To to a book down for what might be forever or simply a while is always hurtful and disappointing to me and I rarely do it, but I just must put "Le MoTo to a book down for what might be forever or simply a while is always hurtful and disappointing to me and I rarely do it, but I just must put "Le Morte D'Arthur: The Winchester Manuscript" by Thomas Malory down now. My copy hs over 800 pages and I am currently at page 426 and my concentration left me hours, days even, ago. I absolutely love the story about Lancelot, King Arthur and the sword in the stone, and Malory's version is indeed of importance, however, it is also very long with very short chapters that feel like fragmentations to me. It leaves very little to the reader when it comes to the characters as one hardly ever gets to know them; instead the all blur together in a humdrum mass of existence.
I do, however, acknowledge Malory's work a great deal. At the moment it is simply not for me. I want to spend time reading books I like to read as well as want to, and although I did want to read this, I now feel like I have to and that ruins the reading completely. Hopefully, some day I will be able to read the rest of this heavy brick, but for now it shall rest on my bookshelf along with my shame. ...more
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 Phantom of the Opera" by Gaston Leroux is one of many books I have been meaning to read for a long time, and now that I have read it I am not sur"The Phantom of the Opera" by Gaston Leroux is one of many books I have been meaning to read for a long time, and now that I have read it I am not sure how I feel about it to be honest; first of all, which I am to blame for, I though it was a play, but it is actually a novel. the story about a phantom haunting a theatre in Paris, deceive one of the performers and falling in love with this person sounds like a solid story, however, the I did not find the phantom scary or ghostlike in any way, and the love-story between Christine and the phantom was psychotic and not romantic as I thought it would be.
“If I am the phantom, it is because man's hatred has made me so. If I am to be saved it is because your love redeems me."
I found the characters to be flat and illogical; neither of them could see the wood for the trees even when the mystical events were rather obvious. Christine for instant is very naive and a typical maid in need of saving, she was helpless and without backbone, where Raoul is an extremely jealous guy who is almost as bad as the Phantom for stalking Christine and watching her every move. Without spoiling the end, I can easily say that is was very anti-climatic; the story leads up to a epic ending, and then the problem is solved far too easy. ...more
"East of Eden" by John Steinbeck is an american novel about everyday life involving several generations. The story itself springs from the biblical ta"East of Eden" by John Steinbeck is an american novel about everyday life involving several generations. The story itself springs from the biblical tale of Cain and Abel, two brothers who made different offerings to God, eventually one of hem killed it other in a jealous rage and is then marked by God. John Steinbeck makes his "East of Eden" and ode and a tribute to this tale by making a similar story through several generations.
“I believe a strong woman may be stronger than a man, particularly if she happens to have love in her heart. I guess a loving woman is indestructible.”
The story follows two families, the Trasks and the Hamiltons. It is, however, the Trask family that represents Cain and Abel, with two sets of battling brothers. The are easily recognised from each other if the reader is familiar with the biblical tale about Cain and Abel, making both sets of brothers stock characters. The novel is long because of its structure, but the writing is delicate and rich and overall very enjoyable. ...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
In the footsteps of Russian folk tales and world history, Catherynne M. Valente creates a marvellous tale set in the streets of St. Petersburg, whereIn the footsteps of Russian folk tales and world history, Catherynne M. Valente creates a marvellous tale set in the streets of St. Petersburg, where the protagonist Marya Morevna is the last of his sisters to marry. She marries Kozchei, also known as the Tsar of Death, and he lives on the edge of existence in a dark faraway kingdom. She follows him faithfully through good times and bad times, through war and love, even if it leaves her callous and heart cold.
“You will always fall in love, and it will always be like having your throat cut, just that fast.”
"Deathless" by Catherynne M. Valente is a complete collision of magical history and actual history that captivates the reader completely, and casts a spell with mythological tales as well. To write historical fiction and retellings can often be a half-hearted affair, because it is hard to add anything new to the otherwise very original stories, but Catherynne M. Valente makes it look effortless, when she uses her vast vocabulary and a imagination that has the sky as its limit.
“That night, she burned all the books in the attic for heat. She carried them down, one by one, because December ate up her strength. She lit them in the stove while they all huddled around and put out their hands. Last one in was the Pushkin, and she cried, but without tears, because you cannot have tears without bread.”...more