After watching the brilliant performance of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' film adaptation, I was inspired tAfter watching the brilliant performance of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' film adaptation, I was inspired to read the original play. While the play is essentially a rehash of the same material, there is quite a bit of content that was cut from the film for being too crude or controversial for its time, such as references to Honey's abortion and sexual language and references between Martha and George. Aside from these added sections, it really is one of those stories that is best absorbed through performance rather than reading in my opinion. The raw, progressively erratic and hostile emotions and dialogue between the cast is too rich with between the lines expression, inside jokes and character history to fully drink in from reading alone. It has to be seen to be fully understood or at least interpreted.
That being said, this is an amazing work of art and still stands the test of time in its impact thematically and characterization-wise. Many of the lines will stay with me for a long time because they capture in a unique way what it is to live with regret, aging, loneliness, failure, self-hate, depression, broken relationships, missed opportunities, etc. in the context of a society that runs on face value and living beautiful, shallow lies rather than face ugly truths. I wouldn't say the experience is pleasant but the "fun and games" Martha and George play are courageous, brutal and most of all necessary to strip away the layers of false persona and really relate as naked, imperfect human beings who are just as vulnerable and in need of love as anyone else. ...more
James M. Cain manages to create the kind of tension and charisma of brilliant storytelling and pacing in under 200 pages that other authors take fullJames M. Cain manages to create the kind of tension and charisma of brilliant storytelling and pacing in under 200 pages that other authors take full door-stopper epics to accomplish. I read this in one sitting and it became increasing riveting with each turn of the page. Frank Chamber and Cora do depraved things throughout the book but somehow you are pulled into sympathizing with them at every turn and believing blindly along with them that their love justifies it.
What they and the reader find out the hard way is that there is no such thing as the perfect murder. Because even if you get away with it, the postman always rings twice. Death cannot be cheated without consequences. The brutal twist ending will hit you in the gut and stay with you for awhile. Beautiful, timeless yet ugly story. I can't wait to read more of Mr. Cain's work.
I have a confession to make: I can't stand Sherlock Holmes. I've never read any of the stories involving him because every film or tv series I've seenI have a confession to make: I can't stand Sherlock Holmes. I've never read any of the stories involving him because every film or tv series I've seen about him make him seem like the most obnoxious, pompous asshole. Perhaps when I finally sit down and read some classic Sherlock cases, I'll change my mind, but for now I can only picture Robert Downey Jr's portrayal of him as the ever-so-quirky-borderline-developmentally-handicapped detective that was so forced in his charm I expected him to whip out a damn hamburger phone. Cringe.
Anyhow, despite this, I love the heck out of Hercule Poirot and Hastings. Hercule Poirot is very pompous at times and rubs elbows with the upper class like Holmes, but somehow he comes across as much more empathetic to human suffering and human emotion and has his heart as well as his head invested in his case. This feeds into his exceptional quality to understand and predict human psychology at the heart of crime instead of just having an unnatural knack for deduction and I found this more interesting and unique as well as ahead of its time. Poirot himself is refreshingly human by making numerous mistakes, stumbling over his words, having awkward moments and coming across as a bumbling fool and a genius in equal measure. He doesn't always hit the note and it is part of his charm. And Hastings as a narrator/voice for the reader and best friend to Poirot is not a total pushover. He has a sarcastic wit, memorable and amusing perspective of all the characters and the mysterious proceedings that allows him to hold his own with the detective. He puts down or gets embarrassed of Poirot as much as Poirot puts him down, but both cherish and respect the company of the other without outright saying so as they can't be apart for very long.
The whodunit mystery itself was sort of predictable and without many shock factors or redeeming twists, but the characters and processing of the mystery itself are so wonderful it didn't even matter. It was one of those books that felt like a friend and left a smile on my face. I look forward to more Poirot!...more
Once again I have come across a book where it is a damn shame it is out of print. The Lucky Piece so bluntly portrays the complexities and nuances ofOnce again I have come across a book where it is a damn shame it is out of print. The Lucky Piece so bluntly portrays the complexities and nuances of physical and psychological child abuse, while keeping enough depiction distance to avoid unreadable distaste, that it seems to me it should be required reading for psychology or childhood development majors. To put it plainly, this is not a happy novel but it is a thought provoking, eye opening one, especially considering that it implies that child abuse and family dysfunction can be hiding behind respectable and popular members of society. Also, considering that this was initially written by the author in the late thirties or early forties, it is even more daring that Ms. Butler chose to depict an attractive, classically feminine young woman as the origin of the dark abuse and neglect.
