As creepy as this book was, after these last few years of studying anatomy and all the sciences around medicine, it felt really silly. A lot of the th...moreAs creepy as this book was, after these last few years of studying anatomy and all the sciences around medicine, it felt really silly. A lot of the things are impossible. For instance, changing the larynx to give the beasts speaking abilities. I got the impression he was altering body parts, so where did the more human larynges come from? If not replacing, then changing the vocal cords to be able to make human speech seems nigh impossible. though, Dr. Monroe did say he was implementing certain thoughts into their brains as well... Which leads us to the conclusion that he has a much deeper knowledge of anatomy and physiology than you'd expect. He can change the whole anatomy of legs, making the vessels, muscles and nerves line up. It seems incredible and impossible and terribly sad that Dr. Monroe was using his gifts and knowledge to such ends.
He reminds me a lot of the doctor in Frankenstein, actually. Ugh, as a medical student and a human being I am repulsed. The tale does manage to impart a few important lessons to one who has the power of life and death in their hands. Playing God should be left to God. (less)
Thank you to my friend to recommend this to me. I can't believe that I hadn't found this book before! I must have stumbled across it somewhere... prob...moreThank you to my friend to recommend this to me. I can't believe that I hadn't found this book before! I must have stumbled across it somewhere... probably...
Whilst reading, I had to keep two things in mind. First and foremost that this was a classic. Secondly, that it was French.
The fact that it's a classic bit of literature is pretty relevant. Mostly because when a book like this was written in earlier times, it was incredibly scandalous. Which meant that it would be banned and all other such horrible things would occur. I tend to consider the Marquis de Sade's works to also be in this vein.
On that note, I definitely had to keep in mind that this was a French book. I am not drawn to French literature or culture and indont care much for France, but very often when I have picked up a novel by a French author, I have loved it. It amazes me anew each time. Also, I had to keep in mind that France was always a bit more open and less prudish when it came to sexuality.
Read this book pretty much in 2.5 sittings. It was that... Interesting. I won't say 'good' because it is too unique for such an average word. The writing style was both dry and yet very detailed. Often things were left to the readers imagination, while one sentence later mundane events would be described in elaborate detail. This swinging between very mundane details and superficial coverage of the interesting parts *wink wink* probably also stems from the fact that it was written in a different era. But, I kept reminding myself that this is all relevant to the story and plowed ahead.
The part I always find most interesting in books that deal with the BDSM lifestyle is the psychological aspect. I found myself wishing for more details of O's mind. Often she would react in a situation in such a way that I felt I didn't really know her. And in that way this was less a story about O and more a fictionalized work of what happened to this character. The aloofness of the character at most times bespoke of her actual treatment, I suppose.
My favorite quote from the book: But she had finally come to accept as an undeniable and important verity, this constant and contradictory jumble of her emotions: she liked the idea of torture, but when she was being tortured herself she would have betrayed the whole world to escape it, and yet when it was over she was happy to have gone through it, happier still if it had been especially cruel and prolonged.
This quote really speaks to me on a level of the human brain. If O was real, she would certainly be a fascinating character to interview.
Other books that I figured are tied up with this one based on plot and characters and setting :
----- I wrote this review in a tired mess... apologies for any non coherent thought processes that went on!(less)
Somehow I liked the movie more. Perhaps it was because I saw it first (although years ago) but I think also because it was just easier to understand t...moreSomehow I liked the movie more. Perhaps it was because I saw it first (although years ago) but I think also because it was just easier to understand the story and to laugh at the audacious things that go on.
Thats not to say that this book was bad. Far from it! Had I read this back when I was 10/12 I think it easily could have been up there with favorites such as A Little Princess and The Secret Garden. Right now it was cute and enjoyable but not with much substance. The film would entertain more.
Recommended for: children of 10-14 years of age. Much easier to identify with then. Watch the movie if you want the story line otherwise.(less)
I love Orwell's writing. Even his writings about writing. Or maybe especially those!
I was lucky enough to have my English teacher give us the essay S...moreI love Orwell's writing. Even his writings about writing. Or maybe especially those!
I was lucky enough to have my English teacher give us the essay Shooting An Elephant to read as an 'intro' to his works, back in 2009. (I had already read Animal Farm and 1984 years back, so it wasn't anything new to me). I still want to read the rest of the stories in this collection. I found it in a local bookstore... but it's like 2,800 HUF, which is just too much for me right now after I spent a small fortune on my school textbooks!!
Still, the story was amazing! I really loved the imagery (I can still picture the elephant trampling everything now) and I just adore Orwell's writing style. He has a way with words that few authors have. (less)
I added this book thanks to Brad, who made a comment about "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can."
