This was for my Greek mythology class, because the book's subtitle is "or, Modern Prometheus."
I liked it. I found some stuff fascinating (like the puThis was for my Greek mythology class, because the book's subtitle is "or, Modern Prometheus."
I liked it. I found some stuff fascinating (like the pursuit of knowledge and its fatal consequences), and others quite disbelieving (the Monster can speak so fluently after less than a year of creation? Hell, I've been studying German for 7 years and can hardly form a sentence spontaneously). A little difficult to read, rather repetitive and run-on, and overly superfluous dialogues. A good book on the whole, though. Glad to have read it. ...more
Gave me a throbbing headache. I was so annoyed by Hesse's original German prose that I had to resort to the English translation. I still need to readGave me a throbbing headache. I was so annoyed by Hesse's original German prose that I had to resort to the English translation. I still need to read the German version for exam, though. Not impressed. I'd say this is quite all over the place. Tried to be profound but failed. ...more
Apparently I don't get along well with Coetzee. I disliked/liked this book as much as Life & Times of Michael K but for some reasons I don't feelApparently I don't get along well with Coetzee. I disliked/liked this book as much as Life & Times of Michael K but for some reasons I don't feel able to give it the same amount of stars. Rating to be revised? Anyway, congrats to myself! 29 days with this book....more
Wow. The journey with this book has lasted so far EXACTLY one month. It's long, tedious, discouraging and often times veFor test on February 6, 2013.
Wow. The journey with this book has lasted so far EXACTLY one month. It's long, tedious, discouraging and often times very infuriating. This is a Hauslektüre for my German class, but this one is way beyond us. I think my fellow sophomore classmates will agree with me that Siddhartha is much bigger than us, much more complex than our little brains can comprehend. There are just 136 pages, which normally I can finish in 4-6 hours (a slow reader than I am). And I did finish the whole English translation within 4 hours only (I had to resort to reading the English translation because this German original was so irritating that I couldn't go on--the reasons to be explained soon); but in 4 hours I could read 27 pages max in German. I spent this whole weekend since Friday night until now, 11.39 pm, doing nothing else but reading this, morning till midnight. And I'm so worn out. German has been tiring to me already to begin with, and tackling this book just gives me as much headache as not sleeping for 72 hours straight does.
Now I'd like to say some things about this book as in the German original. It's EXTREMELY DIFFICULT. I can say that this is the most difficult book I've ever read in my life (not that I've read that many, but the point stands nevertheless). If you read this book, you'll know that Herman Hesse is the father of run-on sentences. Reading them is so tiring, exhausting; I would read one sentence and then forget what the subject is, or finish the sentence not knowing where the verb is (in German Nebensatz, the verb comes last, but with Hesse, it's hard to spot anyway because he keeps following one Nebensatz with another and another and another--an ocean of commas you can drown in). The vocabulary, of course, is difficult, no questions asked.
Most of the times I'm annoyed with the story, but sometimes I feel really absorbed in it. The writing is powerful, let me tell you. Maybe this is what the run-on sentences do: give so much information that it overwhelms you. Sometimes the words move me. But as I said, most of the time it's just annoying, but this may be because I'm not that fluent with German and thus this style of writing, which I'm not at all used to, messes with my head so much that I can't stand it.
In comparison to the English translation that I read by Hilda Rosner(Siddhartha and many other English editions in the market), I have to admit that Hesse's original holds much more power and beauty than the translations. Trust me. I've compared them almost word for word (to try to make sense of some passages that make me lose my sanity). Now I understand why it's important to not judge a translated book (as I did Murakami's Norwegian Wood and Coelho's books, all of which I hate, but I might have to keep in mind now that they're translated), because in the process a lot of magnificence can unfortunately go lost. The English translation by Rosner is undeniably much easier to read, but I don't really appreciate that she merges Hesse's beautiful and yet irritating run-on masterpieces into just a few words in one sentence. The meaning and power are lost, see, and so is the amount of effect it would have had on the readers, especially me. When I read Hesse's, I'm always aware of the awe that's looming overhead, intimidating, sophisticated; but with Rosner's, everything about the book is so ordinary that I don't feel the need to linger on anything. Almost no beautiful sentences to reread, almost no wonderful expressions or explanations of complex ideas that Hesse originally writes so well. A disappointment, I would say this about the translation.
