Tag Archives: literature

Review: Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables  (Anne of Green Gables, #1)Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Anne is one of the greatest literary characters of all time.

I laughed throughout the whole book. I particularly loved the scene where Anne, still a child, puts flowers in her hat on the way to church, thinking it would be beautiful. She then spent her Sunday day walking around with dilapidated buds drooping above her head. It’s something I could easily see one of my sisters doing at that age.

The voices were each unique in their own way. I thought Montgomery’s handling of Anne’s prideful refusal of Gilbert’s plea for friendship to be a wonderful way of holding out the tension until the last page of the story.

There is a fantastic, free audio recording of it on librivox.org here: http://bit.ly/l4US2f
It’s read by perhaps my favorite librivox reader, Karen Savage.

Five stars for its outstanding character and storyline!
View all my reviews

Review: The Worm Ouroboros

The Worm OuroborosThe Worm Ouroboros by E.R. Eddison

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The literary quality of this book is superb, and the mythopoeic nature is paramount. However, the book lost my interest somewhere in Chapter 4.

The book is about the onset of a war between Demons and Witches. It has received praise from literary masters J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and it was on their recommendation that I began my study of it.

I was a little wary of reading a book that describes demons as heroes, and for me this intuitive thought has accreted into a general dislike for the underlying philosophy.

In Chapter 4, as the witches are plotting a sinister attack on the demons using dark magic my stomach began feeling queasy. I don’t mind seeing evil in a story––it does exist. Yet I hate it when an author engages me in the evil itself.

It confused me at first to feel this way about the story as the works of the authors mentioned above never left me feeling like that at all. While I thought about it, I remembered that another of my favorite authors, George MacDonald, had similar scenes of conjurations of dark magic in “The Light Princess,” yet those didn’t leave me feeling the same way at all.

I felt it unnecessary to continue. After a little more research I discovered that C.S. Lewis praised the sinister nature of the story, while J.R.R. Tolkien felt it to be rather rebarbative.

Three stars for its masterful handling of the Victorian literary style.

View all my reviews

Review: The Wind in the Willows

The Wind in the Willows The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a wonderful tale!

Every character in this story is distinct, full of life, and their voices leap out of the page.

The scenes are simply beautiful. There’s a dreaminess to the pacing that sets you back a hundred years or more when people in the Americas used to share their food and talk at great length with strangers.

One particular scene that stuck out to me was the one in which Rat and the Mole are searching for the lost otter child, but hear the call of mysterious music, forget what they are doing, and go searching for the source instead. They come to an island and, traveling inwards, come to a cool-green meadow where the music seems to come all around them with no particular source. Rat says, “…surely, this is where we will find Him,” in awe, and both animals take off their hats and stand silently as the sun rises. Suddenly, when the sun does rise, the animals forget what they had just experienced and remember they were looking for the young otter child. The otter turns out to be just a few yards away from them and they take him home, but Mole drags behind a little, trying to remember, but failing to remember what they had experienced.  I think I liked this scene because when we feel a divine presence or have a wonderful dream, we forget thereafter all of it in its details and only have a taste in our mouths to remind us that it happened.

Toad is hilarious –– definitely one of my favorite character portrayals of all time.

I did have one problem with the story, and that was that Toad never really did anything to redeem himself after all his picaresque harassment on society.

Five stars!

View all my reviews

Review: The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread

The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of ThreadThe Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Despereaux’s tale of how he, a mouse, saves the princess, is a reminder that good stories do not need to be complex, long, or gaudy. We love it when they speak to our souls, as we’re all always longing for “soup.”

The title says it all with this one. It’s about a mouse, who lives in a castle, and has to risk his life in order to save the princess from a dastardly rat.

The voice of the narrator takes me back to days when I was in second grade, listening to my teacher, Mrs. Bizell, reading stories.

Very fun.

View all my reviews

Review: A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two CitiesA Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book has many merits and few faults.

I loved the characters. Miss Pross was especially my favorite. Her introduction stuck out in my memory:

"Mr. Lorry knew Miss Pross to be very jealous, but he also knew her by this time to be, beneath the service of her eccentricity, one of those unselfish creatures–found only among women–who will, for pure love and admiration, bind themselves willing slaves, to youth when they have lost it, to beauty that they never had, to accomplishments that they were never fortunate enough to gain, to bright hopes that never shone upon their own sombre lives. He knew enough of the world to know that there is nothing in it better than the faithful service of the heart; so rendered and so free from any mercenary taint, he had such an exalted respect for it, that in the retributive arrangements made by his own mind–we all make such arrangements, more or less– he stationed Miss Pross much nearer to the lower Angels than many ladies immeasurably better got up both by Nature and Art, who had balances at Tellson’s."

This was such a wonderful observation that it caused me to suddenly gain admiration for so many women.
Continue reading

Review: The Sorrows of Young Werther

The Sorrows of Young WertherThe Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great story of an anti-hero.

Goethe did a good job of taking the reader into the mind of a person lost in self-love and addiction to sympathy until he allowed those tragic flaws to lead him to self-destruction.  The ending phrase, […they buried him on the hill as he requested, and no priest came to his funeral.] was good.

It was interesting to me that, as the story drew on, I began to feel sorrow for Werther myself. Yet, from the work of the masterful storyteller, I never excused his irrational behavior and decision to kill himself.  The words, “Be a man: do not follow me,” were among my favorite quotes.

I’d recommend it to people who are literary enthusiasts.

View all my reviews