“The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger
How strange this book is. So strange, in fact, that I had to contemplate it for several days after finishing it just to gather my thoughts into some cohesive form. Told from the first-person perspective of a sixteen year-old boy that just got kicked out of his latest private school; the plot is almost non-existent and follows the random whims of this odd teenager. Somehow, Salinger manages to...
Anonymous asked: Searching for quotes from George Eliot, I found your comment. Just thought I'd mention that George Eliot is a woman; Eliot is her pen name, because female writers weren't accepted well then. Her actual name is Mary Ann Evans. Tbh I haven't read the book either, but it sounds as if a little research into the context might reveal more meaning to her writing. I hope you don't...
"Middlemarch" by George Eliot
Sigh. Why are classics so hard to love? This dreadfully long novel, on just about every “top books of all time” list there is, has made me doubt my qualification as a reader. If I cannot find patience to get through one of the supposed best books ever written, how will I ever get to enjoy more intellectually deep works? Even by speeding through chapters at a time, I could tell that...
"The Fat Years" by Chan Koonchung
The never ending political undertones of this novel reminds me of Orwell’s “1984”, but sadly its characters and plot fails to match up to that excellent piece of literature in any way. Nonetheless, after some reflection, I have decided that its warnings regarding Communist China are quite valid and interesting in their own manner. The main character, a well-off personage in...
"Barney's Version" by Mordecai Richler
What a difficult book. Full of long rants, requiring extreme patience, and utterly wringing out the reader’s emotions. But how easy it was to fall in love with it. Not the breezy, romantic kind of love saved for dark handsome strangers met in Paris. Instead, the unwavering, bitter love given unconditionally to a deteriorating parent or grandparent. “Barney’s Version” is...
"The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Finally, a classic I could get into. Far too many times, when reading books written in the nineteenth century and before, I must force myself to finish the whole thing without skipping over entire chapters. This book, on the other hand, actually had me sitting up late at night unable to stop until an important plot point had concluded. The start was almost unbearably slow, written from an angle so...
"The Importance of Being Earnest" by Oscar Wilde
One of the first plays I’ve ever read, this book reignited my admiration for Oscar Wilde as a writer. It has all the carefully planned plot twists and dazzling quotes of “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, but does so in a much more simple and almost minimalistic manner. The story is one of two men who adopt the pseudonym Ernest and propose to girls who agree because of their names....
"Animal Farm" by George Orwell
What a perfect political piece. Orwell, in my opinion, the master of such social criticisms, has created a groundbreaking novel by manipulating his plot into one elaborate metaphor for communism and its downfalls. A word of warning, this book is not meant to be read as a real story. The characters do not really exist on their own, but are only there for what they represent. Everything is boiled...
"The Chocolate War" by Robert Cormier
I have mostly grown past young adult literature, but there are a few exceptional ones that stand out in my memory, and this is one of them. This book contains a bleak, depressing tale about a teenage boy who is told by the secret group at his school,the Virgil, to refuse to participate in their annual chocolate fundraising sale for ten days. He complies, but continues to refuse even after the ten...
"The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" by Junot...
Exhilaratingly fast, fiercely political, and precariously balanced on that thin ledge between reality and impossibility, the story of Oscar’s life dazzles. Diaz has created a tremendous novel, one that fills the corners of my existence with an unavoidable heaviness. Oscar’s world is one that I’ve never known, having kept my head down through my entire blessed life, but we are...
"The Turn of the Screw" by Henry James
To prove just how scatterbrained of a person I am, I had originally confused this book with Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew”, which was once referenced to on my favorite TV show “The Big Bang Theory”. That is the only reason I read this book in the first place, so imagine my shock when I realized my mistake. Nonetheless, it was a great opportunity to get me out of...
"The Decameron" by Giovanni Boccaccio
The funny thing about this book is that it has been lying around our house for years, and I always dismissed it as a boring, unknown, and shabby old book that my parents kept only to flip through when they had nothing better to do. One day, however, I was desperate for something to read, and as soon as I started reading it I couldn’t stop. It’s a fairly lengthy novel, but after reading...
"We Need to Talk About Kevin" by Lionel Shriver
What a stunning, violent, mind-shattering piece of work. Reading this book was both torturous and delightful all at once. Shriver has outdone herself by writing one of the best modern novels that I have ever read, with incredible emotional power. The book consists of letters from a woman to her alienated husband, relating their entire doomed relationship, but mostly focusing on their first-born...
"Madame Bovary" by Gustave Flaubert
I must confess at the outset that I read a translated version of this book, and therefore I was probably unable to fully grasp some of its subtler moments or enjoy Flaubert’s prose to its full potential. “Madame Bovary” deals with Emma, a doctor’s wife who repeatedly cheats on her husband in order to escape from her tedious life. Published in the Victorian era, it was...
"Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov
“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.” This must be one of my favorite quotes of all times, which is far higher praise than what I can give for the rest of the book. Its premise is, for lack of a better word, enchanting, but despite the...
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randomisthereason asked: hi, i just read your review on 'the picture of dorian gray', i was wondering if you remember is there any description of his ugly, aged painting in the book i could quote? if you do, could you help me out please, because i need it for an art project on decaying and hell, i dont read lol thanks!!
"1984" by George Orwell
It’s rare that a book creates such turmoil in me. Something about Orwell’s writing makes it impossible for me to stay uncaring, for me to keep up my defenses. The dystopia created in “1984” is probably one of the most depressing and terrifying ones ever devised. Having spent my most gullible years growing up in communist China, the dark political messages in this book...
"A Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde
I thought it would be fitting to have my first book reviewed in this blog be written by the man who inspired me to start it. In my fairly brief life so far, I have read this masterpiece and sole novel of Oscar Wilde twice. The first time, almost two years ago, it was a shock and an addiction. It altered much of my life views at the time, inspiring me to attempt to live by its words. Now, older and...