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!

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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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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, theย 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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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:ย  Dumas’ “The Count of Monte Cristo”.

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read ๐Ÿ™‚

Rejtล‘ Jenล‘ – The 14-carat Roadster

Hi all!

As promised, I’m back with Rejtล‘ Jenล‘’s “The 14-carat Roadster” (“A tizennรฉgy karรกtos autรณ”) 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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

The story presents the adventures of one Gorcsev Ivรกn, 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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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 Tizennรฉgy karรกtos autรณ.

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

Meg Cabot – Missing You (1-800-Where-R-You #5)

Hi all!

I’m back with the last book of the 1-800-Where-R-You series, “Missing You”, and I have to say that I was really surprised when I started reading it, because it is a bit different than the previous ones. It’s more serious, more real and, frankly, this was the first time I could actually identify with Jess.

I guess, in the end, it turned out that this is actually my favorite of the series, but not because of the plot. If I had to choose based on the plot, it would still be the third. What I liked about this one is that is taps a little more into psychology and even more into the problems of young people, mainly the question “What do I want to do with my life?”. But, of course, the story also involves some crime fighting, to which Jess is already used to. But let’s start at the beginning ๐Ÿ™‚

The story takes place a few years later, and it seems everything has changed. Jess and Ruth are 19 and in college in New York, with Mike and Skip crashing on their couch for the summer. And it turns out, a lot has happened in the last years. Jess had helped the U.S. government in the war in Afghanistan, something she returned from broken. Not only had she lost her power, but she wasn’t quite the same either. And this had somehow lead to her and Rob breaking up and her moving to the big city.

But now, a year later, Rob shows up and asks her to find his sister. And as Jess discovers her power has not left her after all, she finds herself on a new case, this time dealing with an amateur pornographer interested in underaged girls.

But as she goes home to “do justice”, she feels weird being in the small town again, with so many things that have changed. And Jess knows that being home again means she will have to face Rob and finally talk about what happened between them.

The story is interesting not only because of the non-violent and quite clever way Jess handles the criminal, but also because we have a chance to really glance into her mind and soul, and maybe identify with her, as she seems as lost as anyone could be at that age. And sometimes it’s good to know there’s someone out there (even if she’s fictional) who doesn’t quite know what she’ll do with her life, and seeing that everything turns out the way it is supposed to can indeed give the rest of us some hope ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, this was a good book, I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it. If you’d like to read it online, you can find it here: Missing You.

That’s all for now, next time I will be talking about Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray”.

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read ๐Ÿ™‚

Meg Cabot – Sanctuary (1-800-Where-R-You #4)

Hi all!

I finished reading “Sanctuary” last night, but I was too sleepy to review it then, so I will do it now ๐Ÿ˜€

When I was told by my BFF, who has already read these books a couple of years ago, that you can read them really fast, I said okay, but even she was a bit amazed by my speed ๐Ÿ˜€ Anyway, this is always a good thing, I think, if you can read a book quickly, because it not only means that it’s interesting, but also you don’t take a lot of time with it. This, mainly the last part, is important, because I have a lot of books on my to-read list that I can’t wait to read. Like the one I’m reviewing after I finish this series. I’m not going to reveal the title yet, let that be a surprise ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, the forth book of this series was actually pretty interesting. Maybe even more interesting than the third one. But that one’s still my favorite up ’till now ๐Ÿ˜›

The story starts out at Thanksgiving, when the Mastriani family gets an unexpected visit from their new next door neighbor, Mr. Thompson. It turns out his son has gone missing. But as Jess is returning home from Rob’s, where she’s sneaked out to a second Thanksgiving dinner, she finds Nate Thompson, but he is clearly not in the best of conditions: he is dead in a cornfield, with a strange symbol carved into his chest.

This, of course, sends Jess, along with Rob, on a new adventure to find the murderers and as the synagogue is the criminals’ new target, along with another missing child, they find out that this may not be your average serial killer, but something a little more extreme.

Jess and Rob head for battle against the violent militia group, helped by Chick and the other bikers, but will it be enough to stop them? Maybe now’s the time to reconsider the FBI’s offer…

I liked this book because it had mystery, it had romance and even a little Hell breaking loose ๐Ÿ˜€

I would recommend it, especially if you’ve read the first 3 books, than don’t stop here ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you would like to read it online, you can find it here: Sanctuary.

Well, that’s all for now, next time I’ll be presenting the last book of the series, “Missing You”.

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read ๐Ÿ™‚

Meg Cabot – Safe House (1-800-Where-R-You #3)

Hi all!

I just finished book three of the 1-800-Where-R-You series, “Safe House”, and I have to admit that I liked it a lot more than the first two. This, I guess, is due to the fact that the story gets a bit more serious, and maybe even a bit frightening. And, of course, this is the third book, so I kind of got familiarized with the characters, and it’s usually more fun after this happens.

