Lately I’ve become very lazy about writing reviews for Good Reads, but I enjoyed reading Middlemarch so much I feel I have to write a few words about...moreLately I’ve become very lazy about writing reviews for Good Reads, but I enjoyed reading Middlemarch so much I feel I have to write a few words about it. I originally got an audio books version that was greatly abridged, and it seemed like I was missing something, so while browsing around my local library, I saw the Oxford World Classics version, that had only been borrowed once a year before, and it was calling out to me. So here I am 800 pages later, and the main question in my mind is Why didn’t I read this amazing book years ago? Middlemarch is such an ambitious book, it follows the lives of a few people in a provincial town, their jobs, marriages and problems but along the way, and seen through their experiences it explores Science, Art, Religion, Politics and progress.The novel is completely character driven and what brilliant characters they are. Dorothea Brooke, the heroine, a naive but truly good person, who marries Edward Casaubon a´Dry and dusty` scholar. Will Ladislaw his cousin an artist, Tertious Lydgate, the brilliant new doctor in the town, his beautiful stubborn wife Rosamund Vincy, her brother Fred who is in love with the clever and witty Mary Garth, Mr. Bulstrode the nearest this book has to a villain, and even he evokes our sympathies in some later scenes. I found myself totally immersed in the story of these characters and their flaws and when I was away from the book, I was thinking about it, wondering what would happen to them all. Unlike a lot of 19th century novels, where it all leads up to a marriage that we never actually see the workings of, in Middlemarch many of the characters are married and whether its good or bad marriages Elliot writes them amazing well. The scenes between Lydgate and Rosamund are painfully sad in the way they show a couple that can’t communicate or rely on each other anymore, in contrast to the Bulstrodes, who are loyal to each other, even amidst scandal. Elliot also writes of the social snobbery of the time, Bulstrode is more afraid of what his fellow townspeople will think of his dark secrets than the moral wrongs he has done. I don’t think I have ever read such a character driven book as Middlemarch, I can’t even imagine the physical aspects of the town, as the people overshadow it, and this in my opinion is the main reason for reading Middlemarch. All human life is here in this book, and if you haven’t read it before, do so, soon ! Here is my favourite quote from Middlemarch (well the one that sticks in my mind).
“If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrels heartbeat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence. As it is, the quickest of us walk about well wadded with stupidity” (less)
This is an excellent and frank memoir, of the authors childhood and his fathers death from cancer.Its not sentimental just totally realistic about hum...moreThis is an excellent and frank memoir, of the authors childhood and his fathers death from cancer.Its not sentimental just totally realistic about human emotions and death.The sequel about his mother is even more compelling I found.(less)
This is a brilliant sequel to :When did you last See your father? It goes back to how Morrisons mother and father met during the war,and uses their wa...moreThis is a brilliant sequel to :When did you last See your father? It goes back to how Morrisons mother and father met during the war,and uses their wartime letters to tell the story.I just found the story of how his mother kind of left her catholic upbringing behind her to marry his father and become a GP in yorkshire very compelling.Blake Morrison always draws you in with his frank and honest descriptions of ordinary people.I have not read any of his other books but these two.(less)
I Capture the Castle is a charming book and has one of the best narrators in literature in Cassandra Mortmain. The novel is the story of Cassandra and...moreI Capture the Castle is a charming book and has one of the best narrators in literature in Cassandra Mortmain. The novel is the story of Cassandra and her family who all live in poverty in the dilapidated Castle Godsend. Her Father an eccentric novelist suffering from writers block, Rose the beautiful sister, stepmother Topaz, younger brother Thomas and Stephen the adopted hired hand, all come to life in Cassandras journal. Everything changes when two prosperous American brothers become heirs to the castle. The book was written 1948, and its set in the 1930’s, sometimes it's as though it's a nineteenth century novel,there is so much emphasis put on finding a wealthy man to marry. Dodie Smith left England for Hollywood where she was a successful screen writer.When I Capture the Castle was written she was obviously homesick for England, because this book paints an idyllic picture of the english countryside and its beauty. The chapter where Cassandra,Rose and the two Americans have a picnic in the village, to the sounds of the local children singing is so simply, charming and nostalgic. Things don’t stay simple for Cassandra and through her year long jounal we actually see her mature and grow up as she falls in love. I really loved this book and couldn’t put it down, I wish someone had recommended to me at sixteen. Its definitely a coming of age story, even though it's a little old fashioned in some ways the funny perceptive voice of Cassandra could be enjoyed by anyone in any era.(less)