Sadly, I just couldn't get into The War of the Worlds. It dragged from word one. It was short and didn't take a long time to read, but it seemed like...moreSadly, I just couldn't get into The War of the Worlds. It dragged from word one. It was short and didn't take a long time to read, but it seemed like forever. I've been recently coming to appreciate some alien stories, but this one fell flat. The ending struck me as an easy way to end the novel and left me feeling unfulfilled.(less)
My first reading of Dante's Inferno was in high school. I would have never made it through the story had it not been for a very good teacher holding m...moreMy first reading of Dante's Inferno was in high school. I would have never made it through the story had it not been for a very good teacher holding my hand throughout.
The Inferno is an epic poem. Poetry isn't my thing to begin with. Epic just makes it more intimidating. Factor in that the poem is ancient and is translated from its original Italian and I want to run away screaming.
The story hidden inside the poem is what makes me admire the greatness of The Inferno. Let's face it, Hell is interesting. No matter what a story is about, setting it in Hell makes it something more. While the journey through Hell and the look at the specific people there and the tortures put upon them was impressive, the truly remarkable thing about The Inferno is the unexpectedness of it. You think you know Hell? You'll never guess what you'll come across in The Inferno. Having been written hundreds of years ago, the sheer fact that a reader in today's age can be surprised by what they find in this book is amazing.
I highly recommend reading The Inferno. I also recommend using the Cliff Notes while reading. Without that wonderful teacher explaining the harder to decipher parts, I would have missed out on the brilliance of this story. (less)
Why read: It's a children's classic I had never read before.
What impressed me: This is a nice, timeless story that easily teaches children about love,...moreWhy read: It's a children's classic I had never read before.
What impressed me: This is a nice, timeless story that easily teaches children about love, death and friendship.
What disappointed me: I didn't find the story nearly as emotional as I was led to believe I would. I didn't really enjoy the writing either. It had a tendency to go on and on and on listing synonyms. While that may help the middle grade reader learn new words, it was annoying.
Recommended: Yes. I believe this remains a story all children should read while they're young.(less)
I found Othello to be one of the easiest Shakespeare plays to read and understand. It's themes of jealousy and betrayal by those closest to you have b...moreI found Othello to be one of the easiest Shakespeare plays to read and understand. It's themes of jealousy and betrayal by those closest to you have been relevant throughout the 400 years since the play was written. I also felt an underlying theme of prejudice that I may or may not have imagined.
I regret that Othello wasn't taught in my high school English class, as I found it to be more relatable to the generation than Romeo & Juliet. Othello makes you realize the power you give to the people you trust. Iago was the ultimate frenemy, believed due to is closeness with Othello as well as his reputation for honesty. Instead of ruining Othello, he set events to lead Othello to ruin himself. The man was diabolical, yet his plan was so simple it's a plot staple of soap operas today. (less)
Reading The Hunchback of Norte-Dame was a nightmare for me. I don't mind trudging through a certain degree of detail, but The Hunchback contained well...moreReading The Hunchback of Norte-Dame was a nightmare for me. I don't mind trudging through a certain degree of detail, but The Hunchback contained well beyond a reasonable amount of description.
The book starts out with a play no one is watching. We return to what is going on with the play again and again which distracts from the excitement of the crowd. We are then provided with an entire chapter describing Notre-Dame. Quickly followed by a longer chapter about Paris that doesn't pertain to the story any further than its being the setting. A few more chapters of story and then another description only chapter, this time about architecture and other forms of art. The description is overkill and is so dull and tiring I could barely force myself to finish the book.
Victor Hugo addressed the reader many times, like many writers of the time did. This "breaking the fourth wall" is something I personally dislike. It reminds me that I am reading a story, thus pulling me out of totally submersion. Or at least it would have if I had been able to keep my eyes open longer than a few pages at a time. At one point, Hugo writes "Our reader must excuse us" before taking us on another descriptive tangent.
I'm sorry, Mr. Hugo, but you're not excused. Every once in a while, when he focused on the actual plot, the book was interesting. Unfortunately a large majority of the book was a cross between a guide book and a text book. Why is The Hunchback of Notre-Dame a classic? Only because it's old? I don't see the appeal.(less)
The Good: I was interested enough in the plot to want to finish the book and understand what happened.
The Bad: Persuasion kept putting me to sleep. So...moreThe Good: I was interested enough in the plot to want to finish the book and understand what happened.
