I love Ramona. I always loved reading her books as a child, and the little scamp is still endearing today.
Reading the books now, though, made me laugI love Ramona. I always loved reading her books as a child, and the little scamp is still endearing today.
Reading the books now, though, made me laugh at how dated they're becoming. Kindergartners walking themselves to school? I've never known of a five-year-old allowed to walk to school without an adult or older sibling. Was it a simpler time in the 1960s, with less traffic and fewer scary people? Or was it because Ramona lived in a small, friendly town? And the purple-ink copies from a ditto machine? Can kids today even begin to imagine what that means or looks like?
But Ramona, herself, still holds up. She still gets into trouble that kids today would understand (like wanting to be the best sleeper in kindergarten, so she makes sleeping noises, like snoring, which makes the rest of the class laugh), and still has the same feelings kids today would understand (like having to make a noisy fuss so she, the little five-year-old, would be listened to among the adults and pre-teens in her life and neighborhood; or thinking her teacher no longer loves her, since she was scolded in class). Some of the details of Ramona's life may not continue to resonate with kids as the decades go on, but the stories and feelings still will....more
I have to admit: I'm reading this because of Clueless. It's on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list, but not being a fan of Austen and herI have to admit: I'm reading this because of Clueless. It's on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list, but not being a fan of Austen and her kind (and yet, when I read her books, I enjoy them...), I didn't add Emma to my to-read list. A Victorian girl who always wants to play matchmaker, but finds out she doesn't know as much as she thinks she does? Please, that sounds so stereotypical and blasé. I decided to pass.
But having read As If!: The Oral History of Clueless, my passing curiosity of how the two are related became a need to know. So now I'm reading Austen, thanks to Beverly Hills Cher. And as I read, I keep trying to find connections: "Oh, Emma's giving advice to Harriet like Cher gives to Tai, thinking she knows what's best. I wonder if "Mr. Elton" is Elton" (or as Tai calls him, "El'on"). I can't just sit and enjoy the book on its own!
So now I've finished it, and I enjoyed it. It wasn't as good as some other Austen I've read, but it was a good story. The whole naive-matchmaker aspect wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, and the various pairings and mis-pairings kept me guessing to some extent.
That said, here's where I found parallels between Cher's world and Emma's world (Feel free to chime in with ones I missed, or tell me if you think my assessment is wrong): (view spoiler)[ 1. Cher = Emma; Tai = Harriet (the plain new girl whom Cher/Emma takes under her wing, especially in finding love); Josh = Mr. (George) Knightley (the "brother" who's not actually a brother, who teases his not-sister while also trying to make her a better person, and who becomes a love interest for the not-sister); Elton = Mr. Elton (one, the name. But also because Tai/Harriet falls in love with him and keeps mementos in a box, one of which is related to an injury [Tai keeps the towel Elton put ice in when she's knocked out at the Val party, and Harriet keeps the court plaster Mr. Elton uses when he injures himself with scissors].) Christian = Frank Churchill (one, again, the name, but less so this time: now we have "Christian" paralleling the "Church" in "Churchill". Also, Christian and Frank Churchill are the dapper new young men who come in to town after the action of the story gets going. But Frank's not gay, so he's not *completely* the same as Christian, although his secret engagement *is* a bombshell, like when we/Cher find out Christian is gay.) 2. Tai/Harriet comes over to Cher's/Emma's house to destroy the box of mementos [in a fire for both of them, I think] once Elton/Mr. Elton has done her wrong. 3. Tai/Harriet falls for Josh/Mr. Knightley after he "rescues" her by dancing with her when no one else will. 4. Then the startling revelation that "I love Josh"/Mr. Knightley (*cue fountain in background*) (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Okay, to start with, this book did not change my life, even though some readers/reviewers say "Oh my God! This book will change your life!! You *have*Okay, to start with, this book did not change my life, even though some readers/reviewers say "Oh my God! This book will change your life!! You *have* to read it!" It did not change my life. My life is still the same as it was before I started the book. That said, it was a pretty intense, crazy, convoluted, confusing ride, but a story that was worth reading.
