Brief rhymed reviews for selected books

Othello by William Shakespeare

The white on black, the black on white,
Explosive mix it makes, so easy to ignite
By jealousy venom, injected drop by drop into suspicious mind,
And vicious fantasies force fatal spring of hate to wind.

And there you go ... flame of rage
Burns out lives, while getting out of its mental cage.

In black on white
Bard dared to write
About love, about race,
About trust and its disgrace.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

In truth Clare Quilty
Was clearly guilty,
While humble Humbert Humbert
Was fervently pervert.
The issue to talk of:
What told us Nabokov?

The Spanish Ballad (Raquel, the Jewess of Toledo)
by Lion Feuchtwanger

It's Spain's Toledo in Castile at times of Reconquest.
The pic of history entails both love and war along with Jewish people drama zest.
My fellow Jews, who are advisers to the kings - to you I issue my advice:
Please read this book and hide your daughters from king's eyes.
Or otherwise, so much to your surprise,
In vanity pursuit and lack of humbling you will find your own family demise.
// Действие романа происходит в столице Кастилии - городе Толедо
(Испания) во времена Реконкисты.
Эта книга является историческим произведением и любовным романом,
описывающим драму Еврейской Диаспоры в Испании тех лет. //

Мои соплеменники, Евреи, которые являются советниками царей - вот вам мой совет:
Пожалуйста, прочитайте эту книгу и держите своих дочерей подальше от
глаз местного властителя.
Или иначе в тщеславной погоне за успехом и при отсутствии смирения
Вы, к своему удивлению, разрушите основы своей собственный семьи.

Sonnets by William Shakespeare

Two passions dwell in poet's heart,
Two desperate obsessions are reflected through his art.
Those are two characters from Shakespeare's poetry triangle:
The dark skinned lady and the man of fair skin ...
His charm is gentle and she's quite a striking beauty queen.
Three lives, three loves in chains of jealousy are fatally entangled ...
Did two conspire secretly behind the poet's back,
Betraying him two times, which caused his soul to wreck ?

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Not lasting was this couple's tragic young romance ...
To taste the sweetness of each other love they lucky were just once.
No matter how, no matter what to tell us meant poet,
So many youngsters die too soon not having even that.

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Immortal Prince keeps coming back to make us look in depth:
What's better choice - to take the life "as is" or challenge it by death.
Each one finds answer on his own, decides it by thyself.
But if you want Shakespeare's advise - take "Hamlet" from bookshelf.

Amok by Stefan Zweig

The life is burnt in Amok with the fierce fire passion,
Emotions run on high, like live volcano at eruption.
The spark of human tragedy and pain of soul's despair,
Death, doom of suicide and fatal end of unrequited love affair.

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

Here's how the story lines eventually unravel:
Three men (at least or rather three and half) and one Le Femme Fatal
From Paris to Pamplona in escape from boredom for the leisure travel,
Where they all drink Pernod Absinthe until she meets the boy, who boldly fights the bull ...
Jake acts as liaison arranging Brett-bullfighter sex affair,
Cohn beats the shit off Spanish boy, Mike keeps on drinking and pretends that he's cool and doesn't care.

Hard to Be a God (The Noon Universe)
by Arkady Strugatsky, Boris Strugatsky

To those who read *that crappy SCI-FI jazz* in quest to run away
From grim reality of life - I must, in truth, to say:
This piece is not, my friends, at all your regular fantastic tale
It is much deeper, it was written to unveil
How cruel, ignorant, barbaric we still are - at large, as Human Race,
How progress strides its winding roads in slow, painful pace ...

Woe from Wit by Alexander Griboedov

So often and by many I've been told,
That talk is silver while the silence has been made of pure gold.
Like Chatsky I felt always free to speak my rebel's mind.
No wonder that indeed I am "the failing looser" in the eyes of all those quail Molchalin's kind.
Being "Chatsky" makes the life to be the real mess.
It's "Woe from Wit" when one just likes to serve without licking bosses's ass!
The story is so true; it doesn't matter anyway, I must admit and say,
Where, in what country, Chatskys and Molchalins really live - it happens be the same for any country: Russia, France and USA.

Fear by Stefan Zweig

How husband usually reacts when he discovers that his wife is cheating ?
Divorce, depression, suicide, the murder of the spouse, or just domestic cruel beating ?
The husband in this story is described to be more shrewd and innovative ...
What did he do ? - please find the answer by yourself - I hope to read this piece I gave you plenty of incentives ...

The burning secret by Stefan Zweig

The Jewish boy and his attractive mother were staying at health spa luxurious resort.
She quickly has been put *on notice* by the baron - seducer, womanizer, love affair's hunter figure ...
In order to approach the woman he befriends her son - just to advance the purpose of his *sport*.
The youngster is excited and accepts the baron's friendship with the vigor.

Then baron skillfully exploits devotion of young soul and gradually succeeds to charm the Jewish lady.
But soon the boy begins suspecting baron's ploy.
He realizes that the baron used his trust and friendship simply as decoy!
In being abandoned, hurt by sudden friend's betrayal, boy's naive childhood ends and he was able to foresee to which direction mother's love affair's heading ...

