At first, I thought that I hadn’t read this book when I started it a few days ago. After a little while, I came across the scene of a cook at a roadsiAt first, I thought that I hadn’t read this book when I started it a few days ago. After a little while, I came across the scene of a cook at a roadside diner who kept track of how often the slot machines payed out winning the jackpot on his break. At this moment I knew that I had read this book in high school.
I was a bit ashamed that I had completely forgotten about this book. Except for the scene of cook winning nickels the slots, practically the entire book was new to me the second time through. This time, however, story left a gigantic impression on me. I’ve been thinking about why this time around I fell absolutely in love with this book while it had no impact on me in high school.
Now that I have some real world experience, I can better appreciate the story that Steinbeck was telling of displaced Midwestern farmers trying to survive in California with hundreds of thousands of other people who have fled the dust bowl. Following the Joad family allows the reader to feel and understand the suffering that the “Okies” had to endure. This story puts a very humanizing touch to a piece of history that has faded from the collective conscious of America.
It’s over 75 years on since this book first came out, but the message about the plight of people not as well off still resonates today. While America is a much different country today and our problems pale in comparison to the Great Depression, this book got me to thinking greatly about what will happen to people as they lose their jobs to foreign countries and automation.
Human society and the world are constantly changing, and economic problems are complicated matters that can’t be easily fixed. This book doesn’t teach us how to solve economic disparity, but I hope it has taught me how to help my fellow human being in times of upheaval and uncertainty....more
I came into this book with very little knowledge about this story other than LeVar Burton played the main character on a television adaptation. I thouI came into this book with very little knowledge about this story other than LeVar Burton played the main character on a television adaptation. I thought this tale centered only around the horrible mistreatment of one slave. Instead, the book turned out to be a unique view of two hundred years of history from the eyes of minorities.
I was even more surprised to learn that while this book was a work of historical fiction, it was based off of the oral traditions of the author passed down to him through six generations. From these stories and his research, he was able to create a marvelous tale starting with Kunte Kinte of the village of Jufureh in western Africa all the way down to the author himself. I take the ‘facts’ of this story with a large grain of salt, but I do feel that it does an amazing job of illustrating history from a much different vantage point that people are used to from their text books.
The most fascinating section of the book was life of Kunte Kinte from a little boy to adulthood in the Gambia. Using information about the traditions of the people in the region, Alex Haley painted a wonderful story of what life was like for these people and potentially how his direct ancestor lived. I hadn’t realized before starting this book that a segment of Africans taken to the Americas as slaves were actually Muslims.
In addition to that, it was interesting to learn more about political and social issues in the South during the time of slavery. The story of slavery in American history focuses on rich plantation and their treatment of slaves. There were some issues that I had really never thought about until reading Roots. One such idea was young white and black children being raised together and the effects on their relationship later in life. In addition to that, I never remember learning about poor whites struggling to survive in the South in my history books. While practice of slavery is abhorrent, some of the black characters point out in this story that they aren't worrying about their next meal and surviving another day in comparison to the bottom tier of poor whites.
I don’t feel that this book is a historical novel, but I look at it as wonderful piece of historical fiction that used the author’s oral histories a wonderful starting point. The most amazing aspect of this book is that I was able to look at over 200 years of American history from a much different point of view than I am used to....more
After finishing the book, I was confused on why Madame Bovary would be considered a classic. As a modern American reader, the story of a woman livingAfter finishing the book, I was confused on why Madame Bovary would be considered a classic. As a modern American reader, the story of a woman living a comfortable life in rural 19th century France (relative to mass number of peasants) who day dreams about true romance and pursues a life of materialistic possessions is a topic that just doesn't resonates with me. Juliet Stevenson , the woman who read the audio book that I listened to, did a nice job on creating a whining voice for Madame Bovary that got on my nerves and made me despise the main character even more. Through out the entire book, despite the background information about her childhood, the heroine came off as a very unsympathetic character.
I decided to do a little bit of Google research on why this book is considered a classic and found a couple of points that helps me appreciate this book a bit more. First of all, Gustave Flaubert was one of the first Literary realist. Instead of portraying the perfect life of Madame Bovary, he rejected idealism and showed the more likely outcome of following one's flights of fancy. In addition to the downfall of Madame Bovary, Flaubert also wrote about some of the more everyday occurrences of the average person in rural France. I also read that the text in the original text in French was carefully arranged by Flaubert and some of the feeling is lost in translation. A prime example of this difficulty in translation would be the A une Damoyselle Malade poem discussed on Radiolab.