Jose Arcadio Buendia helped found the town of Macondo oh, so long ago. Back then, it was almost an Eden, where no one died (or at least no one had died *yet*), everyone got along, and the government left them to their own lives. Over time, the town is invaded by "progress" and outsiders, and their idyllic village becomes tormented by greed, war, lies, and death.
Oh, and there's also the incest in the Buendia family. They don't *mean* to be incestuous, but somehow, despite the matriarch's warnings, they just keep hooking up with each other, partly because some of their identities are not fully acknowledged, so one offspring may not know that s/he is a Buendia, and then sleeps with a Buendia... hence the quote "time was not passing … it was turning in a circle” -- those Buendias just keep circling back to each other.
There's an element of magical realism and mysticism that runs throughout the story, too -- people living well into their 100s, alchemy, contagious insomnia, premonitions, spirits of dead people walking around the house, no one remembering a massacre, ... It makes for a fantastic (in that it's wonderful, and also a fantasy) story.
So no, this book did not change my life. And honestly, there's a good chance I'll never read it again. Nevertheless, it was worth reading the one time (or maybe even a second time if I'm ever at a point in my life when I have time to re-read books). Even with all those Buendias and the confusion their similar names (5 with the name Jose, 5 with the name Arcadio, 22 with the name Aureliano, 2 Ursulas, 2 with the name Remedios, and 2 Amarantas) caused in my poor little head, it was a wonderful story, with intrigue, gasp-worthy moments, magic, fantasy, and pity. ...more
Andrew wants nothing more in the world than to have freckles like his classmate, Nicky Lane. A sneaky girl in class, Sharon, tells him she has a secreAndrew wants nothing more in the world than to have freckles like his classmate, Nicky Lane. A sneaky girl in class, Sharon, tells him she has a secret recipe to create freckles. Does the recipe work? Will Andrew find true happiness with his freckles?
This is a cute little "The grass is always greener" book for second- and third-graders....more
On the one hand, Brave New World is a really great story, a little bit shocking, and a whole lot of "Could that really happen?" (bothWowser. Wow. zer.
On the one hand, Brave New World is a really great story, a little bit shocking, and a whole lot of "Could that really happen?" (both in a scared tone and a hopeful tone). On the other hand, it's amazing to see how close the early 21st century is to Huxley's vision. I won't say that he got it totally right, or that he was prophetic, but there are definitely parallels. I think if I'd read this when I was younger (like most people did in high school), and while trying to answer the questions on the teacher's assignment, rather than paying attention to the story and its details, I would have missed the greatness of the story and the writing.
Brave New World Revisited is made up of essays Huxley wrote while "revisiting" various topics in Brave New World, like hypnopaedia, propaganda, brainwashing, over-population/population control, and mind-altering drugs like soma. The essays at times seem a bit alarmist, but are overall really interesting in pointing out where Brave New World's fictional world comes amazingly close to paralleling our (well, late-1950s; the essays were written in 1958) world, or where our world is scarily (like in the case of propaganda by dictators) getting closer to Brave New World.
Brave New World is a REALLY GREAT story, but Christopher Hitchens' introduction and Huxley's Brave New World Revisited essays make this compilation an absolutely fabulous edition....more
Another (and final) charming book about the March family, and Jo's school for boys, and now girls, at Plumfield.
Like Little Men, this book is full ofAnother (and final) charming book about the March family, and Jo's school for boys, and now girls, at Plumfield.
Like Little Men, this book is full of moral teachings, and a little bit of preaching. The boys and girls from Little Men return to Plumfield for various visits, and Jo delights in her children, but also takes the opportunity to bestow a few more life lessons upon them. In addition to the normal moral plays found in Little Men, Jo's Boys also includes a few funny scenes where Jo is hounded at home by rabid fans (Alcott writing from experience, perhaps?), and also statements on the suffrage movement. Additionally, former students go out to tame the West, explore the East, travel through Europe, take to the stage, find love, and lead the world. In other words, the kids are all grown up.
For someone who dragged her feet over reading Little Women and finally gave in practically kicking and screaming, I was quite surprised to find myself a bit sad when reading the final line of Jo's Boys: "And now, having endeavoured to suit everyone by many weddings, few deaths, and as much prosperity as the eternal fitness of things will permit, let the music stop, the lights die out, and the curtain fall for ever on the March family."...more
I know this is supposed to be one of those books that every child reads or has read to them, but I don't think I'd ever read it before.
