Found this at a tag sale for $4. Under the front cover it says To Douglas, from Grandpa Jahn - 1967. I bought it for sentimental reasons - and because...moreFound this at a tag sale for $4. Under the front cover it says To Douglas, from Grandpa Jahn - 1967. I bought it for sentimental reasons - and because I love fairy tales. :)(less)
Not as good as A Study in Scarlet mystery wise, but I liked the development with Watson's love life. And, FYI, drug addicts have never been on my good...moreNot as good as A Study in Scarlet mystery wise, but I liked the development with Watson's love life. And, FYI, drug addicts have never been on my good list. Guess I'll have to make an exception for Sherlock.(less)
Born in the early 19th century only to die from unknown causes a mere forty years later, Edgar Allan Poe is, undoubtedly, one of the most recognizable...moreBorn in the early 19th century only to die from unknown causes a mere forty years later, Edgar Allan Poe is, undoubtedly, one of the most recognizable and influencial authors of all time. His works have provided the inspiration for many of the stories we enjoy today. And although his life was short, he made a long-lasting impact on the world of English literature. In this auditory collection his fans get to hear several of his stories and poems come to life in a fantastical way. These stories are thrilling, creepy, and macabre. And, when narrated by the skillful Edward Blake as they are in this audio, delectable. And whether you think him a genius, a mad genius, or just plain mad, there is no doubt that Poe had a talent for story telling unlike anyone we'll probably ever meet again.
Below is the list of stories included in this collection according to the order they're given in the audio. I'm giving them individual ratings:
Tell-Tale Heart - 5 stars The Cask of Amontillado - 2 stars The Mask of the Red Death - 4 stars The Raven - 3 stars Annabel Lee - 5 stars The Facts in the Case of M. Vlademar - 3 stars Ulalume: A Ballad - 2 stars A Black Cat - 5 stars (this one is especially creepy) The Bells - 2 stars The Pit and the Pendulum - 3 stars The Fall of the House of Usher - 3 stars The Purloined Letter - 3 stars The Gold Bug - 3 stars
I highly recommend this collection to fans of Poe, or anyone interested in his works. 3.5 stars(less)
When I was younger, my mother and I would watch reruns of Dennis the Menace. Truth be told, the only enjoyment I got out of these sessions was spendin...moreWhen I was younger, my mother and I would watch reruns of Dennis the Menace. Truth be told, the only enjoyment I got out of these sessions was spending time with my mother. You see, Dennis was, to me, exactly what the title proclaims him to be: a menace. Since I was very young I've had a strong aversion to any one who causes trouble for others or keeps getting into scrapes, be they intentional or not. As anyone who's read Anne's first installment can imagine, this made it a bit difficult for me to take to her character. In Anne of Green Gables, Anne is rather rash and even careless in her decision making. But boy has she grown up now! I didn't think Montgomery would make young Anne grow so fast, rather I thought her character would take several installments just to reach age sixteen. Gladly, this isn't the case.
In Anne of Avonlea, Anne starts off at the age of half-past sixteen; and the book ends two years later. I must admit she's won my admiration from here on out. Anne is the sort of girl who makes you think they invented the word "spitfire" as a means to describe her alone, and coupled with her copious amount of enthusiasm and optimism, I dare say it is nearly impossible for one to not fall for her eventually! And in the second part of her story, we see Anne strungle with her new position as schoolma'am at the Avonlea school. To top this off, she must aid Marilla in the caring of two children whom Marilla has chosen to adopt: the naughty but adorable Davy, and the prim and and slightly-dull Dora. Sprinkle on mulitple new acquaintances, several furnerals, two engagements, a wedding . . . and you've got an awfully busy two years for our dear Anne.
This series is clearly something I'd have missed out on had Jo not spoken so highly of it through her lovely reviews, so thank you, Jo. I find myself slowly but surely warming to the characters and their world more with each chapter. And of course, as with all classics, the writing is stunning.
