I really wanted to like this! In the beginning, I thought it would be a 5-star book for me. I thought it might turn out to be my top favorite Jane Aus...moreI really wanted to like this! In the beginning, I thought it would be a 5-star book for me. I thought it might turn out to be my top favorite Jane Austen. But somehow it just didn't turn into the book I thought it was going to be.
Things I liked: * I enjoyed all the talk of novels and reading - and would have liked even more of that. * The conversations between Henry Tilney and Catherine Morland were my favorite parts of the book. I might go back and reread just those parts sometime.
Things I didn't like: * Why is so much of the book spent in Bath? I thought I was reading Northanger Abbey, not Bath! We don't get to Northanger Abbey until well over half-way through the story. * I really didn't like Isabella and her brother. (view spoiler)[I kept trying to warn Catherine about them, but she wouldn't listen. (hide spoiler)] * The narrator kept jumping in and talking to me, even though I just wanted to get on with the story.
So in the end this turned out to be a solid 3-star book for me. Really great in some parts but a disappointment in others. Definitely worth reading, but not something I plan to revisit again and again.
Note: I listened to the Librivox recording of this by Elizabeth Klett. She does a wonderful job.
Second note: Immediately after finishing this, I watched the Masterpiece Classic version of Northanger Abbey. I think they did a great job with it, even though there were a couple of parts I was sad they glossed over. I think their pacing and emphasis on certain parts of the plot actually worked out better than the book. Well worth watching. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Wow! What a story. I'm almost glad that I never read this when I was younger. I don't think I would have appreciated the magnitude of what they had to...moreWow! What a story. I'm almost glad that I never read this when I was younger. I don't think I would have appreciated the magnitude of what they had to live through. And it meant so much more knowing that the experiences described here were based on actual events. This definitely deserves its Newbery honor, and I'm VERY glad that I finally got around to reading it! I never thought any of the other books in the series would come close to eclipsing my love for Little House in the Big Woods which I read over and over as a child, but I think this one might have done it. It's a story that makes you cold, but also very grateful for the blessings you take for granted that surround you every day. It also makes me think wistfully of living a simpler life. And now I look forward to reading the next in the series where I know Almanzo again plays an important part in the story!
A favorite quote: "If only I had some grease I could fix some kind of a light," Ma considered. "We didn't lack for light when I was a girl before this newfangled kerosene was ever heard of."
"That's so," said Pa. "These times are too progressive. Everything has changed too fast. Railroads and telegraph and kerosene and coal stoves--they're good things to have, but the trouble is, folks get to depend on 'em."
Note: I'm shelving this series as both historical fiction and autobiography since it really is a bit of both. (less)
I loved this! There are striking similarities to Anne of Green Gables, although this was published 5 years earlier; and to Pollyanna, which was publis...moreI loved this! There are striking similarities to Anne of Green Gables, although this was published 5 years earlier; and to Pollyanna, which was published 10 years after this. So although Rebecca isn't quite as well known, she came before Anne or Pollyanna! I recommend this to fans of either of those books or to anyone who wants to read a classic, wholesome story about an intelligent, imaginative young girl who makes the best of what life hands her.
I was a bit disappointed with the ending. Do we never get to know what ultimately happens to Rebecca? I see that there are a couple of sequels, but the reviews here on Goodreads make me think they probably aren't worth my time. Sad.
Another of Kate Douglas Wiggin's books, The Birds' Christmas Carol, was one of my childhood favorites. I believe I had an abridged copy of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm while growing up, but I don't think I ever read it because I didn't remember any of the details while reading this.
A favorite quote from the story, speaking of Rebecca's Aunt Miranda: "The soul grows into lovely habits as easily as into ugly ones, and the moment a life begins to blossom into beautiful words and deeds, that moment a new standard of conduct is established, and your eager neighbors look to you for a continuous manifestation of the good cheer, the sympathy, the ready wit, the comradeship, or the inspiration, you once showed yourself capable of. Bear figs for a season or two, and the world outside the orchard is very unwilling you should bear thistles."
This would have been a full 5 stars except for the ending. I'm giving it 4.5 stars.
