This took longer than I thought to finish, but I liked it much more than I thought I would. Definitely a good, though long, start to Dickens and his wThis took longer than I thought to finish, but I liked it much more than I thought I would. Definitely a good, though long, start to Dickens and his writing. Here's to more!...more
Its interesting seeing the variety of comparisons within these fairy tales and our own Western ones. Evil stepmothers? Check. Evil Neighbors? Check. EIts interesting seeing the variety of comparisons within these fairy tales and our own Western ones. Evil stepmothers? Check. Evil Neighbors? Check. Evil Monkeys? Um, er. Stories about how animals came to be/got their names? Check. Underwater palaces? Hmm...
You get the idea.
An intriguing, if kind of odd, collection that was definitely directed towards Western audience. Makes me wonder if there was a few abridgments in there..
After finishing The Left Hand of Darkness, I've kind of come to the realization that Ursula K. Le Guin and I are just never going to truly connect.
IAfter finishing The Left Hand of Darkness, I've kind of come to the realization that Ursula K. Le Guin and I are just never going to truly connect.
I think she has fabulous ideas, I can see why she's considered one of the must-reads in both fantasy and scifi, and I can even appreciate her writing at times even if it does put me to sleep faster than my theory readings (no small feat I assure you).
But there's something about her stories that I just can't get into. I felt the same way about A Wizard of Earthsea two or three years ago. I saw what she was doing, I liked it, but I couldn't get into it the way I've do with other novels.
That's not to say that Le Guin doesn't know what she's doing or anything. The Left Hand of Darkness alone is a masterpiece of themes concerning gender, xenophobia, politics, friendship, and, perhaps most importantly, the notion of invasion vs. liberation. Its a beautiful, wonderfully academic worthy text that is just filled with all kinds of critiques on society and governmental control.
BUT. I. JUST. CAN'T. LIKE. IT.
And maybe that's okay. At the very least I can appreciate it for its ideas, because it definitely got me thinking. But it's not making my top ten anytime soon.
Elizabeth Gaskell is the perfect mix between Austen and Dickens; covering more social issues than Austen and being much more romantic than Dickens, shElizabeth Gaskell is the perfect mix between Austen and Dickens; covering more social issues than Austen and being much more romantic than Dickens, she deftly weaves both romance and social issues with ease. She is descriptive, with beautiful writing and character development, and doesn't hold back from showing our hero and heroine's deepest thoughts and feelings. But she is also concerned with the world around them and the social issues at hand in her own time. She is firmly set in her time, and doesn't hesitate to showcase what is happening around her characters, both inside and out-unlike, sadly, Austen whose outside references are often minimal.
It wouldn't be fair of me to say she's better than either Austen or Dickens (nor do I agree with the statement since all three are not flawless), but she's definitely underread and underappreciated compared to two. Gaskell's era, however, was shadowed by not only Dickens but by the Bronte sisters as well.
In the end, if you love Jane Austen read Gaskell. If you love Dickens, read Gaskell. She's a fabulous writer who deserves a new readership and a deeper appreciation; I know she's my new obsession. ...more
Following the life and hardships of the part-dog, part-wolf White Fang, Jack London creates a redemption story that is not only heart-warming, but reaFollowing the life and hardships of the part-dog, part-wolf White Fang, Jack London creates a redemption story that is not only heart-warming, but realistic. London's ability to breathe life into the characters, story, and setting is what makes White Fang an amazing animal story, and shows London to be one of the greatest animal writers I've read to date. The novel is divided into five distinct parts that center around various aspects and times of White Fang's life. From the very beginnings of White Fang's possible life, the courtship and background of his mother, to his downfall into dogfighting with Beauty Smith, and his final redemption at the hands of his 'love master,' London doesn't spare us the details of the surrounding landscape, the harsh realities of the world White Fang lives in, and the intricacy of his character as both an individual and an animal that brings realism to an already amazing story. White Fang was breathtaking, suspenseful and very heart-wrenching at some points. London really brings to life the realities of a dog's or wolf's mind, and doesn't bend these realities to make the story fit better. There's truth in the hardships London shows us, and he doesn't allow us to shy away from them to create a warm cozy feeling in our belly; something I loved throughout this novel even though I felt terrible at the hardships suffered. London's writing was at times very plain, yet burst into utter brilliancy at some point that was beautiful to read/listen. All in all, this was a wonderful read, and I'm looking forward to reading more of London's work. 4/5...more
We all know Peter Pan. It's the story of three children, Wendy, John and Michael who get taken away by the magical Peter Pan, the boy who will never gWe all know Peter Pan. It's the story of three children, Wendy, John and Michael who get taken away by the magical Peter Pan, the boy who will never grow up, to the world of Neverland. There they will meet the Lost Boys, fairies, pirates and many more characters on their many adventures in the magical world. Full of fantasy and wonder, J. M. Barrie gets at the heart of what it means to be a child, and shows us the unique relationship between mother and child. I really loved Peter Pan. I had seen various movie versions so I'm pretty familiar with the story and characters, but reading (listening) to it was a much more enjoyable experience. The adventures and the author's narration and commentary were not only thrilling, but hilarious as well. I laughed a lot when listening to this novel. The characters are probably the best part of Barrie's work. Narcissistic, cocky Peter Pan is probably the best of all, because he's just so full of himself, and so funny. I loved Tinkerbell as well, because she really is a terrible person, and it's so funny to watch her get worked up over Peter's love for Wendy. I loved how Barrie gave both Peter and Tinkerbell such terrible personalities, yet made them easy favorites in spite of it. The romance? between Wendy and Peter is one of the more interesting parts of the story in that it really shows the difference between the two and thus the difference between adults and children. I laughed, sadly, at the easy rejection Peter gives Wendy whenever she tries to suggest he might have feelings for her. Wendy's love for him, however, was somewhat heartbreaking to watch, especially at the end, and you really feel for her in loving Peter, even though he can never love her back. The writing, as I've said, was hilarious. It's definitely a book to read aloud, and is enjoyable for nearly everyone. 4-4.5/5...more
While never published, Austen's Lady Susan is full of the usually wit and character animation typical of the author's style. Written as an epistolaryWhile never published, Austen's Lady Susan is full of the usually wit and character animation typical of the author's style. Written as an epistolary novel, Lady Susan centers on our heroine (?) or villain, Lady Susan herself, a widow, as she attempts to find a husband for herself as well as her daughter all while flirting and charming nearly every man she gets near to. Even the married ones! *Gasp* While the form of the novel allows us to really get to know the majority of the characters in this novel, Lady Susan both in the story and to the readers is probably the most interesting and captivating. Her manipulation, charm and wit all make her dislikable for her actions and lovable for everything else. Austen creates a wonderful villain in Lady Susan and I loved reading (technically listening to) her letters in particular. The audio version of this novel is particularly good since they use different voices for each letter and I enjoyed listening to it quite a bit. Short, hilarious and full of fun, this is novel all Austen fans should read. 4/5...more