And that is definitely about a...moreI added this book thanks to Brad, who made a comment about "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can."
And that is definitely about all that still stuck with me from this book, about 15 years after reading it the first time.
I remember feeling really really sad for the train, but then being really excited once the little engine got past it's fear and pushed forward through all odds. It's definitely a mantra that has stuck with me!(less)
I never wanted to pick up the Anne series. Although I like to think that I don't judge a book by it's cover anymore, I know that I badly judged this b...moreI never wanted to pick up the Anne series. Although I like to think that I don't judge a book by it's cover anymore, I know that I badly judged this book when I was younger!
My older sister loved the series, and was always trying to get me to read it, but something about the picture of Anne on the cover of her copy just threw me off!
By the time I actually picked it up, I was predisposed to not like the book (or the series). I was pleasantly surprised when I realized how much Anne was growing on me! I honestly didn't expect it, but these days, I think back fondly on reading about Anne. Even her peculiar quirks still pop up in my mind often! (Or into my conversation, and most people just go "what?")
It's a great YA book, that can be enjoyed by both younger and older readers. A real timeless classic!(less)
This book frightened me a youngster. I think it was mainly the very disturbing artwork, although Shakespeare himself did come up with some bizarre sce...moreThis book frightened me a youngster. I think it was mainly the very disturbing artwork, although Shakespeare himself did come up with some bizarre scenes!
Still, this book did contribute to my modern-day love of Shakespeare's works, something that I will always be grateful for. You can't really count yourself a great reader (in my eyes anyway) if you don't find yourself with an affinity for some of the prose and verse that this man (or whatever, conspiracies aside, for this review) had used/invented.
I love how there are great 'children's versions' out there that allow you to get a taste of his Middle English with our Modern English tossed in. Definitely a great book to have acquired at such a young age!(less)
I have always loved musicals, but I have yet to watch the entirety of My Fair Lady. There is something so off-putting with the way that the story star...moreI have always loved musicals, but I have yet to watch the entirety of My Fair Lady. There is something so off-putting with the way that the story starts, that I can just never get past it.
And yet, I never really had that problem with reading the novel! Instead, I would lose interst as soon as the main character started talking more 'normal'. All of a sudden she wasn't as interesting anymore.
What I like most about this is how classic (almost cliché) the whole idea of a low-class girl created into a high-class one via the powers of language and speech has become. This is obviously a classic, and just needs to be read by everyone.
I didn't find it boring, just a little lacking in character as it wore down. (These days, when encountering heroines like this, I always pray that they'll keep their lower class speech! Like in Marillon the Magician!)(less)
This was another one of those books that I got from the school's book-buying program. All I really remember is that it was enjoyable, and that it didn...moreThis was another one of those books that I got from the school's book-buying program. All I really remember is that it was enjoyable, and that it didn't particularly move me. Still, it must have done something amazing to have gotten a Newbery Medal.
I'm sure if I read it now I'd find it a lot more intellectually stimulating (but not necessarily written at my level anymore).
I might read it again one of these days, and leave a better review, but as of right now, I have to say I don't recall much. Shame, really.(less)
Another book that I read first and saw the movie after. And yet, I can't say that I prefer one over the other. This novel is very well written, and ha...moreAnother book that I read first and saw the movie after. And yet, I can't say that I prefer one over the other. This novel is very well written, and has details that the film is lacking. The movie has a great way of making you see the bigger picture without overstimulating your brain with too many details and still letting you enjoy the movie!
In general, I'd both watch the film again, and read the book again! It's a wonderful story, full of hope and desperation and a dash of historical truthfulness which leaves the reader a bit shocked.
The characters (especially the little girls) are just so wonderful... you'd like to see them as little china dolls, only there is more under the surface. And the ending is just so charming that it makes your heart melt! Definitely a read for anyone and everyone!(less)
I don't know how you could give this book anything but 5 stars.
First off, it's about 1,000 pages of almost pure adventures.
Secondly, Winsor has a wr...moreI don't know how you could give this book anything but 5 stars.
First off, it's about 1,000 pages of almost pure adventures.
Secondly, Winsor has a writing style that is forward, direct and yet has an odd charm about it. She knows how to use just the perfect amount of words to describe something without making it boring, but enough to have details.
Thirdly, the plot flows forward from point to point, with only a rare few of those "super embarrassing" scenes we know so well from Ben Stiller. (They make me cringe and I can't bear to read a story as such). There is so much going on, just following Amber's life alone makes a 1 page report. The king and the court and a few other key characters would altogether make up a huge book of notes.
