I'm actually going to change my star rating of this book, but my previous review said that I really did not like it. Looking back, it wasn't really thI'm actually going to change my star rating of this book, but my previous review said that I really did not like it. Looking back, it wasn't really that terrible, but reads like a textbook. A really old textbook. Don't go into it expecting a page-turning adventure (even though I don't know why you would). And, going through AP Government, I realize how relevant Machiavelli was during his time, and that relevance lasts to the modern world....more
I originally purchased and read The Inferno back when I was fifteen years old because I figured it would give off the impression of how sophisticatedI originally purchased and read The Inferno back when I was fifteen years old because I figured it would give off the impression of how sophisticated I was because I was reading epic poetry dated back from the fourteenth century. Not going to lie, I still say to people, "Oh, you've only played the video game? I've read the original, hohoho!"
However, my appreciation for this poem resurfaced about a year ago when I wrote a research paper comparing this to Ibsen's Ghosts. (Don't ask me how I accomplished this; I still don't really know.) Before, I basically read this just to say I had, but rereading it made me truly love it. I find it impossible to read this and not be in awe of Dante's vision of Hell. He illustrates each layer of it so perfectly; each one is different from the others, but they all carry the same general theme along with it. I also found it interesting how he made his meeting with Lucifer so anticlimactic. It is clear his true climax will come in the last part of The Divine Comedy, but I have yet to read the next two parts.
I just found this whole poem fascinating. From when he finds himself "within a forest dark" until he and Virgil "rebehold the stars," I enjoyed every line....more
Whenever I go back and reread books that I loved the first time I read it, I get nervous thinking about the chance that I won't like it the second timWhenever I go back and reread books that I loved the first time I read it, I get nervous thinking about the chance that I won't like it the second time around. I read The Scarlet Letter for the first time when I was a sophomore in high school, and four years later, quite a lot has changed.
This novel was just as incredible as I remember it to be, though. I realize that this is one of the most despised novels of all time, but I think it has to do with the age at which people have to read it. I think it's fair to say that a majority of readers are in high school and are being forced to read it for their English class. Required reading is bad enough as it is, but having required reading such as this is another monster entirely. Hawthorne is wordy (very wordy). There are a lot of lengthy, gratuitous descriptions about things that have no relevance to the plot. There also is not a lot of action to drive the story forward. I still think it's incredible, though. I love diving into the lives of characters and discovering the inner workings of their psyche, and Hawthorne is great at this. And I still found myself absorbed into the plot even though I knew everything that was going to happen.
No, this type of novel isn't for everyone. Still, though, even if you don't particularly enjoy reading it, I think it's still easy to appreciate it as a work of literature. ...more
This was really good, even if its kind of like reading 1984 all over again.
The only complaint I have with the publisher (and not the book) is how theThis was really good, even if its kind of like reading 1984 all over again.
The only complaint I have with the publisher (and not the book) is how they decided to add the book all over again, but this time with Ayn Rand's notes all over it. It's kind of a massive waste of paper.
What a book! After reading this, I've come to appreciate Charles Dickens as so much more than "that guy who wrote the Christmas Carol."
One thing I lovWhat a book! After reading this, I've come to appreciate Charles Dickens as so much more than "that guy who wrote the Christmas Carol."
One thing I love is his ability to create a perfect storyline. Everything in this book fits together in the end like a perfect, intricate puzzle. Components that were thought to be gratuitous at first will come back in major ways at later points in the book. Maybe it's just me, but I adore authors who blatantly show that they know exactly where they're going with every sentence of the story. The ending packs a serious punch, too.
The characters in this book are exceptional, as well. My personal favorite was Madame Defarge. It's probably me and my general love for "the bad guy" in stories, but I loved every scene she was in. I also like the fact the Dickens gave her a reason for hating the aristocracy so much, as compared to her husband. The wood-sawyer/roadmender was interesting, too, if only for entertainment value. But of course, I'm sure anyone going around screaming, "My little guillotine! Off with her head! Off his his head! Hahahaha!" for no apparent reason except to please the majority might interest anybody.
