The first fifty pages of this book are some of the most terrifying that I have ever read. While reading the plight of Jonathan Harker, who was unwitti...moreThe first fifty pages of this book are some of the most terrifying that I have ever read. While reading the plight of Jonathan Harker, who was unwittingly at the mercy of the mysterious Count Dracula, it was hard for me to remember that this book was written over one-hundred years ago. The suspense didn't last long after those first fifty pages, though. After that, the book seemed to get drawn out, with the characters doing in three days what they could have done in one. Van Helsing was the most annoying with his speaches that streached for pages and pages without him saying much of anything. The format of the book, with the narrative presented in documents like jounals, news articles and the like, provided a form of suspense, but also added to the length of the book, since a lot of jounal entries don't say anything of interest to anyone besides the writer. The best thing that this book has going for it, besides the first fifty pages, is the character of Dracula. He is set up as a perfect antithesis for Christ. He offers eternal life, only he doesn't offer to shed his own blood, he causes you to shed yours. This daunting figure, who laughs at sanctity while he immitates it is what makes this book still worth reading. Another problem that I have, though, is that Dracula is not used as well as he could be. He seems to get weaker and weaker as the book progresses, exactly the opposite of what it should be. The end of the book is still vaguely satisfying, nontheless, and the book is still required reading, for good reason, for anyone who is serious about horror.(less)
What I appreciate most about this book is Wallace Stegner's careful thought on fiction, it's value, and it's production. He takes the craft seriously...moreWhat I appreciate most about this book is Wallace Stegner's careful thought on fiction, it's value, and it's production. He takes the craft seriously without coming across as a literary snob. While this book isn't strong in the nuts and bolts of a "how to" manual, it is very strong in theory and advice. The book feels like the wise council of a mentor, which Stegner was for so many young writers while he taught creative writing at the university level.(less)
It's hard to imagine any athlete having to perform under more pressure than Jackie Robinson performed under during his first season in the major leagu...moreIt's hard to imagine any athlete having to perform under more pressure than Jackie Robinson performed under during his first season in the major leagues. Not only was he playing for his spot on his team, but for any spot on any team that a black man might be considered for in the future. He had to prove that black man could perform under the scrutiny of the major leagues. And, as Eig recounts in Opening Day, he did so with flying colors. He didn't just maintain his spot in the daily lineup, he thrived, and became one of the best players in the history of the game. The book gives brief chapters on Robinson's upbringing and his later career and life, but the bulk of the book focuses, as the subtitle suggests, on his first season in the majors. Such a narrow focus adds a very baseball-like dimension to this story. The baseball season is long and it ebbs and flows with streaks of greatness interspersed with streaks of failure. Robinson went through all of that during his first season, and since Eig decided to dedicate this entire book to his first season, the reader gets to go through it with him. We cheer him on as he's batting over .400 and we worry with him when he hasn't been hitting for the past ten games. Eig also does a wonderful job of placing Robinson's first season in the context of its time and showing what it meant to him, to other players on his team and in his league, to others of his race, and to the country as a whole. This is a very accessible, objectively written, book on one of the greatest accomplishments in the history of sports--which is not that a black man played in the major leagues, but that a man thrived in the major leagues while he was reminded every day that he was different and unwanted by some. And that he did so with such grace is a testament to his moral courage.(less)
While The Lion, the Witch, and the Woredrobe is a children's adventure story infused with deep and meaningful symbolism, this book felt more like just...moreWhile The Lion, the Witch, and the Woredrobe is a children's adventure story infused with deep and meaningful symbolism, this book felt more like just a children's adventure story. There were some nice little lessons, but I didn't feel like the whole story built to something more than what was on the page. Lewis's wonderful storytelling make it worth the time to read, though.(less)
I honestly picked this book up because of the cool cover. It got my attention. It didn't take me long, though, to realize that the cover was all this...moreI honestly picked this book up because of the cool cover. It got my attention. It didn't take me long, though, to realize that the cover was all this book had going for it. The first thirty pages felt like a commercial break--fifteen to thirty second bits of sound and flashing images that are completely unrelated to each other. The book lacks any sort of focus. In those thrity pages I hadn't encountered a single image or character to grab my attention. There was a lot of disorienting movement and action done by shell-like characters, but nothing that I cared about. So, I stopped reading after page thrity. And to anyone who might want to protest that it gets better later on, I will say, "There are too many good books out there to waste my time on this one."(less)
Hamlet is my favorite work of literature, so I looked forward to learning about it from someone who had spent far more time reading it than I had. For...moreHamlet is my favorite work of literature, so I looked forward to learning about it from someone who had spent far more time reading it than I had. For the most part, I was dissapointed. While there were a few intersting insights in this book, it wasn't nearly as eye-opening as I thought it would be. And after having read it, I don't feel like my reading of the play is significantly better-informed than it was before I read it.(less)
Hamlet: This is, in my opinion, the best piece of literature ever written in the English language.
Macbeth: I never read this play in school, or anythi...moreHamlet: This is, in my opinion, the best piece of literature ever written in the English language.
Macbeth: I never read this play in school, or anything, which is weird because I was an English major in college and took a Shakespeare class. I just read it though, in anticipation of seeing the play performed. I wanted to understand what I was seeing better. There are some really great themes in this play -- trust, betrayal, the influence a corrupt leader has on his people -- and there are some great passages -- Macbeth's ruminations on the brevity and meaninglessness of life is powerful. Overall, it didn't wow me, but I think I need to read it a few more times so that I can really sink my teeth in it.
Othello: I love this play because Shakespeare does such a great job of showing how the characters do not do what they say they do. Othello says that he trusts his wife, but at the mere mention of her being unfaithful he loses it and ends up killing her. Trust means believing someone even when you have reason not to, not just when everything is fine.(less)
This book is wasted on high schoolers. Ninety-nine percent of them just aren't ready for it. I know I wasn't. All I remember about it from high school...moreThis book is wasted on high schoolers. Ninety-nine percent of them just aren't ready for it. I know I wasn't. All I remember about it from high school was that I hated it. I'm so glad, though, that I gave it another chance later, now that my literary tastes have matured a little. Fitzgerald's prose is absolutely gorgeous. The book is worth reading just to experience the beautifully crafted sentences and paragraphs. In addition to that, the story that it tells has a universal appeal. Anyone who has ever wanted something more than life itself and found that it is just out of reach can see themselves in the tragic figure of Jay Gatsby. Anyone who read this book when they weren't ready for it, as I did in high school, should do themselves a favor and sit down with it again. (less)