This book left me like the weird, emotional chick from Mean Girls. I wish that I could bake a cake made of rainbows and smiles and we'd all eat it andThis book left me like the weird, emotional chick from Mean Girls. I wish that I could bake a cake made of rainbows and smiles and we'd all eat it and be happy. I just have a lot of feelings.
But seriously, this book left me with so.many. emotions. Damn you John Fowles. The first half of the book makes you see the kidnapper as almost human if not sympathetic and pitiful in his childish delusions and lack of understanding about basic human relationships and morality. There are even some moment between him and Miranda that are borderline friendly or reluctantly sweet. Then the book takes a 360 degree turn and the victim perspective diary helps you to see how real the suffering he is inflicting is and you can't help but despise him and root for freedom. Then the end is brutal, chilling proof that he has realized and embraced his true potential for evil and has shed any shred of humanity that seemed apparent in the beginning.
This is not a love story or even a hate story. It's about delusion, misused power and the clash of intellect, morality and class that usually ends in destruction. The author seems to see the emerging middle class at the time as a threat to society in that power and wealth were being more evenly distributed to those (like Caliban) who were not morally or intellectually ready for the responsibility. I have mixed feelings about this because middle class has obviously come to dominate in this day and age and seems pretty mundane in impact, but his ideas about intellectual division have direct merit. Is evil really just a lack of comprehension given too much opportunity? Perhaps a lot of great evil is just stupidity unrealized. It's an interesting theory....more
Xaviera was such a strange mix of disturbing hypocrisy and well-meaning nymphomania that I have trouble comparing her narrative voice to anyone else.Xaviera was such a strange mix of disturbing hypocrisy and well-meaning nymphomania that I have trouble comparing her narrative voice to anyone else. Her story isn't a straight continuum from birth to recent events and in fact goes from strict autobiography to chapter separated essays on the patterns, myths, and observations of the "trade" in the second half of the book.
I hesitate to refer to Xaviera as the classic hooker with a heart of gold, but she is unique in that she truly loves her business, the johns, and giving people happiness or healing sexual discrepancies, even if only temporarily. ...more
There's something about Ray Bradbury's writing that is like freaking magic for the mind and soul. Jim and Will are one dimensional characters but someThere's something about Ray Bradbury's writing that is like freaking magic for the mind and soul. Jim and Will are one dimensional characters but somehow this ends up working out perfectly for the themes of the story and as an offset to Charles Holloway's complex inner conflict and self-esteem. The horror aspect of the story is much more bold in its foreshadowing than it is in its content, but the "evil carnival" is not what will keep you captivated anyway. It is what the Cooger and Dark's Carnival exploits in the human soul and how vulnerable the characters and town become to its lure that is the tru essence of the story.
The horror of aging and the unbreakable boundries of time and experience seems to be a main theme as everyone from the children to the elderly town teacher is unhappy with their age and the bleak limitations of mortality. Once given the youth or the maturity they think they want, they find themselves with a new suffering in a new skin. Even if you can turn time, you can't erase what the soul has experienced.
I personally considered Charles Holloway the true main character as he is the most relatable and goes through the most dramatic progression and change of hear towards the climax. I too have struggled with inadequacy due to my age and self-hate because of lost opportunities and introversion. His embrace of love, joy and embracing the moment was truly beautiful to witness.