What a charminI know this is supposed to be one of those books that every child reads or has read to them, but I don't think I'd ever read it before.
What a charming book! The illustrations are beautiful and I love the Little Prince and all of his insightful questions and comments. I hope this books stays with me for a long time -- I would like to think it will, but I'm a grown-up, and you know how silly grown-ups are....more
Most of Virginia Woolf's books are seen as "difficult," sometimes for the stream of consciousness, sometimes because of the dialogue. This one, it's tMost of Virginia Woolf's books are seen as "difficult," sometimes for the stream of consciousness, sometimes because of the dialogue. This one, it's the scenes. There's nothing of what we'd typically call "narration" or scene-setting: all of the scenes, all of the background (with the exception of a little scenery at the beginning of each... "chapter"?), all of the plot is given by dialogue from the characters. But it's not actually *spoken* dialogue. It's more like what the characters are thinking to themselves, whether consciously or subconsciously. Whether they're actually having a conversation with themselves about "There is Florrie," "I will do my sums," etc., or whether they're just witnessing scenes and we're hearing their neurons process the scene, I don't know. But everything that we read about is going on in the characters' heads. That's an interesting way to approach writing a story.
But what a way it is! Woolf's descriptions are SO beautiful and SO lavish. She describes things in ways I would never have thought of before, like "The sea was indistinguishable from the sky, except that the sea was slightly creased as if a cloth had wrinkles in it." And describing the headmaster as "lurching rather heavily from side to side, and hurl[ing] his way through the swing-doors." Or "'Look at the spider's web...It has beads of water on it, drops of white light.'" This is not a book merely to be read, or read while listening to music or watching TV or waiting to pick up your kids; this is a book to be savored. In Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams' character says that he and his friends would read poetry and "let it drip from our tongues like honey"; I feel that sentiment beautifully and exactly describes Woolf's prose in this book as I read it. It might be difficult to keep up with the plot as I go on, but what a reward it will be when I'm done! Such beautiful writing! (And I don't often get this gushy and flowery about a writer's language.)
edit: Yes, it was difficult at times to keep up with the plot. I think/thought things happened (see, I'm *still* not sure if certain things happened!), but I wasn't sure they were happening. I would think to myself, "Wait.... umm... Did this just happen, or was that a metaphor?" But it's almost as if the smaller plot points don't really matter. I get that there is a group of friends; life happens and they're affected by it. That's the important part. The rest of the plot doesn't matter as much. What does matter is Woolf's beautiful language. Even if the events of the book didn't register, her amazing writing did, and that's all I really needed to focus on....more
About this edition: Be warned! Many of the endnotes contain spoilers!!
Reading through the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list, I'm finding thAbout this edition: Be warned! Many of the endnotes contain spoilers!!
Reading through the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list, I'm finding that I'm ... I won't say less intimidated by, but definitely more capable of reading 400+-page books from the 1800s (especially British ones). Not that I didn't think I could do it before, but they're always a little daunting, you know? That HUGE book, with OLD language and themes. But really, I'm making it through them quite easily. And this book was WONDERFUL. If I ever had time to reread books, I might consider rereading this one sometime down the line. The writing was beautiful, the characters were delicious (I want to be Margaret), and the plot/storyline kept me turning page after page. ...more
I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I think this is one of those books I'd always been a little scared of, because it's a "Classic"I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I think this is one of those books I'd always been a little scared of, because it's a "Classic" and such a hard-hitting topic. I thought it would be difficult to read, with old language, stuffy language, and a preachy tone. However, it turned out to be the opposite. Stowe's work is a beautiful piece of story-telling, and it was so easy to get into the story, I often found myself reading 100+ pages in a sitting, and not realizing it....more
Up until a few years ago, I wouldn't be caught dead reading this book. I had a thing with "girl books" and "Chick Lit". I hate pretty much everythingUp until a few years ago, I wouldn't be caught dead reading this book. I had a thing with "girl books" and "Chick Lit". I hate pretty much everything that's girlie. Pink is not a color I want to wear on a regular basis. I've even been known to turn down a pair of sneakers because the shoes had pink trim. Sports clothes that are pink? Ick! So all those old, Victorian books about women or love or women in love, and written by women (i.e. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, or Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, or anything else written by Jane Austen or any of the Bronte sisters, etc.) ... Not for me!
