When I first started reading this book I could not, for the life of me, remember what the dang thing was called! I kept confusing it with Hemingway's...moreWhen I first started reading this book I could not, for the life of me, remember what the dang thing was called! I kept confusing it with Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms."
I read this book because The Hubble and I came up with an agreement that we would select a book for one another every other month. We started in May. The book he selected for me was this one.
I approached this book assuming I would hate it. I assumed it was just some war story (The Hubble loves those) and it would be a "man" book. My assumptions were partially correct. This was a story about war...but it was also so much more than that.
This was the story of Robert Jordan, the dynamiter. Robert Jordan is an American teacher who was called to Active Duty in the military. He was sent to the mountains of Spain to assist the antifascist guerilla units there. His main purpose is to demolish a bridge and assist in the attack against the fascist elements in that area. During his time with the guerilla group, Jordan begins to know and understand the many individuals who are engaged in the antifascist cause. Jordan quickly comes to care for individuals such as Anselmo, the old man, who is a hunter and hates to kill men. Pilar. the mujer de Pablo, who is considered barbarous. El Sordo...what is there to say about El Sordo? A brave man. A Strong man. A man who fought with everything he had. And Maria...Maria, the cropped headed one....
I was extremely surprised to discover the love story within this book. Jordan's love affair with Maria is an integral part of this story and far from the "man" book I originally believed it to be. The love that Maria and her Ingles, or Roberto, share moved the Earth. It is a love that will linger in my heart.
This book is both heartbreaking and beautiful. Though it is not a "man" book, neither is it a "romance." This is a book that will dig within the depths of any reader's soul, rip your heart out and replace it with the warm of each character held within these pages.
Hemingway has an amazing way with words. He is such an eloquent writer that he draws you in and makes you feel as though you were there in the hills with these people. One passage in particular stands out to me. The scene culminates in a bombing and the description of the ground rolling underneath the character is so intense and so vivid that you believe the ground has rolled under you as well.
Hemingway's voice is astounding. His writing style is...what can you say? How can you adequately put into words how much a book has touched you? Affected you? Engaged you? Does the thesaurus contain words and descriptions strong enough? Bold enough to give justice to the magnitude of feelings and emotions this book evoked within me? Still days after I closed the back flap over the last page...if I think about it too much I'm right back there. Right back in the mountains. On that hilltop. Waiting.
Now, I couldn't remember the name of this book when I first started reading it. However, now I don't believe I will ever forget the title of this stunningly magnificent novel. This journey through the mountains of Spain is not one that you should miss. I highly recommend you immerse yourself in the lives of these people as soon as you can. You will not regret it. (less)
This was my first Dickens novel. I know it is kind of cheesy to make my foray into Dickens’s work by reading A Christmas Carol during the holidays but...moreThis was my first Dickens novel. I know it is kind of cheesy to make my foray into Dickens’s work by reading A Christmas Carol during the holidays but hey…whatever helps break the ice right?
This book, as most people already know, is about a tight-fisted, bitter old man named Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge is visited one night by the ghost of his partner who has come to warn Scrooge of his fate in the afterworld and that Scrooge will face similar persecution in the afterlife if he does not change his ways. Scrooge is warned that more ghosts will appear to help him redeem himself in life and prevent the perils his partner has faced in death. Scrooge is then visited by the ghost of Christmas past, the ghost of Christmas present, and the ghost of Christmas future. Scrooge is shown the actions of different people during each Christmas and he is given a choice at the end. Can he ever change?
The story was an inspiring Christmas story and helps remind people how their behavior affects others. This novel reminds us that we need to give to others who need more than we ourselves are and that the payoff for this assistance is much more fulfilling than any amount of money in the pocket or the bank could ever be.
I found this book surprisingly fun and easy to read. The novel was shorter than I expected and was not inundated with old world terms that I could not understand. I had been somewhat intimidated by Dickens prior to reading this book. However, now that I know the humorous and witty writing style of Charles Dickens I will definitely be reading more of his work in the future. (less)
Youth was a cute short story. It is the story in which the character Marlow is first introduced to the reader.
The story is basically Marlow at a dinn...moreYouth was a cute short story. It is the story in which the character Marlow is first introduced to the reader.
The story is basically Marlow at a dinner party reminiscing about his first time at sea and is largely autobiographical. Marlow tells the tale about the ill-fated voyage to the East and the transportation of the ship’s cargo (coal). Though every bad thing that could have happened to this ship did, all the seamen survived and Marlow remained in good spirits through the entire journey—though that could have been misrepresented in the retelling due to the massive amounts of alcohol Marlow was consuming during the narrative.
I was a little disappointed in the Heart of Darkness. I think mostly because I was looking for a horror story, and this story definitely was not it.
The story is supposed to be disturbing. I told Otty that I did not find the tale to be unsettling and he reminded me that I need to remember when it was written. I am usually good at putting myself in the context of when the story was written, which this one was written in the late 1800’s. I think my problem with the story is that yes, the heart of darkness was a destination, but it was the people that made it so. The greed and desperation of man is what the heart of darkness truly contained. I believe I am unimpressed with this book because man has not changed in the last 100 years. Man is still just as greedy today and he was then, if not more so. Now, the deeds of men (the darkness of men) are normal practice. Maybe I am just terribly jaded.
I did not find inspiration from Joseph Conrad’s prose either. For the most part, I felt that his writing was somewhat flat and unimaginative. I did however; thoroughly enjoy what is called Conrad’s “delayed decoding.” Ian Watt describes this as “the verbal equivalent of the impressionist painter’s attempt to render visual sensation directly…present[ing] a sense impression and…withhold[ing] naming it or explaining its meaning until later.”
Though I was not thrilled with the book, I am still glad that I read it. The Heart of Darkness is one of the classic literature pieces that being able to say you have read is always respectable.