75 Books in 2015: January, Part IV

sweet-tooth_custom-7c876eb49ac3cd7399f73d1e4434d8eaa7d4dd36-s6-c30Sweet Tooth: A Novel by Ian McEwan (2012)

I really loved this. I don’t really have any better comments – I just really loved this story.

From Amazon.com: Cambridge student Serena Frome’s beauty and intelligence make her the ideal recruit for MI5. The year is 1972. The Cold War is far from over. England’s legendary intelligence agency is determined to manipulate the cultural conversation by funding writers whose politics align with those of the government. The operation is code named “Sweet Tooth.” Serena, a compulsive reader of novels, is the perfect candidate to infiltrate the literary circle of a promising young writer named Tom Haley. At first, she loves his stories. Then she begins to love the man. How long can she conceal her undercover life? To answer that question, Serena must abandon the first rule of espionage: trust no one. Once again, Ian McEwan’s mastery dazzles us in this superbly deft and witty story of betrayal and intrigue, love and the invented self.

51MSXyhBDEL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948 by Madeleine Albright (2012)

Okay, so the subtitle is a little misleading. Hardly “A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948,” I’d describe this as “A Short History of World War II from the Czech Viewpoint.” I was not expecting such a dense history when I downloaded this and likely would have abandoned it if I hadn’t decided to go with the audio version. Not because it was bad – on the contrary, I quite enjoyed it – but because I wasn’t really looking to read a history of WWII and wouldn’t personally qualify this as a memoir.

All that being said, I liked this book. The pre-war section was extremely interesting, as much of what I’ve read and learned in school glosses over the early years in Czechoslovakia and Poland to focus on later battles and growing atrocities. The personal stories that are included (and there were many) was extremely interesting and did add a bit of a more personal touch to the story.

From Amazon.com: From former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright comes a moving and thoughtful memoir of her formative years in Czechoslovakia during the tumult of Nazi occupation, World War II, fascism, and the onset of the Cold War. An intensely personal journey into the past that offers vital lessons for the future, Prague Winter combines the intimacy of an autobiography with the drama of an exciting and well-told story—all underpinned by the gravity and intelligence of a serious work of history. The result is a highly readable and incisive work filled with tragedy and triumph, a resonant narrative informed by Albright’s remarkable life experience and her characteristic candor in speaking hard truths.

Books read – 15
Pages read – 3450
Pages listened to – 1264
Total pages – 4714


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