Having completed Persuasion, I have only 2 more full-length Austen works to read. I very much enjoyed this "most mature" of Austen's novels. As her la...moreHaving completed Persuasion, I have only 2 more full-length Austen works to read. I very much enjoyed this "most mature" of Austen's novels. As her last novel, Persuasion is permeated with the frustrations and complicated emotions of a woman past the age of marriage, longing for her lost love. I have a soft spot for Austen novels set in Bath, my favorite of her's being Northanger Abbey, and the city is definitely a character in itself in this novel.
The one thing I really loved about this novel was the fantastic richness of the characters. In her earlier novels, Austen creates colorful characters, but not with as much depth as in this novel. After reading this, one becomes intimately acquainted with everyone, and feels with them their fears, joys, and sadnesses.(less)
For some reason, I never read this book in middle school or high school, which is, I'm given to understands, the usual time. I instead waited til I fo...moreFor some reason, I never read this book in middle school or high school, which is, I'm given to understands, the usual time. I instead waited til I found this GORGEOUS edition before finally picking it up. After finishing it, all I can do is regret not reading it before, and wishing that I might have the supreme joy of reading it again for the first time. I'd heard that this novel was boring and unbelievable, and the characters unsympathetic. I found it to be full of engaging, exciting people and page-turning action.
The love story between Jane and Rochester is one I will not soon forget. With the presence of such a love in fiction, how can one ever hope for anything comparable in real life?(less)
I read this book, in fits and spurts, over the course of three years, after watching the excellent BBC adaptation as scripted by Andrew Davies. I had...moreI read this book, in fits and spurts, over the course of three years, after watching the excellent BBC adaptation as scripted by Andrew Davies. I had never read a Dicken's novel, so I picked this one. The experience was long and difficult. At one point I had put the book aside for over a year, and had to go back and reread sections to remind me of what had happened. I blame my slow-going on the fact that I'm used to being a very fast reader. By nature, Dickens' novels are more difficult to read because of the language used, and the fact that he wrote so much! As it took me longer than usual to progress, I would grow frustrated and bored, and pick up a more modern and quicker-paced novel.
Now, that's not to say I disliked this book. On the contrary, I found it witty and entertaining, many passages prompting me to laugh out loud. It helped that the edition I was reading had extensive footnotes explaining certain phrases and vocabulary that would have been obvious to contemporary readers, but lost to modern ones. I loved the interconnectedness of Little Dorrit's world and found many of the characters to be well-written and easy to relate to. Of course, this being a Dickens novel, many characters are simply caricatures, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Their bare-bones characterizations allowed me to focus more on the main characters, who are described very well.
Though I must admit I skimmed over a few long-winded passages, I was mostly entranced by the action in the novel. The quiet moments in which one character admits to another his or her feelings are especially affecting. I plan on reading more Dickens in the future, but perhaps I will go with his more well-known works first. (less)
I wish I had read this book when I was a kid. Even as an adult it enchanted me and drew me right in. The inventiveness of Norton Juster defies compari...moreI wish I had read this book when I was a kid. Even as an adult it enchanted me and drew me right in. The inventiveness of Norton Juster defies comparison. After finishing this book (in about 2 hours of straight reading) I wanted nothing more than a tollbooth to appear in my room.(less)
The film adaptation of this book is one of my favorite period pieces, second only to A Room With a View (I have a soft spot for E.M. Forster), but the...moreThe film adaptation of this book is one of my favorite period pieces, second only to A Room With a View (I have a soft spot for E.M. Forster), but the book itself didn't draw me in as much as the film.
The story revolves around the titular Maurice Hall who realizes, while at Cambridge, that he is a homosexual. This is the time of Oscar Wilde and the beginning of public recognition and desperate fear of homosexuality. Forster himself struggled with being gay in a hateful society, and his experience comes through in Maurice's uncertainty and fear of himself.
There are moments of intimacy and passion in the slim novel, but they are couched behind sterile terms. The book was never published during Forster's lifetime (by his choice), and so I had hoped he would have been a bit more daring. Granted, writing about homosexuality in such a frank and non-judgmental voice was controversy enough.
In the end, I'm glad I read this novel, but may not return to it. I will, however, return to the film again and again. (less)
This book was my first attempt at reading a full-length Dickens novel. Unfortunately, I didn't realize until I'd got home from the library that it was...moreThis book was my first attempt at reading a full-length Dickens novel. Unfortunately, I didn't realize until I'd got home from the library that it was a collection of short stories, a collective round robin of Victorian literary minds. This didn't detract me though, and I'm very glad. Though Dickens only contributed a few short chapters to the "novel," he orchestrated the whole scheme, and his humor and affinity for the supernatural was present throughout the work. This was a very enjoyable read, very amusing at times, especially the story of the Ague ghost. (less)
Like almost everyone who's gone through the American public school system since the 1950's, I read The Great Gatsby in high school. I do remember my t...moreLike almost everyone who's gone through the American public school system since the 1950's, I read The Great Gatsby in high school. I do remember my teacher's impassioned speeches on the novel, as well as some interesting discussions my class had about it, but ten years after reading for the first time, I was hard-pressed to recall any plot points or themes, apart from the famous imagery of the green light. So the week before Baz Luhrmann's adaptation was released, I decided it was high time for a re-read.
And I say this to everyone who only read this book once in high school, go back and read it again, NOW, especially if you disliked it. I really think high schoolers are still a little undeveloped and immature to fully grasp what Fitzgerald was trying to do with this slim novel. I was definitely guilty of misinterpretation. In high school, I remember feeling a bit blasé about Gatsby's struggle and eventual death. This time, I was deeply saddened and felt an immense sympathy with both Gatsby and Nick. I am able to identify with the themes of the novel more as an adult who has experienced great disappointment, than as an optimistic teenager. Having seen more of life, the themes of the novel resonated with me all the greater.
The Great Gatsby is the only Fitzgerald novel I've read thus far. By many accounts, it is not his finest work. I look forward to reading the rest of his distinguished bibliography. (less)