After reading this and watching the movie, I really don't get the hype. It's a decent story, which wasn't converted very well into movie form, if you...moreAfter reading this and watching the movie, I really don't get the hype. It's a decent story, which wasn't converted very well into movie form, if you ask me. Also, people are acting like it's the first story/film to deal with something like this. Not even close.(less)
Like every other American, I learned about Lincoln in school. In reality, none us of really learned about Lincoln in school. We learned basic bullet p...moreLike every other American, I learned about Lincoln in school. In reality, none us of really learned about Lincoln in school. We learned basic bullet points: He was born in a log cabin; he freed the slaves; he was assassinated. And were maybe made to memorize the Gettysburg Address.
As an adult, this baffles me. This Kentucky born, self-educated, rail splitter turned poetic President was not a simple man. I won't get into that, or else I'd be here all day.
My true fascination with Lincoln's life really came about in the past few years. I don't know, maybe it was the many, many documentaries I watched. But it felt like while researching every kind of political figure, world leader, or any other person who made a mark, I always came back to Lincoln. Maybe because he wasn't some great genius and that he really was just a man.
Lincoln only wanted to remembered for one great thing before he left this earth. I think the way we've remembered him and held him up on a pedestal - as almost a mythological figure - is surely humbling him, wherever he is.
This book is the perfect starting point to anyone wanting to learn about the real Lincoln. Not the Lincoln we learned about in elementary school or about the mythological saint-like figure America has made him out to be, but the man.(less)
I wouldn't call this a review post, mainly because I doubt I'd be able to write a suitable one. However, I couldn't just let it pass without writing s...moreI wouldn't call this a review post, mainly because I doubt I'd be able to write a suitable one. However, I couldn't just let it pass without writing something about the book that will most likely end up being one of my all time favorites.
Written in the 1910s, but not released until 1971, after the author's death, Maurice is an Edwardian story about love, class, and finding oneself. The title character is a young man who comes to understand that he is homosexual. We see him through two relationships: first with his schoolmate Clive, who unfortunately goes into the closet and breaks Maurice's heart; second, with Alec, a games keeper who works on Clive's estate.
The novel was just beautifully written. Some chapters, such as Maurice and Clive's breakup, and the cricket match, were masterpieces.
I mean, really, the themes are the same in a lot of romantic-type novels, but of course it's different in this case. The thing that struck me the most was the fact that two gay men could have a happily ever after. That's it. No consequences, no nothing. Just a beautiful, romantic ending. And that was wonderful.
If you plan on reading this, or if you've already read it, I highly suggest watching the 1987 Merchant Ivory film (psst, it's on youtube). I watched it the day after I finished the novel and it just completed the experience for me. Some scenes, such as the ending, became even more beautiful with the visual. And, if I may get superficial for a moment, it's got a very nice-looking, young Rupert Graves. That's a bonus.(less)
A man is walking home one night. He feels a tap on his shoulder. It's a woman dressed in white. She asks for help in getting far away. Once he has her...moreA man is walking home one night. He feels a tap on his shoulder. It's a woman dressed in white. She asks for help in getting far away. Once he has her safely in a carriage and she is off, he finds out this woman has escaped from an Asylum.
Got your attention?
This book was darn good. The Woman in White set the format of what a great mystery thriller should be and it's no wonder. It was perfect.
This lengthy novel was told from the point of view - in the form of written testimonies - from different people who were both knowing and unknowingly involved in the 'secret'. Instead of this hindering the flow of the story, it enhanced it. Each narrative picked up where the last one left off and also filling in the holes the last narrative left.
There were a few times in reading where I thought the story was slacking, but what I failed to realize at the time was Collins was masterfully setting up for the next shocking event. When I hit these, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. Heck, I felt like I was right there viewing it in person.
The Woman in White also showed the limits that women had in the 19th century, especially once they were married. It's almost sickening at some points.
Marian Holcombe was a fascinating character, one of the best in literature. One thing I didn't understand is why her narrative was told through journal entries while everyone else's was told through written testimony, even by those who couldn't even write! Marian was probably the most clever person in this cast of characters, so I just don't get it.
