The best way to sum up my feelings about "Under the Greenwood Tree" by Thomas Hardy is perhaps by the words I uttered right after I closed the books:...moreThe best way to sum up my feelings about "Under the Greenwood Tree" by Thomas Hardy is perhaps by the words I uttered right after I closed the books: "My, my, this was really good." I spoke these words repetly as I hugged the book to my chest.
“To dwellers in a wood, almost every species of tree has its voice as well as its feature.”
In the very first chapter of this short novel, Thomas Hardy describes how each tree stands out as an individual, which at first sounded abstracted, poetic and very romanticised, but in the end sums up this story in a epic conclusion: "Under the Greenwood Tree" is a vivid tale of multitude of personalities like trees in an idyllic wood. (less)
As much as I love Oscar Wilde's wild person and wittiness, I was surprised to find none of these elements of his persona in his poems. "The Collected...moreAs much as I love Oscar Wilde's wild person and wittiness, I was surprised to find none of these elements of his persona in his poems. "The Collected Poems of Oscar Wilde" by Oscar Wilde is a wide collection of dedicated odes, sonnets and simple words for the people around him as well as historical personas including the romantic poet, John Keats. Oscar Wilde's poems roots in Greek myths and folklore and bloom into a nice garden of flowers which is nice to walk though, but it did not leave me breathless, longing for more. The words did not melt on my tongue, as the words of his novels do, but it gave me a greater picture on his authorship which is much appreciated.
SYMPHONY IN YELLOW An omnibus across the bridge Crawls like a yellow butterfly And, here and there, a passer-by Shows like a little restless midge.
Big barges full of yellow hay Are moored against the shadowy wharf, And, like a yellow silken scarf, The thick fog hangs along the quay.
The yellow leaves begin to fade And flutter from the Temple elms, And at my feet the pale green Thames Lies like a rod of rippled jade.
The poems contains lot of historical as well as mythical references which is essential to know in order to fully comprehend Wilde's poetry. My knowledge of Greek mythology is sparse seen that I only know a handful of Greek and Roman tales compared to how many are being used in this poetry. Surely, it damaged my experience while reading this, but the language was nice and creates lovely and majestic pictures. (less)
"The Mill on the Floss" by George Eliot is one of the saddest stories I have read in a very long time and yet it did not affect me the way I thought i...more"The Mill on the Floss" by George Eliot is one of the saddest stories I have read in a very long time and yet it did not affect me the way I thought it would have. George Eliot tells a compelling story about a little girl who finds it difficult to fit into the society, her class and even her family. She is always overshadowed by her older brother, and how she struggles from a very young age and later on when she is a grown woman to find her place in a world she does not feel comfortable in.
"I am not imposed upon by fine words; I can see what actions mean.”
The writing was surprisingly lovely and detailed, and for that alone this book deserves all the stars it can possibly get, however, the plot is very slow, and if it had a pulse one should be worries because at times it feels like there is non at all. The plot might be slowly moving, but when Eliot writes about how the main character's runs off to join the gypsies, or when she tries to learn Latin, this slow moving does not matter at all; these sequences are written in simple but yet darling words that makes them even more loveable than if the plot was going fast; it gives the reader an opportunity to really dive into the world of the Tulliver family.
“If you deliver an opinion at all, it is mere stupidity not to do it with an air of conviction and well-founded knowledge. You make it your own in uttering it, and naturally get fond of it.”
Besides from the main character, Maggie Tulliver, I sadly did not care for the rest of the character, which might explain why I did not feel completely devastated at the end on the book. The characters all have a different voice from one another, and yet I found most of them to be snobbish, selfish or even shameless, except from sweet and naive Maggi whose child like mind always made me smile. (less)
"Swann's Way" by Marcel Proust is a difficult novel to rate. First of all it is only a piece of a bigger puzzle, one book in a chronicle about time an...more"Swann's Way" by Marcel Proust is a difficult novel to rate. First of all it is only a piece of a bigger puzzle, one book in a chronicle about time and memory by the French author. This is my first Proust, so far I have only read novels about him, and reading Proust is not an easy read. First of all he deals with difficult themes such as the perspective of time in all its forms; the narrator tells about his childhood and then about a love affair which took place before he was born, and then the narrator reflects on this. It might sound simple, but it is not. To say how I feel about this novel is a difficult task, as I both loved it and felt bored by it; it made me doze off several times, and yet I wanted to turn another page. Let me explain:
“Always try to keep a patch of sky above your life.”