But then, for some reason, one day I decided to listen to Pride and Prejudice as a free audio book. And shock of shocks, it WASN'T girlie! The women (at least the main ones) were smart and smart-asses! And not all of them were all about getting a man! .... So what else might I have been missing all these years by turning down "girlie" Victorian novels?
Then I read the description of Jane Eyre in 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. Honestly, the blurb still made it sound like Victorian chick lit, but it's on the list of books I *must* read before I die! So I decided that the blurb didn't make it sound horrible, so I'd put it on my to-read list. Plus, the success of Pride and Prejudice (that is to say, the fact that I didn't hate that one) made me have *some* hope for this book.
And now that I've read it, I've discovered that it's nowhere near as girlie as I thought it would be. Sure, love and romance, a female main character, and written by a woman, but it's not chick lit. It's a Good Story, has your typical Victorian turn of fortune, a touch of mistaken identities (or rather, unknown identities get revealed), ... and some ghostliness!
Other than saying that, I cannot write a review *nearly* as good as Nick's, so go read that one, instead. (Be warned, though, it does have unmarked spoilers.)...more
The portion of the book that was about H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds and Orson Welles' "The War of the Worlds" radio broadcast was good, a nice (iThe portion of the book that was about H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds and Orson Welles' "The War of the Worlds" radio broadcast was good, a nice (i.e. not *too* in-depth, but informative) analysis of each one's success. ---------------------------------- The War of the Worlds
For me, the story was uneven--sometimes it would drag on, and sometimes it would get really exciting. Overall, I'd give it 2.5-3 stars. I could imagine how it would spook people reading it when it originally came out...I even got a little creeped out at times.
My favorite parts: (Warning: Quotes may be spoilery!) - Book 2, chapter 7, "The Man on Putney Hill": the narrator comes across a man who has a very interesting theory of the future scenario and a plan for survival - "And as I looked at this wide expanse of houses and factories and churches, silent and abandoned; as I thought of the multitudinous hopes and efforts, the innumerable hosts of lives that had gone to build this human reef, and of the swift and ruthless destruction that had hung over it all; when I realised that the shadow had been rolled back, and that men might still live in the streets, and this dear vast dead city of mine be once more alive and powerful, I felt a wave of emotion that was near akin to tears. "The torment was over. Even that day the healing would begin. The survivors of the people scattered over the country--leaderless, lawless, foodless, like sheep without a shepherd--the thousands who had fled by sea, would begin to return; the pulse of life, growing stronger and stronger, would beat again in the empty streets and pour across the vacant squares. Whatever destruction was done, the hand of the destroyer was stayed. All the gaunt wrecks, the blackened skeletons of houses that stared so dismally at the sunlit grass of the hill, would presently be echoing with the hammers of the restorers and ringing with the tapping of their trowels." (Book 2, chapter 8, "Dead London" [pp. 185-186:]) - "A question of graver and universal interest is the possibility of another attack from the Martians. ... At any rate, whether we expect another invasion or not, our views of the human future must be greatly modified by these events. We have learned now that we cannot regard this planet as being fenced in and a secure abiding place for Man... for many years yet there will certainly be no relaxation of the eager scrutiny of the Martian disk, and those fiery darts of the sky, the shooting stars, will bring with them as they fall an unavoidable apprehension to all the sons of men." -- Spooky! (Book 2, chapter 10 [p. 190:]) - "The broadening of men's views that has resulted can scarcely be exaggerated. ... Now we see further. If the Martians can reach Venus, there is no reason to suppose that the thing is impossible for men, and when the slow cooling of the sun makes the earth uninhabitable, as at last it must do, it may be that the thread of life that has begun here will have streamed out and caught our sister planet within its toils." (Book 2, chapter 10 [p. 190:])...more
Loving this specific edition (Oxford World's Classics ISBN 0192834835) -- good introduction and good notes.
Around page 60, I started to think maybe ILoving this specific edition (Oxford World's Classics ISBN 0192834835) -- good introduction and good notes.