"A September day on Prince Edward Island hills; a crisp wind blowing up over the sand dunes from the sea; a long red road, winding through fields and woods, now looping itself about a corner of thick-set spruces, now threading a plantation of young maples with great feathery sheets of ferns beneath them, now dipping down into a hollow where a brook flashed out of the woods and into them again, now basking in open sunshine between ribbons of goldenrod and smoke-blue asters; air athrill with the pipings of myriads of crickets, those glad little pensioners of the summer hills; a plump brown pony ambling along the road; two girls behind him, full to the lips with the simple, priceless joy of youth and life."
Naturally, this sort of passage always stirs up some envy in my blood; I can't help but wish I could write like that. Although I suppose there is some comfort --- and, for other reasons, sadness --- in knowing that practically no one writes this way anymore.
Although I still can't bring myself to give this a higher rating than the one you'll read momentarily, I assure all who read this that I'm enjoying myself very much while following Anne through her journeys in life. I'll be sure to read Anne of the Island soon. 3.5 stars(less)
Anne of Green Gables is the story of a young orphaned girl named, you guessed it, Anne. Born in Nova Scotia only to lose both of her parents from the...moreAnne of Green Gables is the story of a young orphaned girl named, you guessed it, Anne. Born in Nova Scotia only to lose both of her parents from the fever at the age of three months, Anne has grown up in many households, never being able to stay in one place for long. As you can imagine, this has left young Anne feeling needy and unwanted. And when siblings Marilla and Matthew decide to adopt a boy to help work on their farm, they never expect to get a girl instead. Naturally, their first instinct is to give her to someone else; but soon after, under the influence of Anne's pleading, they decide that with them is where she shall stay. Read along in this classic as Anne performs in the Christmas concert, shuns the semi-romantic advances of Gilbert Blythe, and accidently gets her one true bosom friend drunk.
I won't lie — it took me a while to get into Anne's story. After all, this is children's literature and, for me, there is very few middle grade and/or children's books worthwhile. But because of some very trusted friends' opinions, I chose to persevere — and I'm so glad I did! Despite the rather slow start, Anne of Green Gables was a very pleasant and enchanting story to behold.
I believe my favorite aspect of this story is Anne's relationship with her stepparent, Matthew. Almost instantaneously, Matthew takes to Anne as if she were his biological daughter; to use Anne's own words, she and Matthew are kindred spirits. I only wish that parent/child relationships were written that way more often in juvenile literature today.
Thin, freckled, and with hair the color of carrots, Anne is ridiculed for her queer looks — but with a bright imagination and fierce determination to be loved and cared for, Anne soon makes many friends. Like most girls her age, Anne is impulsive and high-strung. But she's also high-spirited and enthusiastic for what life has to offer. Even if you're not sold on Anne's character at first, most readers will fall for her by the end, just as I did.
RATING: First half - 2.5 stars; Second half - 4.5 stars. FINAL RATING: 3.5 stars(less)
"I want to speak with many things and I won't leave this planet without knowing what I came to find, without resolving this matter, and people are not eno...more"I want to speak with many things and I won't leave this planet without knowing what I came to find, without resolving this matter, and people are not enough I have to go much farther and I have to get much closer." — a portion of "Bestiary", from Extravagaria
I truly believe that if every person viewed the world and its life the way Neruda did it would be a much better place.
I never would've dreamed that words could be so beautiful when used to describe what I thought were the most mundane of things: socks, onions, salt, etc. The tame, the wild, the sensual, the beauty of life, the rush of life, the air that gives us life — it is all covered in this collection. No stone is left unturned and reading this has truly opened my eyes to help me see how beautiful those stones are.
This is a collection of Neruda's later poems, written when he was in his fifties. The translator, Stephen Mitchell, says of his selections in the foreword, "These are the poems of a happy man, deeply fulfilled in his sexuality, at home in the world, in love with life and its infinite particular forms, overflowing with the joy of language." After reading them I can attest to that statement wholeheartedly. These poems are vibrant, magnificent, and entirely beautiful.
