A collection of stories of Mary Poppins and the Banks children in the park, not tied to any specific part of the timeline of the other books. I felt a...moreA collection of stories of Mary Poppins and the Banks children in the park, not tied to any specific part of the timeline of the other books. I felt a little unevenly about the stories, loving some of them to bits (like the one where the storybook boys came to life) and being less thrilled about some of the others, but overall it was very enjoyable, though not one of my favourites among the books.(less)
I don't really have the words to describe the experience of reading this book, only that it was amazing. Let more capable people describe it if they c...moreI don't really have the words to describe the experience of reading this book, only that it was amazing. Let more capable people describe it if they can. I can only say I completely enjoyed the ride it took me on. It was a challenging read, took me a few months to finish, because I had to be in the right mood and right set of mind to be able to dive right in and follow the original and fantastic way in which it was written and the fireworks of thoughts, images, words and events it's filled with. But when I was in the right mood, I loved reading it, and let nobody say that an unusually written, original and intelligent classic can't be devastatingly entertaining at the same time. I do suppose I'll have to try more of Virginia Woolf's books now - though probably slowly as I read this one, letting them take their time!(less)
An odd little story; I loved it in a way, yet don't quite know what to think of it. It's a strange combination of a ghost story and a rather realistic...moreAn odd little story; I loved it in a way, yet don't quite know what to think of it. It's a strange combination of a ghost story and a rather realistic-seeming story from a small village and a guy with very concrete dreams that are bigger than can be managed. It has a strong atmosphere and a chilling storyline, and I read it almost in one go. There's something about Storm's style and his characters that I absolutely adored, so hopefully this will not be the only story of his that I read.(less)
Ihastuttavia tarinoita ja jumalaista kuvitusta. Harmittaa tosin, että ainakin Pähkinänsärkijä ja Hiirikuningas on lyhennetty verrattuna siihen versioo...moreIhastuttavia tarinoita ja jumalaista kuvitusta. Harmittaa tosin, että ainakin Pähkinänsärkijä ja Hiirikuningas on lyhennetty verrattuna siihen versioon jonka muistan.(less)
I loved this to bits and found it the most fascinating non-history book I've read in ages (that should probably teach me to mostly stick to classics,...moreI loved this to bits and found it the most fascinating non-history book I've read in ages (that should probably teach me to mostly stick to classics, because that's what I seem to enjoy reading, whereas most modern literature is a chore to me). My only issue is that I didn't really like the way the ending played out, but I'd probably need to see the play performed to find out how it feels then. Too bad Schiller is not trendy in my country these days.(less)
Viehättävä, vanhan ajan tarina, jossa on ihanan eloisia hahmoja. Anni Swanin kirjoitustyyli on miellyttävää lukea ja tunnelmallista, mutta tässä vaihe...moreViehättävä, vanhan ajan tarina, jossa on ihanan eloisia hahmoja. Anni Swanin kirjoitustyyli on miellyttävää lukea ja tunnelmallista, mutta tässä vaiheessa hänen taidossaan kertoa tarina oli vielä hiomista. Turhan usein tässä kirjassa vain selostetaan tapahtumasarjoja jotka olisivat henkilöiden kehityksen ym. kannalta todella tärkeitä ja jotka pitäisi kuvailla ihan kunnolla, ja taas kuvaillaan tarkasti jokseenkin ikävystyttäviä tapahtumia (tai ehkä poikaviikarien kujeet vain eivät ole koskaan jaksaneet innostaa minua). Loppu on kyllä niin ihana, että annan paljon anteeksi, vaikka varmasti minua voidaankin sen tähden syyttää melkoisesta sentimentaalisuudesta.(less)
I finished it! It seems like an achievement. Yet I did enjoy a lot of it, despite myself. It's a very strange book to anyone used to newer novels (ie....moreI finished it! It seems like an achievement. Yet I did enjoy a lot of it, despite myself. It's a very strange book to anyone used to newer novels (ie. pretty much all of us, unless there are many people out there who've never read anything newer than 18th century). The plot doesn't properly kick in until 200 pages into it, the last 200 pages are a variation of very tedious and unnecessary plot developments and scenery descriptions interspersed with very vivid and exciting chapters; some of the suspense comes simply from withholding information from readers though it's known to the viewpoint character; most characters lack common sense or character development; there are descriptions of nature and scenery literally several pages long, and there's a lot of second-rate poetry which serves no particular purpose except to show that her heroine is very refined and artistic.
Yet I enjoyed it. It appeals to my sense of romanticism and my need for escapism, I love the beauty of the writing and the atmosphere, I love the thrills and the sentimentalism though I recognise how annoyingly the plot is constructed and how impossibly exaggerated the emotions are, most of them without really leaving a trace on you; there is still something about the book that is gripping, and I can almost understand why such a sensible man as Henry Tilney finished it in two days, even if I took ten months or so.
