It’s “The Lady or the Tiger” by Frank Stockton, all the way back in 1882. Here’s a link for the entire short story. Every bit as good as I remember, although I thought a lot more about it as a child. It’s the first story where I remember thinking, “Hey, no fair! There’s no ending!” only to later realize that was exactly the point.
I have two books at the top of my list. One is the extremely emotive World War II novel, Every Man Dies Alone, based on a true story, by Hans Fallada. (Aside – he took his pen name from Fallada, the noble horse in the fairy tale. Do you remember when they cut the horse’s head off and put it on the castle wall? He would give the Prince advice from there, but much was ignored, a la Cassandra of Troy. The name fits perfectly when you read the story.) Even for a military history buff like me, this book taught me so much more of what it felt like to be a German trapped in that society.
The other is by Stephan Zweig, The World of Yesterday, described here by Amazon: “Written as both a recollection of the past and a warning for future generations, The World of Yesterday recalls the golden age of literary Vienna—its seeming permanence, its promise, and its devastating fall.
Surrounded by the leading literary lights of the epoch, Stefan Zweig draws a vivid and intimate account of his life and travels through Vienna, Paris, Berlin, and London, touching on the very heart of European culture. His passionate, evocative prose paints a stunning portrait of an era that danced brilliantly on the edge of extinction.
This new translation by award-winning Anthea Bell captures the spirit of Zweig’s writing in arguably his most revealing work.”
It was a beautiful book with a superb translation from the German. Stephan Zweig restarted his life twice – once after World War I, when he had to leave Vienna, and again as a Jew after World War II. By the time of the Second World War, he was so famous that Hitler could not have him out and out killed, but tortured him in degrees by systematically searching every house over and over while he tried to write. Zweig couldn’t face that second start and walked into the ocean with his wife and committed suicide several years after the War. Don’t worry, that doesn’t spoil this story or the wonderful descriptions of his life as a child. As he described the stuffy heater, the smell of old socks and the wriggling of little boys on the bench bored by their old school teachers, I could see it, smell it and feel it.
It’s sniffles and flu time. I was going to get my flu shot on Friday, so I’d have the weekend to recover, but of course my husband starts getting sick so I can pretty much guarantee I’m already incubating something lovely. It looks like I’ll have to wait a week. So far it just looks like a head cold, which is never too bad as long as I have tea and a good book. Currently reading Larry Correia’s Monster Hunters International, and staying under the duvet is never a hardship!
We have provisions to survive – I made Zuppa Toscana last night and it turned out well. Thank you, Get Crocked website! We have enough to nosh on soup and yeast rolls for the next two days. I used a one pound package of Tennessee Pride sausage, hot version-it’s cheaper and there’s not as much sodium (not as much sodium being a relative term for sausage, of course) and the bunch of kale we had in our CSA pickup at the farmer’s market yesterday. The red pepper flakes from the sausage opened our heads up and the cream combined with the chicken broth and kale got our stomachs ready for the night time cold medicine. Hmm, think I can stretch this illness long enough to get at least one sick day from work?
I have always loved the writings and struggles of Thomas Merton. Today Kindle has the book The Intimate Merton on sale for $3.99. I had to have it! Looks like a long weekend of reading for me. The book is 400 pages culled from 27 years of personal diaries. Of course, those pages close to his fifitieth year really speak to me. You do feel like you should have figured it out at this age, but I guess there is always room to change and grow. Here’s hoping it’s in a GOOD direction.
Every day, I check the A section of the WSJ for a book review. Great one for Mark Halperin’s book this week, and that’s on my “to read, perchance to buy”, list. But this one comes before it – Into the Fire, A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War by Dakota Meyer.
Check this quote, and if it doesn’t make you want to read more, you have ice water in your veins. So there!
“Once the ambush was under way, the Americans pinned down in the village were shocked to find headquarters denying their requests for artillery and close air support. Mr. Meyer had not better luck. Constrained by restrictive rules of engagement tailored to the perceived needs of COIN, he faced a frustration all too familiar to our soldiers today. With his team trapped, and supporting forces efffectively unresponsive, Mr. Meyer reached within himself: “I wasn’t scared or angry. I was beyond that. I didn’t think I was going to die; I knew I was dead. There wasn’t anything I could do about it. I wasn’t a thinking human being. I had gone somewhere else. I wasn’t firing the machine gun; I was the machine gun. Rod wasn’t driving the truck; Rod was the truck. . . . Rod and I planned to keep driving east until we were obliterated or we found my team.”