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Search tags: base-building-and-classics
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review 2018-08-16 06:50
Fun running over tropes
Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen,Marilyn Butler,Claire Lamont

Why did I take this long to read this? From Austen's big six, this is the last I got to. I mean, I know what my reasoning was: satire and humour was not what I was looking for when I searched for an Austen volume. But I was wrong to, because this was a great romp.

 

(On that note, one day I have to write long and hard on how the prominence of Pride and Prejudice in pop-media puts an expectation on what Austen writes about that is a total disservice to her body of work)

 

If you put this and Persuasion together, it's impossible to ignore that the woman's common thread is not romance, but social critique, and tropes and expectations. In this one she takes Gothic literature ones, and more than run with them, runs them over. Anne Brontë kinda did that in a very understated way. There is nothing understated here, and I was laughing from the opening lines alone... Actually, the overall initial setting is quite similar to Brontë's Agnes Grey's opening, just, you know, absolutely savage. Much like the whole book.

 

The charming part comes from Catherine being a sincerely good-natured soul, and pretty sensible on the whole, so even where she hypes herself from much sensational reading (and hell, like nobody ever got jumpy in the night after reading or watching some horror), and builds some weird fantasies on it, she never quite finds herself carried away on over-dramatic feelings of angst, be it romantic or otherwise. Even when other characters ask about them on hilariously detailed, over the top descriptions.

 

I get now why it is the favourite Austen among many. I had lots of fun with it.

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review 2018-08-04 09:08
Cute and within kids' reach
The City of Ember - Jeanne DuPrau

There is nothing exactly new here, just par with the genre, but I quite liked it for being a lot less bloodthirsty than usual.

 

It was cute, and hopeful. There is much about life finding a way (the pea and the worm were beautiful, illustrative allegories), about greed, and how having and hoarding, and the pleasure of it harms, about the contrast between enjoying life and being serious about things, and how both are important, and how two people claiming each of these seemingly opposite characteristics can be true friends and team up successfully, about curiosity, and dreaming and trying to find new answers to old problems.

 

What I liked the most I think, was the positive influence of most adults present. Hell, even the antagonists give Lina a self-awareness eureka moment or two, but beyond that, most adults are caring, have good advice, are trying. It's very refreshing in a children book, where adults must be either absent, unfit or uncaring for the kids to have adventures.

 

I really liked it, will recommend it to mom's library's kids, and will try to get to the rest of the saga at some point.

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review 2018-07-30 03:33
A year through the eyes of a long ago girl
Little House in the Big Woods - Garth Williams,Laura Ingalls Wilder

Two things about this cute classic:

 

It makes you incredibly hungry almost every chapter. Which is fitting for a people struggling daily to get, prepare and store enough of it according to the season.

 

Building from the point above, beyond the morality bits, it is quite the how-to manual on survival without tech. If the apocalypse comes, THIS ONE is the book you want.

 

No, wait, three: The illustrations are lovely.

 

https://78.media.tumblr.com/9e24c37c336186c05e5886534ffdd5cd/tumblr_pcnqahkAJT1tx162yo3_500.jpg

 

 

They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago.

 

 

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review 2018-06-28 04:06
Be good to each-other and Work
An Old-Fashioned Girl - Louisa May Alcott

Pretty much an edifying book packaged into a collection of stories of a wholesome country-girl visiting her city-girl friend. Second part, written later, continues the theme with the girls grown up, and the work-is-good general idea tackles also romance, flirtation, marriage and women's independence.

 

Whether it'll be received as a charming lesson or an eye-rolling inducing morality tale would be up to the reader, I guess. I wavered in times, but I have to admit I like Alcott too much to begrudge her some opinionated pushing.

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review 2018-06-20 06:40
Difficult
Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison

On various fronts. The overarching subject, the sense of hopelessness, helplessness and despair, the long-winded, meandering way the story is told (which is on par with the idea that it is a stream-of-conscience recount), and the purpose way in which this guy's obliviousness is made plain (and cringe-inducing) for the reader (and the teller).

 

Found it brilliant, at points boring and quite maddening.

 

Oh, and I leave it with a feeling akin to what Catcher in the Rye left me.

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