Proust is a master of long sentences, some even half a page, making it difficult for the reader to remember what he started out saying compared to where he ends. I find this rather funny as this novel deals with memory as well. Even though this makes the reading complicated, he is quite good at grasping things and scenarios that are difficult to describe. In the beginning he spends several pages describing the act of going to bed and falling asleep, and make it sound like a delightful tale, explaining it to bits so clear it might scare one.
“Love is a striking example of how little reality means to us.”
With his skilful and simple imagination "Swann's Way" becomes a long read that is not set for reading from front cover to the back cover; it is delicate and delightful in every possible way, and a much overlooked theme in classical literature. The novel lacks plot, but fills this lacking with thoughts and ideas waved together by a beautiful language. To rider along with Proust in search of lost times is a journey filled with ambivalence and difficulties, but a journey I would not miss for anything in the world; the stunning and precise use of words is admirable. It took me for ever to get into the story, but when I did it swallowed me completely, and I lost myself in time.(less)
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells is a true treasure among the science fiction genre because it is basically the father of this. Science fiction, however...moreThe Time Machine by H.G. Wells is a true treasure among the science fiction genre because it is basically the father of this. Science fiction, however, is not my favourite type of genre, and as this is one of the very first I am not sure if it is right to say that it has quite some lacks. That said I do think this novel has a lot of potential which can all so be seeing in what it led to, a whole new universe of stories.
Instead of explaining the good things about this novel, I will try to explain what did not work for me. First of all I think the plot was quite too short and for that it did not live up to its potential. In continuation of this it also lacked character development. The main character, for example, seemed almost lifeless and one dimensional and that makes it difficult to grow on such characters; I never felt anything for any of the characters and when the last page was turned I barely remembered any of their names. The written language did not stand out either which all in all made this a meh-experience for me and for that I cannot give this novel more than one star. (less)
The Diary Of A Nobody by George Grossmith is a fun, quick read about the ordinary man and his life. the idea itself might sound rather boring or perha...moreThe Diary Of A Nobody by George Grossmith is a fun, quick read about the ordinary man and his life. the idea itself might sound rather boring or perhaps too simple, but that is exactly what makes his book so enjoyable. The most exciting this that happen in this book is a marriage being planned, and for Grossmith to write a book about nothing but something most people wake up to every day and make that sort of exciting, is really something. (less)
My copy of this only contains The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Tolstoy and is an antique version I found in a second hand shop so it does not contain all t...moreMy copy of this only contains The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Tolstoy and is an antique version I found in a second hand shop so it does not contain all the same stories as the penguin copy.
The Death of Ivan Ilyich was without doubt my favourite short story of the collection. It has all the right messages, even though the beginning can seem very slow. It is also the most in-depth look into a dying man's mind that I can recall ever reading. (less)
One cannot truly celebrate Christmas without having read A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings by Charles Dickens. It is an absolute must. Th...moreOne cannot truly celebrate Christmas without having read A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings by Charles Dickens. It is an absolute must. The story about a selfish man who detest the Christmas and therefore is haunted by three Christmas ghost in order to make him open his mind to what a lovely time it is, is absolutely timeless.(less)
Oscar Wilde is a treat and his The Happy Prince and Other Tales is no exception. This book contains in my opinion some the very best of Wilde's fairy...moreOscar Wilde is a treat and his The Happy Prince and Other Tales is no exception. This book contains in my opinion some the very best of Wilde's fairy tales, however, these fairy tales are much darker and each has a very meaning message to send. The most beautiful, The Happy Prince, The Nightingale and the Rose and The Selfish Gian, are all about death, but each an everyone of them is magically written:"'The Earth is going to be married, and this is her bridal dress,' whispered the Turtle-doves to each other."(The Star-Child)
I can honestly imagine myself reading this to my younger sister or perhaps my future children. I think they are as important as the fairy tales of the Grimm Brothers and even H.C. Anderson - and that says a lot! (less)
I did not read all of the stories in The Lady With the Little Dog and Other Stories, 1896-1904 by Anton Chekhov because this copy has different storie...moreI did not read all of the stories in The Lady With the Little Dog and Other Stories, 1896-1904 by Anton Chekhov because this copy has different stories in it than the copy I own. I chose this copy, however, because I could not find one for my very old, Danish one, and this version came very close to my own.
