The mother of all love stories, Pride and Prejudice is the perfect novel. We do not begin with flawless characters and a whirlwind lust that must be j...moreThe mother of all love stories, Pride and Prejudice is the perfect novel. We do not begin with flawless characters and a whirlwind lust that must be justified into love. No, we begin with acquaintances who despise each other and in the slow understanding that deepens their appreciation, as well as ours, the love that sprouts surprises even them. A love that is founded in friendship and deep-seated in true understanding is one that will last a lifetime and in our cases for generations.
Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy are a part of our collective conscious. Gratefully they are strong and lovable enough to deserve it. Lizzy has to be one of my favorite heroines of all time: her wit and stubbornness are perfectly balanced by her heart and good nature. Mr. Darcy is the perfect man: quiet, dignified, unassuming, slow to gain your trust and then a staunch friend/lover. I love the subtlety of minor characters, especially the father's methods of dealing with his silly wife.
The scene where mutual love is quietly pronounced has to be one of my all-time favorite scenes in literature: all that bottled up passion, and they don't even touch each other. Austen does a superb job of making you feel the desire emanating from them. I love Mr. Darcy's proposal almost as much: his conflicting love, her shock and rage, the banter between them. The book so full of delightful dialogue and Austen's own insights, it is delightful. Even the opening line makes me smile. This novel is the standard by which all subsequent love stories are compared. Many have tried to recreate or top this book, but it is an impossible feat.(less)
I think I enjoyed this book more than Davinci Code because it didn't harp on Catholics. This conflict is about science vs religion, with the underlyin...moreI think I enjoyed this book more than Davinci Code because it didn't harp on Catholics. This conflict is about science vs religion, with the underlying question that do they have to be mutually exclusive? Can't science prove the existence of God and bring people to religion instead of shunning it for science? Brown is a very creative storyteller, but his methods drive me crazy. I hate every chapter written to kind of tell you what is going on, but leaving out critical details so you are left hanging about what is truly going on. If the story is good enough, you'll keep turning pages without the ploy. (less)
My husband asked me the other day who was my favorite LOTRs character. My response: "Oh I don't know. I love how Gandalf always knows what's going on...moreMy husband asked me the other day who was my favorite LOTRs character. My response: "Oh I don't know. I love how Gandalf always knows what's going on and comes in the nick of time to save people but never sticks around for praise. I love Aragorn's constant, humble strength and that he cares deeply for those in his care. If ever I were in trouble I'd want him around. I love the competition and respect between Legolas and Gimli. I don't always agree with Sam, but he is dependable. I do love Frodo's quiet wisdom and inner strength. I love Faramir's goodness. Merry and Pippin lovable, adventurous optimism make everything a good time. Merry just may be my favorite." Wait someone who has to qualify their answer by saying what they like about all in the fellowship of nine (I had to throw Faramir in to replace his brother) likes these books.
And that's when I realized that I do like this series. Maybe not so much when my wanders during lengthy descriptive scenes or when the climax ends and I still have a third of the book to read, but when I closed the last book I felt a little sad to be departing from the characters. Some of my favorite moments include Merry & Pippin's bravery, the final struggle for the ring, Faramir finding love (I really did like him), and the Hobbits disregard for authority back at the Shire. The story did drag in a few spots, particularly when the fellowship is reunited briefly before going their own separate ways, and I think Two Towers was more exciting, but I did very much like the conclusion to LOTRs. (less)
This is what I remember about this book: a) the storyline was good but b) I couldn't get over the fact that Dickens was paid by word. The redundancy, t...moreThis is what I remember about this book: a) the storyline was good but b) I couldn't get over the fact that Dickens was paid by word. The redundancy, the drawn-out descriptions, the overuse of language. It killed me. And yet it's a classic story, a deep root of American literature and you have to read it. (less)
The story of a 12-year-old girl, on the verge of growing up, who sets out on a journey to save her kidnapped friend and becomes the center of multi-wo...moreThe story of a 12-year-old girl, on the verge of growing up, who sets out on a journey to save her kidnapped friend and becomes the center of multi-world battle between good and evil. What is so controversial about these novels, is which side Pullman considers good. It has an anti organized religion perspective.
