Tag Archives: Classics

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

28 Apr

Started – 19/4/13

Finished – 25/4/13

Format – Kindle e-book

 

Challenges – Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge

BBC Top 200 Books

1001 Books You Must Read

Ultimate Teen Book Guide Challenge

501 Must Read Books

World Book Night 2012 Challenge

 

SynopsisWuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine’s father. After Mr Earnshaw’s death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine’s brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries.

The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature.

My Thoughts – I downloaded this book when I first got my Kindle as there are a lot of classics out there that I havent read and as it was free i didnt really have a lot to loose. I seem to have a rather love/hate relationship with the classics i either really love them and get sucked into them or i hate them and cant get into the story or understand them. Happily this was a book that I absolutely loved and got really into the story.

This book tells the story of Catherine and Heathcliff who have grown up together and social class is really the main factor in the reason that there relationship doesnt get going. They both end up marrying other people and Heathcliff ends up vowing revenge on Catherines new husband.

At the start of the book you see how the story ends up and as its told through the eyes of someone else the story is revealed all the way through the book. I did enjoy the story told in this way and it added to the mystery of the book and how the characters ended up in the way that they did.

I found this book very east to get into and i really understood the language too. Another good point for me was there is not an extensive list of characters which made this book a lot easier to read.

I do wish i had read this in the middle of the winter though as i think it would have added to the atmosphere of the book.

This book is very good and it had also made me make my mind up to try more classics as this was a book that i very much enjoyed.

Rating – 4.5/5

Dangerous Liaisons – Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

16 Mar

Started – 4/3/13

Finished – 16/3/13

Format – Kindle e-book

Challenges – 1001 Books You Must Read

 Synopsis – Pierre Choderlos de Laclos produced “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” in an effort to “write a work which departed from the ordinary, which made a noise, and which would remain on this earth after his death.” He did just that. First published in 1782 in four volumes, “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” was an immediate success, and has since inspired a large number of literary commentaries, plays, and films. The novel is an epistolary piece, written as letters between members of the French noble class. An egotistical battle for control ensues between the Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont, with the promise of sexual gratification to the victor. The primary victims are Cecile, a naïve but pretty young girl, her admirer, the Chavelier Danceny, and Madame de Tourvel, a virtuous (and married) young woman. This scandalous web of sexual desire, intrigue, infidelity, the struggle for power, and the corruption of the French upper class is a masterpiece from one of the most subtle and skillful novelists of the 18th Century.

 My Thoughts – I read this book as part of the March reading circle. Now with books that were written a fair few years ago i either really love them or I’m not able to get into them. I have to say that this was a book that i really could not get into at all.

This is a book that is told through a series of letters and this is a format that i do normally like and can get into very well. However i had a lot of trouble with the language of the book and the characters. I couldnt really understand who was who and how they all knew each other. For some reason i couldnt seem to understand the language and i had a lot of trouble because of this.

I did feel quite sorry for one character Cecile who it seemed things never seemed to go right for and it was her letters that i understood the most and looked out for.

I did like how the story was told through letters and it was interesting how the story came about through this. Also i read somewhere that there was a fair few different translations of the orginal which was written in French and i am thinking that if i had read a different translation i might have been able to get into the book a bit more.

I am glad that i stuck with the book and followed it through as i did get into it a bit more towards the end but i cant say that i thought it was a very enjoyable read in all honesty.

Rating – 2/5

Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell

12 Sep

Started – 31/7/12

Finished – 9/9/12

Format – Paperback book

 

Challenges – Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge

BBC Top 200 Books

1001 Books You Must Read

Ultimate Teen Book Guide Challenge

World Book Night 2012 Long List

Synopsis – Tomorrow is another day… Set against the dramatic backdrop of the American Civil War, Margaret Mitchell’s magnificent historical epic is an unforgettable tale of love and loss, of a nation mortally divided and a people forever changed. Above all, it is the story of beautiful, ruthless Scarlett O’Hara and the dashing soldier of fortune, Rhett Butler.

My Thoughts – I’ve had this book on my shelf for a long time and to be honest i was getting a little bit put off my the sheer size of the book. its over 1000 pages long and to be honest this did put me off a little bit. However, i didnt need to have worried i absolutly loved this book and i really wish i had read it sooner.

This epic book centres on Scarlett O’Hara and her life. At the start of the book she is a very self centred person and all she wants to do is attend lots of parties and find a husband and lead as many boys on as possible too. Its at a part she meets Rhett Butler and these too dont really mix very well. In fact the end up really disliking each other.

Then the unthinkable happens, civil war breaks out in America and all the men go off to fight leaving all the women behind. This is the chance for Scarlett and her friends to have to do lots of things like working in a hospital and treating the wounded soldiers. Once the civil war is over with the reconstruction takes place and its here that Scarlett’s character really starts to appear.

To be honest i didnt really like Scarlett, I really tried to but her treatment of people, espeically Frank. I thought that this was so sad what she did, i do understand the reasons behind it, to save Tara, but she ruined her sisters happiness at this. Scarlett could have had a brilliant life but instead she was so preoccupied with Ashley that she didnt realise how badly that she was treating everybody.

