Not my cuppa tea at the Mad Tea Party. It's like a bad dream. Too many weird characters and annoying non-conversations for me, even as a kid.
However,...moreNot my cuppa tea at the Mad Tea Party. It's like a bad dream. Too many weird characters and annoying non-conversations for me, even as a kid.
However, I do like the whole idea of Alice falling down the rabbit hole into a strange world and some of the characters in Wonderland, as well as Carroll's parodies of poems. I just don't like the story as a whole. I need to read Through the Looking Glass again because I think I liked it better. (less)
Added to my list of favorite books! Who knew a story about adventuresome rabbits would grab me so? I listened to this one, so I didn't have to attempt...moreAdded to my list of favorite books! Who knew a story about adventuresome rabbits would grab me so? I listened to this one, so I didn't have to attempt to read and pronounce the lapin words in my head. It's a wonderful, somewhat slow moving tale, with a few "edge of your seat" moments (if there is such a thing as "edge of your seat" in a book). I loved all the little rabbit personalities, some of which were a far cry from the cute little fluffy bunnies I envision running around in Spring. My son listened to portions of the book with me and was very interested. I'll have to pass it on to him now.(less)
There are three main sections to this book: the first is a so-called love story, the second contains the horrors of the first World War and the third...moreThere are three main sections to this book: the first is a so-called love story, the second contains the horrors of the first World War and the third is a granddaughter's attempt to discover more information about her Grandfather's life during the war. I would give 4 stars to the second section and what seemed an accurate and horror-filled depiction of the war, although it may have been too true to life for my tastes. However, I could have done almost completely without the love interest and granddaughter, as I don't feel the story lines brought much to the book, but maybe they were there to bring some humanity to the story. The tales of war and its toll on those involved were quite bleak and needed livening up, but parts one and three just didn't do it for me. (less)
It's interesting that I happened to read The Call of the Wild and The Time Machine in succession. I wouldn't have thought the two books shared much in...moreIt's interesting that I happened to read The Call of the Wild and The Time Machine in succession. I wouldn't have thought the two books shared much in common, but they were written within just a few years of each other and both deal quite heavily with social darwinism and natural selection, so I couldn't help but compare the two.
Both Buck and the Morlocks adapt to their environments in order to survive, learning to stalk and kill their prey. Both end up attacking the ruling class (humans/Eloi). Buck actually "remembers" and reverts to the instinctual behaviors of his ancestors.
The humans in Call of the Wild who are able to adapt to their environment survive, while the ones who refuse to adapt die. In The Time Machine, the Eloi have adapted so well to their life of ease that they are now easy pickings.
Both books were excellent reads, but I was surprised at how much I loved The Time Machine. I do like time travel stories, but I'm not much of a science fiction fan and was not impressed with the 1960 film. As usual, the book is far superior to the movie.
I'm not really a fan of dystopian fiction in the first place, so the tale would have to be extremely gripping and the story well told for me to give i...moreI'm not really a fan of dystopian fiction in the first place, so the tale would have to be extremely gripping and the story well told for me to give it more than three stars. This one really fell flat for me and I never got into it. The idea was too unbelievable, I didn't like the author's writing style and the protagonist was underdeveloped. Fans of futuristic uncivilized societies will probably love this book, but it's not really my cup of tea. (less)
I remember everyone reading this book way back in ninth grade, but for some reason I never picked it up. I thought about reading it in recent years, b...moreI remember everyone reading this book way back in ninth grade, but for some reason I never picked it up. I thought about reading it in recent years, but was not impressed with the other Hemingway novels I'd read, so I put it off. I can finally understand some of the hype about the author.
There are great themes of humility and pride, life and death, strength and weakness, love, respect and much more going on in this short novel. And Hemingway's words are descriptive and real. The reader can smell the salt in the air, feel the lurch of the boat as the big fish takes off swimming, the sting of pain in the fisherman's hands, in his back.
I still don't like the way the author writes dialogue. especially between Spanish speaking characters who speak English using a "literal translation".
I'll be back when I have the sardines. I'll keep yours and mine together on ice and we can share them in the morning. When I come back you can tell me about the baseball."
"The Yankees cannot lose."
"But I fear the Indians of Cleveland."
"Have faith in the Yankees my son. Think of the great DiMaggio."
"I fear both the Tigers of Detroit and the Indians of Cleveland."
"Be careful or you will fear even the Reds of Cincinnati and the White Sox of Chicago."
But there is not much dialogue in the story, and this is really a minor complaint overall. I'm glad I finally read this one, and it gives me hope for the next Hemingway I decide to crack open.(less)
For some reason I had never gotten around to reading this book until now and it was actually quite different than I had envisioned from my limited kno...moreFor some reason I had never gotten around to reading this book until now and it was actually quite different than I had envisioned from my limited knowledge of the plot - full of symbolism and more like a dark fairy tale than historical novel. Much like Jane Austen, Hawthorne's sentences are quite long, teeming with commas and social commentary, but the comparison ends there as The Scarlet Letter is a dark tale of sin and guilt rather than comedy. Symbolism abounds, with Pearl seemingly the most important (and creepiest) symbol after the embroidered, scarlet "A". The story is not very long. I may have to revisit it in the future and do some comparison with literature containing similar themes. (less)
OK, I realize that Camus is illustrating his Absurdist philosophy in this novel, but I couldn't help thinking that Meursault acts very much like he is...moreOK, I realize that Camus is illustrating his Absurdist philosophy in this novel, but I couldn't help thinking that Meursault acts very much like he is on the autism spectrum. He loves to observe life and experience certain physical pleasures, he is keenly aware of physical discomforts, but is ambivalent and indifferent to things like death and love. He also has no ambition and is perfectly happy continuing life as he knows it. He is very honest and straightforward and doesn't follow or seem to understand certain social norms, for instance telling Marie very matter-of-factly that it doesn't make any difference, but he doesn't think he loves her.
