502 in 1001

I was pleasantly surprised yesterday when I sat down to catch up my books on Goodreads and my 1001 Books to Read Before I Die list and I realized a book I took out of the library just by chance was on my list.  And- surprise, surprise- I liked it.

First, however was the required book, The Prime of Miss Jean Brody.  It was…okay.  I found Miss Brody insufferable and conceited at first, but then pity took over.  It was hard for me to read how she treated her proteges, calling them stupid and idiotic and describing their features in a most unflattering way, but I liked the dichotomy of issues in the book- the Fascist teacher in a liberal school,  good Christian girls talking about sex and love and romance.   Could I have died without reading this book?  Probably.  I was told that I should see the movie- Maggie Smith was awesome as Jean Brodie.

The other book on my list that I was unaware of was The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro.  I think I saw the Anthony Hopkins movie a long time ago, and I thought it was good, so when I saw the book in the library I picked it up.  This book I liked.  I was mostly intrigued that a Japanese author could write so eloquently about an English butler and his duties to his Master.  I found it terribly sad when Stevens (the butler) realized how much he lost living his life “correctly” (and for the purpose of someone else’s pleasure).  Seize the day, people.  Carpe diem.

Zombiegirl picked 502 off the list.  It’s The Ragazzi by Pier Paulo Pasolini.  More Italian drama.  As per Goodreads, “An unsentimental depiction of the poverty and chaos of life in the slums of 1950s postwar Rome, this novel follows Ricetto, an Italian youth, and his gang who survive by their wits, their cruelty, and their instincts for survival. Their lives are shaped by hunger, theft, betrayal, and prostitution, and they celebrate their triumphs with brutal abandon and die bleak deaths. This harsh world is portrayed with an understanding that humanity and even humor can exist amidst a hard and amoral society. A novel that caused a scandal upon its first publication more than 50 years ago, this new translation eloquently captures the gritty Roman slang of the Italian original and tells a story that still resonates powerfully to this day.”

Sigh.

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