I long ago lost track of the number of times I have read this book. Today I finished it again, with the same sweet reassurance of its truthfulness and...moreI long ago lost track of the number of times I have read this book. Today I finished it again, with the same sweet reassurance of its truthfulness and of the truths that are presented within its pages. I love finishing it. I love reading the promises and of putting them to the test again, and of receiving the promised confirmation that it s true.
June 16, 2013 update. I just finished reading this book again for the umteenth time. I appreciate it more now than ever before, and my belief that it is really true is stronger than ever. We need this book in our lives right now!!!(less)
I read this book a long, long time ago, but couldn't remember it at all so I decided to reread it. I am sure my life experiences and the perspective t...moreI read this book a long, long time ago, but couldn't remember it at all so I decided to reread it. I am sure my life experiences and the perspective that comes with time have turned it into a much better book than I remembered it being. I found myself rooting for Winston, praying that he would have the strength of character to stand up and be the catalyst for change in this futuristic society, but he was so trapped on every side that he seemed to have no choice but to capitulate. The scary thing to me is that I get it. I understand it. Is our society headed in such a direction? It is my opinion that we will never go that far, but it is perplexing to me how many people are willing to give up their free agency little by little, of their own free will and choice. I don't want anyone else making my decisions, thank you. Yes I will make mistakes, sometimes bad ones, but this is my life to live the way I see fit, not anyone else's, least of all some nameless guy known only as "Big Brother." There is so much in this book for all of us to learn. Right now the biggest thing I am taking away from this book is gratitude for the freedoms I have left in this country, and for my own free will. It is and should be my most highly prized possession. I'm thinking that preserving our free agency is an underlying reason why God sent his Son to die for us. It's that important.(less)
Although Scarlet is a pretty shallow person, this book is anything but. Some people have criticized it because it is racially biased. Well, duh! It is...moreAlthough Scarlet is a pretty shallow person, this book is anything but. Some people have criticized it because it is racially biased. Well, duh! It is set in Georgia in the 1860s and beyond, about the most racially biased time and place in history. If it were written any other way, it would not be true to the times, and not worth reading. If you can't handle reading about things the way they were, don't read the book, but for heaven's sake don't criticize it for being racially biased.
I think Mitchell handled the white vs. black problem extremely well. I came away from this book having a profound respect for many of the black characters, and disgust for many of the whites. But then, is that not life? There are good black people and bad black people, there are good white people and bad white people. There are dumb and evil blacks. There are dumb and evil whites. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It is called real life. But what Mitchell gave us was a glimpse into the mindset of the time, both black and white, both good and evil. And, like holding a mirror up to our own faces, if we look in depth, it is scary.
This is only one of the myriad lessons to be learned from this book. It is jam-packed from start to finish.
About Scarlet. I came to dislike her intensely when, as a mature woman, she continued to hold on to childish ideas that could destroy her life. But how rewarding to finally see her able to look in that mirror and see herself for what she was. What happened next? Does she get him back or doesn't she? I wouldn't dare say, but I do know that she would be strong and self-reliant, and with her new-found perspective on life, a lot more realistic, and perhaps a better mother. She is a survivor, and I admire that in anybody.(less)
I love this book. It has quite a bit of darkness in it, but it is still such a great story of love and revenge. I really don't personally believe in r...moreI love this book. It has quite a bit of darkness in it, but it is still such a great story of love and revenge. I really don't personally believe in revenge, but I think all of us harbor a secret desire to get even with people who have wronged us. In Dante's case, he is well justified in seeking revenge, and he goes about it in a very calculating way. He does so much good along the way, however, to those deserving of it. Yes, he plays God to some extent, but justifies that by the fact that he prays about what he should do, and because ways are opened up for him to accomplish what he wants makes him believe he has God's blessing.
I read this book years ago, and loved it then. It was delightful to get to read it again. Although I rarely reread fiction, I am sure this will not be the last time.(less)
I have read the novel, Les Miserables, at least 6 times, and consider it one of the greatest books ever written, and my favorite novel of all time. Th...moreI have read the novel, Les Miserables, at least 6 times, and consider it one of the greatest books ever written, and my favorite novel of all time. This time through I listened to it as an audio book, read by Frederick Davidson.
Les Miserables is a big, long, involved book. It starts out with background material on a pivotal character in the life of Jean Valjean, material that Hugo himself admits has absolutely nothing to do with the story itself. He takes these little side trips frequently throughout the book. This really throws some people off as they consider it something akin to a waste of time to read so much information that has no bearing on the story. I would say to you if you are in this category, read an abridged version. You will miss none of the story. For myself, I found it enriching and interesting to read these sidebars.