A final thought to why this book would go down as a classic could be the fact this book portrayed the bourgeois in a negative light. I wonder how many stars Karl Marx would give them book and if he would put this book under his Goodread's shelf of "more-reasons-why-the-bourgeois-must go"....more
Treasure Island and Long John Silver are household names, yet I never really knew what this book was about except for the general concept of pirates.Treasure Island and Long John Silver are household names, yet I never really knew what this book was about except for the general concept of pirates.
The book follows the plight of Jim Hawkins, a young boy who lives on the coast of England, and how his life gets entangled with pirates and the search for hidden treasure. While going off and having an adventure probably appeals to almost every young boy, some of the actions taken by young Hawkins are somewhat plausible while a few others are just too over the top for me to suspend my disbelief.
This book does have a similar literary style to other British books written in the 19th century even though this book was written in the 18th century. C. S. Forester seems to have done a good job of capturing the tone of the times in his 20th century Hornblower Saga.
Having the audio book made the story more enjoyable since I was able to hear the rough and gruff voices of the less reputable characters and melody to the old timey sea chanties. Other fantasy books that have musical interludes in the middle of a passage like Lord of the Rings or the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series, the melodies just fall flat for me.
It was nice to finally gotten through this classics just so I feel less ignorant of the piece in case of the rare chance that I will need to talk about it with someone one day....more
Alternative Title: An American Smart Alec in King Arthur's Court.
I remember trying to read this book many years ago, but not being able to get into itAlternative Title: An American Smart Alec in King Arthur's Court.
I remember trying to read this book many years ago, but not being able to get into it. The first three or so chapters sounded familiar to me, but not much after that. I think the key factor that led me to finish this book and greatly enjoy it was listening to the audio book version of it. William Dufris was able to do a wonderful job of bringing out the dripping sarcasm of the main character found in each page. I find myself "completing" books these days and not really diving into the books and trying to understand what the author was trying to present to me in the best of my ability. I think audio books often remedy this problem.
One thing that did really stick out to me in this book was Mark Twain's severe critique of the Catholic Church. I am not sure about the American mentality about the Catholic Church in 1889, but as a modern reader, it feels that his feelings about the Church were quite a stab at organized religion.
This book has opened me to up to the world of Mark Twain. After reading this book, I can see why he is considered a major player in American Literature and my interest in some of his more famous books has been peaked....more
In the past, I was a bit hesitant to read any of the Sherlock Holmes series. I have read a bit of Victorian English stories and found the writing stylIn the past, I was a bit hesitant to read any of the Sherlock Holmes series. I have read a bit of Victorian English stories and found the writing style a bit obtuse and the plot not particularly captivating. However, after watching the TV show Sherlock (which is the most recent adaptation of the stories at the time of the posting), I decided to add the books to my reading list.
I finally got around to the first in the series and have to say that I am pleasantly surprised. Watching the episode A Study in Pink made the reading of this story quite enjoyable. Since I had background knowledge of the main characters and the basic plot of A Study in Scarlet, I was able quickly slide into the writing styles of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle without getting bogged down from trying to understand what exactly is going on and who Holmes and Watson are.
In addition to having already watch the TV show, I was able to further enjoy this story by seeing the similarities and differences between the show and the written source. I was a bit surprised and confused at first when the story switched gears and focused on the Mormon community in Utah.
After reading this book, I can start to see why Sherlock has so much popularity and is still a household name in modern American and British societies. I plan to continue reading the originals and enjoy future episodes of the TV series....more
After roughly fifteen years passing since I first read Fahrenheit 451 in high school, I thought it was about time to revisit some of the prominent booAfter roughly fifteen years passing since I first read Fahrenheit 451 in high school, I thought it was about time to revisit some of the prominent books from my Language Arts class.
I can definitely see why sophomoric me loved this book so much because of the hard hitting message of people becoming mindless drones appeased by the mass media being turned out and unable to create an original thought of their own. Thirty-something me still enjoys the message, but the real world has set in on me. Teaching, lesson planning, commuting, adult responsibilities, and other facts of life have worn away the spunk that I once had. I can't get riled up like the younger version of me and Guy Montag very easily anymore. While I am not as passionate as I once was, I do feel (and hope) that I am still a critical thinker.