This book was also a strong commentary regarding the Revolution. It was interesting to see the ironic way in which Dickens compares the aristocracy to the angry revolutionaries. The revolutionaries are mad for the aristocracy hurting and killing the innocent. Then, they turn right around and start killing plenty of innocent people for the sake of watching their heads roll.
I understand this book isn't for everyone. The plot is complex, there are plenty of characters to keep track of, and it takes a long time to get exciting. But, trust me, if you stick with it, it will pay off in the end....more
I've said this in my review of The Iliad, but I can't stress it enough. Read the Lombardo translation. It'll make Homer a much less painful process foI've said this in my review of The Iliad, but I can't stress it enough. Read the Lombardo translation. It'll make Homer a much less painful process for you.
As far as my opinion on the story, there's not much I can say that hasn't yet been said. Since I read this once before as a high school freshman, it was much easier to appreciate as a college freshman. It's pretty hard not to get at least a bit excited about Odysseus' over-turbulent journey and sympathize with his family back at home.
Can we just discuss the ending, though? I don't really know if Homer had a little too much to drink as he was telling the story or something, but book twenty-four is horrendous. Sure, it gives a conclusion to The Iliad, but what was up with that little war that appears out of absolutely nowhere? And Odysseus feeling the need to disguise himself and make up a bunch of lies when he meets his father? Bah....more
The Lord of the Flies was bittersweet for me. Here's some reasons why.
I loved what Golding was doing here. I loved how he portrayed innocent schoolboyThe Lord of the Flies was bittersweet for me. Here's some reasons why.
I loved what Golding was doing here. I loved how he portrayed innocent schoolboys turning into violent savages. At first, the boys set up a democracy of sorts, by voting for Ralph as their leader. That is soon destroyed, with Jack being the catalyst. He started out as a boy who think rules are necessary, to one who thinks they are nonsense. And some of their ritual scenes were downright insane, especially the one involving Simon. The fact that the Lord of the Flies is in all of them is interesting, too.
I also loved what Golding was saying about the adult world. Throughout most of the novel, the boys wish they had adults there to help guide them on the right path. However, in the skies above them, adults are killing each other because they can't agree on anything. Golding is showing that this is not a novel about how lack of adult supervision will lead kids to do bad things. It's about humanity as a whole. The boys represent different ideologies, and when those idologies don't agree, the inevitable solution is to fight.
However, I didn't care about the characters at all. Certain characters would die, and I honestly wouldn't care at all. Maybe it's becuase this is a short novel, and the reader wasn't given enough time to become emotionally attached to the characters. I know this is meant to be an allegory for human nature, and the characters are not the most important, but I still like to become attached to characters, and feel for them when they die.
The ending also left something to be desired. It just sort of dropped off. I get that the boys are leaving one world of chaos for another, but it was still a little disappointing.
Overall, I suggest you read it. I liked it, and think it's an important book to read.
One other important thing of note: In the scene where Jack and the gang are killing a mother pig, take note of Golding's diction. Does it remind you of something other than just a killing?...more
Animal Farm was an interesting book, don't get me wrong. But there's one thing I would like to point out. In my opinion, when authors write allegoriesAnimal Farm was an interesting book, don't get me wrong. But there's one thing I would like to point out. In my opinion, when authors write allegories, it tends to mean they give up writing interesting characters or storylines. This was somewhat the case in Lord of the Flies, but it is much more apparent here. Orwell gets so caught up in portraying Stalinist Russia that he seems to give up writing interesting storylines and characters (even though most all of them are meant to be symbols relating to Russia). He even loses a sense of reality. I realize that it's easier on the story for the animals to start "becoming" and interacting with humans, but I would see Orwell as a literary master if he could write a satirical allegory and keep the animals realistic at the same time.
Other than those pet peeves, this book wasn't that bad. I like how almost every character represents a person or group of people relevant to the time (Napoleon as Stalin, Mollie as the materialistic upper class, etc.). So, if you haven't already, I would read it. But if you're just jumping on the Orwell boat, read 1984 first....more
Before going into this, I heard nothing but bad things about it from others. "Dear Lord, it's the most boring book ever," "I can't take it anymore," aBefore going into this, I heard nothing but bad things about it from others. "Dear Lord, it's the most boring book ever," "I can't take it anymore," and "I'm having suicidal thoughts because I'm being forced to read this" were all common reviews. (That last one may be an exaggeration but whatever.)
