Lets give this another try :)

Well, this has been a while…

I didn’t realize it has been this long, but looking at the date of my last review, I was a bit surprised. I guess time just flew by as many things have happened in the last two years.

Without going into the whole “new year, new me” stuff (which I really don’t believe in, because it never lasts), I have decided to give this blog another try. Maybe a new perspective, a new way to see and understand the books I so easily devour.

I think I have grown since the last time, both intellectually as well as emotionally, and I hope that I can somehow put to use the things that I have learnt in these two years. Some of them still learning, but you know, never give up, never give in😀

This is my new motto, ladies and gentlemen, and I hope I can stand by it. I will definitely try.

So, to start off the new year, I will be reviewing Guy de Maupassant’s “Bel-Ami”.

Until then, have a Happy New Year! Celebrate the great things you have achieved this year, put to rest the failures and disappointments (that’s what vodka is for😉 ) and get ready to be awesome in the new year😀

Cheers and all the best🙂

Audrey Niffenegger – The Time Traveler’s Wife

Hi all!

As promised, I’m back with Audrey Niffenegger’s “The Time Traveler’s Wife”, which was indeed an interesting read. It had an original approach to the classic love story and gave new meaning to fate, soul mates and fidelity.

At first I though I wouldn’t like it so much because I’ve already seen the movie, and it did seems so, to my disappointment, after the first few chapters. But later on it got better. It started getting new and different from the movie and I’ve realized that I should stop comparing them, so I did. And it was much better after that. I ended up giving it 5/5 stars and I think it deserves it.

The title of the book gives the story away and so that is pretty much what the book is about. But it was the little things, seemingly hidden within the actions, that actually made the book a great one.

The book presents the story of Henry and Clare, who’s love seems to transcend time. Henry meets Clare when he’s 28 and Clear is a 20 year old art student. But Clare has know Henry since she was six. This weird situation can be explained by the fact that Henry suffers from a condition that makes him time travel at random occasions, arriving usually at times that have some emotional meaning.

The two fall in love, seemingly united by fate, and try to live a normal life as much as possible. The book presents their life together, their joys and struggles, from both points of view.

I really liked the style of the book, because you could actually feel all that was going on, be happy or sad and I especially loved the tiny bits of the characters that made them real. They had flaws and pieces of their true personality seemed to appear in flashes.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book, and thanks to the perfect and sweet ending, it left me with a smile on my face. I think it is worth reading, but only if you have the time to really sink into it, because it’s fairly long.

If you would like to read it online, you can find it here: The Time Traveler’s Wife.

That’s all for now, next time I’ll be presenting Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar”.

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read🙂

John Steinbeck – Of Mice and Men

Hi all!

I’m back with John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”, which turned out to be a really short story, but a very meaningful one. It kind of left me with mixed emotions, but the thing I know for sure is that I liked it. I liked the way it started out very simple, but became more and more deep with every chapter.

The story presents a piece from the lives of George and Lennie, who just received new jobs on a ranch. The two characters are quite different as Lennie is a big, strong guy, but a bit slow mentally, while George is shorter, but quick in thought. We find out gradually that they have been traveling together for a while now, and they take care of each other. We also learn that Lennie likes to touch and pet things that are nice to the touch, and this has lead him into trouble before. Unfortunately, things don’t go all that great on this ranch either.

What I liked about the book was that it gave insight to the lives of these “traveling” workers, who don’t have a farm of their own, but go to where they can get a job. It was really touching how the fact that they really yearned for a place of their own, but knew they will never get it, unraveled in the book. And it was sad at the same time, because they never felt like they’ve belonged anywhere and they knew by their ways that they never will.

The ending of the book was a bit of a shock and it really touched me by the heart. It was even sweet in a really twisted and heartbreakingly sad way. And if I think about what I would’ve done, I honestly have no idea. And even so, understanding the motives, it still feels wrong somehow. And this is what I meant by the mixed feelings before.

Anyway, it’s a great book and it deserves to be read, so I wholeheartedly recommend it. Not many books manage to touch me this much, so that really is in favor of this one.

If you would like to read it online, you can find it here: Of Mice and Men.

That’s all for now, next time I’ll be talking about Audrey Niffenegger’s “The Time Traveler’s Wife”.

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read!

Harper Lee – To Kill a Mockingbird

Hi all!

I just finished reading Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” and I have to say that it was a pleasant surprise. I heard a lot of people saying that it’s really good, but I like to decide that on my own😛 And when I started reading it, I didn’t really understand why it was listed among the best books of all time. But at about the middle I started to get it. And it turns out this book is more than it first seems. And in the end I really enjoyed it.

