The Great Gatsby is hailed as one of the great American novels. The writing is beautiful. The plot lacks depth much like the lives of most superficial...moreThe Great Gatsby is hailed as one of the great American novels. The writing is beautiful. The plot lacks depth much like the lives of most superficial Americans. Fitzgerald's characters are living the so-called "American Dream" and one is living a lie. Fitzgerald shows us how the American dream can quickly turn into a nightmare.
F. Scott Fitzgerald showed how cold and heartless people can be no matter how close they are to you. He also showed how complex and chaotic love can be. Overall, The Great Gatsby is not a complicated story, it's pretty simple which added to its elegance.
Since finishing Gatsby, I'm still wondering how Fitzgerald wrote a character that was so charming and captivating but yet not ostentatious. Jay Gatsby was focused. He played his cards right and patiently to get what he wanted. Gatsby was hypnotizing. The hypnotic trance that Gatsby put on most people caused them to overlook the fact that the details of his life did not really add up. He was vague and intriguing.
I have never read a more perfect narrator since "L" from Love by Toni Morrison until Nick Carraway the narrator of The Great Gatsby. Nick's observations were mainly objective but he too was hypnotized by Gatsby. Nick had "hope" in Gatsby but didn't like him very much. Nick was thrust into this circle of friends and lovers and ended up being the most dependable of them all.
The driving force of the novel was Jay Gatsby's love for Daisy Buchanan. Both Jay and Tom, Daisy's husband, wanted control over Daisy's love. Daisy was the most dull of all the characters in my opinion. She was aloof and uncertain. She had this plantation mistress quality about her that I detested. I equally despised her husband Tom. Daisy was also a mother which was easily forgotten since she didn't possess any motherly qualities. The quality of Daisy's voice was mentioned several times throughout the novel but in the end it was pretty much silenced. It seemed as if Fitzgerald lost Daisy in the climax of the novel.
I loved Gatsby. He is my new literary crush. The ending came too fast for me. I'm still looking for closure on Daisy's part. Nick was the most endearing of them all. I now hate the term, "old sport." (less)
Manuscript Found in Accra is the first book I have read by Paulo Coelho not knowing that he has somewhat of a cult-like following. I opened this book...moreManuscript Found in Accra is the first book I have read by Paulo Coelho not knowing that he has somewhat of a cult-like following. I opened this book without any expectations but soon hated for it to end. Manuscript Found in Accra is one of those books you want to keep on your nightstand and have a copy in your desk drawer at work.
A Greek man known as The Copt is answering questions about life in the same town square where Pilate handed Jesus over to Roman soliders. There are questions about solitude, anxiety, loyalty, beauty, and many more conditions we face as humans. The Copt answers them all beautifully and direct. Those that are asking the questions are just as diverse as the subjects they are inquiring about. There are a mix of Muslims, Jews, and Christians who are comforted by the words of The Copt. They sit and listen while the enemy is at the gate. Jerusalem is surrounded and by morning will be invaded by the Crusaders. The wisdom of The Copt seems to soothe their souls.
This book was inspirational and in a sense spiritual. There were religious references but The Copt was not a member of any religious sect. The thoughts shared in this book were like a healing salve. Manuscript Found in Accra is one of those books that will stand the test of time. The wisdom in this book will always be useful as long as there are humans on Earth.
Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher. The views and opinions shared are my own. (less)
Maybe I expect too much. I was ecstatic when I found out my library had this Pulitzer prize winning book available immediately. I couldn't start readi...moreMaybe I expect too much. I was ecstatic when I found out my library had this Pulitzer prize winning book available immediately. I couldn't start reading it fast enough. This book is divided in two parts. Book I was very intriguing and I read through it pretty rapidly. Book II almost made me send this book back to the library ahead of schedule.
The Orphan Master's Son is a story of survival and love all while living under a brutal government regime. Pak Jun Do is simply trying to survive in North Korea. He does a pretty good job at doing so and at times it seems as if he is invincible. There is a certain peacefulness about Pak Jun Do's character even though he lives in the midst of pure wickedness. Suddenly, Pak Jun Do assumes another identity and when this change is made the story becomes quite erratic.
Honestly, it seemed like Johnson was writing just to be writing no main objective. This story never came together for me. There was so much torture and gruesome survival methods described until it felt like those were the author's main focus. In the midst of all this, there was the most unlikely love story that blossomed which began with a random tattoo. Another highlight of the story was when Pak Jun Do got a chance to visit Texas of all places. As crazy as a North Korean citizen visiting Texas may sound the author made it fit in pretty well. In Book II the author introduced an interrogator of the state whose story felt "thrown" into the narrative but it was very interesting and kept me reading.
I would describe this book as tedious. Johnson could have thrown away 150pgs easily. Being that this was a fictional account of North Korean society I did not put much thought into all the propaganda and prison camps described. The ending was vague as was about half of the book. (less)
The revealing of one secret can change the life you thought was yours in one moment. It's funny how a tragedy can uproot family skeletons. Siblings Ji...moreThe revealing of one secret can change the life you thought was yours in one moment. It's funny how a tragedy can uproot family skeletons. Siblings Jim, Bob, and Susan Burgess seem to have nothing in common except their last name. There is always this feeling of gloom that hovers over each one of them. The Burgess's are scarred but at times also triumphant.
I appreciated Strout's realism throughout the book. The plot never felt fake or over reaching. The Somali narrative became disconnected. It wasn't a total miss but it wasn't weaved in properly. Stout's characters dismissed the Somalis which could easily make the reader do the same. You can honestly forget they were apart of the story.
Each character had a period of introspection during the course of the novel which really brought me to my five star rating. Jim Burgess was put on such a high pedestal by his family and society that if he fell he could only crash and burn. Bob Burgess was grappling with being constantly reminded of his monumental failures that his only comfort was alcohol. Susan Burgess was so confined to her dull lifestyle that she smothered her son and could not recover from her divorce. Helen, Jim's wife, and her privileged lifestyle and thoughts were tiresome to say the least.
If Strout wanted the crime against the Somalis committed by Zach , Susan's son, to be the focal point of the story it was lost early on. This story depicted broken families, relationships, and individuals. There was also some healing and redemption. The ending was fitting. (less)