Holy cow. I never expected to like this series as much as I do. It's predictable, absurd, and downright ridiculous. But it's amazingly satisfying and...moreHoly cow. I never expected to like this series as much as I do. It's predictable, absurd, and downright ridiculous. But it's amazingly satisfying and fun! I was blown away by the directions Burroughs chose to go, and impressed by John Carter's continuity no matter the cost.
I was impressed with this book. I wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did, especially considering the naked chick on the cover ;)
A couple of thin...moreI was impressed with this book. I wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did, especially considering the naked chick on the cover ;)
A couple of things surprised me. I actually enjoyed reading when a solution to a problem would simply appear, and I thought it was funny how he so easily made his way up in each culture he encountered. It's incredibly sexist and racist, and specist (?), but it works.
I think because of the time period it was written in, and the character's history, you accept things like easy solutions and extreme situations.
I also think I accepted the actions of John Carter more because of a few phrases he used. One time he said something like that he doesn't pride himself in being a noble man; his body and brain practically make the right decisions for him before he even has a chance to decide. That right there tells me the reason he does everything he does. And I think if we were to let ourselves do that now, we'd probably make a lot of the same decisions--seemingly sexist/racist, or not.
Overall, this was a fun read. I'll be honest, I was surprised by how funny it was. It's not outright jokes and humor--it's a little more dry. It's more situational humor. Burroughs may not have even meant for it to be funny, but it's funny now :)(less)
I thought the first half of this book was pretty interesting. It held my attention for about a week or two. But for the last section, I don't feel lik...moreI thought the first half of this book was pretty interesting. It held my attention for about a week or two. But for the last section, I don't feel like it's adding anything new. I'm reviewing it now, even though I still have a few chapters left.
I really liked a handful of quotes and sections, which I think I'll reference and use later. I particularly enjoyed how Screwtape fully understands God's power and position. He later refutes that he does, but when he originally states it, that was probably my favorite part.
Here are a few of the passages I bookmarked; I felt each of one these on a very personal and/or guilty level. This book had a particular way of backwardly reinforcing the validity of God, at the same time as making me feel incredibly guilty for falling prey to all the traps:
"It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their monds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out."
"One must face the fact that all the talk about His love for men, and His service being perfect freedom, is not (as one would gladly believe) mere propaganda, but an appalling truth. He really DOES want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself--creatures whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like His own, not because He has absorbed them but because their wills freely conform to His. We want cattle who can finally become food; He wants servants who can finally become sons. we want to suck in, He wants to give out. We are empty and would be filled; He is full and flows over. Our war aim is a world in which Our Father Below has drawn all other being into himself; the Enemy wants a world full of being united to Him but still distinct."
"He can be taught to enjoy kneeling beside the grocer on Sunday just because he remembers that the grocer could not possibly understand the urbane and mocking world which he inhabited on Saturday evening; and contrariwise, to enjoy the bawdy and blasphemy over the coffee with these admirable friends all the more because he is aware of a 'deeper', 'spritual' world within him which they cannot understand. You see the idea--the worldly friends touch him on one side and the grocer on the other, and he is the complete, balanced, complex man who sees round them all. Thus, while being permanently treacherous to at least tow sets of people, he will feel, instead of shame, a continual undercurrent of self-satisfaction."
Speaking on a "vague, though uneasy, feeling that he hasn't been doing very well lately": "This time uneasiness needs careful handling. If it gets too strong, it may wake him up and spoil the whole game. On the other hand, if you suppress it entirely--which, by the by, the Enemy will probably not allow you to do--we lose an element in the situation which can be turned to good account. If such a feeling is allowed to live, but not allowed to become irresistible and flower into real repentance, it has one invaluable tendency. It increases the patient's reluctance to think about the Enemy. All humans at nearly all times have some such reluctance; but when thinking of him involves facing and intensifying a whole vague cloud of half-conscious guilt, this reluctance is increased tenfold. They hate every idea that suggests Him, just as men in financial embarrassment hate the very sight of a pass-book. In this state, your patient will not omit, but he will increasingly dislike, his religious duties. He will think about them as little as he feels he decently can beforehand, and forget them as soon as possible when they are over. A few weeks ago youh ad to TEMPT him to unreality and inattention in his prayers; but now you will find him opening his arms to you and almost begging you to distract his purpose and benumb his heart. He will WANT his prayers to be unreal, for he will dread nothing so much as effective contact with the Enemy. His aim will be to let sleeping worms lie."(less)
All I could think the whole time was, "Have I read this before?" So much like Pride and Prejudice, and even like the beginning of Emma so far. Maybe I...moreAll I could think the whole time was, "Have I read this before?" So much like Pride and Prejudice, and even like the beginning of Emma so far. Maybe I'm not sensitive enough to discern the subtleties? I was liking it in the beginning, getting to know the characters, discovering Marianne wasn't going to be with Willoughby, and that Elinor was losing her "true love." But it felt like it dragged on in the middle. There was waaay too much detail about the depression Marianne fell into for Willoughby. I liked Pride and Prejudice. Why didn't I like this one? I wonder if I went back and read P and P again, if I'd like it a second time... I sort of feel like I've discovered what Jane Austen's style is like, and now I've read them all. I think I'll give Emma a chance and keep reading though... I didn't feel like anything was a shock, even the end when Edward really isn't married, I feel like I already knew. Maybe I've seen the movie and just can't remember.