If I had to pick favorites, I would perhaps say "Ode to the Artichoke" or "Ode to the Seagull," as they were both particularly special for me. But in all truth, I think the one below was my most favorite. By the bye, I have searched for other translations and Mitchell's seems to be the best.
"Now we will count to twelve and we will all keep still.
This one time upon the earth, let's not speak any language, let's stop for one second, and not move our arms so much.
It would be a delicious moment, without hurry, without locomotives, all of us would be together in a sudden uneasiness.
The fishermen in the cold sea would do no harm to the whales and the peasant gathering salt would look at his torn hands.
Those who prepare green wars, wars of gas, wars of fire, victories without survivors, would put on clean clothing and would walk alongside their brothers in the shade, without doing a thing.
What I want shouldn't be confused with final inactivity: life alone is what matters, I want nothing to do with death.
If we weren't unanimous about keeping our lives so much in motion, if we could do nothing for once, perhaps a great silence would interrupt this sadness, this never understanding ourselves and threatening ourselves with death, perhaps the earth is teaching us when everything seems to be dead and then everything is alive.
Now I will count to twelve and you keep quiet and I'll go." — "Keeping Quiet", from Extragavaria
I let out a breath I didn't know I was holding when I finished reading that.(less)
Rebecca is a classic tale that weaves mystery, secrets, and romance into an intricate and stunning twine. It tells the story of a young girl who is sw...moreRebecca is a classic tale that weaves mystery, secrets, and romance into an intricate and stunning twine. It tells the story of a young girl who is swept off her feet by a much older man with money and possessions aplenty — and even more heartache in his recent past. Since his wife's tragic death eight months ago, Maxim de Winter has been doing everything he can to forget the horrific part of his past that has left him feeling bereft of happiness and aloof from others. But even with this kind of emotional baggage, the young heroine of the story — who's name is never revealed — still agrees to marry Mr. de Winter because she has already fallen in love with him. When our heroine moves into Manderley, the estate where Maxim lived not so long ago with his now deceased wife, Rebecca, she soon learns the story behind her new husband's late wife's death. She learns that Rebecca died by an accidental drowning while in a boat that capsized. As you can image, all of this is very disconcerting to such a young and naïve girl. And when she arrives at Manderley things are so very different from the life she had before: there's all the hustle and bustle of living in a mansion, and then there's Mrs. Danvers who doesn't like her simply because she's not Rebecca. Du Maurier's Rebecca deals with a lot of themes and raises a lot of questions, one of the most intriguing being, What happens when the woman that is haunting your husband begins haunting you, too?
For me, Rebecca was truly a delight. It is expertly crafted and beautifully written, and, while reading, I had one of those strange feelings you get when you think you're enjoying something too much, that you must be sinning because you simply can't remember the last time you enjoyed yourself so much.
What I'm about to say isn't going to juxtapose well with my earlier comment about this being a "delight," but I shall say it anyway: This book has just a little bit of a depressing atmosphere to it. This is mostly because the main character is often fixated on how she'll never live up to the standards which Rebecca set before her, but it didn't bother me in the least. No, no — in fact, it only made me want to wrap the heroine in a blanket and give a her cup of hot cocoa. Some may deem her weak for not simply standing up and being everything that she can be, but I saw her as worthy of so much and strong even in her cowardice. She starts out working for a nuisance of a woman, then all of a sudden she is married to a man much older than she and with a past for which she is unsure of all the details. I really loved the heroine in this; there were several times where my heart twisted for her character and for the situation she was in.
