Category Archives: Classics

Vinegar Girl- Anne Tyler


Synopsis

Based on ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ ‘Vinegar Girl’ is the story of Kate Battista. After leaving university early Kate’s life ended up revolving around caring for her Father and sister, and a job she didn’t really like. She was stuck, then her father introduced her to his assistant Pyotr and seems strangely eager for them to have a relationship.

Review

I’ve never read or seen the original Shakespeare of ‘Taming of the Shrew‘, my main knowledge of it comes from the film ‘10 Things I Hate About You‘, so I knew somewhat what to expect, but knew the film wasn’t the same as the original play.

I’ve never read any Anne Tyler before, although I had heard of her and know she’s popular. I probably wouldn’t have read this one if I didn’t know it was a re-working of Shakespeare. It just sounded too chick-litty. I am not completely anti-chick-lit but I don’t tend to read it as it can be sort of formulaic, and that makes it predictable.

I probably would categorise it as chick-lit, if pushed, although the romance side is not as exaggerated as it would be in most chick-lit, and there was more of an emphasis on Kate as a person. I liked the emphasis on Kate, and I liked her as a character, but I would have liked more romance too, even if it made the book more stereotypically chick-lit. The romance element just seemed very sudden, especially if I compare it to ’10 Things I Hate About You’.

I enjoyed the book overall. It was an easy read, and engaging. I had been feeling that I didn’t really know what to read, it was a good gap filler. I’d like to read some of the others in the Hogarth Shakespeare series.

 3/5

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Other Reviews:

Words for Worms

Sam Still Reading

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Filed under Chicklit, Classics, Contempory, Fiction review, Retelling

Slaughterhouse-Five- Kurt Vonnegut


This book was read as part of The Rory List

Synopsis (adapted from amazon)

Slaughterhouse-Five (1969) is the now famous parable of Billy Pilgrim, a World War II veteran and POW, who has in the later stage of his life become “unstuck in time” and who experiences at will (or unwillingly) all known events of his chronology out of order and sometimes simultaneously.

Review

I’ve been rewatching a lot of Lost recently (yay netflix!), I’m pretty sure a whole load of series 4 is based (ok…loosely) on slaughterhouse-five. Basically what happens is Two guys get off the island, and one of the guys gets unstuck in time- like Billy Pilgram. He keeps flicking from present day back to when he was in the army. What’s it caused by? Well I have theories but I haven’t actually seen the end yet.

In Slaughterhouse-Five we know why Billy is unstuck in time. Or at least we know why Billy thinks he’s unstuck in time. It could just be post-dramatic stress disorder induced fantasies. He may well be in the hospital bed, or even living a ‘normal’ life the whole time.

It’s weird, and different, and it doesn’t make sense. So what? Does fiction have to make sense?

3/5

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Other reviews:

Giraffe Days

 

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Filed under Classics, Fiction review, Sci-Fi

Persuasion- Jane Austen


Persuasion was my May read for the To Be Read Pile Challenge

Synopsis (from amazon)

Spendthrift baronet Sir Walter overlooks Anne Elliot, his middle daughter, as he’s more concerned with his good looks and social ranking. Anne’s mother died years ago so and her sisters are not close to the refined, sensitive Anne, who appears destined for spinsterhood at age 27. She pines for Frederick Wentworth, however, and life takes an unexpected turn when Frederick re-enters her life.

 

Review

 

It’s taken me too long to get around to writing this review…after all it’s June now.

 

Part of that is that I really feel I have nothing to say on Persuasion. I’m sure I remember people telling me it was their favourite Austen…but I was also sure that it was in the comments when I reviewed Northanger Abbey– which it isn’t. It did say in the comments that they are two very different books- which they are. I really liked Northanger Abbey. It was humourous, and a little gothic. Persuasion was much more serious. It had a little light relief in form of Anne’s family. However generally I found Mary annoying (she was a bit like Mrs Bennett of Pride and Prejudice- but without Mr Bennett to make her seem funny), and Sir Walter shallow. I could see how they could both be light and funny- I just didn’t experience them that way.

