I keep reading these horror stories until I find one I really like.. It was not this one. It was not bad, but I find the horror a bit laughable, not fI keep reading these horror stories until I find one I really like.. It was not this one. It was not bad, but I find the horror a bit laughable, not frightening at all. I think I lack some imagination. :-(
First sentence: "I was ever of opinion, that the honest man who married and brought up a large family, did more service than he who continued single aFirst sentence: "I was ever of opinion, that the honest man who married and brought up a large family, did more service than he who continued single and only talked of population."
P. 99: "But nothing could now exceed my confusion upon seeing the gentleman and his lady enter; nor was there surprise at finding such company and good cheer less than ours."
Last sentence: "It now only remained that my gratitude in good fortune should exceed my former submission in adversity."
Dr Primrose, his wife Deborah and their six children live an idyllic life in a country parish. The vicar is wealthy due to investing an inheritance he received from a deceased relative, and the vicar donates the £34 that his job pays annually to local orphans and war veterans. On the evening of his son George's wedding to wealthy Arabella Wilmot, the vicar loses all his money through the bankruptcy of his merchant investor who left town with his money.
The wedding is called off by Arabella's father, who is known for his prudence with money. George, who was educated at Oxford and is old enough to be considered an adult, is sent away to town. The rest of the family move to a new and more humble parish on the land of Squire Thornhill, who is known to be a womanizer. On the way, they hear about the dubious reputation of their new landlord. Also, references are made to the squire's uncle Sir William Thornhill, who is known throughout the country for his worthiness and generosity.
A poor and eccentric friend, Mr. Burchell, whom they meet at an inn, rescues Sophia from drowning. She is instantly attracted to him, but her ambitious mother does not encourage her feelings.
Then follows a period of happy family life, interrupted only by regular visits of the dashing Squire Thornhill and Mr. Burchell. Olivia is captivated by Thornhill's hollow charm, but he also encourages the social ambitions of Mrs. Primrose and her daughters to a ludicrous degree.
Finally, Olivia is reported to have fled. First Burchell is suspected, but after a long pursuit Dr. Primrose finds his daughter, who was in reality deceived by Squire Thornhill. He planned to marry her in a mock ceremony and leave her then shortly after, as he had done with several women before.
When Olivia and her father return home, they find their house in flames. Although the family has lost almost all their belongings, the evil Squire Thornhill insists on the payment of the rent. As the vicar cannot pay, he is brought to gaol.
Afterwards is a chain of dreadful occurrences. The vicar's daughter, Olivia, is reported dead, Sophia is abducted, and George too is brought to gaol in chains and covered with blood, as he had challenged Thornhill to a duel when he had heard about his wickedness.
But then Mr. Burchell arrives and solves all problems. He rescues Sophia, Olivia is not dead, and it emerges that Mr. Burchell is in reality the worthy Sir William Thornhill, who travels through the country in disguise. In the end, there is a double wedding: George marries Arabella, as he originally intended, and Sir William Thornhill marries Sophia. Squire Thornhill's servant turns out to have tricked him, and thus the sham marriage of the Squire and Olivia is real. Finally, even the wealth of the vicar is restored, as the bankrupt merchant is reported to be found.
I found the narrator of this story, Dr. Primrose, a bit too optimistic. Tragedies and bad luck keep happening to his family, and he always (or almost always) keeps cheering everyone up. But I guess this is characteristic for most of the literature from the 18th century.
It is not exactly my favourite kind of read, but I did enjoy some parts of the story and I always find it intriguing to learn more about another age and time.
First sentence: "Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show." P.First sentence: "Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show." P. 99: "I could not restrain my eye from resting for an instant on a red spot upon it; but it was not so red as I turned, when I met that sinister expression in his face." Last sentence: "O Agnes, O my soul, so may thy face be by me when I close my life indeed; so may I, when realities are melting from me, like the shadows which I now dismiss, still find thee near me, pointing upward!"
I finally finished this book, I think it took me more than four weeks. But that was not because I didn't like it, but because these last weeks have been rather busy. This was not the first book I read from Dickens, but it was for me one of his best. It tells the story of a coming of age of a boy and of his life as an adult. There are many typically Dickensian characters and events, but that off course is why I read Dickens....more
P. 99: "'The breath of the wind was like a tiger panting', said Rhoda."
Last sentence: "How many telephoneFirst sentence: "The sun had not yet risen."
P. 99: "'The breath of the wind was like a tiger panting', said Rhoda."
Last sentence: "How many telephone calls, how many postcards, are now needed to cut this hole th"
Plot Summary (Wikipedia):
The Waves is Woolf's most experimental novel. It consists of soliloquies spoken by the book's six characters: Bernard, Susan, Rhoda, Neville, Jinny, and Louis. Also important is Percival, the seventh character, though readers never hear him speak through his own voice. The monologues that span the characters' lives are broken up by nine brief third-person interludes detailing a coastal scene at varying stages in a day from sunrise to sunset.
As the six characters or "voices" alternately speak, Woolf explores concepts of individuality, self, and community. Each character is distinct, yet together they compose a gestalt about a silent central consciousness. Bernard is a story-teller, always seeking some elusive and apt phrase (some critics see Woolf's friend E. M. Forster as an inspiration); Louis is an outsider, who seeks acceptance and success (some critics see aspects of T. S. Eliot, whom Woolf knew well, in Louis); Neville (who may be partially based on another of Woolf's friends, Lytton Strachey) desires love, seeking out a series of men, each of whom become the present object of his transcendent love; Jinny is a socialite, whose Weltanschauung corresponds to her physical, corporeal beauty; Susan flees the city, in preference for the countryside, where she grapples with the thrills and doubts of motherhood; and Rhoda is riddled with self-doubt and anxiety, always rejecting and indicting human compromise, always seeking out solitude . Percival (partially based on Woolf's brother, Thoby Stephen) is the god-like but morally flawed hero of the other six, who dies midway through the novel on an imperialist quest in British-dominated colonial India. Although Percival never speaks through a monologue of his own in The Waves, readers learn about him in detail as the other six characters repeatedly describe and reflect on him throughout the book.
