I knew The Handmaid’s Tale was a dystopian story, which excited me because I love dystopians. But, I didn’t really know what the story was about. And,...moreI knew The Handmaid’s Tale was a dystopian story, which excited me because I love dystopians. But, I didn’t really know what the story was about. And, as I started reading it, I realized I was in for a little bit of a surprise because it seemed so different from other dystopians I have read.
The concept of the story was very interesting and thought provoking, but there are several things that prevented me from enjoying it as much as I could have.
First, and most importantly, you never find out why the world is the way it is. I know not all books explain why, but The Handmaid’s Tale kept hinting at why everything happened, but never actually said it. And, I found that extremely frustrating.
Second, it was extremely depressing. I like dystopians, but I like dystopians that have some semblance of hope, a way for the oppressed to fight what’s being done to them. There’s none of that in this story.
Third, I didn’t like Atwood’s writing style. It was told in a rambling, disconnected way from the protagonist’s (if you can call her that) point-of-view. There’s very little dialogue-–instead the characters’ thoughts are mostly offset by commas in this rambling retelling of events.
Finally, while I can see that the world in The Handmaid’s Tale is plausible, I felt like Atwood went a little overboard with the man-hating. I’m all for equality, but not to the other extreme. Just because someone was oppressed doesn’t mean they should become the oppressor, which I think happens more often than not with extremist groups. There seems to be a mentality of, “If you did that to me, I want you to stop, but I want to be able to do it back to you without it being wrong. I want more rights than you because I had less before.” I think the mentality should be “What you’re doing is wrong, should stop, and we should have equal say in all things.” The man-hating in this book seemed to follow the first mentality and it really bothered me.
Even though I didn’t enjoy the book all that much, I’m still glad I read The Handmaid’s Tale. It helped open my eyes to some of the thoughts and leanings our society has. And, it helped me realize that while this day in age may be more vulgar and morally corrupt than previous ones (in some people’s eyes), I’d rather live in a time when I can choose freely what I want to do and who I want to be than live in a time when everything is dictated by heresy and the beliefs of one group or faction.
CONTENT WARNING There’s some language, including a few instances of the F-word, and talk of sex since that’s what the handmaid’s lives are about. In my opinion, any scenes involving sex are tastefully written and not graphic.(less)
**spoiler alert** When I first read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, I was amazed by it. I thought it was a fun change from the previous three boo...more**spoiler alert** When I first read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, I was amazed by it. I thought it was a fun change from the previous three books because it had adventure throughout the entire year rather than just at the end. At the time, it was the last book published and I felt a sense of longing and anxiety to find out what happened, especially after the ending!
Having read the book four previous times, it was fun to keep an eye out for the foreshadowing of a particular character to see how it ties into the ending and big twist/reveal. One thing I love about JK Rowling is her awesome ability to foreshadow and tie all the stories together.
Even though I give this book five stars just like I do every other book in the series, I actually have two beefs with it. One was fixed in a subsequent edition, but it still bothers me to no end because it’s in my US first edition. I’m talking about the order in which Harry’s parents come out of the wand; it’s backwards and with my perfectionistic, anal brain, I just can’t look past it when I read that part.
The second thing that bothers me is at the end of the book as the students are making their way back to the Hogwarts Express, the horseless carriages are mentioned. At this point, Harry should’ve been able to see the thestrals, but there’s no mention of them. The only thing that I can think of is that Rowling didn’t want to open that can of worms until the next book. But, why did she have to mention them at all at the end of this book? She really doesn’t in any of the previous ones. I guess it could also be that Harry was too preoccupied with leaving that he didn’t notice them. But, I’d think it would be pretty obvious as it is in the next book.
Anyway, even with those two things, I still love this book. I love the Triwizard Tournament. I love the subtle humor between the characters. I love seeing Ron and Hermione’s relationship elevate to a new level. I love the amount of magic you get to read about in this book and “see” Harry perform. It’s just a good adventure. And, it’s a pivotal book in the series, the beginning of the end.(less)
**spoiler alert** I’m torn with The Time Traveler’s Wife. I enjoyed the story for the most part, but I hated the ending. It bugged me that Henry told...more**spoiler alert** I’m torn with The Time Traveler’s Wife. I enjoyed the story for the most part, but I hated the ending. It bugged me that Henry told Clare not to wait for him after he died, but then told her that he sees her when she’s 82. Of course she’s going to wait for him armed with that knowledge! She’d been waiting for him her entire life. He just needed to let it happen like so many other things did during his and Clare’s life.
CONTENT WARNING There’s a lot of language and graphic sex.(less)
**spoiler alert** When I first started reading Pride and Prejudice, I was so worried I wouldn’t like it. I’ve read other classics before and while I c...more**spoiler alert** When I first started reading Pride and Prejudice, I was so worried I wouldn’t like it. I’ve read other classics before and while I could see their literary value, I didn’t enjoy them as much as other books I’ve read. So, in my mind, there was a real danger of not liking it, especially since I had very little prior knowledge of the story. Fortunately, once I got into it and once the language was less of a stumbling block for me, I really enjoyed the story.