Around page 60, I started to think maybe I should chalk this up to Nancy's Rule of 50: I'd read 50 pages, and...eh. I mean, it's a good story, and it has wonderful writing (or translating... or both), but I foresee this just being one anecdote after another, and with SO many books to read on my shelves and to-read list, do I really want to spend 940+ pages of "This lunatic is a lunatic"? But I'll keep going, partially because it's a Classic and I Must Read [it] Before I Die, but mainly because it must be a classic for a reason, and if I stop now, I'll always wonder if I missed something Fantastic later in the story. So on I go.
.....And I gave up.
I was torn on this book. In theory, I like the idea of a madman who thinks he's a knight-errant and all the commoners and windmills are dastardly evil-doers whom he must defeat. HOWEVER -- Oh my God, that's *all* the book was about. Just over and over and over again.
My mom read this a couple of years ago, so I sent her this e-mail: "Subject: Don Quixote
.... Does it get better?
i'm at the beginning of chapter 18, and while it's had some funny parts, and i liked the part where they were throwing away all the books about knights and chivalry and there were all these inside jokes/literary references (to books i've never heard of)... it's mostly just seemed redundant/repetitive. somewhere in the next 820 pages, does anything happen that i just Need to know about or Need to Read? if i give up now, will my life be any less than if i finished it?
*sigh* i hate giving up on books, but ... wow, he imagines himself more than he is, and imagines others to be more villainous than they are, over and over. is that all it is?"
and her response was: "#1 no
So then I went to the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die group and read some of their comments there. And with the exception of one person, everyone loved it! Agh! I kept trying to stick with it, but I kept getting bored. One person did precisely sum up my thoughts: "Just how many times can a person read about Inn's being mistaken for Castles, and innocent bystanders being taken for giants or armies of knights before it all becomes quite repetitive and leaves one thinking, "alright I get the point already."" Yes!! But everyone else looooooved the book. So I stuck with it, but just got bored. Someone else said that in Part II, the characters realize they're characters in a novel, which sounded interesting to me. So then I went through the Table of Contents and decided to read all of the chapters that had interesting descriptions. I got through about 12 more chapters that way, but still gave up. It was just soooo repetitive. Meh. So I gave up :( It's a lovely idea for a story, it has amusing parts, and it has lovely writing; however, it could have been cut to about 1/3 of its length, and I would have been fine with it (although, even by then, I was bored, so maybe 2/9 of its length)....more
Okay, so I totally don't do chick lit. And as we all know, Jane Austen is TOTAL chick lit.
But I downloaded the audio as part of one of the audiobookOkay, so I totally don't do chick lit. And as we all know, Jane Austen is TOTAL chick lit.
But I downloaded the audio as part of one of the audiobook podcasts I subscribe to, so whatever, I would listen to it. But I *knew* I wouldn't like it.
... Boy, I was wrong. Okay, maybe not the BEST book I've ever read (or listened to), but it wasn't like I thought it would be. The story was actually quite engaging (not the stuffy, Victorian crap I was expecting), at times funny, and even made me laugh or gasp out loud at work (And at least one time, even "Oh no, she didn't!").
Since I sometimes have trouble following audiobooks, and because it *was* in Austen's language, I read through the Cliffs Notes online to keep up. Passages I liked from the Notes that explain P&P:
* "Consequently, for Austen's readers, Elizabeth represents an ideal view of the world, while Charlotte represents reality." (Analysis, chapters 19-23)
* "Elizabeth may be charmed by Colonel Fitzwilliam's genial manners, but it is Darcy who challenges and stimulates her." (Analysis, chapters 28-32)
* "now she [Elizabeth:] has gained a moral insight into her own character and sees that she has also been blind. This, therefore, is her crucial recognition about herself. Consequently, Elizabeth's character increases in depth as she is able to analyze herself and come to these realizations." (Analysis, chapters 33-36)
* "Austen concludes her novel with an implied message that marital happiness originates not from a love of security (Charlotte), passion (Lydia), or perfect harmony (Jane), but rather from an honest recognition and love of the whole person, strengths and weaknesses. Before people can find that kind of complete understanding of another, however, they must first fully know themselves." (Analysis, chapters 56-61) ...more