Fun, a little spooky, and totally enjoyable, if a bit melodramatic and over the top. And um, morally a little suspect?! I did love how the main subjecFun, a little spooky, and totally enjoyable, if a bit melodramatic and over the top. And um, morally a little suspect?! I did love how the main subject matter is never experienced directly; we learn gradually from the dialogue, thoughts, observations of others. I also appreciated the eye for mundane details (a woman's eye for details; or an eye for details a woman would notice) in this book. I can see why this is one of the classics of gothic romance. If it were all about enjoyment, I would probably give it four stars, but I just didn't find it to be particularly deep. Still, a nice break from heavier reading!...more
Absolutely delightful. This would be a wonderful introduction to Anthony Trollope's world, which is, of course, very similar to our own in many/most rAbsolutely delightful. This would be a wonderful introduction to Anthony Trollope's world, which is, of course, very similar to our own in many/most respects. Here we see an activist pushing for social justice, an honest clergyman who happens to be receiving more income than perhaps he is entitled to, and a media that grabs the story and runs with it. My favorite moment in the whole novel is Trollope's caricature of Charles Dickens - biting and hilarious! Read the book. ...more
You know that moment when you realize that the book you started hoping for escapism, romance, and fun turns out to have a one hundred page long, histoYou know that moment when you realize that the book you started hoping for escapism, romance, and fun turns out to have a one hundred page long, historically accurate, minute by minute account of the Battle of Waterloo?
It's a bit sad to finally finish the Palliser Series. I wish it could go on and on, and I could meet the Duke's grandchildren and great-grandchildrenIt's a bit sad to finally finish the Palliser Series. I wish it could go on and on, and I could meet the Duke's grandchildren and great-grandchildren ...
This was not my favorite of the series (I think I am most partial to Phineas Finn), but it is still Trollope, so the characters are well-drawn, the plot engaging, and the hunting scenes and political commentary extensive as always! No spoilers, but it is a satisfying conclusion to an extremely fun series of novels! I can honestly say, I enjoyed every one of the approximately (and this is an approximation, but not an exaggeration) 4,200 pages of this series.
Can't wait to start on the Barsetshire Chronicles! I am so glad that Trollope was such a prolific novelist, because I dread the day when I will have read them all!...more
I listened to this on audio on my commutes to and from work - all 29 CDs worth! It's a seriously long book, but delightfully fun, funny, and entertainI listened to this on audio on my commutes to and from work - all 29 CDs worth! It's a seriously long book, but delightfully fun, funny, and entertaining.
Dickens gets 5 points for character names, as always. And the book is chuckle-out-loud funny at many points. The send-up of the legal system and chancery courts is both hilarious and depressingly applicable to our modern legal system. And this has got to be one of the most ambitious novels ever written - the sheer number of characters, interconnected subplots, and the amount of commentary - well, it's hard to beat!
It was so enjoyable, that I was almost able to overlook the fact that Dickens beat me over the head with the Proper Role of Woman for the entire 1000+ pages. Almost. But I admit to wanting to clobber Esther Summerson and her cheerful, self-denying industry on multiple occasions. Shudder.
All in all, a ton of fun! Makes me eager to read more Dickens. I will always prefer other Victorians when it comes to characterizations, especially of women. It is what it is. But few writers, Victorian or otherwise, are as downright *funny* as Dickens....more
"It is with a heavy heart that I take up my pen" ... er ... type into Goodreads ... that I have finally finished the oh so very Complete Sherlock Holm"It is with a heavy heart that I take up my pen" ... er ... type into Goodreads ... that I have finally finished the oh so very Complete Sherlock Holmes.
This isn't ever going to be my favorite science fiction novel. Let's just get that out of the way. Mostly because I found the class-based allegory toThis isn't ever going to be my favorite science fiction novel. Let's just get that out of the way. Mostly because I found the class-based allegory to be so disturbing and just WEIRD I never could get that bad taste out of my mouth.
But that's not what's interesting about it.
Science fiction has traditionally been used as a means of social commentary - future humanity (or alien life, or robots) speaking to present humanity. But this is very first sci-fi novel ever written, right? So I came to it expecting proto-sci-fi, a first crack at the genre.
What I didn't know was that the genre was birthed, fully formed, in the late 19th century, in The Time Machine. This very first example of the sci-fi genre is perfectly fleshed out sci-fi, complete with social commentary and pretty sophisticated moral allegory! It lacks nothing! The fact that the social commentary is addressed at late 19th century England only makes it more fascinating and wonderful, perfect fodder for steampunk "retro-futurism." (But also, really, really creepy and weird. But I've mentioned that.)
I'm pretty sure that most of life's problems can be summarized with the following words from Bertie Wooster (and I hope I'm remembering this right, reI'm pretty sure that most of life's problems can be summarized with the following words from Bertie Wooster (and I hope I'm remembering this right, remember I was listening to it on audio):
"The crux of the matter, the nub of the issue, is - What is to be done?"
Well, yes. Quite!
Ah, the word-smithing! The understated British hilarity! Fun poked at the aristocracy! Sheer delight!
My only complaint is that no one warned me that Bertie would spend a full third of the book in blackface, being mistaken for a member of a "negroid minstrel band"?
(Admittedly, if I had read any reviews before picking this up, I would have been warned, but I have a policy against reading reviews before I read a book. So. Speaking of which, does the above constitute a spoiler?)
So that was pretty seriously unfortunate. And unfunny. Consider yourself warned....more
I think it's funny that this book is in 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. When I wasn't enjoying this as a silly, trashy, mystery novel, I wasI think it's funny that this book is in 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. When I wasn't enjoying this as a silly, trashy, mystery novel, I was wondering what great insights into 1920s British culture and the development of the mystery genre I was gaining by reading this novel.
Going beyond the whodunnit aspect, which is actually a bit weak in this novel, I think the most culturally interesting aspect of this book is its vivid description of the advertising business - full of whimsical word play, slogans, persuasion, and let's face it, semi-truths (otherwise known as lies). Apparently Dorothy Sayers was a copywriter in her past. It is the best aspect of the book, by far.
The novel starts off at a good clip, although our hero detective, Lord Peter Wimsey, is a bit hard to get a grasp on. Like James Bond, he is magically good at everything, and has no apparent flaws whatsoever. He is clever, wealthy, aristocratic, good looking, an amazing athlete and cricketer, a great driver, and a bit cruel to the women who fawn all over him and cause "awkwardness" for him.
I like his character much better in the later Harriet Vane novels (e.g. Strong Poison, etc.). By that time, he has developed vulnerabilities and is no longer The Perfect Man (TM).
Unfortunately, the book really petered out (Petered out, hehe) at the end.
This is not exactly a spoiler, but turn away if you plan to read this next week: Just when you get really excited to see the resolution of the novel, there is a 10 page long cricket game, wherein Lord Peter performs admirably (or so I'm told, I have no idea how cricket actually works), but the plot is advanced hardly at all. In fact, the plot screeched to a sudden halt, from which it was never to completely recover. I was reading it - well, actually, skimming it - thinking, "Why? Whhhhyyyyyy?"
And then the very end ... well, meh. It's fine, but this is no Agatha Christie novel. However, kudos for the intelligent woman character who pops up at the end to remind us that while Lord Peter may be a tiny bit of a chauvinist, this book was written by a woman who has a higher opinion of female intelligence than he does.
Not the very best mystery novel, but a fun foray into advertising in a British, pre-Mad Men world....more