The book presents the story of the Finch family, who live in Maycomb. At first, it presents details of their everyday lives, like how Jem and Scout spend their summer with Dill, or how the people of the neighborhood are. But after a while, the story gets more serious as the father, Atticus becomes the lawyer of a young black man charged with rape. This event turns the whole town upside down and also leads to the kids learning the lessons of life.

These lessons of growing up represent the main idea of the book, and they seem to become more clear by looking through the eyes of the children, because they are the ones than don’t judge people by color or wealth, and they truly feel the unfairness of certain situations the adults are, sadly, used to.

The title is symbolic and is referenced three times in the book. First it is explained that killing a mockingbird is a sin because they don’t harm anyone and provide beautiful music to people. The other two times it is used as a metaphor for Tom Robinson and Boo Radley.

I liked the ending of the book a lot, because it seemed really sweet and serious at the same time. And the lesson there is also valuable, as we can’t really understand others unless we put ourselves in their shoes and try to see the world through their eyes.

I think this is a really good book and I would recommend it. It is also an easy and fast read, even though it’s not all that short. If you’d like to read it online, you can find it here: To Kill a Mockingbird.

That’s all for now, and next time I’ll be talking about John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”.

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read!

Paulo Coelho – By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept

Hi all!

As promised, I’m back with another Coelho book and I’m starting to like his books a lot. This is only the second one I’ve read from him, but I’ve heard good things about a few others too that I’ll definitely read in the future.

As far as I can tell, at least from these two, the main idea that he tries to focus on is finding happiness in life and following our dreams. This has been presented in both books, but in this one, it’s a bit different.

The book presents the story of Pilar, who meets her childhood friend again after many years. She discovers that he has changed as he has seen much of the world and discovered its miracles, while she stayed in the same little town building herself a safe and stable life.

She finds that she doesn’t want to return to her routine, and changed herself by what she learns by his side, she chooses another life for them both. Rediscovering her love for him, she understands that true happiness lies in following ones heart and not the “Other”.  And even though the road of our path can be hard and we may suffer along the way, because “God hides the fires of hell within paradise”, it is worth all sacrifices to live our dream.

The book also talks about spirituality, about communicating with God and using the gifts we were given. It presents an interesting concept, that is the feminine face of God, present in all religions in one way or another, but it is not yet accepted by the Catholic church. It talks about the different sects that have already accepted Her as the Great Mother and look to Her for guidance.

I found this interesting because this was something I’ve not heard about before, but somehow it makes sense.

Furthermore, I liked the way the author presented the struggles within Pilar as she tries to follow her heart and be happy with the man she loves. The story is a touching one, written in a style that the reader can sympathize with the characters and is reached by the message of the author.

I would recommend it, because it can really give you courage to face your fears and follow your dreams, especially if you read it at crucial times in your life.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the book in a to-read format online, but you can download it from various sites if you’d like.

That’s all for now, and next time I’ll be talking about Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read🙂

Mary Shelley – Frankenstein

Hi all!

As my summer holiday has finally begun, I have a lot more time to catch up on my reading. To get me motivated, I’ve entered a monthly challenge at www.goodread.com and have a couple of really interesting picks for July. So I think it’s going to be a fun month reading-wise🙂

I think I made a good choice to try and read the classics for now, because I found out a few months ago that these are the books that really speak to me. I just love their style and the era they portray. And sometimes I wish I had lived then instead of the world of today which sometimes can be quite disappointing. But enough whining for now and lets look at the book🙂

I’m pretty sure most people are acquainted with the story of Frankenstein, which is an interesting one from the point of view of the plot and also the idea behind the book.

The book presents the story of Victor Frankenstein, an ambitious young man who, by the study and practice of natural sciences, attempts to create life. He is successful, but the cost of his success proves to be too high. The creature he had given life to realizes his own deformity and monstrous aspect, and, to his utter despair, finds that he shall remain always alone.

To put an end to his solitude, he tries to persuade his creator to make him a companion, by threatening to make Victor as miserable as he is. Victor declines his request and is forced to face the consequences.

The story is a rather touching one, and has many parts that made me think.

An interesting episode is when the beast first encounters the world around him and he is always astound by its beauty. He seems innocent and ambitious to learn about the world, almost like a child would be. His feelings are of wonder, joy and maybe even love, when encounters the little family. But as he realizes that no one would befriend him, due to his hideousness, his feelings soon turn to a more darker shade.

This part seemed interesting because it gave me an insight into what can make man miserable and change a pure heart into one thirsty for blood. And solitude and a life of an outcast could render a heart suitable for dark deeds.

But the idea of the book focuses more on the responsibilities of the creator towards his creation. This is a conflicting issue for the main character, as he is indeed marked by the desolate fate of his own work, but still can not bare himself to create another alike. And I think his fears aren’t without ground despite the promises of the beast. His struggles are definitely an interesting psychological portrayal and it all leads back to the idea that man mustn’t act as a god, because he does not have it in his power to create a being as perfect as himself or to grant happiness for his creations.