Note: I listened to the audio version available at Librivox, which unfortunately had a mixture of readers. The quality was hit-or-miss depending on the reader. Some were quite good while others sent me to my Kindle to read so I wouldn't have to listen to them.(less)
How did I miss reading any of the Five Peppers books growing up? I knew about them because the family in Cheaper by the Dozen loved the books. But I n...moreHow did I miss reading any of the Five Peppers books growing up? I knew about them because the family in Cheaper by the Dozen loved the books. But I never came across any Five Peppers books in my library or thought to seek them out myself - until now! The newfangled ebook technology makes these older books easily available and very affordable - practically free! :)
I love the Five Peppers! This is just the first book, but I'll definitely be reading more in the future. This isn't an action-packed story. It's just a nice story about nice people who don't have much of worldly things. They don't feel sorry for themselves but are grateful for each other and their strong family bonds.
The story definitely feels dated, but that is part of why I loved it so much. Would today's children love these stories? I think it depends a lot on the children. There are definitely things they could learn and enjoy from the Five Peppers.
My one problem with this book was the ending. It was so abrupt! I wasn't ready for it! I'm very glad there are more Five Peppers books to read.(less)
Why do I find it so much harder to write a review for a book that I really loved than for a book I really didn't? I also have a harder time writing a...moreWhy do I find it so much harder to write a review for a book that I really loved than for a book I really didn't? I also have a harder time writing a review for a book that is very well known and has had a lot written about it over the years. What could I have to say that would in any way add to what others have said? Especially when I just keep wanting to say things like "I loved this book!" "It's awesome, amazing, mysterious, and frustrating!" "Everybody should read this book!" and "Why didn't someone make me read this book sooner?"
Well, that's how I feel about Rebecca. It's another 5-star, well-written, thank goodness I finally read it, unforgettable book that I have Goodreads to thank for finally putting it on my "read" list. Although there are other opinions out there. A reviewer at Audible.com warns: "...don't buy this book. Don't read it. Don't listen to it. There is still time to turn back untouched.... I think this book was the first time I strayed into condoning or excusing murder. I sided with the killer. Do you hear? I sided with the killer! My moral compass spun free of all restrain. Daphne du Maurier has that effect on the reader. Take care or your compass will spin uncontrollable too. Don't buy this book. Don't listen to it. Stay free!" :) There's more, but I'll let you go find it. (I hope he doesn't mind if I quote him. I couldn't find a way to contact him. I would like to invite him to Goodreads!) So anyhow, despite the warning, I think you should all read Rebecca if you haven't yet! And if you have, post your comments here because I'm dying to discuss that creepy Mrs. Danvers - and the ending! The ending! Now I need to watch the Hitchcock movie.(less)
I feel like now that I've finished this, I should read it again to properly appreciate it. I felt like I was waiting and waiting for something signifi...moreI feel like now that I've finished this, I should read it again to properly appreciate it. I felt like I was waiting and waiting for something significant to happen. But most of the very significant things don't happen until the last two chapters. So I really enjoyed the end of the book (wonderful letter!), but I can't get over the WAITING feeling I had for the bulk of the book. For now I'm giving this three stars (sorry, I know there are a lot who count this as their favorite Austen!), and I'll say that if I ever do reread this again there is a strong possibility I'll bump it up to four stars. I haven't watched any of the movies yet, but plan to, so that may increase my enjoyment of the story as well. But for now, this is a three-star book for me. Feel free to comment below and tell me why I must have completely missed the bulk of the story, the meaning, the great characters, the wonderful Austen writing, etc., and am wrong in my three-star rating!(less)
I know this is some people's top favorite of Jane Austen's novels. But for me, I didn't enjoy it as much as Emma. I did enjoy it, but didn't feel as i...moreI know this is some people's top favorite of Jane Austen's novels. But for me, I didn't enjoy it as much as Emma. I did enjoy it, but didn't feel as involved with the characters as I did with Emma. I haven't read Pride and Prejudice since high school, so I won't know how the two compare for me until I've reread that one. I do want to watch a couple of the movie versions of Sense and Sensibility now that I've read the book. Maybe that will help make me feel more involved with the characters? 3.5 stars.