I think this book has a bad reputation (at least, from people my age) because of its beginning. Not only is it unbearably slow, but I found myself frustrated with most of it. I was expecting the novel to be entirely about an epic love affair between Catherine and Heathcliff. However, I found myself irritated because Emily Brontë, in my opinion, did not give the two characters enough time together within the pages of the book, and I had trouble believing they were really as in love as they said.
It isn't until the half-way mark that this book became truly enjoyable. It takes until that point to really appreciate everything you had to wade through in the first half. That was one of my favorite things about this novel: the true point of the book comes through after the love affair ends. For me, this wasn't really a novel about Heathcliff and Catherine but a story about how Heathcliff deals with mourning the loss of his one true love.
Speaking of Heathcliff, he was easily the most fascinating character. Brontë writes him in a way in which I completely hated him but felt sorry for him and forgave him for his cruelty at the same time. The most interesting thing about him, though, is how he takes a background role in his own story. The last half focuses on the love affair between Catherine (the second one) and Linton, but in my opinion, the story is still very much about Heathcliff and his journey through the grief process.
Lastly, the ending was beautifully done. Without giving anything away, I loved how Emily Brontë both gave a finality to their story but, at the same time, gave the reader the hope that the two were still roaming the earth together.
My advice with this story is to force yourself through the first half because you'll fall in love with the last. It truly is a beautiful story, and people miss the opportunity to enjoy it because they can't get past the beginning, which is, admittedly, quite lackluster.
Oh, and I strongly recommend you purchase a copy of this book that has some sort of family tree in it. For the first 150 pages or so, I had to keep looking back at mine because all the characters names are so similar or, in some cases, the same....more
I really hate giving this book (well, play) one star. I hate giving any "classic" one star, for that matter. It must have gone down in history for a rI really hate giving this book (well, play) one star. I hate giving any "classic" one star, for that matter. It must have gone down in history for a reason, and is beloved by many. In most classics like this, even if I don't like the story, characters, etc., I usually can find that "spark" that has made it so popular for so many years. But I can honestly say that I found no redeeming qualities in Death of a Salesman. None whatsoever. Sigh.
Maybe I would have been more comfortable actually seeing the play instead of reading it, but, for me, this entire play was tedious and boring. I know I sound like a typical high-school student, but it's true. The storyline fell flat, I didn't care about any of the characters, the whole thing just felt bland. And the whole "these characters have fallen victim to the American Dream" idea was worn out before the first act was over.
And, this is probably my inner feminist talking, but all of the women in this play were useless. We have five women in this play. One is a secretary, and has four lines. The next is Linda, who is pretty much a piece of furniture. She gives in to whatever Willy says (because she has "infinite patience," apparently) and adds close to nothing to the play. Oh, and the other three? They're prostitutes. Classy....more
I've always loved feminist literature. Whenever going through books (especially books written around this time and before), I always think to myself,I've always loved feminist literature. Whenever going through books (especially books written around this time and before), I always think to myself, "How did the author portray women in this story?" In most cases, that question can be answered with the word helpless. They're usually damsels in distress that need someone with a Y chromosome to help them out of a situation.
A Doll's House features a main character that is pretty much the opposite of what I just described, and because of this, I knew this play would be interesting. While the acts Nora commits in this play are not considered too scandalous now (she -gasp- borrows money and -squeals- eats macaroons against her husband's wishes), it was nice to see her slowly rebelling against society. Her final epiphany and what she does in the end definitely sparks controversy (theatres wouldn't run the show until Ibsen changed the ending), and I'm still up in the air on whether or not she did the right thing.