I really enjoyed the characters, even the ones I hated. I was quite surprised that Lady de Bourgh had nothing to do with Mr. Wickham’s misfortunes. I was expecting her to play a more pivotal role in the novel. Yes, she’s one of the reasons Mr. Darcy began to realize that Elizabeth had changed her mind about him, but she still really wasn’t all that pivotal. I really hated Mr. Collins at first because he’s so annoying. But, once I found out how much of an ingrate Mr. Wickham was, my hatred for Mr. Wickham grew, which tempered my hatred for Mr. Collins. Lydia and Mrs. Bennet annoyed me to no end and I’m kind of glad they got what was coming to them, even though I think it’s sad. While I thought Jane and Mr. Bingley were cute, I didn’t really care about them all that much. They were just a means to an end, if you will.
I absolutely loved the depth of character in Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. I loved watching them change, both of them becoming less proud and less prejudiced. I loved seeing their love for each other grow. I especially loved the chapter near the end in which Mr. Darcy finds out that Elizabeth has changed her mind about him. I wish that would’ve gone on a little longer. In fact, I was a bit disappointed with the ending, more particularly with the last chapter, because it didn’t just focus on Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. Yes, it was nice to read about the rest of the family and what happened to them in the long run. But, honestly, all I wanted was more of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy together and happy. They didn’t even have to kiss, although one would’ve been nice; I just wanted to see them together in love more.(less)
I had high hopes for this book because I enjoyed the movie so much. However, this is the first time I can honestly say that I enjoyed the movie much m...moreI had high hopes for this book because I enjoyed the movie so much. However, this is the first time I can honestly say that I enjoyed the movie much more.
The story was fun at times, but I got bored with it very quickly. I kept wishing for it to be over. I contemplated not finishing the book several times, but I kept going because I wanted to know if it got better. It didn't.
If you’ve seen the movie, the book’s pretty much the same thing, but longer. The events happen a little differently, like any other movie made from a book. Of course, there are more instances of Miranda Priestly’s abuse to her assistants and pretty much everyone else around her. And, even though Meryl Streep did a wonderful job of portraying Miranda Priestly, the movie character wasn’t nearly as devilish as the book character. You also get to be inside Andrea Sachs’s head in the book and hear/read how she feels rather than relying on Anne Hathaway’s portrayal of emotions in the movie, of which I thought she also did a superb job. But, it’s just not the same as reading someone’s feelings. In those instances, the book did a better job. But, that's it.
I can summarize my feelings in two words: TOO LONG.
I enjoyed reading Sunshine. I enjoyed the story very much, but I’ve always been fascinated by vampires, so enjoying the story was no surprise to me. A...moreI enjoyed reading Sunshine. I enjoyed the story very much, but I’ve always been fascinated by vampires, so enjoying the story was no surprise to me. At times, I was very frustrated with Sunshine’s unwillingness to explore different aspects of the story. And, because the book was solely in her point-of-view, I didn’t feel like all my questions were answered by the time the story ended. I also enjoyed the tension between Sunshine and Constantine and kept hoping their relationship would develop past its “symbiotic” nature.
I do feel like Sunshine should be the middle of a trilogy rather than a stand-alone novel. There isn’t enough back story and the ending leaves you hanging big time. But, I could do without a prequel if only McKinley would write a sequel.
CONTENT WARNING There is a very explicit scene, quite graphic really, between Sunshine and Constantine. There’s also some language.(less)
I loved Sunrunner’s Fire. The story has elements for everyone, such as romance, adventure, fantasy, and conflict. I found the story to be riveting fro...moreI loved Sunrunner’s Fire. The story has elements for everyone, such as romance, adventure, fantasy, and conflict. I found the story to be riveting from beginning to end.
One of the reasons I loved Sunrunner’s Fire is that it’s the end of the trilogy so most of the events that had been brewing during the trilogy finally came to an end. The diarmadh’im had a more central role in the story, which I thought was very interesting as I learned more about their powers and saw a glimpse of the reason for their hatred of the faradh’im. I also loved watching the events in the lives of the characters, especially Rohan’s and Sioned’s, play out.(less)
I loved The Star Scroll. The story has elements for everyone, such as romance, adventure, betrayal, conflict, and fantasy. By the end of the first pag...moreI loved The Star Scroll. The story has elements for everyone, such as romance, adventure, betrayal, conflict, and fantasy. By the end of the first page, I couldn’t put the book down.
I loved The Star Scroll because I was reintegrated into Rohan and Sioned’s life, whom I learned to love in Dragon Prince. I also met new characters, both good and bad. And, I loved learning about the new dynamic of sorcery.(less)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite story in the Harry Potter series. I love the dynamic of everything found in its pages–-the cha...moreHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite story in the Harry Potter series. I love the dynamic of everything found in its pages–-the characters, the adventure, the “mystery,” etc.