I've previously read Radcliffe's The Romance of the Forest, and overall I liked that one better. It's shorter, and though shorter is not necessarily better, in this case it meant that there are somewhat fewer unnecessary scenery descriptions and the plot is much tighter. Also, the characters in that one were more fun. I actually have to say the characters in Udolpho are slightly better developed, to the extent you can speak of character development with Radcliffe; Emily in particular is a somewhat more multi-faceted character than Adeline was, actually having some flaws which even the narration acknowledges, mainly being too easily led astray by her sentiments. But still, Adeline was slightly tougher and therefore more fun, and especially her love interest was infinitely more tolerable than Emily's. (view spoiler)[I'm not saying Theodore had much depth or character development, but at least he wasn't useless and had an important role in the plot part of the story, and he did something to deserve Adeline's love and prove his willingness to sacrifice something for her. All Valancourt does is talk, pace about and brood and demand Emily to succumb to whatever his feelings are at the moment, scarcely having any respect for hers even though he's supposed to love her so much. I never liked him one bit, and the whole 672 pages I read didn't make me like him. Another reviewer was very right to characterise him as a precursor to Edward Cullen minus the sparkling and the bloodsucking; now I know exactly why I disliked him so much. (hide spoiler)]
Montoni was a delicious villain, especially because he was so believable. He should have been used more than he was at the end of the book.
I think after this one it will be a while before I pick up another Radcliffe book, but at some point I'll probably be tempted to read one, nevertheless.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I'm absolutely in love with this. I had read it before, many years ago, and enjoyed it then, but now it gripped me and shook me and made me love it an...moreI'm absolutely in love with this. I had read it before, many years ago, and enjoyed it then, but now it gripped me and shook me and made me love it and even made me cry with its beauty. I want to see it performed live - it's beautiful as a text but I'm sure it will be much more beautiful as a stage performance. As long as it's a good performance, and not something so typical of today's theatre where they want to uglify and banalize everything. This play mustn't have any such sacrilege committed to it. I love the story, the characters, the language, everything.(less)
A strange, haunting book about adolescence and growing up, and about the enchantment and madness of spending your life on supposedly grandiose but ult...moreA strange, haunting book about adolescence and growing up, and about the enchantment and madness of spending your life on supposedly grandiose but ultimately self-absorbed romantic quests at the expense of your happiness and especially that of other people.
I must say I did not like the character of Meaulnes at all. I think he's obnoxious, self-absorbed and empty, and there's no reason for everyone to be worshipping him as much as they do. It didn't detract my enjoyment of this book, though, because there are such people in real life, especially at that age it's often those who don't deserve it who get everyone's worship, and I found it fascinating to observe the effects of Meaulnes's character on everyone around him, and the results of his quest.
I liked François, the narrator. He's Meaulnes's complete opposite: selfless, unpretentious, doesn't call attention to himself and devotes himself to other people's happiness rather than his own. I found something deeply touching and sympathetic about this withdrawn boy who is so blindly devoted to the undeserving Meaulnes, quietly worshipful of the more deserving Yvonne, and generally has much more regard for the stories of everyone else than his own. It contrasted wonderfully with Meaulnes's attitude, and gave the book a dimension it would not have if it had only been a story of Meaulnes. In the latter case I'd probably have thrown it at a wall at some point, because Meaulnes on his own is annoying. Also, I don't often like first-person narration, but because the first-person narrator was the completely unselfish and un-self-absorbed François rather than the typical "Oh, woe is me!" first-person narrator, I found this very refreshing.
I liked the stories of a lot of the minor characters in this book - Yvonne, Franz, Valentine, I even felt quite sympathetic towards Jasmin Delouche whom Meaulnes snubs so much for no reason. I would have liked to know more about how the final resolution of the story came about, though, more about what happened in the time passed in between and how these characters had changed.
I read the book in its original French - I suspect you should do this if you possibly can. In the early part it took me quite some time to get into the story, but it may have been largely because then my French reading was a bit rusty and I had to focus more on understanding. As I progressed I became able to just read without thinking about it, and found it quite engrossing.(less)
You know, I don't care what it possibly says about my patheticness and my fully 18th/19th century romanticism; even with the flaws of the book, I love...moreYou know, I don't care what it possibly says about my patheticness and my fully 18th/19th century romanticism; even with the flaws of the book, I love it. The language is so beautiful, and after so much hyper-realist cynicism that we're offered nowadays in literature, I just love diving into a world of such high and passionate emotions and no restraint in expressing them and feeling them to the bottom. Certainly I find Werther to be annoying at times, and Lotte not enough of a person to like her, and some passages make me roll my eyes, but I still love it. Goethe has a way of writing out emotions so forcefully that I'm fully swept into it. Also so that when reading the last parts, I felt deeply unsettled by how much pain this passion created and how wrong it all could go.(less)