This first paper I ever wrote in the university was about Chekhov's The Student, and by that time I had not yet had the chance to read any of this stories. As I wrote the paper, I fell for this message rather than the story, and I think perhaps this is also why I only gave The Lady With the Little Dog and Other Stories, 1896-1904 two stars: I did not really like his stories, of course some more than others. I think the reason for this is that I did not analyse these short stories as I had to with The Student. Anyway, I really liked his The Lady With the Little Dog because that was the only short story that came natural to me with its message. (less)
I tend to find stream of consciousness-novels hard to overcome as the human mind is one big puzzle labyrinth with no beginning or end. Hunger by Norwe...moreI tend to find stream of consciousness-novels hard to overcome as the human mind is one big puzzle labyrinth with no beginning or end. Hunger by Norwegian Knut Hamsun is also a stream of consciousness-novel, but it appears to be much more simple and is easily overcome; when I turned the first page I simply could not stop before the last was turned as well. Even though the story is rather short, it seems much longer because there are lots of things going on on these few hundred pages.
I am very impressed by the author, and only a bit disappointed in myself for not having read Hunger until now, however, I do believe this is an almost forgotten classic read. The story is rather simple, yet very much important. It shows a psychological study of how basic food is to the human. This statement might seem too obvious, but very few in the modern world starve on daily basis, but to the main character of this novel constant hunger is fact. Most people take food for granted because the modern world offers so much to a very low price, but when you first get bitten by the hunger and has no money in your pocket, the hunger-monster strikes and tears you apart slowly but surely. (less)
I simply love it when university lecturers make the students buy (expensive) books only to read fifty pages or less of the entire book. Anyway, Billy...moreI simply love it when university lecturers make the students buy (expensive) books only to read fifty pages or less of the entire book. Anyway, Billy Budd by Herman Melville was the only book in Billy Budd and Other Stories I was to read for my university course in american renaissance because our lecturer thought Moby Dick would be too big a deal for the course to handle. Perhaps he was right about that...
Billy Budd by Herman Melville is a story about justice through authorities, in this case the captain among this crew. It is very clear that the author never finished this novella before his sudden death in 1891, however, Billy Budd can easily be read for what Melville left it like. I found the story to be all right, the writing the same and the length no exception. (less)
After my father told me how he spend his youth reading novels by authors like French Jules Verne, I decided to follow my father's footsteps and do the...moreAfter my father told me how he spend his youth reading novels by authors like French Jules Verne, I decided to follow my father's footsteps and do the same. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne is one of the biggest must-read if one is a science-fiction fan, but I am not a huge fan, but I might go coo coo for Verne.
Firstly, because I simply love everything French and secondly, because his writing is rather excellent. I have heard that his writing was not well-served by the English translations of his day which ruins the reading experience for some, sadly. If that is true, I am quite pleased that I read the Danish translation of his work because I think the Danish translator served him justice.
I grew up with the story about Captain Nemo and his magnificent machinery and even watched the cartoon version, but to finally have read it added a new perspective to the story. Très bien, Verne! (less)
To begin with I was over the moon for Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, then I cooled down and tried to be more casual, but in the end I was stru...moreTo begin with I was over the moon for Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, then I cooled down and tried to be more casual, but in the end I was struggling, ladies and gentlemen, to make my way through this. I admit I even skipped sections, entire chapters even, because I needed for something to happen in order to keep the very little excitement I had left at the moment.
I have watch the intro of BBC's film version of this novel, and I believe I will like the film adoption way more than the book. I am endlessly sorry, my dearest Dickens, but what I mostly liked about this was the very last sentence of every section saying something about the end of the period of Pip's life. And the end of course. Please, do not hate me, I feel bad enough already. (less)
A few months ago I first read the classic Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, and to be honest I think I had too much going on on my mind to really enjoy th...moreA few months ago I first read the classic Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, and to be honest I think I had too much going on on my mind to really enjoy this heavy novel, so I decided to re-read it in continuation of the film release in January. This might have been one of the best decisions I have had in a very long time, because Anna Karenina is simply a magnificent story about love in all its glory, and not only between two lovers, but between siblings, family and friends too.
The reason why I did not rate this novel five stars, which was very tempting indeed, is simply because of one smaller section of the story which I just could not get over. It is the part where Anna and Vronsky travels through Europe; in my opinion this part was unnecessary and a bit of a cliché. (less)