Monday, 16 July 2012

Some Book Reviews

The Masters looms ever closer and I am having to read like a madwoman (not in the attic) to ensure I have the set book list completed before the course starts.

Here are some of the review of the books I have read so far:

Jane EyreJane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


With my Masters looming I am rapidly reading my way through the set book list, and this is one of them. I first read Jane Eyre when a teenager and was irritated by the stubbornness of Jane (much as I was by Elizabeth Bennett in 'Pride & Prejudice'), possibly because they too closely resembled the person I saw in the mirror on a daily basis.
A generation later I am able to look on Jane in a more favourable light. I can understand her qualms, her reasons for behaving in such a manner, and I respect her for them. Jane's character is well-developed, believable and likeable. Bronte's prose skips along at a suitable pace, I did not find myself wallowing in overly descriptive passages. There were of course descriptive passages but they were seamlessly incorporated into the plot, not a lengthy distraction as could be found with other Victorian writers (Dickens particularly).
If you read 'Jane Eyre' as a teenager, I suggest you read it again. I have read it filtered through adult eyes and experiences and found it to be much more enjoyable second time around.



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Antigone (Translations from Greek Drama)Antigone by Sophocles

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Nobody does tragedy like the Ancient Greeks. Love, honour, kingship and religion form the basis for the tale of a headstrong girl and her king, her brother and her lover (and the last 3 are not all the same person albeit that she is the daughter of Oedipus!).

This edition, suitable for students of all levels, is a modern translation with side by side commentaries to help the reader overcome any gaps in the mythology or classical history knowledge. The language is contemporary and there are pointers to help the reader consider hhow the play could be performed.

It really is a student version, but if you want an introduction to the Ancient Greek plays then this is a good place to start.



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And a sneaky one that isn't on the list!!

History of a Pleasure SeekerHistory of a Pleasure Seeker by Richard Mason

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


When you consider the current furore (summer 2012) around the appallingly badly written 50 Shades of Grey, it was a pleasure to read a book that contains a modicum of the erotic yet is so well written.

It is a book of love, desire, money, ambition and class divides. Mason brings the Amsterdam of 1907 to life through the tale of Piet Barol, the aforementioned 'pleasure seeker'. The sex is written in such a way that it does not stand out, screaming 'sexy part', but blends into the whole narrative.
It is a fast-paced book, with developed characters, humour and rich in period detail.
I recommend this read highly.



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