To many people, this is a classic piece of American literature. I wonder if it was the writing style or the message in the book that makes it so, or a combination of both. To me, the writing style of was fair, but nothing spectacular. Also, maybe as an older reader who reads for enjoyment, I prefer more straightforward prose. Practically every time fire was present or even thought about, Ray Bradbury became very poetic and flowery in his description of flames, kerosene, lighters, fire trucks, and fire related accessories. Additionally, transitions between different scenes were almost non-existent and the different passages just melted into each other. It took me awhile to get use to this style, but after the first act, it wasn't much of an issue for me.
While the book may not have such an impact on me as it use to, and I've become a more critical in my taste of literary style, I still appreciate this book for what it is. Also, ...more
I first heard about this book when I watched Apocalypse Now which was one of my favorite films in in high school. I never got around to reading it, deI first heard about this book when I watched Apocalypse Now which was one of my favorite films in in high school. I never got around to reading it, despite being listed a literary classic. While reading King Leopold's Ghost, there was an entire chapter dedicated to Joseph Conrad and his experiences in Congo in relation to the story of Heart of Darkness. This gave me a lot of context of what I reading when I finally decided to read Heart of Darkness.
While this is an important piece of work which reflects Belgium colonialism in Africa, I had hard time reading the book on the bus on my way to and from work. So many times the rambling form of speech because obtuse and hard to follow. I would suddenly find myself starting out the window or people watching. When I did return my attention to the book, it would take awhile to find my place again. Also, transitions between time and places were almost non existent, making the flow of the story difficult to follow.
I understand this is historically an important book with a profound message, but reading it was a chore, not a pleasure. Luckily it was only a novella and not a full fledged novel....more
Since Bram Stoker has been dead a hundred odd years, Dracula is in the public domain and that means LibriVox to create volunteer copies of Dracula. ThSince Bram Stoker has been dead a hundred odd years, Dracula is in the public domain and that means LibriVox to create volunteer copies of Dracula. The first LibriVox recording that I listened to was The Red Badge of Courage, and it was was read by one person. However, the LibriVox recording that I got of Dracula was done by a collection of readers from around the world. I quickly realized that I preferred having one reader tell a story in a uniformed style. I guess I really can't complain since they provided the audio book for free, but the over dramatic or extremely airy voices did get a bit irksome.
I found that keeping track of the details in the book was a bit hard, though I was able to understand the general idea of the plot. Beside the fact that I was listening to the audio book files, the story was written in a bit of older form of English with obtuse and out of date vernacular. Additionally, even though the epistolary could be a tiny bit difficult to follow at times, it was quite an interesting form. The little things like news articles and receipts added a nice flavor to the book that I don't see a lot.
I was actually quite relieved when I realized that the entire book was not going to take place inside of Dracula's castle from the view point of the journal of Jonathan Harker, one of the protagonist. When his initial piece came to an end and the book started to move into a new direction, I was pleasantly surprised....more
I tried to read this book two times when I was a high school student, but I was unable to finish both times. Each time I picked up it back then, I couI tried to read this book two times when I was a high school student, but I was unable to finish both times. Each time I picked up it back then, I could only get about a third of the way into the book before boredom and obtuse language overwhelmed me.
Now that my literary fortitude has increased, I was able to soldier through the book and actually enjoy it a bit. I found myself appreciating the descriptive language and the dynamic scenes that were portrayed. The ever changing ramblings of the protagonist was an interesting study of how a person's rationale and thought process can evolve over time when stuck in an environment of armed conflict.
I can easily see how lots of people can find fault with this book. Instead of a traditional story that a modern reader would expect, the entire piece just follows the events and thoughts of a single soldier in the midst of the Civil War. I think this book further reinforces my belief that knowing the background of the author and the times adds to the enjoyment of a book and what someone can take away from it. When one stops and thinks about it, the impact this book had on a generation that didn't have the exposure to visual violence that we do today must have been profound....more
I would have to agree with my coworker that this book was quite boring. While there were definitely some funny and humorous jabs at human society, mosI would have to agree with my coworker that this book was quite boring. While there were definitely some funny and humorous jabs at human society, most of the text was quite dry with a lot of scenes that jumped forward to the next point of interest.