Note: I listened to Elizabeth Klett's Librivox recording of this. As always, she is a fantastic narrator.(less)
What a great children's classic! What a happy and inspirational story! I had never read it before, but I am so glad I finally did! I would have loved...moreWhat a great children's classic! What a happy and inspirational story! I had never read it before, but I am so glad I finally did! I would have loved this when I was younger. It isn't action-packed, but the story does move along nicely. This reminded me a lot of Pollyanna, only with a wonderful setting, the Swiss Alps, which adds a lot to the story.
I had been warned not to read this, but I didn't listen. It's on the Lost literature list, and I was looking for a couple of shorter classics to inclu...moreI had been warned not to read this, but I didn't listen. It's on the Lost literature list, and I was looking for a couple of shorter classics to include as part of my "10 Classics in 2010" challenge. Well, I should have listened. Yes, it's short. But it FELT long. I think listening to it in audio format also didn't help. Listening to it just seemed to drag it out even longer for me.
The only way I could get through it was to imagine that the main lady was in an insane asylum. The two children were part of her hallucinations. They didn't feel real to me anyhow. The uncle was the doctor who initially put her in the asylum. That's why he never wanted her to contact him again. The housekeeper was a nurse in the asylum, and the two people she kept seeing were actually other inmates in the asylum with her. (Buffy fans will recognize the idea.) Once I started listening with that idea, I didn't mind the story so much. It still felt long and a bit boring, but at least I could listen. How can this be a classic that people enjoy and revisit? Somehow I missed something somewhere. Unless that lady is really in an insane asylum, and then I'm on board. :) Although I don't want to ever revisit this book! 1.5 stars
Note: The Lost connections here are very minimal and have almost nothing to do with the plot of the book. With my spin on the story there is a stronger Buffy connection than Lost. Oh well, at least I can check this one off my list. My next classic will be another shorter one, Of Mice and Men, before I start the VERY long The Brothers Karamazov.(less)
I never would have finished this if it wasn't on the Lost Lit List. It was just too long, not enough happened that I cared about, and I didn't care ab...moreI never would have finished this if it wasn't on the Lost Lit List. It was just too long, not enough happened that I cared about, and I didn't care about the characters all that much. Herbert was probably my favorite.
The beginning was FAR too unbelievable. Why did Verne make such a big deal of them having absolutely nothing - one match, one grain of corn, a sharp edge they created by using the dog's collar? From that and the resources of the island, they create huge pots, iron-tipped spears, and a pickax! All in a VERY short period of time - with no problems whatsoever. Even Brian (of Gary Paulsen's Hatchet) had his hatchet and still had trouble collecting enough wood to keep his fire going. These guys collected enough wood to fire a kiln with just their bare hands. I kept telling myself, "Fantasy. Think of it as a fantasy." But it wasn't written that way. Verne really asked me to suspend my disbelief - but I wasn't enjoying it enough to go along easily.
There are a lot of Lost connections. As I was listening to this, I asked myself why I was so bothered with some of the things when the same exact thing didn't bother me on Lost? For example, I kept thinking, "Why don't they explore the entire island? Maybe there are people around on the other side and they just don't know because they haven't bothered to go looking." But then I never thought that on Lost. I think one reason is that Lost quickly got busy with all sorts of mysterious and unexplainable yet very interesting things happening while these guys were quickly making pots and tools and bricks for their mansion in an underground cavern. In fact, these guys kept themselves so busy, they hardly even noticed the mysterious happenings on their island until they had been there for more than two years, which is two-thirds of the way through the 750+ page book.
One similarity to Lost that I thought was fun was trying to send a message for help with a bird. Of course it didn't work on Lost OR on the Mysterious Island.
On the plus side, I did learn about some animals I'd never heard of such as the dugong and the onager. And I did start enjoying it more towards the end. Some exciting things did happen. Although, I have to say that the part with Captain Nemo was much too long coming and was over MUCH too quickly! I'm giving this three stars since it did get better as it went along, but for much of it I wanted to give it two or maybe 2.5 stars.
