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: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: "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. ...more
The title of "The Diary of a Provincial Lady" by E.M. Delafield explains the concept of this book very well; a diary in which the reader follows a cluThe title of "The Diary of a Provincial Lady" by E.M. Delafield explains the concept of this book very well; a diary in which the reader follows a clumsy provincial lady and her everyday life filled with simple duties as a mother, wife and friend, and the more, yet still simple, adventures of everyday life such as the sudden urge to buy dresses truly unfit for one and yet buying them, and the misadventures of dying one's hair.
“She is never alone when she has Her Books. Books, to her, are Friends. Give her Shakespeare or Jane Austen, Meredith or Hardy, and she is Lost - lost in a world of her own. She sleeps so little that most of her nights are spent reading.
Reading this was as simple as the structure of the diary itself; the grammar is never correct, yet always understandable like personal notes written in a hurry. Written in 1930 this feels almost as a forerunner to the very famous "Bridget Jones' Diary" by Helen Fielding with lots of the same themes in two different times. "The Diary of a Provincial Lady" is very amusing and witty with its many literary references (which can be seen in the quote above), buy underneath all this amusement lies a more critical feministic point of view which I enjoyed just as much. ...more
I tend to enjoy Diana Wynne Jones's work, but never more than that; her stories about "Howl's Moving Castle" moved me with its simpleness and yet compI tend to enjoy Diana Wynne Jones's work, but never more than that; her stories about "Howl's Moving Castle" moved me with its simpleness and yet completely new world of familiar and new magic, but the two sequels to the first book always felt a bit odd to call sequels as they never had Howl and Sophie as protagonists but always as minor characters which were to help the different protagonists rather than lead the stories.
“All she heard next of the strange conversation behind the sofa was Mrs. Pendragon saying something about sending Twinkle (or was his name Howl?) to bed without supper and Twinkle daring her to 'jutht TRY it.”
Saying I enjoy Jones's writing is true, also when it comes to "House of Many Ways" which is a witty written novel about a different kind of magic than the previous ones; one that can bend and bind times in small house on the country. The protagonist in this story is a grumpy and spoiled child named Charmain; her parents just let her to be with her books which means she does not know how to do the most simple things in her everyday life at the Wizard's house when she is to look after it for him. She gets grumpy at every character and every adventure she comes by, but also grows with these as she cannot just be in her books but also have to live her life fully. However this book feels more like a children's book compared to the previous books in the series. ...more
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 CollectedAs 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. ...more
This is one of those rare moments where I must confess that I prefer the film to the book. "Bridget Jones's Diary" by Helen Fielding is a film a can wThis is one of those rare moments where I must confess that I prefer the film to the book. "Bridget Jones's Diary" by Helen Fielding is a film a can watch over and over and still get the tingling feeling in my stomach every time Darcy enters the screen, and the laughs keeps coming whenever Bridget gets all tangled up in her own head.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces.”
The book, however, I somewhat different; Bridget is hysterical beyond comprehension, and her outbursts about graining a few pounds became annoying within a few chapters. Whenever Bridget weights 54 kilos she is utter perfection (but living very unhealthy), and when she weights 58 kilos she is a whale (but living more realistic). I know it is suppose to be happy that she is so dramatic about food, alcohol and cigarettes, but I did not find her to be so.
““But if you are single the last thing you want is your best friend forming a functional relationship with somebody else.”
Bridget is the mother of hypocrites, and even though she is funny, she is also hysterical, extreme and naive. Perhaps the extreme proves the points of Helen Fielding, at least it did not work for me. The ending, which is somewhat different from the film version annoyed me as well: the fact that Bridget was away by the right man instead of the one pleased me, but it annoyed me to no end that she seemed so passively about it. Despite that however, it is a funny, light read....more
"Shades of Grey" by Jasper Fforde is a dystopian novel about a corrupt government and its endlessly many rules sorted by how much colour one is able t"Shades of Grey" by Jasper Fforde is a dystopian novel about a corrupt government and its endlessly many rules sorted by how much colour one is able to see, and these colours are not to mixed. Fforde creates a very scary and yet realistic story with lots of complexities and satire.
“The best lies to tell are the ones people want to believe."
Once I tried to read Fforde's "The Eyre Affair", but I found his writing a struggle, and his story so slow-moving that it only left frustration and the book unfinished. Some of these elements are in "Shades of Grey" too. The plot moves slowly and takes about fifty pages to get into before the story starts to unfold itself, and the information about this corrupt society is given. The plot is not always moving slowly and steady, but suddenly speeds up in the end of the novel, leaving the events almost rushed and unfinished, like the author ran out of pages.
“'Edward, Edward,' he said with a patronising smile, 'there are no unanswered questions of any relevance. Every question that we need to ask has been answered fully. If you can't find the correct answer then you are obviously asking the wrong question.'”
