Thursday, August 12, 2010

Reviews galore!

I have been neglecting my reviewing duties (mainly because I just kept starting new books and hadn't finished anything in a while), so now you get 3 in one giant post. And heeeeeere we go....

The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale has been on my list for quite some time and I just recently got it from the library and finished it the other night. The book was really great. I’m not sure I can say that I enjoyed reading it given the subject matter, but the story was engrossing and Atwood kept me reading.

The style is simple and that lets the story come through that much more clearly. This was one of those books that I wanted there to be more of. Atwood chose to leave the narrative there for a reason, and that sense of the unknown almost adds to the strength of the whole story. Not knowing how everything turns out is frustrating, but seems to be par for the course in this genre. Either way, I think leaving the reader wanting more is generally a marker of a pretty good book.

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is one of the few exceptions to my book-before-movie rule, mainly because I saw the movie a long time ago and didn’t realize that it was based on Truman Capote’s book.

Reading it now has made me realize that I should probably watch the movie again. I know, of course, (as does anyone who has made the unfortunate mistake of watching a movie ‘based on a the best selling book’ with me) that movies don’t always adhere to the story and details in the book, but there was a lot of stuff that I didn't remember. Some things were just plain surprising.

As I read the book and Holly Golightly came into life, I realized how big of a deal it was that Audrey Hepburn took on this role. There’s actually a book that just came out (Fifth Avenue, 5 AM - it's also on my list and donations to the buy-Bluestocking-books-fund are always appreciated *wink wink*) that talks about the making of the movie and the Hollywood politics concerning Hepburn playing a part so different from characters she’d played in the past.

I think I’d like to watch this movie again and then revisit my discussion of the story. It’s hard to really grasp and then articulate my feelings about this book when the story is so clouded in my mind because of my possibly flawed memory of the movie.

So yes, Breakfast at Tiffany’s…. to be continued….

The Historian

I just finished The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. People have pretty much raved about this book, and now I know why. I absolutely devoured it. The story completely drew me in and now I suddenly have this overwhelming desire to become a historian and travel all over the world on some sort of historic/folk legend crazy goose-chase. I’d like to avoid the many terrifying and near-death experiences though…  

Yea, so maybe I don’t want my life to be quite as exciting as the lives of the characters in The Historian, but I’d like to keep reading about lives that exciting and interesting and full of history and legend and all that cool stuff. In some ways it’s making me start to consider what I want to write my thesis on (which is something I’m not sure if I should be considering right now, but the thought occasionally crops up and makes me want to curl myself into a tiny Bluestocking ball and hide in a hole somewhere surrounded by books that I won’t have to analyze in order to validate my 4 years of horribly overpriced education). I’ve been interested in myths and legends and folk tales and all that cool stuff around the world for a while and have touched on it as a topic about which I'd like to learn more, and this story kind of fanned those flames. That’s a completely different issue though, so I think I’ll try to put that out of my mind for the few remaining weeks of summer and cross that bridge when I come to it.

As usual, I have become distracted. The moral of the story, or post, I suppose is this: read The Historian. It’s pretty damn awesome.

Actually, I guess the moral of the post is read. Period. The end. As you were.

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