Do NOT read this spoiler if you've not read this book. It is the type of spoiler that will drastically take away from your enjoyment should you choose to ever read this. (view spoiler)[There is an exchange between our heroine and the resentful Mrs. Danvers about 2/3 of the way through the novel. During this discussion Mrs. Danvers informs our lead that while alive Rebecca had many male companions with whom she was physically intimate. Now, my first thought after reading that was, How, then, could Maxim mourn her to the degree that he does? How could he be so torn about her death if she cheated on him numerous times during their marriage? Well, it was because all was not what it seemed. When Maxim confesses to having killed Rebecca, I LITERALLY fell out of my seat. Granted, I let myself do so. But it was so shocking I just let myself go like a slinky. It was insane. The whole time I'm thinking that Maxim will never give up Rebecca even though she is dead, that Maxim and his new wife don't have any real chance of ever being happy because, apparently, Rebecca was just too wonderful! for anyone to compare to her. Ha! Ha! HAHAHA!! You can see that it has decreased my sanity a little. I just couldn't believe it! That revelation meant that every paling of the face on Maxim's part, every look of worry or dread was only because he had killed her, not because he was sick over her death. Gah! I shall never get over the brilliancy of this Epic Twist for as long as I live. Truly. (hide spoiler)]
The fact of the lead character's name never being revealed is just one of the peculiar things about this story. It is said early on that her name is often spelt incorrectly, making the reader think that it is perhaps a very unique name. My guess as to why this is is that, because the name Rebecca — and the person — is still so very dominant in the lives of the characters and in our heroine's mind, the author chose to leave out her name to add to the sense of inferiority the heroine feels towards Manderley's former mistress. Just a guess.
FAVORITE QUOTE: "I don't want you to bear this alone," I said. "I want to share it with you. I've grown up, Maxim, in twenty-four hours. I'll never be a child again."
Upon closing this review I want to be very clear about something: My enthusiasm and enjoyment of this novel doesn't necessarily mean that you, the reader of this review, will feel the same about this book. Rebecca is very dramatic and people that don't like classics may not find as much enjoyment in it as I have. I'll freely admit that I have a penchant for things/books like this, so I'm guessing that had a lot to do with my loving this so very much. But if you're interested in this in the least, if you think this may be something you'd like, please, give it a try.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Although using this trite doesn't mean that the fact is any less true, it is still at the risk of sounding cliché when I say that Jane Austen's classi...moreAlthough using this trite doesn't mean that the fact is any less true, it is still at the risk of sounding cliché when I say that Jane Austen's classic, Emma, is like a breath of fresh air when juxtaposed to the miasmal novels in the publishing market today; especially for someone who has been on a YA binge of late. You see, the reason why I went for Emma as my first Austen read is because my mother has seen the latest movie adaptation, and she claims it to be her very favorite. Mind you, she hasn't read any thing of Austen's—but she loves the movie so very much that she kept pestering me to watch it (I suppose I'll have to pester her to read the book now, won't I?). To which I continually said that, no, no, I will not watch the movie until I've read the book; I positively hate to watch the movie adaptation before reading the book; it virtually cancels out any chance of me ever finding enough interest in reading the actual book to its completion. So, after picking up Emma at least ten times in the past year, reading the first few chapters, only to sit it back down again, I finally—the other day—decided I wanted to read something of quality and something that is truly written well. Well, that is definitely Emma.
Emma, herself, is, for me, just as stunning as she is flawed; I started out thinking her a walking vexation, but somewhere in the 400+ pages I began to warm to her like you would with any inevitably lovable—albeit, at times, antagonising—character. Emma's devotion to her father is also very admirable. And by the end, Emma seemed so much more humble and less meddling that I couldn't help but be very pleased with her character. My thoughts on Mr. Knightley are not as easily expressed; in the beginning I found him merely interesting, but somewhere in the middle he began to hold my interest as much as a mother would hold her infant (if that isn't too much of an odd metaphor); by the end he managed to surpass virtually all of the other male characters of which I've been exposed to. Granted, Mr. Knightley isn't in Emma nearly enough for my satisfaction—but when he is, the aforesaid is all too true. I can't quite place my finger on what it is, exactly, about him that made such an impression on me—other than that I've always had a strong fascination with a true gentleman, being as that sort of thing is practically extinct in this day and age; also, I've grown very jaded with the often monotonous male characters of today. And I do believe that my reaction to Mr. Knightley has left me at a wonder as to just want my reaction will be upon meeting the famous Mr. Darcy. I'll doubtlessly swoon just as countless other lasses have since P&P debuted in 1813.