 

I did like Anne though, and that’s what kept me reading.

 

Probably my least favourite Austen so far

 

3/5

 

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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz- L. Frank Baum


This book was read as part of the To Be Read Pile Challenge, and is on the Rory List

Synopsis (from amazon)

Dorothy Gale and her little dog Toto are in for the ride of their lives when a tornado drops them off in the Land of Oz. Can Dorothy and her new friends survive the perils of Oz to reach the Wizard and find a way home?

 

Review

I’m sure there is nobody who hasn’t at least heard of the film of The Wizard of Oz, and most people have seen it. It was my first introduction to the land of Oz so I couldn’t help but compare the two. I do like the film, despite it’s cheesy-ness.

One thing I was surprised about was the lack of appearance of The Wicked Witch of the West in the book. Yes she is there, but she isn’t as much of a major character. The wizard himself is less likeable too, but more like the film version of himself.

I did like the story. Although I think if I didn’t know elements of the story so well I would have enjoyed it more. There’s a little note at the begginning about it being written for children’s pleasure rather than any moral lesson. It certainly is more fun than moral, however I do think there was a bit of a lesson, about how you can improve yourself, or how people change I suppose.

3/5

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Other Reviews:

Owl Tell You All About It

Alison McCarthy

 

 

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Little Women- Louisa May Alcott


Little Women was read as part of the TBR Pile Challenge 2014 and The Rory List.

Synopsis (from amazon)

Following the lives of four sisters on a journey out of adolescence, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women explores the difficulties associated with gender roles in a Post-Civil War America.

Review

Lots of people love Little Women, don’t they? I think maybe I read it at the wrong time. I should have read it when I was younger maybe. I can see myself liking it around he time I read A Little Princess, and The Secret Garden, and all the Noel Streatfield books. It has a similar tone. As an adult though, I didn’t like it so much.

It struck me as being a little preachy to be honest. I get the idea of good role models and having a moral story- it’s even addressed within the book, however it’s almost too perfect, even as they have their own struggles with things they find hard the girls never really seem to need redeeming.

The characters were too set in their ways. The idea of Beth always being perfect, and Amy always a little vain, and Jo with her boys. There was no real depth there a lot of the time.

Looking at Alcott’s life it seems that it is very much based on herself and her sisters (her being Jo, of course). Maybe this is why Jo seemed like the most defined character, because Alcott could see into her own head, but not into that of her sisters.

Whenever I think about this book I think about the episode of Friends where Joey and Rachel read each others favourite books, Rachel’s being Little Women, and Joey’s habit of hiding books in the freezer.

3/5

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Dracula- Bram Stoker



This book was read as part of The To Be Read Pile Challenge, and The Rory List

Synopsis (from amazon)

Bram Stoker’s Dracula introduces one of literature’s most famous characters, as the terrifying Count wreaks havoc on the band of hunters intent on stopping him.

Review

When I posted my list for the To Be Read Pile Challenge a lot of people said that Dracula was a great choice, so I decided to read it as my first book for the challenge.

A lot of my TBR pile books are classics, mainly because I find that reading classics tends to take more stamina than more contemporary novels. Dracula was no different really. It was probably easier than some of the other classics however.

I like gothic novels so I loved the gothic elements in Dracula, although I did expect a bit more of that. I also enjoyed the hunt as the ‘team’ tried to track down, isolate, and destroy Dracula. It had a decent portion of action but also had some thoughtfulness which was more interesting to read. I imagine when vampire folklore was less well known these portions of the novel would have seemed smarter and have much more of a climax. Nowadays vampires are pretty ingrained in popular culture so things aren’t as much of a surprise.

There was a little bit of a feminist element which I hadn’t expected. Mina is undoubtedly a clever and strong woman. She is often seen as just a woman, until she does something that is seen as remarkable, and even then the effects of that only last for a a little while

3/5

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Emma- Jane Austen


This book was read as part of The Rory List

Synopsis (adapted from amazon)

Beautiful, rich, self-assured and witty, Emma Woodhouse delights in match-making those around her, with no apparent care for her own romantic life. Taking young Harriet Smith under her wing, Emma sets her sights on finding a suitable match for her friend.

