Category Archives: classics

The Moonstone

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moonstone

This is it. The last novel of 2015. In a way I can’t believe it’s over. I have to say that this book challenge was so much fun to do. It got me reading so many novels that I felt were way too far outside my comfort zone to try. This Book Battle has not only made me a more adventurous reader but also a more open minded one. Instead of just turning down a book because I think that I don’t like the genre, I’ll give it a try and see if I actually do or don’t. And thank you all for coming on this journey with me.

Now for the review.

I have to say that I didn’t enjoy The Moonstone nearly as much as I enjoyed The Woman in White. Both novels have very similar set ups. They’re epistolary novels and told in many different perspectives and in many different voices. I did enjoy the butler’s narrative in this novel but there were many that I found rather grating. In The Woman in White, I really enjoyed how many strong female characters Collin’s incorporated into the novel. The Moonstone is almost entirely male dominated and the women are just on the margins or, quite plainly, annoying.

I do love the detective aspect of this novel and seeing detective novels in their infancy and how much they have grown since this time. The detective isn’t in the novel long and isn’t infallible. He doesn’t quite have it right at first. He only solves the case after everyone comes together a second time.

All in all, The Moonstone was an enjoyable novel. However, if you’re looking for a great Wilkie Collins read I’d chose The Woman in White. 

Rating: 3.5/5

 

Blast from the Past

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According to T.S. Eliot, The Moonstone is the novel that invented the detective fiction genre. I’ve been wanting to read this novel forever. In high school, I read The Woman in White and absolutely adored it. There is a soft spot in my heart for mystery and detective fiction so I thought that this book would be perfect for this category, a book over 100 years old.

The Moonstone is one of Collins’s most known works, after The Woman in White. From the back cover, this novel is about a mysterious diamond from India that causes havoc in the life of whoever owns it. The jewel was originally in a statue and was stolen.

This novel, like The Woman in White, is told in different narratives and from different perspectives. I can’t wait to read this novel and see where the story takes me.

I also can’t believe that this is the final book in Book Battle 2015. It has been quite the ride so far.

Stay tuned for the full review of The Moonstone. Happy reading!

The Glimpses of the Moon

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As much trouble as I had picking a novel for this category after reading this book I don’t think I could have picked a better one. Edith Wharton is a powerhouse in American literature, the first woman ever to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction. She is deft in her craft and knows exactly where she wants to steer her reader. I read The House of Mirth in college and loved it, despite it having a seriously depressing ending. The American realists really took reality to a new level.

With The House of Mirth in mind, this novel really took me by surprise. It’s very different from The House of Mirth but with some of the same strains. The Glimpses of the Moon also has to do with the upper crust of New York life. Wharton condemns them in both novels for their frivolities and superficial existence. Except in The Glimpses of the Moon the end is not nearly as dire.

The Glimpses of the Moon centers on two characters, Susy and Nick. These two, both penniless, basically mooch off their wealthy friends. To continue this lifestyle they decide to get married and mooch of their friends for a year while they honeymoon in Europe. But like any good romantic comedy things go awry.

I have to say that I was really surprised with the formula of this novel. It read exactly like a romantic comedy. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, trials and tribulations ensure, boy gets girl in the end. It makes me wonder, who created this formula for romantic fiction? Perhaps Wharton herself. She was definitely innovative enough to do so.

All in all, this was a really cute novel. I enjoyed the character progression and the luxurious scenery of Europe. The novel is a bit dated and many of the couples arguments are rather insipid but it didn’t take away my enjoyment of the novel.

Rating: 4/5

Stay tuned for the next installment of Book Battle 2015. Happy reading!

Classic Romance

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Next up in Book Battle 2015 is a classic romance. I had a really hard time with this category because all I could think about was Pride and Prejudice, my favorite classic romance which I’ve read far too many times. I had to move myself away from Austen and delve deeper into the genre. It was by chance that I found Edith Wharton’s The Glimpses of the Moon. I actually saw the book at a local bookstore and loved the cover. Upon reading the back I decided that it would do.

