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 πŸ™‚

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Edgar Allan Poe Shortstories Part XIV

Hi all!

I’m back with the last part of the Poe shortstories series and there are only 3 of them left. As it turns out, Poe also has a novel entitled “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket” and it is the only know finished novel by him. But since this series is about his shortstories, I’m going to leave that for another time.

So here are the three remaining stories, and as usual, the titles are links to where you can read them online.

Shadow–A Parable

This story is a rather short one and not much happens, but I guess the emphasis isn’t really on the actions.

The story presents a group of people, who try to lock themselves away from the raging “Pestilence”. Then, one night, they have an unexpected visitor who fills them with terror, by his appearance and voice.

Von Kempelen And His Discovery

This story is again a shorter one, and presents, as the title says, the discovery of Von Kempelen.

The narrator presents his acquaintance with the main character, and claims that although they had more conversations, he never suspected him to have scientific aspirations. After this introduction, he presents an “anecdote” about Von Kempelen, and this anecdote is the story itself. The main idea is that Von Kempelen is arrested for counterfeiting, but it soon turns out that the case is something very different and much more interesting πŸ™‚

Morning On the Wissahiccon

This story is a pretty short one and it starts out as a description of the valley of Wissahiccon, which is a small brook in America. The scenery presented is beautiful, and it is put in contrast with the populated parts of England for example.

The narrator tells about the time he visited the brook and saw an elk, but as he went closer, his visions of untouched and unspoiled nature became immediately shattered.

So it seems I’m finally done with the series and I have to say that I’ve learned a lot while reading these stories. Not only did I get more familiar with the person of Poe, the way he thinks, the things he knows (which is amazing :D), but I also had the chance to get to think about various topics I never before considered contemplating on. And I think that is a definite plus if a writer, or anyone in fact, can make you really think πŸ™‚

So I guess this is all for now and I’ll be back shortly with something different for a change: Stephen King’s “The Eyes of the Dragon” πŸ˜€

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read πŸ™‚

Edgar Allan Poe Shortstories Part XIII

Hi all!

I’m back with part 13, and as I said before, there’s not much left. And this is definitely a good thing, because as I have also mentioned, I’m done reading them, but not so much with the review part. Actually, I’ve already read another book, for which I can’t wait to post a review, because I really liked it. But first, let’s finish this series πŸ˜€

This time I’ll be presenting 6 works again, and as before, the titles are links to where you can read them online πŸ™‚

Lionizing

This story is a pretty funny one, and quite short, so definitely worth reading.

The main character and narrator is Robert Jones, who was said to be a genius from a very early age, because he “took hold of his nose”. He then studied Nosology and saw that as his true calling. And his nose was indeed admired by everyone who saw it.

But sadly, a change in his fate occurs, when he shoots off the nose of Bluddennuff in a duel.

The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall

This story is a quite long one, but it’s actually pretty interesting. It presents the adventures of Hans Pfaall, who becoming very poor and in debt, decides to do something no one has done before: travel to the moon. And he does this in a really strange way. By balloon πŸ˜€

What I liked about the story was that this again presented another side of Poe, because it has a lot of astronomical and geographical references to it. Of course, the suppositions made about the moon are mistaken, but I can’t really decide if Poe just made that up or that was indeed what was believed at that time.

Anyways, I liked this one and I would recommend it πŸ™‚

King Pest

This is an interesting story of two seamen, who try to run from an inn, because they drank but didn’t want to pay.

They are chased into the part of the town that was quarantined because of the plague. They don’t hesitate in entering the district and they soon find an interesting company in one of the buildings πŸ™‚

The Landscape Garden (another title is The Domain of Arnheim)

This is a mostly descriptive story, that presents a friend of the narrator, Mr. Ellison, who has always been of good fortune, and therefore happy. Here, Poe describes the conditions of happiness, one of them leading to Art.

Mr. Ellison chooses landscape gardening as his form of art, and describes what this means to him. We witness as an artist speaks of his art, which alwaysΒ  seems a beautiful thing to me, because I consider myself an artist and I think there is no greater beauty than presenting a part of your soul through your own creation. And this certainly leads to a form of happiness πŸ™‚

Landor’s Cottage

This story is a quite beautiful one, but it is again rather a description, than a story with an actual plot.

The narrator presents in great detail a beautiful and dreamy valley with a charming house. And as he describes it, you can actually feel his love for nature and art, and this, as I said before, is something I like to hear (or read, in this case :P).

The Power of Words

This story is much like The Colloquy of Monos And Una, having the same style (has the form of a dialogue between the characters) and has a similar philosophical theme.

The two characters Oinos and Agathos speak about the large effect that people have even by the wave of their hands or the words they speak. It’s a really beautiful story and it makes you think of what we really are capable of doing without even knowing it πŸ™‚

So I guess that’s all for now, and I’ll be back soon with the last part of the Poe series.

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read πŸ™‚

Edgar Allan Poe Shortstories Part XI

Hi all!