Review

Why is it I can’t find a none spoilerish synopsis of Emma?

Reportedly Austen said of Emma that she was a

‘heroine whom no one but myself will much like’

and I must admit at least when it comes to my own opinion of her that I must agree. I did not take to Emma the character at all. She was such a snob. And just generally judgemental, she decided who she liked at didn’t before she even met them, and then of course when she got to know them she could only find things to support that. (Highlight for spoiler) and she did not deserve Mr Knightly, who was probably my favourite character in the whole book, but maybe he was good for her.

Overall though I did enjoy Emma. I found it rather amusing, especially when Emma was just so clueless but convinced that she was right. It kind of feels mean to laugh at her but sometimes you rage at her, so you know it’s good to be able to laugh at her.

Incidentally I now realise why the film Clueless (which is based on Emma) is called Clueless.

3.5/5

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Other Reviews:

Booketta’s Book Blog

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Just for the fun of it

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The Picture of Dorian Gray- Oscar Wilde


This book was read as part of The Rory List.

Synopsis (from Amazon)

The Picture of Dorian Gray is Oscar Wilde’s enduringly popular story of a beautiful and corrupt man and the portrait that reveals all his secrets.

Entranced by the perfection of his recently painted portrait, the youthful Dorian Gray expresses a wish that the figure on the canvas could age and change in his place. When his wish comes true, the portrait becomes his hideous secret as he follows a downward trajectory of decadence and cruelty that leaves its traces only in the portrait’s degraded image. Wilde’s unforgettable portrayal of a Faustian bargain and its consequences is narrated with his characteristic incisive wit and diamond-sharp prose. The result is a novel that is as flamboyant and controversial as its incomparable author.

Review

This book had been on my kindle waiting to be read for almost a year (I put it on at Christmas when I got my kindle), and had intended to read it long before that- since before I’ve had this blog in fact. It’s one of those books you feel you should read in a sense, a classic, yes, but one you feel may have a bit on a punch to it. Early Sci-fi if you will.

It wasn’t exactly what I expected, even though I didn’t have a great deal of expectations anyway. I did enjoy it generally speaking but I also found it rather slow, it took a while for anything of any real significance to happen, although once it did I started enjoying the story much more.

It had a certain scary element to it. An inevitability, and actually a death in it made The Shortlist’s most gruesome literary deaths (beware spoilers) recently (and I agree, it was horrific!).

I never really liked Dorian himself, even before all the bad things were happening. He was too nieve, and too easily influenced, but that made him rather an interesting character to read. I preferred Lord Henry, he wasn’t exactly a good person but he was certainly an entertaining character.

4/5

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Grimm Tales: For Young and Old- Philip Pullman


Disclaimer: This book was given to me free of charge via netgally in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis (from Amazon)

In this beautiful book of classic fairy tales, award-winning author Philip Pullman has chosen his fifty favourite stories from the Brothers Grimm and presents them in a ‘clear as water’ retelling, in his unique and brilliant voice.

From the quests and romance of classics such as ‘Rapunzel’, ‘Snow White’ and ‘Cinderella’ to the dangerand wit of such lesser-known tales as ‘The Three Snake Leaves’, ‘Hans-my-Hedgehog’ and ‘Godfather Death’, Pullman brings the heart of each timeless tale to the fore, following with a brief but fascinating commentary on the story’s background and history. In his introduction, he discusses how these stories have lasted so long, and become part of our collective storytelling imagination.

These new versions show the adventures at their most lucid and engaging yet. Pullman’s Grimm Tales of wicked wives, brave children and villainous kings will have you reading, reading aloud and rereading them for many years to come.

Review

I’ve read a version of The Brother’s Grimm fairytales before, for The Rory List. The collection (as with most) was not complete and I really saw what it was lacking from reading Pullman’s collection. Grimm Tales does not contain all of the fairy tales told by The Brother’s Grimm however it does highlight a number of stranger and/or less well known tales. I particularly liked the story of the bird, the sausage and the mouse, just for how absurd it was, although in terms of strangeness of story it probably wasn’t the strangest of all, more it just had the most unlikely characters.

