Mark Twain was one of the first authors I ever claimed as my favorite. I fell in love with his humor by reading a collection of short stories left over from my mother’s college days. As I grew older, I read the requisite famous Twain works. I pored over The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn like every good English major should.
For some reason, I had never before read A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court until this year. I must have been under the mistaken assumption that the novel would deal with courtly matters in medieval England, not my favorite genre.
In fact, the novel is set primarily in medieval England, but the story is told through the eyes of a time-traveler from Twain’s present. Hence, the title.
Posted in classics, literature, review
Tagged a connecticut yankee in king arthur's court, book reviews, books, classic books, classic literature, king arthur, lancelot, literature, mark twain, medieval england, medieval times, samuel clemens, time travel
In this last installment of the Hunger Games trilogy, Collins seems to have run out of steam. Perhaps it’s because I read the three novels in quick succession, but Mockingjay seems to lack cohesion.
I thought The Hunger Games was a good start to the series, and Catching Fire improved on what the first book lacked, but I have to admit Mockingjay is a bit of a disappointment. Rumor has it, Collins was busy churning out the script for the first film while finishing up Mockingjay, so I supposed the rushed nature of the writing and plotting in this book was to be expected.
Still, there is plenty to talk about regarding the final book, though more plot translates to more plot holes.
Posted in contemporary, literature
Tagged book reviews, books, entertainment, hunger games, katniss everdeen, literature, mockingjay, reviews, suzanne collins, YA books, YA fiction, young adult books, young adult fiction
I keep saying I’m not usually a fan of YA fiction for adults, but I must admit I’m really liking this series. It’s a fun, fast-paced page-turner. A light, pleasurable read with plenty of fuel for the imagination. Plus,Collins is a master at chapter endings.
Check out my review of the first book, The Hunger Games, here. To sum up my thoughts on the first novel in the trilogy, I enjoyed the book, but thought the world building lacked detail.
I liked the second book much more than I did the first. Without the constraints of the somewhat tired Battle Royale/Long Walk set-up, Collins finally made the world come alive for me. We gain much more insight into the protagonist’s mind, and to the characters in the village.
The romance (or whatever) between Katniss and Gale gains momentum, as the awkwardness between Katniss and Peeta (really not a good name there) continues.
Posted in contemporary, literature, review
Tagged book reviews, books, catching fire, hunger games, katniss everdeen, literature, suzanne collins, the hunger games, YA books, YA fiction, young adult books, young adult fiction
Have you read The Stranger? Please, read that first and then come back to this novel. The themes inherent in Albert Camus’s The Plaugue amplify the simple story of The Stranger, and it was a pleasure to see those themes through a story containing characters one can admire.
The Plague follows Dr. Rieux and his colleagues, as their town is attacked by a resurgence of the plague. The town is described as mercantile, drab, and lacking in passion before the plague. As the sickness escalates and the town is quarantined, cut off from the world, the novel’s nameless (until the last chapter) narrator describes the plague’s effects on the town’s denizens.
Camus–or, perhaps, the narrator*–repeatedly cautions the reader against viewing any of the characters as heroes. However, in the face of mass suffering, many of these characters fight a losing battle for the sake of their fellow humans. How can we not view these men as heores?
It may not come as a surprise to learn that this novel deals with existentialism. Camus, existentialism? Shocker, I know. Continue reading
Posted in classics, literature, review
Tagged albert camus, book reviews, books, camus, classic french literature, classic lit, classic literature, existentialism, french literature, literature, novels, the plague
Steinbeck’s The Red Pony is a series of stories centered around one boy’s coming of age, growing up on a farm in the early twentieth century. The book is less of a collection of short stories than a longform story, told in parts.
I liked it, but I generally enjoy Steinbeck. I found approx. 17 copies of this thin book at my local library. No doubt some middle school in the neighborhood has chosen this book as assigned reading. Or perhaps the library chose The Red Pony for their teen book club, assuming such a thing exists.
The language of the book is direct, with Steinbeck’s usual clear, strong sentences. I can easily see why this book, with its short length and ease of reading, would be recommended for young adults. I am sure I would have found the book profound but a tad obvious, in my own sarcastic, easily dismissive youth.
Slightly older now, I can see the beauty in simple statements and raw emotions, both of which The Red Pony certainly has a surplus.