I don't think I've ever read anything like The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls. It is amazing, horrifying, and both a work of magical fiction and bI don't think I've ever read anything like The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls. It is amazing, horrifying, and both a work of magical fiction and brutal honesty. I felt like for the first time I had found someone who could understand how I feel. I identified on so many levels with this book, both physically, mentally, and emotionally. I appreciate Emilie as an artist so much more now because I realize just how much of herself she puts into everything she does. This is one of a kind, and is well worth every cent I paid and more.
The Asylum is a book, I think above all else, about women's rights. Women's rights to do whatever they want and have freedom over their bodies, minds, and lives. This includes the right to harm their bodies and to even end their life. Emilie is all about fighting like a girl and being a total bad ass, and I love watching Emily-with-a-y grow into a Victorian warrior queen. It's just totally awesome.
I also totally loved Emilie's story as well. I think it was such a perfect blend of fact and fiction that I really couldn't tell what was true and what was bleeding over into Emilie's story. The decent into madness was so slow and subtle that I found myself thinking very odd things were perfectly normal and destructive behaviors were really the only option available. And the ending? Amazing beyond belief.
On a more practical note I loved the overall presentation of this book. It is absolutely beautiful. Every page is glossy and full colored with photos, drawings, and cut outs from journals. It really adds to the story and makes it more than just a book.
I cannot recommend the Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls enough. It has so many fascinating topics. Abuse, mental illness, historical fiction, self mutilation, suicide, friendship, women's empowerment, music, photography, art, and of course muffins, tea time, rats, and leeches. So spread the plague little rats because, as we all know, dead is the new alive!...more
Clockwork Angel is an interesting novel in that it produces a conundrum. I think it was better than The Mortal Instruments books, but pretty much theClockwork Angel is an interesting novel in that it produces a conundrum. I think it was better than The Mortal Instruments books, but pretty much the exact same story and characters. I would love to see Casssandra Clare write something other than a love triangle of sarcastic teens with modelesque good looks. All of her characters are the same, and it's getting old.
While the writing was better, this did not really work as a historical or steampunk novel. These characters are most certainly not Victorian, they are written in a modern voice with mostly modern sensibilities. Occasionally Tessa will think that something isn't proper or that servants shouldn't act a certain way, but because none of the characters ever seemed to follow Victorian propriety all this did was make Tessa look judgemental and prudish. It felt like all of the ideas about Victorian society came from Wikipedia. Also, just having a cheap imitation of Dr. Who's cybermen doesn't make your novel steampunk. Steampunk is highly stylizied speculative fiction and just inserting a few robots and putting "clockwork" in the title doesn't cut it. This felt very gimmicky and like a way to cash in on a popular trend.
Now with that said, I still did enjoy Clockwork Angel. Third times a charm I guess. I think this is largely due to Jem, the one character that felt new and fresh to Cassandra Clare's world. Tessa and Will are pretty much carbon copy's of Clary and Jace, but Jem actually felt like a fleshed out character with a unique back story. I was actually surprised at how excited I was to read a different character from Cassandra Clare (can you tell that I've been marathoning all of her books back to back?).
Overall the best offering from Cassandra Clare, but when you consider her other novels that's not saying much. I think if I hadn't read The Moral Instruments before Clockwork Angel I would have enjoyed it a lot more, but sadly this comes off as a more polished version of the novel she has already written. ...more
I don't know what it is about Gregory Maguire, but I keep reading his books thinking I'll like them and I end up being disappointed at best, but moreI don't know what it is about Gregory Maguire, but I keep reading his books thinking I'll like them and I end up being disappointed at best, but more often than not annoyed and put off. I love the ideas of his novels, but every single one is a let down. Confessions is not so terrible as Mirror Mirror or Lost, but I'm still leaving feeling like he could have done so much more. There is all of build up in this novel and the ending feels rushed, like he got bored half way through and just decided to stop writing. Also, I am surprised at the lack of sexuality in this book, which is a very prominent topic in some of his other books. This story seemed ripe for sexual exploitation, and if there was any it was only hinted at. There were many aspects of this book that I thought were almost good, but just not quite developed enough.