Some think Nora and/or Torvald are annoying. Some think Nora's in the wrong. Others just didn't enjoy the play as a whole. However, I immensely enjoyed the entire story, and would love to see it on stage. ...more
Meh. I started The Glass Menagerie believing all the hype surrounding it. Not only did my AP English teacher love it, but I'd heard from various familMeh. I started The Glass Menagerie believing all the hype surrounding it. Not only did my AP English teacher love it, but I'd heard from various family members and friends that it was one of their favorite plays. I just don't see much appeal.
The plot of this play is achingly simple. So simple to the point where I can't really give an adequate plot summary without making it sound boring. There just wasn't enough going on for me. I finished it with a sense of That was it?
If you're going to read Tennessee Williams, read Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. I just don't see why this one is so over-hyped....more
I hate to give this book a negative review since Zora Neale Hurston writes so beautifully. Even in the first chapter alone, the figurative language thI hate to give this book a negative review since Zora Neale Hurston writes so beautifully. Even in the first chapter alone, the figurative language that she employs mingles so perfectly with the story that I couldn't help but be absorbed. Hurston also has a fine grasp on her colloquial dialogue, and even if it was difficult to read at times, it was still nice. Unfortunately, the good things about this book stop there.
There was absolutely nothing to get me engaged in Janie's story. She's supposed to be a strong female character, and I can see sprinklings of that, but she still is very submissive to all three of her husbands. Even Tea Cake, who's supposed to be the man to show her true independence, beats her, and she takes it. Also, nothing truly interesting ever happens throughout the duration of this novel. The marriages are almost formulaic, with the same issues resurfacing every time.
In addition to the above, the atrocious ending pretty much unraveled every hope I had for this book. I don't want to give anything away, but all the ridiculous things that happen in the last few chapters had me shaking my head (and ranting to my friend). However, the closing message about the horizon and how Janie finally reached it was a nice note to end the book on.
If you are in/have ever taken AP English, you've probably already read this book. And then, besides that, this book is a widely popular piece of literature, and I can somewhat see why people like it. It just wasn't for me....more
I didn't go into The Things They Carried with high expectations. I'm not a huge fan of war stories, and fictional depictions of the Vietnam War neverI didn't go into The Things They Carried with high expectations. I'm not a huge fan of war stories, and fictional depictions of the Vietnam War never held much interest for me. However, I was pleasantly surprised with this novel.
Tim O'Brien's writing style won me over. Someone about his prose can completely sink me into the story. He also uses multiple points of view to retell various stories, which I found unique. The way he organizes the stories is interesting as well. It isn't chronological; it's almost like a stream of consciousness narration, and O'Brien writes a story as it resurfaces in his mind. I liked it.
It may be strange, but for me, this novel has hardly about the war. It was more about the human condition and how people deal with loss. Whether it be the loss of another person, the loss of hope, or the loss of love, many characters have to deal with losing something. I found O'Brien's examination of how the characters dealt with their problems was very well done, too.
Don't get me wrong, not all of these stories are winners. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe these stories were individually published at separate times and later compiled into a novel, so some are not as great as others. However, when reading most of the stories, I was completely sucked away from the world around me and thrown into the chaotic world of these soldiers and their struggle to remain human before, during, and after the war....more
No Exit falls into a familiar trap: an author sacrifices an interesting storyline because he/she spends too much time trying to prove a point. When reNo Exit falls into a familiar trap: an author sacrifices an interesting storyline because he/she spends too much time trying to prove a point. When reading, I didn't feel like I was supposed to care about the three characters but was instead left wondering what the existential meaning was behind the lack of mirrors and eyelids, etc. And the complete lack of any resolution (which I suppose is understandable; they are in Hell, after all) leaves much to be desired.
However, I did find some of the story witty and pleasurable. The three characters' initial reaction to "eternal damnation" is quite comical. Sartre, essentially, uses a Victorian living room (or "Hell") as a microcosm for the world, but it was interesting seeing their confused reactions. Reading about the characters' sanity slowly eroding away was nice, too. It's an interesting concept: they are meant to be the torturers of each other because, according to Garcin, "Hell is - other people!"
There's really not much left to say here. It was a one-act play and went by very fast. And (dare I say it?) I think Dante did a much better job creating Hell in The Inferno....more