I read this book in high school, like every other sophomore did, and I'll be honest, it was not one of my favorites. I think I was so excited to have...moreI read this book in high school, like every other sophomore did, and I'll be honest, it was not one of my favorites. I think I was so excited to have a love story intertwined in a required curriculum book that I forgot to look for any scholarly significance and instead I just ended up distraught that Daisy and Gatsby didn't get together in the end. However, I've decided that if a book is required for high school students then I should at least have some appreciation for the work. Good choice Lindsay! I read it again and loved every second of it! Fitzgerald is amazing. I finished the book and felt like I was swimming in all the imagery and political cues. It's a fairly easy read, but it has so much significance that you could read it a hundred times and continue picking up new gems of wisdom. I had to rent the movie, about two days after finishing the book, to have another go at the book's symbolism.
Although Nick Carraway has always kind of bothered me for some reason (he seems like an awkward fly on the wall...all the time), the character development in this book is amazing. Everything is so deliberately done. Of course, one of the overarching themes of the novel, is the failure of the American Dream with the corruption and demoralization of society. However, as I read the book this time, I was intrigued by how Gatsby lived and dreamed in the past. It is one of the great tragedies of the novel, in my opinion, that Gatsby persistently fails to move forward in life. At his funeral, there's a poignant contrast between young Gatsby's list of to-dos compared with what had been Gatsby's stagnant reality--he had striven for something that was already over, something that was years behind him. Gatsby lived on the hope of Daisy--the green light in the distance, just like the faraway, but ever present American dream--but he never realized the impossibility and the falsity of his dream.
The novel also plays on the dichotomies of man, God, and incarnation (fascinating theme throughout the book); old money verses new money; religious awareness verses atheistic apathy; success verses failure; life verses death; etc. Overall, a fabulous book that I would recommend anyone to reread!(less)
I'll be honest, this was a tough read. I'm not a huge fan of biography-type books that are laden with details and seem to follow a very slow chronolog...moreI'll be honest, this was a tough read. I'm not a huge fan of biography-type books that are laden with details and seem to follow a very slow chronology of a person's life. However, this book was fascinating! It is considered very close to actual fact because Irving Stone had access to all Michelangelo's letters, etc. I would encourage anyone to read it before traveling in Italy. I read it right before my trip and it revolutionized my experiences in the cities I visited and with the works that I encountered. This is a must read!(less)
Wow! I loved this book. I'll be honest, it was a little difficult to get into at first because I'm not a huge fan of the Chinese narrative and because...moreWow! I loved this book. I'll be honest, it was a little difficult to get into at first because I'm not a huge fan of the Chinese narrative and because the book does not follow a typical novel sequence (every chapter could be read separately as each is its own story). But once I was acquainted with the characters a bit more, the story came alive and I couldn't put the book down.
This book follows the lives, and the pasts, of four mothers (all from China) and four daughters (all born and raised in America). The messages in this book are subtle but very powerful. Although each story seems somewhat disconnected, each builds upon the previous to show the characters with more and more depth. What I loved most about this book was how, during my reading, my perspectives on the characters (especially the Chinese mothers) completely changed. The Chinese mothers are depicted first through the eyes of one of the American daughters, they have funny American-Chinese accents, seem overly traditional, and are strange in their customs. However, each chapter depicts the past of one of these mothers, pasts which explain why they are the way that they are.
Amy Tan is genius in showing not only how each mother is intimately connected to her daughter in strength, love, looks, and tradition, but also how each family is still connected with the Chinese people as a whole. The stories of the mothers are tragic, but beautiful, and they each give insight and meaning to the struggles that the daughters face. The book deals with the themes of love, estrangement, endurance, friendship, tradition, inner-strength, and family. It is a must read!(less)
Believe it or not, I had never read this book before. It was magical and enchanting and I think that everyone should read it at least once. I've grown...moreBelieve it or not, I had never read this book before. It was magical and enchanting and I think that everyone should read it at least once. I've grown up loving the story--I frolicked around London, when I was there for my study abroad, looking for secret gardens--and now I finally read the book. The book is a classic, and it explores themes and ideas that leave the reader feeling refreshed and happy--typical of books from this time, but nonetheless very fulfilling. I loved the dynamics of Mary and her cousin Colin and their magical, animal-loving friend, Dickon. It explores the meaning of friendship, family, pride, mysticism, life verses death, and most of all, happiness. It was delightful!(less)
I read this book for the first time when I was starting high school. When reading it merely for its plot and its entertainment value I was a little di...moreI read this book for the first time when I was starting high school. When reading it merely for its plot and its entertainment value I was a little disappointed. Last year I decided to read it again to try a get a little more out of it. I loved it. This book is not centered around a riveting plot, but it is beautiful and emotional. Willa Cather is an incredible author and I found myself engulfed in the lyricism of her words and complexities of her characters.
This book takes place in a small town in prairie Nebraska. Jim Burden looks to his past in this town. His experiences focus on the young immigrant girl Antonia Shimerda. This is a novel of strength, endurance, and friendship and is one that is captured within the beautiful setting of the natural land. I am excited to read another novel by Willa Cather.(less)
I can't believe it took me so long to read this classic, but I finally did! And just as everyone had told me, it was tragic...unbelievably tragic...bu...moreI can't believe it took me so long to read this classic, but I finally did! And just as everyone had told me, it was tragic...unbelievably tragic...but somehow, it left me smiling amid my tears in the last few pages.
Hardy is an incredible writer, but he hasn't always been my favorite because of his extremely explicit commentary on social conventions, etc. However, I found myself completely wrapped up in the story and the characters of this book. Hardy is a genius with his reoccurring themes, his beautiful and harsh imagery, and his expressive/dynamic characters. Often, I enjoy books of this kind simply for their artistic merit. They have beautiful, flowing language and I am swept away with the rhythm and tone of the words. However, this book was so much more. Hardy makes the characters come alive with their many complexities: I never know if I should hate Angel for his behavior or empathize with him because of his awful plight, or whether Alec D'Urberville has finally turned to the good side or if he is still just as evil as ever.
Tess is a fabulous heroine with passion, courage, pride, strength, and devotion--everything that a true heroine should be. And the developing of Angel and Tess's relationship in the middle of the book is...amazing! Truly, it could be the most enchanting love story I've ever read: subtle, yet real and moving! I could read that part again and again!
Overall, Hardy is still overt in commenting on the wrongness of societal conventions; however, Hardy also develops the themes and dichotomies of right and wrong, past/ancestry and present, beauty and harshness, good and evil, and life and death.
Despite...amid the tragedies that never seem to end, this book met all my expectations.(less)