logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: John-Steinbeck
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-11-26 17:32
Review of The Moon is Down by John Steinbeck
The Moon is Down - John Steinbeck

Another solid read from Steinbeck. This novella looks at a simple town that is conquered by an enemy and then the interactions between the conquerors and the conquered. It is basically a basic character study of how people and groups would behaving in this situation. It was interesting but not necessarily a story I would return to.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2019-11-25 21:40
World Philosophy Day
Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
Beowulf: A New Verse Translation - Seamus Heaney,Anonymous
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne,Nina Baym,Thomas E. Connolly
Far from the Madding Crowd (Signet Classics) - Thomas Hardy,Suzanne Keen

World Philosophy Day

Door 9:  World Philosophy Day

 

Task 1:  Share your reading philosophy with us – do you DNF? If so, do you have a page minimum to read before you declare it a DNF?

 

You all have been following me for how long now? I DNF. I also post reviews about why I DNFed and what percentage or page number too. I find those reviews helpful and wish more reviewers did it. I get why many don't though. You have to worry about a rampaging author sicking their followers on you nowadays.

 

I have tried to start DNFing books around 20 percent or so if I am not feeling it. There was that one time I DNFed a book 5 pages in, but I am sorry, you could not pay me to read "Far from the Madding Crowd". Some word set me off and that was it for me. 

 

Task 2: Share your reviewing philosophy with us – how do you rate a book? Do you have a mental template for reviewing? Rules you try to follow, or rules you try to break?

 

Well I tried to find the lat time I posted about how I rated books, but realized that disappeared during my great exodus from BL after my reviews all got messed up. I do have a template I try to follow when reviewing and also rating a book. I try to always do a quick summary up front of the things that worked/didn't work for me in the book. Then I did a short description of the book/characters/overall plot.

 

From there I dissect the book by characters (developed well or no? did the characters action make sense from what came before? Was it too information dumped driven for me to get certain characters?, etc.).


I next look at writing and flow. Writing is definitely subjective. However, I get annoyed at too much purple prose or overly descriptive writing. Just tell me what's going on and don't try to describe every blade of glass a character is seeing. Flow matters because sometimes chapters don't flow neatly into one another. It gets worse sometimes when an author is jumping around to multiple POVs.

 

The setting is important to talk about too. I like to say where it takes place, or a time period if it's especially important in the context of the book. Sometimes though I don't comment on this if it didn't move me one way or another.

The last part is the ending. Did the author stick the landing? Did they just throw out some crap and hope you were okay with it? Looking at you "Girl on the Train." 

 

So for me, this is how I rate:

 

5 stars (favorite): This means I would re-read this book again. That the characters, writing, flow, setting, ending all worked very well. That even if something was slightly off, I let it go to enjoy the book since so many other elements just kicked butt. 

 

4 stars: Still a really good book, but I often give books that missed something too much for me to enjoy. The big thing I start to focus on between 4 and 5 stars is that is there something that gnaws at me enough that I know I will slowly over time get annoyed if I re-read this book? If so, you are getting four stars. 

 

3 stars: A solid book. Not bad, just enough things that didn't work for me to go off and rave about it. It's okay if a book is 3 stars. 

 

2 stars: Not horrible, but enough problematic things going on that would have me hesitant to read the author again unless I saw reviews from others that showed me the book in question was good.

 

1 star: Nope. 

 

DNF: I usually 1 star these. It flat out just means I could not finish the book because either the characters, writing, etc. was too much for me to get pass. I call it, my brain got angry and I had to stop. 

 

Task 3: How do you stay zen / sane over the holidays or in other stressful periods?

 

I read. Seriously. I am trying to whittle down how many books I want to read during my break (starting Wednesday) and while in Honduras. Oh and I watch a lot of Christmas related movies. Not on Lifetime! I just love the cartoons. My total secret shame. I maybe re-watched "A Mickey Christmas Carol" this past weekend 10 times. And then Lady & the Tramp about 30 times (cough it was around 50). I ended up just decorating my house on Sunday cause I am just ready to move pass the terribleness and move into the season of hope and joy. I also work out and go hiking a lot during stressful periods. I finally worked out on Sunday after a week of not working out and my body may be sore, but I slept like a log. Nothing makes me feel rested like working out the day/evening before bed. 

 

Task 4: Did you love or hate the books you had to read for school? Looking back, which ones (good or bad) stand out to you the most?

 

I think for the most part I did love the books I read during school. I just wish they had been more diverse. We tended to not read any African American authors except during Black History Mouth. Stares at school systems in America as a whole. And forget reading authors from other countries. Actually, I want a do-over to this. I think the books were inadequate, but okay to read. I didn't hate them (I got to read Beowulf every freaking year during my high school English classes) but things started to get a little stale since we tended to read the same authors over and over again.