The story starts only a couple of weeks later than the second one has ended, and we find Jess coming home from a two week vacation that followed the orchestra camp. And as she returns, she learns that a terrible thing has happened: a girl from school, who was quite popular, has been cruelly murdered. And by the reasoning of the other popular kids, this was all Jess’s fault, who wasn’t around to find her with her psychic ability.

Things heat up as another girl gets kidnapped, and Jess manages to find her in the last minute. Of course, this only leads to the FBI getting even more on her case, not to mention that she is threatened by an anonymous caller that she will end up as the previous victims if she doesn’t stop asking questions. And what about the fact that she seemed to become Miss Popularity overnight and boys started to ask her out? Yeah, Jess has got a lot to juggle in this story too ๐Ÿ˜€

As I said, I really liked this book, this is the best so far from the series, and I would recommend it. Another thing I liked about it, that it even had a bit of psychological presentation when it came to the person of the murderer. Just a bit, but I was pleased anyway, because that was what I’ve been missing.

Anyway, if you would like to read it online, you can find it here: Safe House.

I guess that’s all for now and next time I’ll be talking about book 4, “Sanctuary”.

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read ๐Ÿ™‚

Meg Cabot – Code Name Cassandra (1-800-Where-R-You #2)

Hi all!

I’m back with book 2 of the 1-800-Where-R-You series, “Code Name Cassandra”, and, just like with the first one, I managed to finish it in only 2 days. I liked it better, though, than the first one, but it’s almost always like this with series. I guess the first books are a kind of warm up for what comes next. But even so, I wasn’t all that crazy about this one either. But I already explained why that is in my previous post ๐Ÿ™‚

The book continues the story of Jess Mastriani, who finds a job as a counselor at the Wawasee camp, organized for children who are gifted musicians.

She is not recognized at first as the famous Lightning Girl, but she can’t hide it for long. Still, she tries to sustain her story that her power went away, but when a desperate father shows up seeking her help, she feels the need to give a hand. But not before she investigates the case herself. This, of course, leads only to trouble.

And let’s not forget that the FBI is constantly monitoring Jess (who has the code name Cassandra, as you could guess from the title ๐Ÿ˜› ), who has not only a handful of children to look after, but also gets closer to the guy of her dreams, Rob. And that’s a lot to handle for a 16 year old. Oh, and did I mention the raging murderer who is after her? ๐Ÿ˜›

So yeah, the story is interesting and I would recommend it. If you would like to read it online, you can find it here: Code Name Cassandra.

I guess that’s all for now, next time I’ll be talking about the third book: “Safe House”.

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read ๐Ÿ™‚

Edgar Allan Poe Shortstories Part IX

Hi all!

February is almost over and I’m still not done with Poe’s stories ๐Ÿ˜€ It seems there are more than I expected. But I guess it’s not a problem, because most of them are really interesting, many in more ways, and some really make me think ๐Ÿ™‚

Even so, I want to finish them soon, hopefully, because I have planned many interesting books for the future and I can’t wait to read them ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, this time I’ll be presenting 5 works again, and as before, the titles are links to where you can read them online ๐Ÿ™‚

The Mystery of Marie Roget

This story is a longer one, but I really enjoyed it. It is subtitled “A sequel to The Murders in the Rue Morgue“, and as expected from this, we meet some of the characters from that story.

This story presents the mysterious case of the assassination of a girl named Marie Roget, and since the Parisian police cannot seem to find the murderer, the Prefect calls upon the services of M. Dupin. M. Dupin with his notorious powers of observation and analysis, reflects upon theย  case and the many questions concerning it.

I found this a really good mystery story and I would definitely recommend it ๐Ÿ™‚

The Assignation

This is another interesting little story with a twist at the end, which you don’t really expect ๐Ÿ™‚

The story starts by presenting the narrator in Venice, who witnesses a heroic act done by a very known figure: he saves the child of Marchesa Aphrodite di Mentoni. The narrator overhears the words murmured by the Marchesa, and is intrigued by their meaning. The next morning, the narrator is invited to the home of the man, where he finds out more about the man and his relationship with the Marchesa.

A Tale of the Ragged Mountains

This story is also an interesting one, with a quite mysterious plot.

The main character is a Mr.ย  Augustus Bedloe, who, due to an illness, has a very peculiar appearance. We find out that he has been treated by his doctor with hypnosis, a fact that made me wonder at the end about what really happens in the story.

A weird experience of Bedloe is presented, something seemingly impossible, and something that might also have anย  unexpected outcome ๐Ÿ™‚

Morella

This story reminded me of “Ligeia”, especially the first part, but I guess, in essence it was different.

