This is one of my favorite books because the heroine is relatable. Okay, it's one of my...moreHow many damn times can I READ this book?
A lot. Several. Many.
This is one of my favorite books because the heroine is relatable. Okay, it's one of my favorite books for many reasons including the humor, the style, the glimpse of a very particular place and time, the dialogue, the story, the romance, and the depth and range of characters peopling it.
But Elizabeth Bennet is really relatable. No kidding. She's smart and clever, she is cautious without being unsocial and sarcastic without ever being rude. She is firm in her opinions and information, but comes clean when she realizes that she has made mistakes. Like a real person, Miss Bennet gets embarrassed and irritated and flirty and troubled and joyful and all manner of other emotions that a lot of well-read authors seem to forget that characters ought to have. And I like Elizabeth Bennet, too, because (and don't think I'm being petty when I say this) she is not beautiful.
Oh, she's not an ug-o or whathaveyou; she looks like an average, sometimes plain girl. Brown hair, brown eyes, average figure, not particularly tall and not short. And none of the men who waft in or out of her life in a romantic or potentially-romantic way fall in love with her because she is pretty. That's sort of important to me. Especially in a romance. Or a Romance. I've never found it particularly stimulating to hear a love song or read a book or see a movie where the only thing important about a girl is how she looks. At least initially. Seriously, all the songs are about how beautiful the girl's eyes are or her hair or her skin or her badonk-a-donk. It's really rare to hear one that goes "I think you're smart and you make me laugh..." Maybe it's because that would be hard to rhyme.
And I realize this is a common complaint from unattractive girls. I own it: not a pretty girl, me. But the pretty girls tend to whine about this sort of going-on, too: "Oh! Why can't someone love me for who I am? Arg-arg! Why can't they see I'm more than a perfect body and long hair?! Arg-arg!" They all say. Or something like it. So maybe there's something to it.
Whatever. I love this book. I'm re-reading it again today. I would recommend this book to anyone who is fond of Regency-era novels. And other folks, too. I don't want to get exclusive, or anything. (less)
This is probably my favorite of the works of Jane Austin. It's a love story as well as a comedy of manners (like all her other novels,) but this story...moreThis is probably my favorite of the works of Jane Austin. It's a love story as well as a comedy of manners (like all her other novels,) but this story is an adult love story, where people have messed-up and chosen poorly and are pretty much resigned to it, though perfectly willing to forgive and hope. Like adults. The protagonist is almost thirty (ancient of days for the time and unheard of for a heroine) and part of a falling aristocracy who was being replaced by the middle-class who were growing richer and officers of the Navy and Army who were growing in prominence thanks to the war. Well generally. Anne's family in specific were falling mostly due to the extravagance, vanity and buffoonery of her father and older sister.
Anyhoo, this is the last book Jane finished before she died, and, in my opinion, is an excellent example of an author's growth throughout their career.
Among Jane Austen's other heroines, Fanny Price is unique. While several of Ms. Austen’s leading ladies have been praised for their obvious spunk (rel...moreAmong Jane Austen's other heroines, Fanny Price is unique. While several of Ms. Austen’s leading ladies have been praised for their obvious spunk (relative to the time in which the books were written), sometimes Fanny sort of... pales. She is the classic "poor cousin" raised by exceptionally wealthy relatives. She grows up very good but very quiet, and with a morality and sense of right that is rigid as iron. She is kind and sweet and very helpful, her only wish is to never be ungrateful, and her only secret wish is to be loved and truly important to someone eventually. But, as stated before, she has an unflinching notion of right and wrong.
While I find more entertainment from most of Jane Austen's books, I greatly admire Fanny Price. I've heard (and read) commentary on Mansfield Park where Fanny comes of pretty badly as timid and weak. But, really, I think she's one of the bravest characters in 19th century literature. When she comes up against problems or issues where there is pressure on her from all sides to give in, she doesn't. Even though those pressuring her are her "betters" and people to whom she owes everything and is AWARE of owing everything. She doesn't wish to marry the charming, very rich fop because she thinks he is a jerk. Decorum dictates that she can not share the reason WHY she thinks he is a jerk, so she is attacked from all sides by people who think she is stubborn and ungrateful for not marrying the guy.... and yet she is firm. She is hurt and bleeds and bends but she never breaks. And that is pretty admirable.
Not a bad novel. I love all of Austen's stuff pretty much unconditionally, though, so I could be called biased. I would recommend this book to anyone who has read (and enjoyed) anything else that either Jane Austen or any of the Brontes wrote. (less)
This is one of my favorite books. Usually my favorites fall into the "weird and beautiful" category; this one is just beautiful. So beautiful, in fact...moreThis is one of my favorite books. Usually my favorites fall into the "weird and beautiful" category; this one is just beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that it actually makes my heart flutter. Imagine that.