I know I haven’t been really active these past few weeks, but I have good reasons, I promise πŸ˜€

I had to work overtime a bit, because last week I wanted to take a vacation, which I did. And it was great πŸ™‚ It felt good to travel a bit, see some new places. And, of course, some already familiar places, that are close to my heart πŸ™‚

But time is passing, March is almost over, and I’m still not done with the Poe series. To be honest, I’m done with the reading part, the reviewing part is all that’s left. So let’s get to it πŸ™‚

This time, I’ll be presenting 6 stories, just to get through them more quickly, because as I said in a previous post, I have other interesting books waiting to be read/reviewed πŸ™‚

As usual, the titles are links to where you can read them online.

Mystification

This story is a shorter one, with not much of a plot, and frankly, not my favorite.

It presents the Baron Ritzner von Jung, who attends the same university as the narrator and they are close friends. On one occasion, the Baron is insulted an proposes an unusual method of settling the score. The story is actually about the outcome of the “duel”.

Loss of Breath

This is a story I read previously during an English class in highscool and it’s pretty funny.

It presents the narrator, who, arguing with his wife, literally loses his breath. He then feels that he has to leave his old life behind, and he does. His journey is quite eventful, one episode more amusing than the other, and in the end, he does find his breath again, but in the most unexpected place πŸ˜€

The Man That Was Used Up

This story is an interesting one, with no great plot, but pretty amusing nonetheless. And in amusing I don’t actually mean funny, because although it has a funny side to it, it has a pinch of sadness.

The story presents the narrator, who is introduced to Brevet Brigadier General John A. B. C. Smith, an interesting and very good looking man. The narrator is quite intrigued by his story and questions all his acquaintances about him, but they are always interrupted before they can actually reveal anything important. As a last resort, he goes to the general himself and is quite surprised by what he finds.

Mellonta Tauta

This story is a longer one, but quite interesting. Actually, not much happens, but it’s the ideas portrayed that really catch your eye.

The story is actually a sequence of letters, whose author is on a balloon ride in the year 2848. I really got interested when I saw the date, because I knew this meant that we will have a glimpse in the future as Poe sees it πŸ™‚

It has interesting ideas, for instance that instead of the individual, the mass will be important. The narrator also talks about the “old” days, about the philosophies and science of actually the present. I really liked this story, and I would recommend it, because it is always interesting to see how a man from the past sees the future πŸ™‚

The Thousand-And-Second Tale of Scheherazade

This story is a really interesting one, with bits of humor and satire here and there.

Basically, it presents the not well known last story of Scheherazade, which is a later adventure of Sinbad. ThisΒ  adventure consists of a journey around the world, during which Sinbad witnesses a lot of things he never thought possible to exist. As we see from the footnotes, these are all real occurrences in an imaginary form, but the king, Scheherazade’s husband, thinks that it is nonsense. And this, of course, leads to a unexpected ending.

X-Ing A Paragrab

This is another shorter story, with a not really elaborate plot.

It presents Mr. Touch-and-go Bullet-head who moves to a new town and starts a magazine. To his disappointment, he finds out that there already is a magazine issuing there and the story basically presents the rivalry between the two.

Their confrontation is pretty amusing, and so is the end, when we find out what exactly the title means πŸ™‚

Well, that’s all I got for today, but I’ll be back shortly with the next part πŸ™‚

Until then, have a nice day and a nice read πŸ™‚

Suzanne Collins – Mockingjay

Hi all!

As promised, I’m back with the third and last book of “The Hunger Games”, “Mockingjay”. I finished reading it last night, and even though it was pretty late, I just couldn’t put it down. By this you can assume that I loved it. And I did.

This book is definitely different than the first two, because here the accent isn’t on the actions and the plot itself, but rather on the emotional side, portraying the importance of morals in a time of crisis. This book isn’t a happy one. I expected it to have at least an optimistic atmosphere, but it didn’t. Well, not until the end anyway.

The book starts by presenting Katniss in the ruins of District 12. Few people managed to get to safety when the district was bombed and 13 offered them safety, because 13 had a plan. Using Katniss as the Mockingjay, the image of the rebellion, District 13, with president Coin as its leader, sowly but surely gets the other districts to join the uprising. As the battle grows, the Capitol is cut off from its suppliers and the main goal from then is to take the Capitol itself.

The real horrors start to happen when they realize that the City is like the arena, full of deadly traps. And Katniss, along with her comrades, has to face nothing less than another version of the Hunger Games.

I have to admit that when I read about a third of it, I wasn’t all that crazy about the story. I missed the action. But the end compensated for that. Even more than I wished.

As I said before, I think the power of this book comes from presenting how tragic and critical situations can affect morals. How someone would torture people just to break their enemies. How a person who wanted to rebel against cruelty agrees to do just that out of revenge. And how fighting for the right cause isn’t always done with the right weapons. It is about friendship and betrayal, love and hate, truth and deceit, all in one. And I guess in the end, it comes down to the question Haymitch was referring to in book two: who is the enemy?