Some people have compared Jean Valjean to a Christ-type figure, but I strongly disagree with the analogy. Rather, the Bishop of Digne is most definitely the Christ figure. Valjean becomes, by virtue of the Good Man “buying his soul,” a counter part of Everyman. As he tries to make himself an honest man, he goes through struggle after struggle, but with the determination to live up to the vision the Bishop had of him when he gave Valjean the silver. That Valjean continues to have human failings, right up to his death, is suggestive of the role, whereas the Bishop seems to already have transcended the bigger part of his humanness, and in fact, as he pays for the sins of Valjean, seems to have completed his work of becoming perfect, “even as his Father in Heaven is perfect.” He loved eating off the silver settings. It was his last holdout, his last symbol of desiring the things of the earth, and he gave them away without a second thought when he realized that another of God’s sons needed it worse. He knew it was time to move away from even that one indulgence.
As I watch Valjean’s transformation, it is impossible not to see myself in him. Maybe that is why I love this story so much. I, like Valjean, want to do better. I want to be more selfless, more thoughtful of others, more trusting in my God. And more Christlike. Whenever I finish this book, I feel purged, lighter, more determined to do better.
Now, about the narrator. I have read reviews on Frederick Davidson that consider him everywhere from the absolute worst to someone you have to acquire a taste for. I am in the latter category. When I first started listening to him, I was a little put off. I think a combination of his verrrrry Britishness and perhaps a bit of coming across rather snobbish puts many people off. I perceived him as somewhat of a snob at first as well. I really wondered if I could listen to him read my golden book for 60 hours. Add to that, being able to hear an occasional page turning, or a throat clearing seems less than professional to some people. Eventually, however, I came to love the man as a narrator, and forgave without a thought his little idiosyncrasies. I think it happened when I realized that he loves this story as much as I do. His characterizations are without equal, and I have heard some pretty astounding narrators. As I listened to the last three hours of Les Miserables, I was putty in Davidson’s hands. I cannot even express in words what it was like to listen to him read this most tender and spiritual part. By the end, I was a slobbering mess, but thanking my God for this book, this author and this reader, and the lessons I had learned once again.(less)
I read this book the first time many years ago. I was hooked instantly, and went on to read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I have loved these books ev...moreI read this book the first time many years ago. I was hooked instantly, and went on to read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I have loved these books ever since.
It was great this time 'round to have it read to me by a fabulous narrator, Rob Inglis. As I have read other reviews, I was struck by how many people were lucky enough to have a parent read this to them as children, or to read it along with a parent. I did not have that experience and am envious of it. So having Mr. Inglis read it to me is second best. That is not to say his reading is anything but amazing! And I also loved his singing of the songs. I want to believe he made the melodies up himself.
All in all, I was charmed again by this book, by the characters, the journey, the deep meaning, and the flow of Tolkein's writing. I rarely reread fiction, but this one is, and will be in the future, an exception to my rule.(less)
I just finished reading this book, and it is what it says it is: common sense. I really enjoyed it. It is short, but very powerful. It makes me want t...moreI just finished reading this book, and it is what it says it is: common sense. I really enjoyed it. It is short, but very powerful. It makes me want to get out there and do whatever I need to, to help save America. Our Constitution is being dis-empowered more and more every dayI believe it is an inspired document, and any attempt to make it seem out of step with the times is just crazy.(less)
My heart was broken as I read this book. I cried almost every time I picked it up, but was compelled to keep reading it. Don't read it unless you can...moreMy heart was broken as I read this book. I cried almost every time I picked it up, but was compelled to keep reading it. Don't read it unless you can handle the heartbreak, and/or you want to learn the real truth about how the American Indians were treated throughout the settling of America.(less)
Many years ago my dad handed me a greasy book and said, "Here, read this. I think you will like it." I thought - Oh no, it is going to be a cowboy boo...moreMany years ago my dad handed me a greasy book and said, "Here, read this. I think you will like it." I thought - Oh no, it is going to be a cowboy book, or something else that I could imagine my dad liking, but knowing I definitely would NOT. He worked at a steel mill, thus the grease, and he read on his breaks and his lunch hour. I dutifully took the book, trying to think of a way to get out of reading it, but instead, I was hooked by the end of the first page.
The book he gave me that day was "All Creatures Great and Small." It instantly became one of my favorites, and I subsequently devoured many of James Herriot's books. When I was able to purchase it on Audible, I hoped that the audio version would live up to my memories of when I read it years ago. I was not disappointed. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was almost like reading it the first time because of the length of time elapsed since the first reading. The only tiny little criticism I have is in Christopher Timothy's syntax. I loved his characterizations and his enthusiasm for the book, his wide array of appropriate accents, and the quality of his voice, but he has an annoying way of pausing for what I consider too long between each sentence. He speaks fast, which doesn't bother me at all, but coupled with the unusually long pauses, it started to sound like a fast yakityyakityyakityyak (silent pause) yakityyakityyakityyak (silent pause). The cadence of the reading began to be a little distracting.
Outside of that, I loved every bit of this audiobook, and even with that one annoyance, I can wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. Like me the day my dad first gave it to me, you will not be able to keep from loving it.(less)
An interesting morality story of how the evil in us can take over if we are not always honest with ourselves. There is a lot to learn from it, even th...moreAn interesting morality story of how the evil in us can take over if we are not always honest with ourselves. There is a lot to learn from it, even though the 100+ year old lexicon makes it a little hard to read.(less)