Monday, January 19, 2009

Oliver Twist - Final Review

Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens, 1837

Plot: Good. Fairly complex, but only because of the number of characters involved. Overall it was very satisfying with all of the loose ends tied up into a neat little bundle by the end. Just like I like it. 9/10

Style: This is hard to judge. On the one hand, I was pleasantly surprised by the humor and sarcasm that Dickens uses which makes it a really fun read. One of my favorite quotes, which I marked to be sure to share with you:
"The doctor seemed especially troubled by the fact of the robbery having been unexpected, and attempted in the night-time; as if it were the established custom of gentlemen in the housebreaking way to transact business at noon, and to make an appointment, by post, a day or two previous."
On the other hand, well, let's just say that I'm glad I never had to diagram a Dickens sentence. He is famous for his convoluted phrasing for a good reason. For the most part, I enjoyed deciphering his paragraph-long sentences and found myself smiling at the unique way he put the words together. But when it came time to explain the conclusion to the convoluted plot, I was at a loss to understand what was going on. I eventually figured it out by context later, but I'm convinced that I lost a good 5-10 pages. My final complaint would be the number of characters. Characters that seemed minor would make a reappearance in later pages and serve to completely confuse me as I wouldn't remember their significance from before. I feel like I needed to make a flow chart or a web graph to get it all sorted out. Anyway, I loved this book overall and am excited to read more Dickens. 8/10

Hotness of the main character(s): Well Oliver Twist is a little boy, so how bout we don't even go there. There are too many characters to list here, all young, old or completely unsavory. There was, however, a side plot that involved one Mr. Harry Maylie who was very reminiscent of an end-of-the-book Mr. Darcy. So that gets 10/10 automatically. :)

The character I would most like to be: I suppose Rose. She is sweet and kind and well...basically...Harry loves her. That's all I need to say about that!

Re-readability: When I'm in the mood to really READ, like, take time to understand each sentence, I would love to read this again. That doesn't happen super often though, so let's go with occasionally.

Final decision: Shelf it

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Books and Reading Order

So for my birthday I recieved these books:

Dracula - Bram Stoker
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
The Jewel of Seven Stars - Bram Stoker (about mummies)
Cycle of the Werewolf - Stephen King (okay, probably not a classic, but it fit the theme!)

These will most likely be the next books I will read and review:
(these I have)
War of the Worlds - H.G. Wells
Dracula - Stoker
Frankenstein - Shelley
The Pearl - John Steinbeck
Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
Cycle of the Werewolf - King
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
The Jewel of Seven Stars - Stoker
(these I need)
Emma - Jane Austen
Winter of our Discontent - John Steinbeck
Lorna Doone - Richard Doddridge
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
The Vicar of Wakefield - Oliver Goldsmith
The Pickwick Papers - Charles Dickens
Moby Dick - Herman Melville
Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell (I saw this one in a bookstore today. Good Lord it's long!)
1984 - George Orwell
Cannery Row/Sweet Thursday - John Steinbeck
Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Okay, so it's more like a Me-SA, but anyway. I'm looking for a job. If you hear of anything, please let me know. I'm happy to send my resume to anyone who wants it. :) I'm also on LinkedIn so if you are, find me!

Thanks everyone!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

a thought...just one

I have read the first 5 chapters of Oliver Twist (Dickens) and I just HAD to share that I find it absolutely hilarious and incredibly entertaining. I have been told that Dickens is not always funny, but it makes me look forward to everything I have on my list by him. That is all.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Of Mice and Men - Final Review

Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck, 1937

First of all, I'd like to say how incredibly grateful I am not to have been forced to read this for high school English. I could read the book for the characters and story and not to analyze the social commentary. (At least until my jerk brother started asking pointed questions. He did have to read it for class.)

Plot: The story kept my interest throughout. It was short, so there wasn't any superfluous lame stuff. All important. I appreciated the relationships between the characters and the fact that most of the people you met were more than 2-dimensional stereotypes. However, (I will take a moment to remind you that these reviews are based on my enjoyment, and not of the "quality" of the novel) Steinbeck loses points here for the lack of happy ending. And more for the fact that not only was it not happy, it was downright depressing. 7/10

Style: Good pace. Straightforward and easy to follow. In stark contrast to Wells, Steinbeck takes time to paint the scene in a way very reminiscent of a long exposition shot in a movie. I would almost forget that characters were going to make an appearance and that plot was going to happen because it is easy to get wrapped up in the beauty of the scene. Authors can most certainly spend too much time on description (cough, Mark Twain, cough) but for me, Steinbeck was perfect. Also, like I said above, I really love the way that he wrote the characters. Though the story was short, I feel like I really got them. 9/10

Hotness of the main character(s): George Milton - Small, sharp-featured, curses frequently. Doesn't own anything of his own. But, he takes care of his slow-witted friend no matter what he does. Oh, and he didn't get a whore when all the other guys did. At least that's the assumption. Points for a heart of gold. Loses some (most?) of those for [MAJOR SPOILER!] killing the slow guy in the end. 2/10
Lennie Small - Really big, really dumb, kills small animals [SPOILER] and some people(accidentally!), doesn't remember much. But, he's a sweet guy. Still... 2/10

The character I would most like to be: Slim. This was a hard, and sort of weird, decision. So I picked the guy who got all the respect. People liked working on his team, he invited confidence, he was kind-hearted and reassuring and really good at his job. His word went, too. That would be nice.

Re-readability: The depressing ending will bring this one down lower than it probably should go. So - once in a blue moon.

Final decision: Shelf it (purely for Steinbeck's writing skill. I wouldn't be heartbroken to lose this one)