?

Log in

Thu, Jan. 29th, 2004, 08:22 pm

Big ReadCollapse )

Thu, Oct. 16th, 2003, 04:42 pm
The Stranger by Albert Camus

The Stranger by Albert Camus

R1ating: * *

A short existentialist novella featuring a condemned man. I was rather disappointed with this novel on the whole. It was only about 150 pages (perhaps less) but it dragged.

The main character, Meursault, has a sort of detachement towards everything from his lover to his own mother's death. He is not even moved much by his arrest or guilt in murdering a man. In short, you can hardly identify with him as he himself has hardly any emotion in connection to anything. A lack of interest in the character was quite the problem for when trying to get through this book.

To highlight good points-- I very much enjoyed a certain conversation between our condemned man and a priest toward the end of the story. I suppose that this book would appeal to diehard fans of existentialist fiction but I wuld sooner point one to Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot for good existentialist lit.

Mon, Sep. 22nd, 2003, 03:55 pm
Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

Rating: * * * * *


An existentialist tragicomedy in two acts. I loved this play-- definitely the epitome of a tragicomedy. I laughed out loud at many of the lines from Vladimir and Estragon, the main characters, as well as Pozzo, a man that happens by as they wait for Godot. The deeper themes of the play got me thinking too.

Who is Godot and why are these two men waiting for him? Good question. It's not important though-- not as important as their waiting to be saved by Godot at least. The way the characters passed away the time of their waiting made the pages fly by for me-- it seemed I had scarcely started when I was at the end!

Highly recommended. Waiting for Godot is a great, quick read.

Wed, Aug. 27th, 2003, 03:20 pm
The Awakening by Kate Chopin

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Rating: * * * * *


Mrs. Pontellier begins to find herslf as a person after falling in love with a younger man, and discovers that she is Edna and not just Mrs. Pontellier. Her behavior is unorthodox for the late nineteenth century but she finds she no longer cares.

Definitely a top five favorite of mine. This book pulled me in so easily and I was hooked until the very end. What really struck me was how well I could identify with Edna and her emotions. Beautifully done characterization and the simplicity of the writing and metaphors really works for the overall story.

While Edna's "Awakening" does begin with her falling in love with another man, this is by no means a love story. This is a story of soul-searching with a modern feel though it was written in 1899. This is a story of a woman defining herself as a person. The writing is not the most in-depth but that really added to the charm of this book.

Tue, Aug. 26th, 2003, 04:26 pm
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Rating: * * * * *


The story of a 'strong man', a prominent and fierce member of a West African tribe, the Ibo. Okonkwo is a self-made man and highly respected. He does not tolerate weakness and fear, ruling his household with a heavy hand. Tragic events test his endurance to the breaking point.

I do not recall having ever been so deeply affected by a single book (with a possible exception of To Kill a Mockingbird). This is one to really get you into a contemplative mood. I loved Achebe's writing style and his descriptions of Nigerian tribal life. You really get to know the culture and Okonkwo through the book and though you may dislike the main character because of his temper, I guarantee the ending will have you pensive for at least a little while.

Mon, Aug. 25th, 2003, 09:26 am
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Rating: * * * *


Told from the point of view of Nick Carraway, The Great Gatsby is the story of Jay Gatsby's doomed obsession with Daisy Buchanan, a wealthy, married woman who had been his lover before the war.

I rather liked the details that made the Jazz Age really come alive in this book. And I absolutely loved the perspective character, Nick; Fitzgerald sets up at the very beginning that Nick is an observant character who is careful with his judgement and remains true to this characterization throughout the story.

However, I gave it just four stars because it took quite a while for me to get into the story, which isn't very long to begin with (my copy is only 115 pages). But I did enjoy it and was impressed that such a charismatic story could be told in just over a hundred pages. Nick Carraway alone is enough to make me want to reread this book; I just loved his personality and his perceptiveness.

Plus, the ending came as a surprise to me. I won't give it away, but it's definitely an unexpected twist.

Sat, Aug. 23rd, 2003, 09:27 pm
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Rating: * * * * *


The Antichrist has been born and the Apocalypse is imminent. The hosts of Heaven and Hell couldn't be happier, ready for the battle they've been waiting for since the fall of Lucifer-- all except Crowley the demon and Aziraphale the angel, that is. They've been down on the earth since the beginning and have grown rather fond of it. Question is, will they be able to put a stop to it?

By far the funniest book I've ever read. It's a welcome change from the heavier stuff I usually read. The combined talents of Gaiman and Pratchett really have put out a first-rate book, clever and wonderfully satirical all the way through!

The plot is excellent and the colorful characters oven in are charming. We have the unlikely alliance of Crowley and Aziraphale, a rather unworldy Odd Couple; Anathema Device, professional descandant and occultist; Sergeant Shadwell, in charge of the Witchfinder Army; Newt Pulsifer, wannabe computer technician and reluctant Witchfinder; Adam, the Antichrist but otherwise a typical eleven year old boy; and a whole host of other characters!

If you need a laugh, check this story out. If you want a clever and unique story, check it out. If you enjoy good books in general, check it out!

Fri, Aug. 22nd, 2003, 08:31 pm
Beloved by Toni Morrison

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Rating: * * * * *


Set in Ohio post-Civil War. Sethe is an escaped slave and has been living in Ohio for eighteen years. All that remains of her family now is her youngest daughter Denver and an angry spirit haunting their house. Paul D. whom Sethe has not seen since she escaped from Sweet Home comes along and a series of events follow: each adult begins relieving horrible memories of the past, a mysterious girl who calls herself 'Beloved' appears, and Sethe reveals a terrible incident in her past.

With a haunting and unique plot, this book is right up on my favorites list. My above summary did it no justice. I was a bit wary when I began reading it because it was a) an Oprah favorite and I tend to distrust mainstream, and b) the prose style was very unusual. The beginning is a tad confusing but stick with it; you will be rewarded with an excellent story!

The flashbacks that Paul D. and Sethe both have throughout the book are excellently done and potray the horrors and hardships of slaves. The presence of Beloved makes up the main plot and you'll be breathless as you begin to learn about her and how she figures into Sethe's life.

All-around, I was very impressed with this book. The plot was well-crafted and suspenseful and the characters were very fleshed-out. I will be reading more of Morrison's work in the future.

Wed, Aug. 20th, 2003, 11:28 am
Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Rating: * * * *


Based on the famous Vermeer painting. Griet goes to work for the Vermeer family when she is sixteen years old to help support her family. Vermeer's jealous wife Catherine, their mischievious young daughter Cornelia, and the lustful patron van Ruijven are only a few of the problems that hinder Griet in her new life. She finds herself entangled in, and the very cause of, growing tension and disorder in the household when she begins developing a close bond with Johannes Vermeer himself. Griet treads a fine line remembering her place in the family.

I enjoyed reading this book though only gave it four stars because the characterization seemed a bit flat at times and the climax was a bit anticlimatical. Everything was rather predictable as well. Highly recommended nonetheless.