3.5 stars. Seminal works like this are so hard for me to rate. It's like trying to review Shakespeare, Asimov, or The Lord of the Rings. On the one ha3.5 stars. Seminal works like this are so hard for me to rate. It's like trying to review Shakespeare, Asimov, or The Lord of the Rings. On the one hand, I'm well aware of its literary and cultural merits, that this was THE cyberpunk novel of all cyberpunk novels, that the writer William Gibson being a visionary and an author ahead of his time, the man who coined the term cyberspace.
On the other hand, I can only be honest. This was a great book. But it's also what I like to call a "you-had-to-be-there book". As in, I have a feeling I would have liked this book a lot more, had I actually been alive in 1984 reading this for the first time when it was published. It's nearly impossible for me to put myself in that mindset now, to subtract the noise of information technology, hackers and artificial intelligence in our history as well as in pop culture since that time. Basically, I don't think I can truly appreciate this book in all its glory, because I was born 28 years too late.
Yeah, I know it's a cop out, but hey, maybe I just don't want to admit that I don't get the cyberpunk genre? Sigh, okay, maybe it's because I just don't get the cyberpunk genre....more
I'm not usually one to pick up classic literature on my own (I've had my fill of that all throughout my high school years) but this was a freebie fromI'm not usually one to pick up classic literature on my own (I've had my fill of that all throughout my high school years) but this was a freebie from Audible, so I couldn't resist. Graham Greene is also the author of The Quiet American, one of my favorite books set in the time of the Vietnam War. The fact that Colin Firth narrates the audiobook version was just gravy.
Anyway, this is a very heavy book. Not literally, as the novel itself is quite short, but heavy in its themes, heavy in its emotions, heavy on its social commentary on topics like faith and morals. It openly discusses and examines the affair, including the sex, the infidelity, the scandal, everything.
Not gonna lie, this book will probably make you feel depressed. Semi-based on Graham Greene's own affair, the story is an emotional roller coaster that takes you through everything from love and obsession to jealousy, sadness and hate. It also brings up questions regarding perceptions on religion and God. Basically it's like I said, this is not a cheerful or lighthearted read.
Personally, I could have done without the last quarter of the novel, but this was still very good. Graham Greene is a terrific writer and most of the time, the "heaviness" in his works is what I appreciate most about them. His stuff stays with you for a long time.
One final note: I love Colin Firth as an actor, but I can't say I enjoy his performance as an audiobook narrator anywhere near as much. It's hard to understand him sometimes, there are issues with pacing, and there is very little emotion in his reading when he narrates certain scenes and voices. I definitely think there's a reason why most of the best voice actors have had to go through professional training or practice. Sometimes even the finest work from a talented actor will not translate well through the microphone....more
A classic that doesn't really feel dated at all, even though I'm reading this more than 60 years after it was published. I remember loving John WyndhaA classic that doesn't really feel dated at all, even though I'm reading this more than 60 years after it was published. I remember loving John Wyndham's the Chrysalids from when I read it for class in high school, so I was quite looking forward to this.
In this book, an unnatural breed of aggressive plants called triffids take over the world after much of the population goes blind after witnessing a strange meteor shower. When it comes to sci-fi premises, I thought it was a very interesting way to bring about the apocalypse. This was great at emphasizing just how thin and fragile the veneer of civilization truly is, and what could happen when it erodes. Description of humanity's efforts to survive along with its propensity to rebuild or run savage brought to mind The Stand, another post-apocalyptic/dystopian novel I recently read. Day of the Triffids preceded it, of course, and I thought it was impressively written....more
I often find it difficult to rate books like this. On the one hand, I can see why this is a classic and why Asimov is one of the greatest science fictI often find it difficult to rate books like this. On the one hand, I can see why this is a classic and why Asimov is one of the greatest science fiction writers that ever lived. The ideas in Foundation are certainly ahead of its time and I can appreciate the great things that stories like this did for its genre. On the other hand, books like this really show their age. It's so hard to read now and not have the experience biased by external factors like culture and language. For example, I wholly agree with a reviewer who used the cigar puffing old boys' club metaphor to describe the characters' interactions in this book. I also noticed the distinct lack of any female characters.
While I recognize its merits, I can't say I really enjoyed reading this book. It's very different from the stories I normally enjoy which are character-driven. I like seeing protagonists develop over time, as opposed to the style of Foundation which jumps around a lot....more
I originally started this back in February of this year but had to stop in the middle before I was finished, the reason being I had a baby and neededI originally started this back in February of this year but had to stop in the middle before I was finished, the reason being I had a baby and needed a book to read that would keep me awake during those late night feedings. Watership Down is a great story about the lives of a group of rabbits, but it just wasn't that exciting.
If only I had been closer to the story's climax when I had my little break; the book gets very good towards the end. When I picked it up again a few days ago, I got to around the 75% mark and could barely put it down from there onwards....more