Having said all that, you might understand now why I rated this 3 stars when I rated the other one 2 stars only. They both affected me differently. While Rosner's translation just easily slipped into the history of books that I read; this one, the German original, has somehow made a bittersweet impression on me, one that is hardly forgettable, with all the hours spent, swear words uttered, and the deaths of my many brain cells. It's good that I read Siddhartha, despite the love/hate I feel for this book. ...more
I ended up liking it more than I had expected. Strangely, boring as it is, there's beauty in being simple. It gets better as it goes on. The ending isI ended up liking it more than I had expected. Strangely, boring as it is, there's beauty in being simple. It gets better as it goes on. The ending is profound and impressive. ...more
Reread: September 6 - 16, 2012 (3.5 stars) The reading process didn't go any faster than the first time, but the pleasure from reading definitely multiReread: September 6 - 16, 2012 (3.5 stars) The reading process didn't go any faster than the first time, but the pleasure from reading definitely multiplied. My teacher's discussion in class allowed me to appreciate it more. If she hadn't said anything, I would've still thought of it as an annoying, plot-less, boring book. But like most great literature, there's always something below the surface. You just have to tease out the implications and whatnots.
I reread this to refresh my memories in preparation for the upcoming final exams, but I don't think I succeeded much in this goal. As soon as I read things, I forgot them. Maybe this calls for a third reread. This should be interesting 'cause I don't know if my opinion will change again.
First read: June 4 - 12, 2012 (2 stars) Meh. Took me so long. ...more
March 23, 2013: I've been fighting with my eyelids for 3 hours. Now I finished it. Sad. Kind of speechless. 3.5 stars. Books like this one remind me tMarch 23, 2013: I've been fighting with my eyelids for 3 hours. Now I finished it. Sad. Kind of speechless. 3.5 stars. Books like this one remind me that I shouldn't DNF books, which I usually don't. But it's harder not to, now that there's so much rubbish going around. Still. I finished it. Never thought I would. It's haunting. I'm sure this will stay with me a long time.
February, 2012: Yep, it's time. I can't continue anymore. It feels too much like a struggle. I don't want to waste my time with books that make reading miserable.
The only thing that kept me trying to finish it was the impression that something amazing was awaiting me in the book. As I've heard great things about it, I wanted to make sure I wouldn't miss them. But alas, it's not worth it anymore. I'm saying goodbye to this book.
If you want to know, Roy's writing is exceptional. It's very beautiful. Let me repeat that, it's VERY BEAUTIFUL. However, that isn't much of a reason for me to keep reading it. The story bores me. It literally puts to me sleep every 2 sentences. Not to mention the fact that I couldn't care less about any of the characters.
I'm glad to get rid of it. I'm sorry Mr Andrew. Thank you for lending it to me nevertheless. ...more
Although previously infuriated by Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, I decided to give Coelho another chance. While it's rigTHIS REVIEW ON B'S BOOK BLOG!
Although previously infuriated by Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, I decided to give Coelho another chance. While it's right to say that I didn't hate this book as much, it didn't impress me either. It was just plain okay. And it bored me.
Veronika is a 24-year-old pretty girl. She decides to die because 1) she feels like life has nothing more to offer her. She's tired of the same things happening daily, doing the same things daily, with nothing new in her life, and 2) she realizes that one day she will be old and she doesn't want to be old. That day she overdoses on sleeping pills, expecting to die. Unfortunately, she is sent to Villete, an asylum, in time to be saved. Temporarily. The doctor, Dr Igor, tells her that she only has days to live because the pills somehow managed to damage her heart.
During her stay at Villete, she gets to know some people in there. She makes some friends and plays the piano and falls in love. Then the thought creeps in, from time to time, despite her trying to push it far away, whether she still wants to live, now that there are new things in her life and life doesn't seem so empty anymore.
In the first few chapters, Paulo Coelho wrote about himself as Dr Igor's daughter's friend. I'm not sure whether he implies or says it outright that he was also sent to a mental hospital because he wanted to be an artist (or writer I'm not sure) and therefore his parents thought he was mad. That's what I understood. So while this book is about the value of life in the face of imminent death, it also questions the way people judge 'madness'.
I really did want to like this but sadly Coelho failed me again. The translated text flows well enough, the story sounds promising. The main problem with this book for me is the way Coelho wrote it. I didn't like that he put himself in the story, because it didn't relate to anything in it. It just looks out of place and comes out of nowhere. I also didn't like it because the story was just so boring. I mean, it's nothingness. I didn't care about any of the characters. Veronika decides to die, well, that was interesting. But all that follows is all her interactions with people in Villete and stories of some patients' lives. It bored the hell out of me. And it didn't make me feel like life is so great, either.
And don't even get me started on THE ENDING. Oh dear Lord. It was terrible. (view spoiler)[In the end, it's revealed that Dr Igor lied to Veronika when he said she had only days to live. In fact, there was nothing wrong with her heart at all. She was perfectly fine and healthy. He only wanted to know whether life becomes more valuable knowing that death is imminent. It's like the author wanted to force a happy ending (she didn't have to die in 7 days) into a story that's built to end with what it promised: death. The idea that a doctor uses an innocent patient as a guinea pig for his personal experiment in hope to be famous for it one day is SICKENING. He didn't even tell her. She lived her life expecting death. It's just so wrong on so many levels. (hide spoiler)]This is one of the reasons why I didn't like this book.