The writing was all right, and the promise of the novel quite interesting. I wanted to read the story, and I wanted to like it, however, several elements such as the speed of the plot and the writing left me only a little satisfied instead of being over the moon. At the end of the novel I still had a lot of unanswered questions about the society and its structure, and if I did not know that Fforde has decided to write a sequel to his dystopian universe I would be rather annoyed but the book entirely. All in all a nice read once one gets into the characters, the plot and its complexity. ...more
BBC have said it to be the new C.S. Lewis which I hardly agree with , but "Mariah Mundi and the Midas Box" by G.P. Taylor is dark Victorian tale of thBBC have said it to be the new C.S. Lewis which I hardly agree with , but "Mariah Mundi and the Midas Box" by G.P. Taylor is dark Victorian tale of the utter darkness which I found quite enjoyable. It is a suitable read for young adults who happen to enjoy this kind of fantasy reads.
G.P. Taylor tells a story with great magical creatures and features such as a magic act, a kraken a gruff sailor who knows a mysterious amount of things about the protagonist, and a pack of cards that can tell the future. Of course it also has the mysterious The Midas Box which turn everything inside it into gold leaving it wanted by the wrong people who will only use it for their own purpose. Mariah Mundi and his new friends set out to prevent this from happening, while children are being snapped by the streets of London and a magic show happens every night at the hotel build in the cliff surrounded by walking dolls and sea witches.
The prose is at times long and dull, but the story is rather enjoyable and Mariah Mundi is a very likeable character. I am sure to be reading the sequel to this, but perhaps not right away. ...more
It seems like I have found my number one guilty pleasure at last. 'The White Queen' by Philippa Gregory is based on the historical events of the WarsIt seems like I have found my number one guilty pleasure at last. 'The White Queen' by Philippa Gregory is based on the historical events of the Wars of the Roses, told from the perspective of strong females only. Elizabeth Woodville, who happens to be the female lead and narrator in this novel, is likeable for her love of her children whom she is willing to do whatever it takes to keep them safe from the many feuds of England threading her throne.
“He promised her that he would give her everything, everything she wanted, as men in love always do. And she trusted him despite herself, as women in love always do.”
To follow the intrigues of the three prince brothers, Edward, George, and Richard is quite captivating, and so the story is very likeable even if one is not interested in historical events, however, the writing is quite flat and bland. Philippa Gregory focuses on telling what is happening rather than focusing on the way of telling what is happening which is a shame as this series holds great potential, nonetheless, this is the first book in the series, and I am looking forward to the next, hoping that the author's writing skills will develop.
“Edward lives as if there is no tomorrow, Richard as if he wants no tomorrow, and George as though someone should give it to him for free.” ...more
With its 120 pages, "The Uncommon Reader" by Alan Bennett is a heartwarm and quick read that leaves smiles on one's face and laughter in the corner ofWith its 120 pages, "The Uncommon Reader" by Alan Bennett is a heartwarm and quick read that leaves smiles on one's face and laughter in the corner of one's mouth. It is a wonderful story that at no time is offensive towards the English monarch, and yet creates a respectful image of a fictional queen made out of the picture of the real queen's expression.
“Once I start a book I finish it. That was the way one was brought up. Books, bread and butter, mashed potato – one finishes what’s on one’s plate. That’s always been my philosophy.”
The book is a witty and well-written satire that attempts to portray the importance of reading and how influential books may be, thus, it is also a story about the power of these objects posses, and how they offer the ability to transform one's thoughts. It is not just a simple story about reading or books in general, but also a book about how to find oneself through reading. That said this book is obviously no masterpiece, but is a delightful piece of great literature in its own way....more
I am utterly and deeply loving J.R.R. Tolkien's writings of Middle Earth, and "Tales from the Perilous Realm" is no exception. Surely I enjoyed some oI am utterly and deeply loving J.R.R. Tolkien's writings of Middle Earth, and "Tales from the Perilous Realm" is no exception. Surely I enjoyed some of the tales better than others, but I did in fact enjoy them all. "Roverandom" was a short story I have only heard good of, and it was such a sweet and delicate tale about a puppy dog being turned into a toy by a grumpy wizard, but it has in fact very different from what I expected. It has sea creatures and wizards as well as non magic creatures such as seagulls and loving little boys. It is aa fun story aimed at younger readers.
“Rover did not know in the least where the moon's path led to, and at present he was much too frightened and excited to ask, and anyway he was beginning to get used to extraordinary things happening to him.”
Reading this also introduced me to Tolkien's delicate lyrical tales about bearded men, lovesick mermaids and hungry dragons. Each word seems to have been chosen carefully and well, making every poem and every tale a delightful read. Also Alan Lee's illustration suits the stories very well, making them seem even more alive than the words alone make them. ...more
"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams is a sci-fi classic filled with great laughs and creatures, however, it is also quite random a"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams is a sci-fi classic filled with great laughs and creatures, however, it is also quite random and a short read. The plot is very toned down, and this instalment works as an introduction to Adam's witty universe.
“For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.”