This book really made me think. About our own wars and desperate need for power to control others. And I guess we’re not all that different from the people presented in the book. But thankfully, there are always people who try to fight for what is good without bloodshed. And maybe that is the hardest war of all.

So all in all, I have to say that this was a really great book and a really intense one. What got to me the most was the way the author managed with one single sentence to portray a world of images and emotions. The way pain was hidden under irony. And the way that couple of words could destroy even the illusion of happiness.

The end, though, has a hint of optimism, but you can still feel all the pain that preceded the world they live in the present. The last sentence is burned into my mind, as a lesson I guess. And I am really happy that I read this book, even though it only makes me sad. And I know some of you might consider it stupid, because it’s just a book. Well, it’s not just a book to me. No book is just another thing I read. And because of this, I already miss the characters and I know that this book, this trilogy, will always be close to my heart.

So for those who would like to read it online, you can find it here: Mockingjay

That’s all for now, next time I’ll be presenting something more classic: Gulliver’s Travels. Until then, have a nice read and a nice day πŸ™‚

Suzanne Collins – Catching Fire

Hi all πŸ™‚

I’ve just finished “Catching Fire” and I have to say I was blown away at how awesome it was. It is even better than the first book, but I guess most sequels are πŸ˜€

The plot itself is more elaborate with interesting twists and turns, some you can anticipate, some you can’t, but find yourself thinking how you didn’t get it in the first place.

The story starts by presenting Katniss’s days after winning the Hunger Games, with all the fuss of the Victory Tour around all the districts of Panem. But something has happened since Katniss suggested the poisonous berries to Peeta in the arena. The people of the districts saw the act as it was, a defiance of the Capitol. And they seemed determined to follow.

Of course, president Snow tries to do everything in his power to stop the emerging rebellion. The following Hunger Games are getting nearer and being also a Quarter Quell, the rules are altered to fit the president’s needs: the tributes will be chosen from the districts’ current victors. And that only means on thing for Katniss. She’s back in the game.

The arena is new and even deadlier than before, following an interesting rule, that is meant to harm the tributes both physically and mentally. The story rushes on with new things at every turn and Katniss has to joggle allies she doesn’t trust, enemies she has to face and a promise she has to keep, not to mention a brilliantly designed contraption: the arena itself.

The though of rebellion that we meet at the beginning of the book slowly grows to intense facts by the end, revealing a new hope, but also a great loss. And again it happened. The last sentence sent a shiver through me as the tragedy in the words sunk in. And then all the pain, the suffering and hopelessness presented in these two books came back with a great force. And I just don’t have the words for that. But I’m glad it will be okay in the end, because I’m almost certain that it will be, in the end of book three.

Anyway, back to this one πŸ˜€ I really recommend it, because it will blow your mind πŸ™‚

If you want to read it online, you can find it here: Catching Fire

And next time, I’ll be back with book three, “Mockingjay” πŸ™‚

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

Suzanne Collins – The Hunger Games

Hello again πŸ™‚

I’ve just finished “The Hunger Games”, which, I haven’t mentioned before, is in fact a trilogy and now I’m dying to start the second book, but I thought I would speak about this one first, while my opinions are fresh πŸ˜€

I have to say I loved it, even though the story is sometimes tragic, considering both the actual happenings and the motives behind the happenings. The style is great, because it really draws you in and keeps you in suspense and you fly through the pages without noticing it. I love and hate this at the same time πŸ˜€ I love it because this way it is never boring, and I hate it because you reach the end really fast πŸ˜€

The story is set in the future, after the fall of the United States and in its place, a new country named Panem arises. It consists of the Capitol and twelve (once thirteen) districts. The districts are relatively poor and the laws are harsh and unfair, trying to keep the districts from rebellion. As a punishment for a previous rebellion, each year the Hunger Games are organized, just to remind the people that the leaders can do to them whatever they want. The Games have the following rules: from each district a boy and a girl are chosen, who are sent to fight and kill each other in a prepared arena. The winner will be rich and also his/her district will receive some prizes consisting mainly of food.

When one of my friends recommended this book, this is where she got when I became really interested and wanted to read it right away. The whole thing seemed so wrong, so absurd, that I had to know how it will turn out.

The first book is mainly about the actual game, with all its horrifying details. There are parts when I actually felt like crying, it was so sad. And other times I couldn’t help smiling at the love-story part of it. The credit here goes undoubtedly to the great writing.

This book was interesting, fascinating, captivating, terrifying, bizarre and shocking at the same time. And I can’t wait to start the second book, because I want to know how the characters will continue to fight against the cruelty of the Capitol and I actually hope that somehow they will rid themselves of the tyrants.

If I’ve intrigued you and you would like to read it, you can find it online here: The Hunger Games

That’s all for now, and I’ll be back shortly with the sequel of The Hunger Games entitled “Catching Fire”.

Until then, have a nice day πŸ™‚