All in all, disappointment. Nothingness in the form of 208 pages.
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In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with one sublime gift - an absolTHIS REVIEW ON B'S BOOK BLOG!
In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with one sublime gift - an absolute sense of smell. As a boy, he lives to decipher the odors of Paris, and apprentices himself to a prominent perfumer who teaches him the ancient art of mixing precious oils and herbs. But Grenouille's genius is such that he is not satisfied to stop there, and he becomes obsessed with capturing the smells of objects such as brass doorknobs and frest-cut wood. Then one day he catches a hint of a scent that will drive him on an ever-more-terrifying quest to create the "ultimate perfume" - the scent of a beautiful young virgin.
That pretty much sums up the story.
Everyone seems to like or love this book, but even to my surprise, I feel kind of underwhelmed. The story is without a doubt extraordinary and unusual, based on the idea that the sense of smell is superior to all others, as your other sensory perceptions can be turned off (shutting eyes, covering ears, etc.) except for smelling, so long as you want to live. However interesting it sounds, I often found myself not engaged with what was going on as I read at all. At some points I would look up from the book and feel so blank--I couldn't recall where the story had taken me and how it was going--that I had to flip back, sometimes a few pages, sometimes a lot of pages, to start again. I wasn't as absorbed in it as I had wanted to be. I came to conclude that it was because of the writing.
I had mixed feelings about the writing and the narrative. Sometimes, like I said, it seemed to push me away from grasping what it was telling me. I had to reread sentences or paragraphs a lot of times that it wore me out. However, there were times when it flowed so smoothly and rapidly that I actually enjoyed it. And I also noticed that what seemed like the first 73.07692% of the book was what I felt uneasy with, while the rest after it was somewhat livelier and more exciting. Or maybe all this is just me. Maybe it's just my reading deficiency. In addition, I felt like the narration could've been better and more detailed. (view spoiler)[When the killing spree part comes, it looks as if the author didn't care about it that much to give more details. I didn't like that. It was like writing one sentence to let the readers know that between this line and the line above, 23 murders had been committed and done. Like that. No more details. (hide spoiler)] Also, kudos to the author's description of smell/scent/odor. I think it's great.
I have only a couple of thing to say about the storyline. Firstly, I think the author focused too much on the first stages of Grenouille's life. (view spoiler)[A lot of times I wondered why he has killed only one girl when it was almost 200 pages on already. I expected The Story of A Murderer to focus more on acts of murders, rather than what the murderer did in a perfume shop or in a cave. And I don't really like how Grenouille killed one girl in Paris once, paused--lived in a cave for SEVEN years, then started a killing spree, after all those years, which was described within JUST a few pages. (hide spoiler)] I think that it's unforgivably unbalanced. I felt the story goes all too slowly, and when the climax of the book comes, it's almost the end of the book itself, and that passes by all to quickly. Secondly, why did (view spoiler)[some people who gave him shelter have to die after Grenouille left them? What's with that? First, his cruel employee whose name I don't remember. Then Baldini the perfumer. Why? I mean, they didn't have any more significance in the story, why not just leave them alone? Why further going into details their deaths? Perhaps to portray that without him their lives couldn't go on? Hmm... This is quite unnecessary, why not focus on something that would enrich the story instead? (hide spoiler)]
The main character, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, with one crippled foot and tough personality, is an odorless person. I like how the obsession with scent has its motive from his own shortcoming. He wants to create an odor for himself. When reading about his unfortunate birth and tough childhood, I felt sympathy for him. Even when he's grown up and sinister, I still felt it. I think the author meant for it to be like that, to make the character seem real, to make readers sympathize with him, but dislike him all at the same time. Or at least that's how it was for me. His high ambitions and genius make him a murderer, yet he didn't seem to care much about that. He definitely took obsession to the next level.
This book is definitely fine literature, no doubt about that. But I have to say it didn't quite do it for me. It didn't blow me away, no matter how much I wanted it to. Perfume could, dare I say it, have been better. There.
[cross-posted at my blog here] ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Wow. I just finished this about 7 minutes ago and that is around 1.45 am in the morning. This book is, as the cover advTHIS REVIEW ON B'S BOOK BLOG!
Wow. I just finished this about 7 minutes ago and that is around 1.45 am in the morning. This book is, as the cover advertises, "addictive". I never thought I would say that. Before this I have read Norwegian Wood by Marakami, and hated it. It made me so angry that I had to sit and scream, because I found it that bad. I remember thinking that I would never ever lay my hands on any Murakami books again, having read Norwegian Wood as my first. However, I didn't stick to that. A really good friend of mine who's a huge Murakami fan often tries to make me get over my prejudice by lending me this book. Now what I've got to do is wait till morning to call him and congratulate him on his successful attempt at that.