In Lyra's world, all humans have daemons, an animal manifestation of one's emotions. As children the daemons change form and it is not until adulthood that it takes a permanent shape as well as a mystical substance known as dust becomes attracted to them. The church relates dust to original sin when children become accountable and therefore sinful and attempts to destroy it. But just as the Catholic view on the garden of eden is off, so is this church's view of dust off. Lyra gets stuck in the battle between those working for the Church to destroy dust and those out destroy the Church's image of god. The girl and her adventure make a great story and are interesting to follow. And I particularly the Church's correlation to the Catholic church and the control it has had through time. (less)
What I love most about this book is how well it puts you into Japanese culture in the early 20th century. The characters, both loved and hated, are de...moreWhat I love most about this book is how well it puts you into Japanese culture in the early 20th century. The characters, both loved and hated, are deep, multi-faceted embodiments of that culture. Sometimes while reading a book the stage set by the author becomes more real than your own surroundings. You become so enthralled in the story that you almost believe if you visited the era you could walk into a scene from the book. Even years later the details remain firm in your mind. This is a well-written, strong book that also enlightens and explains Japanese culture. I loved learning exactly what a geisha is and what the Japanese value and desire in them. I was both interested and at times appalled at Japanese cultural tendencies and forever twisted into this girl's life. A fantastic read. (less)
Halfway through this movie about a man who has a stroke and is left completely paralyzed but with a fully functioning mind (locked-in syndrome) able t...moreHalfway through this movie about a man who has a stroke and is left completely paralyzed but with a fully functioning mind (locked-in syndrome) able to communicate only by blinking his left eye, I found myself at the library. His alphabet--ordered by frequency of letters in the French language--running through my head (ESA... ESARINTULOM... ESARINTULO... ESARINTU... ESAR) I see the book on display. How could I not check it out? I wanted to know what a man would have to say who lies in a hospital bed at the mercy of visitors with a painstaking process of communication.
Bauby is eloquent and poetic. Knowing every chapter was memorized so he could dictate it letter by letter, you would expect the short novel it is, and yet he did not back down from the art of writing. Despite his depressive condition (or maybe because of it), he is humorous, honest, unapologetic, and often thought-provoking.
But herein lies his downfall. His honesty about his own self-consuming life--even now with all his superficial joys removed his selfish nature struggles on--left me wanting. While I found what he had to say interesting, I didn't care for a man who cared solely about his own luxuries in life and not about his children or the women in his life or truly anyone beyond what they could provide for him.
Bauby chronicles his life before (his butterfly mind able to see and do anything) and his life after (his diving bell body sinking in his confined cage) for internal motivation to continue his mundane day-to-day routine. The memoir isn't offered as a gift for the reader with inspiration or insight. I wanted to be inspired. I wanted to be moved by a spirit reformed or at least reflective on its purpose and contribution to humanity. But I was more amazed at the length and effort of his words than what he had to say. Eloquence without depth. (less)
This is the one of the few where I enjoyed the movie more than the book. I love Edith Wharton, but the backflash format creates a slow-moving narrativ...moreThis is the one of the few where I enjoyed the movie more than the book. I love Edith Wharton, but the backflash format creates a slow-moving narrative on a story that could be good. I recommend you see the movie instead. (less)
It's been many years since I stumbled upon this read and at the time it was my favorite. This is the story of a guy in the 1960s who pleads insanity t...moreIt's been many years since I stumbled upon this read and at the time it was my favorite. This is the story of a guy in the 1960s who pleads insanity to avoid prison time and ensues upon a power struggle with the head nurse of the mental ward who does not believe him sick. It is written from the perspective of a quiet, observant Indian who has psychotic episodes, which makes the story interesting, but then again I love all things psychology. His perspective is not always accurate and often you find yourself in the midst of one of his delusional episodes and have to decipher for yourself what exactly is happening.
