Such a strange tale. I've always been so enchanted by it though -- especially the cryptic rhymes interspersed. Are the...moreAlice's Adventures in Wonderland
Such a strange tale. I've always been so enchanted by it though -- especially the cryptic rhymes interspersed. Are they meant to mean anything? Are the "morals" presented throughout the book to be taken seriously...or are they Carroll's idea of satirizing the moralizing books of his time period?
Alice falls into the rabbit hole with society's rules in mind. She takes the virtues and rules from school and her parents...and she finds that they don't apply. Much like Robinson Crusoe, she is utterly stranded, and none of her knowledge helps her at all. She has no choice but to adapt to the rules of Wonderland's inhabitants, and go along with what seems to her to be nonsense, but for them, is real life.
Even without delving into the technicalities of the novel, one can enjoy Alice's Adventures in Wonderland just because of the whimsical characters and simple story. I personally love the Duchess and Pig. I'm not even entirely sure why, but I laugh whenever I read that. Carroll's use of puns is also amusing. Great read.
Through the Looking-Glass
This book made me better understand why when people think Lewis Carroll, they think "drugged-out crazy dude." Alice's trip through the looking-glass definitely has the feel of one psychedelic trip. First she's playing chess (in hopes of becoming a queen)and all of the squares are bizarre settings that meld into one another in a fashion that is so dreamy and hazy that it makes the reader feel intoxicated.
The themes presented in Through the Looking-Glass are very similar to those in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which explains why they are so frequently sold together. Once again, Alice is confronted by a world where no one cares about her opinion, the standards she is accustomed to in her world are irrelevant, and she is almost entirely without help or guidance. Despite these seemingly dark elements, Carroll makes the story playful and whimsical. Hmmm.
I noticed particularly in this installment that Alice is almost constantly insulted, ignored, and looked down upon. This poor seven-year-old child has to maintain a polite, calm state of mind through all sorts of insult and injury. I think that this is a remarkable feat for such a young child...in fact, I'm not entirely sure that I could be so calm and patient!
A confusing, bumpy, psychedelic installment -- but a great piece nonetheless.
Sylvie and Bruno
I'm sorry, hold up. Did I say that Through the Looking-Glass was trippy? It's nothing compared to this installment. In fact, throughout most of Sylvie and Bruno, I was only 50% sure that I was correct about what was even happening.
This must have been when addiction set it for Mr. Carroll!
However, I will say that I adore both Sylvie and Bruno, despite their sickeningly sweet relationship (hmmm...satire or reality?) and Sylvie's irritating goody-two-shoes attitude. Their brother-sister relationship is so incredibly cute, even if it can come off as cloying on occasion.
My favorite part of Sylvie and Bruno was Bruno's precious little-boy voice. I wanted to say "Aww!" out loud every time Bruno said "welly" for "really" or "oo" for "you" or made precious little grammatical mistakes. Seriously. Maybe it's because I'm a kid person and I love that toddler-esque sound, but I thought it really added to the authenticity of the novel and my enjoyment in the book.(less)
SO adorable. I love how James saves the day about a billion times -- first with the brilliant seagull ruse, then with the Cloud Men...and more. My per...moreSO adorable. I love how James saves the day about a billion times -- first with the brilliant seagull ruse, then with the Cloud Men...and more. My personal favorite character is the hilarious Centipede, a self-proclaimed "Pest." Love it. It's also so charming how the Ladybug is always "the lovely Ladybug" or "the sweet Ladybug." Way cute!!!(less)
This truly is a contemporary classic. Though "Life of Pi" wasn't written too long ago, it is undeniably timeless and very complex. As soon as I finish...moreThis truly is a contemporary classic. Though "Life of Pi" wasn't written too long ago, it is undeniably timeless and very complex. As soon as I finished, I stared at the book in my hands, mystified. The first thought that came to mind was, "Wow. I still don't really get that. I should read it again!"