The book is interesting since the very first sentence. No lie. It's just as seriously addictive as it is long. Despite the length, I believe I would've finished it in 2 or 3 days if it weren't for the news that Westlife would be splitting up in 2012 that made me literally depressed for a few days and unable to do anything other than watching Westlife videos and listening to their songs and crying.
I'd be lying if I said I understood this book. I don't, for the most parts. I think the book is weird. But in a good way. I'm not even going to attempt to summarize it, because I don't think I can. It just isn't that simple. All I can say is that it's brilliant, and thought-provoking. And most of all, unlike anything I've read before. This is the first magical realism book I've read.
Although I've finished reading the book, I don't think I'm done with it yet. There are still things that I don't thoroughly understand. I mean, I do understand them in my own interpretations, of course. But I do not know if I got it right, so I'm gonna be off reading discussions about this book now.
Souls cross ages like clouds cross skies, an' tho' a cloud's shape nor hue nor size don't stay the same, it's still a cloud an' so is a soul. Who can say where the cloud's blowed from or who the soul'll be 'morrow? ... only the atlas o' clouds. On October 11, 2011 a certain wide-eyed girl added this book to her Goodreads shelf. Quite an impressionable reader that she was, she felt giddy with the idea of one day taking on something so big and sophisticated, yet at the same time, she couldn't help but feel intimidated by that very same idea. What if she wouldn't like it? She couldn't bear the idea of ending up not liking a book she'd been wanting to read for so long; the desire to love it was too much too handle. What if that desire wouldn't be fulfilled? How would she feel about all the time she spent believing she would love the book, but ended up not liking it the slightest bit? Now over a year has elapsed, her fear's died down quite considerably, and that girl's become me. And I was ready to take it on.
When I picked up David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, I did so due to the want to see the movie. Admittedly, had the trailer not been released, I would've had no incentive to pick up the book at all. Having read number9dream, I grew to adore Mitchell's brilliant writing skill and its complexity, and learned to be fond of his peculiar style. But since one Mitchell a year is undeniably more than enough, I postponed Cloud Atlas, waiting for the time near the movie release date enough to start what would be a 15-day's journey of adventures of some sort, of explorations and sheer awesomeness.
Of course, I didn't know what to expect from Cloud Atlas, and I didn't really give much thought about what it would be like. All I knew was, since it's his highest-rated book, I was ready to be blown away. And then I dove in. I trusted that Mitchell had something wonderful in store for me, and I was hoping that it would be a nice surprise and that I would like it a lot.
Now, before I go any further, I think I should point out that this novel's first distinctive element is its form of narration. And here I quote Mitchell's Robert Frobisher (whose quote you won't come across until about 87% of the story), so that you have an idea of what the story-telling is like:
a "sextet for overlapping soloists": piano, clarinet, 'cello, flute, oboe, and violin, each in its own language of key, scale, and color. In the first set, each solo is interrupted by its successor: in the second, each interruption is recontinued, in order. Revolutionary or gimmicky? Shan't know until it's finished, and by then it'll be too late.
This book is, in Mitchell's own words, a "sextet" of six overlapping stories--each one is connected to another in certain ways, spanning across continents and centuries of time. Thus the book runs so: #1-#2-#3-#4-#5-#6 in its uninterrupted entirety-#5-#4-#3-#2-#1. #1 until #5 are interrupted mid-way and resumed after the 6th story (I love this). Strange? Yes! But it's also delightful. And I'd go with revolutionary instead of gimmicky. I learned about this before I started the book, which I'm not sure if I was supposed to, and it kept me eagerly anticipating and actively wondering how all this would play out. I'm not sure if it will enrich your reading if you know about this narrative form beforehand, but it's definitely not doing any harm, if you ask me, since it isn't a spoiler.
Now that the B-format paperback with such a pretty cover felt snug in my palms as though it belonged there, the journey began. However, much to my dismay, it took off onto a bumpy road—or you could say a stormy sea—and wasn't a very comfortable ride. The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewingbored me in indescribably tedious ways. This part is written by Adam Ewing (aged 33, becomes 34 later), a lawyer of San Francisco, as a journal of a voyage on the "Prophetess" from Sydney to California. It's probably dated in 1849 or 1850. This part touches on racism, slaves, abolitionism, and friendship. What does it mean to be a friend? Is it correct when Dr Henry Goose—Ewing's uncut diamond of the first water—says, "Friendship between races, Ewing, can never surpass the affection between a loyal gundog & its master" or "The weak are meat, the strong do eat"? The writing in this part was difficult to get into. While the narration is interesting in that it's written in diary form with contractions and whatnots, it failed to interest me. Definitely not a page turner. It just made me sleepy. I'll admit it here, Adam Ewing is the part I liked least.
