made that famous voyage on board The Beagle in a so young of age of 22—in fact it was even his...
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