Saturday, August 20, 2011

Summer Reading Review

 

I’ve continued my journey through the classics over the past month, with a slight detour through modern fiction.

 

  • The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • Currently reading; barely into chapter three but so for the regurgitation of hedonism is a bit sickening.

     

  • One of Our Thursdays Is Missing 
  • Rating: Four Stars

    Started reading Jasper Fforde’s latest novel in the Thursday Next series and realized I’d forgotten a lot of details from the preceding four novels (The Eyre Affair, Lost in a Good Book, The Well of Lost Plots, Something Rotten). So I put down OnOTIM and picked up The Eyre Affair and read through it and the three others before diving back into OnOTIM. I really love this series (along with Fforde’s other series- the Nursery Crimes) and the latest addition did not disappoint. I did feel however that the ending was compacted and rushed compared to the pace of the rest of the novel. My husband also enjoys this fantasy series so I’d say the appeal is definitely cross gender. It’s got everything to love: romance, drama, action, mystery, time travel, sarcasm and dry wit.

     

  • My Antonia
  • Rating: Five Stars

    Willa Cather’s historical love story is beautiful. Her gift with descriptive text is unmatched; I was able to pull myself easily into the Nebraskan landscape she gloriously describes. My favorite excerpts below:

    “She threw her arms around me, and her dear face was all wet with tears. I stood watching their white dresses glimmer smaller and smaller down the sidewalk as they went away. I have had no other success that pulled at my heartstrings like that one.”

    “The windy springs and the blazing summers, one after another, had enriched and mellowed that flat tableland; all the human effort that had gone into it was coming back in long, sweeping lines of fertility.”

    “If there was a road, I could not make it out in the faint starlight. There was nothing but land: not a country at all, but the material out of which countries are made.”

     

  • War of the Worlds
  • Rating: Two Stars

    Very short novel that didn’t convey any deep meaning or instill deep identification or sympathy with the characters. Forgettable.

     

  • A Tale of Two Cities
  • Rating: Four Stars

    I would have rated Dickens’ classic novel with five stars if it weren’t for his style in use of language. Something about the way he wrote causes difficulty in reading comprehension; I often found myself rereading sentences or paragraphs to discern what was happening in the scene or what the characters were trying to convey with their speech. Aside from the language style, the novel holds up brilliantly on all other aspects to be judged. The characters are strongly developed, the descriptive narrative paints the picture of scene well, and the plot is engaging. It’s also a happy bonus for me when the story teaches a moral lesson in parallel with the narrative unfolding and that is just what AToTC accomplishes. It speaks volumes on revenge, mob rule and sacrificial love.

     

  • The Five People You Meet in Heaven
  • Rating: Two Stars

    The quality of writing in this novel is sophomoric and it shows in the dialogue and the descriptive text. Might be a good simple read for children but there are much better novels for adult consumption.

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