The novel follows its six narrators from childhood through adulthood. Woolf's novel is concerned with the individual consciousness and the ways in which multiple consciousnesses can weave together.
When I saw that this was Woolf's most experimental novel, I wanted to read it right away, because I love experimental novels... that is, until I start reading them. I do appreciate them, but I am afraid I do not have the patience to read them slowly and to pause in order to think about what I just read. The best thing for me would be reading this together with someone else who could explain what I was reading exactly andwho would draw my attention to the uniqueness of phrases and literary techniques and so on. Because, this really interests me... but as I said, unfortunately I don't have the patience to think about it myself.
Although I am not saying this is now a favourite novella of mine, I definitely think that everyone who is interested in dystopia should read it (it isAlthough I am not saying this is now a favourite novella of mine, I definitely think that everyone who is interested in dystopia should read it (it is only 92 pages). Wells is called after all "The father of science-fiction". He tells about another world, a world in a far off future that looks idyllic at first glance, but that in fact is disintegrating.
P. 99: “After it had passed away, they were ten times merrier than before, from the mere relief of ScFirst sentence: “Marley was dead: to begin with.”
P. 99: “After it had passed away, they were ten times merrier than before, from the mere relief of Scrooge the Baleful being done with.
Last sentence: “And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One.”
I wanted to re-read A Christmas Carol partly because it was mentioned a lot in A Prayer for Owen Meany (and it played a crucial role in this story) that I read a couple of weeks ago, partly because I heard it mentioned a lot on book blogs because it is without doubt one of the books of the season…
And I loved it as much as I did before.
Of course most of you know what it is all about, but for those few who don’t, here a summary of the plot as given on Wikipedia (SPOILERS):
The tale begins on a Christmas Eve in 1843 exactly seven years after the death of Ebenezer Scrooge’s business partner, Jacob Marley. Scrooge hates Christmas, calling it “humbug”, refuses his nephew Fred’s dinner invitation, and rudely turns away two gentlemen who seek a donation from him to provide a Christmas dinner for the Poor. His only “Christmas gift” is allowing his overworked, underpaid clerk Bob Cratchit Christmas Day off with pay – which he does only to keep with social custom, Scrooge considering it “a poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every twenty-fifth of December!”.
Returning home that evening, Scrooge is visited by Marley’s ghost, who warns him to change his ways lest he undergo the same miserable afterlife as himself. Scrooge is then visited by three additional ghosts – each in its turn, and each visit detailed in a separate stave – who accompany him to various scenes with the hope of achieving his transformation.
The first of the spirits, the Ghost of Christmas Past, takes Scrooge to Christmas scenes of his boyhood and youth, which stir the old miser’s gentle and tender side by reminding him of a time when he was more innocent. They also show what made Scrooge the miser that he is, and why he dislikes Christmas.
The second spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Present, takes Scrooge to several differing scenes – a joy-filled market of people buying the makings of Christmas dinner, the celebration of Christmas in a miner’s cottage, and a lighthouse. A major part of this stave is taken up with the family feast of Scrooge’s impoverished clerk Bob Cratchit, introducing his youngest son, Tiny Tim, who is seriously ill but cannot receive treatment due to Scrooge’s unwillingness to pay Cratchit a decent wage.
The third spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, harrows Scrooge with dire visions of the future if he does not learn and act upon what he has witnessed – including Tiny Tim’s death. Scrooge’s own neglected and untended grave is revealed, prompting the miser to aver that he will change his ways in hopes of changing these “shadows of what may be.”
In the fifth and final stave, Scrooge awakens on Christmas morning with joy and love in his heart, then spends the day with his nephew’s family after anonymously sending a prize turkey to the Cratchit home for Christmas dinner. Scrooge has become a different man overnight and now treats his fellow men with kindness, generosity and compassion, gaining a reputation as a man who embodies the spirit of Christmas. The story closes with the narrator confirming the validity, completeness and permanence of Scrooge’s transformation.
This story, although written in the middle of the 19th Century, will never lose its appeal, because it deals with human character traits that are of all times. If you haven’t read it, do so now.
First sentence: "This is the story of what a Woman's patience can endure, and what a Man's resolution can achieve."
P. 99: "I doubted for a moment whetFirst sentence: "This is the story of what a Woman's patience can endure, and what a Man's resolution can achieve."
P. 99: "I doubted for a moment whether I ought to follow and speak to her or not."
Last sentence: "Marian was the good angel of our lives - let Marian end our Story."
I have to admit that until a couple of months (or perhaps even a year) ago, I had never heard of Wilkie Collins, but when I started reading book blogs and bookish news, his name popped up now and then. The title The Woman in White especially appealed to me and when Erin of Erin Reads talked about reading this book for Reading Buddies in November, I knew I had to participate.
My reading started rather slow, 10 pages the first day, and two days nothing because of being rather busy with other stuff. But when I did start reading seriously, I couldn't stop. I really loved the rather romantic and yet exciting story told in a fluent style, I loved that different parts were told by different people and I adored some characters. Of course the story plays in the 19th century and many of the events and characters would not be believable in a contemporary setting, but that, for me, is the biggest appeal of books like this one.
If you haven't read anything by Wilkie Collins and you love 19th century stories, I sure would advice you to do it now.