I could read "Life of Pi" dozens of times and still probably wouldn't absorb every minute metaphor and symbol. Yann Martel coyly slips them in in the guise of cleverly written lists, fictional anecdotes, and seemingly casual observations. If Yann Martel says, "The sun is very hot," it probably means "Something that gives us life can also hurt us." As shown in the irony of Pi being stuck in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger when zoo animals are normally what bring him joy.
Pi Patel's family leaves his home in India when his father becomes disgusted with "Mrs. Gandhi," the current ruler (monarch? president? leader?) of India. The whole family - Pi, his father, his mother, and his brother Ravi -- packs up and sets off for Canada, after selling most of the animals in Mr. Patel's zoo, to Pi's dismay.
However, their voyage to North America is not all smooth sailing. The Japanese oil rig that they travel on has mechanical problems, and ends up sinking during a squall. Pi finds himself stranded on a lifeboat, alone...that is, except for Richard Parker, the 450-pound Bengal tiger that was haphazardly tossed down with him. Though other animals -- most importantly, a zebra, hyena, orag-utan, and dozens of fish, turtles and meerkats -- pass through the tiny boat, the tiger is the only constant.
This is the story of Pi's survival and how it makes it through over seven months stranded in a lifeboat in the Pacific. It's a story of faith, humanity, and survival even in the most trying of schenarios.(less)
This is undoubtably the most powerful and heartbreaking memoir I have ever read. Elie Wiesel is a literary genius, and his simple language and poignan...moreThis is undoubtably the most powerful and heartbreaking memoir I have ever read. Elie Wiesel is a literary genius, and his simple language and poignant description of the horrors of the Holocaust make this story unforgettable. He uses visual imagery to bring you into Auschwitz with him. He shows you what he has seen, what he has experienced. It's a journey that will stay burned into my memory for the rest of time.
This is one of those books where your heart will ache...but it's beyond the teary sympathy of reading about a lost child or the scattered tears when you read about death and grief. This book is beyond tears. This book is about the slaughter of millions of people.
" 'The yellow star? Oh well, what of it? You don't die of it. . . .' (Poor Father! Of what then did you die?)"
The small town of Signet in Transylvania has been ignoring the signs of an oncoming disaster. Even when their fellow townspeople begin to be taken away. Even when they are moved into enclosed ghettos. As their rights are slowly taken away, they try to remain optimistic and try to ignore the injustices before them.
Eliezer is a fifteen-year-old boy who lives in Signet. He is utterly devoted to his religion, and studies prayer fervently. But when he and his father are separated from the rest of his family and face the horrors of Auschwitz, he begins to doubt the God who he has always trusted and eventually loses faith and gives up his religion.
"Night" is the tale of a teenage boy who is forced to grow up too fast. This is the story of the darkest point of one man's life...the story of one long night...(less)
I loved the poetic simplicity of "Criss Cross". It was beautiful, but it didn't feel the need to explain every detail to you. It le...more*READ FOR 2ND TIME*
I loved the poetic simplicity of "Criss Cross". It was beautiful, but it didn't feel the need to explain every detail to you. It left parts to the imagination, and the mind effortlessly filled in.
Debbie is a cookie-cutter character, or so it may seem at first. Her character is in all of us. It's the little bit that overcomes false enthusiasm to say, "Hey, when is the awkwardness going to end? Why does she have a boyfriend, and not me?" She's so typical, and so perfectly average, that we all feel her stir within us.
And then there's Hector, the sideline dopey character who is so easy to love. Reading about him made me want to play guitar.
The whole breezy, almost hippie (ha) attitude of the book really appealed to me. This must have been meant to take place in the 70's, in fact, I'm almost sure of it.(less)
I love, love, love Roald Dahl's children's books, but if you're expecting to read about an endearing giant or a group of strange witches, you are very...moreI love, love, love Roald Dahl's children's books, but if you're expecting to read about an endearing giant or a group of strange witches, you are very much mistaken. Skin is a group of short stories. All of these stories are ironic and some are mysterious and ambiguous. All are good.(less)
Now that I have finished "Eldest", I find that I am more excited than ever to delve into "Brisingr". Despite the novel's flaws - which I will list in...moreNow that I have finished "Eldest", I find that I am more excited than ever to delve into "Brisingr". Despite the novel's flaws - which I will list in time - I can honestly say that "Eldest" is worth reading. As I mentioned in my review of "Eragon", Eragon is a character that readers can relate to. He's refreshingly realistic, much unlike the sickeningly dependent Bella of "Twilight" or the simpering lovers of "Romeo and Juliet". Eragon has issues. He's a real teenage boy, albeit one thrown into a bizarre situation.