I did find the treatment of the black people in the book so shocking. I know that this is what happened during this time period but reading about it was so shocking and i just dont know how people could have been treated in that way by others.

I also thought that this book was so much more than the romance story that it is billed as. I found it so sad with the ammount of death in the book and there were so many twists and turns that sometimes i couldnt believe how much was happening. At the end of the book i did shed a tear as Melanie was such a nice person and i just didnt think she deserved anything that happened to her.

The only thing that did put me off slightly was the begining was very complicated with all the characters being introduced and this did at one point make me think that it wasnt the book for me. This was nessassery for the book to be introduced and once i got a hundred pages in i didnt really look back.

I loved this book its not often that i say that and i was so shocked at how much i loved this and how quickly i got into it. An amazing book!

Rating – 5/5

Dracula – Bram Stoker

8 Aug

Started – 14/7/12

Finished – 5/8/12

Format – Kindle e-book

 

Challenges –  BBC Top 200 Books

1001 Books To Read

Ultimate Teen Book Guide Challenge

501 Must Read Books

World Book Night 2012 List

 

Synopsis – ‘The door is shut, and the chains rattle; there is a grinding of the key in the lock; I hear the creaking of lock and bolt…I shall not remain alone with them. I may find a way from this dreadful place, away from this cursed spot, from this cursed land, where the devil and his children still walk with earthly feet!’

 

Young lawyer Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania on business for a mysterious Count. Months later in England, beautiful Lucy Westenra falls ill and dies, inexplicably, as if from a severe loss of blood. Lucy’s friends, including Jonathan’s fiancée Mina and the intrepid doctor Van Helsing, must begin a desperate battle against a powerful, ancient evil, in Bram Stoker’s definitive gothic tale.

My Thoughts – Dracula must be one of those books that everyone is familar with, even if they have not read the story. I downloaded this onto my kindle the day i got it, as there were so many classic books that i just hadnt read.

The book takes the form of diary entries, letters and other simular writings between the main characters in the story. For me, I really liked this and i felt that it helped the story. There was nothing left out and at times it was easy to forget the format of the book as so much detail was gained.

The book starts with Jonathan Harker who travels out to visit Count Dracula in his castle and to arrange him moving over to England. It is here that we get the first encounter with Dracula himself, and as apperances go he does seem quite normal in the begining. However, towards the end of this part of the book Draculas colours are reveiled. One scene really scared me, him crawling down a wall, and this is the first time that a book has scared me, however it was scary in a good way.

We are also introduced to the other main characters, Mina, Lucy, John Quincy and Arthur. These are the main characters that the letters and the diary entries come from. There was also lots of changes in the narrator and i liked how quickly this changed and how good it was to get a difference of opinion at times. The other character is Dr Van Helsing, who i didnt know was actually a character from Dracula. This was a nice surprise for me. To start with i was a little unsure as to how all the characters would fit together, but once they did it all made sense.

What eventually happens to Lucy, and i dont want to say if others havent read it, really did affect me in a way. I desparatley didnt want it to happen, but i can see why it did for the sake of the book. This enabled the latter part of the book to pan out and have an introduction to it.

The final part of the book was good, the hunt for Dracula and what to do with him once they caught him. I liked the journey and also all the parts with Mina. This for me made the book so brilliant. However i did think that the ending was a little bit quick and id have liked to read more and more.

I think the best part of this book is that Dracula isnt actually in it all that much. Its the creepyness of where could he be, what would happen next and the general threat of him. I also liked his character he was so clever and almost seemed one step ahead of everyone else.

On the surface this is a long classic book, something that i will admit puts me off a book. However i got really into this book and for a person that isnt always at one with the classics that is something. And its also long, but once i got into the story i just couldnt stop reading, i was sorry when it ended. This book is fantastic, one that everyone should read, if they havent already!

Rating – 5/5

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum

2 Aug

Started – 20/7/12

Finished – 25/7/12

Format – Hardback Book

 

Challenges – Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge

1001 Childrens Books You Must Read

 

Synopsis  – One of the true classics of American literature, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has stirred the imagination of young and old alike for over four generations. Originally published in 1900, it was the first truly American fairy tale, as Baum crafted a wonderful out of such familiar items as a cornfield scarecrow, a mechanical woodman, and a humbug wizard who used old-fashioned hokum to express that universal theme, “There’s no place like home.”

Follow the adventures of young Dorothy Gale and her dog, Toto, as their Kansas house is swept away by a cyclone and they find themselves in a strange land called Oz. Here she meets the Munchkins and joins the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion on an unforgettable journey to the Emerald City, where lives the all-powered Wizard of Oz.

My Thoughts – I’ve owned this book for years and years and its always sat on my shelf. I read this once when i was a lot younger and i thought that i woud read it again now that im older. I was hoping that i enjoyed the story as much as i did as a child.