The Bad: Persuasion kept putting me to sleep. So, after weeks of fighting it, I made it the book I would read before bed. Two pages and I was out like a light. Of course, that made progress basically non-existent and it was virtually impossible to keep the characters distinguished from one another. About a little less than three-quarters of the way through, I gave up. Put the book down. Googled the cliff's notes. Got the general gist of what was going on that I, for the life of me, could not grasp. And thanked heaven above that I had to read Emma in high school and not Persuasion.(less)
The Picture of Dorian Gray was a quick, easy and enjoyable read. I knew the very basic premise of the story from watching the 2003 movie, The League o...moreThe Picture of Dorian Gray was a quick, easy and enjoyable read. I knew the very basic premise of the story from watching the 2003 movie, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I also had a lot of wrong preconceived notions because of the the movie.
The Picture of Dorian Gray was less supernatural in nature than I expected. Other than not aging and having the picture age for him, Dorian was a regular guy. When given the opportunity to live his life without his behavior marring his beauty, he chose debauchery. I found myself thinking, who wouldn't? He tried to experience everything the world has to offer (a noble pursuit) and finds that life can become pointless without boundaries.
Dorian's friend, Harry, is the absolute shining star of this novel. He counsels Dorian in the way of the world, full of his own theories and cynical viewpoints. He's humorous and more often than not, what he says makes a lot of sense.
The one thing I disliked about The Picture of Dorian Gray was that it seemed like the most interesting pieces of the story were missing. Oscar Wilde was very vague about what Dorian actually did in the years he spent corrupting his soul. People who were once his friends couldn't stand to be in the same room as him and no explanation was given. Perhaps in 1890, when the book was published, saying that he did vile, cruel, disgusting things was enough. Now, 120 years later, I need more. I need to know and it still bugs me that I don't know what Wilde was alluding to.(less)
I have never liked any of the many Christmas Carol movies, so I was surprised to find that the story itself is so enjoyable in literary form. This spe...moreI have never liked any of the many Christmas Carol movies, so I was surprised to find that the story itself is so enjoyable in literary form. This specific edition, the 2006 illustrated by P.J. Lynch, is gorgeous. I actually ohhed and ahhed upon opening the book. A Christmas Carol is a story with a wonderful message of goodwill to others and keeping the holiday spirit the whole year through. The ultimate Christmas classic that should be shared with the whole family.(less)
Northanger Abbey is a classic, but is able to be read with an ease usually associated with light, modern novels. It must be remembered that Northanger...moreNorthanger Abbey is a classic, but is able to be read with an ease usually associated with light, modern novels. It must be remembered that Northanger Abbey is a parody which can be more difficult that it sounds. Reading Northanger Abbey from a modern viewpoint and taking the action and dialogue seriously can quickly annoy the reader.
Catherine isn't very worldly and has learned of the world through the books she has read. When she goes on a trip with her neighbors, she meets Tilney and falls in love instantly. Much goes on in the love lives of all of the younger people in the books, but most obvious is Catherine's utter innocent and naivety. More often than not, her doe-eyed charm is grating rather than endearing.
Northanger Abbey is best when the characters discuss novels and reading. A lot of debate is put forth as to the worth of fiction and this discussion will strike a chord with most book lovers. Looking at it in a more specific light, this book delves a lot into the concept of the Gothic novel and readers may find themselves completely lost if they have no prior knowledge on the subject. The bulk of the humor stemming the parody aspect of the book is a take on this Gothic theme, so those who don't know the basics will miss this as well.
The romance in Northanger Abbey can't be taken seriously, because taken at face value the love story is unconvincing, bordering on ridiculous. While Northanger Abbey feels like a casual read, a lot has to be brought to the novel in order to fully appreciate and enjoy it. While Northanger Abbey provides decent entertainment, those looking for a good Austen novel would fair better with Emma or Pride and Prejudice.(less)
I've seen a lot of Dracula movies. Some were good, most were bad and a few bordered on ridiculous. The book that spawned them all wasn't any of these...moreI've seen a lot of Dracula movies. Some were good, most were bad and a few bordered on ridiculous. The book that spawned them all wasn't any of these things, but should be respected for all of the wonderful vampires it has inspired today. Dracula was dry and took a while to get through. Was it worth it? Sure, but only to those who love the vampire genre and want to experience the book that started it all. (less)