Category: Classics

Review: Siddhartha

August 5, 2015 Classics, Fiction 9 ★★★★

Review: SiddharthaTitle: Siddhartha
Author: Hermann Hesse, Hilda Rosner
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

Summary: I loved the beautiful, lyrical writing, but the plot was too focused on the divine for my taste.

I picked this book up based on a glowing recommendation from a friend.  It’s the story of a young man in ancient India on a spiritual quest to find  enlightenment. He tries dedicating his life to various pursuits, from contemplation to love, from self-deprivation to hedonism. Even encountering Gautama Buddha fails to bring him peace until after he’s discovered more of life himself. Read more »


War and Peace Read-Along Week 1

February 10, 2015 Blogger Events, Classics, Fiction 16

war and peace read-a-long

Since I read and loved Anna Karenina, I’ve been wanting to give War and Peace a try. Although I was nervous it was going to be mostly about battles and not have any characters I could love as much as Anna, this read-along hosted by Hanna at Booking in Heels gave me the push I needed to give it a chance. So far, like everyone else, I’m enjoying this far more than I expected. Even more surprisingly, Tolstoy is reminding me of Austen in a great way. This might be me projecting my own amusement at the way the characters behave, but I feel like Tolstoy is laughing behind his hand at their antics too which is a feeling I often get when reading Austen. Read more »


Classics Mini-Reviews

June 17, 2014 Classics, Fiction 15

18133Title: Lolita
Author: Vladimir Nabokov
Source: library
Rating: ★★★☆☆

With Lolita, as with many classics, I’m definitely glad I read this just for the experience of reading it. Nabokov has a very unique writing style and Lolita is certainly a unique book. It’s also a book I’m happy to be able to discuss from experience. It was well written and I’m not at all surprised at it’s continued popularity. That said, I don’t know that I enjoyed reading it. The main sensation I experienced while reading this book was a desire to go take a bath, it was just that disturbing. I think it’s worth giving it a try to see if you love Nabokov’s one-of-kind writing style, but it’s (obviously) not a book to pick up if you’re just looking for something fun. Read more »


Northanger Abbey (The Austen Project)

April 20, 2014 Classics, Fiction, Re-telling 12

18778806Title: Northanger Abbey
Author: Val McDermid
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: Like the original, this book doesn’t have much of a plot or a proactive protagonist, but I liked that it was more atmospheric than the original and strongly disliked the changes to the ending.

The plot for this book is identical to the original Northanger Abbey. In fact, the book is basically just the original, modernized sentence by sentence. Surprisingly, I really liked that about it. I didn’t love the original book. I probably wouldn’t re-read the first book. Yet something about a retelling that just changes the setting while staying otherwise true to the source material appeals to me. This does, of course, mean that the plot was still largely nonexistent. Unlike Joanna Trollope’s writing in the Sense and Sensibility retelling for the Austen project, Val McDermid’s writing didn’t match how I imagine Austen would write if she were alive today. However, she did keep the writing tricks I liked the most from Austen’s writing in Northanger Abbey. This included her humorous under-selling of the heroine, her occasional breaking of the fourth wall, and her impassioned speeches in defense of the novel. Read more »


Jane Austen Mini-Reviews

April 15, 2014 Classics, Fiction 13

50398Title: Northanger Abbey
Author: Jane Austen
Source: free from Amazon
Rating: ★★★☆☆

This may make me a disgrace to Jane Austen fandom, but Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice have always been fairly interchangeable in my mind. They’re just so similar! So, even though I love them both dearly, I was initially very excited to start this book and find something a bit different. As always, I adored Austen’s writing style and her pointed humor. In this book, she very deliberately breaks the tropes of the Gothic novel, with funny asides about the genre along the way. Her points are made clearly enough that I could tell what she was making fun of in Gothic novels, even though I’ve read very few myself. However, as I got further into the book, it soon became clear that there was essentially no plot and the main character isn’t very bright. Although she does grow a bit, she has very little agency. Nearly all of the difficulties she faces are in her head or at least blown all out of proportion. I didn’t really feel that this silly main protagonist deserved the intelligent, funny, kind love interest. In typical Austen fashion though, everything just works itself out in the last few pages. This doesn’t typically bother me, but in this case, there wasn’t enough action by the main character preceding the speedy resolution. Only Austen’s wonderful writing saved this for me. Read more »


Love For Books Read-athon

February 17, 2014 Classics, Fiction 4

As always for longer read-athons, I’m just going to try to read a bit more than usual. This week, I’d particularly like to read and review When Beauty Slept and The Bombers and the Bombed since they come out on Thursday. I’m also hoping to fit in something just purely for fun without a review deadline. Perhaps The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress or The Year of Living Biblically. I’m also looking forward to the mini-challenge! I’ll be tracking my reading progress throughout the week here.

Read more »


Sense and Sensibility Re-telling

November 1, 2013 Classics, Fiction, Re-telling 25

Sense and SensibilityTitle: Sense and Sensibility
Author: Joanna Trollope
Source: from publisher for TLC book tour
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: This book was an incredibly similar experience to reading the original and it feel fresh again because of the change in setting.

There are two kinds of re-tellings. There are those which use the original as an inspiration and which become awesome by using the original material in creative new ways. Cinder is one of my favorite examples of that kind of re-telling. This is not that kind of re-telling. This is the other kind, where the source material is preserved almost entirely with just a setting change and this is by far the best example of that kind of re-telling that I’ve ever read. Read more »


The Count of Monte Cristo – A Bookish Movie Review

October 13, 2013 Book To Movie Challenge, Classics, Fiction 12

MV5BMTg2MTQwMDk4OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNzM4NTA5._V1._SX341_SY475_I’ve noticed that I’m more likely to think the movie is better than the book if I’ve seen the movie first, and The Count of Monte Cristo is no exception. Obviously compared to the book (especially a book as long as The Count of Monte Cristo!) the usual liberties were taken to streamline the plot. Entire subplots and characters disappeared and in some cases, I do think this was to the movies detriment. The movie also added even more swashbuckling and sword-fighting than were in the book, which was probably unnecessary. Read more »


The Handmaid’s Tale

September 21, 2013 Classics, Dystopian, Fiction 13

38447Title: The Handmaid’s Tale
Author: Margaret Atwood
Source: library
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: The writing was truly fantastic but the plot was slow and the ending was unsatisfying.

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now… (Source: Goodreads) Read more »


The Count of Monte Cristo

September 8, 2013 Classics, Fiction 13

7126Title: The Count of Monte Cristo
Author: Alexandre Dumas
Source: library
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: While not as well written as many classics, this was an exciting adventure with an intriguingly complex plot.

The Count of Monte Cristo is a classic story of betrayal and revenge. Edmond Dantes has it all: a father he loves, a pending promotion, and a beautiful fiance. Unfortunately, others envy him his good fortune and conspire to have him sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. When a fellow prisoner informs him of a treasure located on the Isle of Monte Cristo, he determines to escape and use that treasure to enact his revenge. Read more »