logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: 1001-Books-You-Must-Read-Before-You-Die
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-12-02 14:16
Only For Slackers: "1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die" by Peter Boxall
1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die - Peter Boxall


(Original Review, 2010-04-18)



I found this list rather heavy on very recent fiction. There is also no way of knowing whether books published a few years ago will withstand the test of time, and I suspect many won´t. This is a reason why, apart from a handful of favourites, I tend to restrict my (sadly limited) reading to more established authors. 4 times out of 5, when I believe the "hype", I end up disappointed.

 

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-12-01 20:33
Jane Eyre (Audiobook)
Jane Eyre (Centaur Classics) [The 100 greatest novels of all time - #17] - Charlotte Brontë

What the hell did I just read?

 

This book is nearly 200-years old, but in case you're like me and know nothing about this book: SPOILERS! You've been warned. :D

 

This book started out with orphaned Jane living with relative-in-laws who barely put up with her, Jane getting into trouble and being sent to a boarding school and ... wait? This is Jane Eyre and not David Copperfield, right? *checks book* Right. And I can tell because it's much better written, has much more interesting and better developed characters and actually gets to a point eventually. 

 

It took me a while to get into this one, until I realized the audiobook playback was just too slow to keep my attention and I sped it up to 1.20x. Wanda McFadden does an excellent job narrating and she does Jane's voice especially well, a crucial detail. Plus, the fire was quite an attention-grabber too. And then it got a little meandering for a few more chapters and then Rochester has a room that he can lock people into and they can't get out! THAT'S NORMAL!

 

At that point, I started to really root for Jane to get the hell out of there, especially as things got even more messed up - and she does! She even stumbles upon a literally found family who treats her well and to whom she can contribute equally, and she gains financial independence to boot! She's scot free! Only she eventually goes back, marries Rochester and lives happily ever after. The End!

 

 

I wanted a gif of someone shaking a book upside down as if looking for more pages, but this one works just as well! Because this book ended and I kept waiting. There had to be another chapter, right? One that started with, "Reader, he locked me in the attic."

 

Though I guess a man locking up his cray-cray Creole wife is totally normal and acceptable behavior for the 1800s. And going after his ward's governess, who is less than half his age and whose name he can't even get right half the time, well that's a time-honored tradition. And who says bigamy can't be romantic? *cough*Outlander*cough* Oh, Janet. I mean Jane, what were you thinking?

 

I take it we have Ms. Brontë to blame for one of my least favorite tropes: the strong independent woman who falls for the thuggish brute. *sigh* And yet Jane is so astute and headstrong and knows her own mind and ambitions so well, I can't hold it against her. If I had only two options and one of them was Rochester and the other was Rivers, I'd choose Rochester too. 

 

WAIT! Hear me out! Because Rivers just wanted her as a project, someone to reform and shape into what he wanted her to be, completely disregarding what she wanted and desired, whereas Rochester wanted her for herself. And at least if she ever goes crazy, she'll have the comforting foreknowledge that Rochester will take care of her at home and not send her off to an asylum. Plus, he's infirm and half-blind, so if she really needed to fight him off, she probably could. Silver linings! I has them!

 

 

Shhh! Katniss, no. We're all sane here. :) (Also not what I was looking for when I searched for gifs of silver linings, but again, I'll take it.)

 

I guess feminism and female power only got you so far in the 1800s. In today's world, I like to think that Jane would've told Rivers to screw himself (well, she does here too), forgot all about Rochester, opened her own school and lived happily ever after.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-11-01 14:12
The Mysteries of Udolpho / Ann Radcliffe
The Mysteries of Udolpho - Ann Radcliffe

The Mysteries of Udolpho is the story of orphan Emily St. Aubert, who finds herself separated from the man she loves and confined within the medieval castle of her aunt's new husband, Montoni. Inside the castle, she must cope with an unwanted suitor, Montoni's threats, and the wild imaginings and terrors that threaten to overwhelm her.

 

I read this book to fill the Gothic square of my 2018 Halloween Bingo card.

This is the mother of all Gothic romance, originally published in 1794. Twenty-first century readers may find themselves challenged by the style. Here is Wanda’s recommended reading instructions for The Mysteries of Udolpho:

1. Practice your patience. Readers in the 18th century weren’t in a rush and didn’t expect lean prose or fast plot development. Don’t read to a deadline if you can help it—trying to rush through will probably frustrate you further.
2. Develop your taste for scenic descriptions. Because you’re going to be reading a lot of them. Apparently good people spend a lot of time gazing at the mountains and the moon and rhapsodizing about them and bad people can’t be bothered. Now you know which kind of person you are.
3. Speaking of which, decide whether you are going to read all of the poetry & songs or not. I started to skip them about 1/3 of the way through the book. It was minutes of my life that I wasn’t going to get back.
4. Prepare yourself to be horrified, not at the so-called horrors of the book, but at the limited role of women in 18th century society. Their lives are controlled and run by the men who claim authority over them. If their wishes are listened to at all, they are lucky.
5. Prepare yourself for the boredom of women’s lives, at least upper-class women, who seem to do a lot of sitting around. You can paint, you can read, you can admire the scenery (see #2 above), you can do needlework. Sometimes, you can go for scenic walks. If you’re really lucky, your controlling men (see #4) will take you to a party. But mostly you sit around in your dreary chamber and talk to yourself.
6. There will be crying and fainting. Lots and lots of it. Or swooning or being rendered speechless. In fact the main character, Emily, seems to subsist on meals consisting of a few grapes and half a glass of wine, after staying up most of the night listening for mysterious music or watching for spectres. It’s no wonder that she tips over so easily, as she’s under-nourished and under-slept all the time.

This is where so many of the Gothic romance tropes got their start—the orphaned young woman, struggling to make her own way in the world, adored by every man who stumbles across her path—she and her true love have a communication issue which leads to a horrible misunderstanding and much suffering on both sides, until the truth comes out. Radcliffe introduces the mystery element too—who is the woman in the miniature portrait left behind by Emily’s father? Why does Emily look so much like her?

Truly, I’m glad to have read this ancestress to the Gothic romances that I’ve enjoyed since junior high school. But wow I’m also glad that writing styles and expectations have moved along.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-10-31 13:34
Reading progress update: I've read 591 out of 654 pages.
The Mysteries of Udolpho - Ann Radcliffe

 

Almost done!  If I can finish it this evening, I'll be done all of my Halloween Bingo choices within the time limit.  Yay!

 

The pace has picked up in these, the final pages of the novel.  Emily is back in France and she is getting used to a new life there.  It remains to be seen if it will be a happy ending.

 

I will definitely have things to say in my review!

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-10-30 13:47
Reading progress update: I've read 475 out of 654 pages.
The Mysteries of Udolpho - Ann Radcliffe

 

Less than 200 pages left to go. 

 

It's a marvel that Emily manages to get anything done--she refuses to eat, she stays up all night listening & thinking, basically it's no wonder that she feels faint so often.

 

I'm glad I tackled this old Gothic tale, but wow, times have changed!  It's not easy for the modern reader to wade through all the descriptive detail.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?