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Recent reviews

Sentimental but funny

Posted : 9 years, 1 month ago on 7 May 2008 02:52 (A review of The Diary of Adam and Eve (Hesperus Classics))

So I really liked this one but only because Twain somehow pokes fun at each gender equally.

Adam's section is really the humorous part of the book; Eve's diary is the philosophical portion of the book (although of course it has its humorous moments) adding context to Adam's self-pity.

The book is short--you can read it easily in an afternoon. Get it if you want a light-hearted view of men and women.

My favorite line is the last line of the book, probably because I am sentimental and mushy when it comes to love: "Where ever she was, there was Eden."


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So this was cool

Posted : 9 years, 2 months ago on 27 April 2008 01:47 (A review of Ender's Game (Ender Wiggin Saga))

I have been hearing about this book my whole life basically but I never went out of my way to find it. I guess I'm not too into sci-fi. Anyway, this was actually really interesting.

Card offers a couple of provocative things here:

1. There is a commentary throughout about the justification of violence and warfare. Does the 'Ender' justify the means? Big question. Card never answers it (like a good writer) and leaves it up to the reader to decide.

2. Although the reluctant hero is pretty stale, Card pulls it off. Ender's hatred of and yet strange fixation on power is fascinating. There is something like this in all of us--some talent or habit we hate about ourselves and yet still exalt in our ability.

His characters Valentine and Peter are not terribly convincing but since their main purpose is essentially to provide polar-opposite foils for Ender's behavior, I suppose that can be excused.

All in all, if you want to be entertained, pick this one up.


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Want to Write a Good Novel?

Posted : 9 years, 2 months ago on 18 April 2008 04:00 (A review of Middlemarch)

One of the best novels out there; If you want to know how to write a good book, take a serious look at Eliot's masterpiece. She has an amazing ability to do two things:

1) the characters drive the plot, not the other way around (Rowling?). Everything that happens in the book is a direct result of a BELIEVABLE action by one or several of the characters, considering their individual personalities and quirks. The novel progresses because the characters force it to.

2) somehow Eliot makes it difficult to hate the antagonists in the novel. Everyone, even the characters we WANT to hate, has some sort of sympathetic motive--something that we all can identify with (insecurity, selfishness, pride, etc). No one is 100% evil, unlike many villains in lesser novels.


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Prose Elegy

Posted : 9 years, 2 months ago on 16 April 2008 06:23 (A review of My Antonia)

If you find yourself looking back on your life and especially your childhood, you might consider reading this. There is no entertaining action and only a smattering of romance. The plot is virtually non-existent. The language is simple. The book essentially is about a young woman, Antonia Shimerda, (who signifies the American Prairie) and how she has influenced the lives around her. Told from the perspective of one of her childhood friends, Jim Burden, the book recounts events in Jim's life and what Antonia's friendship has meant to him.

As an epigraph to the novel, Cather quotes Virgil, "Optima dies...prima fugit" -- the best days are the first to fly. Memories, tinged with regret or longing, fill the book.


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Not convinced

Posted : 9 years, 2 months ago on 16 April 2008 05:58 (A review of The Grapes of Wrath)

I tried putting in the time on this and actually trudged through 100 pages (twice as far as I usually go with a book I'm not impressed with) but I just couldn't get into it.
I admit that Steinbeck has a literary style all his own and it's decent, but the characters seem flat; the dialogue is atrocious; and the reader's sympathy is constantly confused: who are we rooting for?

Seriously, why is this so famous?


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