Monday, December 29, 2014

Review of Antony & Cleopatra by William Shakespeare


In this extraordinary play, one of Shakespeare's finest tragedies, a once-great general finds himself torn between his duty to the Roman Empire and his passionate attachment to Cleopatra, the alluring "Queen of the Nile." In depicting the collision of two contrasting cultures — Antony's world of political conniving and the hedonistic pleasures of Cleopatra's court — the playwright portrays a timeless paradox of human nature, the quest for seemingly irreconcilable goals.
The action of the play ranges from Alexandria and Rome to Syria and Athens, from the rugged quarters of military camps to the luxurious atmosphere of the Egyptian court. In the latter milieu Antony lingers, shamed by his overwhelming passion for Cleopatra yet irresistibly drawn toward love as a source of vitality and renewal. After ignoring increasingly urgent demands by his co-ruler, Octavius Caesar, for his return to Rome, Antony reluctantly obeys at last, marrying Octavius's sister and forming a fragile political alliance. This bond shatters when he returns to Cleopatra's side. Octavius declares war on the lovers, forcing them into a battle for world domination with dramatic and unforgettable consequences.
Brimming with Shakespeare's matchless poetry, Antony and Cleopatra is one of the world's great plays. In this inexpensive edition, it will enthrall students of drama and literature, poetry lovers, and all who appreciate Shakespeare's art.

Leona's Review:
I have not read Shakespeare for years and so decided to read Antony & Cleopatra. As usual it is hard to understand Shakespeare but I imagined Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra and Richard Burton as Antony.
It was an interesting read of a play. I will read it again in the future.  There are five acts and scenes in each act.
There is the cast of characters at the front of the book which helps the reader identify the people in the play. There is also an explanation of words such as "Nay if an oily palm" is a sweaty palm (page 5) and "Be a child o' the time" which is comply with the humor of the minute. (page 43).
The publication is Dover Publications. www.DOVERPUBLICATIONS.COM.  The cost is reasonable and 115 pages.
For those interested in the history of Antony and Cleopatra, this is a good read. I will have to give William Shakespeare a 5 star rating.
I won this book frpm and the opinions are my own.
Leona  Olson

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Book Review of 52 Little Lessons from Les Miserables by Bob Welch

52 Little Lessons from Les Miserables by Bob Welch
Gold Medallion Award-winner Bob Welch crafts 52 nuggets of Bible-based wisdom from one of the most popular novels, musicals, and films of all time: "Les Miserables." In "52 Little Lessons from Les Miserables," Bob Welch walks readers through Hugo's masterpiece, extracting dozens of uniquely spiritual reflections from this enduring portrait of poverty, social injustice, mercy, and redemption. Welch reminds us that Jean Valjean's life provides the truest example of why real love is found in the grittiest places, and that hearts are made whole beneath the crush of mercy. Most important, though, Welch keeps returning to the intersections of faith and reality throughout Hugo's writing--those places where mercy becomes an inroad to the heart, and where love is only truly received when it is given without condition. Discover again why life's purpose is found not in attending to personal needs and desires, but in responding to the hearts of others.
Leona's Review:
It has been a  long time since I have watched the movie, Les Miserables and after reading 52 Little Lessons from Les Miserables, I now want to read the book. I did not realize Victor Hugo had written the book in 1862. There is also information about Victor Hugo;  I knew a little of him but now encouraged to read more.
Bob Welch has written an inspirational book using the characters as key points in messages. The book has love, hate, misery, death, suffering but I also read hope .
The first part of the book has the characters and places listed and how to pronounce the words which helps the reader. The chapters are short and have a message.
Chapter 8, "It's Not About "The Stuff". "They confuse heaven's radiance stars with a duck's footprint left in the mud" from Les Miserables which "being the solution begins with the perspective." (page 28). I understood the message was we worry too much about what we have. The author uses a man's BMW car as an example.
Chapter 29, "Wisdom Can Come From Weird Places" "God has his own ways" from Les Miserables. "God sends us life lessons on pleasant breezes and on ill winds. It is up to us to raise our sails". (page 99) I understand it is up to us to make the decisions.
There is a chapter for book clubs to use for discussions. Question number 4: "How were Jean Valjean and Avert similar? How were they different?"
I read this book in a few days but as one reviewer wrote, this is good for inspirational reading for one time a week.
The author has done a great job of making the reader think about the messages. I give it a 5 star raring.
I received a complimentary copy to read and review from The opinions are my own.
This is a Thomas Nelson Publisher book. It would make a wonderful gift for a friend or family member.
Bob Welch is a author. You may reach Bob Welch at He is an inspirational speaker as well a writer.
Leona Olson

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Review of Rhett Butler's People by Donald McCaig

Rhett Butler's People by Donald McCaig

Fully authorized by the Margaret Mitchell estate, Rhett Butler's People is the astonishing and long-awaited novel that parallels the Great American Novel, Gone With The Wind. Twelve years in the making, the publication of Rhett Butler's People marks a major and historic cultural event.

Through the storytelling mastery of award-winning writer Donald McCaig, the life and times of the dashing Rhett Butler unfolds.  Through Rhett's eyes we meet the people who shaped his larger than life personality as it sprang from Margaret Mitchell's unforgettable pages: Langston Butler, Rhett's unyielding father; Rosemary his steadfast sister; Tunis Bonneau, Rhett's best friend and a onetime slave; Belle Watling, the woman for whom Rhett cared long before he met Scarlett O'Hara at Twelve Oaks Plantation, on the fateful eve of the Civil War.

Of course there is Scarlett.  Katie Scarlett O'Hara, the headstrong, passionate woman whose life is inextricably entwined with Rhett's: more like him than she cares to admit; more in love with him than she'll ever know…

Brought to vivid and authentic life by the hand of a master, Rhett Butler's People fulfills the dreams of those whose imaginations have been indelibly marked by Gone With The Wind. 

Leona's Review:

I won this book from I have always liked the movie Gone With the Wind and since this was authorized by the Margaret Mitchell estate I thought it would be a good book to read.
There is some history that was changed as the author admits but it did not change my opinion of the book.
Rhett Butler's People is about the people, friends, enemies and family of Rhett Butler. It is not always about Rhett Butler and Scarlett.  There is the history of the Civil War and how it changed so many lives. Like Gone With the Wind, it had hard times and sad times; it also shows people can and will come through hardships.
A lot of Gone With the Wind is in Rhett Butler's People and I thought it was well done.
The movie happened to be on while I was reading this book and it helped me picture the characters.  It kept the main characters as they were in the movie; Melanie is still sweet and Scarlett is still demanding.
I have never read Gone With the Wind but have watched the movie many times. I see I need to read the book now.
I give it a 5 star rating. I did like it and will read it again.
Donald MaCaig is on facebook.

Leona Olson