Pullman tried to keep the tales as close as he could to how they had originally been recorded by The Brother’s Grimm but he did change a few things for clarity and flow and I found them easier to read than the former version I had read. Pullman also added little commentaries on each text where he talked about the stories, how they linked to other stories in folklore, things which had been said about the stories, and about how the Brother’s Grimm had already come across them. I felt this really added something to the stories and I found the commentary interesting to read.

I wouldn’t really recommend reading Grimm Tales in the way that I did, i.e. as a book rather than as individual stories. It’s probably better to dip in and out. At first (as you could probably tell from my twitter feed) I was really into it and commenting on pretty much every story. However after a while things began to get a bit samey and I started to loose interest.

In a way though reading all the stories together did help me see parallels which was quite interesting, and also helped the different end of tales information join together nicely when Pullman refereed to previous or future tales.

I would recommend this book but maybe wait for the paperback, or at least don’t try to read it all at once.

3.5/5

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The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald


Image from Amazon


This book was read as part of The Rory List

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Jay Gatsby is a self-made man famed for his decadent, champagne-drenched parties. Despite being surrounded by Long Island’s bright and beautiful, he longs only for Daisy Buchanan. In shimmering prose, Fitzgerald shows Gatsby pursue his dream to its tragic conclusion.

Review

So what can I say? Is The Great Gatsby great? (God how clichéd, I wonder how many times that has been written?) Well to be honest not really. I know lots of people love it but I must admit most of the time I was just waiting for something to happen. Then when finally things seemed to be starting to happen it ended. Actually the tone reminded me of Catcher in the Rye (which I wasn’t that impressed by either).

Having said that it was an easy read for a ‘classic’. And quite short.

I like the look of the film too. I can see Baz Lurhmann doing the extravagance well (after all he did make Moulin Rogue)

3.5/5

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As the Crowe Flies (and Reads!)

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Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen


Image from Amazon

This book is featured on The Rory List

Synopsis (from Amazon)

The pride of high-ranking Mr Darcy and the prejudice of middle-class Elizabeth Bennet conduct an absorbing dance through the rigid social hierarchies of early-nineteenth-century England, with the passion of the two unlikely lovers growing as their union seems ever more improbable. One of the most cherished love stories in English literature, Jane Austen’s 1813 masterpiece has a lasting effect on everyone who reads it.

Review.

I have ‘known’ Pride and Prejudice for a long time both through the BBC series and the more recent Keira Knightly film, and that’s without mentioning all the modernisations (like Bridget Jones’ Diary), so I have been meaning to actually read it for a long time. Why have I never read it before? Well I don’t tend to have the best of experiences with classics, I gave up on my last one, Vanity Fair. The Hunchback of NotreDame got thrown across the room. I struggled through Rachel Ray, and regretted not giving u. I only liked Jane Eyre in retrospect and was never that into Wuthering Heights.

In fact pretty much the only classic I have enjoyed (that wasn’t written for children) was my first Austen, Northanger Abbey. Not long afterwards in the hope I had found a classic writer I actually enjoyed I started Emma, but on reading a little decided I wasn’t really in the right mood, so I left the classics until now.

So was Northanger Abbey just a flux? I was a bit worried it would be as it’s known as the ‘different’ Austen novel. Certainly it is very different from Pride and Prejudice but still I liked this at least as much. Just as with Northanger Abbey I found that I was laughing a lot more than I had expected. I loved Lizzy. She comes across so much smarter and wittier, and even more caring than she does in either filmed adaptation and while I had liked Lizzy in both (probably more in the BBC version) I got to know her in the same way the book allowed me to (certainly that is probably something that is generally easier to do on the page than on film, but that’s a discussion for another time I think.).