The character development is great, especially your hatred of nurse Hatchet, and the quirky peculiarities of the mental ward routine (ala Rainman "Judge Wapner 3 o'clock") are entertaining. You learn to care for these characters and want them to overcome the tyranny of the nursing staff so when they question demands and retaliation ensues to restore order, you feel invested in the outcome of the patients. A fascinating read. My one warning would be, from what I remember, strong language and some sexual content. (less)
I love reading about mental dysfunction and for that reason I enjoyed this story. It is the true story of a girl who was held against her will in a me...moreI love reading about mental dysfunction and for that reason I enjoyed this story. It is the true story of a girl who was held against her will in a mental institution in the 1960s. I don't remember much of the story line, other than her utter conviction that she was not crazy and that was the purpose for writing this memoir. The amusing thing is that it is apparent that she is mentally unstable despite her conviction to the contrary, although not sick enough to be held involuntarily. Therefore her autobiography is counterproductive but interesting. (less)
I loved the Faerie land Gaiman created and the symbolic characters within with a the fanciful, romantic, almost Shakespearean take on magical realism....moreI loved the Faerie land Gaiman created and the symbolic characters within with a the fanciful, romantic, almost Shakespearean take on magical realism. I especially enjoyed the metaphorical conclusion between the witch and the star, so poetic. I enjoyed the narcissistic and inhumane witch, the haughty-turned-kinder star, and most of all the disinterested dead princes watching the fate of their family unfold and their comic takes on life. While the story is predictable, it is imaginative, layered, and enchanting nonetheless. (less)
Touching coming of age story of a poor Irish immigrant who moves back to Ireland and immense poverty. Poignant, touching, gets you thinking about poor...moreTouching coming of age story of a poor Irish immigrant who moves back to Ireland and immense poverty. Poignant, touching, gets you thinking about poor mindsets and child advocacy. (less)
A little sad. A little reflective about life. A story that starts in the innocence beginnings of a family in the 60s and then expands through the unra...moreA little sad. A little reflective about life. A story that starts in the innocence beginnings of a family in the 60s and then expands through the unraveling life of the characters. Charged with unresolved emotion, clash of personalities, and a mistake too expansive to mend, it's a emotionally charged novel. I kept getting annoyed with the father for not fixing the disaster that only he had the power to mend, thinking the consequences outweighed the decision. How could he ruin his family like this? Persistently I had to mentally return to the fateful snowy night, understanding his resolve then, and knowing how painfully hard it is the admit your mistakes out loud. No matter how ruined your life, sometimes it's easier to ignore the problem and go through the routine of life, getting along rather than backtracking to where you can get on path again. As annoyed as I got with the David though, I was often exasperated with Norah and the ploys she turned to to try and fill the hole in her life. She had a son and he should have come first, for both of them. While not perfect and I can see why people didn't like it, a book about psychological consequences is my kind of novel, so I liked it very much. (less)
Despite all my protests and misgivings about a book on infidelity, I was surprised that had the urge to get back to the story and find out what happen...moreDespite all my protests and misgivings about a book on infidelity, I was surprised that had the urge to get back to the story and find out what happened. For that, I wanted to give the book 4 stars, but I just couldn't because, well, it's a book about infidelity, and not just about infidelity, but the view point that there's nothing wrong with it since the couple isn't married yet.
The book starts with A LOT of backstory. It's eventually important to Rachel and Darcy's relationship, but it sure makes the beginning drag. What I wanted from that opening scene was not memories of Rachel and Darcy as kids. I wanted to be pulled into the scene and believe the sequence of events that ended with a girl in bed with her best friend's fiancee. I needed more to get me there. The lawyer-presenting-to-the-jury bit afterwards was amusing, but it didn't get me into her head to justify how it happened. I needed more to sympathize with Rachel.
Maybe what I needed to sympathize with her more was a reason Dex was worth risking a friendship over. All I got from Rachel were some vague stereotypes that he was handsome and smart. Even in the scenes he was in, I didn't get any personality from him. He was like a fuzzy character in a dream that never quite materializes into a real person. I had to take Rachel's word for it every time she said she loved him because I didn't get anything out of their relationship. When Ethan asked Rachel if she was only interested in Dex so she could win something over Darcy, I thought that must be it. I'm still not convinced that isn't true. In the end I had a hollow feeling, and it wasn't just at the things lost. It was that I still didn't know Dex and didn't know if he was worth it to either girl. It made the ending mean a whole lot less to me.
The whole book I kept trying to get inside Dex's head to figure out why he was cheating, why he wouldn't make a decision, why he stayed with Darcy, why he kept leading Rachel on, why he did anything, but I couldn't pin down Dex's motivation. While it bothered me to have such a pivotal character so undefined, it kind of worked to keep up the suspense. I had no idea if he liked Darcy or Rachel, if he was using Rachel or Darcy, if he was conflicted about this whole thing or a player, or if he was going to pull some twist in the whole drama. Darcy was supposed to be the volatile unknown, but I almost think Dex was more of one.
In the end, I don't think the story is as much about the love triangle as it is about friendship. The complexity of childhood-turned-adult friendship was very well done and I even though I wanted to strangle Darcy, I could see why Rachel had remained friends with her. Interesting that the character who moved in to late to reach best friend status (who was also so passive) was named Annalise. I don't know what that's like at all (read: sarcasm). I had trouble with the route and justifications and conclusions that the romance took, but looking at the story as a journey of two friends, I liked it a whole lot more.
ETA: I liked the movie. Dex was still a cardboard, but I could see better what Rachel saw in him and how he was conflicted. John Kransinski stole the show.(less)
I loved this book when I read it in 8th grade. But if you get the chance, read the unabridged. Although the read flows quicker, some of the things tha...moreI loved this book when I read it in 8th grade. But if you get the chance, read the unabridged. Although the read flows quicker, some of the things that are edited out make what is left incomprehensible with inconsistencies and, well, holes in the story.(less)