 

The ones that stand out the most are:

 

"Great Expectations." I still can't get over how much I wanted to shake Pip. We got the two endings to the book and we had to discuss the one we preferred. I preferred everyone dying off miserably cause they all kind of sucked, but I was fascinated by that book from beginning to end. 

 

"Of Mice and Men." That book from beginning to end depresses the life out of me. I just want them to start over somewhere else. That's it. Goes off to sob into a pillow.

 

"Beowulf." Not kidding. We always started off with this story during high school. I even did a group book report on it. I get it's supposed to show off the style of an Old English epic poem and all that jazz, but reading it once was enough. 

 

"Lord of the Flies." Yeesh. I got nothing to add here. I think I reviewed this.

 

"The Scarlet Letter." I got in trouble for asking what the big deal with with Hester having sex outside of her marriage. FYI, I got in trouble a lot during Sunday School. Fun times. 

 

Book: Read a book about philosophy or a philosopher, or a how-to book about changing

your life in a significant way or suggesting a particular lifestyle (Hygge, Marie Kobo, etc.).

 

[X]

 

Tasks Completed: 4

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-11-23 05:07
Review of The Red Pony by John Steinbeck
The Red Pony - John Steinbeck

Despite the overall negative reaction to this novella, I genuinely enjoyed the read. I am a big fan of Steinbeck, and I think in these short stories he is able to accurately portray what life would be like on an isolated farm for a young boy. The overall tone of the stories is rather dark - no happy endings here - but I thought it was also realistic. Not an easy of uplifting read, but well worth it in terms of solid literature.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-11-12 00:00
To a God Unknown
To a God Unknown - John Steinbeck

Belief in things seen and unseen is different for everyone, yet how one acts on that belief has ramifications to others and yourself.  To a God Unknown by John Steinbeck follows newly arrived Joseph Wayne has he begins a family ranch believing his father’s spirit inhabits a tree that protects the land which scares religious individuals in and around the ranch.

 

Joseph Wayne receives the blessing of his father, John, to leave Vermont and go to California.  Upon arriving and purchasing land, Joseph receives a letter from his religious brother Burton about the death of their father but after reading the letter Joseph feels his father in a huge tree next to the house he’s building.  Joseph’s three brothers and their families arrive months later and start a growing cattle ranch with Joseph always interested in the fertility of the land and his cattle while giving reverence to the tree which gets noticed by Burton.  The nearby town receives a new teacher which gets every single male’s attention, but Joseph somehow gets her to be his wife and the two have a “interesting” marriage that results in a son, young John, and ends with his wife’s death at a sacred rock that is on Joseph’s land.  After the ranch hosts a fiesta in which Joseph’s behavior towards the tree alarms the local priest and Burton.  Burton decides to leave for a safely Christian town but removes a ring of bark around the tree leading to its death.  Almost immediately the weather turns and over the next year drought devastates the ranch leading to Joseph’s brother leading what cattle he can to greener pastures while Joseph’s stays with the land.  Then as he watches the last water dry up from around the sacred rock. Joseph cuts himself and sees his blood moisten the ground then thunder in the distance.  He then sacrifices himself for the land and feels the rain in his dying moments.

 

Belief and how it affects people is the central theme of the novel, though the connection between farmer/rancher and the land goes hand in hand with it.  There are also clashes of belief, from Joseph’s paganism to the Christianity of Burton and the local priest who is also in conflict with local Indian beliefs.  This theme is the essential to the entire book as every character has their beliefs which make them unique and how they relate to everyone else.  But while Steinbeck goes into character beliefs, it doesn’t mean they’re all well rounded characters especially the women though Joseph’s sister-in-law Rama comes close.

 

To a God Unknown is the last of Steinbeck’s early works before his commercial and critical success but gives a glimpse of his later more well-known works.  As my first non-school related (The Pearl) Steinbeck work, I found this thought-provoking and intriguing but still a tad “rough” in style.  However, if you’re interested in getting to Steinbeck try this book and see if like myself, you’re figuring out which other Steinbeck books you’ll want to read.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2019-09-16 21:34
The Bookmark Episode 1
Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster - Adam Higginbotham
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective - Kate Summerscale
The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey - Candice Millard
Love and Other Ways of Dying: Essays - Michael Paterniti
The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness - Susannah Cahalan
State of Wonder - Ann Patchett
Madame Fourcade’s Secret War: The Daring Young Woman Who Led France’s Largest Spy Network Against Hitler - Lynne Olson
One Summer: America, 1927 - Bill Bryson

Need another podcast that talks books? Check out The Bookmark. This week we talk non-fiction with Megan.

 

The Bookmark logo with Microphone Background

 

Listen now

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?