I encountered the book's first interruption when Ewing's journal is suddenly cut mid-sentence and gives way to Letters from Zedelghem. The numerous letters in this part are sent by Robert Frobisher (aged 24, if I interpret it correctly) to his old friend Rufus Sixsmith in 1931. Frobisher is a young English musician who runs away from home to work as an amanuensis for a great composer named Vyvyan Ayrs, who lives in Bruges, Belgium. While helping VA, Frobisher comes across temptations and frustrations in various forms, taking all the emotional whirlwind out on the letters he sends, making them very intimate and personal. He uses people; he falls in love; he talks about war and power; Zedelghem is the part I liked most of all the six stories. Frobisher is also the composer of the Cloud Atlas Sextet, which he says "holds [his] life, is [his] life." And when it's done, he sees himself as a "spent firework; but at least [he's] been a firework." I loved Frobisher's striking narrative voice, his wits and his honesty. He isn't the most likeable character if you think about it, yet he's got so much charm it would be crazy not to like him. When the story takes an unexpected dark turn, my heart ached terribly for him. It crushed me that the firework had to burn out so quickly and tragically. The last letter put me on the verge of tears. I haven't read something nearly as beautiful as that in a long while.
Next, Half-Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery is mystery/thriller set in 1975. If you look closely, you'll realize that it's intended to be a novel since its first page from the chapter number, which doesn't appear in the previous two stories. Like the repeated opening lines "Sixsmith" in Zedelghem, the chapter number in Luisa Rey serves as an element that tells you in which form the story is written—a novel, a mystery/thriller novel to be exact. Surprisingly, Rufus Sixsmith from Zedelghem appears as one of the main character in this novel. I won't say much about the plot of Luisa Rey because saying anything about it would be spoiling it for you. Let's just say that I really enjoyed this part. It revolves around power, money, truth, lies. Different as it may be from the previous two, it's easier to follow and understand, but still mediocre in my opinion.
The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish is the fifth part in this sextet of stories, which is set in Britain in our present day. Timothy Cavandish is a 65-year-old publisher running away from the cruelties the world lets loose on him, yet ends up in another one, and another one, and another one. The story is narrated in the first person POV with lots of humor and sarcasm that can make you laugh, and at the same time you feel bad for Timothy's plights. But no, not really, most of the time you can't help but find them hilarious. It makes you think about how we treat elderly these days. I really enjoyed this funny and colorful story, and I don't think there's anything more to be said. This is the lightest of all the six stories, which lets you relax a little before bringing you to the next part, which is going to be ten notches heavier
Set in the dystopian future in Nea So Copros (futuristic Seoul, Korea?), An Orison of Sonmi~451is a long interview between an archivist and Sonmi~451, a genetically engineered fabricant. Sonmi~451 is an ex-worker of a diner called Papa Song, among other fabricants working other undesirable, unhealthy, dangerous jobs for "pureblood" human beings. The fabricants of the Nea So Copros are subjected to maltreatment as if they are perfectly dispensable, expendable slaves, but of course they don't know that; in fact, they think their jobs are the best thing in the world. What's so special about this particular Sonmi is that she has anomalously glitched, broken free from the mind-control of Nea So Copros, and developed a "human" mind of her own full of personal opinions. She isn't brainwashed anymore; she sees the truth as it is. She devours philosophy, history, books, because "we are only what we know, and [she] wished to be much more than [she] was, sorely." In a way, this story reminds me of George Orwell's famous 1984. What Winston Smith and Sonmi~451 share is their struggle against the power that be, their trust in the wrongest person, and their unforeseen downfall. Sonmi~451, however, being smarter than us sees it coming all along, and yet, being braver than Smith, willingly puts herself in that position just so she can try to make a difference, try to get the truth out there, even if the only person listening is the archivist. Dealing with heavy topics such as politics, utilitarianism, and ethics, this story is fascinating in its own right.
Now we've reached the last, central story: Sloosha's Crossin' an' Ev'rythin' After. Notice all these apostrophes? The story's full of them; annoying at first, but I later found them to be a part of the story's charms. Zachry tells his story in an orison, which tells his recounting of the story of when he is 16 and meets Old Georgie for the first time, and everything after, including his meeting with a Prescient human named Meronym which would change things. Zachry lives in a post-apocalyptic future world where civilization has collapsed; he and his people live in the valley of Big I, Ha-Why. They don't supposedly speak the same language as the people of the old world anymore, thus this weird use of language in the narration. Tell-it-true, the voice of the narrator is—in his own words, a duck fart in a hurrycane—fun and honest, yay. I don't remember being bored, nay. I admit it's a little hard to decipher, but I went through it really fast. It even felt almost poetic to me, and I enjoyed Sloosha's Crossin' tremendously. And David Mitchell? You're unbelievably incredible.