I understand there was some minor backlash from the few modern geishas left in Japan over how Arthur Golden portrayed a few of the traditions of the geisha, but, when I went and did a little research on my own, I saw that the complaints were not about the practices or historical fact but of semantics. So I don't let the small controversy bother me.
This is, for all intents and purposes, simply an historical romance. But it paints such a clear and highly detailed picture of a specific time and place that one can not help but be in awe of it. While the author DID have help from actual former geishas who are now in their eighties, the main character is a total invention; but the book reads as though a real flesh-and-blood woman is dictating it. A lovely and amazing achievement from a first time writer who is neither old nor Japanese nor a woman.
While modern readers might be a little squicked over the main crux of the love story itself, when taken into perspective and the history is taken into account, I never had a single problem with it. In fact, the highly perfect painting of the place and time sucked me in so thoroughly while I was reading, it didn't even occur to me to be even a little bothered by the relationship until well after the first time I read the book.
As with most other books that were made into movies, I didn't see this one. I watched the first half-hour and gave up. So much is left out and miss-represented and changed. I am not at all surprised the move crashed and burned at the box office. I mean, it would really only appeal to people who had read the book, and the movie was so altered from the book that it alienated the very people it was intended for. Irritating.
The book is good, though. Stick to the book. (less)
Yet another one of Margaret Atwood's well-written, terrifying, near-future "sci-fi" tales that serve, at least for me, as less of a novel and more of...moreYet another one of Margaret Atwood's well-written, terrifying, near-future "sci-fi" tales that serve, at least for me, as less of a novel and more of a terrible warning of where humanity could be taking itself very soon if we don't all wake the hell up. When read at the same time as Oryx and Crake, The Handmaid's Tale is a chilling glimpse of what happens when selfishness and short-sightedness meet in the human condition.
And this book has everything a Terrible Warning about out future ought to have: a harsh class system, religion gone amuck and science just gone, dwindling resources, a hopeless rebellion.... Skip the movie until after you read the book, because it's not quite right, as many movies derived from books tend to be. (less)
I'm re-reading this book for the eleventy-billionth time. I love this book. I hate this book. It's so very sad and funny. If I'm not openly weeping by...moreI'm re-reading this book for the eleventy-billionth time. I love this book. I hate this book. It's so very sad and funny. If I'm not openly weeping by the time I get to where Yankle has written on his ceiling over his bed that he loves Brod (so he can remember because, at that point, he is so very old), then... well I have no analogy because it has never happened. It's not just the story-in-the-story that gets me, it's all of the layers; Alex's letters to Jonathan, the search for Trachimbrod, all of it. Well written and engaging. Hilarious and shocking. It's a good story along with being technically magnificent.
And I hate this book. Because the author was, like, twelve when he wrote it. No, I tell a lie. He was in his twenties. But it was his EARLY twenties. Where most people are inspired by prodigies, I tend to be disheartened by them. Like the unnatural success of people so much younger than me means I will never accomplish anything. By the time Mozart was my age he was dead. He'd written operas and sonatas and every other sort of magnificence since he was four years old. I can't even manage to make it down to the gym on a regular basis. So when I read THIS book, Everything Is Illuminated, and laughed and cried and all that sort of thing I had to look up the author. Huge mistake. His youthful genius is, of course, proof that I am not a genius.
I never said it had to make sense.
Anyway: reading this one again. I would recommend it to almost anyone. (less)
This is the only book I have read, so far, which has incited me to violence. At a certain point near the end (I won't say what) I actually screamed wi...moreThis is the only book I have read, so far, which has incited me to violence. At a certain point near the end (I won't say what) I actually screamed with frustration and hurled the book across the room, exclaiming: "Are you freaking KIDDING me?!?"
Then I picked the book back up and finished reading it.
This book is a travel log and romance set against the last days of The Civil War in the deep south. The story is tight, small, and highly detailed; very well-written. And the way it was written is like almost nothing else I have ever seen. There isn't any dialog. Oh, people talk to one another, but it's more like the dialog is being remembered and comes up as thoughts.
I loved the imagery throughout the novel as well as the small characters Inman (one-third of the love-story participants) meets on his long walk back home to Cold Mountain from the war. It is a slightly longer than average novel, but worth the time.
I never saw the movie. I'm fond enough of the book that I don't think I ever will. That happens a lot with me. Such is life. (less)
I like this book. I have an affinity for lists and for music and this book satisfies both. I felt like I knew these characters, and could draw direct...moreI like this book. I have an affinity for lists and for music and this book satisfies both. I felt like I knew these characters, and could draw direct relations between them and peopl whio were in my life in REAL life at the time. And now, too, I suppose. It is a fine example of the late-twenties/early-thirties-exestantial-and/or panick-y-serach-for-self novel. Long genre name, but what can you do.
Better than the movie. Good bus-or-train book.(less)