sly_wit

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Fahrenheit 451

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Given the concept, I should have liked this, but I absolutely hated the writing style and just couldn't get past the fact that half the time I wasn't sure what was going on or what Bradbury's real message is. It didn't help that he seems to be a bit of an ass in the epilogue.
To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

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This one is very difficult to rate. I try to use the Goodreads star labels as strict guidelines and I didn't think "it was ok"; however, I gave it two stars because I acknowledge that it's not fair to give it only one star just because it was mostly incomprehensible to me. It did have moments of brilliance, notably in the poetic language of the “Time Passes” interlude. I'm glad I read this, but I don't think I'll be attempting any more Woolf in the near future.
Skios

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This started off as an interesting bit of light farce, so light I had a hard time understanding how it could have been longlisted for the Booker. I remain mystified. I kept waiting for something to be revealed to take it to the next level, but that never happened. Enjoyable, but the lack of either emotional or intellectual payoff was extremely disappointing.
Half-Blood Blues: A Novel

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After an initial difficulty with language, I grew to really enjoy this book. I had put it on my to-be-read list back when it was up for the Booker, but then it was chosen for The Readers Summer Book Club and that became my impetus to read it sooner rather than later. Plus, I had my Paris-themed book salon coming up, although much of the book takes place in Berlin.

The author does a great job of capturing what I imagine the banter of 1930s jazz musicians might be, as well as their love of music. It also presents a little-seen side of World War II, so don’t let that part of the blurb drive you off if you hate war stories. Much like in Skeletons at the Feast, I appreciated the new perspective. It gets a bit sappy at the end, but I think it’s a sappiness that is well-earned.
Rebecca

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One of my favorite books ever! A romance and mystery wrapped in one fabulous Gothic package.
Miss Pym Disposes

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This was an odd book. The murder doesn't even take place until three-quarters of the way through the book. As it takes place in England during the Golden Age of British mysteries, I was destined to like it, but it is far from your typical mystery. And it's very different from her two previous novels, The Man in the Queue and A Shilling for Candles. Perhaps this is because there is a ten-year gap in her work, with World War II falling in the middle.

In any case, I love the world and characters that Tey creates here. It makes me very anxious to read The Daughter of Time and The Franchise Affair, which seem to be people's favorites.
Julius Caesar

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Julius Caesar is the first Shakeaspeare I ever read (in English I). I didn't remember much of it when I picked it up again in preparation for a performance at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, but was pleasantly surprised by how modern and relevant it seemed.
Treasure Island

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This was great, with a thrilling read by B.J. Harrison of the The Classic Tales podcast. I thought I had read this before, but I think that was just all the movies I have seen over the years. The actual book is so much more developed than I expected. I really need to check out more of these classic adventure stories.
Tarzan of the Apes

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I bought this awhile back with the intention of listening to it for my Classic Boys Adventures book salon. It is narrated by B.J. Harrison who puts out the fabulous The Classic Tales podcast. I continue to be amazed at the lengthy set ups that are in these classic adventure stories and find myself wondering if kids today have the patience for them. Anyway, this wasn't quite what I expected, more of a Treasure Island shipwreck tale than Tarzan living in jungle, but enjoyable once you get over the extremely imperialist viewpoint. My only real complaint was that the ending felt rushed and left the reader completely hanging!
Persuasion

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This is my favorite Austen, probably because it is her most mature and thoughtful heroine.
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