Now that this review is getting unbearably long, I'll wrap it up soon. I could talk about this book forever if anyone's willing to listen. I adore it that much. I didn't include the connections between the stories above because it will be much more fun for you to try to see them yourselves. I myself looked hard for the connections and hints, and I succeeded in gathering most of them (I think), and it just satisfies the perfectionist in me. How these stories are bound together is actually amazing, and I don't know how Mitchell did it but he did it so well. Birthmarks, echoes of each other's exact words, distant memories, transformations of ideas and forms and statuses. I love it.
Above all else, I love the complexity of the book. And I love that I didn't always love it, but I ended up loving it all the same. It's like I was put to test in some ways, and passed it. Reading it felt so much like a challenge to me, and 15 days spent doing so weren't always happy days. I think very highly of this book, but it should be mentioned that it isn't always enjoyable. I mean it's a great book, but it isn't for everybody (as I said, hard to read)—if you're looking for pure entertainment ("escape literature"), I'm afraid this book won't satisfy you much in that department. Like most "interpretative literature," this book has a tendency to be boring. In all honesty, it's tedious at some points. There are parts that I just wished they'd be over soon, parts that dragged on and on, parts that bored me to sleep *coughadamewingcough*.
But after all is said and done, those parts slipped into the past, they weren't important enough to stay. But most parts still linger in my mind, forever imprinted here. For what I'm worth, I'd say this is one of the best works of fiction I've ever read in my life. I'm thankful for the movie that finally put the end to my procrastination, because as I went on this journey, I lived six different lives at six different points in time, read six different stories in different genres, most of which I couldn't identify. It's an eye opener in a way. I savored the brilliant writing, played with the ideas around in my head, laughed and cried with the characters, and highlighted the amazing quotes (got 94 passages). I finished the journey feeling somehow richer with maturity and life experience. This book is, after all, a memorable reading experience that's sure to be lived again. ...more
Memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don’t go along with that. The memories I value most, I don’t ever see them fMemories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don’t go along with that. The memories I value most, I don’t ever see them fading.
There are only so many things you can say about this book without giving spoilers, that’s the problem. So I don’t intend to say much about the plot. I’ll leave it so that you, like me, can dive into the world of Kathy H. and be receptive to the information exposed to you and feel it fresh. Having the plot gradually unraveled before your own eyes was a wonderful experience.
I love that everything in this book conspires to make it so heart-breaking. Everything works. I especially appreciate the narrative style. I’ve seen other reviewers say that it’s off-putting in that it’s so disorganized and hard to keep up, and in a way, they’re right. It is disorganized, but to me it’s in no way off-putting or hard to keep up. And I think there’s a beautiful organization in such a disorganized narrative; I think it has a purpose, and it works extremely well. Kathy would link one thing to another because something in one story reminds her of something in the other. And she always announces beforehand what she’s going to do next, would hint at first what the story she’s about to tell has to do with anything, and what she hopes to make clear. So I actually felt anything but lost. The narration reminds me of the stream of consciousness technique. Its effect that I was always kept on the edge of my seat. Because with every new paragraph comes a new revelation, and there are always more revelations to come. And because it’s not linear story-telling, when the jumbled pieces come together, it clicks and it makes sense and it’s powerful and wonderful. You can see how this event has an impact on the other ones like a domino effect, and how one event that comes later sheds light on many events that come before. You see the characters drift apart and then come together and then drift apart again. I truly think the narrative style is brilliant. There’s always more to find out.
Our narrator’s name is Kathy H. She’s 31. At all times I could feel this nostalgic tone consistently throughout her narrative, and it really breaks my heart. She’s telling the story in the light of everything that has happened, and her stories are tinged with ripe wisdom of someone who’s seen it all. We’re reading her story and understanding it in the way that she makes sense of it now, so there are layers of complexity upon each event. Memories are powerful. Imagine if she loses one memory, the whole piece would really lose its impact. If asked whether I like Kathy, I would say absolutely, I do. Her characterization is one of the brilliant things about this book. She’s wise. She’s an extremely loyal friend. She’s selfless. And she’s complex. She’s so good at reading people, reading situations, but I can’t really read her, and I love that. Not just Kathy, but also Ruth and Tommy; they’re so well fleshed-out that I felt convinced they’re real. They all have a good side, and they have a side that we don’t completely understand, but it’s a part of who they are, and it’s what makes them human. How can anyone say otherwise, having read what I have?