I think this book is a really good one, with interesting thoughts behind it, and deserves to be read. If you would like to read it online, you can find it here: Frankenstein.

That’s all for now, and next time I’ll be talking about another Paulo Coelho book, “By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept”.

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read🙂

Paulo Coelho – The Alchemist

Hi all!

It’s been a while, yet again, since I’ve posted anything, but this is definitely going to change in the future. I’ve finished my exams and finally finished my thesis also (which I still have to sustain, but at least the hard part is over🙂 ), so in a few more days my summer vacation will also start😀

I have a lot of plans, including catching up on my reading, which I have neglected the past few months. Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” I think is a good start.

This was definitely perfect the book to read right now. With all the stress that was laid on me the past few weeks, I ended up feeling pretty lost, but I think the book got me back on track.

I’ve looked over some reviews of the book after I’ve finished reading it, and it lead me to believe that this is one of those books that you either love or hate. And I personally loved it.

The book presents the story of a young Spanish shepherd named Santiago. His life changing adventure begins when he realizes he had had the same dream twice and talks about it with an old man, who calls himself the king of Salem.

Inspired by the words of the king, Santiago decides to pursue his dream to find the treasure by the Egyptian pyramids. His road is full of turns, as he ends up many times in places he would never before imagine, but all contribute in him finding his path.

The book is a greatly philosophical one, and I think that is why I liked it so much. It covers the theme of destiny, of the importance of following ones dreams and the unity of the universe. The presented thoughts have a magical and mysterious intonation, as the role of each thing on Earth is explained, with the steps one has to take in order to become one with the world surrounding us.

The role of an alchemist is also described and it is quite different from the one we normally tend to think of. It is pretty awesome nonetheless and I don’t think I would mind being the apprentice of one😀

I loved this book because I really wanted it to be real. I want to believe that there is more to life than want I can see around me. Because sometimes it can be rather depressing, and I love books that restore my hope in the beauty of the world and make me want to live life to the fullest, and not just settle for the ordinary.

I think it is worth reading, but I guess it’s not everyone’s cup of tee. So if you do want to read it, here’s where you can find it online: The Alchemist

This is all for now, and next time (hopefully soon) I’ll be presenting Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”.

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read🙂

Alexandre Dumas – The Count of Monte Cristo

Hi all!

It has been a long time since I’ve been here and I can’t even imagine it myself that it took this long to finish “The Count of Monte Cristo”. It is indeed a long book, and I knew that when I started it, but I also knew it would be great. And it was. I have to admit, this was one of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read. But definitely, this was the worst time to read it, and I guess that is one of the reasons why I finished it so late.

I have a lot on my plate nowadays, balancing work, exams and preparing for my Bachelor’s Degree certification, so all I needed was a good book to keep me focused😀

The weird part is that I don’t think I’ve fully understood that it’s over. I keep thinking about reading another chapter in my spare time, but then I remember, there’s no more chapters left. I guess I really got used to the characters, with all the time I’ve spent on them. And I miss them, because each one was a very interesting person, be it in vices and faults, or decency and good will. And the plot itself is very captivating and complex, with turns you don’t anticipate and many threads to present the lives of the many characters, that somehow are still woven together.

The book is actually the story of a young man named Edmond Dantes, who although very young, would soon become captain of a ship and also marry the love of his life, Mercedes. But this perfect future is soon destroyed, as Edmond is accused by Danglars, a fellow official on the ship, and Fernand, a man in love with Mercedes, to be a conspirator. Although innocent, Edmond is still imprisoned, as the king’s attorney tries to save the life of his father.

He stays in prison for fourteen years, during which he befriends the Abbe Faria, who becomes his teacher and father in their despair. When this beloved guardian dies of an unfortunate illness, Edmond finds that he was given once again a chance at freedom, and even wealth.

He returns to his home town, but the life that he left behind was nowhere to be found. The good people he remembered were all driven to misery, while the ones who plotted against him were successful and rich. And so, the plan to avenge himself stirs in the mind of Edmond, naming himself from then on the Count of Monte Cristo. He gradually enters the lives of his former “acquaintances” and by manipulating the threads of destiny, he tries to undo the wrong and bring ease to his years of pain, by punishing those that punished him with the undeserved sufferings at the Chateau d’If .

As I said, the story is a rather complex one, and also presents some very interesting ideas about destiny, about hope and about happiness. Each character is beautifully displayed, and we can almost see into the recesses of their hearts. Every pang of pain, every glitter of joy can be felt by the reader also. And I think one of the saddest episodes of the book was when the count revisited his dungeon and listened to his own story told by the guide. I’m not afraid to confess, it did indeed bring tears to my eyes. And I love when a book can achieve that, because that basically means that I bow before the author for being able to write this. And in case of this book, the bow isn’t only for that particular scene, but for the whole book. It is a masterpiece, no doubt about it.