I wish Edward would have been explained better. And why Elinor likes him. I didn't even know she liked him until like half way through, and then it was hard to believe she cared. It ended with a happy ending, but not the happy ending it could have been if we would have REALLY seen Elinor suffering. She would have been fine without him. She was ready to move on.
I don't know if it was just this book, or if I'm really beginning to be turned off by Jane Austen, but it really started to get on my nerves how often Austen doesn't specify which "she" she's talking about. Or which "Miss Whoever." She'll bring up a character you've never met before and talk about them as if you should know who they are, and then explain who they are a page later. Normally I love the style from this time period, but there seemed to be a lot of talking about nothing in this book. (less)
Hm... Emma. I dislike her. I grew to like the story. I expect that this is how it was supposed to be, but I immediately was fond of Mr. Knightley. And...moreHm... Emma. I dislike her. I grew to like the story. I expect that this is how it was supposed to be, but I immediately was fond of Mr. Knightley. And throughout the entire book was looking out for his welfare. Even though Emma admits she is self-centered, and Austen intends for her to be that way, I still have a hard time sympathizing with her. I'm happy that Mr. Knightley ends up happy, but to be honest, I don't think Emma deserves him. He must see a goodness in her that the book doesn't fully portray.
This book, more than the other two Austen books I've read so far, has a bigger statement on rank. Emma is overly concerned with each of her friends' rank and status in the society they keep. She ruins people's dreams and lives just because they have less money or less "elegance," as she puts it. Emma has a sense of propriety that is far stricter that everyone else's around her, she seems to just come off as a snob a lot of times. I'm glad that Mr. Knightley is there to continue to guide her in the right direction.
The first part of the book was a little dull, but it got more interesting as the chapters progressed. Secret engagements and uncouth men seem to be Austen's fallback. I guess what the end result is going to be simply because I can expect a certain storyline from Austen now. Although, making Mr. Churchill actually AGREEABLE was a change.
I believe I see the statement Austen was trying to make in writing Emma. Emma is a judgemental person. We see her faults and we see her strengths through her thoughts. We can see her misjudgement of others and wish for her to act more on the accepting feelings she also has.
This book was better than Sense and Sensibility to me. I enjoyed reading about respectable men for a change. It seemed the women were more deplorable than the men in Emma. Quite a change, it seems.
I find myself a little let down in general by Jane Austen (with the exception of Pride and Prejudice--but I'm inclined to rethink my positive review of that book now that I realize it wasn't such a unique gem). Maybe it's that I've always heard women rave about how perfectly they relate to Austen's characters, or how amazing Darcy sounds, or how amazing Mr. Knightley sounds. I find her work lacking. I'm constantly wanting more character development and less "oh the weather is dreadful." I have a very hard time believing the love stories in her books. I thought maybe it's just an effect of the time-period--that no one gets to know each other very well before they're "in love." So I tried watching the movies to see if actors could bring the stories to life for me a little more. Nope. All they did was accentuate the fact that these are a bunch of silly girls finding fancy with any man they encounter. Not to mention the poor casting...
I WANT to like these books. I want to be swept away by the love stories. I'm not so love-hungry that I need them to be fairy-tales either. I would be fine if they were everyday normal I-love-yous. But they are neither.
I want to believe in the transformations the characters supposedly go through. I want to believe that Emma learns from her mistakes, but I just don't see that happening in her life as it's been presented. With most books, I feel like the author creates a character--developes and comes to know that character. Then they write the story. They write the events that occur to that character. I don't feel like this is the case with Austen (so far). Maybe that's just an issue I have--maybe I prefer the author to fill me in on the character rather than making up the bulk of their personality on my own.
I wish Austen would write about a married woman, or a working woman. Has she done that? I want to read a book by her about a woman who isn't going to end up happily hitched in the end despite the hiccups. Is that possible? Maybe I just don't like her single-rich-lady-lives-happily-ever-after-with-her-brooding/shy-husband books.
I find myself drawn to the books/stories even though I feel them lacking. I want MORE. But not more of the same. I want more details. I want more substance. I see a lot of potential.
Maybe I'm not disappointed so much in Austen's work, but in society for misleading me about it. I'm disappointed in society for falling in love with and putting on pedestels work that doesn't really deserve all the hullabaloo. I'd be okay with it if it were simply people back in the 1800s who loved her work so much because it related to them and there weren't too many women authors, or even my grandma's generation. But to have people continue to rate Emma the same quality as say The Scarlet Letter, or even Jane Eyre, or probably a million other female main characters who are in love... I'm disappointed.
I don't generally dislike books. I think I'm feeling a little interrupted. I think in 5 years I try to read them again. Maybe my circumstances will change and I'll discover what everyone is talking about...(less)
I can't believe I'd never read this book before now. I loved the simplicity of the story line, and that the reader knew how everyone felt. I was expec...moreI can't believe I'd never read this book before now. I loved the simplicity of the story line, and that the reader knew how everyone felt. I was expecting it to be way complicated, given that it's set in a time full of gossipy scheming women. But it was refreshingly straightforward. I love it when books end happily, and this book gave the perfect blend of character development, tension, and relief in the way you want and are hoping the book will satisfy. I WILL be moving on to the other Austen books.(less)