Saturday, December 25, 2010


So, I was pretty disappointed in Wide Sargasso Sea, but I thoroughly enjoyed Othello! I've never read it before and now I think it's one of my favorite Shakespearean plays. I felt more pulled in to the story than almost any other of his works and the characters were all fascinating. I truly felt for Othello. The war and military aspect of this play took a back seat to the emotional turmoil suffered by Othello and Desdemona, and the cruel cunning of Iago. It was no easier to read than any other Shakespeare, but the time seemed to pass more quickly because I was so invested in the characters, their motives, and wondering what the ultimate conclusion would be. I highly recommend it, even if you don't usually like Shakespeare!

This was a good week for reading, considering I have a two-week vacation from work and I was stuck with the family for several days. Moving on to #21, The Grapes of Wrath. So far, it's slow but interesting.

Wide Sargasso Sea

Well, to be completely honest, I'm not sure what to say. I still don't really know what to think about this one. Wide Sargasso Sea is certainly a unique book, with a very unique premise. Rhys apparently wrote it as a kind of high-class fanfiction, telling the story of Mr. Rochester's mad wife from Jane Eyre. Perhaps I'll feel differently about the book once I get around to reading Jane Eyre again.

I was pretty excited about reading this book, which might have been my first mistake. I'm not sure what I expected, but it certainly wasn't what I got. Rhys writes beautifully, it's just not quite my style. A little too stream-of-consciousness, I think. I was always interested in the story, especially the gorgeous setting (post-colonial Caribbean islands), but I didn't feel attached to any of the characters. It was written as a sort of "descent into madness" novel, but I could never sympathize with the main character, Antoinette. This may have been due in part to my unfamiliarity with the history and racial tensions of this time and area. As hard I tried, however, I just couldn't like Antoinette.

I remember disliking Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre, but in Wide Sargasso Sea I felt sorry for him because he was duped into marrying such a nut-job. At times, I felt like Rhys was trying a bit too hard with the whole crazy thing, if that makes sense. It felt faked in some ways, and pretentious in all others. I felt at once confused, bored, and a little bit offended throughout the first two parts. Once I got to Part 3, I was finally happy with the book, but then it abruptly ended.

I really don't like being overly critical, but this was definitely not the book for me. Maybe I can give it away to someone who will enjoy it more. On a different note, I'm fairly impressed that a novel can feel heavy and frivolous at the same time. Sorry Jean Rhys.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

King Lear

Well, that was quick.

I've determined that King Lear is one of those Shakespearean plays that I enjoy for the story, not for the language. It's definitely an interesting descent into madness, but the language doesn't have the beauty and poetry that some of his other work has. It definitely held my interest a lot more than the other tragedies I've read. All of the characters had a nice development. Of course, everyone dies at the end, like most tragedies. It took nearly four acts for someone to finally get killed, though.

All in all, I thought it was pretty good--I'd recommend it for anyone who enjoys Shakespeare, but for some impressive quotes and poetry, go for one of the comedies, or maybe some sonnets.

The next one is #45, Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys. I'm really excited about this one! I've never read anything by her and the story sounds fascinating. I'll probably head to Half-Price or Book People tomorrow to find a copy. Yay for holiday gift cards!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Moving' on down the list

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is done! It was a pretty quick read, considering how simplistic the language is. I remember reading the whole Narnia series when I was younger and just loving it. I still love it! However, it's one of those series like Harry Potter. Love the story, not so much the writing. Reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe now, it often just sounds condescending or overly preachy. I think some of the other books in the series are a little more sophisticated.

It's apt, considering that the movie version of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader just came out in theatres. I went and saw it with my roommates--it was pretty good! The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was always my favourite of the series, with The Magician's Nephew as a close second. I remember being pretty oblivious to the whole Christian allegory as a kid, right up until the end of Dawn Treader. I felt a little bit cheated by C.S. Lewis after that.

Well, on to the next adventure! The dice proclaim it to be........ #50, King Lear! I'm pretty excited about this one. I was hoping for something I hadn't read before. I typically enjoy Shakespeare and I've never read King Lear. Should be interesting! :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

I rolled #37, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe! I think this is a good sign. 37 just happens to be my favorite number. It also just so happens that I own this book and (thankfully) don't have to buy it. I haven't read it for years, but I remember it fondly. I'm certain that it won't take nearly as long as Catch-22.

I remember reading this whole series as a kid. I must have been pretty oblivious, because I missed all of the Christian imagery until about the time I finished The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I'm not a Christian, but I really enjoy C.S. Lewis. He's not obnoxious about it, you know? It's not as though he's trying to shove some religion down your throat, he's just telling a classic story of good and evil, and interesting re-telling of the Christian mythos.

In any case, I'm looking forward to this one. Ciao for now!

Catch-22... part deux

Well, I've finally done it. I finally finished Catch-22. I have to admit, I'm a little bit disappointed. It was amusing... for about the first 20 chapters. I had a difficult time getting into it. There were so many characters, it was hard to keep track of them all.

All in all, I'm glad I made it through, but it's definitely not one of my favorite books. A lot of good one-liners, but as a whole, it didn't keep my interest.

And hey, guess what?! I'm about to graduate from college! I should (hopefully) have a lot more time to read now, and maybe actually complete this project.

And now, on to the fun part! Let's see what book comes up next...