In Prisoner of Azkaban, the third year students finally get a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher who knows his stuff. You get to see the students learn how to battle boggarts, grindylows, hinkypunks, and much more. It’s fun to see how the students handle each of these obstacles. Professor Lupin is one of my favorite characters. I loved getting to know him and learning all about him and his life at Hogwarts as a student and as a teacher.
Speaking of teachers, Snape made me so angry in Prisoner of Azkaban. I wanted to reach through the pages and strangle him on more than one occasion. I remember hating him after finishing this book for the first time. You think he hates Harry in the first two books, but there’s nothing like his hatred for him in this book. I completely understand why Harry, Ron, and Hermione don’t trust him. I wouldn’t have either.
It was also fun to see the growing pains Harry, Ron, and Hermione go through. At first, it seems as though their friendship is perfect, none of them can do wrong in each other’s eyes. But, in Prisoner of Azkaban, the reader sees that their friendship is just as susceptible to anger, hurt, indifference, and jealousy as any other friendship. But, their friendship is so strong, it can stand these hiccups and actually become stronger because of them. Their friendship is one to be jealous of.
I loved exploring Hogsmeade, the only all-Wizard town in England. It was fun to delve deeper into the wizarding world and explore all the different shops. It actually made me kind of jealous of the characters as I’d love to experience everything they did.
My favorite thing about Prisoner of Azkaban is the concept of the Marauders and the Marauders’ Map. I love the back story of Loony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs. This is the main reason I don’t like the movie version very much because I think it doesn’t give enough time to explain the importance of the Marauders and the map.(less)
I’m not sure what I expected to find in Anne’s diary, but it wasn’t what I read. I’ve seen the movie and I guess I expected something a little more al...moreI’m not sure what I expected to find in Anne’s diary, but it wasn’t what I read. I’ve seen the movie and I guess I expected something a little more along those lines. Of course, however, the movie couldn’t portray the feeling of the diary because it had to show everyone rather than just Anne and the world from her point-of-view. As I started to read the diary, I realized that Anne was a teenage girl who just wrote about her innermost thoughts and feelings as any other teenager would. The only difference I see is that she seemed more educated and, of course, her life experiences were a little more traumatic than those of most teenagers.
I honestly think Anne was inspired to write so faithfully in her diary. To show the world what it was like to be a Jew during World War II--a Jew living in hiding. Her style of writing’s incredible for having been written by a “thirteen-year-old schoolgirl.” In fact, I can’t imagine any thirteen year old to fifteen year old today writing as poignantly as Anne did, even if they were living in similar circumstances.
Anne’s diary is very inspiring. Actually, it’s Anne that’s inspiring. Even though she was living in such horrible conditions, most of the time, she was strong and spunky. She dealt with bouts of depression and loneliness like anyone would in her situation, but she seemed to always realize and look for the good in things. She was always trying to improve herself. And, as far as the diary’s concerned, she never lost her faith in God, which is significant in my opinion as a lot of people do in those types of situations. She’s a great example of enduring to the end in the midst of horrible adversity. We’d all be a little better off if we could be more like Anne Frank.(less)
I knew the story of The Secret Garden because I’ve seen a couple of movies based on the book. I really enjoyed the movies and I think it took me so lo...moreI knew the story of The Secret Garden because I’ve seen a couple of movies based on the book. I really enjoyed the movies and I think it took me so long to read the book because I remembered the movies so well.
I’m really glad I took the time to read The Secret Garden. I enjoyed the book as much as I’ve enjoyed knowing the story. Now that I’ve read the book, I almost wish I would’ve read it a long time ago because I found it so much richer than its movies.
One of the things I enjoyed the most about this story is its positivity. The last chapter is very profound. Even though you’d miss the story, you could read the last chapter and understand the intent and message of the story. I think it’d do a lot of people good if they were to learn from the book’s message.
"One of the few things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts–-just mere thoughts–-are as powerful as electric batteries–-as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison. To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body. If you let it stay there after it has got in you may never get over it as long as you live….
"Much more surprising things can happen to anyone who, when a disagreeable or discouraged thought comes into his mind, just has the sense to remember in time to push it out by putting in an agreeable, determinedly courageous one. Two things cannot be in one place. 'Where you tend a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow.'”
Maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t read The Secret Garden until now. If I had read this when I was 10 years old, I would’ve never realized the profoundness of those two paragraphs. I don’t even think I would’ve realized it if I had read the book five years ago.(less)
Mansfield Park is the first Jane Austen novel I’ve ever read. It was difficult to get into at first, but I ended up enjoying it quite a bit.
Even thoug...moreMansfield Park is the first Jane Austen novel I’ve ever read. It was difficult to get into at first, but I ended up enjoying it quite a bit.
Even though I didn’t quite get into it at first, I forced myself to read until I did. I don’t think I would’ve been able to get through the first few chapters without the help of Spark Notes, not because I didn’t understand what was going on (except for the first chapter), but because it helped me see the end goal of the book.
I’m very glad I did force myself to read until I got into the book because I ended up enjoying the story quite a bit. It was very interesting to read about the focus placed on one’s “place” in society, the importance of marrying well, and the social implications that occurred during the 1800s.(less)