I think I will always try and fail to enjoy his writing....more
One of these stars is for the audiobook, which was very good. The story itself is pretty terrible. The characters are all very one dimensional, it's oOne of these stars is for the audiobook, which was very good. The story itself is pretty terrible. The characters are all very one dimensional, it's obvious who is the "good" Boleyn and who is the "bad". There's also a lot of telling, but not a lot of showing. We're told Anne is very political savvy and extremely charming, but all we ever see is a raging psychotic bitch. I'm a big Anne Boleyn fan and I hated this one sided portrayal of her....more
ok I can't do it. This book is just awful, and I can't finish it. I made it about half way and while a lot of people told me it would get better in thok I can't do it. This book is just awful, and I can't finish it. I made it about half way and while a lot of people told me it would get better in the second half, I'm sorry this book is almost 900 pages. If you have literally zero plot in 400+ pages then it's not worth finishing. I think this book needed a much firmer editor. Just in the first half I'd say 50-100 pages could easily have been cut, largely due to the complete lack of story. The whole first half of the book goes like this:
Claire - 'Cuz we are living in a post WWII world, and I am a 1940s girl....
****MAGICAL TIME TRAVEL ROCKS ACTIVATE****
Evil Englishman - ARRRR RAPE!
Sexy Scotsman - Rape save!
Claire - 1700s Scotland!? dafaq?...ooh a kilt...OK!
Other Scotsmen - ARRRR RAPE!
Sexy Scotsman - Rape Save!
Roadway Bandits - ARR RAPE!
Sexy Scotsman - Rape Save!
****300 pages of them living in Scotland doing nothing except living in Scotland****
Sexy Scotsman - Now we have to get married because...reasons!
Claire - but I'm already married...oooh a kilt...OK!
Evil Englishman - ARRRR RAPE!
Sexy Scotsman - Rape save! Wife Beat! ARRR RAPE!
Claire - I'm mad I hate you...ooh a kilt....OK!
****Loch Ness Monster (no really)****
That's literally it.
The thing about this book that really grinds my gears is the general acceptance of rape. Basically the main character lives in constant threat of rape from everyone. The villainous Englishman, the Scottish clansmen, and even her (second) husband. It's one thing if the villain is doing the raping, it makes him more evil. What I completely don't understand is when the romantic interest does the raping or threatening of rape and we as readers are supposed to find it manly and sexy. I'm sorry, but threatening your wife with assault is NEVER attractive.
ANOTHER THING. So many people have defended the rape in this book because it's "historically accurate" and "that's just how things were back then". It's true that women didn't have many rights and were treated like property, but that DOESN'T MAKE IT RIGHT. Rape is ALWAYS wrong, even if it's the 1700s and even if it's your husband. For Claire to be so accepting of it and for other readers to still find Jamie attractive and heroic is just disgusting. We need to stop making excuses for rapists and abusers, regardless of time period, culture, childhood, or whatever else you want to try and use. ...more
The Red Tent is an interesting perspective of one of the most know stories from the Bible. The story of Jacob and his many sons, in particular JosephThe Red Tent is an interesting perspective of one of the most know stories from the Bible. The story of Jacob and his many sons, in particular Joseph and his "Amazing Techno-color Dream Coat", have been told in many movies, books, and even Broadway musicals. The Red Tent tells the same tale but from the woman's perspective; a side that is sadly under represented in the Bible.
I really loved this book. Like REALLY loved this book. I absolutely loved the tribe aspect for the women. I think in modern times we look at ancient tribal cultures and see the women as repressed "possessions" of the men in the tribe. This book really shows how the women have their own culture, support systems, and contentment with their woman-ness. They aren't meek submissive pets. They stand up for themselves, are shrewd business women, and sexual beings aware of their bodies and the natural cycle of life. Being on their period wasn't the curse so many women complain about today. The Red Tent was their retreat, their place of solace where they could congregate and share in each other's wisdom.
There are a lot of people who dislike this book, and I think it's largely the people who cannot see history as any way other than what is exactly in the Bible. The idea that the "heroes" of the Bible may not be so heroic after all scares them because it causes them to question their faith. I think that it's very important to not read the Bible as literal fact for modern times. It has to be looked at within the context of a two thousand year old nomadic nation and that the Bible was written two thousand years ago in ancient Hebrew. There's bound to be some things that are lots in translation and through cultural evolution. For example the word "rape". Was Dinah raped in a modern sense, with violence and anger, or was she raped in an ancient sense, as in having sex out of wedlock? The same word but with two very different meanings and implications.
