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review 2016-07-24 20:06
Not at war anymore - but also not quite at peace
Krieg und Frieden - 'Leo Tolstoi', 'Hermann Röhl'

Never before has it taken me that long to finish a book as it did with War and Peace. I started this work an unbelievable 8 years ago! I didn't read it during all this time, there were long breaks and several attempts to finish it. The main reason why it took me so long was that I had this huge one-volume edition which just was too big for my hands and too heavy for my handbag. But the end of last year my library finally had it as an ebook and this really helped! Now I'm just glad to finally be done!

I had watched a miniseries of War and Peace before reading the book which made reading it a lot easier: I had the character's faces on my mind and this helped remembering who was who. There really are a lot of characters!

War and Peace is an enormous work and it deserves to be read. It's just that tiny bit too long. The peace parts can be read fairly quickly, but the war parts are often very very slow going. I'm not really interested in battle descriptions or at least only up to a certain point. When they are hundreds of pages long with every detail and often repetitive that's a bit too much. He reaches the peak when he even uses mathematical equations! What I didn't like about Tolstoy's style is that whenever he uses an image or an example he explains it. It seems like he doesn't believe his readers can understand what he's saying. He's also often quite preachy which isn't my cup of tea.

I was at war with this work for a long time, now I'm finally at peace with it but only barely. After all the effort I put into reading it I just hoped that I would love it in the end. It's a good book but it will never be one of my favourites.

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review 2016-04-18 05:16
Bram Stoker's Dracula
Dracula - Bram Stoker

Mysterious, gloomy castles and open graves at midnight are just two of the Gothic devices used to chilling effect in this 19th-century horror classic that turned an obscure figure from Eastern European folklore into a towering icon of film and literature. [ synopsis from goodreads ]

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-01-25 08:24
Louisa May Alcott's Little Women
Little Women - Louisa May Alcott

"Little Women" is an American classic, adored for Louisa May Alcott's lively and vivid portraits of the endearing March sisters: talented tomboy Jo, pretty Meg, shy Beth, temperamental Amy. Millions have shared in their joys, hardships, and adventures as they grow up in Civil War New England, separated by the war from their father and beloved mother, "Marmee", blossoming from "little women" into adults. Jo searches for her writer's voice and finds unexpected love... Meg prepares for marriage and a family... Beth reaches out to the less fortunate, tragically... and Amy travels to Europe to become a painter. Based on Louisa May Alcott's own Yankee childhood, "Little Women" is a treasure-- a story whose enduring values of patience, loyalty, and love have kept this extraordinary family close to the hearts of generation after generation of delighted readers. [ synopsis from goodreads ]

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-01-16 01:56
Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

Humbert Humbert - scholar, aesthete and romantic - has fallen completely and utterly in love with Lolita Haze, his landlady's gum-snapping, silky skinned twelve-year-old daughter. Reluctantly agreeing to marry Mrs Haze just to be close to Lolita, Humbert suffers greatly in the pursuit of romance; but when Lo herself starts looking for attention elsewhere, he will carry her off on a desperate cross-country misadventure, all in the name of Love. Hilarious, flamboyant, heart-breaking and full of ingenious word play, Lolita is an immaculate, unforgettable masterpiece of obsession, delusion and lust. [ synopsis from goodreads ]

 

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review 2016-01-16 01:33
Toni Morrison's Beloved
Beloved - Toni Morrison

In the troubled years following the Civil War, the spirit of a murdered child haunts the Ohio home of a former slave. This angry, destructive ghost breaks mirrors, leaves its fingerprints in cake icing, and generally makes life difficult for Sethe and her family; nevertheless, the woman finds the haunting oddly comforting for the spirit is that of her own dead baby, never named, thought of only as Beloved.

 

A dead child, a runaway slave, a terrible secret--these are the central concerns of Toni Morrison's Pulitzer Prize-winning Beloved.

 

Beloved is a dense, complex novel that yields up its secrets one by one. As Morrison takes us deeper into Sethe's history and her memories, the horrifying circumstances of her baby's death start to make terrible sense. And as past meets present in the shape of a mysterious young woman about the same age as Sethe's daughter would have been, the narrative builds inexorably to its powerful, painful conclusion. Beloved may well be the defining novel of slavery in America, the one that all others will be measured by. --Alix Wilber [ synopsis from goodreads ]

 

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