A Gothic romance if ever there was one, I admire the way Bronte can craft such a loathsome character in Heathcliff, yet I still sympathized with him....moreA Gothic romance if ever there was one, I admire the way Bronte can craft such a loathsome character in Heathcliff, yet I still sympathized with him. His tragic circumstances in the beginning of the novel, the way Hindley tormented him, fired his already wild character into a brutish "fiend." Yet his deep unyielding love of Cathy, how he couldn't not love her, made him a fascinating character study.
My only complaint of the novel, and it's probably due to the era it was written in, was how nearly everyone was weak and ill all the time, and could be set off to death by a wearisome heart. Perphaps it was Bronte's way of expressing the physical toll that love and despair can bring, but after a time it was tiring.
And yet, despite the gloom and darkness of the novel (the entire novel) it managed to end happily in a Gothic sort of way.(less)
**spoiler alert** For the most part I really enjoyed this book. I fell in love with Christy, the main character of the novel, and was always eager to...more**spoiler alert** For the most part I really enjoyed this book. I fell in love with Christy, the main character of the novel, and was always eager to find out more. The characterizations were pretty good. William Keaton seemed a cardboard cut-out a bit, the typical villiian of these sort of books, who values society and rules above anything. The magical quality of the books, the subtle mystery of Grandda, was wonderful. As a horse owner and lover, I had difficulty with the ending, but appreciate why Cummins did what she did. Not many writers can get me to cry, and I really felt the epic loss that was Jack. (less)
This book wasn't just affirmation or a soft-spoken battle-cry, it was a window into our minds. Because the reason introverts and extroverts b...more4.5 stars
This book wasn't just affirmation or a soft-spoken battle-cry, it was a window into our minds. Because the reason introverts and extroverts behave differently is simple: Our brains operate differently. As a life-long and now proud and un-loud introvert, it's never been a mystery that I prefer the silent, the thoughtful, and the solitary. Extroverted people drain me. Sure, I was always aware that I despised small talk and idle gossip (the fuel of extroverts), but I wasn't sure why they needed it. I just knew they loved to talk. To excess. My younger sister is a poster-child for extroversion. She's always on the phone, plays music when she rises from bed, and talks continuously. She's not being loud to annoy me (though I'm sure that was a bonus for her), she needs the noise and stimulation to feel comfortable.
Ideas come from individual and focused, creative thought. We should foster silent thinking, not hinder it with noise and brainstorming sessions. Cain's exploration of how classrooms operate brought up a good point: perhaps one reason the US of A struggles in math and science in comparison to other nations (say any Asian country) is the style of teaching. Forcing youngsters to think in groups rather than as individuals who can focus, is taking a disastrous toll. Offices with open floor plans, same thing. No one has ever said "Wow, that meeting gave me so many good ideas!"
I wish everyone, extrovert and introvert alike would read this book. It has helped me understand why my extroverted friends act the way they do, and I wasn't expecting such knowledge from this book.(less)
A bandwagon book that I jumped on a little after initial take off. I assumed it was a good read as the rest of the world has swallowed it whole. The s...moreA bandwagon book that I jumped on a little after initial take off. I assumed it was a good read as the rest of the world has swallowed it whole. The story at first is very complicated, and you have to wade through a lot of tedium, but the work is worth it. The Vanger family is as dysfunctional as they come.
The real draw to this book is the girl, Lisbeth Salandar, who is fascinating and quite the bad ass. Her characterization is near perfect, and the main reason I loved this novel. Unlike so many other characters (particularly female) Salandar refuses to be a victim and detests those people who are. I found myself cheering her on.
I docked one star from the book for a couple of reasons: the 3rd person omniscient narrator is a tad confusing, jumping around a lot (as omniscient narrators tend to do) without specifying who was talking when. The book was powered forward by a lot of dialogue, but the characters all sounded the same, so it was hard to tell who was talking when.
It's been a while since I read a mystery novel that revolved around a male character, written by a man, and it's cliche for the protagonist (Blomkvist) to be so charismatic that anything female that moves sleeps with him, and the women don't hold him accountable to his actions. How nice for him. Was that a fantasy of Larson's?
Entertaining, mysterious, and a great character in Lisbeth Slandar, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is worth a read. (less)
I felt like Les Miserables was written by two different men: the focused Victor Hugo and the rambling Victor Hugo. Parts of this novel were absolutely...moreI felt like Les Miserables was written by two different men: the focused Victor Hugo and the rambling Victor Hugo. Parts of this novel were absolutely beautiful and strong, with such expressive and engaging writing, I was in awe of the man. Then a chapter later it all fell to pieces. Sure, this book was written in a different time when attention spans were longer than seven seconds, but that's a poor excuse, as The Count of Monte Cristo was never dry. Victor Hugo can be amazing, he proved that with some brilliant chapters. Whenever he was writing about Jean Valjean, it was obvious that Hugo cared a great deal for the character. The same can be said of Marius. When writing about the history of a building, though, or the history of how slang came about, or of the sewer systems, he just wrote lengthy, bordering stream of consciousness, diatribes. I found myself clicking through many pages, scanning the screen instead of reading, hoping to get back to the story.
