Lori's Reviews > Gulliver's Travels

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
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it was ok
bookshelves: fiction

Oh man.
This book was sheer torture.

The writing was dry and bland and boring.
Swift had some really interesting ideas - An island of people no larger than your finger. Another island with people that are 60 feet tall. A floating island, an island of scientists, the island of Yahoos...but the execution was hard to appreciate.

I came very close to putting this novel down many many times.
I admit to not being a fan of early, victorian literature, but this was just painful.
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Reading Progress

August 3, 2008 – Shelved
Started Reading
March 10, 2009 – Shelved as: fiction
March 10, 2009 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-36 of 36 (36 new)

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The Book Whisperer (aka Boof) Well done for finishing it though Lori; I know how painful it was for you.

message 2: by Liz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Liz I'm sorry it was painful, I didn't like it when I read bits of it but I don't know that I found it painful. Unfortunately, I've got to read it to graduate from college next year. Blech.

Lori Ohhh Poor Liz. It's got great storylines, just told in such a dreadful way.

message 4: by Liz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Liz Thanks for understanding, Lori :)

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

It's a marvellously-written book of marvels that can be read & reread many times, but I know that if you come to it untaught or poorly taught that sometimes it's going to drag. That's a shame.
It's not Victorian though: Swift was active in the time of Queen Anne and after: well over a century before Victoria.

Lori Colin, I would have to disagree with you on the fact that "being poorly taught or untaught" influences someones tastes. Whether I have a degree in literature or not, I like what I like, and only time can influence that...

message 7: by Ben (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ben My experience with this book was the same as yours, Lori...

Lori Thanks Ben. I think if someone else were to tackle those stories, and rewrite them, they could be amazing.

message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm sorry if I across as if I was 'dissing' you: I didn't mean it that way at all, honest. Of course you're entitled to dislike it, and I can see why someone would. It's just I'm a bit of a Swift fan. Life's too short to waste it on stuff you hate. Have fun :)

Jeremiah hey colin, from what i read about your post, i thought you were referring to being "untaught in what was happening during that time period as far as history is concerned." i can definitely see lori's point that having a degree in literature doesn't really matter, but i feel that with this book, it would be more important to have a degree in history or have studied the time period to truly grasp the importance of the novel and understand what is happening. going in to this book without any prior knowledge about how life was when swift wrote it would make this book pretty boring.

Marjanna It's important to read this in the context of the time in which it was written and to know that Swift was writing about the time of the Irish Potato Famine. The way in which this was treated by the English Government of the day was so appalling that the repercussions are still with us today. It's therefore not a book to be read simply as a story but a very bitter comment on the mores of the time.

message 12: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Satire is always about context, and with no real grasp on the subject's Swift was satirizing, this book could be little more that literary ambien. Still, to call something so influential and enduring painful seems a bit ... silly. I've seen others review Candide in similar fashion. To each there own I suppose.

message 13: by Ben (last edited Feb 07, 2011 10:28AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ben Joshua wrote: Still, to call something so influential and enduring painful seems a bit ... silly.

There are plenty of things that are painful that are also influential and enduring. I'm suprised that seems silly to you.

message 14: by Joshua (new)

Joshua True, but those things aren't typically the odd stories that are largely used to amuse our kids over the last 300 years either.

message 15: by Ben (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ben I guess it's all subjective. I found the stories boring, and in that sense they were painful to me. But I know that most people don't find them boring. Subjectivity and art so often go together, I suppose.

message 16: by Lori (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lori Joshua, what causes me pain may not be the same thing that causes you pain. It was really truly a painful book for me to read. I don't need you to agree with me, but I certainly don't need to be called "silly" either.

message 17: by Joshua (new)

Joshua I didn't call you silly, just the notion.

message 18: by Rommel (new)

Rommel i just went to see the movie,,,can't say the movie was all that great,,,kind of predictable after Gulliver lands on the island of the little people but it definately had it's funny scenes,,,don't let it deter you from seeing the movie if you like the book or the actor Jack Black.

Marjanna Lori, I'm rather puzzled by your defintion of "pain" I only understand that as a physical thing i.e. something for which I would take medication.

As you don't know me and can't hear the tone of voice I'm using, I would like to assure you that I'm not being sarcastic here.

message 20: by Ben (last edited Feb 11, 2011 03:26AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ben Marjanna, pick up a dictionary. Did you grow up in an English speaking country? For Pete Sakes, people use the word "pain" in terms other than physical pain ALL THE TIME...

Marjanna Ben
Being English by birth and having 68 years experience of using the language, I do have a rough idea of its usage. (Enough to know that the phrase is "for Pete's sake, if we are being picky) And please don't shout - I was trying to understand from Lori, why she found reading the book "painful".

Swathika Manu I totally agree. I would have thrown the book away IF IT WASN'T PART OF OUR SCHOOL'S ENGLISH SYLLABUS. we had to write a 16 page essay on it. Sheer torture.

Bobbie Wendelken I'm struggling to finish it as well. It's like a social commentary came in and took over what could have been a fun adventure novel.

Daniella Insalaco It saddens me that you don't seem to understand the importance of this text. Perhaps if you educate yourself about Swift and the time in which he lived, you could better understand the book, it's witty social satire and then appreciate it for what it's worth. You make this English Literature major very sad indeed.

Simone Lory, I I thought my eyes were being pulled out with hot tongs when I read this book. I nearly have up to. What a load of twaddle :D

Simone Sorry for my thought disordered text! See, its that bad I've lost the ability to write sense.

Angie maybe your problem is that Swift has nothing to do with victorian literature...

Mirjam Buttner why did you rate it too stars than?

Toros 1726 being 93 years before Victoria was even born, I don't think Gulliver's Travels qualifies as Victorian. Don't down-rate a book because you can't cope with the language of the time; the failing is yours, not Swift's.

Cassidy I had to read this book for a class and I like it more the longer I think about it. It did take a long time to read some parts when it got into the governments of each island but Oh the irony! It was so beautiful the way he put everything into the simplest story. He was able to make his complicated satire out of an adventure story.

message 31: by cami pinchock (new)

cami pinchock well shes righ

Edward McEnery Hmmmmm , Swift is from the Victorian era .

message 33: by Pratyaksh (new)

Pratyaksh you speak the truth

Brandon Costa Man I hear ya. I hate to quit books early but this one is a snooze fest

message 35: by Lee (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lee Andrews It is written in the style of travel logs. Like James Cook. Which was the most popular writing of the day.
It's very boring style for modern ears. It's not helped by being a satire of a previous age. You almost have to be history buff to get it. Very outdated!

artist in the making I read a short extract of this from my sis's "2 minute stories for bedtime ".
It was quite good, actually.

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