Generally I knew what to expect from the book, in some ways it made it easier to read because in areas when I felt the book was getting a little slow I knew it couldn’t be long until a bit I knew. In other ways though it made it harder to read, because I was eager for those bits. Luckily it has been a while since I had watched Pride and Prejudice so while I wasn’t exactly surprised by events it did occasionally take reading about them to remind me. The one thing I really expected though was for the novel to be told from Lizzy’s point of view and actually that wasn’t so. Certainly you saw much into Lizzy’s mind, and that’s part of the reason that she was such a well constructed character, but you also see a fair bit into Darcy’s mind and to a lesser extend the rest of the Bennett family. Really that was what made the novel for me. Yes, the story is great, but has inspired so many stories that it has become predictable. However the was the characters were written so you could almost be another member of the Bennett family was what made it special.

4/5

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Grimm’s Fairy Stories- Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm


Image from Amazon

This book was read as part of the Rory List

Synopsis (from Amazon)

The Brothers Grimm rediscovered a host of fairy tales. Together with their well-known tales of “Rapunzel”, “The Goose Girl”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “Hansel and Gretel” there are darker tales which deserve to be better known. This is a collection of their tales.

 

Review

This was the first book I read on my lovely new Kindle. Oh the excitement!

I suppose though my method of reading them was not the best. I read them all one after the other and that did make them all seem to blend together a little, and made the similar ones so much more obviously similar. There was a certain strangeness about it.

A lot of the stories of course I knew, but I was surprised by some of the differences, and that there were so many I didn’t know. I especially enjoyed The Six Swans and although there were aspects I recognised it was not a story I really knew which made me wonder why it is not more well known.

The stories were simple and easy to read, perfect bedtime reading

4/5

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The Hunchback of NotreDame- Victor Hugo


Cover of "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (Si...

Cover via Amazon

This review was written 4/5/09


Synopsis
(from Amazon)

Set in 1482, “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” is a compelling story of love and betrayal, brutal deeds and one of the most famous acts of revenge in world literature. Quasimodo, the hunchback of the title, is one of fiction’s most extreme characters – beneath his monstrous disfigurement, his love for the beautiful Esmerelda reveals a heart full of intense emotion. The novel is set in the great cathedral of Notre-Dame and had a profound influence on the Romantic Movement.

Review

I’ll say from the onset I gave up on this book before finishing it. I really wasn’t getting into it. I found that there was very little real story line and a lot of waffle. Right from the start I had this impression but wasn’t letting myself give up until I had at least reach 100 pages. By page 100 there was actually some story- enough that I decided to keep going but the next chapter put me off again. The story stopped for a rant about how Notredame had changed since being built, I had finally begun to be able to read this story without being frustrated by the lack of story when it as cut short by this rant which really frustrated me. If the actual story had gone on a bit longer before this I may have persevered but I had only just decided it might be worth carrying on.
I may pick up the book again, and to that end have kept my place marked but, for now at least, I’m too frustrated to carry on.

1/5

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The Scarlet Letter- Nathaniel Hawthorne


This review was written 9/3/09

Synopsis

I was going to copy the synopsis from Amazon but it had a spoiler, so I will try to write my own.
The Scarlet Letter is the story of Hester. A woman who is being punished for her adultary by being forced to wear a scarlet letter A on her clothes, so that all will know her crime. Along with her daughter Pearl we see how this effects Hester’s life and the lives of those around her.

Review

Plot wise this story has great potential, there is intrigue, love (romantic and otherwise), and elements of both psychology and morality. However I thought that the story dragged, the basics of the plot were interesting enough to keep me reading, but there seemed to be much which was unnecessary and which made the story drag. To hear more about how the letter effected Hester’s life would have made the story better I feel, or maybe to hear more about how she felt about the letter. I also found the style of writing difficult to read- maybe I’m just not cut out for classics, and occasionally lost track of what was happening because of the way it was written- and only realised later when what I thought was happening no longer made sense.
If you have the energy, or the concentration it’s probably worth the read, if just for the fact that the ending sums up everything so well and makes you think it was worthwhile. If you want something easy though, don’t bother.

