I have something in common with Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. I'm a scent connoisseur, a scent fanatic. No, my sense of smell is not as refined as Grenoui...moreI have something in common with Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. I'm a scent connoisseur, a scent fanatic. No, my sense of smell is not as refined as Grenouille's, and no, this obsession with smell hasn't led me to commit any ghastly murders, but I really do appreciate the idea behind the book: one man, an olfactory genius, trying to conquer the world with smell.It's an interesting concept. We often take smell for granted, and yet it's the strongest, and most persuasive of our senses. There's a part in the novel where an orgy takes place because Grenouille creates a perfume so saturated sex pheromones. It seems like a far-fetched concept, yet in the beauty and cosmetics industry, companies have been selling pheromones for years, claiming that they will make you more attractive, and more desirable to the opposite sex.
So where did the book fail for me? Why am I giving it a 2 star rating instead of a 5? I simply didn't like Suskind's writing. Although I thought the book was really well researched, Suskind's writing just failed to captivate me. There were really long stretches in the book where I just wanted to put it down. (less)
Let me first reminisce about the first time I fell in love with Mr. Darcy: It was a cold winter (or was it spring?) night in 1995, and I was tucked in...moreLet me first reminisce about the first time I fell in love with Mr. Darcy: It was a cold winter (or was it spring?) night in 1995, and I was tucked in a blanket, snuggling closely to my older sister. Colin Firth Proudly dashes his way onto the TV screen, and with a scowl on his handsome face says, "She is tolerable; But she is not handsome enough to tempt me." For a child who was raised on Disney Princesses singing about love, it was easy for me to get swept into the Longbourns and Pemberlies of Jane Austen's upper-class England. I'm no longer the seven-year old girl that sings Disney songs in make-believe ball gowns, Pride and Prejudice still holds a special place in my heart.
In Elizabeth Bennet, Austen creates a heroine who-- with all her intelligence and common sense-- is held down in life by societal norms. Austen always questions the position that women hold in society. And even though in modern times we aren't constrained by corsets, bodices, or the entailment of our father's estate to a distant cousin, we still have many obstacles to face. People are always complaining about Jane Austen's books being irrelevant today, but I disagree. She always writes about universal themes: love, social class,perception vs. reality, family dynamics, and in this case the foolishness of always believing our first impressions.
The dialogue is full of humour, and very fast-paced. There are plenty of "laugh out loud" moments in the book (thanks to Mr. Collins, and Mrs. Bennet). A critic correctly describes this book as "The DNA of all romantic comedy", because with all its wit, there are also many parts in the book that would make any girl swoon.
The romance between Elizabeth and Darcy, although very restrained, adds to the chemistry that makes this love story so irresistible. It's not through passionate kisses that establishes the romance, but through little gestures, letters, and stolen stares from across the room.
Pride and Prejudice is a book that I will read over and over again. Every time I read it I have found (and will find) a newer different meaning within its pages. I hope that everyone will give this book a try.
There's an ongoing battle between Jane Austen fans about which novel is her greatest work. While my heart will always belong to Mr. Darcy and Liza Ben...moreThere's an ongoing battle between Jane Austen fans about which novel is her greatest work. While my heart will always belong to Mr. Darcy and Liza Bennet, and Pride and Prejudice will always be my favourite book, I think that Persuasion is Jane Austen at her best. The book encompasses everything we love about Austen: witty dialogue, breath-taking romance, and a satiric glimpse of Georgian society. However, this novel has more depth and maturity than any of Austen's previous work.
At the centre of the story is the beautiful romance between Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth. Although eight years earlier they were passionately in love, Anne rejects Wentworth because she is persuaded by a close friend that she could make a better match. She never does. At the ripe age of 27, nearing the age of spinsterhood, Captain Wentworth re-enters her life. Even though Wntworth is courting another woman, Anne hopes that their love might be rekindled.
Persuasion, perhaps more than Austen's other novels, is bubbling to the brim with social commentary. Anne's family is shallow and materialistic. I remember laughing out loud at one point when her father complains about how many unattractive women there are in his neighborhood.
Anne is what every young woman should aspire to be: she's kind-hearted, strong, intelligent, and fair. It's very easy to sympathize and fall in love with this character as she reflects upon and learns from her mistakes. She is often overlooked by her own ridiculous family because she doesn't share their values of wealth and beauty, and she has come to accept the limitations of being an unwed woman. Her romance with Wentworth was the summer of her life, and this decline, this sense of longing and regret, is her autumn.
However, as in all of Austen's novels, the good are rewarded, and the bad are (mildly) punished. Captain Wentworth writes the most romantic letter you'll ever read. I'm actually contemplating getting a line from the letter tattooed on my body:
I really enjoyed Madame Bovary. What's interesting is that I read it with a group of other women, and we all had such different opinions about the boo...more
I really enjoyed Madame Bovary. What's interesting is that I read it with a group of other women, and we all had such different opinions about the book.
Madame Bovary was written by Flaubert in the mid 19th century. Flaubert was well known for being a perfectionist with his writing. Apparently, when he wrote Madame Bovary, he would always be looking for "le mot juste" or "the right word". It really does show in his writing. He uses words effectively and concisely. From a single sentence you can get the feel for the banality of peasant life. From a single line of dialogue, you can already gauge the characters in the book.
Madame Bovary, in short, is about a beautiful woman trying to escape her mundane life by indulging in materialistic things, and having adulterous affairs. It is a social commentary on the bourgeois, and a satire on romantic literature.
Emma Bovary is presented as a beautiful and intelligent woman whose mind has been corrupted by reading too many romance novels. She is characterized as someone that constantly indulges her every whim. and to absolve her sins, she turns to religion, or full out devotion to her foolish husband. She lives life expecting high society and romantic escapades, it's almost hilarious how deluded she is. And yet, I find Flaubert's commentary on indulgence and romanticism as relevant today as it was in his time. Instead of Emma's romantic literature, we have "MTV cribs", reality TV, and dozens of magazines on how to attain the perfect life, perfect car, perfect body.
Flaubert also gives us a colourful set of characters. We have Charles, the foolish husband. We also have the scheming pharmacist, Homais, and his productive, intelligent wife.
I'd recommend this to everyone.Very well-written and fast paced(less)