Disclaimer: Readers of this review will be subjected to a lot of rambling and random thoughts because I have no clear idea of what I want to say aboutDisclaimer: Readers of this review will be subjected to a lot of rambling and random thoughts because I have no clear idea of what I want to say about this book. Please know this about the book though: I liked it a lot. :)
Someone posted a picture of items that aren't around anymore, mixed tapes, rainbow colored window blinds, Shrinky Dinks, nature being made into make believe. I felt kind of a stab in the chest at the sighting because it made me think about all the things I've left behind over the years.
One of the things I miss the most is an encyclopedia set my parents bought from a door to door salesman. I poured over the dinosaur section of the "D" encyclopedia often, memorizing all of them and their designated time period of existence. I LOVED dinosaurs my entire childhood.
When I went to college, I had a professor that would spend after hours showing me the college's fossil collection. When he quizzed me over the fossils, I'm sure I felt my eyes light up, but for some reason it never dawned on me as a subject to pursue throughout my life.
Then, somewhere along the way I forgot everything mentioned above; that is until I read Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier. While reading this novel, I felt a certain kind of homesickness, not a homesickness for a location, but a homesickness for interests that I had put somewhere in the dusty attic of my mind. These feelings ignited a desire to preserve who I am better; not forget myself along the way; mentally survive.
Anyway, Remarkable Creatures is a historical fiction novel about the real life fossil hunter, Mary Anning and her friend and supporter Elizabeth Philbot. They both lived before Darwin's contributions on Evolution Theory so you can imagine the turbulent seas these women faced. Both were women that followed their passions with an intensity and focus that I deeply admire. They were outside-the-box thinkers, way before their time, uncovering their own answers to their fossil finds. When most people were satisfied that Mary had found a deceased crocodile on the beaches of Lyme Regis, Mary and Elizabeth set out to prove that the bones were of something else entirely.
The main characters are survivalists that did not adhere themselves to societal expectations so if you are looking for a Jane Austen-like novel...this is it. Maybe my favorite element of the book were the characters. I especially liked the witty comments made to the town gossipers by Miss Elizabeth. I've always been drawn to honest, no fuss types as my friends and she felt like a friend. Mary, a true survivalist ( struck by lightening as an infant and survived!) was warm and bright. I wanted to sit down to tea with them and plan a beach combing event or just sit there with them without even talking....excavate them out of the story and make them alive once more.
I love the set up of Alice Hoffman's book The Red Garden.
It starts out with a story about the first settlers of a small town called Blackwell. I guess I love the set up of Alice Hoffman's book The Red Garden.
It starts out with a story about the first settlers of a small town called Blackwell. I guess the majority of these newbies did not have survival instincts...except one lady ( that I LOVED).. It's always the one person that the majority deem weird that saves their asses time and time again. Agreed?
Thereafter it tells the stories of the citizens in the future of this small but lovely town. Some of them have genealogical connections with the first settlers. Others were passing through and stayed. I found it an absolute delight to meet all these different personalities.
This book is hauntingly beautiful though it is an easy read (which I enjoyed that element too). It stuck with me, making me think of other towns and their histories, even my own. How are we all in nature connected? It is almost as if we live on a string of time that goes back and forth between the past, present and future? (Just some thoughts).
Anyway, it is a thought-provoking read that would be great for group discussions. Highly recommended....more
Jack London died before he finished writing The Assasination Bureau . He had scribbled notes that were interesting and horrifying about how he'd like Jack London died before he finished writing The Assasination Bureau . He had scribbled notes that were interesting and horrifying about how he'd like it to end... like birds breaking their wings against boats, dead sharks beating hearts in the hands of fishermen, and an Irish Terrier that jumps off into shark infested seas, all the while the protagonist lays dying.....
All these images seem fitting for a London ending, especially an end about a story of a group of assassins that think they are still morally straight, even as they attempt to take the life of one of their friends. It doesn't end like that though. Instead, a man by the name of Fish ends the story completely different. Not to give Robert L. Fish a hard time but the ending was not befitting of a London novel. Matter of fact, my guess is that it is the very ending London tried to avoid--the easy one.
I remember reading the ending to The Call of The Wild and my mind was completely blown by the raw intensity of the last paragraph written. The ending of Call of the Wild is the reason it remains one of the only books I've read more than once.
The Assassination Bureau is about sheer madness, yet it ends in the most mundane predictable way possible. I found it extremely disappointing. I can't help but feel that London would have been unhappy about it too....more
Serena is a man killer. Literally. She eats babies and cute puppies for lunch....and has no redeeming qualities as a character. Normally, that would m Serena is a man killer. Literally. She eats babies and cute puppies for lunch....and has no redeeming qualities as a character. Normally, that would make me put down a book in a heartbeat because I don't like my characters to act without a conscience.
Instead I'm in love with anti-heroes-- the kind society may think are bad but underneath everything they are simply misunderstood, acting only by unpopular integrity. Serena is none of these things. She is to her very core....evil...she has the unblinking unfeeling kind of arrogance that seeks neither revenge, redemption, nor any other emotion..she just is stone cold. By the way, I'm giving nothing away...readers will know this in the first chapter.
Why did I love this book then if it contained so much of what I dread reading about?
Rash is just that good. Have you ever encountered someone so good at their job it made you believe in fate? You just knew the job they were doing was their calling. Well, that is how I felt when reading about this horrible woman. Rash is a storyteller... not the wannabee kind (like me) or the kind that is awesome because they've worked so hard to be great (like so many). He is simply... a storyteller. It didn't even matter to me that at times the book was predictable or about something that normally would turn me off...I just couldn't tear my eyes away........more
I've thought a lot about this book since reading it. Forgive me, this review will probably sound like philosophical mumbo jumbo and make no sense what I've thought a lot about this book since reading it. Forgive me, this review will probably sound like philosophical mumbo jumbo and make no sense whatsoever (I'm going to just carelessly throw all my thoughts out there), but I haven't shut my brain off since reading this.
It made me ask myself : What is the truth?
By reading I found my answer had developed into this thought: It seems every single person has their own truth. Are life events ever remembered by their witnesses and bearers as they really happened? Or does each of us have our own versions of our experiences, even when they are shared experiences and events. Is any memory the complete truth then?
Then it hit me. Life is the biggest game of telephone ever.
Is Antoinette even crazy?
I want to err on the side of no. She is not. I want to say that Rochester is just a passive aggressive arrogant punk.
After all, he left Jane sitting in chairs silently as he played with his cronies. He left a little boy weeping outside. Yet he tried not to scare anyone. He sometimes seems too reasonable to act maliciously, yet sometimes not. Oh how I love multi faceted characters.
Or maybe not and maybe he did not do any of those things. I have no idea.
I don't have much to say about Antoinette. She felt like a friend that just had some bad luck...I felt sorry for her and liked listening (I mean reading) to her describe her world.
The truth: I still don't know the truth about dear Rochester or even Antoinette. What is the true story? The one that Rochester tells, the one Antoinette tells, or the versions given by the third parties?
I am going to say we'll never know but I like that Rhys leaves it to her audience to think about. I enjoy a novel that does not spoon feed readers the story, but lets the story unfold so naturally it gives readers the sense that they bore witness to the same events as the fictional characters. I felt close to this place and all of the people.
Lovely writing of atmosphere and story development. A lot of beauty, pain, madness, and life found within its pages. But life is madness and nothing seems completely true most of the time--that is why I liked this book so much (that is my conclusion). In the end I am not surprised that this novel is considered a classic but that is only my humble opinion.