I'm not sure if Meursault's character traits are simply meant to highlight some of the aspects of Absurdism or if perhaps he was based on a real-life character who may have had Asperger's Syndrome or something. At any rate, it was interesting to read this story from the point-of-view of someone who, in his own mind, honestly has no rational reasons for his own actions. (less)
It took me almost a month to read this book! Granted, I've had a lot of homework and have been sick so reading has not been at the top of my list, but...moreIt took me almost a month to read this book! Granted, I've had a lot of homework and have been sick so reading has not been at the top of my list, but still. A month. I feel bad for only giving the book 3 stars, but I didn't love it as I did War and Peace and Ana Karenina. I consider it 3 1/2 stars. I liked the plot and appreciate the thought, philosophy and character development. Much of what Dostoyevsky writes is intelligent and very thoughtful, but I had trouble with thoughts just pouring out of everyone's heads. They just go on and on and on.The author's intelligence is especially noticeable in the trial, during the summation by both attorneys. I definitely appreciate the novel, but it was not a favorite. Maybe it was the translation, but the characters often seemed overly dramatic. There are plenty of times in the novel where I would expect drama, but other times it was just over-the-top. (less)
Maybe it was reading Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter at the same time I picked up Atonement, but I felt really disconnected from the characters in this...moreMaybe it was reading Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter at the same time I picked up Atonement, but I felt really disconnected from the characters in this novel. They never felt real to me and I wasn't invested in their lives. As the reader, you can see disaster looming all along and when something finally happens it can only be described as anticlimactic.
The writing itself is reminiscent of Woolf at times, and enjoyable to read, but the plot is too contrived and characters too flat for me to thoroughly enjoy the novel.
Of course all this has nothing to do with the "meat" of the novel, which is atonement or lack thereof. Briony was clearly in the wrong for taking such a strong stand about what she had seen, but then again she was a young girl who had been privy to quite a bit that day! And what about the culpability of the adults in her life? Should everyone have been so quick to believe she was a reliable witness? Did Lola have no conscience whatsoever? Never mind, I don't really even want to discuss Lola and her reasons for keeping quiet. She likes excitement". Is drawn to abusive men? She just likes to be the center of attention? And Robbie and Cecelia were not simply innocent bystanders. Could they not see how their own actions played a part in their fate? Instead, they (and it seemed the author) put all the blame on young Briony.
The book was well-written and interesting, if not one of my favorites. I'll give McEwan another chance and read The Cement Garden, as it sounds like my cup of tea.
I am mixed about this work. I really enjoyed the first portion of the book, Combray. There were some truly beautiful passages about fears and memory a...moreI am mixed about this work. I really enjoyed the first portion of the book, Combray. There were some truly beautiful passages about fears and memory and wonderful descriptions of Marcel's childhood, summer home and family. Of course, the character of the young Marcel is too immature and emotional for my tastes, but I just made believe he was perpetually 3 years old and it worked for me.
The middle section, Swann's Way, which I believe is supposed to be the most "important" section of the book, is so wordy that I was mostly bored. Proust does justice to the story of falling in love with the wrong person (especially making them out to be something they aren't, as a figure in a painting or having a different color eyes), the language is still beautiful and Proust's philosophical bits are often very interesting, but it just isn't enough to grab me completely. I could definitely relate to his thoughts on music becoming a part of our memories and altering our feelings, however Marcel's first person narrative was just easier for me to get into overall. (less)
The books started out promising enough but I soon lost interest and had to force myself to keep reading. By the third book Lyra had changed so much an...moreThe books started out promising enough but I soon lost interest and had to force myself to keep reading. By the third book Lyra had changed so much and the plot was so convoluted that I really didn't care about the story at all. I also found the books to be quite dark and full of adult themes, considering I found them in the children's section at the library. I would move them to the teen area, myself.
Maybe I was so bored I didn't pay enough attention but in the first book, Lord Asriel goes so far as to cause a child's death in order to create a portal to another world, like it's something fantastic that's never been done before (although we find out later that Will's father fell through an anomaly about 10 years before). However, in the second book, characters are constantly moving between worlds. I know that the anomaly Will finds, as well as the knife, enable him to do this but how is everyone else (Lord Carlo Boreal, Mrs. Coulter, the "police") able to freely come and go all of a sudden? Are they all using the portal created by Lord Asriel?
Oh well, on to some new and hopefully better stories.
I really do not understand the hype for this book. I don't mind the stream of consciousness style and a few parts of the author's travel narrative wer...moreI really do not understand the hype for this book. I don't mind the stream of consciousness style and a few parts of the author's travel narrative were interesting, but the story has no substance whatsoever. The people depicted in the book have few morals or sense of responsibility. The narrator, Sal, is unhappy with himself and his world and yet he does nothing constructive about it. He just desires a never-ending adventure with his friends. If you want to read a book about restless men who have to be on the move all the time, getting drunk, high and hooking up with women than this is the book for you. It held no redeeming value for this reader.(less)