I guess this is all I’m going to say about it for now, because I feel I could go on and on, but it’s not the time for that😀

Anyway, if you would like to read it online, you can find it here: The Count of Monte Cristo.

So, I guess that’s all for now. I’m not really sure when I’ll be back with the next book, probably not that soon, due to causes I’ve already listed. But when I do return, I’ll be reviewing Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist”.

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read!

Marquis de Sade – The 120 Days of Sodom

Hi all!

I think this is the first book, since I’ve started the blog, that I’m not all that thrilled about. Before reading it I’ve looked through a couple of reviews to know what to expect, but even though I found the reviews accurate, I still felt like something was missing. Maybe a little more psychological presentation, I’m not sure…

Anyway, the first time I’ve heard of Marquis de Sade was at a literature class, while studying a poet who was influenced by him. And since I really liked the poem we were studying, I became curious of the works of Sade. This was actually the first I’ve read from him and the book does justice to its reputation. It’s highly disturbing, with many elements of a brutal, violent and disgusting manner.

The book presents the story of four Frenchmen, the Duc de Blangis, his brother the Bishop, the president de Curval and the banker Durcet, who are very liberal in their way of living and have an interesting view concerning sin and morality.

They decide to partake in a pleasurable experience (pleasurable from their point of view) and with the help of a few procuresses, kidnap eight young boys and girls, and take them, along with more hand picked people, to a secluded property of theirs. Here they spend 120 days, in which they commit horrible deeds of torture.

Each day, one of the four women, brought especially for this, tell five passions, stories from their experience and the four men are only allowed to repeat the deeds from the stories and the ones presented before, keeping “the best” for last. And I think everyone can assume that the best for them is the possible worst for their hopeless victims.

During the story we see Sade’s point of view concerning ethics and morality put into the mouths of his characters, and these ideas are rather interesting.

A thing that I liked was the storytelling, but it was ruined in places because of the language. I understand that it was meant to be demeaning and outspoken and what not, but it just seemed vulgar too me. And I don’t think that was what Sade was aiming for. But apart from that, I really liked the style.

I think it was good that I’ve read this book, because I think Sade is an important figure, and not only in literature, so this is a plus even general knowledge-wise. I’m not sure I would recommend it, because it’s not the sort of book you just recommend. But if you have my weird and morbid curiosity, then be my guest😀

Oh, and if you didn’t guess it by know, it contains mature content. (for warning’s sake)

If you’d like to read it online, you can find it here: The 120 Days of Sodom.

Next time I’ll be presenting something a bit more decent:  Dumas’ “The Count of Monte Cristo”.

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read🙂

Rejtő Jenő – The 14-carat Roadster

Hi all!

As promised, I’m back with Rejtő Jenő’s “The 14-carat Roadster” (“A tizennégy karátos autó”) and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by it. I admit, I have heard from a lot of people that it is a great book and it even got on the list of the 100 best Hungarian books that are totally worth reading, but still, when I checked what it was about, I wasn’t at all impressed. And I only started reading it because it was on my to-read list (due to the previously mentioned best books list) and, frankly, I didn’t have anything else to read on the train😀

But like I said, I was pleasantly surprised and I really enjoyed it, even from page one. It’s got a great style that makes it perfect for when you are looking for a light read. It kind of reminded me of Agatha Christie’s books, only instead of mystery and puzzles, we have funny characters and wild adventures🙂

The story presents the adventures of one Gorcsev Iván, a young man who has a very interesting way of being, doing things at an impulse, without thinking of the consequences. He falls in love with Anette Laboux, the daughter of a minister and somehow gets involved in the greatly complicated story of the Alfa-Romeo with parts made out of 14 carat gold.

The story is filled with twists and turns as the car gets stolen, then retrieved, then stolen again, and of course there is the thing with how Gorcsev joined the army, but sent his secretary instead with the promise that they will change places, but something always comes up and the secretary is left to make the lives of the generals miserable😀

The book is a real page turner, because it never gets boring not having the time to get boring. One thing happens after the other, and these things along with the characters are hilarious😀

I would definitely recommend this book and I think in the end it was the perfect choice after “One Hundred Years of Solitude”. If you would like to read it online, you can find the English version here: The 14-carat Roadster, and the Hungarian version (if anyone is interested) here: A Tizennégy karátos autó.

That’s all for now, and next time I’ll be talking about something a little more edgy: Marquis de Sade’s “The 120 Days of Sodom”.

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read🙂

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