The passages that followed Marius are the most memorable to me. Marius was an engaging character, and even though he took an obsessive approach to romance, I was still drawn to him. His dedication to Cosette and his admiration for his fallen father, were commendable. Marius is a great character.
This was a good book, but I had to knock off two stars for the lack of focus. If you're interested in reading this book you should, but if you're not interested in all the history (some people love the history) then I suggest you pick up an abridged version. Normally I caution against abridged versions, but here I think you'd be safe. I lost nothing of the story by skipping over some of Hugo's "essays" on the times or of the history of sewer systems.(less)
The first two books were quite good and extremely entertaining. I gave each a pretty high rating because both books had me clicking the next button on...moreThe first two books were quite good and extremely entertaining. I gave each a pretty high rating because both books had me clicking the next button on my Kindle with frequent regularity. Even with this novel I was riveted, but not as satisfied as I was with the previous novels.
Each writer has a different voice and style, of course, but Collins has a habit of going into "summary-mode" all too often. For great chunks of the book I didn't feel like I was there at all, only reading the cliff notes version of events, a glossing over. I also wonder what Collins has against commas. She seemed reluctant to use them, and favored sentence fragments instead... To each her own, I suppose.
One of the annoying letdowns of this book was the preachy, unoriginality of the "people are bad" theme. How many times have we heard that one? People kill each other and are violent for petty reasons. And yet, despite authors and screenwriters (speaking through actors) say it, humanity goes on just the same. Has anyone, after reading or hearing a character or narrator say something like "humans are violent and kill each other for greed, power; shame on us, etc, etc," ever set down the book or paused their movie to reflect?
As a whole, I felt the series was quite entertaining. I have learned the hard way not to have high expectations of a series ending, so I wasn't as disappointed as some have been with Mockingjay. Like I said, it was fast-paced, and the dystopian world was well crafted, albiet scary. I wish Collins would've gotten more detailed rather than summarize for me, but that's what star ratings are for, right? 3 out of 5 it is, then.(less)
Yes, the book was good. There were parts that were truly moving, and terrifying, while a certain section of the novel made me laugh out loud. My bigge...moreYes, the book was good. There were parts that were truly moving, and terrifying, while a certain section of the novel made me laugh out loud. My biggest complaint is the ending, which to keep from there being a spoiler alert on this review, was devastatingly open, and not in a hopeful way. I thought the character of Sarah was very naive and irresponsible. Little Bee was a good character, as was Charlie. There were too many holes in the novel, not enough of a definable plot. It's worth a read, but it does not stand up to the hype.(less)
My only problem with the book was that I read it while coping with a cold. It made me want to get up and go running. I was loaned this book when a fel...moreMy only problem with the book was that I read it while coping with a cold. It made me want to get up and go running. I was loaned this book when a fellow kick-boxer saw me wearing my FiveFingers and told me I should read the story. It was amazing. McDougall, suffering with terrible foot pain, searches for answers only to unlock the key to true happiness.
I too have dealt with horrible foot pain for years and was ready to give up, but, as McDougall finds, we were born to run. The less we have on our feet, the happier they are. (less)
This book was fascinating. I'm already on the Paleo diet and loving it, but this book illustrated exactly why carbohydrate rich diets is making us fat...moreThis book was fascinating. I'm already on the Paleo diet and loving it, but this book illustrated exactly why carbohydrate rich diets is making us fat, and adequately explained how the conventional wisdom of calories in/calories out is making us overweight and miserable. I recommend this book to anyone who is hoping to be healthier, leaner, or just can't stand being overweight and has tried everything.(less)
Even though there was a lot of dialogue and repetition, I still enjoyed the sequel very much. Though people should be warned, the ending is a cliff ha...moreEven though there was a lot of dialogue and repetition, I still enjoyed the sequel very much. Though people should be warned, the ending is a cliff hanger. I'm now down on the wait list for the library for the third and final book of this series. Lisbeth Salandar kicks major butt.(less)
What an absolute reading delight. This book did not get bogged down in silly details or fumble over poor character development. Quite the contrary. Fo...moreWhat an absolute reading delight. This book did not get bogged down in silly details or fumble over poor character development. Quite the contrary. For a classic, this book moved quickly in narrative and "action" and the characters were wonderful. Mrs. Bennet made me laugh, as did the silliness of Mr. Collins. And of course, this wouldn't be a proper review if I did not touch upon the romantic and misunderstood Mr. Darcy. Lizzy and Darcy are made for each other. This book is a romantic delight, proving that love is not about sex, but true feelings of trust, compatibility, and obsession of character. I love you, Jane Austen(less)
My favorite stand-alone novel of all time, The Count of Monte Cristo has all "the elements": Death, Destruction, and Misery. Though one needs to write...moreMy favorite stand-alone novel of all time, The Count of Monte Cristo has all "the elements": Death, Destruction, and Misery. Though one needs to write out a character map of who's who, and the complex plot is one that needs some studying, Monte Cristo is a phenomenal book that always leaves me satisfied. The naive Edmond Dantes enters prison gullible and always believing in the best of people, and leaves jaded and coarse, patient and lethal. Do not cross the Count, he takes his time when executing his revenge, with cold wrath. If you haven't read this book, what's your problem?(less)