(I listened to the Librivox recording by Mark F. Smith. He does a nice job and has a pleasant voice.)(less)
While I was reading this, I kept wondering what rating I would give it. Is this a three-star book? Four star? Two star? Did I like it at all? Why was...moreWhile I was reading this, I kept wondering what rating I would give it. Is this a three-star book? Four star? Two star? Did I like it at all? Why was I making myself read this? Sometimes I found it fascinating and other times I was just bored with it. It felt like it took forever to read, yet when I finally got to the end, I wanted it to keep going!
I didn't expect to find so many pervasive themes such as family and religion. I can see why this book is often studied in literature classes. If I were asked to write a paper on The Brothers Karamazov, I would analyze the father relationships in the story, such as those between Fyodor Pavlovich Karamozov and his three sons, between Ilusha and his father, Captain Snegiryov, and between Alyosha and Father Zosima.
I felt that the first half of the book was particularly slow and drawn-out. We meet most of the characters and get LOTS of detail on their characters, their history, their place in the storyline, and their relationships with other characters. This information helps out later on, but it felt like Dostoyevsky took a long time getting to the actual meat of the story. Once we got to the murder (or patricide), I became much more interested in all of the details and the story moved along a little bit more quickly - although just a bit! Dostoyevsky really likes to take his time revealing things.
This is on the Lost literature list, which is one of the reasons I chose to read it. The themes of fathers and patricide are also important themes in Lost. Also, The Brothers Karamazov was the book Locke gave to Ben Linus (then Henry Gale) when he was held captive in The Swan. Ben asks, "You don't have any Stephen King?"
Now that I've finished the book, I'm still pondering what rating to give it. It wasn't difficult reading, but it was slow. I was interested in the characters, but once I stopped reading I wasn't always that anxious to start again another time. But then, as I mentioned, I wasn't ready for it to be over when I got to the end! That REALLY surprised me! So, while it hasn't been my favorite book in the world, I did find it interesting to read and I don't regret the time I spent with it. I wouldn't mind reading another book by Fyodor Dostoyevsky sometime. I would give it 3.5 if I could, but I'm going to round up to 4 stars because of how I felt when I got to the end.
Some personal statistics for this book:
* This is the first LONG book I've read entirely on my Kindle.
* This was book #10 in my "10 Classics in 2010" challenge!(less)
I didn't expect to enjoy this as much as I did! This definitely deserves its status as an enduring classic. It's so well-written and timeless that I n...moreI didn't expect to enjoy this as much as I did! This definitely deserves its status as an enduring classic. It's so well-written and timeless that I never felt like I was reading an "old" book - despite its original publish date of 1897! There were a few places where the story dragged and felt a bit wordy, but for the most part I was pulled along wanting to know the ultimate fate of Dracula and all the other characters. I thought it was appropriately suspenseful, yet never over-the-top scary. Although I was a bit disappointed with the ending. It all seemed a bit too easy after everything that had happened.
My print edition has an introduction by Holly Black. She said when she was nine, her mom told her Dracula was "the most frightening book" she'd ever read. She told her a bit about it, which gave Holly nightmares. She was 13 when she finally read it herself. She expected to be frightened, but was actually captivated. She says, "Stoker is masterful in evoking a sense of unsettling menace," and also that he "powerfully captures the allure of the supernatural." I think "unsettling menace" is a great description for both Dracula the character and the book.
Note: It's great having so many options with a classic like this. I read some as an ebook, some using my print copy, and also listened to much of it in audio format. This was fabulous to listen to as an audio book, which I downloaded from Librivox. There are multiple readers, but each read only their character's part. Some of the voices were better than others, but overall I enjoyed listening to it a lot. (less)
I read Pride and Prejudice when I was in high school, and I'm sorry to say that I didn't like it much. I felt like it was a lot of boring conversation...moreI read Pride and Prejudice when I was in high school, and I'm sorry to say that I didn't like it much. I felt like it was a lot of boring conversation with nothing much ever happening. As a result of this, I never read any more of Jane Austen's books. When I joined GoodReads, I could see that many, many people have read and loved her books - many people who have read and loved LOTS of the same books that I have. So I started to feel like it was time for me to give Jane Austen another chance. I'm glad I did! I thoroughly enjoyed Emma. Now I just have to figure out which Jane Austen I want to read next.
