Excerpt: Captain Corelli's Mandolin

Corelli's Mandolin is the latest book I've read as I work through BBC's top 100 list. It's one of my favorites so far. Bernieres characters are those that could have been. They bring humanity to the cold historical facts and military atrocities of WWII. Far from glorifying war, it beautifies human frailty, love, and relationships mong the people living in Greece during Italian and German occupation.

"Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident."

"Italians always act without thinking, it's the glory and the downfall of your civilisation. A German plans a month in advance what his bowel movements will be at Easter, and the British plan everything in retrospect, so it always looks as though everything occurred as they intended. The French plan everything whilst appearing to be having a party, and the Spanish..., well, God knows."

"Just bring in the wood before she asks for it, and bring her a flower every time you come back from the field. If
it's cold put a shawl around her shoulders, and if it's hot, bring her a glass of water. It's simple. Women only nag when they feel unappreciated. Think of her as your mother who has fallen ill, and treat her accordingly."

"This is how we should be. We should care for each other more than we care for ideas, or else we will end up killing each other. Am I not right?"

“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don't blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being "in love", which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.”