Although it’s a bit different from my usual spiel, I’m going to try something new on this blog. I really enjoy reviewing books on Goodreads and rating them (and then adding all sorts of fun and magical after-reading glow excitement to them). And I did attempt to add my Goodreads reviews as posts on WordPress, but alas – it was not to be. So instead I’m going to post reviews of books that I’ve been reading recently – and then add them to Goodreads later. Killing two birds with one stone? In any case – Let me know!
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (4/5 Stars)
It’s been years and years since I’ve had the tenacity to pick up the book again. Not that I don’t enjoy Jane Austen utterly and in every way possible… she’s just a lot of work to get through. In the case of Sense and Sensibility, I was quickly reminded how much I loved old English prose – and how the particulars of society were such a part of my love of literature when I was younger. So it was no hard task to reintegrate myself into the lives of Elinor, Marianne and Margaret – and their subsequent love lives. The reason, however, that I do not give it 5 stars, is that as much as I love the characters, love the plot and love the writing style, I cannot reconcile that ultimately the book has little more to focus on their lives than on romance. I want more! Why isn’t there a chapter or two (The book could handle an addition) to the liveliness of reading or learning to play an instrument. So much of the Dashwood’s lives are spent with others, and not with each other. Naturally this is merely my complaint of what I wished could be – so it is nothing that others will find immediately awful. However, I’d like to say – thank you Jane Austen. As much as I grit my teeth to read your romance novels, I do love myself a good romance read every once in a while.
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (4/5 Stars again)
Water for Elephants was certainly more than I expected. The only thing I knew about this novel was that it had been made into a movie with good ol’ Robert Pattinson. However, I was glad to begin the book and just as quickly finish it – a quick read and an engrossing one. I’ve never known much about the circus, but I’m glad I took the time to read about the “Great Circus Disaster” and the “growing-up” tale of Jacob because the switching between his elderly life, and his young adventures was just enough to remind me of their connection between caring for the elderly and caring for animals on a circus cart. It takes a unique eye to point out to unsuspecting readers the strangely strong connection between these two things. Without spoilers, the ending was honestly perfect. I was dreading something horrific, and was pleasantly surprised to find this novel ending someplace I would not have expected, but welcomed!
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (5/5 Stars)
Oh goodness, where to start. Fahrenheit 451 was one of those books I had a hazy high-school memory of. So immediately I assumed it must not have been a very fond memory, and it was with reluctant fingers that I wrote it down as one of my December 2013 reads. Luckily, I don’t believe I’ve ever been so wrong. After reading the introduction which housed a strange and familiar voice (Neil Gaiman, it’s always you, isn’t it?), I already felt as though I had perhaps misjudged the book. Almost at once, I was engrossed in the novel by the first page. Book burning has always seemed to me to be something entirely horrendous and without merit – so having the beginning describe Guy before his eyes were opened was hauntingly stomach-heaving writing. But as the novel continued and I was exposed to something of a revelation that books are in fact, amazing things – filled to the brim with small and unique tidbits that give humans life, I felt warm inside. Books about books are some of the best, and I cannot dispute that Fahrenheit 451 will be a book that I must identify with. It’s about individuality, and independence, and about learning that books may be far more important than the statistics of Barnes and Noble in any given financial quarter. Although I cannot go and thank Ray Bradbury in person, I will do the best I can to communicate my thanks through this review. It just goes to show how important rereading is, that it can take a book that exists as nothing more than a memory and turn it into something that changes the way you see the world, and bring a tear to your eye.