2.5/5

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Rachel Ray- Anthony Trollope


This review was written 27/2/09

Synopsis (from Amazon)
This is Trollope’s most detailed and concise study of middle-class life in a small provincial community – in this case Baslehurst, in the luscious Devon countryside. It is also a charming love-story, centring on sweet-natured Rachel Ray and her suitor Luke Rowan, whose battle to wrest control over Baslehurst’s brewery involves a host of typically Trollopian local characters.

Review

Well what can I say? I did not enjoy this book, in fact I’m surprised that I didn’t give up before the end although I was tempted many times. There were the occasional sections which I, didn’t enjoy exactly but found somewhat engaging and that is part of what kept me going I think. By the end I did want to know how the characters would end up, which I suppose shows that I found the characters more engaging than I had realised while reading, or maybe it just shows that I was looking forward to resolution and the end .
Plot wise I didn’t find it particularly engaging. What I had expected to be the main plotline- that of Rachel and Luke’s romance although a central plot was not really seen so much as discussed. This was somewhat disappointing as possibly my favourite book moment was when we actually saw them together as a couple. The second main theme of the brewery I just found generally boring. I found the owner of the brewery stubbon to the point that I just wished he’d shut up and stop moaning.
The whole story I found rather dragged out, everything was written with more words and explaination than neccersary. Some discription is good but I found the ammount of discription gave a waffley element to the narative, paired with the usual language used in ‘classic’ novels it made reading a real effort, which I wouldn’t mind if it wasn’t for the fact that it really added nothing to my enjoyment.
Oh and the blurb said it was a comedy, maybe there was one point in the whole book which made me laugh! I have a feeling it was an observational comedy though and society is quite a lot different to how it was at the time when Trollope was writing.
I am not generally a classic reader. Which I suppose is part of what made me so determined to finish this one. This though is the first I have really not enjoyed of what I have read. I wouldn’t recommend it, and deffinatly not if you are not someone who usually reads classics.

2/5

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Alice in Wonderland- Lewis Carroll


Synopsis (from Amazon)

When Alice tumbles down a rabbit hole one hot summer’s afternoon in pursuit of a White Rabbit, she finds herself in Wonderland. And here begin the fantastical adventures that will see her experiencing extraordinary changes in size, swimming in a pool of her own tears and attending the very maddest of tea parties.

Review

My Mum read this to me first time when I was little, and I was really surprised by how much I remembered. I’ve seen the Disney film a million times but I still managed to remember some bits that weren’t in it, my favourite being the Duchess which I remembered fondly anyway. I enjoyed it a lot this time round too, even though there was a page missing (it was the same copy, and used to belong to my Nanna). I don’t remember the ending being so disappointing though. I knew that [highlight for spoiler]she woke up and it was all a dream. But then it went into some stupid thing being all nostelgic about childhood which doesn’t have much point in what is meant to be a children’s book.

Still worth a read. I’m not sure whether to read Through the Looking Glass or not.

4/5

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Northanger Abbey- Jane Austen


Synopsis (from Amazon)

At Northanger Abbey Jane Austen’s charmingly imperfect heroine, Catherine Morland, meets all the trappings of gothic horror and imagines the worst. Fortunately she has, at hand, her own fundamental good sense and the irresistible but unsentimental hero, Henry Tilney.

Review.

This is the first Austen I’ve ever read, and one that I’ve been wanting to read for quite some time. I’ve had a bit of a bad relationship with classics in the past, the only one I can say I’ve enjoyed (other than children’s stories) is Jane Eyre- and that I didn’t really enjoy until after I had finished and studied it, which made me think a bit about it and appreciate it more. It was this relationship that made me hold off on Northanger Abbey until now, I really wish I had tried it sooner though. I found it funny, and clever, and (at least in comparison to other classics) easy to read. I really liked Catherine, she wasn’t perfect, she was nieve, and fanciful, and once she got an idea in her head there was no way she could get rid of it. But she was trusting, and sweet and faithful too. I didn’t like Isabelle, she seemed full of herself, and selfish- or maybe more self serving [highlight for spoiler]even before all the stuff with James. I found the ending a little abrupt but that was probably the only thing I didn’t really like. Maybe I’ve just been reading the wrong classics up till now.