Arthur is a great main character who is not a hero at first, but whom I am sure will become one in the following books. He has the potential anyway. The writing is sometimes dull and too simple, but it did, however, make me laugh out loud several times because even though the writing style might be simple, it still managed to create clear pictures in my mind....more
As much as I adore and admire Arthur Conan Doyle as an author and his magnificent work creating Sherlock Holmes through the eyes of John Watson, "TheAs much as I adore and admire Arthur Conan Doyle as an author and his magnificent work creating Sherlock Holmes through the eyes of John Watson, "The Valley of Fear" was not my cup of tea at all; it is structured and told differently from what Doyle used to. The crime and the case did also not come on strong to me; the first part was enjoyable, however, the second part not so much, but it did not linger on in my mind for long after I closed the case with Sherlock.
“'I say, Watson,’ he whispered, ‘would you be afraid to sleep in the same room as a lunatic, a man with softening of the brain, an idiot whose mind has lost its grip?’ ‘Not in the least,’ I answered in astonishment. ‘Ah, that’s lucky,’ he said, and not another word would he utter that night.'”
Split in half the first part is structured as any other Sherlock Holmes novel and novella, but he second part is told from a different perspective not including Sherlock or Dr. Watson's point of view and narration. It was weird not to have the latter voice ringing in the head as a sweet lullaby, but instead have something new and completely different which in itself was not bad at all, but I just felt out of place in Doyle's universe. ...more
"Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman is a wonderfully written story which proves that fantasy can easily be written for and read by adults. The author, Neil Ga"Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman is a wonderfully written story which proves that fantasy can easily be written for and read by adults. The author, Neil Gaiman, waves his magical pen and creates a secondary universe to the world of the ordinary, leaving the reader with two very different Londons even though they both share the same street names, London Above and London Below.
Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London when he one day comes across a girl laying on the pavement. Richard has an ordinary life with an ordinary job and a snobbish girlfriend. The moment he decides to help the girl, Door, he could never have imagine what a world he was about to enter. Imagine, a world underneath your feet where Giants as well as tiny rats walk, where animals terrorize and hunters must do everything in their power to put them down, where you can buy nightmares, lost objects and trash at the market to a very fair price, but also where danger lurks in the corners of this strange place. Door is running from someone who killed her family, and somehow Richard ends up in this dangerous world of hers which is nothing compared to the ordinary.
This is a story so well written and well composed that I do not have the right words or the same magic to even put them together the way Neil Gaiman manages to do so well. The only thing that irritated me a bit, was the slowly moving plot, but when this first starts moving, oh, how fast it moves then!...more
While I'm finding it difficult to chose between three and four stars, "The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time" by Mark Haddon is a heart-waWhile I'm finding it difficult to chose between three and four stars, "The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time" by Mark Haddon is a heart-warming and heart-wrenching tale about a fifteen years old boy with asperger syndrome who makes himself comfortable with lists, mathematics and the truth in a world made of chaos and grown ups.
“Sometimes we get sad about things and we don't like to tell other people that we are sad about them. We like to keep it a secret. Or sometimes, we are sad but we really don't know why we are sad, so we say we aren't sad but we really are.”
Christopher Boone, the main character, is a clever boy and the narrator of this book. With his voice he manage to keep the reader's attention with the way he slowly makes a puzzle of his family situation that in the end becomes a full picture revealed through the snippets of adult interaction. The novel is well written and reminds perhaps of "The Catcher in the Rye" by J. D. Salinger.
"On the fifth day, which was a Sunday, it rained very hard. I like it when it rains hard. It sounds like white noise everywhere, which is like silence but not empty.”
What did not quite work for me was the whole "curious incident" which, because of the title, seems to be a big issue of the plot, but it turns out to be a minor aspect which marks the start of the adventures of the main character. Also the way the adults around Christopher dealt with him seemed realistic, but the parenting annoyed me, but perhaps this is to show how many parents decides to deal with this children. All in all a very entertaining story which I enjoyed a lot. ...more
As much as I enjoy the way Charles Dickens writes, The Old Curiosity Shop as merely a disappointment for me. It started out so well with its beautifulAs much as I enjoy the way Charles Dickens writes, The Old Curiosity Shop as merely a disappointment for me. It started out so well with its beautiful writing, but suddenly the point of view changed and never returned to where it started out, and I suddenly found myself struggling with the new point of view.
The overall story with nearly all alone-Nell with the her big heart and innocent spirit carried me away from page one, but as the point of view changed and Nell almost drowned in the many characters and their story, I felt like I was the bay, and her story was the waves that kept coming and going as they pleased, when I was just left waiting, and I do not like to be kept waiting. This story was originally written as a series published a little by little, keeping the Englishmen waiting for find out what destiny had a nastiness waiting for little angle like Nell.
I did, however, enjoy the many characters even though I did not care for many of them. Quilp, a demonic and nasty dwarf and Kit Nubbles, the main hero of the story, whom I never emphasized with which made the read a marathon I was not up for. ...more
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, howeverThe 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. ...more