October 8th, 2010

Books 10-11

Summaries taken from back of books.

A Tale of two Cities by Charles Dickens

Summary: The storming of the Bastille...the death carts with their doomed human cargo...the swift drop of the guillotine blade-this is the French Revolution that Charles Dickens vividly captures in his famous work A Tale of Two Cities. With dramatic eloquence, he brings to life a time of terror and treason, a starving people rising in frenzy and hate to overthrow a corrupt and decadent regime. With insight and compassion, he casts his novel of unforgettable scenes with unforgettable characters.

Genre: 19th cenutry, Classic, British literature

Thoughts: Excellent story. I definitely like this so much more than Great Expectations. There were so many unlikeable character in Great Expectations but A Tale of Two Cities is sooooo different. Dr. Manette, Charles Darnay, and Sydney Carton are all fantastic characters in their own right. And Madame Defarge....wow I gotta say for me she's one of those villains that I can't wait until she gets her just desserts. And Sydney Carton....how epically amazing are you!?!?

My one complaint has nothing to do with the story but with the edition I have. I knew nothing about the story except that it takes place during the French Revolution, and Madame Defarge, villianness extraordinaire,  is always knitting. (And the first sentence, of course, who doesn't know the opening of this book!?!?) So I found it incredibly annoying that the back cover of the book gives away the ending. Grrr..Damn you Signet Classics!!

Don't get me wrong I still thoroughly enjoyed this book and I don't think it's one of those books where once you know the ending it becomes pointless far from it actually.  I'm definitely a Dickens fan. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

11. Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn

Summary: The youth Takeo has been brought up in a remote mountain villiage among the Hidden, a reclusive and spirirtual people who have taught him only the ways of peace. But unbeknownst to him, his father was a celebrated assasin and amemeber of the Tribe, and ancient network of families with extraordinary, preternatural skills. When Takeo's villiage is pillaged, he is rescued and adopted by the mysterious Lord Otori Shigeru. Under the tutelage of Shigeru, he learns that he too possesses the skills of the Tribe. And, with this knowledge, he embarks on a journey that will lead him across the famed nightingale floor-and to his own unimaginable destiny.

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Feudal Japan

Thoughts:This is a very exciting fun read. I recommend this to anyone who is looking for escapism, but smart engaging escapism. There's action, adventure and romance. Though I gotta say the romance between Takeo and Kaede isn't nearly as interesting as the one between Lord Shigeru and Lady Maruyama. Takeo and Kaede are a little too Romeo and Juliet for my liking. Having said that I liked their two stories separately. The book is essentially broken up into two parts. One tells Takeo's story and the other Kaede's story. And then of course the two stories converge when all the character meet. I'm interested in reading the rest of the books in the series and I hope that even though this is definitely Takeo's story that ample time is given to Kaede because she's an interesting character and hopefully won't be relegated to just a love interest. 

Rating: 4 out of 5
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books 36-43

36. 'where the heart is' billie letts
37. 'on mexican time' tony cohan
38. 'epitaph for three women' jean plaidy
39. 'saving what remains' livia e. bitton-jackson
40. 'in the shadow of the crown' jean plaidy
41. 'the witches of eastwick' john updike
42. 'pharoah triumphant, the life and times of ramesses II' k.a. kitchen
43. 'room' emma donoghue

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(no subject)

Title: The Bell Jar
Author: Sylvia Plath
Year of Publication: 1963
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 229
First Line: "It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York."
Summary:Esther, an A-student from Boston who has won a guest editorship on a national magazine, finds a bewildering new world at her feet. Her New York life is crowded with possibilities, so that the choice of future is overwhelming, but she can no longer retreat into the safety of her past. Deciding she wants to be a writer above all else, Esther is also struggling with the perennial problems of morality, behaviour and identity. In this compelling autobiographical novel, a milestone in contemporary literature, Sylvia Plath chronicles her teenage years - her disappointments, anger, depression and eventual breakdown and treatment - with stunning wit and devastating honesty.

Source: Here

Review: I liked this a lot more than I expected to. I found it to be a lot like The Catcher in the Rye. The style was very similar, and, the more books I read with this style, the more I enjoy it. It's very conversational and simple, but somehow timeless. Plath wrote realistically, taking much from her own life and inserting it into this novel. It's a spectacular book and if you haven't read it, you should.

Worst part: Some of the characters were tough to keep track of. It was a bit like an Austen novel in that way -- I always have a hard time keeping track of characters in books like this.

Best part: The ending worked really well for this book.

Grade: A

Other Books by This Author: Various selections of poetry.

66 / 50 books. 132% done!