We’re not given so many glimpses of the outside world. Most of the story is set in Hailsham, and the Cottages, and back and forth between hospitals. And I think that illustrates one of the points that this book raises: the moral justification of scientific progress. I won’t say what it is, though I guess some of you already know, but this book deals with this issue that is so 21st century that we all must inevitably have heard of it. I remember this issue was brought up to discussion in one of my classes, but I don’t remember which class or when that was. I remember, though, that we expressed such optimistic, eager, and—now I know—ignorant opinions. It would be wonderful for humanity, we’d say, now that cancer and the likes can go away. Science is god-like, we’d say. But now if I were to take side, I wouldn’t know where to stand. And the book is right in saying that people don’t want to know what’s happening behind the curtain, because it isn’t pretty. And no, it isn’t. These people are pretty much shut away from the outside world, confined in a world of their own where they can be comfortable with who, or what, they are. This book’s got me looking at the world and its scientific advancement in a new way.
Never Let Me Go is so mesmerizing. I waited so long to read it because I was too intimidated to. But really, there’s nothing intimidating about this book, let me tell you. Kathy tells me her story like I’m sitting beside her on bench, enjoying a chilly day together, reminiscing. And she’s talking like she’s speaking to me, face to face, making sure I keep up with everything she says, always giving cues as to where we’re heading. And though the book didn’t make me cry, it did trap me within its sphere for the whole duration I was reading it, and I could feel the nostalgic sadness in the air all the time. I feel for Kathy and her people and all they’ve been through. A story about memories, friendship, love, this is such an amazing, heart-warming book.
------------------------ This review is also posted on my blog. ...more
I can't believe these 209 pages took me about 3 days to finish. It was because, honestly, it was boring most of the timeTHIS REVIEW ON B'S BOOK BLOG
I can't believe these 209 pages took me about 3 days to finish. It was because, honestly, it was boring most of the time. But it's got some fair share of interesting cultural things, too. I don't really feel particularly good about this book, so my rating is 3 stars. The book is okay, and I enjoyed it from time to time.
The story revolves around the rise and fall of this man, Okonkwo. He's a brave man, driven to be great by the abhorrence of his father's qualities: laziness and "incapability of thinking about tomorrow". He loathes his father for being a failure, so he pushes himself to be everything his father isn't. He fends for himself at a young age and becomes one of the brave warriors and gains respect from all the nine villages.
There are however drawbacks. He's extremely hotheaded and trust me, you don't want to be around him when he loses his temper. He's bothered by sights of weakness. He beats his son when he sees him cry, insulting him as a 'woman'. And there's one time when he shoots his second wife (he has three), but luckily for her, she manages to save her life. He loses his temper easily a lot of times in this book. It's these times and I find quite exciting to read. I get to know the thoughts that are going on in his mind and sometimes his anger becomes my anger, too. You can't really decide if you like him or not. I sometimes get upset that he's so senselessly violent, but sometimes I find it justified. Things become more interesting for me when the missionaries come. I can almost sense the hatred Okonkwo feels. The story runs in a way that it makes you feel like the white men shouldn't be here. Their arrival messes up the communities and the people. This is the point where I most strongly felt something while reading this book. ("Die! Die! Die! Assholes!") And I think this conflict is what the title "Things Fall Apart" refers to -- African society falls apart as old culture gives way to the new. The community struggles to hold on to its tradition when colonization and modernism come crashing in.
This book is quite an easy read, if you ask me. I've been slacking the first two days and barely read any pages, but on the third day that is today, I was determined to finish it, and I finished what seemed like half of the book in less than two hours (I'm a very slow reader). So I guess if you really concentrate without getting easily distracted like me, you'll probably finish it in, say, 2 or 3 hours. There are some things that bugged me, though. Local Nigerian words are used quite often here in the books, and I became annoyed when I had to flip back to the glossary page just to figure out what they are. And what bugs me the most is that I probably have to know those words by heart for the test on this book too, as it's an assigned reading for English class. And also these Nigerian names. I lost track of who is who most of the time and had to flip to earlier pages to find out who this is and of what importance.
In general, I think this book is fine literature. I think it's boring for me most of the time because it isn't what I like to read. But it depicts really well the way of life and the society in that time. I'll probably like it either more or less when I read it again, which I will have to soon enough, for the test.
[I read this book about two years ago due to class assignment. I wrote a review back then but decided to put it up justTHIS REVIEW ON B'S BOOK BLOG!
[I read this book about two years ago due to class assignment. I wrote a review back then but decided to put it up just now. This was written two years ago, and I still haven't changed my mind.]
“Do not judge the book by its cover” can actually apply to me in this case. At first I thought To Kill A Mockingbird would be a dull, boring and unentertaining book about racism that I did not want to know about. I am one of those people who fall for books simply because of their covers. But now I know better. I was mistaken about this book but now I can honestly say that To Kill A Mockingbird is one of the finest books I have ever read so far.
At the very first page I could not understand it when my teacher said it was intense. But who would have known? When I got to page 3 or 4, I got hugely hooked up. I could never have thought this book could be so fascinating that I could not possibly put it down until midnight of every day. And before I knew it, To Kill A Mockingbird showed up somewhere between the top 5 of my favorite books.