This book is the story of Dorothy, who lives in Kansas. It is the most boring grey place and she doesnt really like living there. Then during a cyclone Dorothy and her dog Toto are swept away to a place called Oz. This is the most brightly coloured land and it is there that she meets her new friends, the brainless scarecrow, the tin woodman with not heart and the lion with no courage. Together they want to go to see The Wizard of Oz to ask for the things that they want.

Now i felt that parts of this book was quite scary for a child and sometimes quite shocking. for example, the flying monkeys and the wicked witch. As a child this really scared me and i think that this is what put me off reading it again when i was younger. I also felt that when Dorothy was asked to kill the witch it was a little bit shocking. Its not like modern stories and for a little girl to have to kill somebody, it just didnt sit right with me.

However, i did enjoy the story and the journey through the land of Oz. I really got into the story and really fell in love with the characters. I loved the cowerdly lion i think he was my favourite character. I think that there was an important message behind this book with the no brains, heart or courage. I think its kind of like the lion already had his courage he just needed to believe that he already had it.

The only problem i had with this is the musical that was made based on the book. I kept getting ‘follow the yellow brick road’ stuck in my head at various points of the story.

This is a very enjoyable read, not only for children but for adults too.

Rating – 4/5

Around The World in Eighty Days – Jules Verne

20 Jun

 

Started – 30/5/12

Finished – 10/5/12

Format – Kindle e-book

Challenges – BCF June Reading Circle

1001 Books You Must Read

1001 Childrens Books You Must Read

Synopsis – Phileas Fogg is a man of habit, a Victorian gentleman who follows the same routine every day–until he accepts a wager that he can circle the globe within eighty days. Thus begins a hair-raising journey, in which Fogg’s obsession with his timetable is complemented by the dynamism and versatility of his French manservant, Passepartout, whose has a talent for getting into scrapes as the two dash across continents in a suspenseful race against time.

My Thoughts – This book was picked as the choice for the June Reading Circle on the BCF. It is a book that i always wanted to read but never got around too.

This book is aout Phileas Fogg, an excentric  London gentleman who loves his routine. His days follow the same pattern day in day out and he spends a huge ammount of time at the gentlemans club. It is here that he takes the bet to travel around the world in eighty days. Along with his french servant Passepartout he does just this. Now, along the way a policeman named Fix takes Fogg for a thief and follows him around the world in an attempt to arrest him and bring a thief to justice.

I was a little bit unsure about reading this book as i have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the classics. I sometimes struggle to get into them and really have a hard time reading them. However i really got into this book and once i picked it up i couldnt put it down.

There were a few parts that i struggled with, like would it have really been possible during those times. Nowadays this would be an easy feat but a hundred years ago or so, would this have actually worked? Also some of the language and attitudes and values in this book was a little bit hard to read but again this was a sign of the times when things like that happened, if not still unaceptable to say hard to stomach things.

This book is good, a must read for everyone, I was a little bit disappointed as i thought it had an hot air balloon central to the plot, but it didnt. I must stop watching films before i read the book!

Rating – 4/5

 

 

 

Grimm’s Fairy Stories – Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

27 Mar

Started – 21/3/12

Finished – 23/3/12

Format – Kindle e-book

 

Challenges – Rory Gilmore Challenge (Rapunzel, Snow White and Red Rose)

1001 Childrens Books You Must Read)

501 Must Read Books

 

Synopsis – The Brothers Grimm rediscovered a host of fairy tales. Together with their well-known tales of “Rapunzel”, “The Goose Girl”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “Hansel and Gretel” there are darker tales which deserve to be better known. This is a collection of their tales.


My Thoughts – This was one of the many kindle books that i downloaded on the first day of me having my kindle. Its one of those classic books that has always been on my list of books that i want to read but have never got around to reading them all.

 

I really enjoyed this collection of short stories. Although i read most of them in one sitting, it is definitely a book that could be dipped in and out of. I could actually see myself reading these stories aloud at bedtime to my younger cousins.

 

Some of these stories i was familiar with and some i wasnt. Stories like Snow White and Cinderella i was familiar with, due to watching the Disney films when i was a lot younger. However there were some new to me stories like Bearskin and The Three Brothers. I was hoping that all of the stories were contained in the edition, but unfortunately not. I will be keeping my eyes open for more of the stories.

 

Now, although i enjoyed the book i did find some of the stories a little disturbing for a younger child to read nowadays, as all fairy stories at this time all seem to have happy ending and live happily ever after. For example, Little Red Riding Hood. Where at the end she is gobbled up and dies in this story, maybe nowadays that would be upsetting for a child.

 

I did find some themes reoccurring throughout the stories. The handsome prince, the poor princess, the wicked stepmother, the ugly step sisters, the youngest sibling is always the good one etc. Now i liked all these and thought that these were good parts of the fairy stories.

 

I also thought that these books were very easy to read considering they were written over 200 years ago. I know that i didnt read these in the original language, German, and that they had been made to be easier to read, but i still had concerns that i wouldnt be able to read them very well.

 

This book is really good, well worth a read if you havent already read this.  Plus i would say good for bedtime stories for older children

 

Rating – 4.5/5