Book Review · reading

B is for Book Review: The Color Purple

The Color Purple was my pick for #nanoremo, the month where you read that literary classic you’ve always wanted to read but somehow never actually got around to reading.

I have to add, this is the first time I’ve picked a real literary type classic (I usually pick a more genre-ish classic).

This book is very popular and there is a movie, and so I knew some things about it. Namely:

  • The main character suffered sexual abuse in childhood
  • The main character is black.
  • The book is written as a letter to God.

I had somehow forgotten that it takes place in the south. I never knew that it was written in the dialect of the main character and not in standard English. And I never so much as guessed that the main character was lesbian. I mean, really! No one told me! It wasn’t in the movie trailers.

The dialect made The Color Purple a challenge to read, not least because I don’t know many people who talk like that. But I got used to it. It only took me a couple dozen pages to stop stumbling over the grammar.

Later, when the sister started writing to her, the proper grammar was a shock.

So . . . there were moments that stood out.

One thing that stands out for me is how she stopped getting her period as a teenager. She talks about girls who bleed have babies and then she says she stopped bleeding. She was relieved, and considering her step-father, that isn’t surprising. But it’s a shock – never get your period again, never have a child. Well, she had two by that point. Even so.

The other moment was when she realized her children were NOT also her siblings. It was so emotional, so intense.

In fact, there were lots of emotional, intense moments in this book, so many they are impossible to list. For such a short book, it was packed.

Overall, it was a pleasure to read. I am really glad I picked this book. I thought it might be hard to read, but it wasn’t. (I’ve read harder books. This wasn’t even in the top five.)

Book Review

Book Reivew: Murder on the Orient Express

I read Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie for the National Novel Reading Month (NaNoReMo for short), hosted by John Wiswell. You’re supposed to that classic you always meant to read, but never got around to actually reading.

Murder on the Orient Express is a mystery classic. I’ve never seen any of the movies or the TV show. But I know the story, which probably indicates just how much of a classic it is.

Before I started the book, I didn’t know this is the ninth in a series. But it was okay. I think there were references in the beginning of the book to past events, but it didn’t affect the rest of the story.

Despite starting late – I completely forgot until the middle of the month! – I finished it quickly. The book is supposed to be around 300 pages, but it didn’t feel that long. It was a quick read. I also didn’t know that detective was Belgian. I suppose I thought he was English or American or something. (I mean, Dame Christie was English so . . . yeah, I assumed.)

The language was a bit formal, but not more than I was expecting. I mean, this book was first written in the 1930’s, and all writing was a lot more formal back then.

It’s written in the third person, and while it’s a fairly strict third person, there is a lot more distance between the reader and the main character than in contemporary third person POV. I think this might be a result of the formality of the language. That makes me wonder, how much of a role does language play in how much distance exists between the main character and the reader in other POVs?

I liked how she divided the suspect interviews into chapters and how she built up each character before the murder even happened. It made the conclusion that much more inevitable. The reveal of how all the characters are connected was slow, almost delicate, and I liked it a lot.

So, I was looking at the characters and how their stories match up. This is what comes of knowing how it ends. 😉 I think, if I didn’t already know the ending, it would be hard to guess. I mean, who would guess that were all in on it!

And the ending! They let everyone go! That, I didn’t know. I am glad I didn’t because it was a surprise. They let the whole train car of murderers go. I mean, the guy who got murdered deserved it. He got justice at the hands of his victims that he never got in the courts. Even so. Still not sure how I feel about it.

reading

Forgot National Novel Reading Month

So . . . I forgot about National Novel Reading Month (NaNoReMo), hosted by John.

I forgot because I truly haven’t been online, not on the blog, only randomly and briefly on twitter, and rarely anywhere else. Instead, I have been researching spring 2014 fashions (I dislike crop tops. Why are they making a reappearance? Bah. I wish this particular trend bon voyage.), looking up synonyms for green, and getting reacquainted with my spelling inadequacy.

I recalled NaNoReMo when I saw someone tweet about it.

The idea is to read a classic book this month. I haven’t read a lot of classics, so this is a good time to do it, in the company of so many others.

I chose Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie is a classic, yes? I have never read anything else by Agatha Christie. Until I looked it just yesterday, I didn’t even know this is the ninth book in a series. I am not sure how much previous events in the series will affect the book, but hopefully, not a lot.

I am hopeful I will have time to finish reading it this month.

reading · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: The Road

It’s National Novel Reading Month. Time to read that classic novel you put off reading.

Last year I read The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This year, I am reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy.  

image

With the first gray light he rose and left the boy sleeping and walked out to the road and squatted and studied the country to the south. Barren, silent, godless. He thought the month was October but he wasn’t sure. He hadn’t kept a calendar for years. They were moving south. There’d be no surviving another winter here.

– The Road by Cormac McCarthy

reading · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: The Road

It’s National Novel Reading Month. Time to read that classic novel you put off reading. Last year I read The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This year, I am reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

image

With the first gray light he rose and left the boy sleeping and walked out to the road and squatted and studied the country to the south. Barren, silent, godless. He thought the month was October but he wasnt sure. He hadnt kept a calendar for years. They were moving south. There’d be no surviving another winter here. – The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

Book Review · General · reading

Book Review: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

I’ve known the Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde story for a long time. But I’ve never read the story and I did so for the first time for National Novel Reading Month.

There were a few surprises. The first one was that the POV character is a lawyer, not Jekyll or Hyde. In fact, the first mention of Hyde is in conversation with someone who saw him beating up a child.

This someone just watched. I found his matter of factness odd. As if events like that are normal. He did comment on how horrifying it was, and yes, captured Hyde. But I think that’s because Hyde exudes evilness. If someone less obviously evil had been beating up some kid, I am thinking he would have passed on by without comment.

There is a time in the middle of book when Hyde makes a mistake (he kills someone very very important!) and Hyde is forced to flee. The lawyer visits Dr. Jekyll; Dr. Jekyll tells him Hyde is no longer a concern. I am pretty sure the lawyer suspects Dr. Jekyll of something, but does nothing. He wants to protect his client’s reputation. Dr. Jekyll goes out and about, lives an exemplary life.

Meanwhile, a friend of the lawyer’s dies and leaves a letter only to be opened upon Dr. Jekyll’s death. (I imagine this condition is to protect the reputation of all involved.)

Than Dr. Jekyll’s butler calls the lawyer; they break into the house. They discover Mr. Hyde’s dying body, a vial of poison in his hand, dressed in Dr. Jekyll’s clothes.

All the letters that weren’t supposed to be opened until someone was dead are opened and read, and the truth discovered: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde exist in the same body and are probably the same person through some odd scientific process.

I wasn’t expecting this particular discovery to be made through a couple of letters. I was expecting something else. I don’t know what, something else.

One thing Dr. Jekyll mentions in his letter is that he has always indulged in some bad sins and that Hyde just takes those sins to extremes. It makes me ask, what kind of sins? He never says, but did Dr. Jekyll get off on milder forms of the things Hyde does: beating up and killing people? Maybe he was never as good a person as on the TV shows I remember the story from.

Not really sure, but if he did, maybe he deserved what he got.