I was never scared at any point, but I have read that some people have been. The Woman in White I did find very thrilling. Lots of shady people. Who was a spy? Was someone unknowingly being followed? Secret identities. Cleverly woven secrets. Brilliant!
If you love Victorian literature or mystery thrillers and have not read The Woman in White, for shame! I highly recommend it.(less)
Read for the first time this well-loved novel that I liked well enough.
This is a beautiful story with beautiful descriptions of a manor with a musica...moreRead for the first time this well-loved novel that I liked well enough.
This is a beautiful story with beautiful descriptions of a manor with a musical sounding name. Manderley. Just rolls right off the tongue, doesn't it?
I admit I did not become fully engrossed until about halfway through. Right along the fancy dress ball did I start not reading fast enough. Before that I was just enjoying the seemingly flawless writing style, but now we were cooking!
I had seen the old Hitchcock film years ago, so unfortunately, the mystery was gone. I kept picturing Laurence Olivier as Maxim while reading - I am not complaining! However, knowing what happened did not make it any less intense. I found myself holding my breath at some points and I stopped to ask myself, "Why?" du Maurier is no doubt a master at suspense!
I've never read The Robber Bridegroom, which inspired this work. From what I've read via summary: The Robber Bridegroom lures three different maidens...moreI've never read The Robber Bridegroom, which inspired this work. From what I've read via summary: The Robber Bridegroom lures three different maidens and 'devours' them, whatever that means. In Atwood's contemporary novel The Robber Bride, she introduces the character of Zenia, who purposely ruins the lives of three friends: Tony, Charis and Roz. Among other things, she tries (and sometimes succeeds) in taking their men.
The way the novel was told was interesting (and sometimes long-winded). We see through the eyes of Tony, Charis and Roz, but never through Zenia's. She remains a mystery until the end.
The novels starts out on the day the three friends see Zenia after years (and thinking that the woman is dead and cremated). We see that day through each of the three women's eyes, what they did leading up to, etc. Then, we find out each of the three women's history with Zenia, how she intertwined herself into each of their lives.
What was masterfully done, is that as the friends (separately) confront Zenia at the end, we still don't know about the woman. We don't know what she's said was true or what was made up. She's an enigma, a sociopath, a compulsive liar. There was absolutely nothing good about the woman.
The characters of Tony, Charis and Roz are interesting. They are all completely different people, but are united because of Zenia. Otherwise, they might never have been friends. They meet often for lunch, having formed a support group of sorts.
They are a bunch of side characters, but they're not as fleshed out. Basically, it's the story of four women. It's about relationships between women, the good, the bad, and the ugly. The Robber Bride is a fascinating portrayal of how one person can come into our lives and completely turn it upside down. It's a great character-driven story. At first, I didn't know if it was going to be worth it, but as I got into the women's backgrounds with Zenia, I became engrossed. I couldn't believe the character of Zenia. I hope I never come across a Zenia in my life.(less)
This was one of the most depressing books I have ever read. There was no bright moment in sight. Nowhere to 'rest your eyes' so to speak, from deep da...moreThis was one of the most depressing books I have ever read. There was no bright moment in sight. Nowhere to 'rest your eyes' so to speak, from deep darkness.
Lily Bart is one of the most tragic heroines in literature. There was absolutely no way of a happy ending for her. She was doomed from the start. She wanted a life that never really belonged to her. She couldn't stand the thought of 'lowering' herself to anything less than the upper class, and that led to her downfall. Bart was naive and vain and sometimes just downright stupid. She sacrificed everything instead of taking that one happy opportunity that was right in front of her face.
The House of Mirth shows the cruelty of the upper class New York society at the beginning of the 20th century better than any non-fiction book could. Wharton crafted a beautifully tragic story showing that the upper class isn't what it's cracked up to be. She tore off the blinds and shows us the vile and ugliness.
I need to read a lighthearted book after reading this. I became almost depressed when I finished it.(less)