Out of interest does anyone know if Persuasion is any way related to Northanger Abbey? The original edition was apparently a sort of double bill with both books and I thought there might be a reason.

4.5/5

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Wuthering Heights- Emily Brontë


Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights

Image by elizabethdunn via Flickr

Synopsis (from Amazon)

The tale of Heathcliff and Cathy’s ungovernable love and suffering, and the havoc that their passion wreaks on the families of the Earnshaws and the Lintons, shocked the book’s first readers, with even Emily’s sister Charlotte wondering “whether it is right or advisable to create beings like Heathcliff”.

Review

I have wanted to read this book for years, since I was at school, but somehow never got around to it until now. I guess for that reason I really wanted to like it, so much. Unfortunately I can’t say I did. I found the story slow to progress and to read (whether this is to do with writing style or because I wasn’t to bothered about reading it I am not sure). I can’t say I really liked any of the characters, maybe Cathy was ok, but I don’t really feel I knew her. Heathcliff was just mean and self serving. Catherine (Jnr) was spoilt, self-centred and seemed to think she was worth more than anyone else. I quite liked Hareton, although he was a bit rough initially I always had the impression that underneath all he was a genuinely nice person. I can kind of see how the writing can be seen as good writing. The descriptions were good, and in fact it was reading the first description of Heathcliff which made me want to read the book (wow it must be almost 10 years ago, and I still remember), although I found the descriptions of the moors a bit lacking. I think if you’ve ever been through the moors though you’ll agree that the atmosphere is quite possibly impossible to but in to words. I did however find that in the last 20-30 pages the story did pick up, it became more plot driven I think (I know I have criticised writing for this in the past, but I didn’t feel it undermined writing quality her). Strangely although I had been looking forward to being able to to read something different I wanted the book to continue when I actually had.

Some people have said that this book improves with a second read. Initially I thought that this seemed a bit too much work to put in, I don’t really feel I should have to work to like a book. But then I thought about when I read Jane Eyre. On initial reading I didn’t really enjoy it, although I found interesting bits I did find it slow, but after we had studied it I saw it in a different light and liked it in retrospect. So maybe it is worth reading again sometime, at least I will not get rid of my copy just yet,

2.5/5

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Gone with the Wind- Margaret Mitchell


Gone with the Wind cover

Image via Wikipedia

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Set in Georgia at the time of the Civil War, this is the story of headstrong Scarlett O’Hara, her three marriages and her determination to keep her father’s property of Tara, despite the vicissitudes of war and passion. This novel won the Pulitzer Prize.

Review

This another book that is difficult to review without spoilers, so there will be a few blanked out bits, but hopefully not so many that it’s impossible to get a spoiler free review! Scarlet I found very difficult to like, she’s so selfish, and narrow minded and she thinks so much of herself- although the last one does give some laughs (but maybe only because I don’t like her). There were times that I began maybe to like her, or at least respect her somewhat, because she was strong, even if not for the right reasons. [highlight for spoiler]But she really spoilt it when she lied to Frank about Suellen so she could have him instead. And just because he had some money. I just wanted to hit her then. How could she not think of her sister, she was just so afraid of being poor, but was there really no other way? Despite not liking her I did want it to come good for her in the end [highlight for spoiler]I suppose part of it was that all the way through part of what annoyed me is that she was so twisted up in Ashley that she didn’t realise that she didn’t actually love him, but did love Rhett, and in a way when she realised it made me like her more- despite everything,and I guess I kind of wanted her insight to be rewarded when she had been so dilussioned about herself, it was kind of a turning point for her.

I did like Rhett though, he might not have seemed the nicest guy but at least he was honest about it, and I always felt that behind it all he was basically a good guy.

I was expecting the book to be more of a romance, but really I found it was more about the Civil War- and the time after. I liked that about it as I knew next to nothing about the civil war before, and history does interest me.

Something about this book that made me a little, uneasy shall we say, was that it actually made me understand where the Ku Klux Clan could be coming from, a kind of vigilantte justice. It didn’t actually go as far as to make me agree though, just to see ther side of things.

4.5/5

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