There were some interesting patterns in the text, but the two major scenarios that Swift seems to write were either look how silly this society of imaginary people are or look how silly our society looks compared to this imaginary group (one of which was a idealized utopia). This provided an excellent opportunity to show the absurdity of humankind to start wars with a situation of a people divided over which end to crack up their egg. Also, the description of war provided to a completely peaceful society shows how insane certain values humans have.
It was an interesting book and I'm glad that I've checked this book off my list of classics. However, I don't think that I will be rereading it any time in the future....more
I was recommended this book by no less than three coworkers on the premise that it is a classic and a favorite. I’d have to say that my expectations wI was recommended this book by no less than three coworkers on the premise that it is a classic and a favorite. I’d have to say that my expectations were a bit high for the reality of the book. While the book wasn’t bad overall, it didn’t hold up to my expectations of a story for a modern reader.
There is no doubt that Oscar Wilde was a cleaver and witty man; he had lots of great comments and jokes written throughout the book that I enjoyed. What makes this a bad aspect is that the character Lord Henry seems to have been designed just for the purpose of verbalizing theses along with essays into dialogue form. For what seemed to be about a third of the book, Wilde describes a detailed setting, then characters talk for most of the chapter, with most of the dialogue being taken up by Lord Henry talking about things loosely related to the plot.
Another section that did not sit well with me was his entire chapter of Dorian’s hobbies and interests. In this chapter, Wilde lists off page after page of esoteric facts from the historical art world. Maybe this was a big thing back in Victorian England, but to me, it serves no purpose to advance the plot.
(Minor Spoiler Proceeding) On the flip side, other times the story seems to be completely lacking. It seems the author took a cue from the Bible and left out eighteen years. During this time the main character slides down a road of sin, debauchery and corruption, but not much information is given. From what critics and scholars have said, I understand that it was suppose to be left to the imagination of the reader, but virtually no seeds were planted to grown in the reader’s mind other than the opium den. Is Dorian having small East Ender children fight to the death with eastern martial art weapons for the gambling and entertainment purposes of his aristocratic friends? How did his friend end up living in an opium den? What can of blackmail power did Dorian have over another friend to make him commit a crime?
Lastly, the ending seems to end on a climax. I’ve noticed this with other Victorian writings. Maybe it is a style from that time period, but it leaves me a bit off balanced....more
I have to say that Boromir is my favorite character from the books (not the movies). This viewpoint comes from a literary perspective in which BoromirI have to say that Boromir is my favorite character from the books (not the movies). This viewpoint comes from a literary perspective in which Boromir seems to been the only character in the entire series has a complex story line (save Gollum/Sméagol). While most other characters start off excessively good and proceed to saintliness (or the reverse of evil, whatever the antonym of saintliness may be), Boromir is a character who desires to do good but is almost overcame by his human nature. I didn't feel like I was reading a glorified archetype when the book focuses on him.
Even though my first comment is negative, there are definitely some aspects of this series that I enjoyed. First off, I had fun comparing the books to the movie series by Peter Jackson. It was interesting to see what parts Jackson chose to use in the movies and how they were 'hollywoodized" for the big screen.
In addition to the movies, it was also an eye opener to see how much of an influence this book had on the modern fantasy genre. All the words and characters I've seen in different fantasy games and books start to make sense as I see the root of them. It makes sense now that in some games mithril was one of the highest qualities of metals.
Last of all, the fact that this book is written in a style that pays homage to the traditional styles of British lore is quite interesting. Tolkien was able to bring a fading style of writing into the 20th century and beyond.
With that being said, there are definitely some points that makes me not want to pick up these books again the future. Counter to the last point, the writing's archaic style makes the reading a bit of a bore at times with superfluous descriptions, especially of vegetation.
As a modern American, I have very limited exposure to tales and songs of oral tradition that was common in older times. The poems and songs that littered the Lord of the Rings interrupted the flow of the book since I was unable to form the 'tune' in my head while reading them. Had I been familiar with tunes that could songs and poems, I am sure these parts would've have more enjoyable. I was able to put a couple of tunes into my head for some of the songs in the book like Gollum's song at the Forbidden Pool and Samwise Gamgee's recital of the poem about the Oliphaunts.