The novel is about a young couple who decide to marry each other in order to mooch off their wealthy friends during their honeymoon. They make a pact that after a year they can decide to move their separate ways if they no longer wish to be together. I’m sure trials and tribulations will separate them for awhile but predict that they will stay together at the end of the novel. But we shall see. Wharton is known for some quite tragic endings, particularly Lily Bart.

Stay tuned for the full review of The Glimpses of the Moon. Happy reading!

Required Reading

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Next up in Book Battle 2015 is a novel I should have read in school. I had a particularly hard time with this category. For the most part I’ll read anything put in front of me. I could not think of a “typical” required reading book from either high school or college that I had not already read. Until finally I stumbled upon The Handmaid’s Tale. I took a women’s literature course in college and had a choice between reading Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale or Charlotte Bronte’s Villette and I chose Villette. 

I have to say that I’m very excited to read this book. A co-worker of mine just read it and said that it was pretty amazing. She did mention a very open ended ending that she wasn’t so fond of so we shall have to see. I like some good speculation about what might happen next. And best of all this novel was at my local library. I call that a win-win. Stay tuned for the full review of The Handmaid’s Tale. Happy reading!

Slaughterhouse Five

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Slaughterhouse Five

“So they were trying to re-invent themselves and their universe,” says the narrator in Slaughterhouse Five. This quote sums up one of the main themes in the novel quite nicely. Trying to cope with his life and especially his experiences in WWII, Billy Pilgrim becomes unstuck in time. He creates a new universe where he can travel back in forth in time to escape the situation he’s in. His time travel lets Billy conveniently escape whatever situation he doesn’t want to deal with, like visiting with his mother in the hospital. When each time shift occurs, it’s interrelated to whatever Billy happens to be thinking about or experiencing. Billy’s thoughts are heavily influenced by his favorite author, Kilgore Trout. Billy even states the similarities between his time on Tralfamadore and Trout’s novels, in particular the novel called The Big Board. 

Slaughterhouse Five was my first foray into Vonnegut and I have to say it was amazing. This novel really got me thinking and analyzing making my English major kick in big time. There were so many themes and symbols that were just beautiful in the novel, like the one above. The other symbol I really liked in the book connected to this theme of mortality. Billy is talking to the Tralfamadorians about why they chose him to take back to their planet. The Tralfamadorians explain that every moment simply is. Like being an insect trapped in amber. This was a perfect way to explain Billy’s experiences in WWII, forever encasing him and connecting him to the tragedy of Dresden.

The narrative style of Slaughterhouse Five presents itself like a stream of consciousness writing but is very cleverly mapped out. The narrator begins the story providing the background and then the novel jumps to Billy Pilgrim and his experiences, with the narrator interjecting into Billy’s narrative making the story more universal.

I won’t give away any more about the novel because I really think you need to go pick it up and read it. Vonnegut is an amazing writer with such a unique voice and command of his own style. After finishing Slaughterhouse Five, I immediately wanted to read more of his novels. Perhaps I’ll get to explore more of the fourth dimension. So it goes.

Stay tuned for the next installment in Book Battle 2015. Happy reading!

Breaking the Ban

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Breaking the Ban

The next book on the agenda is a banned book. I chose Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five. I’ve actually never read Vonnegut before not did I read this novel in high school or even during college. This category was difficult for me to narrow down my choices. It seemed like everyday I would change the book I had on my list to something different. But when I saw this sitting on the library shelf I told myself, this is the one.

I’ve heard so much about the author and this book I’m excited to start. I feel like I’ve missed a cultural milestone. So many people I know have read this book and were surprised that I’ve never read it. My hope is that this book will open up the world of Vonnegut for me and give me a new, beloved author to read and discover.

Stay tuned for the review of Slaughterhouse Five. Happy reading!