Overall I think The Red Tent is a very important book for women's spirituality. It presents the story of one of the most under represented figures in the Bible and gives her a voice. It never strays from the original backdrop of the Biblical story, but expands on this untold story with grace and beauty. ...more
Book Thief is a beautiful and unique novel about one of the most horrible times in human history. It is a brilliantly constructed look at how the NaziBook Thief is a beautiful and unique novel about one of the most horrible times in human history. It is a brilliantly constructed look at how the Nazi party controlled all of the citizens of Germany through fear and intimidation and the lives of citizens who dared fight back. This book does more than describe the atrocity of the concentration camps and the crimes against the Jewish people; it shows the compassion and courage of the people willing to save them.
The characters are presented in a way that allows the reader to understand their actions and motives and connect with them on a deep emotional level. The characters are tangible, their emotions wonderfully described, making them believable and relatable to the reader. The use of death as an omnipresent narrator weary of the crimes humans continually commit against each other is a wonderful balance between exasperation at humanity's need to repeat the mistakes of their fathers and admiration of compassion that can be shown toward people who are truly in need. Death tells the story sprinkled with humor and a sense of wonder that humanity can still surprise him with its rare bouts of selfless goodness.
This book is not light and easy fare. It is heavy material about the need for people to stand up for what they know is right, even if it means facing foes much more power and control. You as the reader will grow to love the characters for which they are, the mistakes they make, and the dreams they have. The Book Thief does an excellent job of presenting the German people as individuals with their own opinions on morality who were fighting personal battles against tyranny and oppression. These are people just like the reader, not the single minded evil entity in which many other World War II stories seem to lump the entire German community.
Overall The Book Thief is an emotional account of how World War II affected everyone in the world through the one entity that connects us all, death....more
This book is really sappy and surface level. It's very feel good and I can see why people liked it, it gives comfort and hope without making you thinkThis book is really sappy and surface level. It's very feel good and I can see why people liked it, it gives comfort and hope without making you think too hard. I would say this is a 3 star book, it's ok but nothing amazing, but there was rape apology that just doesn't sit well with me at all. If you get fired from your job and are drunk, you are not allowed to sexually assault a woman. You don't get to brush it off as "acting on impulse". It's wrong and completely unacceptable. Because of this flippant dismissal of assault I had to take away a star. ...more
There are two big questions that The Poisonwood Bible raises. First, why does helping people in poverty have to be tied in with religious ambition, anThere are two big questions that The Poisonwood Bible raises. First, why does helping people in poverty have to be tied in with religious ambition, and second, why does religious fervor cause people to forget their common sense? I don’t understand why religion, especially (though not only) evangelical Christianity, causes people to act like Nathan Price. On one hand I’m ok with religion when it acts as a moral compass to guide life decisions that affect only you, and I’m even more ok with it when it guides people to help others out of a desire to be more God/Christ-like. However, what I do have a problem with is when people try and force that religion on others and try and change a person’s culture to make it fit into a prescribed box of what people are “supposed” to be. And when the desire to control other’s and make them just like you takes precedence over the safety and welfare of your family, well then you’ve just gone too far. People need to realize that while you may have chosen a particular path, other people may not choose it. And those other people may indeed be your wife and kids.
Ok, religion rant over, back to the book. I absolutely loved the first two thirds of the book. I loved the culture clash of a middle class white family being thrust into a tribal African culture. I also adored the five different viewpoints of the story. Each character had a distinct voice that added to the overall texture of the story. The African culture in this book is richly presented, with wonderful descriptions that show just how much the Price family was like a fish out of water. It also showed that people have to adapt in order to survive, and some members of the Price family welcomed the change while others fought it tooth and nail.
The last third of the book was when the story started to go downhill for me. Not that the political climate of Africa isn’t fascinating, but I felt myself emotionally disconnecting the more macro the story got. I was more interested in the effects that Nathan’s blind religious zeal had on his family and the African community than sweeping political commentary.
Overall The Poisonwood Bible is about how intolerance and ignorance does nothing but destroy the very thing you’re trying to build. Rigidly following religious doctrine only causes the people you’re trying to help resist you more. In order to bring about change you have to be bending and considerate. Only by understanding that people are allowed to be different can you hope to achieve anything. ...more