Last of all, the traditional style of British writing within the books made many of the characters and scenes seem stilted. No matter what the situation, I don't think that any population of people would unanimously declare fealty to a newcomer who claims to be their new leader. This idea seems unnatural and naive to a reader like myself. It seems almost akin to medieval tales that are more inline with propaganda.
Overall, I like this book for what it means to modern English literature, not for the time I spent reading it....more
After doing a quick review of Thomas Paine on Wikipedia before reading this book, I can see how the Age of Reason made him so unpopular that only sixAfter doing a quick review of Thomas Paine on Wikipedia before reading this book, I can see how the Age of Reason made him so unpopular that only six people showed up to his funeral. While many of ideas did question the validity of Christianity and organized religion, I think it was his constant referrals to Christianity and the Bible as "stupid" and other derogatory terms is what really made his critics upset.
Paine ended up writing two parts to the Age of Reason. The first part was when he didn't have a Bible at hand to reference, and the second part when he did have a copy of the Bible. His first part was much more general and overarching lacking in details to support his reasoning. Despite this, he did have a nice section of the use of mystery, miracle and prophecy in religion. In his second part, he did go into much more details and used excerpts from the Bible to poke holes into the claims that the Bible is the word of God.
Throughout this book, Paine never really "proves" anything, but he does make some interesting logical arguments that would make someone who is willing to look at religion critically stop and ponder. In his discussions about the gospels of Matthew, Luke, Mark and John, he talks about many inconsistencies and contradictory statements that bring doubt to validity these texts have to documentation the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
One thing that I notice is that some people relate his book to atheism. While many of his arguments are prevalent in the atheist community, Paine seems to abhor atheists. Instead, he is a Deist and the discovery and understanding of God can be found the observation of the natural world and not through mankind....more
If you chuse to read this book, Adam Smith will shew you the foundations of modern economics.
Since I studied economics a bit college (and enjoyed it),If you chuse to read this book, Adam Smith will shew you the foundations of modern economics.
Since I studied economics a bit college (and enjoyed it), it was interesting to see the origins of much of the material that I learned. Despite my previous knowledge, I found that I couldn't fully grasp all of the information being presented. While I did get the main idea for each chapter for the most part, I had a hard time understanding a lot of the details.
Smith doesn't use a lot of archaic words and phrases, nor are there a lot of economic jargon in writing. What makes it quite difficult is the fact that this book was written in the mind set of an educated 18th century European.
When reading chapters about the American colonies, it was easier to grasp since I have a decent background on the subject. On the other hand, chapters about the wool market in England with regard to Spanish imports in 17th and 18th century Europe was quite difficult since I have no real frame of reference to this subject. I still don't know what ￡14:3:2½ means exactly.
After reading this book, I can now say that I have one of the timeless classics under my belt. I don't see myself reading this book again unless I had a economics professor to discuss all of the details with....more
I do most of my reading on the subway during my commute to work. Almost all of the time my attention is focused on the book until I get to my stop. AI do most of my reading on the subway during my commute to work. Almost all of the time my attention is focused on the book until I get to my stop. A few books make me almost miss my stop.
For the first third of this book, I felt that watching half asleep commuters was more interesting than the text. The beginning was a rough start for me as I had hard time diving into the world of idle British Aristocrats. The introduction of the characters and setting was quite confusing. I am not sure if it would be better upon reading it a second time or if I had more familiarity with Jane Austen literature.
As the story progressed, I became more and more interested in the story. With each passing chapter, the drama became more intriguing until I found myself wanting to go on and find out what happens next. The story became more engaging and I wanted to know what happened in the plight of Elizabeth Bennett and find out what Mr. Bennett's next sarcastic comment was going to be.
I would have given this book four stars had the beginning of the book not been such a chore to get through.
I would be interested in reading a sequel with more details to what happens to Mr. and Mrs. Wickham....more
The version that I read came from Project Gutenberg. In this version, the book included an introduction along with commentary from the translator, LioThe version that I read came from Project Gutenberg. In this version, the book included an introduction along with commentary from the translator, Lionel Giles, and various Chinese historians including Li Ch'uan, Tu Mu, Ts'ao Kung and many others.
The introduction to this edition was mostly about the controversy around who exactly was Sun Tzu, when did he live, what parts of this work can be accredited to him and how much of the text has been altered over the times. Due to my extreme lack of Chinese history, this section was quite hard to follow and I didn't take too much away from it.
