I was surprised how much I enjoyed The Canterbury Tales. Within the framework of a pilgrimage to Canterbury, Chaucer wrote stories of great diversity,...moreI was surprised how much I enjoyed The Canterbury Tales. Within the framework of a pilgrimage to Canterbury, Chaucer wrote stories of great diversity, some funny, some tragic, usually entertaining. Chaucer was obviously fascinated by human nature, good and bad.
Chaucer wrote unique portraits of each character and I could hear each of them speak-amazing, considering the Tales were written in the 14th century. Or perhaps not. Perhaps the Tales remind us that human nature is immutable.
Some of the tales are unfinished but that does not diminish the pleasure of reading them. Stories about the vagaries of love predominate, from sublime in The Knight's Tale, to the ridiculous in The Miller's Tale.
I read a Kindle edition of the Tales that had been semi-modernised and unfamiliar words were translated on the same page, making the old language relatively easy to read. I supplemented my reading by looking at the following website:
The site is very handy, as it allows you to read modernised and middle English versions of the text.
If you haven't tried reading, Chaucer, please give him a go, it's worth it.
What a cracker of a story! The main characters, Lady Alice Audley and Robert Audley, her 'nephew' are delightful characters. Robert is an amiable, ind...moreWhat a cracker of a story! The main characters, Lady Alice Audley and Robert Audley, her 'nephew' are delightful characters. Robert is an amiable, indolent barrister drawn, very much against his will, into a deep mystery involving his beautiful and self-centered young aunt.
The story is fast paced and Braddon's scene setting is extremely evocative, reading her descriptions is to picture, in fine detail, a series of jewel-like pre-Raphaelite images. Braddon changes the scenery much as is done in a film, her reader is taken from London to remote windswept beaches-a favourite of Victorian novelists.
Braddon occasionally veers off into commentary about social issues or psychology and I found these thought-provoking rather than lecturing.
Basil is the younger son of an old, aristocratic English family. His father's family pride is the paramount consideration in his life. Basil falls in...moreBasil is the younger son of an old, aristocratic English family. His father's family pride is the paramount consideration in his life. Basil falls in love at first sight with the exotic looking daughter of a successful draper and this premise sets the scene for an engaging story.
Unlike Woman in White and The Moonstone, both of which employ different narrators throughout the book, Basil is written from the perspective of one man. The novel also differs from Collin's more famous works in that there is little humour.
The characters are interesting if not subtle and Collins descriptions of nouveau riche London will be fascinating for anyone interested in the Victorian period.
I really enjoyed this novel. It was fast-paced and further enhanced my impression of Collins as the pre-cursor to the modern day thriller writer. I was expecting a straight-forward tale of star-crossed love in Victorian England and was pleasantly surprised as the story unfolded.
If you are a fan of Woman in White and The Moonstone, I think you will enjoy reading Basil. (less)
The Hunger Games (THG) is an excellent adventure. I listened to the audio-book, expertly read by Carolyn McCormick. I'm not going to give you the blur...moreThe Hunger Games (THG) is an excellent adventure. I listened to the audio-book, expertly read by Carolyn McCormick. I'm not going to give you the blurb, you can read that on THG Goodreads page.
Collins inspiration was two-fold, the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur and the history of Ancient Rome. In an interview, Collins said the idea for the book came to her one night when she was channel surfing on TV, between reality TV competitions and the Iraq War. She has cleverly amalgamated the two in telling the story of Katniss Everdeen.
At first I was concerned about the level of violence, then I realised the images kids see on the news now are worse than the violence in THG, not to mention computer games and films.
I wasn't completely addicted until the second half of the book, when Katniss and Peeta are in the midst of the Game. The first half was still very engaging though and plots background that is important for the rest of the story.
The second half of the book is unputdownable, as Katniss battles nature, competitors and sometimes herself in the Arena.
I highly recommend The Hunger Games, it's a ripping yarn. (less)
The Confession reads more like a true crime book than a novel and is a strong political statement against the death penalty. I liked it, not least bec...moreThe Confession reads more like a true crime book than a novel and is a strong political statement against the death penalty. I liked it, not least because I don't like the death penalty.
I don't know much about Texas, but I hope and doubt the police, prosecutors and judges are as stupid and bigoted as they appear in this book. As a lawyer myself, I found the legal errors made by the police, then the prosecutor, right up to the US Supreme Court frankly unbelievable, but hell, I'm just an Australian gal and what would I know?
The characters were not subtle. The crooked cops, judges and politicians were unreconstructed red-necks. The murder victim's mother was a champion Victim with a capital V. The wronged man's mother was a saintly, truly God-fearing woman. The real killer was BAD, complete with an evil tattoo on his neck.
Grisham presses all tear-jerker buttons and I was a bit choked up at times, I am embarrassed to say.
This all sounds pretty negative, but I did enjoy the story and it convinced me, once again, of the barbarity of state-sanctioned execution.
I listed to an audio-book, which was well read, if a tiny bit slow at times, by Vincent Marzello. (less)