Monday, January 2, 2017


1.  Read one classic a month.
2.  Write a review or blog about the book.

3.  OPTIONAL:  Answer the following questions:
     WHEN I Discovered This Classic
     WHAT Makes It A Classic
     WHY I Chose to Read It
     WILL It Stay A Classic
     WHO I’d Recommend It To

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse REVIEW

SiddharthaSiddhartha by Hermann Hesse
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Finishing this book was actually work. Between the cardboard characters and senseless philosophy, I was a little bit miserable. I should have just called it quits, but I couldn't let a 130 page book go unfinished.

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, John Tenniel (Illustrator) REVIEW

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn’t really appreciate this book. It was weird nonsense to me that never delivered anything exceptional.

I did like the writing and the way Alice never took any of it very seriously. Alice gave the reader a pass to just enjoy. If she could roll with the punches, so could you, as the reader. I felt in on the joke, but it went on too long. Each chapter had some interesting aspect to it, but at the end of each chapter, I didn’t care. I knew that nothing would end up meaning anything.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has appealed to generations of children. My son told me that, when he read it as a child, he loved it. It is a whacky adventure that I think most kids would enjoy, but it was a miss for me personally.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Ethan Frome REVIEW

Ethan FromeEthan Frome by Edith Wharton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I couldn’t muster much sympathy for Ethan Frome. He married a woman he didn’t love out of fear. Then, he managed to blame her for his unhappiness. Just as he didn’t have the gumption to make the life that he wanted for himself when he, finally, met the woman of his dreams, he didn’t have the will to seize the day. What was his final answer to all of his problems—suicide. What a weak cop-out, but I wasn’t in the least bit surprised. I saw it coming a mile away, which made it worse. 

The entire story was too melodramatic for my taste. However, I’m giving it three stars, because it did, eventually, capture my interest enough for me to want to know how it would end.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter REVIEW

The Tale of Peter RabbitThe Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's a cute, quick read with a message that all parents can support. Children should do what their Moms tell them, or they might end up in a stew pot. There is just enough angst for a disobedient little rabbit. Mom's can't go wrong with this one.

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I have abandoned answering the W questions, but, in this case, I will answer the "why" question. I am thinking about reading Lost in a Good Book.  Characters from several classics are written into the plot of that book and it would certainly act as a spoiler for the classic mentioned.  Consequently, I am trying to read any book mentioned in Lost in a Good Book before I actually read it.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick REVIEW

The Man in the High CastleThe Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is incredibly clever, but that didn’t translate directly to enjoyment for me. I was always initially interested, but I quickly fell asleep when I picked up the book in the evening. The biggest problem for me was that I didn’t care about any of the characters. None of the POVs had any moral fortitude, nor were they enjoyable antagonists.

I had other problems as well. Dick tackled big themes, but I’m not sure I always knew what his point was. Was he trying to say that we, as individuals, control our destinies, or we should just throw in the towel and let I Ching direct us on a need to know basis? I have no idea where Dick was going in Chapter 14 with Tagomi’s exploration of the pin. I had the feeling that was mumbo jumbo ramblings disguised to seem like something deep and intellectual. Also, the ending was lackluster. I didn’t mind ambiguity in the wrap-ups of each of the POV storylines, but I greatly disliked the ending as related to The Grasshopper Lies Heavy. That needed explanation. I’m not impressed when authors just throw out weird stuff, leave it to you to figure out and walk away.

On the whole, even though I didn’t love it, I would recommend this book. The themes were very relevant in the context of the 1960’s political and social environment. I appreciate sci-fi used as social commentary. Alternate realities aren’t particularly unique, but for some reason, when they are done well, they seem fresh. The Man in the High Castle isn’t ordinary. I can understand the wide appeal of this book.

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The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, Stanley Corngold (Translator) REVIEW

The MetamorphosisThe Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a difficult book for me to rate. On one hand, there is no denying that it is brilliant. Kafka has a strong point of view. He wants to talk about alienation and loneliness among other things. His themes are universal and have been worked by many other competent writers, but Kafka gives the reader something unique and unexpected. An English teacher could spend a semester of delight helping students understand all of the nuances of this book.

But…For me, personally, reading it was a chore. I didn’t look forward to it. Metamorphosis did not speak to my soul. It was annoying that it was so weird. Taking into account my level of enjoyment, I can only give this book three stars, but I would never want to discourage anyone from reading it. It is a classic for a reason, and I think that it could be enjoyed today as easily as the day it was written.

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