However, to my disappointment, the book has its errors. These I will list here:
1. Eragon's sudden transformation in the midst of the book. This infuriated me. Before, Eragon's mistakes and weaknesses added to the book. After this transformation, they just...dwindled, and appeared on occasion. I felt like there Paolini was taking the easy way out. Don't want to develop your characters and help them to learn? Just make magical dragons transform him and eradicate all of his imperfections! This was undoubtably the biggest disappointment of the entire book.
2. The book moves along slowly. I won't lie, there are parts of the book where you just want to put it down for good. BUT, if you stick through the dull sections (A tip: They're mostly when Eragon is in training with Oromis in Du Weldenvarden and when Eragon is waiting for battle. Anyway, sometimes the book dwindles. It isn't as action-packed as "Eragon".
3. The length. 600-something pages. Need I say more?
4. The over-worshiping of Eragon. He's a Rider, and he's a great guy. But after awhile, I grew impatient with the elves, dwarves, humans, and most irritatingly, the AUTHOR, doting over him nonstop. Literally, every time Eragon would do something mildly admirable, like giving a waterskin to a wounded man after battle, the author would rave about his "great kindness". Gag.
However, I guarantee that after reading the twist at the end, you will be DYING for more!(less)
This review is being written after my second time of reading "Eragon", and I definitely give it five stars. I know there is the argument that you can...moreThis review is being written after my second time of reading "Eragon", and I definitely give it five stars. I know there is the argument that you can tell that a teenager wrote it, but I very seldom notice it. (However, I am a teenager, so I'm probably biased here...) There is also the argument that "Eragon" is not as good as fantasies written by adults, because there aren't many unique elements, but I disagree with that also.
"Eragon" is the epic tale of a boy in a rural village who unwittingly finds a dragon egg. The book recounts his adventures from when he finds the egg, to him training with the village storyteller, to him battling the forces of evil, so to speak. The series currently consists of three novels (all lengthy, might I add), and there is one more that the author is currently writing.
I like Eragon because he is a character that I find real. He isn't too full of himself, isn't too perfect, isn't unbelievably clumsy or accident-prone, and really has emotions and thoughts that seem accurate of a teenage boy experiencing these unusual events. I am also impressed with the character of Brom, who helps Eragon to track down his enemies, the Ra'zac, who is multi-layered and is a mysterious figure until he dies. Only after he dies does the reader begin to learn scraps of information about him.
The first book is wonderful, and the second is even better. I recommend this book to anyone who is able to ignore minor mistakes by a young author, and anyone who enjoys a good adventure.(less)
This book was originally four stars. When I first joined GoodReads, I tried to think of books that I liked, and added "Dragon Rider." I loved this boo...moreThis book was originally four stars. When I first joined GoodReads, I tried to think of books that I liked, and added "Dragon Rider." I loved this book as a child. I loved the drawings above each new chapter, my beautiful hardcover edition with the fold-out map, and reading about the fabulous creatures of Funke's world.
But a wise man once told me that the best children's books will still be enjoyable when you are older. And this one just wasn't.
Not to say that it wasn't good. The storyline was creative and moved along well. The characters were interesting. The villian was humorous.
But something is missing.
This book goes by the same formula that every other science fiction book for kids goes by. It has the same motifs: The lonely child who becomes a hero, the reckless young dragon, the comic relief in the form of another grumpy sidekick (in this book, a "brownie" named Sorrel). It all fits, and it's expected.
So if you're young and looking for an entertaining read, I'd say, go for it. But if you want something fresh and exciting, it'd be best if you looked elsewhere.(less)