I re-read this for a book club, and to participate in the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of publication. If any book deserves to be called TheI re-read this for a book club, and to participate in the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of publication. If any book deserves to be called The Great American Novel, it's this one. Innocent Scout observes the events unfolding in her small Southern town with wisdom and candor, and she manages to condemn without judging. We're left to wonder whether she can hold on to her sense of right as she gets older. With a man like Atticus for a father, she's got a good chance.
I don't see any reason to write a long review, since almost all of my friends have already read the book (Kristy, I hope you finally gave in and read it) and there are about a million reviews anyway. So let me just say that every time I read this book, I get more out of it and different things move me to tears. I'll look forward to reading it again for the 60th anniversary....more
I read this in high school and wasn't too impressed. But a friend of mine recently told me it was his favorite book, so I decided to read it again toI read this in high school and wasn't too impressed. But a friend of mine recently told me it was his favorite book, so I decided to read it again to see if I had a different perspective now. I really hadn't remembered much of the book (the only things I remembered were Gatsby's lavish parties) so the plot was a surprise. I found it to be a harrowing story of human nature, and an illuminating comparison of social classes. I didn't approve of the choices that so many of the characters made (I'm being deliberately vague to avoid spoilers) and was surprised at the prevailing attitude that people, especially wealthy people, have the right to do anything that makes them happy, regardless of the consequences. I think this book lends itself more to a discussion than just a review, and I can recommend it whole-heartedly to book clubs. While I still can't say it's my all-time favorite book (sorry, Scott) I thoroughly enjoyed the re-read....more
3.5 stars. I can't quite bring myself to round up.
The animals on the Manor Farm, working together, managed to overthrow their farmer and take over the3.5 stars. I can't quite bring myself to round up.
The animals on the Manor Farm, working together, managed to overthrow their farmer and take over the farm themselves. Things were fine initially until, little by little, the pigs started to take over. Promises were broken, rules were changed to benefit those in power, and eventually the new cooperative farm didn't look any different than it had been under the old farmer.
I think this worked well as a cautionary tale about how socialist principles can be corrupted by a dictator. I also realise it was a product of its time: Red Scare, etc. But looking at it with today's eyes I think it's a bit unfair to refer to Communists as pigs and to those who follow them as illiterate sheep. I also wonder if there could have been anti-Capitalist propaganda being written at the same time in Russia. Maybe a story about an ant who scrimps and saves all summer to have enough for the long, hard winter but then has all its savings stolen by a couple of greedy CEOs who cause the stock market to crash. Or maybe a tale about the busy bee who bought into the idea that hard work equals prosperity, only to lose his job and his health care when the hive laid him off. Just saying.
The book did the job it was written to do: it provided a simple, short, and easy-to-understand allegory about the evils of communism. And it would be good for a book club discussion....more
Wow. Once I got into Dicken's classic about one family's experience with the French Revolution, it grabbed me and didn't let go.
Overly dramatic? I suWow. Once I got into Dicken's classic about one family's experience with the French Revolution, it grabbed me and didn't let go.
Overly dramatic? I suppose I can understand why some might see it that way, but I think the drama of the Revolution was a fitting backdrop to the family drama. Weak women? Please. There was only one weak woman in the story: the ingenue, Lucie. And that was her job: to look pretty and act sweet and give the menfolk a motive for their actions. There was nothing weak about Madame Defarge. And Miss Pross--what a woman!
One of my life lessons came from Lucie, talking to her husband after he had spent the evening poking fun at the recalcitrant Sidney Carton. Lucie says, "I would ask you, dearest, to be very generous with him always, and very lenient on his faults when he is not by. I would ask you to believe that he has a heart he very, very seldom revelas, and that there are deep wounds in it. My dear, I have seen it bleeding." I wish I could take the essence of this quote and frame it as a reminder to refrain from judging others based on what I see.
This wasn't my favourite Dickens--that honour goes to David Copperfield, at least so far. But it was one of my favourite reads in 2011....more
Underwhelming. The concept was interesting (man creates monster) but the execution was dull and unbelievable.
Dr. Frankenstein loves science, studies hUnderwhelming. The concept was interesting (man creates monster) but the execution was dull and unbelievable.
Dr. Frankenstein loves science, studies hard, and finally creates a person, bringing it to live with electricity. But he created a person so hideous that even Frankenstein himself couldn't bear to look at it. He abandoned his creation in the very moment of his triumph, and then left the country.
Several months and a few unsolved murders later, Dr. Frankenstein finds his monster again. During those intervening months, Frankenstein's monster has learned to talk like an Oxford professor and learned to read Plutarch and Milton (all this from listening to a few peasants discuss the events of their day). The monster explained why he murdered people (he was lonely) and threatens to murder again unless the doctor gives in to his demands and creates the monster a wife.
After all the movies and commercials featuring Frankenstein's monster, I expected a non-self-aware zombie with bolts in his neck who moaned a lot. "Putting on the Ritz" from Young Frankenstein would have been more believable for me. (Yes, I know you can't sew a person together with parts from various dead people and start its brain with electricity, but ASSUMING you could do that, I have trouble believing that this newly created creature could express its grievances quite as eloquently or care for itself quite as thoroughly as this monster.)
Lots of emotional distress from both doctor and monster--this should be Oprah's next book. And lots of talk but not much action. I'm glad I can check this off my list....more
I re-read this (well, "read" it on audio) because I was so excited about the movie coming out. It's still one of my very favourite books of all time.I re-read this (well, "read" it on audio) because I was so excited about the movie coming out. It's still one of my very favourite books of all time. The redemption of Jean Valjean and his faith through his many trials is about the best thing I've ever read. I don't know that there's much more that I can say about the book except that I loved it, I thought it was perfect, and I think everyone should read it.
I ended up listening to this book at the same time I was reading The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer, a book about another prisoner who got a second chance at life. The Executioner's Song had a very different ending. Yes, Valjean was a fictional character while Gary Gilmore was real, but I refuse to believe that was the only difference. Gilmore could have been Valjean!
Somehow when I downloaded it I ended up with the very abridged version instead of the somewhat abridged version. Just a warning: don't do this. I've read the longer version before and remembered most of what was left out, but it was terribly unsatisfying. The long version is long, but it's well worth the read....more
This is a story of four Chinese women, all of whom immigrated to the United States from mainland China, and their daughters, first-generation AmericanThis is a story of four Chinese women, all of whom immigrated to the United States from mainland China, and their daughters, first-generation Americans. Amy Tan explores the cultural gap and the differing values of the mothers, who want their daughters to be Chinese, and the daughters, who want to be American. There are also secrets the women left behind while fleeing China, secrets the daughters never knew, which gradually come to light. This is also a story about mothers and daughters, the mothers wanting the best possible life for their daughters while the daughters just want to make their own decisions.
I love Amy Tan. I love the glimpse into the lives of immigrants who struggle to retain their cultural identity while trying to adapt to a completely foreign culture. And I usually love her characters, but I had trouble keeping the characters straight in The Joy Luck Club. This was mainly a series of stories told by the mothers and their daughters, but it got hard for me to remember which daughter belonged to which mother, and the stories mostly just stood alone instead of flowing together. Much as I liked this book, it wasn't my favourite Amy Tan novel--I liked The Kitchen God's Wife and The Bone-Setter's Daughter better. ...more