I really think that my hesitation in reading this—as well as Austen's other works—has nothing to do with the writing, or the story, or the pacing; because, and I know this will sound strange, but, I've always loved a book that is just about people going about their daily lives and doing things—little trivial things, even—and simply living; people say that Emma doesn't have much story and is really just people planning balls and Emma interfering in peoples' lives—but I loved all of that! I'll take everyday living over complex plots any day. No, I think the reason for my waiting so long is that I psyched myself out of reading something like this; I kept thinking that it would be too long or too boring or too archaic or too something or another, but in reality this is the very type of thing that I love to read about. Regency, Victorian, etc. . . . I love to read about all of the historical periods, and I'm so very glad that I stopped procrastinating.
So, I enjoyed this a great deal and I've set a goal for myself to read all of Austen's works by this time next year (although I kindly ask you not you hold me to it ;)). I plan to continue with her other slightly lesser known titles, and finish with what appears to me to be the most well known and highly esteemed, Pride and Prejudice. In a summary, I plan to save the best—or what is often said to be the best—for last.
FAVORITE QUOTE: "One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other."
Although I have many favorite quotes from this (the rest can be read below), that particular quote stood out the most because it is so very true. Expect to see it in my future reviews.
I highly recommend Emma to everyone; both lovers and reluctant readers of classics.(less)
Originally I wasn't going to review this (if you're observant then you've probably noticed that I read this back in early April), but I recently decid...moreOriginally I wasn't going to review this (if you're observant then you've probably noticed that I read this back in early April), but I recently decided to watch the latest movie adaptation despite the fact that the book was rather meh for me. What can I say, Ben Barnes naked the movie inspired me.
At the start of the novel Dorian Gray is young and just as gullible as you can imagine. But he's got his whole life ahead of him and the good looks and charm to insure him at least some messure of happiness. But soon, thanks to Lord Henry Wotton, a portrait, and a wish that should never have been made, his life is turned upside down. All of a sudden his life — and his soul — are in a downwards spiral.
I think that, for me, this book's downfall was Lord Henry Wotton. He's so philosophical and opinionated and corrupting that I found him downright dreadful. Lord Henry is kind of like life personified. Just as life can take us from an innocent baby and turn us into something vile and sinful, Lord Henry has much the same affect on Dorian Gray. Even though it is Basil's portrait that initiates everything, it is Lord Henry that sets the terrible events into motion with his corruption and his horribly depressing and pessimistic theories. While many may see Dorian Gray as the villain in this, I see Lord Henry as such.
But if Dorian would've just grown a spine and made his own decisions, not listened to Lord Henry . . . things wouldn't have ended up so terrible for him. That's one of the few things I hate about historical novels. It seems that there are two types of people: role models and protégés. Why? Why couldn't everyone have done their own thing? It's like in Emma when Emma steers Harriet in the entirely wrong direction. If Harriet would've just been her own person, made her own choices, things wouldn't have gotten so out of sorts for her.
I must say that if I hadn't listened to the audio I probably wouldn't have been able to finish this. But the ending Wilde writes is this book's saving grace IMO. It is stunning and unexpected and gave it just enough for me to make this three stars.
All in all this book isn't bad — it is written well, naturally — but if you're interested I'd have to suggest skipping the book and watching the most recent film adaptation. Although I must warn you: it is vastly different from the book — especially when it comes to Dorian's lecherous adventures, and it is rated R for a reason. Delicate people shouldn't hasten to watch it.(less)