Intuitively youngster feels that her infatuation with the baron is really a dangerous mistake.
To stop his mother from her falling into baron's hands, the son decides to do whatever it will take.
Being suddenly matured, acting smart and wise,
He wins the battle, saving mother while depriving the seducer of his clever, shrewd and cunning effort's prize.

Two Captains by Veniamin Kaverin

Across the distance and across the time, across the chain of generations
They were alike, true captains both in duty and in love - defending friends and fighting enemies without doubt and without hesitations.
In spite of changes of regime and changes in the names of states, in spite of changes in the color of the banner,
Brave men remain to be brave men, kind loving heart remains to be kind loving heart and decent manner still remains to be unchanging decent manner.

The Snail on the Slope
by Arkady Strugatsky, Boris Strugatsky

In wilderness of vast unconquered forest, where nature still prevails,
Out of reach, and not controlled by techno style civilization,
Lies land with strange, mysterious society of powerful females,
Who do not need the help of men and use Parthenogenesis for sexless procreation.

The Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights

As sun comes down in the valley, bound by the Tigris and Eufrat,
Submerges into dark the capital of Muslim Khalifat.
The night descends on tired from the heat old city of Baghdad,
Where spears of high-rising minarets reflect moon's cold yet tender light.
The freshness of the breeze brings comfort and the leisure of delight,
Unfolding fairy tale, being told to Shahryar by smart Scheherazade.
Inspired by the need of her life saving plight,
Comes up the fantasy, entailed in every one (of "Thousand And One") Arabian Night.

Children of Captain Grant, Jules Verne

Lord Glenarvan, his new-wed wife, McNabb and Paganel agreed to go ahead
And sail on board the "Duncan" yacht, to help the kids of captain Grant to find their missing Dad.
This quest lead them around the Globe in search of Scottish sailor.
They risked their lives so many times, yet kept their will and valor.

They knew "Britannia" shipwrecked at 37th parallel of south latitude ...
From Glasgow "Duncan" put up sails to Chile's shore on route.
Across the Andes they moved eastward, through snow and ice on foot.
Though no trace of Grant was found there, they kept search attitude.

Via Atlantic they've sailed away to "down under" land,
The rugged wilderness - with jumpy kangaroo and snappy crocodiles,
In false belief that captain's search comes near happy end,
To no use they have traversed few hundred humid, hot Australian miles.

Being tricked by Ayrton, in his hope to seize the ship - with help of pirates band,
By hand of fate the travelers were sent to land on shore of distant New Zealand,
Just to be captured by the tribe of violent Maori ...
But don't worry, since we all know "a priori",

That in the middle of the book
To keep the readers stay on hook
No matter how things went bad
Main heroes never will be dead.

And here we go, in the near escape
Our heroes noticed their yacht, just anchored off the cape,
Where evil man has been disarmed and kept under arrest.
With all the troubles put aside, good guys took time to rest ...

And finally, just passing by, on hardly noticed island
James Grant, alive and healthy, suddenly was found.
The happy father reunited with his son and daughter,
And yacht has rushed back home to dock at peaceful Scottish harbor water.

This book was clearly my first admired boyhood's read,
And it has planted in my brains romantic wisdom's seed -
About courage and Jule Verne's good cause adventure creed,
Without selfish treasure hunting weed - that spoiling purpose, driven by the greed!

The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne

Good people together on island could thrive
Where one castaway just can hardly survive.
If we'll do the same on the planet named Earth,
It will be the place where living is worth.
The Humbling by Philip Roth

Cutting short of loud rumbling,
I am not happy with "The Humbling".
I am afraid that Philip Roth
Went too far in this book's plot:
(I'm so disturbed - that at this time
I've lost the urge for perfect rhyme )
Where health declined Hollywood's star ex
Acts as sex hungry Tyrannosaurus Rex,
Who's end of life obscurity
Is fought with ... promiscuity!
(Please don't beat me with a wrench
For my half-Russian broken French ).
Where "Cherchez la femme" for sex "Pa-De-Trua"
Gets arranged impromptu easy at the nearest local bar;
Where any girl from college soccer crew
Is an easy eager pick-up target for the lesbian one night stand screw ...
To say nothing but this book
Caused my bathroom run to puke.
I truly wish that the story of my verse
Is staged someplace away - perhaps in Parallel Universe ...
If not, - then progress of this book moral
Went far ahead from innocent enough "American Pastoral" !

// The only part of the book, which I could understand and appreciate is the very ending, when finally abandoned (third time in his life) and crushed to the ground, old man, not being able to apply his creativity and heart, being thrown back to loneliness for the rest of his days without any intellectual and emotional stimulation, loses the motivation to live.
Stanislavsky's dictum (that is hid scenic method) teaches about the important rule of the stage: “If you have a rifle, hanging on the wall in the first act, it should fire in the last act”.
But the whole world is indeed nothing but a one large stage ...
And some of us (besides books and plays) do have in our lives those rifles, hanging on the wall ... //