I listened to the Librivox recording of Emma by Elizabeth Klett, which is VERY well done. I will be listening to many more of her Librivox recordings.(less)
**spoiler alert** Well, this was just strange yet at the same time very interesting. I wanted to know WHY Gregor had been suddently turned into a horr...more**spoiler alert** Well, this was just strange yet at the same time very interesting. I wanted to know WHY Gregor had been suddently turned into a horrible or monstrous vermin, but that is never dealt with in the story. I also didn't suspect the ending! I like Kafka's choice there, although it's sad if it's true that Gregor is meant to symbolize Kafka and his own life.
One interesting connection - every time I read the name "Gregor," I thought of "Gregor the Overlander" by Suzanne Collins. Interesting (and I'm sure it can't be a coincidence) that the Underland Chronicles also has giant cockroaches or crawlers!(less)
This is another classic that definitely deserves its status as a classic. The story is timeless, yet firmly rooted in its setting. It's so well-writte...moreThis is another classic that definitely deserves its status as a classic. The story is timeless, yet firmly rooted in its setting. It's so well-written that just the writing is enough of a reason to recommend reading it. The characters are memorable and incredibly real, although not necessarily people I would want to meet in real life. They hope for the same things we all want - a roof over our head we can call our own and people to share it with. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would, right up until the end. And isn't that another mark of a good classic? You might see the end coming, but it doesn't pull any punches or let you off easy. And for such a short book, I can think of all sorts of topics that could be discussed. No wonder it is popular for high school literature classes.
For the Lost fans out there, this is a title on the Lost Literature List. Sawyer is seen reading it in jail, and in a later episode says it is his favorite book. Also, Ben quotes from it once when talking to Sawyer: "A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody. It don't make any difference who the guy is, so long as he's with you. I tell ya...I tell ya, a guy gets too lonely, and he gets sick." Also, from the book, Lennie is looking forward to raising rabbits, and rabbits play a large part in the early seasons of Lost. I need to watch again some of the earlier Lost episodes that connect with this book now that I've read it!
Note: This does contain some strong language.(less)
This was a pleasure to read! Willa Cather's writing is straightforward and plain, yet beautiful at the same time. It completely mirrors the characters...moreThis was a pleasure to read! Willa Cather's writing is straightforward and plain, yet beautiful at the same time. It completely mirrors the characters and the land written of in "O Pioneers!"
I've been thinking about what makes a classic, since this book is a classic yet isn't like many others I've read. I see this as a classic because it gives you a chance to step back and see your life through new eyes and compare it through the light of new experiences that you've never actually had, but feel like you have now that you've read about them. A classic is a book that changes you, even just a little, in a profound way, just because you've read it. And that's how I feel having just finished this. I've been changed, just a little, because I read this book.
Two favorite quotes: "She had never known before how much the country meant to her. The chirping of the insects down in the long grass had been like the sweetest music. She had felt as if her heart were hiding down there, somewhere, with the quail and the plover and all the little wild things that crooned or buzzed in the sun. Under the long shaggy ridges, she felt the future stirring."
"People have to snatch at happiness when they can in this world. It is always easier to lose than to find."(less)
I didn't realize how little I knew about this book before reading it. I'd heard of soma, and I knew I was reading a classic dystopic novel. Other than...moreI didn't realize how little I knew about this book before reading it. I'd heard of soma, and I knew I was reading a classic dystopic novel. Other than that, I was unprepared for the details of the "brave new world" created by Aldous Huxley. In the beginning, it all just made me sad and horrified - especially for those poor children who are conditioned using things like alarm bells, loud explosions, constant movement, and electric shock! I wasn't any less horrified by the adults who live in this world. They consider the words "mother" and "father" to be smutty and have absolutely no idea about the concept of "living with a family" and "home." They believe that "everyone belongs to everyone else" and that when life becomes the least bit difficult, or just for a "vacation," take some soma and everything will be better.
I can see why this is a classic, though. It's definitely a book that makes you think. And some of the attitudes of people in that world are a little too close to our world for comfort. While I didn't love this book, I wouldn't be averse to reading it again sometime - especially if I had the chance to discuss it with others in a reading group or a class. There are a lot of possible topics here for discussion. 3.5 stars.(less)