I have tried read the Art of War before but did not get very far due to the fact some of the advice presented is a bit open ended (and also that I was a bit young at the time). With the inclusion of comments, I found reading the Art of War easier and much more enjoyable. With the comments, certain points were clarified and a plethora of example were given from Chinese and European martial history that reflect the points being made by Sun Tzu.
Hindsight 20/20, I would have liked to have read this book before reading The Three Kingdoms. In this historical fiction, one can see the principles mentioned by Sun Tzu. Even one of the main characters, Cao Cao, is mentioned by some of the Chinese historian commentators for his military exploits....more
"To learn that people not in power will do all they can to acquire it, and people in power will do all they can to keep it.”- NeilWhy read this book?
"To learn that people not in power will do all they can to acquire it, and people in power will do all they can to keep it.”- Neil deGrasse Tyson
I decided to pick up this book and give it a try after seeing Neil deGrasse Tyson's list of must read books on Reddit. Yes, there is a lot of good information in this book. Yes, it is a classic. But why only three stars?
When I rate a book, I rate it on its 'page turnability' (which is not in the dictionary) and its lack of 'put-downness' (which is also not in the dictionary). There was a lot of good information in here about the manner of obtaining and maintaining power, but also there was a lot of esoteric euro-centric historical references that I am not very familiar with. Additionally, the translation of 16th Century Italian into English is quite obtuse to me. Indeed, I am not a well educated Renaissance Man who can read through this type of text and understand everything clearly.
That being said, there was a lot of good information it. Machiavelli came out and said a lot of things that in my subconscious I realized. But when he puts these points down on paper, I can only respond Duh (in the words of another reviewer) when I read them. Looking at this information spelled out for me makes me stop and think about other examples, especially how King Jofrey and Queen Cersei's reigns failed so epically. ...more
From January 21st, 2016 In complete contrast to Storm of Steel by Ernst Juenger, All Quiet on the Western Front shows the horrors of World War I from tFrom January 21st, 2016 In complete contrast to Storm of Steel by Ernst Juenger, All Quiet on the Western Front shows the horrors of World War I from the perspective of a German soldier.
In high school, the scene of a soldier crawling back to his lines with an artery pinched off between his teeth to prevent himself from bleeding out was the part that stuck with me the most. While this gruesome description still stands out to me, thirty something year old me found the section of the book about how Paul Baeumer, the main character, was unable to relate to civilians during his leave back at home the most poignant.
Extreme censorship during the War by governments to prevent the realities of war from eroding public support, and thus prevented the public from being able to understand the horrors that many soldiers faced. The cavalier attitude of the war by the public in this book made me think of an NPR broadcast about soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan feeling conflicted when American civilians tell them, "Thank you for your service."
As an older reader, I noticed that the plight of the main character was conveniently compartmentalized into different section to discuss certain aspects of a soldier life during the war. While this does deteriorate the overall story for me, I still feel that this is too minor of a critique of book that stands the test of time and translation in conveying the hardships and horrors that soldier must endure in modern warfare. ...more
This book was a bit of a roller coaster when it came to deciding how many stars I wanted to give it. For the first part of the story that was completeThis book was a bit of a roller coaster when it came to deciding how many stars I wanted to give it. For the first part of the story that was completely focused on the plight of Edmond, I was completely sucked into the story and ready to give it 5 stars if the book continued in this manner.
About halfway through, when the location switched to Paris and the emphasis was more on a new set of characters, my infatuation with the book started to wan. Classics are suppose to be a reflections of a time and a place, and this book showed me that the wealthy and aristocratic families of 19th Century Paris were pompous and loved to quote obscure European cultural references. I found the dialogue between the young, hip and wealthy Frenchmen irksome. I understood why there was a major shift style of the book since Dumas (tehehehe) had to setup a new situation to complete the epic cycle of Edmond. At this point, I was ready to give the book a 3, possibly a 2.
