I know a lot of people who just rave over this book, but it was really a struggle for me to even get through it. The characters had no depth, the bookI know a lot of people who just rave over this book, but it was really a struggle for me to even get through it. The characters had no depth, the book was preachy, and the ideals it was preaching for the proper behavior of women were bile-inducing. I know, I know, it was written a long time ago, in a world with different ideals, etc. And yes, I know Alcott was a social reformer and a feminist. But my respect for her and what she did can't make me like this book any more...sorry.
I have to kind of agree with Jo's publisher, even though this statement was made as something we were supposed to disagree with in the course of the book...
"People want to be amused, not preached at, you know..."...more
"Ethan Hawley, a descendant of proud New England sea captains, works as a clerk in the grocery store o**spoiler alert** Description from back of book
"Ethan Hawley, a descendant of proud New England sea captains, works as a clerk in the grocery store owned by an Italian immigrant. His wie is restless, his teenage children are troubled and disoriented, hungry for the tantalizing material comforts he cannot provide. Then one day, in a moment of moral crisis, Ethan decides to take a holiday from his own scrupulous standards."
I love John Steinbeck. This book is no exception. This book is a powerful indictment of middle class materialism, of the emptiness and hurt that is necessary to reach the 'top' ranks of society, and the moral depravity that is necessary to get there. Ethan starts out as a morally superior person, who is forced - through love of his family, and the wish to give them what they most desire (materially) - sells himself out for monetary gain and social position.
I also loved the writing style of this book. Ethan's narrative, while sometimes rambling, was brilliant to read, and in it, Steinbeck struck at the heart of many of America's ills. Truly brilliant book....more
Night - a terrifying account of the Nazi death camp horror that turns a young Jewish boy into an agoni**spoiler alert** Description from back of book
Night - a terrifying account of the Nazi death camp horror that turns a young Jewish boy into an agonized witness to the death of his family...the death of his innocence...and the death of his God. Penetrating and powerful, as personal as The Diary of Anne Frank, Night awakens the shocking memory of evil at its absolute and carries with it the unforgettable message that this horror must never be allowed to happen again.
I'll say it right out. I don't like Holocaust books. Now it isn't that I don't think they're important, or anything like that. They just make me sick. They make me sick to my stomach and they make me ashamed to be human. I realize it is important to read and understand the horrors in our past, but this isn't something I like to do for fun. Once in a while, though, I think it's important to read one, so that's what I did. I also don't like reading books in translation. I always feel I'm missing the cadence of the original language, missing the beauty and poignancy that the original words brought to the text. But unfortunately it becomes a necessity since I don't speak anything other than English (fluently, anyway). These two reasons are why it gets four stars instead of five.
This book was powerful. It was sad, heartbreaking, and emotional despite (because of?) its Hemmingway-esque simplicity. The sadness, the bleakness, the utterly hopelessness conveyed in this book are utterly devastating, culminating in a young boy's complete loss of faith not only in humanity but in his God. A remarkable work, although very, very, very dark and depressing. But I guess that makes sense, as it's describing first hand one of the very very darkest points in human history....more
**spoiler alert** DESCRIPTION FROM BACK OF BOOK "In the California Apple country, nine hundred migratory workers rise up "in dubious battle" against t**spoiler alert** DESCRIPTION FROM BACK OF BOOK "In the California Apple country, nine hundred migratory workers rise up "in dubious battle" against the landowners. The group takes on a life of its own - stronger than its individual members and more frightening. Led by the doomed Jim Nolan, the strike is founded on his tragic idealism on the "courage never to submit or yield. "In Dubious Battle" cannot be dismissed as a "propaganda" novel - it is another version of the eternal human fight against injustice. It is an especially good version, dramatically intense, beautifully written. It is the real thing; it has a vigor of sheer storytelling that may sweep away many prejudices."
This is the third Steinbeck book I've read, and while it was an excellent, moving book, I think it was missing a little something when compared to "The Grapes of Wrath" and "Of Mice and Men." It was an interesting story, and very moving, but I don't think enough time was really spent on the characters on this one, which I think was one of the greatest strengths of the other two.