I love pretty much everything about this book. I love the way Harper Lee reveals more of the story backwards from the end. It portrayed racism at its time and the white people’s hatred and prejudice on the black ones at its best. Meanwhile, it represented many kinds of people; the poor Cunninghams, the Ewells who lived by the rubbish dump of the town, the Radleys who were full of mysteries and the Finches. I am not usually a fan of books with too many characters, but this book is an exception. I think these characters are what make the book one of the best classics ever. It is what makes the book different, makes it beautiful and outstanding, and shining out all those books about racism that exist.
I love the fact that To Kill A Mockingbird depicted the co-existence of good and evil really well. As I can see, Jem and Scout had both gone through a transition in the society as they were exposed to more evil, a transition of innocence that must be adapted to the evil of the world to a more of an adult perspective. Other than that, what I adore about this book is that it shows the result of co-existence of good and evil as some people are destroyed by the glimpse of evil such as Boo Radley, Tom Robinson, Dill and Jem, or as defined by the books as ‘mockingbirds’ who ‘don't do one thing but . . . sing their hearts out for us,’ (according to Miss Maudie) while some still maintain their faith in goodness and learn to be able to come to understand and deal with evil like Atticus Finch and his daughter Scout.
My favorite character from this book would definitely be Atticus Finch. He came so clear and real to me, but at the same time he just seemed so idealistic. He was the most outstanding character in this novel, as his characteristics and points of view were uniquely shining through. He accepted and understood evil in people, all the while he was still maintaining and holding on to his faith in human goodness. Throughout the novel, he taught me that we should appreciate the good in people, understand the bad and treat others with understanding and sympathy. When he told his children that they could never understand a person until they put on his shoes and walked around in it, I was stunned. There was no better way to put it. And at the end Scout did as his lesson told her. She finally saw Boo as a human being, and not a childhood mystery. I love the way Atticus stood for what was right, which was Tom Robinson, knowing in his heart that he may not win the case. And when Walter Cunningham tried to kill him, he still said Cunningham was a friend and would always be. For a second I wondered if a person like this still exists in this world today because as I’ve stated, he was so real, yet so idealistic, too good to be true.
Overall, I think this book is for the win. I am not surprised why it was assigned to high school students in many countries. Books like these should be noticed by the world, because there is even more to them than just meet the eyes. It is definitely one of my favorite books that I will always reread.
Prior to this book by George Orwell, I read Animal Farm in 2009 and loved it. I just finished this book about an hour ago, and I still can't decide hoPrior to this book by George Orwell, I read Animal Farm in 2009 and loved it. I just finished this book about an hour ago, and I still can't decide how exactly I feel about this book. It's not really the kind of books that I enjoy reading, but I decided to give it a try anyway.
1984 is a story that takes place in Oceania, which represents a dystopia. The Party that rules the nation has a way of manipulating its people, watching their every move with the presence of the "telescreen", and picking up sounds by hidden microphones. It's impossible to be completely alone in this place. When looking out the window, one will most likely see a big poster with a picture of a man with a mustache, and the caption will read "BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU". The people are supposed to love Big Brother. Those who don't are guilty of "thoughtcrime" and will have to undergo a long process which will "fix" them. The Party slogan runs like this: WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. The party is in the position to alter the past, and whatever they say is truth, is truth.
The protagonist, Winston Smith, hates Big Brother and the party. He hates everything that has to do with them. The way they control lives. The way he has to live. The way they feed people with lies after lies. The way they make people "vaporize" so easily, and name them "unpersons" and that's it, these "unpersons" never existed. The way today Oceania is at war with Eastasia, not Eurasia, and always has been, while Yesterday Oceania was at war with Eurasia, not Eastasia, and always had been. The sitting through "Two Minutes Hate". The Newspeak. Everything.
So he decides to do something. And in the end he pays greatly for it.
This book is depressing. Most part of part 1 was boring to me. I had a hard time trying to concentrate. Part two was a bit more exciting. Part three was gold. It was in part three that I felt something. I clenched my eyes shut. I moaned. I felt horrified. I felt disgusted. My heart raced. My palms became sweaty. I wish the human race will never have to go through anything like that. And the end--I'm not really sure how I feel about the end--wasn't really what I thought. It wasn't heroic. It wasn't what I expected. But it was realistic. It was depressing.
I don't really feel like writing a review for this book because it bored me so much. But there are a few things I'd like to say.
1) Holden Caulfied isI don't really feel like writing a review for this book because it bored me so much. But there are a few things I'd like to say.
1) Holden Caulfied is a helluva whiny sonuvabitch. 2) The story isn't going anywhere. 3) Holden annoys me. 4) His helluva's, sonuvabitches, ...and all's, ...or anything's are so overused that they annoy the hell out of me. 5) THE STORY IS NOT GOING ANYWHERE. Oh, I said that already?