In this story theย  narrator marries a woman who he is not in love with, but shared another kind of bond. But as time passed, he became frightened of her, and when she grew ill, he wished she would die soon. When she did die, she gave birth to a daughter, whom the narrator names, for causes beyond his knowledge, Morella, after her mother. As she grows, she resembles her mother more and more, and this strikes the narrator with terror.

This story was an interesting one, with a twist at the end and what I loved about it was that it had that eerie atmosphere that some of Poe’s stories have.

“Thou Art the Man”

This story is a kind of mystery-story I guess, because it involves the murder of a very wealty man, Mr. Barnabasย  Shuttleworthy.

One day, he heads for town, but a few hours later not only does his horse appear without him, but the animal is shot and dies shortly. The search for Shuttleworthy is led by a good friend of his, Charley Goodfellow, and soon enough the murderer is found. But is he really the one who committed the deed? And where is the body? Maybe a wine-party can answer these questions ๐Ÿ™‚

Well, this is about it for now, but I’ll be back shortly with Part X of the series ๐Ÿ™‚

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read ๐Ÿ™‚

Edgar Allan Poe Shortstories Part VI

Hi all!

This is Part 6 of the Poe stories and this time, I’ll be presenting 5 works again. I thought about this being the last part in the series for now, finishing it later and reading something else. It’s not that I don’t like the short-stories, because I do. It’s just that it seems reading short-stories online is more tiresome than novels. But I guess, I won’t do that after all, because I have a tendency to not finish what I started, so I’m kinda in self-motivation mode right now ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, here are the stories, and you can read them online by clicking the title ๐Ÿ™‚

The Pit and the Pendulum

This story is a very interesting one, as it presents the sufferings of the narrator in the torture chamber of the Inquisition. As I read the story, many images of scenes I read in books popped into my head, and even the song “The Poet and the Pendulum” from Nightwish. I guess this really added to the effect, but in all it was a great story.

Poe did a good job in portraying the terrors the man faces, and it is really fascinating from a psychological point of view. I’m sure many people have wondered, what they would do in situations like these. How would they react, how would they face the danger. This story really makes you wonder, and it’s actually pretty fascinating when you try to picture something you don’t really want to experience.

The pit in the story is said to contain something so terrible that the man cries out: “any death but that of the pit!”. This made me think of the end of the book 1984 By George Orwell. And I guess that was the point, that’s why the narrator didn’t tell us what was in the pit. Because everyone has their own version of Hell.

The Premature Burial

This story has as theme the fact that in many cases throughout history, people have been buried alive, because they had some sort of disease, making their doctors believe they were indeed dead.

The narrator of the story suffers of such an illness, and is in constant terror that he will be buried alive, because of his seemingly dead state. He, therefore makes arrangements, so that he could easily escape his tomb and be immediately noticed, if this shall occur.

But as he finds himself in a narrow, coffin-like place, with the smell of wet earth in his nose, he fears the worst. The realization of what is, in fact, going on has a changing effect on him.

This story contains a lesson for all of us, because we are the ones who decide how and in what circumstances do we wish to live.

The Purloined Letter

This is another detective story, in which me meet M. Dupin again as he, yet again, solves a case the Parisian police could not.

This time the case involves a letter stolen from a woman of high rank, and the thief, Minister D, is known. But the problem is that the letter, even though the police knows it is with the minister, can not seem to be found.

M. Dupin, with his amazing talent at observation, inspects the premises of the minister’s home and makes an interesting discovery, thus solving the odd, yet so simple case ๐Ÿ˜€

This was an interesting story and it was nice to see recurring characters, especially if it’s M. Dupin, who I quite like ๐Ÿ™‚

Silence – A Fable

This is an interesting and beautiful story. Well, not a story exactly, because it doesn’t really have a plot.

It is actually the monologue of a demon, visiting the narrator. The demon speaks of a hauntingly beautiful place, ruled by desolation. The demon watches the figure of a man, sitting on a rock, and apparently contemplating on something.

The surroundings are beautifully described, and the atmosphere of the story is fascinating. The style itself is also very interesting, with the repetitions.

Some Words With a Mummy

This is another interesting story, because it is, again, different. This is actually the first story of Poe that I read, in which he shares his thoughts about the society and age he lives in.

The story presents the narrator, with a few companions, who are given permission to inspect a mummy. Upon applying electricity, they encounter a shocking result: the mummy is in fact alive!

This, of course, causes great amazement, and the gentlemen begin to question the many thousand years old mummy about the time he lived and the advancements in many fields of that age. With the answers of the mummy we actually hear Poe’s own vision of his age, and it’s not a pleased one.

In the last paragraph he actually states his views, not minding to slumber himself for a couple of hundred years. I guess, I wouldn’t either ๐Ÿ˜€

Well, it seems that’s all for now and I’ll be back shortly with Part VII ๐Ÿ™‚

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read ๐Ÿ˜€