Fourth of all, Winsor's characters are plenty, seeped in historical fact and yet multi-faceted. Amber is, of course, the heroine of the story. But she is a very human-like heroine, full of flaws of character and such. She is selfish and stubborn and follows her hearts desire no matter what. She's the type of hero that is part villain and it made me love her and also hate her at the same time.
The king, Charles II of England, is the other key focus. We often read interjections of what goes on with him and his love life. It makes for very visual insight into what court life was like (although written at the turn of the 19th-20th century, the book focus on 200 years earlier.)
In each section of adventures we meet certain key characters and precise settings ranging from Newgate prison, to country homes, to the burning streets of London during the Great Fire, as well as the moaning streets of London during the great Plague. We meet highwaymen, kings, queens, ladies of great renown, humble servants, Ladies In Waiting, people from all professions, walks of life, personalities. There are so many fascinating characters that they alone will have you riveted, if the plot doesn't do it for you.
I think my most favorite part was following Amber from place to place, husband to husband and watching her climb the social ladder. I never for a moment doubted that Amber would achieve that which she set her heart on. The only question was HOW she would do it. And she usually manages to find the most improbable solutions!
Amber St Claire (also known by many other names throughout the book) is a fictional character, but seeing her set in this time period was one of the best things. My fifth reason is the time period: Winsor really researched things. We learn about fashions (dresses, accessories, parties, people), historical events (in England and France and with the Dutch) and the basic living conditions (especially during the plague period, but everything from lowly servant and farm girl to upper echelons of society and everything in between!)
I love this book, and I will most likely read it again. I had to make myself slow down reading it, because I was devouring it much too quickly for my own satisfaction. (It also helped that I went back and wrote trivia questions for all the key events while reading along. Over 100 on just obvious points.)
Notes on the ending: I feel it could have wrapped up in more of a HEA fashion, but that wouldn't have fit with Amber's personality. Perhaps her being so deceived right at the end is cruel, but if you see her character objectively, and not clouded with her own personal reasonings, it is an ideal ending! I am just glad that she wasn't killed out of hand!(less)
**spoiler alert** I am so sad after finishing the book. I knew how it was going to end, but still, seeing Charlie become a genius with an IQ of 185 an...more**spoiler alert** I am so sad after finishing the book. I knew how it was going to end, but still, seeing Charlie become a genius with an IQ of 185 and now he's only got an IQ of under 70 again, it's really horrible.
He was so smart. So much smarter than I could ever be, and yet, he loses it all again in a matter of weeks. 3 months up time, 3 months super genius, then 3 months downtime and back to moron-hood.
This has been one of the most moving and thought provoking books that I have read in a while. I wonder if science has done an experiment on a human like what Keyes invented for Charlie. It can't be all fiction.
Though provoking part: I, who have always set much store by my IQ, definitely got an eye opening experience through Charlie and Algernon. Is that what will happen when I get old? Will my mind regress to that of a (I don't want to say child, because my IQ was high even as a child) lower IQ? I don't know if I could stand not being able to understand a book, or forget how to read, or even forget how to use my own motor functions.
But what if such a medical procedure would work on mentally retarded people. What if they were all of them super intelligent... Can you imagine the society then? Charlie's super ego and anti social personality (and on that note, what about intelligence affects your personality?) reflected in thousands, if not millions, of people who were first the laughingstock of society? Perhaps it is better with our current bell curve. It's not easy, or perfect, but it does work. I can't see a future of super intelligent people being forced to co-exist with those of an "average" IQ working.
I will definitely be rereading this book again. There are just too many questions provoked and I need to find answers first. Neuroscience, here I come.(less)
This has always been one of my most favorite adventure, lost-on-an-island tales! What I enjoyed most was Robinson Crusoe's resourcefulness. He's like...moreThis has always been one of my most favorite adventure, lost-on-an-island tales! What I enjoyed most was Robinson Crusoe's resourcefulness. He's like a boy scout with the way that he applied his brain to solving all of his problems!
I got so into his life on the island and how wonderful it was (okay, maybe not for him, but from my perspective it was paradise on earth) and then he had to go and find that tell-tale footprint in the sand and ruin everything. In the long run, it's probably for the best that he found it, but I was very much enjoying his solitary life up until this point!
Anyway, this was about the time when I quickly finished the book and switched to The Swiss Family Robinson.(less)
It's been too long since I read this. I need to do it in my own time and not as a structured group read. Then I might have greater appreciation for it...moreIt's been too long since I read this. I need to do it in my own time and not as a structured group read. Then I might have greater appreciation for it. (less)