Luckily for me, in the end everything came together. The plight of Edmond found closure and a quite exciting way. The complex relations between the characters in the last third of the book lead to an interesting and quite exciting conclusion. My interest in the book was rekindled and leaves me ready to award this book 4 stars. 5 was not obtainable from me since the last part, even though it was a great improvement over the middle section, just didn't drawn me in as the beginning of the book had....more
When I first tried to read this book many years ago, it was a very difficult for me because of the extreme plethora of characters with names that wereWhen I first tried to read this book many years ago, it was a very difficult for me because of the extreme plethora of characters with names that were extremely foreign to me. One great remedy for this was playing various installments of the Dynasty Warriors series for hundreds of hours. Afterwards I was able to read the book with more ease since I knew who the main characters were.
The entire timeline of the story took place over a number of decades, all of the main characters started to die off due to stress or sword related ailments. Their progeny and another set of characters took the stage but being less familiar with them made the story once again a bit hard to follow at times.
The amount of detailed in each chapter was almost minimalist. The important facts were presented to tell the story and developed characters, but a lot of the story seemed to be left up to the imagination of the reader. I could not possibly contemplate how many pages long this book would be if it was written in the modern day epic fantasy style.
After reading this book, I feel that I understand a bit more of the background of northeastern Asian culture which is important to me since I live in South Korea. While things have greatly changed, I can still see aspects of Korean culture that has stemmed from this tradition.
Overall, there were many interesting 'mini-stories' that make up the over all giant story arc. Some of these stories that reflect human nature even still apply to today's modern human. It especially like the short story about Pang Tong seeking employment from Liu Bei.
Most of the stories kept my interest, except maybe the few hundred pages in the second part of the almost countless failed campaigns launched that ended up with the same, dead end results. Also after reading this, the lack of strong (if any) female characters in other modern classics like Lord of the Rings seem a bit less severe after some of the things that happened to some of the (extremely) minor female characters in this book....more
Hooray! I finally did it! I read a play by the epic writer himself, Shakespeare. First off, I would not have been able to have done this by myself witHooray! I finally did it! I read a play by the epic writer himself, Shakespeare. First off, I would not have been able to have done this by myself without the modern English translated provided by this book.
The only minute negative side with the translation was that the modern English might be a bit longer or shorter than the Shakespearian text and once in a awhile it might be a difficult to see exactly which part of the original writing corresponds to the modern translation. But this fault is extremely small compared to the benefits this translation provides.
The overall story was quite interesting. At times the actions of the characters seemed a bit foolish to a modern reader. The most captivating part was seeing the beautiful and poetic writing styles composed from Shakespeare. Also, it was quite pleasing to find the origins of famous literary quotes that I’ve heard throughout my life such as “I must be cruel to be kind.”
The reading could become overwhelming from time to time for a casual reader such as myself due to the obtuse and archaic vocabulary used. Also the word order at times could become very confusing trying to figure out which sections of the lines were objects or subjects of the sentences.
I’ll probably pick up another play by Shakespeare in this format, such as Macbeth or Romeo and Juliet, but probably not for a long while....more
Catch-22 along with Fahrenheit 451 and Slaughterhouse Five were my favorite books in high school. The younger version of me was always quick to pointCatch-22 along with Fahrenheit 451 and Slaughterhouse Five were my favorite books in high school. The younger version of me was always quick to point out that my top picks all had numbers in the titles. The numerical pattern and the fact that I was actively seeking out classics to read, especially those that were anti-authoritarian, made me feel intellectual and smart.
Now that I have more life experiences outside of the confines of suburban primary education, I wanted to go back and revisit some of the classics that I have read. I found Catch-22 on sale on and added it to my queue.
I am not exactly sure why the winter of 2011 ended up being the winter of Victorian Age Literature for me, but it was a new experience for me. The lesI am not exactly sure why the winter of 2011 ended up being the winter of Victorian Age Literature for me, but it was a new experience for me. The lesson I’ve learned from this season is that this type of writing is not for average reader looking for entertainment. I do love the archaic and obtuse forms of speech and writing found in these types of books. If you’re taking a English Literature class or have a erudite friend to discuss all the finer points with, these types of books will definitely expand you mind.
Like most of the Victorian Age books I read, they were a collection of short stories. To me, this age’s short stories seem to me to be not completely fleshed out, the plot peppered with holes and the endings always are abrupt and anticlimactic. Later on, after a good dive back into modern literature, I will try to a full length novel from this time period.
Stevenson does an interesting job with his collections of short stories. The first half of the books consists of stories about many different characters from different walks of life all tied together by the main story of Prince Forizel of Bohemia. It was a novel perspective to me, but has the typical downfalls as stated in the previous section.