Despite this, however, this was an excellent book. I really liked how it showed the strikers not as godlike heroes without fault, but as fallible men who could be just as brutal as the people they were fighting against. While the book was certainly biased towards the strikers (as fits with Steinbeck's politics in his other books), the fact that he made them fallible makes this book all the more realistic. I also really liked the way Steinbeck makes the scope of the battle the strikers were fighting for very clear. It was not something to be won in a day, or a year, or even a lifetime, but an idealistic war that even those fighting it didn't understand exactly. My mom, who works for a union, should definitely read this book. Both as an inspiration and as a cautionary tale....more
**spoiler alert** Wow. This book was emotional, bleak, and very, very sad. But a book that can emotionally move a person to this extent is without a d**spoiler alert** Wow. This book was emotional, bleak, and very, very sad. But a book that can emotionally move a person to this extent is without a doubt a well written and good book.
At it's heart, this book is all about dreams. Lennie and George have their dream of their future - a future that is very unlikely, but that keeps them going through their difficult lives. Curly's wife had dreams of being something more than she was, of seeing the world and having the attention she doesn't get from her husband. Candy and even Crooks find strength and hope in George and Lennie's dream, for a moment daring to dream of something better than what they have.
This was also a theme of "The Grapes of Wrath" - the idea of the power of human hope, the idea of dreams as a sustaining force.
Wonderful, fantastic book, despite the less-than-happy ending....more
**spoiler alert** This was a poignant, heart-rending, and powerful book. I suppose of the books I have read I would compare it most to Upton Sinclair'**spoiler alert** This was a poignant, heart-rending, and powerful book. I suppose of the books I have read I would compare it most to Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, in the fact that it is a story of the plight of the poor in the face of unregulated and heartless business. But I think that where Sinclair's story becomes hopeless and undeniably bleak, Steinbeck manages to keep his story infused with stories of the strength of the human spirt, of people helping each other, even when their own situations are dire. Also, although this book is certainly in no way feminist, Steinbeck also shows the strength of the women he follows - with Ma basically taking over the family in the last half of the book, and with Rose of Sharon looking past her tragedy to save a life in the very last scene.
I wish I could say more about how moving this book is, but when I try to describe it, it speaks to me in emotions and not in words. It's one of those books you have to read and experience for yourself.
All I can say is that this was a fantastic book. Many classics do not really deserve that label, in my opinion, but this is one that certainly does....more
**spoiler alert** Yeah, I wasn't terribly impressed by this book. It started out good enough, but by the middle it was just like pulling teeth. All th**spoiler alert** Yeah, I wasn't terribly impressed by this book. It started out good enough, but by the middle it was just like pulling teeth. All that stuff with the Duke and the King and all that stupid stuff just bored me tears. It was all I could do to read ten pages a night. And then I absolutely hated the end of it, it just seemed so stupid, and entirely heartless to make such a game of helping a man escape from slavery. I didn't find it funny at all...rather I found it pretty disgusting.
And even though I knew that the language was accurate according to the dialect of the time, I'm a 21st century girl, and couldn't help but feel disgusted and actually offended by the attitudes and language. It's just constant, and Twain entirely embraces just about every negative stereotype possible to use in this book. I can completely understand why this book has been banned, even if the greater themes of it are not racist at all. I think it's just one of those books that it's hard to see past what's on the surface, especially by those of us raised to the greater sensitivity of the 21st century....more
I remembered not liking this book very much when I read parts of it in early high school, and I've read a lot of negative reviews of it. And yes, thisI remembered not liking this book very much when I read parts of it in early high school, and I've read a lot of negative reviews of it. And yes, this book is not perfect. Golding's writing is flowery and overly-sentimental, his imagery not always clear and sometimes confusing. The characters are not overly developed (although I do not think they are SUPPOSED to be, as they are symbols instead of true three-dimensional characters), and the book is dark and at times truly frightening.
But this is truly a good book. It is not an adventure story as it seems on the surface, but an exploration of human nature, from the tabula rasa of innocent childhood to its descent into murder and sadism.