I read this in school but apparently didn't remember much about it at all, which is why I decided to re-read it. There are a lot of unlikeable charact...moreI read this in school but apparently didn't remember much about it at all, which is why I decided to re-read it. There are a lot of unlikeable characters in this book and all the female characters seem needy and too reliant on men. I guess they're a product of their era, but it still doesn't mean I have to like them.
I'm surprised this book was assigned in school. There are a lot of adult themes and I think at the time I first read The Great Gatsby, I didn't understand half of what was going on. Especially all the drunken parties. I definitely got more out of it reading it in my 20s.
A quick read, good prose, excellent characterization, but it didn't exactly make me feel warm and fuzzy at the end.
It did make me pop up from the couch and make myself a gin rickey though. Delicious.(less)
First off, you must, must, *must* read the Robin Buss translation. I made the mistake of reading the majority of the book (three-quarters of it) using...moreFirst off, you must, must, *must* read the Robin Buss translation. I made the mistake of reading the majority of the book (three-quarters of it) using the old translation. The story is still good and it's quite understandable, but the Robin Buss translation just flows together more eloquently.
That said, I'm glad I finally read this classic. What a wonderful, fantastic, tale of revenge! Edmond Dantes is like the Batman of the Napoleonic era -- is there anything he *can't* do? Dumas does tend to get wordy and ramble in the middle, and I was very annoyed by Dantes's naiveté in the beginning, but man, what a payoff.(less)
It reads like fan-fiction written by a 12 year old. I don't think Bella gives girls a positive role model at all. And Edward? Talk about stalkerish! T...moreIt reads like fan-fiction written by a 12 year old. I don't think Bella gives girls a positive role model at all. And Edward? Talk about stalkerish! That said, I speed-read through all of the other books within a week. It's like eating Cheetos. Cheetos that are very very bad for you.(less)
This was picked as the March book for the NeoGAF bookclub. I was pretty excited it got picked because I've been meaning to read something from Heinlei...moreThis was picked as the March book for the NeoGAF bookclub. I was pretty excited it got picked because I've been meaning to read something from Heinlein for a while.
Usually, unabridged versions of books are great because I, as a reader, get the authentic story that the writer is trying to tell. In the case of Stranger in a Strange Land, I was pretty sick of the story Heinlein was trying to tell. Maybe I should have picked up the abridged edition.
The premise is good. The only known human who has grown up on Mars gets picked up and brought back to Earth. He's human in physical form, but Martian in mind and soul.
The story that I wanted to read was a coming of age story of a man learning what it's like to become human with some discussion about nature vs. nurture thrown in.
The story that's in the book is a long-winded, repetitive, poorly-disguised argument for free love in a patriarcal society.
Some specific problems I had with the story was the implication that there's a rightness and a wrongness to most things, as if there aren't shades of gray or different perspectives. According to this book, homosexuals have "wrongness" to them.
Then there's Heinlein's whole thing about how women's bodies can only be appreciated through the eyes of men. Really. He dedicates a few pages to this alone.
I can probably go on and on about the things I didn't like about this book, but I'll just leave it at this: no more Heinlein for me.(less)
William Gibson's Neuromancer is what many have said a shining example of the cyberpunk genre. Some have even said it's one of the books that started i...moreWilliam Gibson's Neuromancer is what many have said a shining example of the cyberpunk genre. Some have even said it's one of the books that started it all. The man practically coined the term 'the Matrix' in this book. I've always been interested in sci fi stories whether they're from books, movies, or television shows, so it felt necessary that I read a book that's so highly regarded by people who also like sci-fi.
On a superficial level, Neuromancer is a caper story that takes place in a gritty, futuristic setting. Its protagonist, Case, is what we would think of as a hacker. Where we first pick up in the story, Case has lost the ability to hack because an enemy of his destroyed a part of his nervous system and prevents him from hooking into cyberspace. He is then propositioned by a mysterious man who restores his ability to hack, but only if Case is willing to do something for him.
Once readers delve deeper, the story is actually about artificial intelligence, technology, and what it means to be a living, breathing, human being. This may not seem like much, but take this into context: the novel was written in 1984, a time when few people had computers in their home and the world wide web was just a faint glimmer in Al Gore's imagination. With that in mind, it's amazing that Gibson crafted such a shockingly accurate tale of what the future (or the present, now) might be.
Admittedly, I did not really feel attached to this book until I read 1/3 of the way through. Gibson's prose is so rich and dense that it's hard to read quickly at first. He describes things in such detail that sometimes it seemed like I was reading paragraphs and paragraphs but nothing really happened. His techno-babble was also hard to keep up with, but I eventually stopped fighting it and trying to make sense of it; I just let it flow past me.
Having read it so late in my life and after having read and watched so many stories influenced by Neuromancer, I was disappointed I didn't read it sooner. Maybe it's good that I didn't read it till now -- I might not have understood a lot of what was written if I had this in my early teens, but I think my mind would have been blown if I hadn't known of the hype surrounding this book. Despite the overblown expectations, I still enjoyed the book for what it was.(less)
Eileen Chang connects this collection of short stories together by the common theme of troubled relationships. The turmoil of the relationships in the...moreEileen Chang connects this collection of short stories together by the common theme of troubled relationships. The turmoil of the relationships in these stories mirror the changes taking part in China during that time.
While I always felt a sense of dread when starting each new story, knowing that it'll never end in happily ever after, I was also eager to see what twists and turns the characters would go through in their quest for love.(less)
would classify Empire of the Sun as an adventure novel about a boy’s life during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai in WWII.
The book is graphic and s...morewould classify Empire of the Sun as an adventure novel about a boy’s life during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai in WWII.
The book is graphic and spares no details about how people die, but it wasn’t graphic to the point where I had to put it down. Halfway through reading this, I realized that it was not fiction and was actually an autobiography, which made it a bit more difficult to read the particularly gruesome parts.
Empire of the Sun not only has an accurate portrayal of how a teenage boy would act during internment, but also the thoughts that would run through his head. There are parts in the book which had me on the edge of my seat because I was sure the boy was about to die, but knew that it couldn’t happen logically since it’s a biography.
Ballard not only provides an exciting adventure story, but also great insight into the human condition. While I wouldn’t exactly call this an uplifting book, I did feel better after reading it. I feel the same way about it as I feel about Schindler’s List: I wouldn't call it enjoyable, but it's definitely something that people should read.(less)