The next quarter, the Pavilion on the Links, suffered from only, in my opinion, an anticlimactic ending. One interesting aspect that I loved is that throughout the story little lines a scattered about that slowly develop the narrators relationship to some of the characters and the reader.
The last quarter consisted of short stories that took place throughout France over a time period of three hundred years. To me, these stories were just awkward. This fact is probably due to my modern western mentality and that the actions of the characters to me just utterly foolish....more
1984 was one of those books that most Americans had to read in high school because it is a classic. Getting older, I can't remember if it was a book t1984 was one of those books that most Americans had to read in high school because it is a classic. Getting older, I can't remember if it was a book that I enjoyed reading or begrudgingly read in order to pass my language arts class.
As an adult who is motivated to read, 1984 was definitely an enjoyable book. It was interesting to see George Orwell's imagination of a future dystopian society in which the government controls the lives of its people. The world created in this book was even more extreme than that of communist Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany.
What makes this literature and more than just a collection of the author's ideas and opinions smashed into a semblance of a story (see The Picture of Dorian Gray) is the development of the main character Winston Smith and how his thoughts, opinions, actions concerning the Oceania government changed throughout the book.
After reading this, I now fully understand where references like "Big Brother" or "doublethink" come from.
On a bit of a side note, I picked this book up to review to see if it would be acceptable to use for a literary class in a Korean high school. However, there is too much sexuality for the conservative Korean society....more
I remember reading this book for my Language Arts class in high school. Mostly those memories mostly included boredom and confusion. It was really touI remember reading this book for my Language Arts class in high school. Mostly those memories mostly included boredom and confusion. It was really tough for the teenager version of me to get through, and I all I remember taking away from the book is that humans deep down are savages.
Fifteen some odd years later, I read it again because it's a classic and because I wanted to preview it for the potential book club that I am starting at the foreign language high school that I am going to teach at. While the 32 year old me got through the book, it still was a tough read. If the students want to read this story, more power to them.
One thing that I took away from this book is that poets - Golding did publish a volume of poetry according to the last few pages of the book - sometimes don't make the best story tellers. Quite a lot of time was spent using similes and metaphors to describe the scenery of the first half of the book. I felt that a lot of this description didn't pertain to the story nor help enhance my understanding of the story and the setting. Don't get me wrong, I love a plethora of detail when it comes to world building in fantasy novel. All those details help me understand the culture of the people I am reading about. However, I think the modern reader has a decent idea of what a tropical island looks like and doesn't need to hear about the pools of water the formed in the foot prints of the boys as they walked across the beach.
With that being said, the story and concepts that Golding wrote about were amazing. It was a great to watch civilization give way to savagery over time. The little details about how the boys acted (which were pertinent to the story) and the subtle changes that added up over time were fascinating.
To be honest though, I did read the Wikipedia page for this book before I started. This was the second time that I read this book. However, my goal was to full understand and appreciate this story, and I felt knowing full well what to expect did help me process the story better in order to get the most out of it....more
With The Great Gatsby coming out as a movie this year, I put this book on my list of books to read before watching the movie. Also, one of the KoreanWith The Great Gatsby coming out as a movie this year, I put this book on my list of books to read before watching the movie. Also, one of the Korean gentlemen in my hiking group was reading the book (in Korean) and wanted to discuss the book on our next hiking trip.
Like many people growing up in America, I read this book when I was in high school. Since it has been about 15 years since I last read this book, there is much that I have forgotten about the book and I wanted to see if I would considered this a timeless classic. As you can see from my three start rating, I consider it more of a prominent book in the history of American literature than a masterpiece.
Much has changed in the style of writing since this book was published in 1925. I found much of the prose throughout the book to be quite obtuse and distracting from the flow of the story. Additionally, lots of the dialogue and plot development seemed quite minimal, and I ended up having to reread these sections a few times in order to make sure that I understood what was happening. I am not sure if the average reader in the time of F. Scott Fitzgerald would be able to follow his style of writing with ease, but as a modern reader, I found that the flow of the story greatly disrupting.
Despite these critiques, I can appreciate the historical significance of this book and how it poked holes in the facade of the lifestyle of the new upper class in America during the Roaring Twenties. ...more