This book surprised me in many ways. I wouldn't go into it expecting pure trash and fun. In fact this "trash" classic is much closer to literary classThis book surprised me in many ways. I wouldn't go into it expecting pure trash and fun. In fact this "trash" classic is much closer to literary classic than I would have figured. It is less a story of drug abuse and sex, and more of a haunting tale of three women who succumb to the imbalanced, ruthless demands of a man's world, using dolls to cope. There also seems to be an underlying theme in the book of love only existing as a one-sided concept that has a singular conclusion- despair and loneliness. Anne's one-sided love and devotion for Lyon is especially heartbreaking and seems to set the tone for the whole book. Be forewarned, there is no happy ending for anyone in this book and if you have seen the film first, the book's ending will feel like a depressing punch in the gut. But, this punch in the gut is necessary. It forces you to see the underlying anguish of the heart of a woman to follow society's calling to be everything, give everything, and demand nothing in return. ...more
This was a slow read for me but much like Gone with the Wind was totally worth it. Dickens creates a perfect blend of Prodical Son retelling and tragiThis was a slow read for me but much like Gone with the Wind was totally worth it. Dickens creates a perfect blend of Prodical Son retelling and tragic cinderella story. Every character came to life effortlessly and painted an effective portrait of raw humanity in all its flaws and beauty. The hard climb to redemption, unrequited love, forgiveness, bitterness, selfishness, hope, class, greed, evil, family, desire, secrets, tragedy and friendship all have a place and a theme in this remarkable story. I think everyone should read this. It moved me to cry tears of joy and sadness in numerous places. ...more
With all the raving about this being an underrated sci-fi classic and a lot of people's favorite book, I was expecting so much more. On top of that, IWith all the raving about this being an underrated sci-fi classic and a lot of people's favorite book, I was expecting so much more. On top of that, I'm a big fan of Ira Levin. I adored Rosemary's Baby and A Kiss Before Dying. This was not up to his standard in my opinion. It has a decent amount of world building and an alright dystopian dilemma, but the character development is non-existent and the writing has no energy. It was so dully told that I suppose the author himself must have been only halfheartedly invested in it, especially with the weak and abrupt ending tacked on. ...more
I've been a fan of the movie for some time and decided to give the book a go. I love that it included much more Rhett & Scarlett banter and reallyI've been a fan of the movie for some time and decided to give the book a go. I love that it included much more Rhett & Scarlett banter and really delved into the developing chemistry between the two but on the other hand, the book heightened the sense of irony and tragedy you see hinted in the film. While the film ended on an optimistic tone, the same lines in the novel are conveyed in a more settled, grim sense. My new opinion is that Rhett has truely moved on in his obsession with Scarlett but Scarlett meets this climax of disapointment with the will to move on like the survivalist she's always been. Most assume that Scarlett, unlike most protaganists, has not changed or redeemed herself by the conclusion of the novel, but I think she proved by her utter remorse over Melanie and tangible 'fog' epiphany that she has changed her stubborn heart but it all comes too late- even for the reader. There could be so many interpretations of this book outside of the obvious 'old south transforming and dealing with the new south'. It's unclear whether the end suggests that the willful, manipulative mindset Scarlett & Rhett portray throughout the book is worthless in the face of love, friendship, and nostalgia or whether this mindset will help one carry on in the throws of life. Regardless, I loved this read, and I think the themes, characters, passion, and the tragic end have taken a deeper note in my heart....more
I liked alot of things about Rice's portrayal of vampirism: the distinct and complex personalities that extended past the typical "oh, he/she's so hotI liked alot of things about Rice's portrayal of vampirism: the distinct and complex personalities that extended past the typical "oh, he/she's so hot, sexy, and mysterious" cliche, the ensuing depression and self-doubt that would realisticly with that kind of lifestyle, the formal & beautiful composition, and the subtle romance that didn't have to be blatantly sensual. What I didn't like was her reliance on telling rather than showing the action and the multiple times she made Louis condradict his own emotions in the same page- Louis,are you despairing or hopeful? Please decide and drop the brood-fest! ...more
I love my classic books but I'm accustomed to slowing down to devour them fully but this one on the other hand was nonstop action and suspense. It wasI love my classic books but I'm accustomed to slowing down to devour them fully but this one on the other hand was nonstop action and suspense. It was difficult to put down and succeeded in compiling different character perspectives. I enjoyed that the chemistry between Christine and the Phantom was expanded upon while still leaving certain details like what attracted him to her in the first place. ...more