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"I generally hate reading. It hurts my eyes, and my butt gets sore. But, as with exercise, reading keeps my brain in shape. So I do it. A lot. Every day. Too much. I like to stay in "shape.""
Nov. 7, 2013
Robinson Crusoe
This is neither a children's book--for the excessive amount of violence in it--nor an adult's book since it suffers from an annoyingly naive tone. Yet, given the time when it was written, and the mores of the time, I suppose what seems today as gratuitous violence would have been a necessity then. On the whole, I grew bored with the book. The religiosity didn't help either.
Nov. 7, 2013
Main Street
The issues, attitudes, and mores of Gopher Prairie are not just timeless but still poignant today--if you've ever lived in a small town, you will see yourself and your neighbors in this book.
Nov. 7, 2013
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
To be culturally literate, you need to read at least some of the works by Lewis Carroll.
Nov. 7, 2013
My Antonia
My Antonia was not for me. Not terribly artfully written, it was not helped by a fairly boring, prosaic narrative. If Willa Cather is a great writer, she did not prove it by this book, though I'm willing to give her a chance with one of her others . . . Just not right now.
Nov. 7, 2013
Moby Dick
I mean mammal. If you haven't read Moby Dick, you're not an American. Move to Canada. NOW!
Nov. 7, 2013
War and Peace
Make sure you have plenty of vodka with you--to stay in the Russian frame of mind.
June 26, 2015
Don Quixote
You too can finish this book . . .
. . . be patient. It gets a little long.
Sept. 26, 2016
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Once again, the Hollywood version of this book is grotesquely oversimplified and omits some wonderful characters, such as the China People and the punchy Quadlings, to name just two. This just goes to show: Don't judge a book by its movie. I liked the book much better--for its grittiness, characters, and back stories.
Nov. 10, 2016
Babbitt as a Portrait of the American Dream
This is a classic story of a man who not only experiences a mid-life crisis but challenges the assumptions of a conventionally successful life and the consequences of breaking from the mold of conformity. Unfortunately, and perhaps a reflection of the time in which it is written, Babbitt tends to endorse the conventional life--and at that point it seems to lose its deeper insights. Overall, a good book for people who wish to examine issues such as family and professional life, the nature of friendship, social climbing, infidelity, and the nature of happiness.
Dec. 16, 2016
Another Classic that Readers Must Read . . .
. . . even though some parts get a little tedious, such as descriptions of ice and squirrels. But when you're cooped up in a little shack, I suppose you tend to run out of things to talk about. Overall, an important book as a foundation for civil disobedience, self-reliance, and living in the moment--very Zen-like. If the old saying, "Classics are books that you'd like to say you read," then having read this one allows me to say that, yes, I actually read it.
Jan. 17, 2017
The House of the Seven Gables
Typical nineteenth century literature--heavy on vocabulary, overwritten (at least compared to contemporary styles), quaint, and a little over sentimental. I didn't really enjoy the book, but since it's a classic, I'm happy to have toughed it out for the sake of broadening my range of literacy. It's a lot like other challenging projects: Once done, it becomes a bit better. I think readers naturally become more sympathetic to works once they've actually finished them. But the journey itself was a challenge.
Jan. 20, 2017
Washington Square
After House of the Seven Gables, Washington Square was a little tame by comparison--a little predictable, overall, a little bit okay.
Feb. 1, 2017
Pride and Prejudice
Another Classic Down
I wanted to read this classic for its importance within the canon of English literature. However, after reading this novel, I can only assume that Darcy and Elizabeth, being in all ways proper, had on their wedding night sexual congress with the candles extinguished and their garments still tightly fastened about their naughty bits.
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