One of the most enjoyable reads of the semester - it was a favourite among all the students on my course. The novel is a great escapade of men meander...moreOne of the most enjoyable reads of the semester - it was a favourite among all the students on my course. The novel is a great escapade of men meandering through the African desert in search of treasure. However, there are also a lot of interesting themes, etc. which make it a great text for academic analysis. (less)
This came highly recommended from someone at work, but it just couldn't sustain my interest - I was reduced to skimming my way throught the final thir...moreThis came highly recommended from someone at work, but it just couldn't sustain my interest - I was reduced to skimming my way throught the final third to see what happens. The concept of an alternate Victorian reality is definitely an awesome one, but it wasn't always executed well. Its Jack the Ripper figure, for example, ultimately had little to do with the integral narrative, not to mention the fact that I was highly disappointed at not discovering the murderer's identity. Why is it that neo-Victorian narratives rarely live up to expectations? (less)
Wow. I have wanted to read this one for a while, but there always seemed to be some other text with a more pressing need to be read. Winning the Newbe...moreWow. I have wanted to read this one for a while, but there always seemed to be some other text with a more pressing need to be read. Winning the Newbery and hearing several requests for the novel at work made it hard for me to ignore. I was thoroughly enjoying immersing myself in the world of Bod and his graveyard companions, but the beautiful conclusion confirmed my opnion that it is entirely deserving of its prestigious accolade.
I found myself arriving at work a bit early today and concluded that curling up in one of the armchairs and finishing off Neil Gaiman's tale would be a perfect way to pass the time. The characters, beautiful language, brilliant metaphors and a final narrative revelation (that, in hindsight, I am ashamed to admit I didn't note sooner) all completely swept me away. It required a great deal of effort to refrain from crying. Ideally I would liked to give way to the tears and emotion, but somehow beginning work with a mascara streaked face didn't seem like the best idea. Plus, crying in the middle of a bookstore is just plain embarassing - even for me.
It is quite dark for a children's book, and some particulars, I am certain, will go straight over their heads. I really connected with its depth and aestheticism, and I am sure my appreciation of Gaiman's art would grow with further analysis. So if anybody else reads it, I would love to discuss.
P.S. I can't imagine anybody reading this and not loving the character Silas. He rocks!(less)
I can't believe that I, as an English major and self-professed Victorian nut, have waited so long to read this classic. I should be ashamed of myself....moreI can't believe that I, as an English major and self-professed Victorian nut, have waited so long to read this classic. I should be ashamed of myself. Nevertheless, I wholly benefited from my inexcusable delay, as I was better equipped to absorb the beauty of Bronte's prose than I would have been had I read it in high school. Although dark and surprisingly violent for a novel of this era, the writing is exquisite.
I recently had an interesting conversation with Ashley, in which we discussed the propensity some women have to label fictional characters as 'perfect' while secretly longing for their existent relationships to emulate these illusory ideals. However, I doubt one would hear a woman complain that her significant other isn't more like Heathcliff. He, and nearly every other character in the text, exhibit excessively deplorable behaviour. At one point, I wondered if Bronte's objective was to lay bare the underlying selfishness of human nature. But perhaps this is the point. Whatever one may say about them, Heathcliff and Cathy are passionately in love. Near the close of the novel he asks, 'what is not connected with her to me? and what does not recall her? I cannot look down to this floor, but her features are shaped in the flags! In every cloud, in every tree, - filling the air at night, and caught by glimpses in every object by day - I am surrounded with her image!' Despite the fact that both are deeply flawed and display these deficiencies at the slightest provocation, they continue to love each other. Isn't that something we all long for - to be loved unconditionally in spite (or because) of our inherent weaknesses and inability to avoid mistakes? In this way, Heathcliff and Catherine were more appealing to me than those so-called 'perfect couples' one inevitably stumbles across in many books these days. Consequently, I believe I will be haunted for some time by this book, just as Heathcliff was perpetually haunted by Catherine's memory.(less)
In this collection of short stories, Angela Carter takes traditional myths and fairy-tales and retells them from a new point of view. Not only are Car...moreIn this collection of short stories, Angela Carter takes traditional myths and fairy-tales and retells them from a new point of view. Not only are Carter's versions more interesting to read, due in part to her gruesome Gothic descriptions, they are much more accessible to the modern woman. In addition to the short story giving this collection its name, I would recommend the author's new vision of the Dracula myth, 'The Lady of the House of Love.'(less)
This doesn't maintain the exciting narrative pace I experiences while reading 'King Solomon's Mines.' But it is nevertheless noteworthy for its repres...moreThis doesn't maintain the exciting narrative pace I experiences while reading 'King Solomon's Mines.' But it is nevertheless noteworthy for its representation of philosophy, race, spirituality/reincarnation, and gender. In particular, the depiction of a matriarchal society with a powerful female ruler fascinated me to no end. (less)
'Carmilla' is one of the earliest vampire tales in English prose - I believe it was first published at the close of the eighteenth century. It definit...more'Carmilla' is one of the earliest vampire tales in English prose - I believe it was first published at the close of the eighteenth century. It definitely isn't 'Dracula' but it is interesting to trace the evolution of the literary vampire and locate the similarities between early literary vampires and later representations. (less)
This novella is brilliant, and, due to its brevity (approximately 100 pages), a quick and easy read. James's story, centered around a young governess...moreThis novella is brilliant, and, due to its brevity (approximately 100 pages), a quick and easy read. James's story, centered around a young governess working in an isolated English estate who begins to see visions of malevolent ghosts, scared me more than I would like to admit. Alright I confess, I became so frightened reading it alone in my bedroom during the wee hours of the morn, that I was compelled to rush to Steve's room for a comforting cuddle (despite a fleeting paranoid thought that, in the darkness, perhaps he had been murdered and I would find myself curled up to a zombie). However, for those intellectually-minded readers who endlessly search for the hidden meanings in texts, there is definitely more to find. Is James's nameless governess actually witnessing spirits, or are they a figment of her imagination? Is her repressed sexuality, recently aroused by her reclusive employer, causing her to have hallucinations? In a gripping climax, James never ascertains what the 'truth' is; that's for the reader to decide.(less)