taralovesbooks’ #CBR5 Review #49: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Cannonball Read V: Book #49/52
Published: 1925
Pages: 177

Genre: Classic

On my quest to read more classics, this one was high on the list. Mostly because it’s short. It’s no secret that I generally don’t get into the classics very well for some reason. I usually find them extremely slow and boring. The Great Gatsby started out that way, but by the end I was pleasantly surprised.

If you don’t know the plotthe story is narrated by a man named Nick who moved into a small house on Long Island, NY. He notices that his neighbor always holds elaborate parties at his mansion next door, but is rarely seen himself. Eventually Nick and his neighbor, Jay Gatsby become friends and Nick finds out that Gatsby has been in love with his cousin Daisy for years. Daisy just moved back to the area with her husband. 

Read the rest in my blog.

nelsonmilum’s #CBR5 review #07: Prelude to Foundation, by Isaac Asimov

757396Let’s read some fiction! My reviews so far have been predominantly outside of my literary comfort zone; non-fiction, contemporary, or autobiographical. I’m usually more of a light reader, so here are my thoughts on a classic. Over the next little while I’ll be reading the Isaac Asimov Foundation series. I’ve been reading fantasy style novels for the last 15 or so years, in that time I’ve been continually annoyed by the conflation of Science Fiction and Fantasy. The two are not a single genre and shouldn’t be thought of as such. But what makes people combine them? Why are Science Fiction and Fantasy so seemingly related that people often mistake them for the same genre? The biggest and in my opinion only similarity between Science Fiction and Fantasy is the more tangible escapism; you always know behind your suspension of disbelief that the story couldn’t be actually happening anywhere nearby. Science Fiction uses technology and ideas about science as its device whereas Fantasy uses magic and superstition.

All that aside, lets get into the review.

SJfromSJ’s #CBR5 Review #4: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

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I loved this book in high school. I had to defend my love of this book to my closest friends. I bought it a couple years ago because I loved it, though I hadn’t read it again since high school, and I just wanted to have a copy of it because I like having copies of books and movies that I love. I decided to read it for the first time since high school to recall why I loved it so much.

I couldn’t.

This is a classic that I’m sure most people read in high school (unless you were like me and didn’t actually read half of the books you were supposed to in high school — this was one of the few I did), so I’m just going to share some random thoughts I had on this book:

1. Lady Ashley is one of the original Manic Pixie Dream Girls, if not THE original MPDG. Continue reading

Captain Tuttle’s #CBR5 Review #13 – Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

I read this book because it was mentioned in the Pajiba article about what books say about one’s date, and felt pretty ashamed that I had not crossed paths with Vonnegut despite my many literature classes. Stupid professors. Anyway, holy cow! It sucks that I didn’t read this when I was younger, but maybe then (back when the earth was cooling) I might not have gotten it. So maybe it’s better that I came to the book on my own, rather than being forced to.

I’m guessing most people already know the story: Billy Pilgrim is awkward, odd, may or may not have been kidnapped by aliens and forced to live in an alien zoo, and may or may not be able to travel through time. The story jumps around from Billy’s (then) current time, WW2, the alien planet, various other places in the past, and briefly the future. Billy intersects with the narrator in Dresden during WW2 as prisoners of war (and at least that part was based on Vonnegut’s own experiences). Here’s where I got a little confused. The book is called Slaughterhouse Five, which made me think that the bulk of the story took place there, in Dresden, during the firebombing. I was surprised when I realized I was halfway through the book and we weren’t anywhere near Dresden.

Billy’s time travels usually take place when he is experiencing some trauma, and if I’m not mistaken, most of his travels are to the past, aside from the trips to space. Either way, it looks to me (and I’ve never studied this book, so I could be totally wrong) like Billy has a very rich fantasy life where he retreats when reality becomes too much. I think most people do, only his is more vivid, and can intrude on his real life – like when he was placed in a mental institution after coming home from the war with shell shock.

There was nothing I didn’t love about this book. I find it interesting that it’s one of the most banned (or attempted-to-be-banned) books ever. Ok, sure, it’s profane, blasphemous, violent, and a bunch of other stuff some people don’t like, but if those people looked beneath the surface, they would find a beautiful story about a man who is lost, “unstuck in time,” trying to make sense of the ridiculousness of reality. And so it goes.

taralovesbooks’ #CBR5 Review #5: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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Cannonball Read V: Book #5/52
Published: 1813
Pages: 279
Genre: Classic

3 stars: Good, but I probably wouldn’t read again.

This book is part of my project to try and read more classics. So far, all it’s doing is reminding me why I never read classics. However, Pride and Prejudice is one of those books that is a struggle to get through but you end up liking AFTER you read it.

I knew the basic storyline because I have seen the movie with Kiera Knightley in it. I liked the movie, so I figured I might like the book even though I rarely read (or like) romance novels. Basically it’s about a girl named Elizabeth and her 700 sisters (seriously, it seems like that many) and their mother who is trying to marry them off to rich guys. Their family lives out in the country in England and everyone goes wild when some new rich guy comes into town. The rich guy (Mr. Bingsley) throws a ball and ends up falling for Elizabeth’s older sister. Mr. Bingsley has an even richer friend named Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy is kind of an ass.

Read the rest in my blog.

Captain Tuttle’s CBR5 Review #2 – The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis

I’ve read these books over and over again since re-discovering them in adulthood. They may have been written for children, and by a religious man, none of which I am, but I enjoy them nonetheless, and generally all in order.  I picked it up this time because I left my Kindle at the office, and needed something smallish for bedtime reading.

This book is the “prequel” to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; sort of.  It tells of Digory and his friend Polly, and his nasty uncle who thinks he’s a magician. Digory’s stuck in London because his dad’s in India and his mom is dying. He’s sad and lonely.  He and Polly start exploring the row houses, and end up in weird uncle’s special room where he does magic. He has these rings, which seem to make things disappear.  Jerky uncle fools Polly into touching a ring that makes her disappear, and forces Digory to do the same (because he doesn’t want to abandon his friend).

When they’re away, Digory does something stupid and impulsive, and awakens a nasty (if beautiful) witch. She hitches a ride back to London with the kids, and wreaks havoc all over the place. The kids figure out they have to get her out of there, and try to bring her back to her own world. This time bad uncle, a cab driver, and a horse come along.  They end up in a dark and empty place, and to help them feel better, the cabbie sings a song. When he stops, something else is singing, and the world comes to life. The singer is Aslan, and the world becomes Narnia. There’s quite a bit more, but the important thing is that Digory brings back an apple from Narnia, saves his mom, and plants the apple core in his yard. It grows into a tree, and the wood from the tree was used to make a wardrobe.  Hmmm.  I wonder who Digory grows up to be?

Anyway, like I said, this book is a total standby for me, and I’m looking forward to the time that my boy is old enough to sit through me reading it to him.

Malin’s #CBR5 Review #3: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

This is the first time I read The Hobbit myself. Many years ago, while the husband was still my boyfriend, he discovered that while I had read The Lord of the Rings several times, and in more than one language (Norwegian, then English), I had never actually read The Hobbit. I was never a huge fan of the long preface that explained about hobbits in LOTR, and frankly am one of the many people who think the first stretch of book, where they walk and walk and nearly get eaten by a tree and then walk some more (before Aragorn shows up, frankly) is dreadfully boring, and I didn’t really see why I’d want to read a kid’s book all about hobbits. More fool me, right?